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Best Famous Christian Poems

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by Ernest Lawrence Thayer | |

Casey At The Bat

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day, 
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same, A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair.
The rest clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast.
They thought, "if only Casey could but get a whack at that.
We'd put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.
" But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake; and the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake.
So upon that stricken multitude, grim melancholy sat; for there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all.
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball.
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred, there was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell; it rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell; it pounded through on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat; for Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place, there was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat, no stranger in the crowd could doubt t'was Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then, while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip, defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air, and Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped -- "That ain't my style," said Casey.
"Strike one!" the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar, like the beating of the storm waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand, and it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity, great Casey's visage shone, he stilled the rising tumult, he bade the game go on.
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew, but Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two!" "Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!" But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain, and they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The sneer has fled from Casey's lip, the teeth are clenched in hate.
He pounds, with cruel violence, his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go, and now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright.
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
And, somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout, but there is no joy in Mudville mighty Casey has struck out.

by Ralph Waldo Emerson | |

The Problem

I LIKE a church; I like a cowl; 
I love a prophet of the soul; 
And on my heart monastic aisles 
Fall like sweet strains or pensive smiles; 
Yet not for all his faith can see 5 
Would I that cowl¨¨d churchman be.
Why should the vest on him allure Which I could not on me endure? Not from a vain or shallow thought His awful Jove young Phidias brought; 10 Never from lips of cunning fell The thrilling Delphic oracle: Out from the heart of nature rolled The burdens of the Bible old; The litanies of nations came 15 Like the volcano's tongue of flame Up from the burning core below ¡ª The canticles of love and woe; The hand that rounded Peter's dome And groined the aisles of Christian Rome 20 Wrought in a sad sincerity; Himself from God he could not free; He builded better than he knew;¡ª The conscious stone to beauty grew.
Know'st thou what wove yon woodbird's nest 25 Of leaves and feathers from her breast? Or how the fish outbuilt her shell Painting with morn each annual cell? Or how the sacred pine tree adds To her old leaves new myriads? 30 Such and so grew these holy piles Whilst love and terror laid the tiles.
Earth proudly wears the Parthenon As the best gem upon her zone; And Morning opes with haste her lids 35 To gaze upon the Pyramids; O'er England's abbeys bends the sky As on its friends with kindred eye; For out of Thought's interior sphere These wonders rose to upper air; 40 And Nature gladly gave them place Adopted them into her race And granted them an equal date With Andes and with Ararat.
These temples grew as grows the grass; 45 Art might obey but not surpass.
The passive Master lent his hand To the vast soul that o'er him planned; And the same power that reared the shrine Bestrode the tribes that knelt within.
50 Ever the fiery Pentecost Girds with one flame the countless host Trances the heart through chanting choirs And through the priest the mind inspires.
The word unto the prophet spoken 55 Was writ on tables yet unbroken; The word by seers or sibyls told In groves of oak or fanes of gold Still floats upon the morning wind Still whispers to the willing mind.
60 One accent of the Holy Ghost The heedless world hath never lost.
I know what say the fathers wise ¡ª The Book itself before me lies ¡ª Old Chrysostom best Augustine 65 And he who blent both in his line The younger Golden Lips or mines Taylor the Shakespeare of divines.
His words are music in my ear I see his cowl¨¨d portrait dear; 70 And yet for all his faith could see I would not this good bishop be.

by Wallace Stevens | |

The High-Toned Old Christian Woman

Poetry is the supreme fiction, madame.
Take the moral law and make a nave of it And from the nave build haunted heaven.
Thus, The conscience is converted into palms, Like windy citherns hankering for hymns.
We agree in principle.
That's clear.
But take The opposing law and make a peristyle, And from the peristyle project a masque Beyond the planets.
Thus, our bawdiness, Unpurged by epitaph, indulged at last, Is equally converted into palms, Squiggling like saxophones.
And palm for palm, Madame, we are where we began.
Allow, Therefore, that in the planetary scene Your disaffected flagellants, well-stuffed, Smacking their muzzy bellies in parade, Proud of such novelties of the sublime, Such tink and tank and tunk-a-tunk-tunk, May, merely may, madame, whip from themselves A jovial hullabaloo among the spheres.
This will make widows wince.
But fictive things Wink as they will.
Wink most when widows wince.

