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by Katherine Philips |

On the Welch Language

If honor to an ancient name be due,
Or riches challenge it for one that's new,
The British language claims in either sense
Both for its age, and for its opulence.
But all great things must be from us removed, To be with higher reverence beloved.
So landskips which in prospects distant lie, With greater wonder draw the pleasèd eye.
Is not great Troy to one dark ruin hurled? Once the fam'd scene of all the fighting world.
Where's Athens now, to whom Rome learning owes, And the safe laurels that adorned her brows? A strange reverse of fate she did endure, Never once greater, than she's now obscure.
Even Rome her self can but some footsteps show Of Scipio's times, or those of Cicero.
And as the Roman and the Grecian state, The British fell, the spoil of time and fate.
But though the language hath the beauty lost, Yet she has still some great remains to boast, For 'twas in that, the sacred bards of old, In deathless numbers did their thoughts unfold.
In groves, by rivers, and on fertile plains, They civilized and taught the listening swains; Whilst with high raptures, and as great success, Virtue they clothed in music's charming dress.
This Merlin spoke, who in his gloomy cave, Even Destiny her self seemed to enslave.
For to his sight the future time was known, Much better than to others is their own; And with such state, predictions from him fell, As if he did decree, and not foretell.
This spoke King Arthur, who, if fame be true, Could have compelled mankind to speak it too.
In this one Boadicca valor taught, And spoke more nobly than her soldiers fought: Tell me what hero could be more than she, Who fell at once for fame and liberty? Nor could a greater sacrifice belong, Or to her children's, or her country's wrong.
This spoke Caractacus, who was so brave, That to the Roman fortune check he gave: And when their yoke he could decline no more, He it so decently and nobly wore, That Rome her self with blushes did believe, A Britain would the law of honor give; And hastily his chains away she threw, Lest her own captive else should her subdue.

by Katherine Philips |

In Memory of F.P.

 If I could ever write a lasting verse,
It should be laid, deare Sainte, upon thy herse.
But Sorrow is no muse, and doth confesse That it least can what most it would expresse.
Yet, that I may some bounds to griefe allow, I'le try if I can weepe in numbers now.
Ah beauteous blossom! too untimely dead! Whither, ah whither is thy sweetness fled? Where are the charmes that allwayes did arise From the prevailing languadge [sic] of thine eyes? Where is thy modest aire and lovely meen, And all the wonders that in these were seen? Alas! in vaine! In vaine on three I rave; There is no pitty in the stupid grave .
Never, ah never let glad parents guesse At one remove of future happinesse, But reckon children 'mong those passing joys, Which one hour gives, and the next hour destroyes.
Alas! we were secure of our content, But find too late that it was onely lent, To be a mirrour wherein we might see How fraile we are, how innocent should be.
But if to thy blest soule my griefe appeares, Forgive and pitty these injurious teares; Impute them to affection's sad excesse, Which will not yeild to nature's tendernesse, Since 'twas through dearest tyes and highest trust Continu'd from thy cradle to thy dust; And so rewarded and confirm'd by thine, (wo is me!) I thought thee too much mine.
But I'le resigne, and follow thee as fast As my unhappy minutes will make hast.
Till when, the fresh remembrances of thee Shall be my emblem of mortalitie.
For such a loss as thine, bright soule, is not Ever to be repaired, or forgot.

by Katherine Philips |

La Solitude de St. Amant


O! Solitude, my sweetest choice
Places devoted to the night,
Remote from tumult, and from noise,
How you my restless thoughts delight!
O Heavens! what content is mine,
To see those trees which have appear'd
From the nativity of Time,
And which hall ages have rever'd,
To look to-day as fresh and green,
As when their beauties first were seen!


