St. Valentines Day
Now that each feather'd Chorister doth sing
The glad approches of the welcome Spring:
Now Phœbus darts forth his more early beam,
And dips it later in the curled stream,
I should to custome prove a retrograde
Did I still dote upon my sullen shade.
Oft have the seasons finisht and begun;
Dayes into Months, those into years have run,
Since my cross Starres and inauspicious fate
Doom'd me to linger here without my Mate:
Whose loss ere since befrosting my desire,
Left me an Altar without Gift or Fire.
I therefore could have wisht for your own sake
That Fortune had design'd a nobler stake
For you to draw, then one whose fading day
Like to a dedicated Taper lay
Within a Tomb, and long burnt out in vain,
Since nothing there saw better by the flame.
Yet since you like your Chance, I must not try
To marre it through my incapacity.
I here make title to it, and proclaime
How much you honour me to wear my name;
Who can no form of gratitude devise,
But offer up my self your sacrifice.
Hail then my worthy Lot! and may each Morn
Successive springs of joy to you be born:
May your content ne're wane, untill my heart
Grown Bankrupt, wants good wishes to impart.
Henceforth I need not make the dust my Shrine,
Nor search the Grave for my lost Valentine.
Athe Anniverse. An Elegy.
So soon grown old! hast thou been six years dead?
Poor earth, once by my Love inhabited!
And must I live to calculate the time
To which thy blooming youth could never climbe,
But fell in the ascent! yet have not I
Studi'd enough thy losses history.
How happy were mankind if Death's strict lawes
Consum'd our lamentations like the cause!
Or that our grief turning to dust might end
With the dissolved body of a friend!
But sacred Heaven! O how just thou art
In stamping deaths impression on that heart
Which through thy favours would grow insolent,
Were it not physick't by sharp discontent.
If then it stand resolv'd in thy decree
That still I must doom'd to a Desart be
Sprung out of my lone thoughts, which know no path
But what my own misfortune beaten hath:
If thou wilt bind me living to a coarse,
And I must slowly waste; I then of force
Stoop to thy great appointment, and obey
That will which nought avail me to gainsay.
For whil'st in sorrowes Maze I wander on,
I do but follow lifes vocation.
Sure we were made to grieve: at our first birth
With cries we took possession of the earth;
And though the lucky man reputed be
Fortunes adopted son, yet onely he
Is Natures true born child, who summes his years
(Like me) with no Arithmetick but tears.
Upon The Kings Happy Return From Scotland
So breaks the day when the returning Sun
Hath newly through his Winter Tropick run,
As You (Great Sir!) in this regress come forth
From the remoter Climate of the North.
To tell You now what cares, what fears we past,
What Clouds of sorrow did the land ore-cast,
Were lost, but unto such as have been there
Where the absented Sun benights the year:
Or have those Countreys traveld which nere feel
The warmth and vertue of his flaming wheel.
How happy yet were we! that when you went,
You left within your Kingdomes firmament
A Partner-Light, whose lustre may despise
The nightly glimm'ring Tapers of the skies,
Your peerless Queen; and at each hand a Starre
Whose hopeful beams from You enkindled are.
Though (to say truth) the light which they could bring
Serv'd but to lengthen out our evening.
Heavens greater lamps illumine it; each spark
Adds onely this, to make the sky less dark.
Nay She who is the glory of her sex
Did sadly droop for lack of Your reflex:
Oft did She her fair brow in loneness shrowd,
And dimly shone, like Venus in a cloud.
Now are those gloomy mists dry'd up by You,
As the Worlds eye scatters the Ev'ning dew:
And You bring home that blessing to the land
Which absence made us rightly understand.
Here may You henceforth stay! there need no charms
To hold You, but the circle of her arms,
Whose fruitful love yields You a rich increase,
Seales of Your joy, and of the kingdomes peace.
O may those precious pledges fixe You here,
And You grow old within that chrystall Sphere!
Pardon this bold detention. Else our love
Will meerly an officious trouble prove.
Each busie minute tells us as it flies,
That there are better objects for your eyes.
To them let us leave you, whil'st we go pray,
Raising this triumph to a Holy-day.
And may that soul the Churches blessing want;
May his content be short, his comforts scant,
Whose Bosom-Altar does no incense burn,
In thankful sacrifice for your return.
