Upon A Table-Book Presented To A Lady

VVhen your fair hand receives this little book
You must not there for prose or verses look.
Those empty regions which within you see,
May by your self planted and peopled be:
And though we scarce allow your sex to prove
Writers (unless the Argument be Love);
Yet without crime or envy you have roome
Here, both the Scribe and Author to become.

To My Dead Friend Ben Johnson

I see that wreath which doth the wearer arm
'Gainst the quick strokes of thunder, is no charm
To keep off deaths pale dart. For, Johnson then
Thou hadst been number'd still with living men.
Times sithe had fear'd thy Lawrel to invade,
Nor thee this subject of our sorrow made.
Amongst those many votaries who come
To offer up their Garlands at thy Tombe;
Whil'st some more lofty pens in their bright verse
(Like glorious Tapers flaming on thy herse)
Shall light the dull and thankless world to see,
How great a maim it suffers wanting thee;
Let not thy learned shadow scorn, that I
Pay meaner Rites unto thy memory;
And since I nought can adde, but in desire
Restore some sparks which leapt from thine own fire.
What ends soever others quills invite,
I can protest, it was no itch to write,
Nor any vain ambition to be read,
But meerly Love and Justice to the dead
Which rais'd my fameless Muse; and caus'd her bring
These drops, as tribute thrown into that spring,
To whose most rich and fruitful head we ow
The purest streams of language which can flow.
For 'tis but truth, thou taught'st the ruder age
To speake by Grammar, and reform'dst the Stage:
Thy Comick Sock induc'd such purged sence,
A Lucrece might have heard without offence.
Amongst those soaring wits that did dilate
Our English, and advance it to the rate
And value it now holds, thy self was one
Helpt lift it up to such proportion.
That thus refin'd and roab'd, it shall not spare
With the full Greek or Latine to compare.
For what tongue ever durst, but ours, translate
Great Tully's Eloquence, or Homers State?
Both which in their unblemisht lustre shine,
From Chapmans pen, and from thy Catiline.
All I would ask for thee, in recompence
Of thy successful toyl and times expence,
Is onely this poor Boon: that those who can
Perhaps read French, or talk Italian,
Or do the lofty Spaniard affect;
To shew their skill in Forrein Dialect,
Prove not themselves so unnaturally wise,
They therefore should their Mother-tongue despise.
(As if her Poets both for style and wit
Not equall'd, or not pass'd their best that writ)
Untill by studying Johnson they have known
The height and strength and plenty of their own.
Thus in what low earth or neglected room
Soere thou sleep'st, thy book shall be thy tomb.
Thou wilt go down a happy Coarse, bestrew'd
With thine own Flowres; and feel thy self renew'd,
Whil'st thy immortal never-with'ring Bayes
Shall yearly flourish in thy Readers praise.
And when more spreading Titles are forgot,
Or spight of all their Lead and Sear-cloth rot,
Thou wrapt and Shrin'd in thine own sheets, wilt ly
A Relick fam'd by all Posterity.

1 Accept, thou shrine of my dead saint,
2 Instead of dirges, this complaint;
3 And for sweet flow'rs to crown thy hearse,
4 From thy griev'd friend, whom thou might'st see
5 Quite melted into tears for thee.
6 Dear loss! since thy untimely fate
7 My task hath been to meditate
8 On thee, on thee; thou art the book,
9 The library whereon I look,
10 Though almost blind. For thee (lov'd clay)
11 I languish out, not live, the day,
12 Using no other exercise
13 But what I practise with mine eyes;
14 By which wet glasses I find out
15 How lazily time creeps about
16 To one that mourns; this, only this,
17 My exercise and bus'ness is.
18 So I compute the weary hours
19 With sighs dissolved into showers.


20 Nor wonder if my time go thus
21 Backward and most preposterous;
22 Thou hast benighted me; thy set
23 This eve of blackness did beget,
24 Who wast my day (though overcast
25 Before thou hadst thy noon-tide past)
26 And I remember must in tears,
27 Thou scarce hadst seen so many years
28 As day tells hours. By thy clear sun
29 My love and fortune first did run;
30 But thou wilt never more appear
31 Folded within my hemisphere,
32 Since both thy light and mot{"i}on
33 Like a fled star is fall'n and gone;
34 And 'twixt me and my soul's dear wish
35 An earth now interposed is,
36 Which such a strange eclipse doth make
37 As ne'er was read in almanac.