A cheerful wind does court them so,
And with such amorous breath enfold,
That we by nothing else can know,
But by their hieght that they are old.
Hither the demi-gods did fly To seek the sanctuary, when Displeased Jove once pierc'd the sky, To pour a deluge upon men, And on these boughs themselves did save, When they could hardly see a wave.
3 Sad Philomel upon this thorn, So curiously by Flora dress'd, In melting notes, her case forlorn, To entertain me, hath confess'd.
O! how agreeable a sight These hanging mountains do appear, Which the unhappy would invite To finish all their sorrows here, When their hard fate makes them endure Such woes, as only death can cure.
4 What pretty desolations make These torrents vagabond and fierce, Who in vast leaps their springs forsake, This solitary Vale to pierce.
Then sliding just as serpents do Under the foot of every tree, Themselves are changed to rivers too, Wherein some stately Nayade, As in her native bed, is grown A queen upon a crystal throne.
5 This fen beset with river-plants, O! how it does my sense charm! Nor elders, reeds, nor willows want, Which the sharp steel did never harm.
Here Nymphs which come to take the air, May with such distaffs furnish'd be, As flags and rushes can prepare, Where we the nimble frogs may see, Who frighted to retreat do fly If an approaching man they spy.
6 Here water-flowl repose enjoy, Without the interrupting care, Lest Fortune should their bliss destroy By the malicious fowler's snare.
Some ravish'd with so bright a day, Their feathers finely prune and deck; Others their amorous heats allay, Which yet the waters could not check: All take their innocent content In this their lovely element.
7 Summer's, nor Winter's bold approach, This stream did never entertain; Nor ever felt a boat or coach, Whilst either season did remain.
No thirsty traveller came near, And rudely made his hand his cup; Nor any hunted hind hath here Her hopeless life resigned up; Nor ever did the treacherous hook Intrude to empty any brook.
8 What beauty is there in the sight Of these old ruin'd castle-walls Of which the utmost rage and spight Of Time's worst insurrection falls? The witches keep their Sabbath here, And wanton devils make retreat.
Who in malicious sport appear, Our sense both to afflict and cheat; And here within a thousand holes Are nest of adders and of owls.
9 The raven with his dismal cries, That mortal augury of Fate, Those ghastly goblins ratifies, Which in these gloomy places wait.
On a curs'd tree the wind does move A carcase which did once belong To one that hang'd himself for love Of a fair Nymph that did him wrong, Who thought she saw his love and truth, With one look would not save the youth.
10 But Heaven which judges equally, And its own laws will still maintain, Rewarded soon her cruelty With a deserv'd and mighty pain: About this squalid heap of bones, Her wand'ring and condemned shade, Laments in long and piercing groans The destiny her rigour made, And the more to augment her right, Her crime is ever in her sight.
11 There upon antique marbles trac'd, Devices of past times we see, Here age ath almost quite defac'd, What lovers carv'd on every tree.
The cellar, here, the highest room Receives when its old rafters fail, Soil'd with the venom and the foam Of the spider and the snail: And th'ivy in the chimney we Find shaded by a walnut tree.
12 Below there does a cave extend, Wherein there is so dark a grot, That should the Sun himself descend, I think he could not see a jot.
Here sleep within a heavy lid In quiet sadness locks up sense, And every care he does forbid, Whilst in arms of negligence, Lazily on his back he's spread, And sheaves of poppy are his bed.
13 Within this cool and hollow cave, Where Love itself might turn to ice, Poor Echo ceases not to rave On her Narcissus wild and nice: Hither I softly steal a thought, And by the softer music made With a sweet lute in charms well taught, Sometimes I flatter her sad shade, Whilst of my chords I make such choice, They serve as body to her voice.
14 When from these ruins I retire, This horrid rock I do invade, Whose lofty brow seems to inquire Of what materials mists are made: From thence descending leisurely Under the brow of this steep hill It with great pleasure I descry By waters undermin'd, until They to Palaemon's seat did climb, Compos'd of sponges and of slime.
15 How highly is the fancy pleas'd To be upon the Ocean's shore, When she begins to be appeas'd And her fierce billows cease to roar! And when the hairy Tritons are Riding upon the shaken wave, With what strange sounds they strike the air Of their trumpets hoarse and brave, Whose shrill reports does every wind Unto his due submission bind! 16 Sometimes the sea dispels the sand, Trembling and murmuring in the bay, And rolls itself upon the shells Which it both brings and takes away.
Sometimes exposed on the strand, Th'effect of Neptune's rage and scorn, Drown'd men, dead monsters cast on land, And ships that were in tempests torn, With diamonds and ambergreece, And many more such things as these.
17 Sometimes so sweetly she does smile, A floating mirror she might be, And you would fancy all that while New Heavens in her face to see: The Sun himself is drawn so well, When there he would his picture view, That our eye can hardly tell Which is the false Sun, which the true; And lest we give our sense the lie, We think he's fallen from the sky.
18 Bernieres! for whose beloved sake My thoughts are at a noble strife, This my fantastic landskip take, Which I have copied from the life.
I only seek the deserts rough, Where all alone I love to walk, And with discourse refin'd enough, My Genius and the Muses talk; But the converse most truly mine, Is the dear memory of thine.
19 Thou mayst in this Poem find, So full of liberty and heat, What illustrious rays have shin'd To enlighten my conceit: Sometimes pensive, sometimes gay, Just as that fury does control, And as the object I survey The notions grow up in my soul, And are as unconcern'd and free As the flame which transported me.
20 O! how I Solitude adore, That element of noblest wit, Where I have learnt Apollo's lore, Without the pains to study it: For thy sake I in love am grown With what thy fancy does pursue; But when I think upon my own, I hate it for that reason too.
Because it needs must hinder me From seeing, and from serving thee.