by Sir Philip Sidney | |

Astrophel and Stella


Ouing in trueth, and fayne in verse my loue to show,
That she, deare Shee, might take som pleasure of my paine,
Pleasure might cause her reade, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pittie winne, and pity grace obtaine,
I sought fit wordes to paint the blackest face of woe;
Studying inuentions fine, her wits to entertaine,
Oft turning others leaues, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitfull showers vpon my sun-burnd brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting Inuentions stay; Inuention, Natures childe, fledde step-dame Studies blowes; And others feet still seemde but strangers in my way.
Thus, great with childe to speak, and helplesse in my throwes, Biting my trewand pen, beating myselfe for spite, Fool, said my Muse to me, looke in thy heart, and write.
II Not at the first sight, nor with a dribbed shot, Loue gaue the wound, which, while I breathe, will bleede; But knowne worth did in tract of time proceed, Till by degrees, it had full conquest got.
I saw and lik'd; I lik'd but loued not; I lou'd, but straight did not what Loue decreed: At length, to Loues decrees I, forc'd, agreed, Yet with repining at so partiall lot.
Now, euen that footstep of lost libertie Is gone; and now, like slaue-borne Muscouite, I call it praise to suffer tyrannie; And nowe imploy the remnant of my wit To make myselfe beleeue that all is well, While, with a feeling skill, I paint my hell.
III Let dainty wits crie on the Sisters nine, That, brauely maskt, their fancies may be told; Or, Pindars apes, flaunt they in phrases fine, Enam'ling with pied flowers their thoughts of gold; Or else let them in statlier glorie shine, Ennobling new-found tropes with problemes old; Or with strange similes enrich each line, Of herbes or beasts which Inde or Affrick hold.
For me, in sooth, no Muse but one I know, Phrases and problems from my reach do grow; And strange things cost too deare for my poor sprites.
How then? euen thus: in Stellaes face I reed What Loue and Beautie be; then all my deed But copying is, what in her Nature writes.
IV Vertue, alas, now let me take some rest; Thou setst a bate betweene my will and wit; If vaine Loue haue my simple soule opprest, Leaue what thou lik'st not, deale thou not with it.
Thy scepter vse in some old Catoes brest, Churches or Schooles are for thy seat more fit; I do confesse (pardon a fault confest) My mouth too tender is for thy hard bit.
But if that needes thou wilt vsurping be The little reason that is left in me, And still th'effect of thy perswasions prooue, I sweare, my heart such one shall show to thee, That shrines in flesh so true a deitie, That, Virtue, thou thyself shalt be in loue.
V It is most true that eyes are form'd to serue The inward light, and that the heauenly part Ought to be King, from whose rules who do swerue, Rebels to nature, striue for their owne smart.
It is most true, what we call Cupids dart An image is, which for ourselues we carue, And, foolse, adore in temple of our hart, Till that good god make church and churchmen starue.
True, that true beautie virtue is indeed, Whereof this beautie can be but a shade, Which, elements with mortal mixture breed.
True, that on earth we are but pilgrims made, And should in soule up to our countrey moue: True, and yet true that I must Stella loue.
VI Some louers speake, when they their Muses entertaine, Of hopes begot by feare, of wot not what desires, Of force of heau'nly beames infusing hellish paine, Of liuing deaths, dere wounds, faire storms, and freesing fires: Some one his song in Ioue and Ioues strange tales attires, Bordred with buls and swans, powdred with golden raine: Another, humbler wit, to shepherds pipe retires, Yet hiding royall bloud full oft in rurall vaine.
To some a sweetest plaint a sweetest stile affords: While teares poure out his inke, and sighes breathe out his words, His paper pale despaire, and pain his pen doth moue.
I can speake what I feele, and feele as much as they, But thinke that all the map of my state I display When trembling voyce brings forth, that I do Stella loue.
VII When Nature made her chief worke, Stellas eyes, In colour blacke why wrapt she beames so bright? Would she in beamy blacke, like Painter wise, Frame daintiest lustre, mixt of shades and light? Or did she else that sober hue deuise, In obiect best to knitt and strength our sight; Least, if no vaile these braue gleames did disguise, They, sunlike, should more dazle then delight? Or would she her miraculous power show, That, whereas blacke seems Beauties contrary, She euen in black doth make all beauties flow? Both so, and thus, she, minding Loue should be Plac'd euer there, gaue him this mourning weede To honour all their deaths who for her bleed.
VIII Loue, borne in Greece, of late fled from his natiue place, Forc't, by a tedious proof, that Turkish hardned heart Is not fit mark to pierce with his fine-pointed dart, And pleas'd with our soft peace, staide here his flying race: But, finding these north clymes too coldly him embrace, Not vsde to frozen clips, he straue to find some part Where with most ease and warmth he might employ his art; At length he perch'd himself in Stellaes ioyful face, Whose faire skin, beamy eyes, like morning sun on snow, Deceiu'd the quaking boy, who thought, from so pure light, Effects of liuely heat must needs in nature grow: But she, most faire, most cold, made him thence take his flight To my close heart, where, while some firebrands he did lay, He burnt vn'wares his wings, and cannot flie away.
IX Queen Virtues Court, which some call Stellaes face, Prepar'd by Natures choicest furniture, Hath his front built of alabaster pure; Gold is the couering of that stately place.
The door, by which sometimes comes forth her grace, Red porphir is, which locke of pearl makes sure, Whose porches rich (which name of chekes indure) Marble, mixt red and white, doe interlace.
The windowes now, through which this heau'nly guest Looks ouer the world, and can find nothing such, Which dare claime from those lights the name of best, Of touch they are, that without touch do touch, Which Cupids self, from Beauties mine did draw: Of touch they are, and poore I am their straw.
X Reason, in faith thou art well seru'd that still Wouldst brabbling be with Sense and Loue in me; I rather wisht thee clime the Muses hill; Or reach the fruite of Natures choycest tree; Or seek heau'ns course or heau'ns inside to see: Why shouldst thou toil our thorny soile to till? Leaue Sense, and those which Senses obiects be; Deale thou with powers of thoughts, leaue Loue to Will.
But thou wouldst needs fight with both Loue and Sence, With sword of wit giuing wounds of dispraise, Till downe-right blowes did foyle thy cunning fence; For, soone as they strake thee with Stellas rayes, Reason, thou kneeld'st, and offred'st straight to proue, By reason good, good reason her to loue.
XI In truth, O Loue, with what a boyish kind Thou doest proceed in thy most serious ways, That when the heau'n to thee his best displayes, Yet of that best thou leau'st the best behinde! For, like a childe that some faire booke doth find, With gilded leaues or colour'd vellum playes, Or, at the most, on some fine picture stayes, But neuer heeds the fruit of Writers mind; So when thou saw'st, in Natures cabinet, Stella, thou straight lookst babies in her eyes: In her chekes pit thou didst thy pitfold set, And in her breast bo-peepe or crouching lies, Playing and shining in each outward part; But, fool, seekst not to get into her heart.
XII Cupid, because thou shin'st in Stellaes eyes That from her locks thy day-nets none scapes free That those lips sweld so full of thee they be That her sweet breath makes oft thy flames to rise That in her breast thy pap well sugred lies That her grace gracious makes thy wrongsthat she, What words soere shee speake, perswades for thee That her clere voice lifts thy fame to the skies, Thou countest Stella thine, like those whose pow'rs Hauing got vp a breach by fighting well, Crie Victorie, this faire day all is ours! O no; her heart is such a cittadell, So fortified with wit, stor'd with disdaine, That to win it is all the skill and paine.
XIII Phoebus was iudge betweene Ioue, Mars, and Loue, Of those three gods, whose armes the fairest were.
Ioues golden shield did sable eagles beare, Whose talons held young Ganimed aboue: But in vert field Mars bare a golden speare, Which through a bleeding heart his point did shoue: Each had his creast; Mars carried Venus gloue, Ioue on his helmet the thunderbolt did reare.
Cupid then smiles, for on his crest there lies Stellas faire haire; her face he makes his shield, Where roses gules are borne in siluer field.
Phoebus drew wide the curtaines of the skies, To blaze these last, and sware deuoutly then, The first, thus matcht, were scantly gentlemen.
XIV Alas, haue I not pain enough, my friend, Vpon whose breast a fiecer Gripe doth tire Than did on him who first stale down the fire, While Loue on me doth all his quiuer spend, But with your rhubarbe words ye must contend To grieue me worse, in saying that Desire Doth plunge my wel-form'd soul euen in the mire Of sinfull thoughts, which do in ruin end? If that be sinne which doth the manners frame, Well staid with truth in word and faith of deede, Ready of wit, and fearing nought but shame; If that be sin which in fixt hearts doth breed A loathing of all loose vnchastitie, Then loue is sin, and let me sinfull be.
XV You that do search for euery purling spring Which from the ribs of old Parnassus flowes, And euery flower, not sweet perhaps, which growes Neere thereabouts, into your poesie wring; Ye that do dictionaries methode bring Into your rimes, running in rattling rowes; You that poore Petrarchs long deceased woes With new-borne sighes and denisen'd wit do sing; You take wrong wayes; those far-fet helps be such As do bewray a want of inward tuch, And sure, at length stol'n goods doe come to light: But if, both for your loue and skill, your name You seek to nurse at fullest breasts of Fame, Stella behold, and then begin to indite.
XVI In nature, apt to like, when I did see Beauties which were of many carrets fine, My boiling sprites did thither then incline, And, Loue, I thought that I was full of thee: But finding not those restlesse flames in mee, Which others said did make their souls to pine, I thought those babes of some pinnes hurt did whine, By my soul iudging what Loues paine might be.
But while I thus with this young lion plaid, Mine eyes (shall I say curst or blest?) beheld Stella: now she is nam'd, neede more be said? In her sight I a lesson new haue speld.
I now haue learnd loue right, and learnd euen so As they that being poysond poyson know.
XVII His mother deere, Cupid offended late, Because that Mars, growne slacker in her loue, With pricking shot he did not throughly moue To keepe the place of their first louing state.
The boy refusde for fear of Marses hate, Who threatned stripes if he his wrath did proue; But she, in chafe, him from her lap did shoue, Brake bowe, brake shafts, while Cupid weeping sate; Till that his grandame Nature, pitying it, Of Stellaes brows made him two better bowes, And in her eyes of arrows infinit.
O how for ioy he leaps! O how he crowes! And straight therewith, like wags new got to play, Falls to shrewd turnes! And I was in his way.
XVIII With what sharp checkes I in myself am shent When into Reasons audite I do goe, And by iust counts my selfe a bankrout know Of all those goods which heauen to me hath lent; Vnable quite to pay euen Natures rent, Which vnto it by birthright I do ow; And, which is worse, no good excuse can showe, But that my wealth I haue most idly spent! My youth doth waste, my knowledge brings forth toyes, My wit doth striue those passions to defende, Which, for reward, spoil it with vain annoyes.
I see, my course to lose myself doth bend; I see: and yet no greater sorrow take Than that I lose no more for Stellas sake.
XIX On Cupids bowe how are my heart-strings bent, That see my wracke, and yet embrace the same! When most I glory, then I feele most shame; I willing run, yet while I run repent; My best wits still their own disgrace inuent: My very inke turns straight to Stellas name; And yet my words, as them my pen doth frame, Auise them selues that they are vainely spent: For though she passe all things, yet what is all That vnto me, who fare like him that both Lookes to the skies and in a ditch doth fall? O let me prop my mind, yet in his growth, And not in nature for best fruits vnfit.
Scholler, saith Loue, bend hitherward your wit.
XX Fly, fly, my friends; I haue my deaths wound, fly; See there that Boy, that murthring Boy I say, Who like a theefe hid in dark bush doth ly, Till bloudy bullet get him wrongfull pray.
So, tyran he no fitter place could spie, Nor so faire leuell in so secret stay, As that sweet black which veils the heau'nly eye; There with his shot himself he close doth lay.
Poore passenger, pass now thereby I did, And staid, pleas'd with the prospect of the place, While that black hue from me the the bad guest hid: But straight I saw the motions of lightning grace, And then descried the glistrings of his dart: But ere I could flie thence, it pierc'd my heart.
XXI Your words, my friend, (right healthfull caustiks), blame My young mind marde, whom Loue doth windlas so; That mine owne writings, like bad seruants, show My wits quicke in vaine thoughts, in vertue lame; That Plato I read for nought but if he tame Such coltish yeeres; that to my birth I owe Nobler desires, lest else that friendly foe, Great expectation, wear a train of shame: For since mad March great promise made of mee, If now the May of my yeeres much decline, What can be hop'd my haruest-time will be? Sure, you say well, Your wisedomes golden myne Dig deepe with Learnings spade.
Now tell me this: Hath this world aught so fair as Stella is? XXII In highest way of heau'n the Sun did ride, Progressing then from fair Twinnes golden place, Hauing no mask of clouds before his face, But streaming forth of heate in his chiefe pride; When some fair ladies, by hard promise tied, On horsebacke met him in his furious race; Yet each prepar'd with fannes wel-shading grace From that foes wounds their tender skinnes to hide.
Stella alone with face vnarmed marcht, Either to do like him which open shone, Or carelesse of the wealth, because her owne.
Yet were the hid and meaner beauties parcht; Her dainties bare went free: the cause was this: The sun, that others burn'd, did her but kisse.
XXIII The curious wits, seeing dull pensiuenesse Bewray it self in my long-settl'd eies Whence those same fumes of melancholy rise, With idle paines and missing ayme do guesse.
Some, that know how my spring I did addresse, Deem that my Muse some fruit of knowledge plies; Others, because the prince my seruice tries, Thinke that I think State errours to redress: But harder iudges iudge ambitions rage: Scourge of itselfe, still climbing slipperie place: Holds my young brain captiu'd in golden cage.
O fooles, or ouer-wise.
alas, the race Of all my thoughts hath neither stop nor start But only Stellaes eyes and Stellaes heart.
XXIV Rich fooles there be whose base and filthy heart Lies hatching still the goods wherein they flow, And damning their own selues to Tantals smart, Wealth breeding want; more rich, more wretched growe: Yet to those fooles Heau'n doth such wit impart As what their hands do hold, their heads do know, And knowing loue, and louing lay apart As sacred things, far from all dangers show.
But that rich foole, who by blind Fortunes lot The richest gemme of loue and life enioys, And can with foule abuse such beauties blot; Let him, depriu'd of sweet but vnfelt ioys, Exild for ay from those high treasures which He knowes not, grow in only folly rich! XXV The wisest scholler of the wight most wise By Phoebus doom, with sugred sentence sayes, That vertue, if it once met with our eyes, Strange flames of loue it in our souls would raise; But for that man with paine this truth descries, Whiles he each thing in Senses balance wayes, And so nor will nor can behold those skies Which inward sunne to heroick mind displaies Vertue of late, with vertuous care to ster Loue of herself, tooke Stellas shape, that she To mortall eyes might sweetly shine in her.
It is most true; for since I her did see, Vertues great beauty in that face I proue, And find th' effect, for I do burn in loue.
XXVI Though dustie wits dare scorne Astrologie, And fooles can thinke those lampes of purest light Whose numbers, waies, greatnesse, eternity, Promising wonders, wonder do inuite To haue for no cause birthright in the sky But for to spangle the black weeds of Night; Or for some brawl which in that chamber hie, They should still dance to please a gazers sight.
For me, I do Nature vnidle know, And know great causes great effects procure; And know those bodies high raigne on the low.
And if these rules did fail, proof makes me sure, Who oft fore-see my after-following race, By only those two starres in Stellaes face.
XXVII Because I oft in darke abstracted guise Seeme most alone in greatest company, With dearth of words, or answers quite awrie, To them that would make speech of speech arise; They deeme, and of their doome the runour flies, That poison foul of bubbling pride doth lie So in my swelling breast, that only I Fawne on my selfe, and others do despise.
Yet pride I thinke doth not my soule possesse (Which looks too oft in his vnflatt'ring glasse): But one worse fault, ambition, I confesse, That makes me oft my best friends ouerpasse, Vnseene, vnheard, while thought to highest place Bends all his powers, euen vnto Stellaes grace.
XXVIII You that with Allegories curious frame Of others children changelings vse to make, With me those pains, for Gods sake, do not take: I list not dig so deep for brazen fame, When I say Stella I do meane the same Princesse of beauty for whose only sake The raines of Loue I loue, though neuer slake, And ioy therein, though nations count it shame.
I beg no subiect to vse eloquence, Nor in hid wayes to guide philosophy: Looke at my hands for no such quintessence; But know that I in pure simplicitie Breathe out the flames which burn within my heart, Loue onely reading vnto me this arte.
XXIX Like some weak lords neighbord by mighty kings, To keep themselues and their chief cities free, Do easily yeeld that all their coasts may be Ready to store their campes of needfull things; So Stellas heart, finding what power Loue brings To keep it selfe in life and liberty, Doth willing graunt that in the frontiers he Vse all to helpe his other conquerings.
And thus her heart escapes; but thus her eyes Serue him with shot, her lips his heralds are, Her breasts his tents, legs his triumphall car, Her flesh his food, her skin his armour braue.
And I, but for because my prospect lies Vpon that coast, am given vp for slaue.
XXX Whether the Turkish new moone minded be To fill her hornes this yeere on Christian coast; How Poles right king means without leaue of host To warm with ill-made fire cold Muscouy; If French can yet three parts in one agree: What now the Dutch in their full diets boast; How Holland hearts, now so good townes be lost, Trust in the shade of pleasant Orange-tree; How Vlster likes of that same golden bit Wherewith my father once made it half tame; If in the Scotch Court be no weltring yet; These questions busy wits to me do frame: I, cumbred with good manners, answer doe, But know not how; for still I thinke of you.
XXXI With how sad steps, O Moone, thou climbst the skies! How silently, and with how wanne a face! What, may it be that euen in heau'nly place That busie archer his sharpe arrowes tries? Sure, if that long-with-loue-acquainted eyes Can iudge of loue, thou feel'st a louers case, I reade it in thy lookes: thy languist grace, To me that feele the like, thy state discries.
Then, eu'n of fellowship, O Moone, tell me, Is constant loue deem'd there but want of wit? Are beauties there as proud as here they be? Do they aboue loue to be lou'd, and yet Those louers scorn whom that loue doth possesse? Do they call vertue there vngratefulnesse? XXXII Morpheus, the liuely sonne of deadly Sleepe, Witnesse of life to them that liuing die, A prophet oft, and oft an historie, A poet eke, as humours fly or creepe; Since thou in me so sure a pow'r dost keepe, That neuer I with clos'd-vp sense do lie, But by thy worke my Stella I descrie, Teaching blind eyes both how to smile and weepe; Vouchsafe, of all acquaintance, this to tell, Whence hast thou ivory, rubies, pearl, and gold, To shew her skin, lips, teeth, and head so well? Foole! answers he; no Indes such treasures hold; But from thy heart, while my sire charmeth thee, Sweet Stellas image I do steal to mee.
XXXIII I might (vnhappy word!) O me, I might, And then I would not, or could not, see my blisse, Till now wrapt in a most infernall night, I find how heau'nly day, wretch! I did misse.
Hart, rend thyself, thou dost thyself but right; No louely Paris made thy Hellen his; No force, no fraud robd thee of thy delight, Nor Fortune of thy fortune author is, But to my selfe my selfe did giue the blow, While too much wit, forsooth, so troubled me That I respects for both our sakes must show: And yet could not, by rysing morne fore-see How fair a day was near: O punisht eyes, That I had bene more foolish, or more wise! XXXIV Come, let me write.
And to what end? To ease A burthen'd heart.
How can words ease, which are The glasses of thy dayly-vexing care? Oft cruel fights well pictur'd-forth do please.
Art not asham'd to publish thy disease? Nay, that may breed my fame, it is so rare.
But will not wise men thinke thy words fond ware? Then be they close, and so none shall displease.
What idler thing then speake and not be hard? What harder thing then smart and not to speake? Peace, foolish wit! with wit my wit is mard.
Thus write I, while I doubt to write, and wreake My harmes in inks poor losse.
Perhaps some find Stellas great pow'rs, that so confuse my mind.
XXXV What may words say, or what may words not say, Where Truth itself must speake like Flatterie? Within what bounds can one his liking stay, Where Nature doth with infinite agree? What Nestors counsell can my flames alay, Since Reasons self doth blow the coale in me? And, ah, what hope that Hope should once see day, Where Cupid is sworn page to Chastity? Honour is honour'd that thou dost possesse Him as thy slaue, and now long-needy Fame Doth euen grow rich, meaning my Stellaes name.
Wit learnes in thee perfection to expresse: Not thou by praise, but praise in thee is raisde: It is a praise to praise, when thou art praisde.