38 I could allow thee for a time
39 To darken me and my sad clime;
40 Were it a month, a year, or ten,
41 I would thy exile live till then,
42 And all that space my mirth adjourn,
43 So thou wouldst promise to return,
44 And putting off thy ashy shroud,
45 At length disperse this sorrow's cloud.


46 But woe is me! the longest date
47 Too narrow is to calculate
48 These empty hopes; never shall I
49 Be so much blest as to descry
50 A glimpse of thee, till that day come
51 Which shall the earth to cinders doom,
52 And a fierce fever must calcine
53 The body of this world like thine,
54 (My little world!). That fit of fire
55 Once off, our bodies shall aspire
56 To our souls' bliss; then we shall rise
57 And view ourselves with clearer eyes
58 In that calm region where no night
59 Can hide us from each other's sight.


60 Meantime, thou hast her, earth; much good
61 May my harm do thee. Since it stood
62 With heaven's will I might not call
63 Her longer mine, I give thee all
64 My short-liv'd right and interest
65 In her whom living I lov'd best;
66 With a most free and bounteous grief,
67 I give thee what I could not keep.
68 Be kind to her, and prithee look
69 Thou write into thy doomsday book
70 Each parcel of this rarity
71 Which in thy casket shrin'd doth lie.
72 See that thou make thy reck'ning straight,
73 And yield her back again by weight;
74 For thou must audit on thy trust
75 Each grain and atom of this dust,
76 As thou wilt answer Him that lent,
77 Not gave thee, my dear monument.


78 So close the ground, and 'bout her shade
79 Black curtains draw, my bride is laid.


80 Sleep on my love in thy cold bed
81 Never to be disquieted!
82 My last good-night! Thou wilt not wake
83 Till I thy fate shall overtake;
84 Till age, or grief, or sickness must
85 Marry my body to that dust
86 It so much loves, and fill the room
87 My heart keeps empty in thy tomb.
88 Stay for me there, I will not fail
89 To meet thee in that hollow vale.
90 And think not much of my delay;
91 I am already on the way,
92 And follow thee with all the speed
93 Desire can make, or sorrows breed.
94 Each minute is a short degree,
95 And ev'ry hour a step towards thee.
96 At night when I betake to rest,
97 Next morn I rise nearer my west
98 Of life, almost by eight hours' sail,
99 Than when sleep breath'd his drowsy gale.


100 Thus from the sun my bottom steers,
101 And my day's compass downward bears;
102 Nor labour I to stem the tide
103 Through which to thee I swiftly glide.
104 'Tis true, with shame and grief I yield,
105 Thou like the van first took'st the field,
106 And gotten hath the victory
107 In thus adventuring to die
108 Before me, whose more years might crave
109 A just precedence in the grave.
110 But hark! my pulse like a soft drum
111 Beats my approach, tells thee I come;
112 And slow howe'er my marches be,
113 I shall at last sit down by thee.


114 The thought of this bids me go on,
115 And wait my dissolut{"i}on
116 With hope and comfort. Dear (forgive
117 The crime) I am content to live
118 Divided, with but half a heart,
119 Till we shall meet and never part.

