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Best Famous Katherine Philips Poems

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Written 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.

Written 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.

Written 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.

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Written 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.

Written by Katherine Philips |

To My Antenor

 My dear Antenor now give o're,
For my sake talk of Graves no more;
Death is not in our power to gain,
And is both wish'd and fear'd in vain
Let's be as angry as wee will,
Grief sooner may distract then kill,
And the unhappy often prove
Death is as coy a thing as Love.
Those whose own sword their death did give, Afraid were or asham'd to Live; And by an act so desperate, Did poorly run away from fate; 'Tis braver much t'out-ride the storm, Endure its rages and shun his harm; Affliction nobly undergone, More Greatness shews than having none.
But yet the Wheel in turning round, At last may lift us from the ground, And when our Fortune's most severe, The less we have, the less we fear.
And why should we that grief permit, Which can nor mend nor shorten it? Let's wait for a succeeding good, Woes have their Ebb as well as flood: And since Parliament have rescu'd you, Believe that Providence will do so too.

Written by Katherine Philips |

Arion to a Dolphin On His Majestys passage into England.

 Whom does this stately Navy bring? 
O! ‘tis Great Britain's Glorious King, 
Convey him then, ye Winds and Seas, 
Swift as Desire and calm as Peace.
In your Respect let him survey What all his other Subjects pay; And prophesie to them again The splendid smoothness of his Reign.
Charles and his mighty hopes you bear: A greater now then C?sar's here; Whose Veins a richer Purple boast Then ever Hero's yet engrost; Sprung from a Father so august, He triumphs in his very dust.
In him two Miracles we view, His Vertue and his Safety too: For when compell'd by Traitors crimes To breathe and bow in forein Climes, Expos'd to all the rigid fate That does on wither'd Greatness wait, Had plots for Life and Conscience laid, By Foes pursu'd, by Friends betray'd; Then Heaven, his secret potent friend, Did him from Drugs and Stabs defend; And, what's more yet, kept him upright ‘Midst flattering Hope and bloudy Fight.
Cromwell his whole Right never gain'd, Defender of the Faith remain'd, For which his Predecessors fought And writ, but none so dearly bought.
Never was Prince so much beseiged, At home provok'd, abroad obliged; Nor ever Man resisted thus, No not great Athanasius.
No help of Friends could, or Foes spight, To fierce Invasion him invite.
Revenge to him no pleasure is, He spar'd their bloud who gap'd for his; Blush'd any hands the English Crown Should fasten on him but their own.
As Peace and Freedom with him went, With him they came from Banishment.
That he might his Dominions win, He with himself did first begin: And that best victory obtain'd, His Kingdom quickly he regain'd.
Th' illustrious suff'rings of this Prince Did all reduce and all convince.
He onely liv'd with such success, That the whole world would fight with less.
Assistant Kings could but subdue Those Foes which he can pardon too.
He thinks no Slaughter-trophees good, Nor Laurels dipt in Subjects blood; But with a sweet resistless art Disarms the hand, and wins the heart; And like a God doth rescue those Who did themselves and him oppose.
Go, wondrous Prince, adorn that Throne Which Birth and Merit make your own; And in your Mercy brighter shine Then in the Glories of your Line: Find Love at home, and abroad Fear, And Veneration every where.
Th' united world will you allow Their Chief, to whom the English bow: And Monarchs shall to yours resort, As Sheba's Queen to Judah's Court; Returning thence constrained more To wonder, envy, and adore.
Disgusted Rome will hate your Crown, But she shall tremble at your Frown.
For England shall (rul'd and restor'd by You) The suppliant world protect, or else subdue.

Written 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.

Written 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.

Written by Katherine Philips |

LAmitie: To Mrs. M. Awbrey.

 Soule of my soule! my Joy, my crown, my friend! 
A name which all the rest doth comprehend; 
How happy are we now, whose sols are grown, 
By an incomparable mixture, One: 
Whose well acquainted minds are not as neare 
As Love, or vows, or secrets can endeare.
I have no thought but what's to thee reveal'd, Nor thou desire that is from me conceal'd.
Thy heart locks up my secrets richly set, And my breast is thy private cabinet.
Thou shedst no teare but what but what my moisture lent, And if I sigh, it is thy breath is spent.
United thus, what horrour can appeare Worthy our sorrow, anger, or our feare? Let the dull world alone to talk and fight And with their vast ambitions nature fright; Let them despise so innocent a flame, While Envy, pride, and faction play their game: But we by Love sublim'd so high shall rise, To pitty Kings, and Conquerours despise, Since we that sacred union have engrost, Which they and all the sullen world have lost.