By Occasion Of The Young Prince His Happy Birth
At this glad Triumph, when most Poets use
Their quill, I did not bridle up my Muse
For sloth or less devotion. I am one
That can well keep my Holy-dayes at home;
That can the blessings of my King and State
Better in pray'r then poems gratulate;
And in their fortunes bear a loyal part,
Though I no bone-fires light but in my heart.
Truth is, when I receiv'd the first report
Of a new Starre risen and seen at Court;
Though I felt joy enough to give a tongue
Unto a mute, yet duty strook me dumb:
And thus surpriz'd by rumour, at first sight
I held it some allegiance not to write.
For howere Children, unto those that look
Their pedigree in God's, not the Church book,
Fair pledges are of that eternitie
Which Christians possess not till they die;
Yet they appear view'd in that perspective
Through which we look on men long since alive,
Like succours in a Camp, sent to make good
Their place that last upon the watches stood.
So that in age, or fate, each following birth
Doth set the Parent so much neerer earth:
And by this Grammar we our heirs may call
The smiling Preface to our funerall.
This sadded my soft sense, to think that he
Who now makes Lawes, should by a bold decree
Be summon'd hence to make another room,
And change his Royal Palace for a tomb.
For none ere truly lov'd the present light,
But griev'd to see it rivall'd by the night:
And if't be sin to wish that light extinct,
Sorrow may make it treason but to think't.
I know each male-content or giddy man,
In his religion with the Persian,
Adores the rising Sun; and his false view
Best likes not what is best, but what is new.
O that we could these gangrenes so prevent
(For our own blessing and their punishment)
That all such might, who for wild changes thirst,
Rack't on a hopeless expectation, burst,
To see us fetter time, and by his stay
To a consistence fix the flying day;
And in a Solstice by our prayers made,
Rescue our Sun from death or envies shade.
But here we dally with fate, and in this
Stern Destiny mocks and controules our wish;
Informing us, if fathers should remain
For ever here, children were born in vain;
And we in vain were Christians, should we
In this world dream of perpetuitie.
Decay is natures Kalendar; nor can
It hurt the King to think he is a man;
Nor grieve, but comfort him, to hear us say
That his own children must his Scepter sway.
Why slack I then to contribute a vote
Large as the Kingdoms joy, free as my thought?
Long live the Prince, and in that title bear
The world long witness that the King is here:
May he grow up till all that good he reach
Which we can wish, or his Great Father teach:
Let him shine long a mark to Land and Mayn,
Like that bright Spark plac't neerest to Charles Wayn,
And like him lead successions golden Teame,
Which may possess the Brittish Diademe.
But in the mean space, let his Royal Sire,
Who warmes our hopes with true Promethean fire,
So long his course in time and glory run,
Till he estate his vertue on his son.
So in his Fathers dayes this happy One
Shall crowned be, yet not usurp the Throne;
And Charles reign still, since thus himself will be
Heir to himself through all Posteritie.
Paradox. That It Is Best For A Young Maid To Marry An Old Man
Fair one, why cannot you an old man love?
He may as useful, and more constant prove.
Experience shews you that maturer years
Are a security against those fears
Youth will expose you to; whose wild desire
As it is hot, so 'tis as rash as fire.
Mark how the blaze extinct in ashes lies,
Leaving no brand nor embers when it dies
Which might the flame renew: thus soon consumes
Youths wandring heat, and vanishes in fumes.
When ages riper love unapt to stray
Through loose and giddy change of objects, may
In your warm bosom like a cynder lie,
Quickned and kindled by your sparkling eie.
Tis not deni'd, there are extremes in both
Which may the fancie move to like or loath:
Yet of the two you better shall endure
To marry with the Cramp then Calenture.
Who would in wisdom choose the Torrid Zone
Therein to settle a Plantation?
Merchants can tell you, those hot Climes were made
But at the longest for a three years trade:
And though the Indies cast the sweeter smell,
Yet health and plenty do more Northward dwell;
For where the raging Sun-beams burn the earth,
Her scorched mantle withers into dearth;
Yet when that drought becomes the Harvests curse,
Snow doth the tender Corn most kindly nurse:
Why now then wooe you not some snowy head
To take you in meer pitty to his bed?