XXXVI Stella, whence doth these new assaults arise, A conquerd yeelding ransackt heart to winne, Whereto long since, through my long-battred eyes, Whole armies of thy beauties entred in? And there, long since, Loue, thy lieutenant, lies; My forces razde, thy banners raisd within: Of conquest, do not these effects suffice, But wilt new warre vpon thine own begin? With so sweet voice, and by sweet Nature so In sweetest stratagems sweete Art can show, That not my soul, which at thy foot did fall Long since, forc'd by thy beams, but stone nor tree, By Sences priviledge, can scape from thee! XXXVII My mouth doth water, and my breast doth swell, My tongue doth itch, my thoughts in labour be: Listen then, lordings, with good ear to me, For of my life I must a riddle tell.
Toward Auroras Court a nymph doth dwell, Rich in all beauties which mans eye can see; Beauties so farre from reach of words that we Abase her praise saying she doth excell; Rich in the treasure of deseru'd renowne, Rich in the riches of a royall heart, Rich in those gifts which giue th'eternall crowne; Who, though most rich in these and eu'ry part Which make the patents of true worldy blisse, Hath no misfortune but that Rich she is.
XXXVIII This night, while sleepe begins with heauy wings To hatch mine eyes, and that vnbitted thought Doth fall to stray, and my chief powres are brought To leaue the scepter of all subiect things; The first that straight my fancys errour brings Vnto my mind is Stellas image, wrought By Loues own selfe, but with so curious drought That she, methinks, not onley shines but sings.
I start, look, hearke: but in what closde-vp sence Was held, in opend sense it flies away, Leauing me nought but wayling eloquence.
I, seeing better sights in sights decay, Cald it anew, and wooed Sleepe again; But him, her host, that vnkind guest had slain.
XXXIX Come, Sleepe! O Sleepe, the certaine knot of peace, The baiting-place of wit, the balme of woe, The poor mans wealth, the prisoners release, Th' indifferent iudge betweene the high and low! With shield of proofe shield me from out the prease Of those fierce darts Despaire at me doth throw.
O make in me those ciuil wars to cease; I will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillowes, sweetest bed, A chamber deafe of noise and blind of light, A rosie garland and a weary hed: And if these things, as being thine in right, Moue not thy heauy grace, thou shalt in me, Liuelier then else-where, Stellaes image see.
XL As good to write, as for to lie and grone.
O Stella deare, how much thy powre hath wrought, That hast my mind (now of the basest) brought My still-kept course, while others sleepe, to mone! Alas, if from the height of Vertues throne Thou canst vouchsafe the influence of a thought Vpon a wretch that long thy grace hath sought, Weigh then how I by thee am ouerthrowne, And then thinke thus: although thy beautie be Made manifest by such a victorie, Yet noble conquerours do wreckes auoid.
Since then thou hast so farre subdued me That in my heart I offer still to thee, O do not let thy temple be destroyd! XLI Hauing this day my horse, my hand, my launce Guided so well that I obtain'd the prize, Both by the iudgement of the English eyes And of some sent from that sweet enemy Fraunce; Horsemen my skill in horsemanship aduaunce, Towne folkes my strength; a daintier iudge applies His praise to sleight which from good vse doth rise; Some luckie wits impute it but to chance; Others, because of both sides I doe take My blood from them who did excell in this, Thinke Nature me a man-at-armes did make.
How farre they shot awrie! The true cause is, Stella lookt on, and from her heau'nly face Sent forth the beames which made so faire my race.
XLII O eyes, which do the spheres of beauty moue; Whose beames be ioyes, whose ioyes all vertues be, Who, while they make Loue conquer, conquer Loue; The schooles where Venus hath learnd chastitie: O eyes, where humble lookes most glorious proue, Onely lou'd Tyrans, iust in cruelty, Do not, O doe not, from poore me remoue: Keep still my zenith, euer shine on me; For though I neuer see them, but straightwayes My life forgets to nourish languisht sprites, Yet still on me, O eyes, dart down your rayes! And if from majestie of sacred lights Oppressing mortal sense my death proceed, Wraceks triumphs be which Loue hie set doth breed.
XLIII Faire eyes, sweet lips, dear heart, that foolish I Could hope, by Cupids help, on you to pray, Since to himselfe he doth your gifts apply, As his maine force, choise sport, and easefull stay! For when he will see who dare him gain-say, Then with those eyes he looeks: lo, by and by Each soule doth at Loues feet his weapons lay, Glad if for her he giue them leaue to die.
When he will play, then in her lips he is, Where, blushing red, that Loues selfe them doe loue, With either lip he doth the other kisse; But when he will, for quiets sake, remoue From all the world, her heart is then his rome, Where well he knowes no man to him can come.
XLIV My words I know do well set forth my minde; My mind bemones his sense of inward smart; Such smart may pitie claim of any hart; Her heart, sweet heart, is of no tygres kind: And yet she heares and yet no pitie I find, But more I cry, less grace she doth impart.
Alas, what cause is there so ouerthwart That Nobleness it selfe makes thus vnkind? I much do ghesse, yet finde no truth saue this, That when the breath of my complaints doth tuch Those dainty doors vnto the Court of Blisse, The heau'nly nature of that place is such, That, once come there, the sobs of mine annoyes Are metamorphos'd straight to tunes of ioyes.
XLV Stella oft sees the very face of wo Painted in my beclowded stormie face, But cannot skill to pitie my disgrace, Not though thereof the cause herself she know: Yet, hearing late a fable which did show Of louers neuer knowne, a grieuous case, Pitie thereof gate in her breast such place, That, from that sea deriu'd, teares spring did flow.
Alas, if Fancie, drawne by imag'd things Though false, yet with free scope, more grace doth breed Than seruants wracke, where new doubts honour brings; Then thinke, my deare, that you in me do reed Of louers ruine some thrise-sad tragedie.
I am not I: pitie the tale of me.
XLVI I curst thee oft, I pitie now thy case, Blind-hitting Boy, since she that thee and me Rules with a becke, so tyranniseth thee, That thou must want or food or dwelling-place, For she protests to banish thee her face.
Her face! O Loue, a roge thou then shouldst be, If Loue learne not alone to loue and see, Without desire to feed of further grace.
Alas, poor wag, that now a scholler art To such a schoolmistresse, whose lessons new Thou needs must misse, and so thou needs must smart.
Yet, deare, let me his pardon get of you, So long, though he from book myche to desire, Till without fewell you can make hot fire.
XLVII What, haue I thus betray'd my libertie? Can those blacke beames such burning markes engraue In my free side, or am I borne a slaue, Whose necke becomes such yoke of tyrannie? Or want I sense to feel my misery, Or sprite, disdaine of such disdaine to haue, Who for long faith, tho' daily helpe I craue, May get no almes, but scorne of beggarie.
Vertue, awake! Beautie but beautie is; I may, I must, I can, I will, I do Leaue following that which it is gain to misse.
Let her goe! Soft, but here she comes! Goe to, Vnkind, I loue you not! O me, that eye Doth make my heart to giue my tongue the lie! XLVIII Soules ioy, bend not those morning starres from me Where Vertue is made strong by Beauties might; Where Loue is chasteness, Paine doth learn delight, And Humbleness growes one with Maiesty.
Whateuer may ensue, O let me be Copartner of the riches of that sight.
Let not mine eyes be hel-driu'n from that light; O look, O shine, O let me die, and see.
For though I oft myself of them bemone That through my heart their beamie darts be gone, Whose cureless wounds euen now most freshly bleed, Yet since my death-wound is already got, Deere killer, spare not thy sweete-cruell shot: A kinde of grace it is to slaye with speed.
XLIX I on my horse, and Loue on me, doth trie Our horsemanships, while by strange worke I proue A horsman to my horse, a horse to Loue, And now mans wrongs in me, poor beast! descrie.
The raines wherewith my rider doth me tie Are humbled thoughts, which bit of reuerence moue, Curb'd-in with feare, but with gilt bosse aboue Of hope, which makes it seem fair to the eye: The wand is will; thou, Fancie, saddle art, Girt fast by Memorie; and while I spurre My horse, he spurres with sharpe desire my hart.
He sits me fast, howeuer I do sturre, And now hath made me to his hand so right, That in the manage my selfe take delight.
L Stella, the fullnesse of my thoughts of thee Cannot be staid within my panting breast, But they do swell and struggle forth of me, Till that in words thy figure be exprest: And yet, as soone as they so formed be, According to my lord Loues oene behest, With sad eies I their weak proportion see To portrait that which in this world is best.
So that I cannot chuse but write my mind, And cannot chuse but put out what I write, While these poor babes their death in birth do find; And now my pen these lines had dashed quite But that they stopt his fury from the same, Because their forefront bare sweet Stellas name.
LI Pardon mine ears, both I and they do pray, So may your tongue still flauntingly proceed To them that do such entertainment need, So may you still haue somewhat new to say.
On silly me do not the burthen lay Of all the graue conceits your braine doth breed, But find some Hercules to beare, insteed Of Atlas tyrd, your wisedoms heau'nly sway.
For me, while you discourse of courtly tides, Of cunningest fishers in most troubled streames, Of straying waies, when valiant Errour guides, Meanewhile my heart confers with Stellas beames, And is e'en woe that so sweet comedie By such vnsuted speech should hindred be.
LII A strife is growne between Vertue and Loue, While each pretends that Stella must be his: Her eyes, her lips, her all, saith Loue, do this, Since they do weare his badge, most firmly proue.
But Virtue thus that title doth disproue, That Stella (O dear name!) that Stella is That vertuous soule, sure heire of heau'nly blisse.
Not this faire outside, which our heart doth moue.
And therefore, though her beautie and her grace Be Loues indeed, in Stellas selfe he may By no pretence claime any manner place.
Well, Loue, since this demurre our sute doth stay, Let Vertue haue that Stellaes selfe, yet thus, That Vertue but that body graunt to vs.
LIII In martiall sports I had my cunning tride, And yet to breake more staues did mee addresse, While, with the peoples shouts, I must confesse, Youth, lucke, and praise euen fil'd my veines with pride; When Cupid, hauing me, his slaue, descride In Marses livery prauncing in the presse, What now, Sir Foole! said he, (I would no lesse:) Looke here, I say! I look'd, and Stella spide, Who, hard by, made a window send forth light.
My heart then quak'd, then dazled were mine eyes, One hand forgat to rule, th'other to fight, Nor trumpets sound I heard, nor friendly cries: My foe came on, and beate the air for me, Till that her blush taught me my shame to see.
LIV Because I breathe not loue to euery one, Nor doe not vse sette colours for to weare, Nor nourish speciall locks of vowed haire, Nor giue each speech a full point of a grone, The Courtly Nymphes, acquainted with the mone Of them wich in their lips Loues Standard beare: What, he! (say they of me): now I dare sweare He cannot loue; no,no, let him alone.
And thinke so still, so Stella know my minde; Profess in deede I do not Cupids art; But you, fair maides, at length this true shall find, That his right badge is but worne in the hart: Dumbe Swans, not chattering Pyes, do louers proue; They loue indeed who quake to say they loue.
LV Muses, I oft inuoked your holy ayde, With choisest flowers my speech t' engarland so, That it, despisde, in true but naked shew Might winne some grace in your sweet grace arraid; And oft whole troupes of saddest words I staid, Striuing abroad a-foraging to go, Vntill by your inspiring I might know How their blacke banner might be best displaid.
But now I meane no more your helpe to try, Nor other sugring of my speech to proue, But on her name incessantly to cry; For let me but name her whom I doe loue, So sweet sounds straight mine eare and heart do hit, That I well finde no eloquence like it.
LVI Fy, schoole of Patience, fy! your Lesson is Far, far too long to learne it without booke: What, a whole weeke without one peece of looke, And thinke I should not your large precepts misse! When I might reade those Letters faire of blisse Which in her face teach vertue, I could brooke Somwhat thy leaden counsels, which I tooke As of a friend that meant not much amisse.
But now that I, alas, doe want her sight, What, dost thou thinke that I can euer take In thy cold stuffe a flegmatike delight? No, Patience; if thou wilt my good, then make Her come and heare with patience my desire, And then with patience bid me beare my fire.
LVII Who hauing made, with many fights, his owne Each sence of mine, each gift, each pow'r of mind; Growne now his slaues, he forst them out to find The thorowest words fit for Woes selfe to grone, Hoping that when they might finde Stella alone, Before she could prepare to be vnkind, Her soule, arm'd but with such a dainty rind, Should soone be pierc'd with sharpnesse of the mone.
She heard my plaints, and did not onely heare, But them, so sweet is she, most sweetly sing, With that faire breast making Woes darknesse cleare.
A pretie case; I hoped her to bring To feele my griefe; and she, with face and voyce, So sweets my paines that my paines me reioyce.
LVIII Doubt there hath beene when with his golden chaine The orator so farre mens hearts doth bind, That no pace else their guided steps can find But as he them more short or slack doth raine; Whether with words this soueraignty he gaine, Cloth'd with fine tropes, with strongest reasons lin'd, Or else pronouncing grace, wherewith his mind Prints his owne liuely forme in rudest braine.
Now iudge by this: in piercing phrases late Th' Anatomie of all my woes I wrate; Stellas sweet breath the same to me did reed.
O voyce, O face! maugre my speeches might, Which wooed wo, most rauishing delight Euen those sad words euen in sad me did breed.
LIX Deere, why make you more of a dog then me? If he doe loue, I burne, I burne in loue; If he waite well, I neuer thence would moue; If he be faire, yet but a dog can be; Little he is, so little worth is he; He barks, my songs thine owne voyce oft doth proue; Bidden, perhaps he fetched thee a gloue, But I, vnbid, fetch euen my soule to thee.
Yet, while I languish, him that bosome clips, That lap doth lap, nay lets, in spite of spite, This sowre-breath'd mate taste of those sugred lips.
Alas, if you graunt onely such delight To witlesse things, then Loue, I hope (since wit Becomes a clog) will soone ease me of it.
LX When my good Angell guides me to the place Where all my good I doe in Stella see, That heau'n of ioyes throwes onely downe on me Thundring disdaines and lightnings of disgrace; But when the ruggedst step of Fortunes race Makes me fall from her sight, then sweetly she, With words wherein the Muses treasures be, Shewes loue and pitie to my absent case.
Now I, wit-beaten long by hardest fate, So dull am, that I cannot looke into The ground of this fierce loue and louely hate.
Then, some good body, tell me how I do, Whose presence absence, absence presence is; Blest in my curse, and cursed in my blisse.
LXI Oft with true sighs, oft with vncalled teares, Now with slow words, now with dumbe eloquence, I Stellas eyes assaid, inuade her eares; But this, at last, is her sweet breath'd defence: That who indeed in-felt affection beares, So captiues to his Saint both soule and sence, That, wholly hers, all selfenesse he forbeares, Then his desires he learnes, his liues course thence.
Now, since her chast mind hates this loue in me, With chastned mind I straight must shew that she Shall quickly me from what she hates remoue.
O Doctor Cupid, thou for me reply; Driu'n else to graunt, by Angels Sophistrie, That I loue not without I leaue to loue.
LXII Late tyr'd with wo, euen ready for to pine With rage of loue, I cald my Loue vnkind; She in whose eyes loue, though vnfelt, doth shine, Sweet said, that I true loue in her should find.
I ioyed; but straight thus watred was my wine; That loue she did, but lou'd a loue not blind; Which would not let me, whom shee lou'd, decline From nobler course, fit for my birth and mind: And therefore, by her loues Authority, Wild me these tempests of vaine loue to flie, And anchor fast my selfe on Vertues shore.
Alas, if this the only mettall be Of loue new-coin'd to help my beggary, Deere, loue me not, that you may loue me more.
LXIII O grammer-rules, O now your vertues show; So children still reade you with awfull eyes, As my young doue may, in your precepts wise, Her graunt to me by her owne vertue know: For late, with heart most hie, with eyes most lowe, I crau'd the thing which euer she denies; Shee, lightning loue, displaying Venus skies, Least once should not be heard, twise said, No, no.
Sing then, my Muse, now Io Pæn sing; Heau'ns enuy not at my high triumphing, But grammers force with sweete successe confirme: For grammer says, (O this, deare Stella , say,) For grammer sayes, (to grammer who sayes nay?) That in one speech two negatiues affirme! LXIV No more, my deare, no more these counsels trie; O giue my passions leaue to run their race; Let Fortune lay on me her worst disgrace; Let folke orecharg'd with braine against me crie; Let clouds bedimme my face, breake in mine eye; Let me no steps but of lost labour trace; Let all the earth with scorne recount my case, But do not will me from my loue to flie.
I do not enuie Aristotless wit, Nor do aspire to Cæsars bleeding fame; Nor ought do care though some aboue me sit; Nor hope, nor wish another course to frame But that which once may win thy cruell hart: Thou art my wit, and thou my vertue art.
LXV Loue, by sure proofe I may call thee vnkind, That giu'st no better ear to my iust cries; Thou whom to me such good turnes should bind, As I may well recount, but none can prize: For when, nak'd Boy, thou couldst no harbour finde In this old world, growne now so too, too wise, I lodgd thee in my heart, and being blind By nature borne, I gaue to thee mine eyes; Mine eyes! my light, my heart, my life, alas! If so great seruices may scorned be, Yet let this thought thy Tygrish courage passe, That I perhaps am somewhat kinne to thee; Since in thine armes, if learnd fame truth hath spread, Thou bear'st the Arrow, I the Arrow-head.
LXVI And do I see some cause a hope to feede, Or doth the tedious burden of long wo In weaken'd minds quick apprehending breed Of euerie image which may comfort shew? I cannot brag of word, much lesse of deed, Fortune wheeles still with me in one sort slow; My wealth no more, and no whit lesse my need; Desier still on stilts of Feare doth go.
And yet amid all feares a hope there is, Stolne to my hart since last faire night, nay day, Stellas eyes sent to me the beames of blisse, Looking on me while I lookt other way: But when mine eyes backe to their heau'n did moue, They fled with blush which guiltie seem'd of loue.
LXVII Hope, art thou true, or doest thou flatter me? Doth Stella now beginne with piteous eye The ruines of her conquest to espie? Will she take time before all wracked be? Her eyes-speech is translated thus by thee, But failst thou not in phrases so heau'nly hye? Looke on againe, the faire text better prie; What blushing notes dost thou in Margent see? What sighes stolne out, or kild before full-borne? Hast thou found such and such-like arguments, Or art thou else to comfort me forsworne? Well, how-so thou interpret the contents, I am resolu'd thy errour to maintaine, Rather then by more truth to get more paine.
LXVIII Stella, the onely planet of my light, Light of my life, and life of my desire, Chiefe good whereto my hope doth only aspire, World of my wealth, and heau'n of my delight; Why dost thou spend the treasures of thy sprite With voice more fit to wed Amphions lyre, Seeking to quench in me the noble fire Fed by thy worth, and kindled by thy sight? And all in vaine: for while thy breath most sweet With choisest words, thy words with reasons rare, Thy reasons firmly set on Vertues feet, Labour to kill in me this killing care: O thinke I then, what paradise of ioy It is, so faire a vertue to enioy! LXIX O ioy to high for my low stile to show! O blisse fit for a nobler seat then me! Enuie, put out thine eyes, least thou do see What oceans of delight in me do flowe! My friend, that oft saw through all maskes my wo, Come, come, and let me powre my selfe on thee.
Gone is the Winter of my miserie! My Spring appeares; O see what here doth grow: For Stella hath, with words where faith doth shine, Of her high heart giu'n me the Monarchie: I, I, O I, may say that she is mine! And though she giue but thus conditionly, This realme of blisse while vertuous course I take, No kings be crown'd but they some couenants make.
LXX My Muse may well grudge at my heau'nly ioy, Yf still I force her in sad rimes to creepe: She oft hath drunk my teares, now hopes to enioy Nectar of mirth, since I Ioues cup do keepe.
Sonets be not bound Prentice to annoy; Trebles sing high, so well as bases deepe; Griefe but Loues winter-liuerie is; the boy Hath cheekes to smile, so well as eyes to weepe.
Come then, my Muse, shew thou height of delight In well-raisde notes; my pen, the best it may, Shall paint out ioy, though in but blacke and white.
Cease, eager Muse; peace, pen, for my sake stay, I giue you here my hand for truth of this, Wise silence is best musicke vnto blisse.
LXXI Who will in fairest booke of Nature know How vertue may best lodg'd in Beautie be, Let him but learne of Loue to reade in thee, Stella, those faire lines which true goodnesse show.
There shall he find all vices ouerthrow, Not by rude force, but sweetest soueraigntie Of reason, from whose light those night-birds flie, That inward sunne in thine eyes shineth so.
And, not content to be Perfections heire Thy selfe, doest striue all minds that way to moue, Who marke in thee what is in thee most faire: So while thy beautie drawes the heart to loue, As fast thy vertue bends that loue to good: But, ah, Desire still cries, Giue me some food.
LXXII Desire, though thou my old companion art, And oft so clings to my pure loue that I One from the other scarcely can discrie, While each doth blowe the fier of my hart; Now from thy fellowship I needs must part; Venus is taught with Dians wings to flie; I must no more in thy sweet passions lie; Vertues gold must now head my Cupids dart.
Seruice and honour, wonder with delight, Feare to offend, will worthie to appeare, Care shining in mine eyes, faith in my sprite; These things are left me by my onely Deare: But thou, Desire, because thou wouldst haue all, Now banisht art; but yet, alas, how shall? LXXIII Loue, still a Boy, and oft a wanton is, School'd onely by his mothers tender eye; What wonder then if he his lesson misse, When for so soft a rodde deare play he trye? And yet my Starre, because a sugred kisse In sport I suckt while she asleepe did lye, Doth lowre, nay chide, nay threat for only this.