Written by Katherine Philips |

To Mrs. M. A. at Parting

 I Have examin'd and do find,
Of all that favour me
There's none I grieve to leave behind
But only only thee.
To part with thee I needs must die, Could parting sep'rate thee and I.
But neither Chance nor Complement Did element our Love ; 'Twas sacred Sympathy was lent Us from the Quire above.
That Friendship Fortune did create, Still fears a wound from Time or Fate.
Our chang'd and mingled Souls are grown To such acquaintance now, That if each would resume their own, Alas ! we know not how.
We have each other so engrost, That each is in the Union lost.
And thus we can no Absence know, Nor shall we be confin'd ; Our active Souls will daily go To learn each others mind.
Nay, should we never meet to Sense, Our Souls would hold Intelligence.
Inspired with a Flame Divine I scorn to court a stay ; For from that noble Soul of thine I ne're can be away.
But I shall weep when thou dost grieve ; Nor can I die whil'st thou dost live.
By my own temper I shall guess At thy felicity, And only like my happiness Because it pleaseth thee.
Our hearts at any time will tell If thou, or I, be sick, or well.
All Honour sure I must pretend, All that is Good or Great ; She that would be Rosania's Friend, Must be at least compleat.
If I have any bravery, 'Tis cause I have so much of thee.
Thy Leiger Soul in me shall lie, And all thy thoughts reveal ; Then back again with mine shall flie, And thence to me shall steal.
Thus still to one another tend ; Such is the sacred name of Friend.
Thus our twin-Souls in one shall grow, And teach the World new Love, Redeem the Age and Sex, and shew A Flame Fate dares not move : And courting Death to be our friend, Our Lives together too shall end.
A Dew shall dwell upon our Tomb Of such a quality, That fighting Armies, thither come, Shall reconciled be.
We'll ask no Epitaph, but say ORINDA and ROSANIA.

Written 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.

Written by Katherine Philips |

Orinda To Lucasia Parting October 1661 At London

 Adieu dear object of my Love's excess,
And with thee all my hopes of happiness,
With the same fervent and unchanged heart
Which did it's whole self once to thee impart,
(And which though fortune has so sorely bruis'd,
Would suffer more, to be from this excus'd)
I to resign thy dear Converse submit,
Since I can neither keep, nor merit it.
Thou hast too long to me confined been, Who ruine am without, passion within.
My mind is sunk below thy tenderness, And my condition does deserve it less; I'm so entangl'd and so lost a thing By all the shocks my daily sorrow bring, That would'st thou for thy old Orinda call Thou hardly could'st unravel her at all.
And should I thy clear fortunes interline With the incessant miseries of mine? No, no, I never lov'd at such a rate To tye thee to the rigours of my fate, As from my obligations thou art free, Sure thou shalt be so from my Injury, Though every other worthiness I miss, Yet I'le at least be generous in this.
I'd rather perish without sigh or groan, Then thou shoul'dst be condemn'd to give me one; Nay in my soul I rather could allow Friendship should be a sufferer, then thou; Go then, since my sad heart has set thee free, Let all the loads and chains remain on me.
Though I be left the prey of sea and wind, Thou being happy wilt in that be kind; Nor shall I my undoing much deplore, Since thou art safe, whom I must value more.
Oh! mayst thou ever be so, and as free From all ills else, as from my company, And may the torments thou hast had from it Be all that heaven will to thy life permit.
And that they may thy vertue service do, Mayest thou be able to forgive them too: But though I must this sharp submission learn, I cannot yet unwish thy dear concern.
Not one new comfort I expect to see, I quit my Joy, hope, life, and all but thee; Nor seek I thence ought that may discompose That mind where so serene a goodness grows.
I ask no inconvenient kindness now, To move thy passion, or to cloud thy brow; And thou wilt satisfie my boldest plea By some few soft remembrances of me, [50] Which may present thee with this candid thought, I meant not all the troubles that I brought.
Own not what Passion rules, and Fate does crush, But wish thou couldst have don't without a blush, And that I had been, ere it was too late, Either more worthy, or more fortunate.
Ah who can love the thing they cannot prize? But thou mayst pity though thou dost despise.
Yet I should think that pity bought too dear, If it should cost those precious Eyes a tear.
Oh may no minutes trouble, thee possess, But to endear the next hours happiness; And maist thou when thou art from me remov'd, Be better pleas'd, but never worse belov'd: Oh pardon me for pow'ring out my woes In Rhime now, that I dare not do't in Prose.
For I must lose whatever is call'd dear, And thy assistance all that loss to bear, And have more cause than ere I had before, To fear that I shall never see thee more.

Written 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.

Written by Katherine Philips |

Against Love

 Hence Cupid! with your cheating toys, 
Your real griefs, and painted joys, 
Your pleasure which itself destroys.
Lovers like men in fevers burn and rave, And only what will injure them do crave.
Men's weakness makes love so severe, They give him power by their fear, And make the shackles which they wear.
Who to another does his heart submit, Makes his own idol, and then worships it.
Him whose heart is all his own, Peace and liberty does crown, He apprehends no killing frown.
He feels no raptures which are joys diseased, And is not much transported, but still pleased.

Written by Katherine Philips |

6th April 1651 LAmitie: To Mrs. M. Awbrey

 Soule of my soule! my Joy, my crown, my friend!
A name which all the rest doth comprehend;
How happy are we now, whose sols are grown,
By an incomparable mixture, One:
Whose well acquainted minds are not as neare
As Love, or vows, or secrets can endeare.
I have no thought but what's to thee reveal'd, Nor thou desire that is from me conceal'd.
Thy heart locks up my secrets richly set, And my breast is thy private cabinet.
Thou shedst no teare but what but what my moisture lent, And if I sigh, it is thy breath is spent.
United thus, what horrour can appeare Worthy our sorrow, anger, or our feare? Let the dull world alone to talk and fight And with their vast ambitions nature fright; Let them despise so innocent a flame, While Envy, pride, and faction play their game: But we by Love sublim'd so high shall rise, To pitty Kings, and Conquerours despise, Since we that sacred union have engrost, Which they and all the sullen world have lost.