To A Friend Upon Overbury's Wife Given To Her
I know no fitter subject for your view
Then this, a meditation ripe for you,
As you for it. Which when you read you'l see
What kind of wife your self will one day bee:
Which happy day be neer you, and may this
Remain with you as earnest of my wish;
When you so far love any, that you dare
Venture your whole affection on his care,
May he for whom you change your Virgin-life
Prove good to you, and perfect as this Wife.
An Epitaph On His Most Honoured Friend Richard Earl Of Dorset
Let no profane ignoble foot tread neer
This hallow'd peece of earth, Dorset lies here.
A small sad relique of a noble spirit,
Free as the air, and ample as his merit;
Whose least perfection was large, and great
Enough to make a common man compleat.
A soul refin'd and cull'd from many men,
That reconcil'd the sword unto the pen,
Using both well. No proud forgetting Lord,
But mindful of mean names and of his word.
One that did love for honour, not for ends,
And had the noblest way of making friends
By loving first. One that did know the Court,
Yet understood it better by report
Then practice, for he nothing took from thence
But the kings favour for his recompence.
One for religion, or his countreys good
That valu'd not his Fortune nor his blood.
One high in fair opinion, rich in praise;
And full of all we could have wisht, but dayes.
He that is warn'd of this, and shall forbear
To vent a sigh for him, or lend a tear;
May he live long and scorn'd, unpiti'd fall,
And want a mourner at his funerall.
Upon The Death Of My Ever Desired Friend Doctor Donne Dean Of Pauls
To have liv'd eminent in a degreee
Beyond our lofty'st flights, that is like thee;
Or t'have had too much merit is not safe;
For such excesses find no Epitaph.
At common graves we have Poetick eyes
Can melt themselves in easie Elegies;
Each quill can drop his tributary verse,
And pin it with the Hatchments, to the Herse:
But at thine, Poem or inscription
(Rich Soul of wit and language); we have none;
Indeed a silence does that Tomb befit
Where is no Herald left to blazon it.
Widdow'd invention justly doth forbear
To come abroad knowing thou art not here,
Late her great Patron; whose prerogative
Maintain'd and cloth'd her so, as none alive
Must now presume to keep her at thy rate,
Though he the Indies for her dowre estate:
Or else that awful fire, which once did burn
In thy clear brain, now fall'n into thy Urn.
Lives there to fright rude Empericks from thence,
Which might profane thee by their ignorance:
Who ever writes of thee, and in a style
Unworthy such a Theme, does but revile
Thy precious dust, and wake a learned spirit
Which may revenge his rapes upon thy merit.
For all a low-pitcht fancie can devise,
Will prove at best but hallow'd injuries.
Thou, like the dying Swan, didst lately sing
Thy mournful Dirge in audience of the King;
When pale looks, and faint accents of thy breath,
Presented so to life that piece of death,
That it was fear'd and prophesi'd by all
Thou thither cam'st to preach thy Funerall.
O! hadst thou in an Elegiack knell
Rung out unto the world thine own farewell;
And in thy high victorious numbers beat
The solemn measure of thy griev'd retreat:
Thou might'st the Poets service now have mist,
As well as then thou didst prevent the Priest:
And never to the world beholden be,
So much as for an Epitaph for thee.
I do not like the office. Nor is't fit
Thou, who didst lend our age such summes of wit,
Should'st now reborrow from her Bankrupt Mine
That Ore to bury thee, which once was thine.
Rather still leave us in thy debt; and know
(Exalted Soul!) More glory 'tis to ow
Unto thy Herse what we can never pay,
Then with embased coin those Rites defray.
Commit we then Thee to Thy Self: nor blame
Our drooping loves, which thus to thine own fame
Leave Thee Executour: since but thy own
No pen could do Thee Justice, nor Bayes crown
Thy vast desert; save that we nothing can
Depute to be thy ashes Guardian.
So Jewellers no Art or Metal trust
To form the Diamond, but the Diamonds dust.
An Elegy Upon My Best Friend L. K. C.
Should we our Sorrows in this Method range,
Oft as Misfortune doth their Subjects change,
And to the sev'ral Losses which befall,
Pay diff'rent Rites at ev'ry Funeral;
Like narrow Springs drain'd by dispersed Streams,
We must want Tears to wail such various Themes,
And prove defective in Deaths mournfull Laws,
Not having Words proportion'd to each Cause.
In your Dear loss my much afflicted Sense,
Discerns this Truth by sad experience,
Who never Look'd my Verses should survive,
As wet Records, That you are not Alive;
And less desir'd to make that Promise due,
Which pass'd from Me in jest, when urg'd by You.
How close and slily doth our Frailty work!
How undiscover'd in the Body lurk!
That Those who this Day did salute you well,
Before the Next were frighted by your Knell.