Sweet, it was saucie Loue, not humble I.
But no scuse serues; she makes her wrath appeare In beauties throne: see now, who dares come neare Those scarlet Iudges, thretning bloudie paine.
O heau'nly foole, thy most kisse-worthy face Anger inuests with such a louely grace, That Angers selfe I needs must kisse againe.
LXXIV I neuer dranke of Aganippe well, Nor euer did in shade of Tempe sit, And Muses scorne with vulgar brains to dwell; Poore Layman I, for sacred rites vnfit.
Some doe I heare of Poets fury tell, But, God wot, wot not what they meane by it; And this I sweare by blackest brooke of hell, I am no pick-purse of anothers wit.
How falles it then, that with so smooth an ease My thoughts I speake; and what I speake doth flow In verse, and that my verse best wits doth please? Ghesse we the cause? What, is it this? Fie, no.
Or so? Much lesse.
How then? Sure thus it is, My lips are sweet, inspir'd with Stellas kisse.
LXXV Of all the Kings that euer here did raigne, Edward, nam'd fourth, as first in praise I name: Not for his faire outside, nor well-lin'd braine, Although lesse gifts impe feathers oft on fame.
Nor that he could, young-wise, wise-valiant, frame His sires reuenge, ioyn'd with a kingdomes gaine; And gain'd by Mars, could yet mad Mars so tame, That balance weigh'd, what sword did late obtaine.
Nor that he made the floure-de-luce so 'fraid, (Though strongly hedg'd) of bloudy lyons pawes, That wittie Lewes to him a tribute paid: Nor this, nor that, nor any such small cause; But only for this worthy King durst proue To lose his crowne, rather than faile his loue.
LXXVI She comes, and streight therewith her shining twins do moue Their rayes to me, who in their tedious absence lay Benighted in cold wo; but now appears my day, The only light of ioy, the only warmth of loue.
She comes with light and warmth, which, like Aurora, proue Of gentle force, so that mine eyes dare gladly play With such a rosie Morne, whose beames, most freshly gay, Scorch not, but onely doe dark chilling sprites remoue.
But lo, while I do speake, it groweth noone with me, Her flamie-glistring lights increse with time and place, My heart cries, oh! it burnes, mine eyes now dazl'd be; No wind, no shade can coole: what helpe then in my case? But with short breath, long looks, staid feet, and aching hed, Pray that my Sunne goe downe with meeker beames to bed.
LXXVII Those lookes, whose beames be ioy, whose motion is delight; That face, whose lecture shews what perfect beauty is; That presence, which doth giue darke hearts a liuing light; That grace, which Venus weeps that she her selfe doth misse; That hand, which without touch holds more then Atlas might; Those lips, which make deaths pay a meane price for a kisse; That skin, whose passe-praise hue scornes this poor tearm of white; Those words, which do sublime the quintessence of bliss; That voyce, which makes the soule plant himselfe in the ears, That conuersation sweet, where such high comforts be, As, consterd in true speech, the name of heaun it beares; Makes me in my best thoughts and quietst iudgments see That in no more but these I might be fully blest: Yet, ah, my mayd'n Muse doth blush to tell the best.
LXXVIII O how the pleasant ayres of true loue be Infected by those vapours which arise From out that noysome gulfe, which gaping lies Betweene the iawes of hellish Ielousie! A monster, others harme, selfe-miserie, Beauties plague, Vertues scourge, succour of lies; Who his owne ioy to his owne hurt applies, And onely cherish doth with iniurie: Who since he hath, by Natures speciall grace, So piercing pawes as spoyle when they embrace; So nimble feet as stirre still, though on thornes; So many eyes, ay seeking their owne woe; So ample eares as neuer good newes know: Is it not euill that such a deuil wants hornes? LXXIX Sweet kisse, thy sweets I faine would sweetly endite, Which, euen of sweetnesse sweetest sweetner art; Pleasingst consort, where each sence holds a part; Which, coupling Doues, guides Venus chariot right.
Best charge, and brauest retrait in Cupids fight; A double key, which opens to the heart, Most rich when most riches it impart; Nest of young ioyes, Schoolemaster of delight, Teaching the meane at once to take and giue; The friendly fray, where blowes both wound and heale, The prettie death, while each in other liue.
Poore hopes first wealth, ostage of promist weale; Breakfast of loue.
But lo, lo, where she is, Cease we to praise; now pray we for a kisse.
LXXX Sweet-swelling lip, well maist thou swell in pride, Since best wits thinke it wit thee to admire; Natures praise, Vertues stall; Cupids cold fire, Whence words, not words but heau'nly graces slide; The new Parnassus, where the Muses bide; Sweetner of Musicke, Wisedomes beautifier, Breather of life, and fastner of desire, Where Beauties blush in Honors graine is dide.
Thus much my heart compeld my mouth to say; But now, spite of my heart, my mouth will stay, Loathing all lies, doubting this flatterie is: And no spurre can his resty race renewe, Without, how farre this praise is short of you, Sweet Lipp, you teach my mouth with one sweet kisse.
LXXXI O kisse, which dost those ruddie gemmes impart, Or gemmes or fruits of new-found Paradise, Breathing all blisse, and sweetning to the heart, Teaching dumbe lips a nobler exercise; O kisse, which soules, euen soules, together ties By linkes of loue and only Natures art, How faine would I paint thee to all mens eyes.
Or of thy gifts at least shade out some part! But she forbids; with blushing words she sayes She builds her fame on higher-seated praise.
But my heart burnes; I cannot silent be.
Then, since, dear life, you faine would haue me peace, And I, mad with delight, want wit to cease, Stop you my mouth with still still kissing me.
LXXXII Nymph of the garden where all beauties be, Beauties which do in excellencie passe His who till death lookt in a watrie glasse, Or hers whom nakd the Troian boy did see; Sweet-gard'n-nymph, which keepes the Cherrie-tree Whose fruit doth farre the Hesperian tast surpasse, Most sweet-faire, most faire-sweete, do not, alas, From comming neare those Cherries banish mee.
For though, full of desire, empty of wit, Admitted late by your best-graced grace, I caught at one of them, and hungry bit; Pardon that fault; once more grant me the place; And I do sweare, euen by the same delight, I will but kisse; I neuer more will bite.
LXXXIII Good brother Philip, I haue borne you long; I was content you should in fauour creepe, While craftely you seem'd your cut to keepe, As though that faire soft hand did you great wrong: I bare with enuie, yet I bare your song, When in her necke you did loue-ditties peepe; Nay (more foole I) oft suffred you to sleepe In lillies neast where Loues selfe lies along.
What, doth high place ambitious thoughts augment? Is sawcinesse reward of curtesie? Cannot such grace your silly selfe content, But you must needs with those lips billing be, And through those lips drinke nectar from that toong? Leaue that, Syr Phip, least off your neck be wroong! LXXXIV High way, since you my chiefe Pernassus be, And that my Muse, to some eares not vnsweet, Tempers her words to trampling horses feete More oft then to a chamber-melodie.
Now, blessed you beare onward blessed me To her, where I my heart, safe-left, shall meet; My Muse and I must you of dutie greet With thankes and wishes, wishing thankfully.
Be you still faire, honord by publicke heede; By no encroachment wrong'd, nor time forgot; Nor blam'd for bloud, nor sham'd for sinfull deed; And that you know I enuy you no lot Of highest wish, I wish you so much bliss, Hundreds of yeares you Stellaes feet may kisse.
LXXXV I see the house, (my heart thy selfe containe!) Beware full sailes drowne not thy tottring barge, Least ioy, by nature apt sprites to enlarge, Thee to thy wracke beyond thy limits straine; Nor do like Lords whose weake confused braine Not 'pointing to fit folkes each vndercharge, While euerie office themselues will discharge, With doing all, leaue nothing done but paine.
But giue apt seruants their due place: let eyes See beauties totall summe summ'd in her face; Let eares heare speach which wit to wonder ties; Let breath sucke vp those sweetes; let armes embrace The globe of weale, lips Loues indentures make; Thou but of all the kingly tribute take.
LXXXVI Alas, whence came this change of lookes? If I Haue chang'd desert, let mine owne conscience be A still-felt plague to selfe-condemning mee; Let woe gripe on my heart, shame loade mine eye: But if all faith, like spotlesse Ermine, ly Safe in my soule, which only doth to thee, As his sole obiect of felicitie, With wings of loue in aire of wonder flie, O ease your hand, treate not so hard your slaue; In iustice paines come not till faults do call: Or if I needs, sweet Iudge, must torments haue, Vse something else to chasten me withall Then those blest eyes, where all my hopes do dwell: No doome should make ones Heau'n become his Hell.
LXXXVII When I was forst from Stella euer deere, Stella, food of my thoughts, hart of my hart; Stella, whose eyes make all my tempests cleere, By Stellas lawes of duetie to depart; Alas, I found that she with me did smart; I saw that teares did in her eyes appeare; I sawe that sighes her sweetest lips did part, And her sad words my sadded sense did heare.
For me, I wept to see pearles scatter'd so; I sigh'd her sighes, and wailed for her wo; Yet swam in ioy, such loue in her was seene.
Thus, while th' effect most bitter was to me, And nothing then the cause more sweet could be, I had bene vext, if vext I had not beene.
LXXXVIII Out, traytor Absence, dar'st thou counsell me From my deare captainesse to run away, Because in braue array heere marcheth she, That, to win mee, oft shewes a present pay? Is faith so weake? or is such force in thee? When sun is hid, can starres such beames display? Cannot heau'ns food, once felt, keepe stomakes free From base desire on earthly cates to pray? Tush, Absence; while thy mistes eclipse that light, My orphan sense flies to the inward sight, Where memory sets forth the beames of loue; That, where before hart lou'd and eyes did see, In hart both sight and loue now coupled be: Vnited pow'rs make each the stronger proue.
LXXXIX Now that of absence the most irksom night With darkest shade doth ouercome my day; Since Stellaes eyes, wont to giue me my day, Leauing my hemisphere, leaue me in night; Each day seemes long, and longs for long-staid night; The night, as tedious, wooes th' approch of day: Tired with the dusty toiles of busie day, Languisht with horrors of the silent night, Suff'ring the euils both of day and night, While no night is more darke then is my day, Nor no day hath lesse quiet then my night: With such bad-mixture of my night and day, That liuing thus in blackest Winter night, I feele the flames of hottest Sommer day.
XC Stella, thinke not that I by verse seeke fame, Who seeke, who hope, who loue, who liue but thee; Thine eyes my pride, thy lips mine history: If thou praise not, all other praise is shame.
Nor so ambitious am I, as to frame A nest for my young praise in lawrell tree: In truth, I sweare I wish not there should be Grau'd in my epitaph a Poets name.
Ne, if I would, could I iust title make, That any laud thereof to me should growe, Without my plumes from others wings I take: For nothing from my wit or will doth flow, Since all my words thy beauty doth endite, And Loue doth hold my hand, and makes me write.
XCI Stella, while now, by Honours cruell might, I am from you, light of my life, misled, And whiles, faire you, my sunne, thus ouerspred With Absence vaile, I liue in Sorrowes night; If this darke place yet shewe like candle-light, Some beauties peece, as amber-colour'd hed, Milke hands, rose cheeks, or lips more sweet, more red; Or seeing jets blacke but in blacknesse bright; They please, I do confesse they please mine eyes.
But why? because of you they models be; Models, such be wood-globes of glist'ring skies.
Deere therefore be not iaelous ouer me, If you heare that they seeme my heart to moue; Not them, O no, but you in them I loue.
XCII Be your words made, good Sir, of Indian ware, That you allow me them by so small rate? Or do you curtted Spartanes imitate? Or do you meane my tender eares to spare, That to my questions you so totall are? When I demaund of Phoenix-Stellas state, You say, forsooth, you left her well of late: O God, thinke you that satisfies my care? I would know whether she did sit or walke; How cloth'd; how waited on; sigh'd she, or smilde Whereof, with whom, how often did she talke; With what pastimes Times iourney she beguilde; If her lips daignd to sweeten my poore name.
Saie all; and all well sayd, still say the same.
XCIII O fate, O fault, O curse, child of my blisse! What sobs can giue words grace my griefe to show? What inke is blacke inough to paint my woe? Through me (wretch me) euen Stella vexed is.
Yet, Trueth, if Caitives breath may call thee, this Witnesse with me, that my foule stumbling so, From carelessenesse did in no maner grow; But wit, confus'd with too much care, did misse.
And do I, then, my selfe this vaine scuse giue? I haue (liue I, and know this) harmed thee; Tho' worlds 'quite me, shall I my selfe forgiue? Only with paines my paines thus eased be, That all thy hurts in my harts wracke I reede; I cry thy sighs, my deere, thy teares I bleede.
XCIV Griefe, find the words; for thou hast made my braine So darke with misty vapuors, which arise From out thy heauy mould, that inbent eyes Can scarce discerne the shape of mine owne paine.
Do thou, then (for thou canst) do thou complaine For my poore soule, which now that sicknesse tries, Which euen to sence, sence of it selfe denies, Though harbengers of death lodge there his traine.
Or if thy loue of plaint yet mine forbeares, As of a Caitife worthy so to die; Yet waile thy selfe, and waile with causefull teares, That though in wretchednesse thy life doth lie, Yet growest more wretched then by nature beares By being plac'd in such a wretch as I.
XCV Yet sighes, deare sighs, indeede true friends you are, That do not leaue your best friend at the wurst, But, as you with my breast I oft haue nurst, So, gratefull now, you waite vpon my care.
Faint coward Ioy no longer tarry dare, Seeing Hope yeeld when this wo strake him furst; Delight exclaims he is for my fault curst, Though oft himselfe my mate in Armes he sware; Nay, Sorrow comes with such maine rage, that he Kils his owne children (teares) finding that they By Loue were made apt to consort with me.
Only, true Sighs, you do not goe away: Thanke may you haue for such a thankfull part, Thank-worthiest yet when you shall break my hart.
XCVI Thought, with good cause thou lik'st so well the night, Since kind or chance giues both one liuerie, Both sadly blacke, both blackly darkned be; Night bard from Sunne, thou from thy owne sunlight; Silence in both displaies his sullen might; Slow heauinesse in both holds one degree That full of doubts, thou of perplexity; Thy teares expresse Nights natiue moisture right; In both amazeful solitarinesse: In night, of sprites, the gastly powers do stur; In thee or sprites or sprited gastlinesse.
But, but (alas) Nights side the ods hath fur: For that, at length, yet doth inuite some rest; Thou, though still tired, yet still doost it detest.
XCVII Dian, that faine would cheare her friend the Night, Shewes her oft, at the full, her fairest face, Bringing with her those starry Nymphs, whose chace From heau'nly standing hits each mortall wight.
But ah, poore Night, in loue with Phoebus light, And endlesly dispairing of his grace, Her selfe, to shewe no other ioy hath place; Sylent and sad, in mourning weedes doth dight.
Euen so (alas) a lady, Dians peere, With choise delights and rarest company Would faine driue cloudes from out my heauy cheere; But, wo is me, though Ioy her selfe were she, Shee could not shew my blind braine waies of ioy, While I despaire my sunnes sight to enioy.
XCVIII Ah, bed! the field where Ioyes peace some do see, The field where all my thoughts to warre be train'd, How is thy grace by my strange fortune strain'd! How thy lee-shores by my sighes stormed be! With sweete soft shades thou oft inuitest me To steale some rest; but, wretch, I am constrain'd, Spurd with Loues spur, though gald, and shortly rain'd With Cares hard hand to turne and tosse in thee, While the blacke horrors of the silent night Paint Woes blacke face so liuely to my sight That tedious leasure markes each wrinkled line: But when Aurora leades out Phoebus daunce, Mine eyes then only winke; for spite, perchaunce, That wormes should haue their sun, & I want mine.
XCIX When far-spent Night perswades each mortall eye, To whome nor Art nor Nature graunteth light, To lay his then marke-wanting shafts of sight, Clos'd with their quiuers, in Sleeps armory; With windowes ope, then most my mind doth lie, Viewing the shape of darknesse, and delight Takes in that sad hue, which, with th' inward night Of his mazde powers, keepes perfet harmony: But when birds charme, and that sweete aire which is Mornes messenger, with rose-enameld skies Cals each wight to salute the floure of blisse; In tombe of lids then buried are mine eyes, Forst by their Lord, who is asham'd to find Such light in sense, with such a darkned mind.
C O teares! no teares, but raine, from Beauties skies, Making those lillies and those roses growe, Which ay most faire, now more then most faire shew, While gracefull Pitty Beautie beautifies.
O honied sighs! which from that breast do rise, Whose pants do make vnspilling creame to flow, Wing'd with whose breath, so pleasing Zephires blow.
As might refresh the hell where my soule fries.
O plaints! conseru'd in such a sugred phrase, That Eloquence itself enuies your praise, While sobd-out words a perfect musike giue.
Such teares, sighs, plaints, no sorrow is, but ioy: Or if such heauenly signes must proue annoy, All mirth farewell, let me in sorrow liue.
CI Stella is sicke, and in that sicke-bed lies Sweetnesse, which breathes and pants as oft as she: And Grace, sicke too, such fine conclusion tries, That Sickenesse brags it selfe best grac'd to be.
Beauty is sicke, but sicke in so faire guise, That in that palenesse Beauties white we see; And Ioy, which is inseparate from those eyes, Stella now learnes (strange case) to weepe in me.
Loue mones thy paine, and like a faithfull page, As thy lookes sturre, runs vp and downe, to make All folkes prest at thy will thy paine to swage; Nature with care sweates for hir darlings sake, Knowing worlds passe, ere she enough can finde, Of such heauen-stuffe to cloath so heau'nly minde.
CII Where be those roses gone, which sweetned so our eyes? Where those red cheeks, which oft, with faire encrease, did frame The height of honour in the kindly badge of shame? Who hath the crimson weeds stolne from my morning skies? How doth the colour vade of those vermilion dies, Which Nature self did make, and self-ingrain'd the same? I would know by what right this palenesse ouercame That hue whose force my hart still vnto thraldome ties? Galens adoptiue sonnes, who by a beaten way Their iudgements hackney on, the fault of sicknesse lay; But feeling proofe makes me say they mistake it furre: It is but loue which makes this paper perfit white, To write therein more fresh the storie of delight, Whiles Beauties reddest inke Venus for him doth sturre.
CIII O happie Thames, that didst my Stella beare! I saw thee with full many a smiling line Vpon thy cheerefull face, Ioyes liuery weare, While those faire planets on thy streames did shine.
The boate for ioy could not to daunce forbear, While wanton winds, with beauties so diuine Ravisht, staid not, till in her golden haire They did themselues (O sweetest prison) twine.
And faine those Æols youth there would their stay Haue made, but forst by Nature still to flie, First did with puffing kisse those Lockes display: She, so disheuld blusht: from window I With sight thereof cride out, O faire disgrace, Let Honor selfe to thee grant highest place.
CIV Enuious wits, what hath bene mine offence, That with such poysonous care my lookes you marke, That to each word, nay sigh of mine, you harke, As grudging me my sorrowes eloquence? Ah, is it not enough, that I am thence, Thence, so farre thence, that scantly any sparke Of comfort dare come to this dungeon darke, Where Rigours exile lockes vp al my sense? But if I by a happie window passe, If I but stars vppon mine armour beare; Sicke, thirsty, glad (though but of empty glasse): Your morall notes straight my hid meaning teare From out my ribs, and, puffing, proues that I Doe Stella loue: fooles, who doth it deny? CV Vnhappie sight, and hath shee vanisht by So nere, in so good time, so free a place! Dead Glasse, dost thou thy obiect so imbrace, As what my hart still sees thou canst not spie! I sweare by her I loue and lacke, that I Was not in fault, who bent thy dazling race Onely vnto the heau'n of Stellas face, Counting but dust what in the way did lie.
But cease, mine eyes, your teares do witnesse well That you, guiltlesse thereof, your nectar mist: Curst be the page from whome the bad torch fell: Curst be the night which did your strife resist: Curst be the coachman that did driue so fast, With no lesse curse then absence makes me tast.
CVI O absent presence! Stella is not here; False-flatt'ring hope, that with so faire a face Bare me in hand, that in this orphane place, Stella, I say my Stella, should appeare: What saist thou now? where is that dainty cheere Thou toldst mine eyes should helpe their famisht case? But thou art gone, now that selfe-felt disgrace Doth make me most to wish thy comfort neer.
But heere I do store of faire ladies meet, Who may with charme of conuersation sweete, Make in my heauy mould new thoughts to grow.
Sure they preuaile as much with me, as he That bad his friend, but then new maim'd to be Mery with him, and so forget his woe.
CVII Stella, since thou so right a princesse art Of all the Powers which Life bestowes on me, That ere by them ought vndertaken be, They first resort vnto that soueraigne part; Sweete, for a while giue thy lieutenancie To this great cause, which needes both use and art.
And as a Queene, who from her presence sends Whom she employes, dismisse from thee my wit, Till it haue wrought what thy owne will attends.