by Katherine Philips |

To my dear Sister Mrs. C. P. on her Nuptial

 We will not like those men our offerings pay 
Who crown the cup, then think they crown the day.
We make no garlands, nor an altar build, Which help not Joy, but Ostentation yield.
Where mirth is justly grounded these wild toyes Are but a troublesome, and empty noise.
But these shall be my great Solemnities, Orinda's wishes for Cassandra's bliss.
May her Content be as unmix'd and pure As my Affection, and like that endure; And that strong Happiness may she still find Not owing to her Fortune, but her Mind.
May her Content and Duty be the same, And may she know no Grief but in the name.
May his and her Pleasure and Love be so Involv'd and growing, that we may not know Who most Affection or most Peace engrost; Whose Love is strongest, or whose Bliss is most.
May nothing accidental e're appear But what shall with new bonds their Souls endear; And may they count the hours as they pass, By their own Joys, and not by Sun or Glass: While every day like this may Sacred prove To Friendship, Gratitude, and Strictest Love.

by Katherine Philips |

To My Excellent Lucasia On Our Friendship

 I did not live until this time
Crown'd my felicity,
When I could say without a crime,
I am not thine, but thee.
This carcass breath'd, and walkt, and slept, So that the world believe'd There was a soul the motions kept; But they were all deceiv'd.
For as a watch by art is wound To motion, such was mine: But never had Orinda found A soul till she found thine; Which now inspires, cures and supplies, And guides my darkened breast: For thou art all that I can prize, My joy, my life, my rest.
No bridegroom's nor crown-conqueror's mirth To mine compar'd can be: They have but pieces of the earth, I've all the world in thee.
Then let our flames still light and shine, And no false fear controul, As innocent as our design, Immortal as our soul.

by Katherine Philips |

To One Persuading A Lady To Marriage

 Forbear, bold youth; all 's heaven here,
 And what you do aver
To others courtship may appear,
 'Tis sacrilege to her.
She is a public deity; And were 't not very odd She should dispose herself to be A petty household god? First make the sun in private shine And bid the world adieu, That so he may his beams confine In compliment to you: But if of that you do despair, Think how you did amiss To strive to fix her beams which are More bright and large than his.