O wherefore since we must in Order rise,
Should we not Fall in equal Obsequies?
But bear th' Assaults of an uneven Fate,
Like Feavers which their Hour anticipate;
Had this Rule constant been, my long wish'd End
Might render you a Mourner for your Friend:
As He for you, whose most deplor'd surprise
Imprints your Death on all my Faculties;
That hardly my dark Phant'sie or Discourse,
This final Duty from the Pen inforce:
Such Influence hath your Eclipsed Light,
It doth my Reason like my Self benight.
Let me, with Luckless Gamesters, then think best
(After I have Set up and Lost my Rest,)
Grow'n desp'rate through mischance, to Venture last
My whole remaining Stock upon a Cast,
And flinging from me my now Loathed Pen,
Resolve for your Sake nev'r to Write agen:
For whilst Successive days their Light renew,
I must no Subject hope to Equal you,
In whose Heroick Brest as in their Sphear,
All Graces of your Sex concentred were.
Thus take I my long Farewell of that Art,
Fit only glorious Actions to impart;
That Art wherewith our Crosses we beguile,
And make them in Harmonious numbers smile:
Since you are gone, This holds no further use,
Whose Virtue and Desert inspir'd my Muse.
O may She in your Ashes Buried be,
Whilst I my Self become the Elegie.
And as it is observ'd when Princes Dye,
In honour of that sad Solemnity,
The now unoffic'd Servants crack their Staves,
And throw them down into their Masters Graves:
So this last Office of my broken Verse,
I solemnly resign upon your Hearse;
And my Brains moisture, all that is unspent,
Shall melt to nothing at the Monument.
Thus in moist Weather when the Marble weeps,
You'l think it only his Tears reck'ning keeps,
Who doth for ever to his Thoughts bequeath
The Legacy of your lamented Death.
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.
To His Unconstant Friend
But say thou very woman, why to me
This fit of weakness and inconstancie?
What forfeit have I made of word or vow,
That I am rack't on thy displeasure now?
If I have done a fault I do not shame
To cite it from thy lips, give it a name:
I ask the banes, stand forth, and tell me why
We should not in our wonted loves comply?
Did thy cloy'd appetite urge thee to trie
If any other man could love as I?
I see friends are like clothes, lad up whil'st new,
But after wearing cast, though nere so true.
Or did thy fierce ambition long to make
Some Lover turn a martyr for thy sake?
Thinking thy beauty had deserv'd no name
Unless some one do perish in that flame:
Upon whose loving dust this sentence lies,
Here's one was murther'd by his Mistriss eyes.
Or was't because my love to thee was such,
I could not choose but blab it? swear how much
I was thy slave, and doting let thee know,
I better could my self then thee forgo.
Hearken ye men that ere shall love like me,
Ile give you counsel gratis: if you be
Possest of what you like, let your fair friend
Lodge in your bosom, but no secrets send
To seek their lodging in a female brest;
For so much is abated of your rest.
The Steed that comes to understand his strength
Growes wild, and casts his manager at length:
And that tame Lover who unlocks his heart
Unto his Mistriss, teaches her an art
To plague himself; shews her the secret way
How She may tyrannize another day.
And now my fair unkindness, thus to thee;
Mark how wise Passion and I agree:
Hear and be sorry for't. I will not die
To expiate thy crime of levitie:
I walk (not cross-arm'd neither) eat, and live,
Yea live to pity thy neglect, not grieve
That thou art from thy faith and promise gone,
Nor envy him who by my loss hath won.
Thou shalt perceive thy changing Moon-like fits
Have not infected me, or turn'd my wits
To Lunacie. I do not mean to weep
When I should eat, or sigh when I should sleep;
I will not fall upon my pointed quill,
Bleed ink and Poems, or invention spill
To contrive Ballads, or weave Elegies
For Nurses wearing when the infant cries.
Nor like th' enamour'd Tristrams of the time,
Despair in prose, and hang my self in rhime.
Nor thither run upon my verses feet,
Where I shall none but fools or mad-men meet,
Who mid'st the silent shades, and Myrtle walks,
Pule and do penance for their Mistress faults.
I'm none of those poetick male-contents
Born to make paper dear with my laments:
Or wild Orlando that will rail and vex,
And for thy sake fall out with all the sex.
No, I will love again, and seek a prize
That shall redeem me from thy poor despise.
Ile court my fortune now in such a shape
That will no faint die, nor starv'd colour take.
Thus launch I off with triumph from thy shore,
To which my last farewell; for never more
Will I touch there. I put to Sea again
Blown with the churlish wind of thy disdain.
Nor will I stop this course till I have found
A Coast that yields safe harbour, and firm ground.
Smile ye Love-Starres; wing'd with desire I fly,
To make my wishes full discovery:
Nor doubt I but for one that proves like you,
I shall find ten as fair, and yet more true.
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.