On seruants shame oft maisters blame doth sit: O let not fooles in me thy workes reproue, And scorning say, See what it is to loue! CVIII When Sorrow (vsing mine owne fiers might) Melts downe his lead into my boyling brest Through that darke furnace to my hart opprest, There shines a ioy from thee my only light: But soone as thought of thee breeds my delight, And my yong soule flutters to thee his nest, Most rude Despaire, my daily vnbidden guest, Clips streight my wings, streight wraps me in his night, And makes me then bow downe my heade, and say, Ah, what doth Phoebus gold that wretch auaile Whom Iron doores doe keepe from vse of day? So strangely (alas) thy works on me preuaile, That in my woes for thee thou art my ioy, And in my ioyes for thee my onely annoy.
The following two sonnets were added by Grosart as having been intended for the sonnet cycle, though they did not appear here in the early editions: CIX Thou blind mans marke, thou fooles selfe-chosen snare, Fond fancies scum, and dregs of scatter'd thought: Band of all euils, cradle of causelesse care; Thou web of will, whose end is neuer wrought: Desire! Desire! I haue too dearly bought, With prise of mangled mind, thy worthlesse ware; Too long, too long, asleepe thou hast me brought, Who shouldst my mind to higher things prepare.
But yet in vaine thou hast my ruine sought; In vaine thou madest me to vaine things aspire; In vaine thou kindlest all thy smokie fire; For Vertue hath this better lesson taught,-- Within my selfe to seeke my onelie hire, Desiring nought but how to kill Desire.
CX Leaue, me, O loue which reachest but to dust, And thou, my mind, aspire to higher things.
Grow rich in that which neuer taketh rust; Whateuer fades, but fading pleasure brings.
Draw in thy beames, and humble all thy might To that sweet yoke where lasting freedomes be; Which breakes the clowdes, and opens forth the light, That doth both shine and giue us sight to see.
O take fast hold; let that light be thy guide In this small course which birth drawes out to death, And thinke how euill becommeth him to slide, Who seeketh heau'n, and comes of heau'nly breath.
Then farewell world; thy vttermost I see: Eternall Loue, maintaine thy life in me.
spendidis longum valedico nugis.
Songs First Song.
Doubt you to whom my Muse these notes entendeth, Which now my breast, surcharg'd, to musick lendeth! To you, to you, all song of praise is due, Only in you my song begins and endeth.
Who hath the eyes which marrie state with pleasure! Who keeps the key of Natures cheifest treasure! To you, to you, all song of praise is due, Only for you the heau'n forgate all measure.
Who hath the lips, where wit in fairnesse raigneth! Who womankind at once both deckes and stayneth! To you, to you, all song of praise is due, Onely by you Cupid his crowne maintaineth.
Who hath the feet, whose step all sweetnesse planteth! Who else, for whom Fame worthy trumpets wanteth! To you, to you, all song of praise is due, Onely to you her scepter Venus granteth.
Who hath the breast, whose milk doth patience nourish! Whose grace is such, that when it chides doth cherish! To you, to you, all song of praise is due, Onelie through you the tree of life doth flourish.
Who hath the hand which, without stroke, subdueth! Who long-dead beautie with increase reneueth! To you, to you, all song of praise is due, Onely at you all enuie hopelesse rueth.
Who hath the haire, which, loosest, fastest tieth! Who makes a man liue, then glad when he dieth! To you, to you, all song of praise is due, Only of you the flatterer neuer lieth.
Who hath the voyce, which soule from sences thunders! Whose force, but yours, the bolts of beautie thunders! To you, to you, all song of praise is due, Only with you not miracles are wonders.
Doubt you, to whome my Muse these notes intendeth, Which now my breast, oercharg'd, to musicke lendeth! To you, to you, all song of praise is due: Only in you my song begins and endeth.
Second Song.
Haue I caught my heau'nly iewell, Teaching Sleepe most faire to be! Now will I teach her that she, When she wakes, is too-too cruell.
Since sweet Sleep her eyes hath charmed, The two only darts of Loue, Now will I, with that Boy, proue, Some play, while he is disamed.
Her tongue, waking, still refuseth, Giuing frankly niggard no: Now will I attempt to know What no her tongue, sleeping, vseth.
See the hand that, waking, gardeth, Sleeping, grants a free resort: Now I will inuade the fort, Cowards Loue with losse rewardeth.
But, O foole, thinke of the danger Of her iust and high disdaine; Now will I, alas, refraine; Loue feares nothing else but anger.
Yet those lips, so sweetly swelling, Do inuite a stealing kisse.
Now will I but venture this; Who will reade, must first learne spelling.
Oh, sweet kisse! but ah, shes waking! Lowring beautie chastens me: Now will I for feare hence flee; Foole, more Foole for no more taking.
Third Song.
If Orpheus voyce had force to breathe such musickes loue Through pores of senceles trees, as it could make them moue; If stones good measure daunc'd, the Theban walles to build To cadence of the tunes which Amphions lyre did yeeld; More cause a like effect at least-wise bringeth: O stones, O trees, learne hearing,--Stella singeth.
If loue might sweeten so a boy of shepheard brood, To make a lyzard dull, to taste loues dainty food; If eagle fierce could so in Grecian mayde delight, As her eyes were his light, her death his endlesse night, Earth gaue that loue; heau'n, I trow, loue refineth, O birds, O beasts, looke loue (lo) Stella shineth.
The beasts, birds, stones, and trees feele this, and, feeling, loue; And if the trees nor stones stirre not the same to proue, Nor beasts nor birds do come vnto this blessed gaze, Know that small loue is quicke, and great loue doth amaze; They are amaz'd, but you with reason armed, O eyes, O eares of men, how you are charmed! Fourth Song.
Onely Ioy, now here you are, Fit to heare and ease my care, Let my whispering voyce obtaine Sweete reward for sharpest paine; Take me to thee, and thee to mee: No, no, no, no, my Deare, let bee.
Night hath closde all in her cloke, Twinkling starres loue-thoughts prouoke, Danger hence, good care doth keepe, Iealouzie hemselfe doth sleepe; Take me to thee, and thee to mee: No, no, no, no, my Deare, let bee.
Better place no wit can finde, Cupids knot to loose or binde; These sweet flowers our fine bed too, Vs in their best language woo: Take me to thee, and thee to mee: No, no, no, no, my Deare, let bee.
This small light the moone bestowes Serues thy beames but to disclose; So to raise my hap more hie, Feare not else, none vs can spie; Take me to thee, and thee to mee: No, no, no, no, my Deare, let bee.
That you heard was but a mouse, Dumbe Sleepe holdeth all the house: Yet asleepe, me thinkes they say, Yong fooles take time while you may; Take me to thee, and thee to mee: No, no, no, no, my Deare, let bee.
Niggard time threates, if we misse This large offer of our blisse, Long stay, ere he graunt the same: Sweet, then, while ech thing doth frame, Take me to thee, and thee to mee: No, no, no, no, my Deare, let bee.
Your faire Mother is abed, Candles out and curtaines spred; She thinkes you do letters write; Write, but first let me endite; Take me to thee, and thee to mee: No, no, no, no, my Deare, let bee.
Sweete, alas, why striue you thus? Concord better fitteth vs; Leaue to Mars the force of hands, Your power in your beautie stands; Take me to thee, and thee to mee: No, no, no, no, my Deare, let bee.
Wo to mee, and do you sweare Me to hate, but I forbeare? Cursed be my destines all, That brought me so high to fall; Soone with my death I will please thee: No, no, no, no, my Deare, let bee.
Fift Song.
While fauour fed my hope, delight with hope was brought, Thought waited on delight, and speech did follow thought; Then grew my tongue and pen records vnto thy glory, I thought all words were lost that were not spent of thee, I thought each place was darke but where thy lights would be, And all eares worse than deaf that heard not out thy storie.
I said thou wert most faire, and so indeed thou art; I said thou wert most sweet, sweet poison to my heart; I said my soule was thine, O that I then had lyed; I said thine eyes were starres, thy breast the milken way, Thy fingers Cupids shafts, thy voyce the angels lay: And all I said so well, as no man it denied.
But now that hope is lost, vnkindnesse kils delight; Yet thought and speech do liue, though metamorphos'd quite, For rage now rules the raines which guided were by pleasure; I thinke now of thy faults, who late thought of thy praise, That speech falles now to blame, which did thy honour raise, The same key open can, which can lock vp a treasure.
Then thou, whom partiall heauens conspird in one to frame The proofe of Beauties worth, th'inheritrix of fame, The mansion seat of blisse, and iust excuse of louers; See now those feathers pluckt, wherewith thou flew'st most high: See what cloudes of reproach shall dark thy honours skie: Whose owne fault cast him downe hardly high state recouers.
And, O my muse, though oft you luld her in your lap, And then a heau'nly Child, gaue her Ambrosian pap, And to that braine of hers your kindest gifts infused; Since she, disdaining me, doth you in me disdaine, Suffer not her to laugh, while both we suffer paine.
Princes in subiects wrong must deeme themselues abused.
Your client, poore my selfe, shall Stella handle so! Reuenge! revenge! my Muse! defiance trumpet blow; Threaten what may be done, yet do more then you threaten; Ah, my sute granted is, I feele my breast doth swell; No, child, a lesson new you shall begin to spell, Sweet babes must babies haue, but shrewd gyrles must be beaten.
Thinke now no more to heare of warme fine-odour'd snow, Nor blushing Lillies, nor pearles Ruby-hidden row, Nor of that golden sea, whose waues in curles are broken, But of thy soule, so fraught with such vngratefulnesse, As where thou soone might'st helpe, most faith dost most oppresse; Vngratefull, who is cald, the worst of euils is spoken, Yet worse then worst, I say thou art a Theefe, A theefe! Now God forbid! a theefe! and of wurst theeues the cheefe: Theeues steal for need, and steale but goods which paine recouers, But thou, rich in all ioyes, dost rob my ioyes from me, Which cannot be restord by time or industrie: Of foes the spoyle is euill, far worse of constant louers.
Yet--gentle English theeues do rob, but will not slay, Thou English murdring theefe, wilt haue harts for thy prey: The name of murdrer now on thy faire forehead sitteth, And euen while I do speake, my death wounds bleeding be, Which, I protest, proceed from only cruell thee: Who may, and will not saue, murder in truth committeth.
But murder, priuate fault, seemes but a toy to thee: I lay then to thy charge vniustest tyrannie, If rule by force, without all claim, a Tyran showeth; For thou dost lord my heart, who am not borne thy slaue, And, which is worse, makes me, most guiltlesse, torments haue: A rightfull prince by vnright deeds a Tyran groweth.
Lo, you grow proud with this, for Tyrans make folke bow: Of foule rebellion then I do appeach thee now, Rebell by Natures law, rebell by law of Reason: Thou, sweetest subiect wert, borne in the realme of Loue, And yet against thy prince thy force dost daily proue: No vertue merits praise, once toucht with blot of Treason.
But valiant Rebels oft in fooles mouths purchase fame: I now then staine thy white with vagabonding shame, Both rebell to the sonne and vagrant from the mother; For wearing Venus badge in euery part of thee, Vnto Dianaes traine thou, runnaway, didst flie: Who faileth one is false, though trusty to another.
What, is not this enough! nay, farre worse commeth here; A witch, I say, thou art, though thou so faire appeare; For, I protest, my sight neuer thy face enioyeth, But I in me am chang'd, I am aliue and dead, My feete are turn'd to rootes, my hart becommeth lead: No witchcraft is so euill as which mans mind destroyeth.
Yet witches may repent; thou art farre worse then they: Alas that I am forst such euill of thee to say: I say thou art a diuell, though cloth'd in angels shining; For thy face tempts my soule to leaue the heauens for thee, And thy words of refuse do powre euen hell on mee: Who tempt, and tempting plague, are diuels in true defining.
You, then, vngrateful theefe, you murdring Tyran, you, You rebell runaway, to lord and lady vntrue, You witch, you Diuell (alas) you still of me beloued, You see what I can say; mend yet your froward mind, And such skill in my Muse, you, reconcil'd, shall find, That all these cruell words your praises shalbe proued.
Sixt Song.
O you that heare this voice, O you that see this face, Say whether of the choice Deserues the former place: Feare not to iudge this bate, For it is void of hate.
This side doth Beauty take.
For that doth Musike speake; Fit Oratours to make The strongest iudgements weake: The barre to plead their right Is only true delight.
Thus doth the voice and face, These gentle Lawiers, wage, Like louing brothers case, For fathers heritage; That each, while each contends, It selfe to other lends.
For Beautie beautifies With heau'nly hew and grace The heau'nly harmonies; And in this faultlesse face The perfect beauties be A perfect harmony.
Musick more loftly swels In speeches nobly plac'd; Beauty as farre excels, In action aptly grac'd: A friend each party draws To countenance his cause.
Loue more affected seemes To Beauties louely light; And Wonder more esteemes Of Musickes wondrous might; But both to both so bent, As both in both are spent.
Musicke doth witnesse call The eare his truth to trie; Beauty brings to the hall Eye-iudgement of the eye: Both in their obiects such, As no exceptions tutch.
The common sense, which might Be arbiter of this, To be, forsooth, vpright, To both sides partiall is; He layes on this chiefe praise, Chiefe praise on that he laies.
Then reason, princesse hy, Whose throne is in the minde, Which Musicke can in sky And hidden beauties finde, Say whether thou wilt crowne With limitlesse renowne? Seuenth Song.
Whose senses in so euill consort their stepdame Nature laies, That rauishing delight in them most sweete tunes do not raise; Or if they do delight therein, yet are so closde with wit, As with ententious lips to set a title vaine on it; O let them heare these sacred tunes, and learne in Wonders scholes, To be, in things past bounds of wit, fooles: if they be not fooles.
Who haue so leaden eyes, as not to see sweet Beauties show, Or, seeing, haue so wooden wits, as not that worth to know, Or, knowing, haue so muddy minds, as not to be in loue, Or, louing, haue so frothy thoughts, as eas'ly thence to moue; O let them see these heau'nly beames, and in faire letters reede A lesson fit, both sight and skill, loue and firme loue to breede.
Heare then, but then with wonder heare, see, but adoring, see, No mortall gifts, no earthly fruites, now here descended be: See, doo you see this face? a face, nay, image of the skies, Of which the two life-giuing lights are figur'd in her eyes: Heare you this soule-inuading voice, and count it but a voice? The very essence of their tunes, when angels do reioyce.
Eight Song.
In a groue most rich of shade, Where birds wanton musicke made, Maie, then yong, his pide weedes showing, New-perfum'd with flowers fresh growing: Astrophel with Stella sweet Did for mutual comfort meete, Both within themselues oppressed, But each in the other blessed.
Him great harmes had taught much care, Her faire necke a foule yoke bare; But her sight his cares did banish, In his sight her yoke did vanish: Wept they had, alas, the while, But now teares themselues did smile, While their eyes, by Loue directed, Enterchangeably reflected.
Sigh they did; but now betwixt Sighes of woe were glad sighes mixt; With arms crost, yet testifying restlesse rest, and liuing dying.
Their eares hungrie of each word Which the deare tongue would afford; But their tongues restrain'd from walking, Till their harts had ended talking.
But when their tongues could not speake, Loue it selfe did silence breake; Loue did set his lips asunder, Thus to speake in loue and wonder.
Stella, Soueraigne of my ioy, Faire triumpher of annoy; Stella, Starre of heauenly fier, Stella, loadstar of desier; Stella, in whose shining eyes Are the lights of Cupids skies, Whose beames, where they once are darted, Loue therewith is streight imparted; Stella, whose voice when it speakes Senses all asunder breakes; Stella, whose voice, when it singeth, Angels to acquaintance bringeth; Stella, in whose body is Writ each caracter of blisse; Whose face all, all beauty passeth, Saue thy mind, which it surpasseth.
Graunt, O graunt; but speach, alas, Failes me, fearing on to passe: Graunt, O me: what am I saying? But no fault there is in praying.
Graunt (O Deere) on knees I pray, (Knees on ground he then did stay) That, not I, but since I loue you, Time and place for me may moue you.
Neuer season was more fit; Never roome more apt for it; Smiling ayre allowes my reason; These birds sing, Now vse the season.
This small wind, which so sweete is, See how it the leaues doth kisse; Each tree in his best attiring, Sense of Loue to Loue inspiring.
Loue makes earth the water drink, Loue to earth makes water sinke; And, if dumbe things be so witty, Shall a heauenly Grace want pitty? There his hands, in their speech, faine Would haue made tongues language plaine; But her hands, his hands repelling, Gaue repulse all grace expelling.
Then she spake; her speech was such, So not eares, but hart did tuch: While such-wise she loue denied, And yet loue she signified.
Astrophel, sayd she, my loue, Cease, in these effects, to proue; Now be still, yet still beleeue me, Thy griefe more then death would grieue me.
If that any thought in me Can tast comfort but of thee, Let me, fed with hellish anguish, Ioylesse, hopelesse, endlesse languish.
If those eyes you praised be Halfe so deare as you to me, Let me home returne, starke blinded Of those eyes, and blinder minded; If to secret of my hart, I do any wish impart, Where thou art not formost placed, Be both wish and I defaced.
If more may be sayd, I say, All my blisse in thee I lay; If thou loue, my loue, content thee, For all loue, all faith is meant thee.
Trust me, while I thee deny, In my selfe the smart I try; Tyran Honour doth thus vse thee, Stellas selfe might not refuse thee.
Therefore, deare, this no more moue, Least, though I leaue not thy loue, Which too deep in me is framed, I should blush when thou art named.
Therewithall away she went, Leauing him to passion rent, With what she had done and spoken, That therewith my song is broken.
Ninth Song.
Go, my Flocke, go, get you hence, Seeke a better place of feeding, Where you may haue some defence Fro the stormes in my breast breeding, And showers from mine eyes proceeding.
Leaue a wretch, in whom all wo Can abide to keepe no measure; Merry Flocke, such one forego, Vnto whom mirth is displeasure, Onely rich in mischiefs treasure.
Yet, alas, before you go, Heare your wofull Maisters story, Which to stones I els would show: Sorrow only then hath glory When 'tis excellently sorry.
Stella, fiercest shepherdesse, Fiercest, but yet fairest euer; Stella, whom, O heauens still blesse, Though against me she perseuer, Though I blisse enherit neuer: Stella hath refused me! Stella, who more loue hath proued, In this caitife heart to be, Then can in good eawes be moued Toward Lambkins best beloued.
Stella hath refused me! Astrophell, that so well served In this pleasant Spring must see, While in pride flowers be preserued, Himselfe onely Winter-sterued.
Why (alas) doth she then sweare That she loueth me so dearely, Seeing me so long to beare Coles of loue that burne so cleerly, And yet leaue me helplesse meerely? Is that loue? forsooth, I trow, If I saw my good dog grieued, And a helpe for him did know, My loue should not be beleeued, But he were by me releeued.
No, she hates me, well-away, Faining loue, somewhat to please me: For she knows, if she display All her hate, death soone would seaze me, And of hideous torments ease me.
Then adieu, deare Flocke, adieu; But, alas, if in your straying Heauenly Stella meete with you, Tell her, in your pitious blaying, Her poore Slaues vniust decaying.
Tenth Song.
O deare Life, when shall it bee That mine eyes thine eyes shall see, And in them thy mind discouer Whether absence haue had force thy remembrance to diuorce From the image of thy louer? Or if I my self find not, After parting aught forgot, Nor debar'd from Beauties treasure, Let not tongue aspire to tell In what high ioyes I shall dwell; Only thought aymes at the pleasure.
Thought, therefore, I will send thee To take vp the place for me: Long I will not after tary, There vnseene, thou mayst be bold, Those faire wonders to behold, Which in them my hopes do cary.
Thought, see thou no place forbeare, Enter brauely euerywhere, Seize on all to her belonging; But if thou wouldst garded be, Fearing her beames, take with thee Strength of liking, rage of longing.
Thinke of that most gratefull time When my leaping heart will climb, In thy lips to haue his biding, There those roses for to kisse, Which do breathe a sugred blisse, Opening rubies, pearles diuiding.
Thinke of my most princely pow'r, Which I blessed shall deuow'r With my greedy licorous sences, Beauty, musicke, sweetnesse, loue, While she doth against me proue Her strong darts but weake defences.
Thinke, thinke of those dalyings, When with doue-like murmurings, With glad moning, passed anguish, We change eyes, and hart for hart, Each to other do depart, Ioying till ioy makes vs languish.
O my Thoughts, my Thoughts surcease, Thy delights my woes increse, My life melts with too much thinking; Thinke no more, but die in me, Till thou shalt reuiued be, At her lips my Nectar drinking.
Eleuenth Song.
Who is it that this darke night Vnderneath my window playneth? It is one who from thy sight Being, ah exil'd, disdayneth Euery other vulgar light.
Why, alas, and are you he? Be not yet those fancies changed? Deare, when you find change in me, Though from me you be estranged, Let my chaunge to ruin be.
Well, in absence this will dy; Leaue to see, and leaue to wonder.
Absence sure will helpe, if I Can learne how my selfe to sunder From what in my hart doth ly.
But time will these thoughts remoue; Time doth work what no man knoweth.
Time doth as the subiect proue; With time still the affection groweth In the faithful turtle-doue.
What if we new beauties see, Will they not stir new affection? I will thinke they pictures be, (Image-like, of saints perfection) Poorely counterfeting thee.
But your reasons purest light Bids you leaue such minds to nourish.
Deere, do reason no such spite; Neuer doth thy beauty florish More then in my reasons sight.
But the wrongs Loue beares will make Loue at length leaue vndertaking.
No, the more fooles it doth shake, In a ground of so firme making Deeper still they driue the stake.
Peace, I thinke that some giue eare; Come no more, least I get anger.
Blisse, I will my blisse forbeare; Fearing, sweete, you to endanger; But my soule shall harbour there.
Well, be gone; be gone, I say, Lest that Argus eyes perceiue you.
O vniust is Fortunes sway, Which can make me thus to leaue you, And from lowts to run away.