by Katherine Philips |

Content To My Dearest Lucasia

 Content, the false World's best disguise, 
The search and faction of the Wise, 
Is so abstruse and hid in night, 
That, like that Fairy Red-cross Knight, 
Who trech'rous Falshood for clear Truth had got, 
Men think they have it when they have it not.
For Courts Content would gladly own, But she ne're dwelt about a Throne: And to be flatter'd, rich, and great, Are things which do Mens senses cheat.
But grave Experience long since this did see, Ambition and Content would ne're agree.
Some vainer would Content expect From what their bright Out-sides reflect: But sure Content is more Divine Then to be digg'd from Rock or Mine: And they that know her beauties will confess, She needs no lustre from a glittering dress.
In Mirth some place her, but she scorns Th'assistance of such crackling thorns, Nor owes her self to such thin sport, That is so sharp and yet so short: And Painters tell us, they the same strokes place To make a laughing and a weeping face.
Others there are that place Content In Liberty from Government: But who his Passions do deprave, Though free from shackles is a slave.
Content and Bondage differ onely then, When we are chain'd by Vices, not by Men.
Some think the Camp Content does know, And that she fits o'th' Victor's brow: But in his Laurel there is seen Often a Cypress-bow between.
Nor will Content herself in that place give, Where Noise and Tumult and Destruction live.
But yet the most Discreet believe, The Schools this Jewel do receive, And thus far's true without dispute, Knowledge is still the sweetest fruit.
But whil'st men seek for Truth they lose their Peace; And who heaps Knowledge, Sorrow doth increase.
But now some sullen Hermite smiles, And thinks he all the World beguiles, And that his Cell and Dish contain What all mankind wish for in vain.
But yet his Pleasure's follow'd with a Groan, For man was never born to be alone.
Content her self best comprehends Betwixt two souls, and they two friends, Whose either joyes in both are fixed, And multiply'd by being mixed: Whose minds and interests are still the same; Their Griefs, when once imparted, lose their name.
These far remov'd from all bold noise, And (what is worse) all hollow joyes, Who never had a mean design, Whose flame is serious and divine, And calm, and even, must contented be, For they've both Union and Society.
Then, my Lucasia, we have Whatever Love can give or crave; With scorn or pity can survey The Trifles which the most betray; With innocence and perfect friendship fired, By Vertue joyn'd, and by our Choice retired.
Whose Mirrours are the crystal Brooks, Or else each others Hearts and Looks; Who cannot wish for other things Then Privacy and Friendship brings: Whose thoughts and persons chang'd and mixt are one, Enjoy Content, or else the World hath none.

by Katherine Philips |

Friendships Mystery To My Dearest Lucasia

 Come, my Lucasia, since we see 
That miracles Men's Faith do move,
By wonder and by prodigy
To the dull angry World let's prove
There's a Religion in our Love.
For Though we were design'd t'agree, That Fate no liberty destroys, But our Election is as free As Angels, who with greedy choice Are yet determin'd to their joys.
Our hearts are doubled by the loss, Here Mixture is Addition grown; We both diffuse, and both ingross: And we whose minds are so much one, Never, yet ever are alone.
We court our own Captivity Than Thrones more great and innocent: `Twere banishment to be set free, Since we wear fetters whose intent Not Bondage is but Ornament Divided joys are tedious found, And griefs united easier grow: We are our selves but by rebound, And all our Titles shuffled so, Both Princes, and both Subjects too.
Our Hearts are mutual Victims laid, While they (such power in Friendship lies) Are Altars, Priests, and Off'rings made: And each Heart which thus kindly dies, Grows deathless by the Sacrifice.