To My Honoured Friend Mr. George Sandys

It is, Sir, a confest intrusion here
That I before your labours do appear,
Which no loud Herald need, that may proclaim
Or seek acceptance, but the Authors fame.
Much less that should this happy work commend,
Whose subject is its licence, and doth send
It to the world to be receiv'd and read,
Far as the glorious beams of truth are spread.
Nor let it be imagin'd that I look
Onely with Customes eye upon your book;
Or in this service that 'twas my intent
T'exclude your person from your argument:
I shall profess much of the love I ow,
Doth from the root of our extraction grow;
To which though I can little contribute,
Yet with a naturall joy I must impute
To our Tribes honour, what by you is done
Worthy the title of a Prelates son.
And scarcely have two brothers farther borne
A Fathers name, or with more value worne
Their own, then two of you; whose pens and feet
Have made the distant Points of Heav'n to meet;
He by exact discoveries of the West,
Your self by painful travels in the East.
Some more like you might pow'rfully confute
Th' opposers of Priests marriage by the fruit.
And (since tis known for all their streight vow'd life,
They like the sex in any style but wife)
Cause them to change their Cloyster for that State
Which keeps men chaste by vowes legitimate:
Nor shame to father their relations,
Or under Nephews names disguise their sons.
This Child of yours born without spurious blot,
And fairly Midwiv'd as it was begot,
Doth so much of the Parents goodness wear,
You may be proud to own it for your Heir.
Whose choice acquits you from the common sin
Of such, who finish worse then they begin:
You mend upon your self, and your last strain
Does of your first the start in judgment gain;
Since what in curious travel was begun,
You here conclude in a devotion.
Where in delightful raptures we descry
As in a Map, Sions Chorography
Laid out in so direct and smooth a line,
Men need not go about through Palestine:
Who seek Christ here will the streight Rode prefer,
As neerer much then by the Sepulchre.
For not a limb growes here, but is a path;
Which in Gods City the blest Center hath:
And doth so sweetly on each passion strike,
The most fantastick taste will somewhat like.
To the unquiet soul Job still from hence
Pleads in th' example of his patience.
The mortify'd may hear the wise King preach,
When his repentance made him fit to teach.
Nor shall the singing Sisters be content
To chant at home the Act of Parliament,
Turn'd out of reason into rhime by one
Free of his trade, though not of Helicon,
Who did in his Poetick zeal contend
Others edition by a worse to mend.
Here are choice Hymnes and Carolls for the glad,
With melancholy Dirges for the sad:
And David (as he could his skill transfer)
Speaks like himself by an interpreter.
Your Muse rekindled hath the Prophets fire,
And tun'd the strings of his neglected Lyre;
Making the Note and Ditty so agree,
They now become a perfect harmonie.
I must confess, I have long wisht to see
The Psalmes reduc'd to this conformity:
Grieving the songs of Sion should be sung
In phrase not diff'ring from a barbarous tongue.
As if, by custome warranted, we may
Sing that to God we would be loth to say.
Far be it from my purpose to upbraid
Their honest meaning, who first offer made
That book in Meeter to compile, which you
Have mended in the form, and built anew:
And it was well, considering the time,
Which hardly could distinguish verse and rhime.
But now the language, like the Church, hath won
More lustre since the Reformation;
None can condemn the wish or labour spent
Good matter in good words to represent.
Yet in this jealous age some such there be,
So without cause afraid of novelty,
They would not (were it in their pow'r to choose)
An old ill practise for a better lose.
Men who a rustick plainnesse so affect,
They think God served best by their neglect.
Holding the cause would be profan'd by it,
Were they at charge of learning or of wit.
And therefore bluntly (what comes next) they bring
Course and unstudy'd stuffs for offering;
Which like th' old Tabernacles cov'ring are,
Made up of Badgers skins, and of Goats haire.
But these are Paradoxes they must use
Their sloth and bolder ignorance t'excuse.
Who would not laugh at one will naked go,
'Cause in old hangings truth is pictur'd so?
Though plainness be reputed honours note,
They mantles use to beautify the coat;
So that a curious (unaffected) dress
Addes much unto the bodies comeliness:
And wheresoere the subjects best, the sence
Is better'd by the speakers eloquence.
But, Sir, to you I shall no trophee raise
From other mens detraction or dispraise:
That Jewel never had inherent worth,
Which askt such foils as these to set it forth.
If any quarrel your attempt or style,
Forgive them; their own folly they revile.
Since, 'gainst themselves, their factious envy shall
Allow this work of yours Canonicall.
Nor may you fear the Poets common lot,
Read, and commended, and then quite forgot:
The brazen Mines and Marble Rocks shall wast,
When your foundation will unshaken last.
'Tis fames best pay, that you your labours see
By their immortal subject crowned be.
For nere was writer in oblivion hid
Who firm'd his name on such a Pyramid.

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