by Alfred Lord Tennyson | |

Sea Dreams

 A city clerk, but gently born and bred;
His wife, an unknown artist's orphan child--
One babe was theirs, a Margaret, three years old:
They, thinking that her clear germander eye
Droopt in the giant-factoried city-gloom,
Came, with a month's leave given them, to the sea:
For which his gains were dock'd, however small:
Small were his gains, and hard his work; besides,
Their slender household fortunes (for the man
Had risk'd his little) like the little thrift,
Trembled in perilous places o'er a deep:
And oft, when sitting all alone, his face
Would darken, as he cursed his credulousness,
And that one unctuous mount which lured him, rogue,
To buy strange shares in some Peruvian mine.
Now seaward-bound for health they gain'd a coast, All sand and cliff and deep-inrunning cave, At close of day; slept, woke, and went the next, The Sabbath, pious variers from the church, To chapel; where a heated pulpiteer, Not preaching simple Christ to simple men, Announced the coming doom, and fulminated Against the scarlet woman and her creed: For sideways up he swung his arms, and shriek'd `Thus, thus with violence,' ev'n as if he held The Apocalyptic millstone, and himself Were that great Angel; `Thus with violence Shall Babylon be cast into the sea; Then comes the close.
' The gentle-hearted wife Sat shuddering at the ruin of a world; He at his own: but when the wordy storm Had ended, forth they came and paced the shore, Ran in and out the long sea-framing caves, Drank the large air, and saw, but scarce believed (The sootflake of so many a summer still Clung to their fancies) that they saw, the sea.
So now on sand they walk'd, and now on cliff, Lingering about the thymy promontories, Till all the sails were darken'd in the west, And rosed in the east: then homeward and to bed: Where she, who kept a tender Christian hope Haunting a holy text, and still to that Returning, as the bird returns, at night, `Let not the sun go down upon your wrath,' Said, `Love, forgive him:' but he did not speak; And silenced by that silence lay the wife, Remembering her dear Lord who died for all, And musing on the little lives of men, And how they mar this little by their feuds.
But while the two were sleeping, a full tide Rose with ground-swell, which, on the foremost rocks Touching, upjetted in spirts of wild sea-smoke, And scaled in sheets of wasteful foam, and fell In vast sea-cataracts--ever and anon Dead claps of thunder from within the cliffs Heard thro' the living roar.
At this the babe, Their Margaret cradled near them, wail'd and woke The mother, and the father suddenly cried, `A wreck, a wreck!' then turn'd, and groaning said, `Forgive! How many will say, "forgive," and find A sort of absolution in the sound To hate a little longer! No; the sin That neither God nor man can well forgive, Hypocrisy, I saw it in him at once.
Is it so true that second thoughts are best? Not first, and third, which are a riper first? Too ripe, too late! they come too late for use.
Ah love, there surely lives in man and beast Something divine to warn them of their foes: And such a sense, when first I fronted him, Said, "trust him not;" but after, when I came To know him more, I lost it, knew him less; Fought with what seem'd my own uncharity; Sat at his table; drank his costly wines; Made more and more allowance for his talk; Went further, fool! and trusted him with all, All my poor scrapings from a dozen years Of dust and deskwork: there is no such mine, None; but a gulf of ruin, swallowing gold, Not making.
Ruin'd! ruin'd! the sea roars Ruin: a fearful night!' `Not fearful; fair,' Said the good wife, `if every star in heaven Can make it fair: you do but bear the tide.
Had you ill dreams?' `O yes,' he said, `I dream'd Of such a tide swelling toward the land, And I from out the boundless outer deep Swept with it to the shore, and enter'd one Of those dark caves that run beneath the cliffs.
I thought the motion of the boundless deep Bore through the cave, and I was heaved upon it In darkness: then I saw one lovely star Larger and larger.
"What a world," I thought, "To live in!" but in moving I found Only the landward exit of the cave, Bright with the sun upon the stream beyond: And near the light a giant woman sat, All over earthy, like a piece of earth, A pickaxe in her hand: then out I slipt Into a land all of sun and blossom, trees As high as heaven, and every bird that sings: And here the night-light flickering in my eyes Awoke me.
' `That was then your dream,' she said, `Not sad, but sweet.
' `So sweet, I lay,' said he, `And mused upon it, drifting up the stream In fancy, till I slept again, and pieced The broken vision; for I dream'd that still The motion of the great deep bore me on, And that the woman walk'd upon the brink: I wonder'd at her strength, and ask'd her of it: "It came," she said, "by working in the mines:" O then to ask her of my shares, I thought; And ask'd; but not a word; she shook her head.
And then the motion of the current ceased, And there was rolling thunder; and we reach'd A mountain, like a wall of burs and thorns; But she with her strong feet up the steep hill Trod out a path: I follow'd; and at top She pointed seaward: there a fleet of glass, That seem'd a fleet of jewels under me, Sailing along before a gloomy cloud That not one moment ceased to thunder, past In sunshine: right across its track there lay, Down in the water, a long reef of gold, Or what seem'd gold: and I was glad at first To think that in our often-ransack'd world Still so much gold was left; and then I fear'd Lest the gay navy there should splinter on it, And fearing waved my arm to warn them off; An idle signal, for the brittle fleet (I thought I could have died to save it) near'd, Touch'd, clink'd, and clash'd, and vanish'd, and I woke, I heard the clash so clearly.
Now I see My dream was Life; the woman honest Work; And my poor venture but a fleet of glass Wreck'd on a reef of visionary gold.
' `Nay,' said the kindly wife to comfort him, `You raised your arm, you tumbled down and broke The glass with little Margaret's medicine it it; And, breaking that, you made and broke your dream: A trifle makes a dream, a trifle breaks.
' `No trifle,' groan'd the husband; `yesterday I met him suddenly in the street, and ask'd That which I ask'd the woman in my dream.
Like her, he shook his head.
"Show me the books!" He dodged me with a long and loose account.
"The books, the books!" but he, he could not wait, Bound on a matter he of life and death: When the great Books (see Daniel seven and ten) Were open'd, I should find he meant me well; And then began to bloat himself, and ooze All over with the fat affectionate smile That makes the widow lean.
"My dearest friend, Have faith, have faith! We live by faith," said he; "And all things work together for the good Of those"--it makes me sick to quote him--last Gript my hand hard, and with God-bless-you went.
I stood like one that had received a blow: I found a hard friend in his loose accounts, A loose one in the hard grip of his hand, A curse in his God-bless-you: then my eyes Pursued him down the street, and far away, Among the honest shoulders of the crowd, Read rascal in the motions of his back, And scoundrel in the supple-sliding knee.
' `Was he so bound, poor soul?' said the good wife; `So are we all: but do not call him, love, Before you prove him, rogue, and proved, forgive.
His gain is loss; for he that wrongs his friend Wrongs himself more, and ever bears about A silent court of justice in his breast, Himself the judge and jury, and himself The prisoner at the bar, ever condemn'd: And that drags down his life: then comes what comes Hereafter: and he meant, he said he meant, Perhaps he meant, or partly meant, you well.
' ` "With all his conscience and one eye askew"-- Love, let me quote these lines, that you may learn A man is likewise counsel for himself, Too often, in that silent court of yours-- "With all his conscience and one eye askew, So false, he partly took himself for true; Whose pious talk, when most his heart was dry, Made wet the crafty crowsfoot round his eye; Who, never naming God except for gain, So never took that useful name in vain; Made Him his catspaw and the Cross his tool, And Christ the bait to trap his dupe and fool; Nor deeds of gift, but gifts of grace he forged, And snakelike slimed his victim ere he gorged; And oft at Bible meetings, o'er the rest Arising, did his holy oily best, Dropping the too rough H in Hell and Heaven, To spread the Word by which himself had thriven.
" How like you this old satire?' `Nay,' she said `I loathe it: he had never kindly heart, Nor ever cared to better his own kind, Who first wrote satire, with no pity in it.
But will you hear MY dream, for I had one That altogether went to music? Still It awed me.
' Then she told it, having dream'd Of that same coast.
--But round the North, a light, A belt, it seem'd, of luminous vapor, lay, And ever in it a low musical note Swell'd up and died; and, as it swell'd, a ridge Of breaker issued from the belt, and still Grew with the growing note, and when the note Had reach'd a thunderous fullness, on those cliffs Broke, mixt with awful light (the same as that Living within the belt) whereby she saw That all those lines of cliffs were cliffs no more, But huge cathedral fronts of every age, Grave, florid, stern, as far as eye could see.
One after one: and then the great ridge drew, Lessening to the lessening music, back, And past into the belt and swell'd again Slowly to music: ever when it broke The statues, king or saint, or founder fell; Then from the gaps and chasms of ruin left Came men and women in dark clusters round, Some crying, "Set them up! they shall not fall!" And others "Let them lie, for they have fall'n.
" And still they strove and wrangled: and she grieved In her strange dream, she knew not why, to find Their wildest wailings never out of tune With that sweet note; and ever as their shrieks Ran highest up the gamut, that great wave Returning, while none mark'd it, on the crowd Broke, mixt with awful light, and show'd their eyes Glaring, and passionate looks, and swept away The men of flesh and blood, and men of stone, To the waste deeps together.
`Then I fixt My wistful eyes on two fair images, Both crown'd with stars and high among the stars,-- The Virgin Mother standing with her child High up on one of those dark minster-fronts-- Till she began to totter, and the child Clung to the mother, and sent out a cry Which mixt with little Margaret's, and I woke, And my dream awed me:--well--but what are dreams? Yours came but from the breaking of a glass, And mine but from the crying of a child.
' `Child? No!' said he, `but this tide's roar, and his, Our Boanerges with his threats of doom, And loud-lung'd Antibabylonianisms (Altho' I grant but little music there) Went both to make your dream: but if there were A music harmonizing our wild cries, Sphere-music such as that you dream'd about, Why, that would make our passions far too like The discords dear to the musician.
No-- One shriek of hate would jar all the hymns of heaven: True Devils with no ear, they howl in tune With nothing but the Devil!' `"True" indeed! One of our town, but later by an hour Here than ourselves, spoke with me on the shore; While you were running down the sands, and made The dimpled flounce of the sea-furbelow flap, Good man, to please the child.
She brought strange news.
Why were you silent when I spoke to-night? I had set my heart on your forgiving him Before you knew.
We MUST forgive the dead.
' `Dead! who is dead?' `The man your eye pursued.
A little after you had parted with him, He suddenly dropt dead of heart-disease.
' `Dead? he? of heart-disease? what heart had he To die of? dead!' `Ah, dearest, if there be A devil in man, there is an angel too, And if he did that wrong you charge him with, His angel broke his heart.
But your rough voice (You spoke so loud) has roused the child again.
Sleep, little birdie, sleep! will she not sleep Without her "little birdie?" well then, sleep, And I will sing you "birdie.
"' Saying this, The woman half turn'd round from him she loved, Left him one hand, and reaching thro' the night Her other, found (for it was close beside) And half embraced the basket cradle-head With one soft arm, which, like the pliant bough That moving moves the nest and nestling, sway'd The cradle, while she sang this baby song.
What does the little birdie say In her nest at peep of day? Let me fly, says little birdie, Mother, let me fly away.
Birdie, rest a little longer, Till the little wings are stronger.
So she rests a little longer, Then she flies away.
What does little baby say, In her bed at peep of day? Baby says, like little birdie, Let me rise and fly away.
Baby, sleep a little longer, Till the little limbs are stronger.
If she sleeps a little longer, Baby too shall fly away.
`She sleeps: let us too, let all evil, sleep.
He also sleeps--another sleep than ours.
He can do no more wrong: forgive him, dear, And I shall sleep the sounder!' Then the man, `His deeds yet live, the worst is yet to come.
Yet let your sleep for this one night be sound: I do forgive him!' `Thanks, my love,' she said, `Your own will be the sweeter,' and they slept.

