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.
An Elegy Upon The Most Victorious King Of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus
Like a cold fatal sweat which ushers death
My thoughts hang on me, & my lab'ring breath
Stopt up with sighs, my fancie big with woes,
Feels two twinn'd mountains struggle in her throws,
Of boundless sorrow one, t'other of sin;
For less let no one rate it to begin
Where honour ends. In Great Gustavus flame
That style burnt out, and wasted to a name,
Does barely live with us. As when the stuff
That fed it failes, the Taper turns to snuff.
With this poor snuff, this ayerie shadow, we
Of Fame and Honour must contented be;
Since from the vain grasp of our wishes fled
Their glorious substance is, now He is dead.
Speak it again, and louder, louder yet;
Else whil'st we hear the sound we shall forget
What it delivers. Let hoarse rumor cry
Till she so many ecchoes multiply,
Those may like num'rous witnesses confute
Our unbelieving soules, that would dispute
And doubt this truth for ever. This one way
Is left our incredulity to sway;
To waken our deaf sense, and make our ears
As open and dilated as our fears;
That we may feel the blow, and feeling grieve,
At what we would not feign, but must believe.
And in that horrid faith behold the world
From her proud height of expectation hurl'd,
Stooping with him, as if she strove to have
No lower Center now then Swedens grave.
O could not all thy purchas'd victories
Like to thy Fame thy Flesh immortalize?
Were not thy vertue nor thy valour charmes
To guard thy body from those outward harmes
Which could not reach thy soul? could not thy spirit
Lend somewhat which thy frailty might inherit
From thy diviner part, that Death nor Hate
Nor envy's bullets ere could penetrate?
Could not thy early Trophies in stern fight
Torn from the Dane, the Pole, the Moscovite?
Which were thy triumphs seeds, as pledges sown,
That when thy honours harvest was ripe grown,
With full-summ'd wing thou Falcon-like wouldst fly
And cuff the Eagle in the German sky:
Forcing his iron beak and feathers feel
They were not proof 'gainst thy victorious steel.
Could not all these protect thee? or prevaile
To fright that Coward Death, who oft grew pale
To look thee and thy battails in the face?
Alas they could not: Destiny gives place
To none; nor is it seen that Princes lives
Can saved be by their prerogatives.
No more was thine; who clos'd in thy cold lead,
Dost from thy self a mournful lecture read
Of Mans short-dated glory: learn you Kings,
You are like him but penetrable things;
Though you from Demi-Gods derive your birth,
You are at best but honourable earth:
And howere sifted from that courser bran
Which does compound and knead the common man,
Nothing's immortal or from earth refin'd
About you, but your Office and your Mind.
Here then break your false Glasses, which present
You greater then your Maker ever meant:
Make truth your Mirrour now, since you find all
That flatter you confuted by his fall.
Yet since it was decreed thy lifes bright Sun
Must be eclips'd ere thy full course was run,
Be proud thou didst in thy black Obsequies
With greater glory set then others rise.
For in thy death, as life, thou heldest one
Most just and regular proportion.
Look how the Circles drawn by Compass meet
Indivisibly joyned head to feet,
And by continued points which them unite
Grow at once Circular and Infinite:
So did thy Fate and honour now contend
To match thy brave beginning with thy end.
Therefore thou hadst instead of Passing bells
The Drums and Cannons thunder for thy knells;
And in the Field thou did'st triumphing dy,
Closing thy eye-lids with a victory:
That so by thousands who there lost their breath
King-like thou might'st be waited on in death.
Liv'd Plutarch now, and would of Cæsar tell,
He could make none but Thee his parallel;
Whose tide of glory swelling to the brim
Needs borrow no addition from Him.
When did great Julius in any Clime
Atchieve so much and in so small a time?
Or if he did, yet shalt Thou in that land
Single for him and unexampled stand.
When ore the Germans first his Eagle towr'd
What saw the Legions which on them he pour'd?
But massie bodies, made their swords to try
Subjects not for his fight, but slavery.
In that so vast expanded peece of ground
(Now Swedens Theater and Tom he found
Nothing worth Cæsars valour, or his fear,
No conqu'ring Army, nor a Tilley there,
Whose strength nor wiles, nor practice in the warre
Might the fierce Torrent of thy triumphs barre,
But that thy winged sword twice made him yield,
Both from his trenches beat, and from the field.
Besides the Romane thought he had done much
Did he the bank of Rhenus onely touch.
But though his march was bounded by the Rhine
Not Oder nor the Danube Thee confine;
And but thy frailty did thy fame prevent,
Thou hadst thy conquests strecht to such extent,
Thou might'st Vienna reach, and after span
From Mulda to the Baltick Ocean.
But death hath spann'd thee: nor must we divine
What heir thou leav'st to finish thy design,
Or who shall thee succeed as Champion
For liberty and for religion.
Thy task is done; as in a Watch the spring
Wound to the height, relaxes with the string:
So thy steel nerves of conquest, from their steep
Ascent declin'd, lie slackt in thy last sleep.
Rest then triumphant soul! for ever rest!
And, like the Phœnix in her spicy nest,
Embalm'd with thine own merit, upward fly,
Born in a cloud of perfume to the sky.
Whil'st, as in deathless Urnes, each noble mind
Treasures thy ashes which are left behind.
And if perhaps no Cassiopeian spark
(Which in the North did thy first rising mark)
Shine ore thy Herse: the breath of our just praise
Shall to the Firmament thy vertues raise;
Then fix, and kindle them into a Starre,
Whose influence may crown thy glorious warre.
---O Famâ ingens ingentior armis
Rex Gustave, quibus Cœlo te laudibus æquem?
Virgil. Æneid. lib. 2.