by Katherine Philips |

The World

 Wee falsely think it due unto our friends,
That we should grieve for their too early ends:
He that surveys the world with serious eys,
And stripps Her from her grosse and weak disguise,
Shall find 'tis injury to mourn their fate;
He only dy's untimely who dy's Late.
For if 'twere told to children in the womb, To what a stage of mischief they must come Could they foresee with how much toile and sweat Men court that Guilded nothing, being Great; What paines they take not to be what they seem, Rating their blisse by others false esteem, And sacrificing their content, to be Guilty of grave and serious Vanity; How each condition hath its proper Thorns, And what one man admires, another Scorns; How frequently their happiness they misse, And so farre from agreeing what it is, That the same Person we can hardly find, Who is an houre together in a mind; Sure they would beg a period of their breath, And what we call their birth would count their Death.
Mankind is mad; for none can live alone Because their joys stand by comparison: And yet they quarrell at Society, And strive to kill they know not whom, nor why, We all live by mistake, delight in Dreames, Lost to ourselves, and dwelling in extreames; Rejecting what we have, though ne're so good, And prizing what we never understood.
compar'd to our boystrous inconstancy Tempests are calme, and discords harmony.
Hence we reverse the world, and yet do find The God that made can hardly please our mind.
We live by chance, and slip into Events; Have all of Beasts except their Innocence.
The soule, which no man's pow'r can reach, a thing That makes each women Man, each man a King.
Doth so much loose, and from its height so fall, That some content to have no Soule at all.
"Tis either not observ'd, or at the best By passion fought withall, by sin deprest.
Freedome of will (god's image) is forgot; And if we know it, we improve it not.
Our thoughts, thou nothing can be more our own, Are still unguided, verry seldom known.
Time 'scapes our hands as water in a Sieve, We come to dy ere we begin to Live.
Truth, the most suitable and noble Prize, Food of our spirits, yet neglected ly's.
Errours and shaddows ar our choice, and we Ow our perdition to our Own decree.
If we search Truth, we make it more obscure; And when it shines, we can't the Light endure; For most men who plod on, and eat, and drink, Have nothing less their business then to think; And those few that enquire, how small a share Of Truth they fine! how dark their notions are! That serious evenness that calmes the Brest, And in a Tempest can bestow a rest, We either not attempt, or elce [sic] decline, By every triffle snatch'd from our design.
(Others he must in his deceits involve, Who is not true unto his own resolve.
) We govern not our selves, but loose the reins, Courting our bondage to a thousand chains; And with as man slaverys content, As there are Tyrants ready to Torment, We live upon a Rack, extended still To one extreme, or both, but always ill.
For since our fortune is not understood, We suffer less from bad then from the good.
The sting is better drest and longer lasts, As surfeits are more dangerous than fasts.
And to compleat the misery to us, We see extreames are still contiguous.
And as we run so fast from what we hate, Like Squibs on ropes, to know no middle state; So (outward storms strengthen'd by us) we find Our fortune as disordred as our mind.
But that's excus'd by this, it doth its part; A treacherous world befits a treacherous heart.
All ill's our own; the outward storms we loath Receive from us their birth, or sting, or both; And that our Vanity be past a doubt, 'Tis one new vanity to find it out.
Happy are they to whom god gives a Grave, And from themselves as from his wrath doeth save.
'Tis good not to be born; but if we must, The next good is, soone to return to Dust: When th'uncag'd soule, fled to Eternity, Shall rest and live, and sing, and love, and See.
Here we but crawle and grope, and play and cry; Are first our own, then others Enemy: But there shall be defac'd both stain and score, For time, and Death, and sin shall be no more.

by Katherine Philips |

A Retird Friendship

 Come, my Ardelia, to this bowre,
Where kindly mingling Souls a while,
Let's innocently spend an houre,
And at all serious follys smile

Here is no quarrelling for Crowns,
Nor fear of changes in our fate;
No trembling at the Great ones frowns
Nor any slavery of state.
Here's no disguise, nor treachery Nor any deep conceal'd design; From blood and plots this place is free, And calm as are those looks of thine.
Here let us sit and bless our Starres Who did such happy quiet give, As that remov'd from noise of warres.
In one another's hearts we live.
We should we entertain a feare? Love cares not how the world is turn'd.
If crouds of dangers should appeare, Yet friendship can be unconcern'd.
We weare about us such a charme, No horrour can be our offence; For misheif's self can doe no harme To friendship and to innocence.
Let's mark how soone Apollo's beams Command the flocks to quit their meat, And not intreat the neighbour -- streams To quench their thirst, but coole their heat.
In such a scorching Age as this, Whoever would not seek a shade Deserve their happiness to misse, As having their own peace betray'd.
But we (of one another's mind Assur'd,) the boistrous world disdain; With quiet souls, and unconfin'd, Enjoy what princes wish in vain.