by Alfred Lord Tennyson | |

The Passing Of Arthur

 That story which the bold Sir Bedivere, 
First made and latest left of all the knights, 
Told, when the man was no more than a voice 
In the white winter of his age, to those 
With whom he dwelt, new faces, other minds.
For on their march to westward, Bedivere, Who slowly paced among the slumbering host, Heard in his tent the moanings of the King: 'I found Him in the shining of the stars, I marked Him in the flowering of His fields, But in His ways with men I find Him not.
I waged His wars, and now I pass and die.
O me! for why is all around us here As if some lesser god had made the world, But had not force to shape it as he would, Till the High God behold it from beyond, And enter it, and make it beautiful? Or else as if the world were wholly fair, But that these eyes of men are dense and dim, And have not power to see it as it is: Perchance, because we see not to the close;-- For I, being simple, thought to work His will, And have but stricken with the sword in vain; And all whereon I leaned in wife and friend Is traitor to my peace, and all my realm Reels back into the beast, and is no more.
My God, thou hast forgotten me in my death; Nay--God my Christ--I pass but shall not die.
' Then, ere that last weird battle in the west, There came on Arthur sleeping, Gawain killed In Lancelot's war, the ghost of Gawain blown Along a wandering wind, and past his ear Went shrilling, 'Hollow, hollow all delight! Hail, King! tomorrow thou shalt pass away.
Farewell! there is an isle of rest for thee.
And I am blown along a wandering wind, And hollow, hollow, hollow all delight.
' And fainter onward, like wild birds that change Their season in the night and wail their way From cloud to cloud, down the long wind the dream Shrilled; but in going mingled with dim cries Far in the moonlit haze among the hills, As of some lonely city sacked by night, When all is lost, and wife and child with wail Pass to new lords; and Arthur woke and called, 'Who spake? A dream.
O light upon the wind, Thine, Gawain, was the voice--are these dim cries Thine? or doth all that haunts the waste and wild Mourn, knowing it will go along with me?' This heard the bold Sir Bedivere and spake: 'O me, my King, let pass whatever will, Elves, and the harmless glamour of the field; But in their stead thy name and glory cling To all high places like a golden cloud For ever: but as yet thou shalt not pass.
Light was Gawain in life, and light in death Is Gawain, for the ghost is as the man; And care not thou for dreams from him, but rise-- I hear the steps of Modred in the west, And with him many of thy people, and knights Once thine, whom thou hast loved, but grosser grown Than heathen, spitting at their vows and thee.
Right well in heart they know thee for the King.
Arise, go forth and conquer as of old.
' Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere: 'Far other is this battle in the west Whereto we move, than when we strove in youth, And brake the petty kings, and fought with Rome, Or thrust the heathen from the Roman wall, And shook him through the north.
Ill doom is mine To war against my people and my knights.
The king who fights his people fights himself.
And they my knights, who loved me once, the stroke That strikes them dead is as my death to me.
Yet let us hence, and find or feel a way Through this blind haze, which ever since I saw One lying in the dust at Almesbury, Hath folded in the passes of the world.
' Then rose the King and moved his host by night, And ever pushed Sir Modred, league by league, Back to the sunset bound of Lyonnesse-- A land of old upheaven from the abyss By fire, to sink into the abyss again; Where fragments of forgotten peoples dwelt, And the long mountains ended in a coast Of ever-shifting sand, and far away The phantom circle of a moaning sea.
There the pursuer could pursue no more, And he that fled no further fly the King; And there, that day when the great light of heaven Burned at his lowest in the rolling year, On the waste sand by the waste sea they closed.
Nor ever yet had Arthur fought a fight Like this last, dim, weird battle of the west.
A deathwhite mist slept over sand and sea: Whereof the chill, to him who breathed it, drew Down with his blood, till all his heart was cold With formless fear; and even on Arthur fell Confusion, since he saw not whom he fought.
For friend and foe were shadows in the mist, And friend slew friend not knowing whom he slew; And some had visions out of golden youth, And some beheld the faces of old ghosts Look in upon the battle; and in the mist Was many a noble deed, many a base, And chance and craft and strength in single fights, And ever and anon with host to host Shocks, and the splintering spear, the hard mail hewn, Shield-breakings, and the clash of brands, the crash Of battleaxes on shattered helms, and shrieks After the Christ, of those who falling down Looked up for heaven, and only saw the mist; And shouts of heathen and the traitor knights, Oaths, insults, filth, and monstrous blasphemies, Sweat, writhings, anguish, labouring of the lungs In that close mist, and cryings for the light, Moans of the dying, and voices of the dead.
Last, as by some one deathbed after wail Of suffering, silence follows, or through death Or deathlike swoon, thus over all that shore, Save for some whisper of the seething seas, A dead hush fell; but when the dolorous day Grew drearier toward twilight falling, came A bitter wind, clear from the North, and blew The mist aside, and with that wind the tide Rose, and the pale King glanced across the field Of battle: but no man was moving there; Nor any cry of Christian heard thereon, Nor yet of heathen; only the wan wave Brake in among dead faces, to and fro Swaying the helpless hands, and up and down Tumbling the hollow helmets of the fallen, And shivered brands that once had fought with Rome, And rolling far along the gloomy shores The voice of days of old and days to be.
Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere, And whiter than the mist that all day long Had held the field of battle was the King: 'Hearest thou this great voice that shakes the world, And wastes the narrow realm whereon we move, And beats upon the faces of the dead, My dead, as though they had not died for me?-- O Bedivere, for on my heart hath fallen Confusion, till I know not what I am, Nor whence I am, nor whether I be King.
Behold, I seem but King among the dead.
' Then spake the bold Sir Bedivere: 'My King, King everywhere! and so the dead have kings, There also will I worship thee as King.
Yet still thy life is whole, and still I live Who love thee; but who hates thee, he that brought The heathen back among us, yonder stands, Modred, unharmed, the traitor of thine house.
' Then spake the King: 'My house hath been my doom.
But call not thou this traitor of my house Who hath but dwelt beneath one roof with me.
My house are rather they who sware my vows, Yea, even while they brake them, owned me King.
And well for thee, saying in my dark hour, When all the purport of my throne hath failed, That quick or dead thou holdest me for King.
King am I, whatsoever be their cry; And one last act of kinghood shalt thou see Yet, ere I pass.
' And uttering this the King Made at the man: then Modred smote his liege Hard on that helm which many a heathen sword Had beaten thin; while Arthur at one blow, Striking the last stroke with Excalibur, Slew him, and all but slain himself, he fell.
So all day long the noise of battle rolled Among the mountains by the winter sea; Until King Arthur's Table, man by man, Had fallen in Lyonnesse about their lord, King Arthur.
Then, because his wound was deep, The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him, And bore him to a chapel nigh the field, A broken chancel with a broken cross, That stood on a dark strait of barren land: On one side lay the Ocean, and on one Lay a great water, and the moon was full.
Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere: 'The sequel of today unsolders all The goodliest fellowship of famous knights Whereof this world holds record.
Such a sleep They sleep--the men I loved.
I think that we Shall never more, at any future time, Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds, Walking about the gardens and the halls Of Camelot, as in the days that were.
I perish by this people which I made,-- Though Merlin sware that I should come again To rule once more; but, let what will be, be, I am so deeply smitten through the helm That without help I cannot last till morn.
Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur, Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how In those old days, one summer noon, an arm Rose up from out the bosom of the lake, Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, Holding the sword--and how I rowed across And took it, and have worn it, like a king; And, wheresoever I am sung or told In aftertime, this also shall be known: But now delay not: take Excalibur, And fling him far into the middle mere: Watch what thou se st, and lightly bring me word.
' To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere: 'It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus, Aidless, alone, and smitten through the helm-- A little thing may harm a wounded man; Yet I thy hest will all perform at full, Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word.
' So saying, from the ruined shrine he stept, And in the moon athwart the place of tombs, Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men, Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam.
He, stepping down By zigzag paths, and juts of pointed rock, Came on the shining levels of the lake.
There drew he forth the brand Excalibur, And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon, Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt: For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks, Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work Of subtlest jewellery.
He gazed so long That both his eyes were dazzled as he stood, This way and that dividing the swift mind, In act to throw: but at the last it seemed Better to leave Excalibur concealed There in the many-knotted waterflags, That whistled stiff and dry about the marge.
So strode he back slow to the wounded King.
Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere: 'Hast thou performed my mission which I gave? What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?' And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere: 'I heard the ripple washing in the reeds, And the wild water lapping on the crag.
' To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale: 'Thou hast betrayed thy nature and thy name, Not rendering true answer, as beseemed Thy f alty, nor like a noble knight: For surer sign had followed, either hand, Or voice, or else a motion of the mere.
This is a shameful thing for men to lie.
Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again, As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me word.
' Then went Sir Bedivere the second time Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere, Counting the dewy pebbles, fixed in thought; But when he saw the wonder of the hilt, How curiously and strangely chased, he smote His palms together, and he cried aloud: 'And if indeed I cast the brand away, Surely a precious thing, one worthy note, Should thus be lost for ever from the earth, Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.
What good should follow this, if this were done? What harm, undone? Deep harm to disobey, Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.
Were it well to obey then, if a king demand An act unprofitable, against himself? The King is sick, and knows not what he does.
What record, or what relic of my lord Should be to aftertime, but empty breath And rumours of a doubt? But were this kept, Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings, Some one might show it at a joust of arms, Saying, "King Arthur's sword, Excalibur, Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake.
Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps Upon the hidden bases of the hills.
" So might some old man speak in the aftertime To all the people, winning reverence.
But now much honour and much fame were lost.
' So spake he, clouded with his own conceit, And hid Excalibur the second time, And so strode back slow to the wounded King.
Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily: 'What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?' And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere: 'I heard the water lapping on the crag, And the long ripple washing in the reeds.
' To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath: 'Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue, Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me! Authority forgets a dying king, Laid widowed of the power in his eye That bowed the will.
I see thee what thou art, For thou, the latest-left of all my knights, In whom should meet the offices of all, Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt; Either from lust of gold, or like a girl Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes.
Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice, And the third time may prosper, get thee hence: But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur, I will arise and slay thee with my hands.
' Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran, And, leaping down the ridges lightly, plunged Among the bulrush beds, and clutched the sword, And strongly wheeled and threw it.
The great brand Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon, And flashing round and round, and whirled in an arch, Shot like a streamer of the northern morn, Seen where the moving isles of winter shock By night, with noises of the Northern Sea.
So flashed and fell the brand Excalibur: But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, And caught him by the hilt, and brandished him Three times, and drew him under in the mere.
And lightly went the other to the King.
Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath: 'Now see I by thine eyes that this is done.
Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?' And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere: 'Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems Should blind my purpose, for I never saw, Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die, Not though I live three lives of mortal men, So great a miracle as yonder hilt.
Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him; But when I looked again, behold an arm, Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, That caught him by the hilt, and brandished him Three times, and drew him under in the mere.
' And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard: 'My end draws nigh; 'tis time that I were gone.
Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight, And bear me to the margin; yet I fear My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die.
' So saying, from the pavement he half rose, Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm, And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes As in a picture.
Him Sir Bedivere Remorsefully regarded through his tears, And would have spoken, but he found not words; Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee, O'er both his shoulders drew the languid hands, And rising bore him through the place of tombs.
But, as he walked, King Arthur panted hard, Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed When all the house is mute.
So sighed the King, Muttering and murmuring at his ear, 'Quick, quick! I fear it is too late, and I shall die.
' But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge, Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walked, Larger than human on the frozen hills.
He heard the deep behind him, and a cry Before.
His own thought drove him like a goad.
Dry clashed his harness in the icy caves And barren chasms, and all to left and right The bare black cliff clanged round him, as he based His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang Sharp-smitten with the dint of armd heels-- And on a sudden, lo! the level lake, And the long glories of the winter moon.
Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge, Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern, Beneath them; and descending they were ware That all the decks were dense with stately forms, Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream--by these Three Queens with crowns of gold: and from them rose A cry that shivered to the tingling stars, And, as it were one voice, an agony Of lamentation, like a wind that shrills All night in a waste land, where no one comes, Or hath come, since the making of the world.
Then murmured Arthur, 'Place me in the barge.
' So to the barge they came.
There those three Queens Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.
But she, that rose the tallest of them all And fairest, laid his head upon her lap, And loosed the shattered casque, and chafed his hands, And called him by his name, complaining loud, And dropping bitter tears against a brow Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white And colourless, and like the withered moon Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east; And all his greaves and cuisses dashed with drops Of onset; and the light and lustrous curls-- That made his forehead like a rising sun High from the das-throne--were parched with dust; Or, clotted into points and hanging loose, Mixed with the knightly growth that fringed his lips.
So like a shattered column lay the King; Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest, From spur to plume a star of tournament, Shot through the lists at Camelot, and charged Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.
Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere: 'Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go? Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes? For now I see the true old times are dead, When every morning brought a noble chance, And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole Round Table is dissolved Which was an image of the mighty world, And I, the last, go forth companionless, And the days darken round me, and the years, Among new men, strange faces, other minds.
' And slowly answered Arthur from the barge: 'The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfils himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me? I have lived my life, and that which I have done May He within himself make pure! but thou, If thou shouldst never see my face again, Pray for my soul.
More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of.
Wherefore, let thy voice Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats That nourish a blind life within the brain, If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer Both for themselves and those who call them friend? For so the whole round earth is every way Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
But now farewell.
I am going a long way With these thou se st--if indeed I go (For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)-- To the island-valley of Avilion; Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow, Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard lawns And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea, Where I will heal me of my grievous wound.
' So said he, and the barge with oar and sail Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan That, fluting a wild carol ere her death, Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood With swarthy webs.
Long stood Sir Bedivere Revolving many memories, till the hull Looked one black dot against the verge of dawn, And on the mere the wailing died away.
But when that moan had past for evermore, The stillness of the dead world's winter dawn Amazed him, and he groaned, 'The King is gone.
' And therewithal came on him the weird rhyme, 'From the great deep to the great deep he goes.
' Whereat he slowly turned and slowly clomb The last hard footstep of that iron crag; Thence marked the black hull moving yet, and cried, 'He passes to be King among the dead, And after healing of his grievous wound He comes again; but--if he come no more-- O me, be yon dark Queens in yon black boat, Who shrieked and wailed, the three whereat we gazed On that high day, when, clothed with living light, They stood before his throne in silence, friends Of Arthur, who should help him at his need?' Then from the dawn it seemed there came, but faint As from beyond the limit of the world, Like the last echo born of a great cry, Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice Around a king returning from his wars.
Thereat once more he moved about, and clomb Even to the highest he could climb, and saw, Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand, Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the King, Down that long water opening on the deep Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go From less to less and vanish into light.
And the new sun rose bringing the new year.

by Emily Dickinson | |

The Spider as an Artist

 The Spider as an Artist
Has never been employed --
Though his surpassing Merit
Is freely certified

By every Broom and Bridget
Throughout a Christian Land --
Neglected Son of Genius
I take thee by the Hand --

by Robert Burns | |

83. The Cotter’s Saturday Night

 MY lov’d, my honour’d, much respected friend!
 No mercenary bard his homage pays;
With honest pride, I scorn each selfish end,
 My dearest meed, a friend’s esteem and praise:
 To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,
The lowly train in life’s sequester’d scene,
 The native feelings strong, the guileless ways,
What Aiken in a cottage would have been;
Ah! tho’ his worth unknown, far happier there I ween!

November chill blaws loud wi’ angry sugh;
 The short’ning winter-day is near a close;
The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh;
 The black’ning trains o’ craws to their repose:
 The toil-worn Cotter frae his labour goes,—
This night his weekly moil is at an end,
 Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend,
And weary, o’er the moor, his course does hameward bend.
At length his lonely cot appears in view, Beneath the shelter of an aged tree; Th’ expectant wee-things, toddlin, stacher through To meet their dead, wi’ flichterin noise and glee.
His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonilie, His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie’s smile, The lisping infant, prattling on his knee, Does a’ his weary kiaugh and care beguile, And makes him quite forget his labour and his toil.
Belyve, the elder bairns come drapping in, At service out, amang the farmers roun’; Some ca’ the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin A cannie errand to a neibor town: Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman-grown, In youthfu’ bloom-love sparkling in her e’e— Comes hame, perhaps to shew a braw new gown, Or deposite her sair-won penny-fee, To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be.
With joy unfeign’d, brothers and sisters meet, And each for other’s weelfare kindly speirs: The social hours, swift-wing’d, unnotic’d fleet: Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears.
The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years; Anticipation forward points the view; The mother, wi’ her needle and her shears, Gars auld claes look amaist as weel’s the new; The father mixes a’ wi’ admonition due.
Their master’s and their mistress’ command, The younkers a’ are warned to obey; And mind their labours wi’ an eydent hand, And ne’er, tho’ out o’ sight, to jauk or play; “And O! be sure to fear the Lord alway, And mind your duty, duly, morn and night; Lest in temptation’s path ye gang astray, Implore His counsel and assisting might: They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright.
” But hark! a rap comes gently to the door; Jenny, wha kens the meaning o’ the same, Tells how a neibor lad came o’er the moor, To do some errands, and convoy her hame.
The wily mother sees the conscious flame Sparkle in Jenny’s e’e, and flush her cheek; With heart-struck anxious care, enquires his name, While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak; Weel-pleased the mother hears, it’s nae wild, worthless rake.
Wi’ kindly welcome, Jenny brings him ben; A strappin youth, he takes the mother’s eye; Blythe Jenny sees the visit’s no ill ta’en; The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye.
The youngster’s artless heart o’erflows wi’ joy, But blate an’ laithfu’, scarce can weel behave; The mother, wi’ a woman’s wiles, can spy What makes the youth sae bashfu’ and sae grave, Weel-pleas’d to think her bairn’s respected like the lave.
O happy love! where love like this is found: O heart-felt raptures! bliss beyond compare! I’ve paced much this weary, mortal round, And sage experience bids me this declare,— “If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare— One cordial in this melancholy vale, ’Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair In other’sarms, breathe out the tender tale, Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the evening gale.
” Is there, in human form, that bears a heart, A wretch! a villain! lost to love and truth! That can, with studied, sly, ensnaring art, Betray sweet Jenny’s unsuspecting youth? Curse on his perjur’d arts! dissembling smooth! Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exil’d? Is there no pity, no relenting ruth, Points to the parents fondling o’er their child? Then paints the ruin’d maid, and their distraction wild? But now the supper crowns their simple board, The halesome parritch, chief of Scotia’s food; The sowp their only hawkie does afford, That, ’yont the hallan snugly chows her cood: The dame brings forth, in complimental mood, To grace the lad, her weel-hain’d kebbuck, fell; And aft he’s prest, and aft he ca’s it guid: The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell How t’was a towmond auld, sin’ lint was i’ the bell.
The cheerfu’ supper done, wi’ serious face, They, round the ingle, form a circle wide; The sire turns o’er, with patriarchal grace, The big ha’bible, ance his father’s pride: His bonnet rev’rently is laid aside, His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare; Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide, He wales a portion with judicious care; And “Let us worship God!” he says with solemn air.
They chant their artless notes in simple guise, They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim; Perhaps Dundee’s wild-warbling measures rise; Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name; Or noble Elgin beets the heaven-ward flame; The sweetest far of Scotia’s holy lays: Compar’d with these, Italian trills are tame; The tickl’d ears no heart-felt raptures raise; Nae unison hae they with our Creator’s praise.
The priest-like father reads the sacred page, How Abram was the friend of God on high; Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage With Amalek’s ungracious progeny; Or how the royal bard did groaning lie Beneath the stroke of Heaven’s avenging ire; Or Job’s pathetic plaint, and wailing cry; Or rapt Isaiah’s wild, seraphic fire; Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme, How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed; How He, who bore in Heaven the second name, Had not on earth whereon to lay His head: How His first followers and servants sped; The precepts sage they wrote to many a land: How he, who lone in Patmos banished, Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand, And heard great Bab’lon’s doom pronounc’d by Heaven’s command.
Then, kneeling down to Heaven’s Eternal King, The saint, the father, and the husband prays: Hope “springs exulting on triumphant wing,” 1 That thus they all shall meet in future days, There, ever bask in uncreated rays, No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear, Together hymning their Creator’s praise, In such society, yet still more dear; While circling Time moves round in an eternal sphere Compar’d with this, how poor Religion’s pride, In all the pomp of method, and of art; When men display to congregations wide Devotion’s ev’ry grace, except the heart! The Power, incens’d, the pageant will desert, The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole; But haply, in some cottage far apart, May hear, well-pleas’d, the language of the soul; And in His Book of Life the inmates poor enroll.
Then homeward all take off their sev’ral way; The youngling cottagers retire to rest: The parent-pair their secret homage pay, And proffer up to Heaven the warm request, That he who stills the raven’s clam’rous nest, And decks the lily fair in flow’ry pride, Would, in the way His wisdom sees the best, For them and for their little ones provide; But chiefly, in their hearts with grace divine preside.
From scenes like these, old Scotia’s grandeur springs, That makes her lov’d at home, rever’d abroad: Princes and lords are but the breath of kings, “An honest man’s the noblest work of God;” And certes, in fair virtue’s heavenly road, The cottage leaves the palace far behind; What is a lordling’s pomp? a cumbrous load, Disguising oft the wretch of human kind, Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refin’d! O Scotia! my dear, my native soil! For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent, Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content! And O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent From luxury’s contagion, weak and vile! Then howe’er crowns and coronets be rent, A virtuous populace may rise the while, And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov’d isle.
O Thou! who pour’d the patriotic tide, That stream’d thro’ Wallace’s undaunted heart, Who dar’d to nobly stem tyrannic pride, Or nobly die, the second glorious part: (The patriot’s God peculiarly thou art, His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward!) O never, never Scotia’s realm desert; But still the patriot, and the patriot-bard In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard! Note 1.
Pope’s “Windsor Forest.

by Robert Burns | |

39. Ballad on the American War

 WHEN Guilford good our pilot stood
 An’ did our hellim thraw, man,
Ae night, at tea, began a plea,
 Within America, man:
Then up they gat the maskin-pat,
 And in the sea did jaw, man;
An’ did nae less, in full congress,
 Than quite refuse our law, man.
Then thro’ the lakes Montgomery takes, I wat he was na slaw, man; Down Lowrie’s Burn he took a turn, And Carleton did ca’, man: But yet, whatreck, he, at Quebec, Montgomery-like did fa’, man, Wi’ sword in hand, before his band, Amang his en’mies a’, man.
Poor Tammy Gage within a cage Was kept at Boston-ha’, man; Till Willie Howe took o’er the knowe For Philadelphia, man; Wi’ sword an’ gun he thought a sin Guid Christian bluid to draw, man; But at New York, wi’ knife an’ fork, Sir-Loin he hacked sma’, man.
Burgoyne gaed up, like spur an’ whip, Till Fraser brave did fa’, man; Then lost his way, ae misty day, In Saratoga shaw, man.
Cornwallis fought as lang’s he dought, An’ did the Buckskins claw, man; But Clinton’s glaive frae rust to save, He hung it to the wa’, man.
Then Montague, an’ Guilford too, Began to fear, a fa’, man; And Sackville dour, wha stood the stour, The German chief to thraw, man: For Paddy Burke, like ony Turk, Nae mercy had at a’, man; An’ Charlie Fox threw by the box, An’ lows’d his tinkler jaw, man.
Then Rockingham took up the game, Till death did on him ca’, man; When Shelburne meek held up his cheek, Conform to gospel law, man: Saint Stephen’s boys, wi’ jarring noise, They did his measures thraw, man; For North an’ Fox united stocks, An’ bore him to the wa’, man.
Then clubs an’ hearts were Charlie’s cartes, He swept the stakes awa’, man, Till the diamond’s ace, of Indian race, Led him a sair faux pas, man: The Saxon lads, wi’ loud placads, On Chatham’s boy did ca’, man; An’ Scotland drew her pipe an’ blew, “Up, Willie, waur them a’, man!” Behind the throne then Granville’s gone, A secret word or twa, man; While slee Dundas arous’d the class Be-north the Roman wa’, man: An’ Chatham’s wraith, in heav’nly graith, (Inspired bardies saw, man), Wi’ kindling eyes, cry’d, “Willie, rise! Would I hae fear’d them a’, man?” But, word an’ blow, North, Fox, and Co.
Gowff’d Willie like a ba’, man; Till Suthron raise, an’ coost their claise Behind him in a raw, man: An’ Caledon threw by the drone, An’ did her whittle draw, man; An’ swoor fu’ rude, thro’ dirt an’ bluid, To mak it guid in law, man.

by Robert Burns | |

80. The Jolly Beggars: A Cantata

 RecitativoWHEN lyart leaves bestrow the yird,
Or wavering like the bauckie-bird,
 Bedim cauld Boreas’ blast;
When hailstanes drive wi’ bitter skyte,
And infant frosts begin to bite,
 In hoary cranreuch drest;
Ae night at e’en a merry core
 O’ randie, gangrel bodies,
In Poosie-Nansie’s held the splore,
 To drink their orra duddies;
 Wi’ quaffing an’ laughing,
 They ranted an’ they sang,
 Wi’ jumping an’ thumping,
 The vera girdle rang,

First, neist the fire, in auld red rags,
Ane sat, weel brac’d wi’ mealy bags,
 And knapsack a’ in order;
His doxy lay within his arm;
Wi’ usquebae an’ blankets warm
 She blinkit on her sodger;
An’ aye he gies the tozie drab
 The tither skelpin’ kiss,
While she held up her greedy gab,
 Just like an aumous dish;
 Ilk smack still, did crack still,
 Just like a cadger’s whip;
 Then staggering an’ swaggering
 He roar’d this ditty up—

AirTune—“Soldier’s Joy.
”I am a son of Mars who have been in many wars, And show my cuts and scars wherever I come; This here was for a wench, and that other in a trench, When welcoming the French at the sound of the drum.
Lal de daudle, &c.
My ’prenticeship I past where my leader breath’d his last, When the bloody die was cast on the heights of Abram: And I served out my trade when the gallant game was play’d, And the Morro low was laid at the sound of the drum.
I lastly was with Curtis among the floating batt’ries, And there I left for witness an arm and a limb; Yet let my country need me, with Elliot to head me, I’d clatter on my stumps at the sound of a drum.
And now tho’ I must beg, with a wooden arm and leg, And many a tatter’d rag hanging over my bum, I’m as happy with my wallet, my bottle, and my callet, As when I used in scarlet to follow a drum.
What tho’ with hoary locks, I must stand the winter shocks, Beneath the woods and rocks oftentimes for a home, When the t’other bag I sell, and the t’other bottle tell, I could meet a troop of hell, at the sound of a drum.
RecitativoHe ended; and the kebars sheuk, Aboon the chorus roar; While frighted rattons backward leuk, An’ seek the benmost bore: A fairy fiddler frae the neuk, He skirl’d out, encore! But up arose the martial chuck, An’ laid the loud uproar.
AirTune—“Sodger Laddie.
”I once was a maid, tho’ I cannot tell when, And still my delight is in proper young men; Some one of a troop of dragoons was my daddie, No wonder I’m fond of a sodger laddie, Sing, lal de lal, &c.
The first of my loves was a swaggering blade, To rattle the thundering drum was his trade; His leg was so tight, and his cheek was so ruddy, Transported I was with my sodger laddie.
But the godly old chaplain left him in the lurch; The sword I forsook for the sake of the church: He ventur’d the soul, and I risked the body, ’Twas then I proved false to my sodger laddie.
Full soon I grew sick of my sanctified sot, The regiment at large for a husband I got; From the gilded spontoon to the fife I was ready, I askèd no more but a sodger laddie.
But the peace it reduc’d me to beg in despair, Till I met old boy in a Cunningham fair, His rags regimental, they flutter’d so gaudy, My heart it rejoic’d at a sodger laddie.
And now I have liv’d—I know not how long, And still I can join in a cup and a song; But whilst with both hands I can hold the glass steady, Here’s to thee, my hero, my sodger laddie.
RecitativoPoor Merry-Andrew, in the neuk, Sat guzzling wi’ a tinkler-hizzie; They mind’t na wha the chorus teuk, Between themselves they were sae busy: At length, wi’ drink an’ courting dizzy, He stoiter’d up an’ made a face; Then turn’d an’ laid a smack on Grizzie, Syne tun’d his pipes wi’ grave grimace.
AirTune—“Auld Sir Symon.
”Sir Wisdom’s a fool when he’s fou; Sir Knave is a fool in a session; He’s there but a ’prentice I trow, But I am a fool by profession.
My grannie she bought me a beuk, An’ I held awa to the school; I fear I my talent misteuk, But what will ye hae of a fool? For drink I would venture my neck; A hizzie’s the half of my craft; But what could ye other expect Of ane that’s avowedly daft? I ance was tied up like a stirk, For civilly swearing and quaffin; I ance was abus’d i’ the kirk, For towsing a lass i’ my daffin.
Poor Andrew that tumbles for sport, Let naebody name wi’ a jeer; There’s even, I’m tauld, i’ the Court A tumbler ca’d the Premier.
Observ’d ye yon reverend lad Mak faces to tickle the mob; He rails at our mountebank squad,— It’s rivalship just i’ the job.
And now my conclusion I’ll tell, For faith I’m confoundedly dry; The chiel that’s a fool for himsel’, Guid L—d! he’s far dafter than I.
RecitativoThen niest outspak a raucle carlin, Wha kent fu’ weel to cleek the sterlin; For mony a pursie she had hooked, An’ had in mony a well been douked; Her love had been a Highland laddie, But weary fa’ the waefu’ woodie! Wi’ sighs an’ sobs she thus began To wail her braw John Highlandman.
AirTune—“O, an ye were dead, Guidman.
”A Highland lad my love was born, The Lalland laws he held in scorn; But he still was faithfu’ to his clan, My gallant, braw John Highlandman.
Chorus Sing hey my braw John Highlandman! Sing ho my braw John Highlandman! There’s not a lad in a’ the lan’ Was match for my John Highlandman.
With his philibeg an’ tartan plaid, An’ guid claymore down by his side, The ladies’ hearts he did trepan, My gallant, braw John Highlandman.
Sing hey, &c.
We rangèd a’ from Tweed to Spey, An’ liv’d like lords an’ ladies gay; For a Lalland face he fearèd none,— My gallant, braw John Highlandman.
Sing hey, &c.
They banish’d him beyond the sea.
But ere the bud was on the tree, Adown my cheeks the pearls ran, Embracing my John Highlandman.
Sing hey, &c.
But, och! they catch’d him at the last, And bound him in a dungeon fast: My curse upon them every one, They’ve hang’d my braw John Highlandman! Sing hey, &c.
And now a widow, I must mourn The pleasures that will ne’er return: The comfort but a hearty can, When I think on John Highlandman.
Sing hey, &c.
RecitativoA pigmy scraper wi’ his fiddle, Wha us’d at trystes an’ fairs to driddle.
Her strappin limb and gausy middle (He reach’d nae higher) Had hol’d his heartie like a riddle, An’ blawn’t on fire.
Wi’ hand on hainch, and upward e’e, He croon’d his gamut, one, two, three, Then in an arioso key, The wee Apoll Set off wi’ allegretto glee His giga solo.
AirTune—“Whistle owre the lave o’t.
”Let me ryke up to dight that tear, An’ go wi’ me an’ be my dear; An’ then your every care an’ fear May whistle owre the lave o’t.
Chorus I am a fiddler to my trade, An’ a’ the tunes that e’er I played, The sweetest still to wife or maid, Was whistle owre the lave o’t.
At kirns an’ weddins we’se be there, An’ O sae nicely’s we will fare! We’ll bowse about till Daddie Care Sing whistle owre the lave o’t.
I am, &c.
Sae merrily’s the banes we’ll pyke, An’ sun oursel’s about the dyke; An’ at our leisure, when ye like, We’ll whistle owre the lave o’t.
I am, &c.
But bless me wi’ your heav’n o’ charms, An’ while I kittle hair on thairms, Hunger, cauld, an’ a’ sic harms, May whistle owre the lave o’t.
I am, &c.
RecitativoHer charms had struck a sturdy caird, As weel as poor gut-scraper; He taks the fiddler by the beard, An’ draws a roosty rapier— He swoor, by a’ was swearing worth, To speet him like a pliver, Unless he would from that time forth Relinquish her for ever.
Wi’ ghastly e’e poor tweedle-dee Upon his hunkers bended, An’ pray’d for grace wi’ ruefu’ face, An’ so the quarrel ended.
But tho’ his little heart did grieve When round the tinkler prest her, He feign’d to snirtle in his sleeve, When thus the caird address’d her: AirTune—“Clout the Cauldron.
”My bonie lass, I work in brass, A tinkler is my station: I’ve travell’d round all Christian ground In this my occupation; I’ve taen the gold, an’ been enrolled In many a noble squadron; But vain they search’d when off I march’d To go an’ clout the cauldron.
I’ve taen the gold, &c.
Despise that shrimp, that wither’d imp, With a’ his noise an’ cap’rin; An’ take a share with those that bear The budget and the apron! And by that stowp! my faith an’ houp, And by that dear Kilbaigie, 2 If e’er ye want, or meet wi’ scant, May I ne’er weet my craigie.
And by that stowp, &c.
RecitativoThe caird prevail’d—th’ unblushing fair In his embraces sunk; Partly wi’ love o’ercome sae sair, An’ partly she was drunk: Sir Violino, with an air That show’d a man o’ spunk, Wish’d unison between the pair, An’ made the bottle clunk To their health that night.
But hurchin Cupid shot a shaft, That play’d a dame a shavie— The fiddler rak’d her, fore and aft, Behint the chicken cavie.
Her lord, a wight of Homer’s craft, 3 Tho’ limpin wi’ the spavie, He hirpl’d up, an’ lap like daft, An’ shor’d them Dainty Davie O’ boot that night.
He was a care-defying blade As ever Bacchus listed! Tho’ Fortune sair upon him laid, His heart, she ever miss’d it.
He had no wish but—to be glad, Nor want but—when he thirsted; He hated nought but—to be sad, An’ thus the muse suggested His sang that night.
AirTune—“For a’ that, an’ a’ that.
”I am a Bard of no regard, Wi’ gentle folks an’ a’ that; But Homer-like, the glowrin byke, Frae town to town I draw that.
Chorus For a’ that, an’ a’ that, An’ twice as muckle’s a’ that; I’ve lost but ane, I’ve twa behin’, I’ve wife eneugh for a’ that.
I never drank the Muses’ stank, Castalia’s burn, an’ a’ that; But there it streams an’ richly reams, My Helicon I ca’ that.
For a’ that, &c.
Great love Idbear to a’ the fair, Their humble slave an’ a’ that; But lordly will, I hold it still A mortal sin to thraw that.
For a’ that, &c.
In raptures sweet, this hour we meet, Wi’ mutual love an’ a’ that; But for how lang the flie may stang, Let inclination law that.
For a’ that, &c.
Their tricks an’ craft hae put me daft, They’ve taen me in, an’ a’ that; But clear your decks, and here’s—“The Sex!” I like the jads for a’ that.
Chorus For a’ that, an’ a’ that, An’ twice as muckle’s a’ that; My dearest bluid, to do them guid, They’re welcome till’t for a’ that.
RecitativoSo sang the bard—and Nansie’s wa’s Shook with a thunder of applause, Re-echo’d from each mouth! They toom’d their pocks, they pawn’d their duds, They scarcely left to co’er their fuds, To quench their lowin drouth: Then owre again, the jovial thrang The poet did request To lowse his pack an’ wale a sang, A ballad o’ the best; He rising, rejoicing, Between his twa Deborahs, Looks round him, an’ found them Impatient for the chorus.
AirTune—“Jolly Mortals, fill your Glasses.
”See the smoking bowl before us, Mark our jovial ragged ring! Round and round take up the chorus, And in raptures let us sing— Chorus A fig for those by law protected! Liberty’s a glorious feast! Courts for cowards were erected, Churches built to please the priest.
What is title, what is treasure, What is reputation’s care? If we lead a life of pleasure, ’Tis no matter how or where! A fig for, &c.
With the ready trick and fable, Round we wander all the day; And at night in barn or stable, Hug our doxies on the hay.
A fig for, &c.
Does the train-attended carriage Thro’ the country lighter rove? Does the sober bed of marriage Witness brighter scenes of love? A fig for, &c.
Life is al a variorum, We regard not how it goes; Let them cant about decorum, Who have character to lose.
A fig for, &c.
Here’s to budgets, bags and wallets! Here’s to all the wandering train.
Here’s our ragged brats and callets, One and all cry out, Amen! Chorus A fig for those by law protected! Liberty’s a glorious feast! Courts for cowards were erected, Churches built to please the priest.
Note 1.
Not published by Burns.
[back] Note 2.
A peculiar sort of whisky so called, a great favorite with Poosie Nansie’s clubs.
[back] Note 3.
Homer is allowed to be the oldest ballad-singer on record.