I doubt the harder task were to perswade
Him to love you: for if what I have said
In Virgins as in Vegetals holds true,
Hee'l prove the better Nurse to cherish you.
Some men we know renown'd for wisdom grown
By old records and antique Medalls shown;
Why ought not women then be held most wise
Who can produce living antiquities?
Besides if care of that main happiness
Your sex triumphs in, doth your thoughts possess,
I mean your beauty from decay to keep;
No wash nor mask is like an old mans sleep.
Young wives need never to be Sun-burnt fear,
Who their old husbands for Umbrellaes wear:
How russet looks an Orchard on the hill
To one that's water'd by some neighb'ring Drill?
Are not the floated Medowes ever seen
To flourish soonest, and hold longest green?
You may be sure no moist'ning lacks that Bride,
Who lies with Winter thawing by her side.
She should be fruitful too as fields that joyne
Unto the melting waste of Appenine.
Whil'st the cold morning-drops bedew the Rose,
It doth nor leaf, nor smell, nor colour lose;
Then doubt not Sweet! Age hath supplies of wet
To keep You like that flowr in water set.
Dripping Catarrhs and Fontinells are things
Will make You think You grew betwixt two Springs.
And should You not think so, You scarce allow
The force or Merit of Your Marriage-Vow;
Where Maids a new Creed learn, & must from thence
Believe against their own or others sence.
Else Love will nothing differ from neglect,
Which turns not to a vertue each defect.
Ile say no more but this; you women make
Your Childrens reck'ning by the Almanake.
I like it well, so you contented are,
To choose their Fathers by that Kalendar.
Turn then old Erra Pater, and there see
According to lifes posture and degree,
What age or what complexion is most fit
To make an English Maid happy by it;
And You shall find, if You will choose a man,
Set justly for Your own Meridian,
Though You perhaps let One and Twenty woo,
Your elevation is for Fifty Two.
Paradox. That Fruition Destroyes Love
Love is our Reasons Paradox, which still
Against the judgment doth maintain the Will:
And governs by such arbitrary laws,
It onely makes the Act our Likings cause:
We have no brave revenge, but to forgo
Our full desires, and starve the Tyrant so.
They whom the rising blood tempts not to taste,
Preserve a stock of Love can never waste;
When easie people who their wish enjoy,
Like Prodigalls at once their wealth destroy.
Adam till now had stayd in Paradise
Had his desires been bounded by his eyes.
When he did more then look, that made th' offence,
And forfeited his state of innocence.
Fruition therefore is the bane t'undoe
Both our affection and the subject too.
'Tis Love into worse language to translate,
And make it into Lust degenerate:
'Tis to De-throne, and thrust it from the heart,
To seat it grossely in the sensual part.
Seek for the Starre that's shot upon the ground,
And nought but a dimme gelly there is found.
Thus foul and dark our female starres appear,
If fall'n or loosned once from Vertues Sphear.
Glow-worms shine onely look't on, and let ly,
But handled crawl into deformity:
So beauty is no longer fair and bright,
Then whil'st unstained by the appetite:
And then it withers like a blasted flowre
Some poys'nous worm or spider hath crept ore.
Pigmaleon's dotage on the carved stone,
Shews Amorists their strong illusion.
Whil'st he to gaze and court it was content,
He serv'd as Priest at beauties Monument:
But when by looser fires t'embraces led,
It prov'd a cold hard Statue in his bed.
Irregular affects, like mad mens dreams
Presented by false lights and broken beams,
So long content us, as no neer address
Shews the weak sense our painted happiness.
But when those pleasing shaddowes us forsake,
Or of the substance we a trial make,
Like him, deluded by the fancies mock,
We ship-wrack 'gainst an Alabaster rock.
What though thy Mistress far from Marble be?
Her softness will transform and harden thee.
Lust is a Snake, and Guilt the Gorgons head,
Which Conscience turns to Stone, & Joyes to Lead.
Turtles themselves will blush, if put to name
The Act, whereby they quench their am'rous flame.
Who then that's wise or vertuous, would not feare
To catch at pleasures which forbidden were,
When those which we count lawful, cannot be
Requir'd without some loss of modestie?
Ev'n in the Marriage-Bed, where soft delights
Are customary and authoriz'd Rites;
What are those tributes to the wanton fense,
But toleration of Incontinence?
For properly you cannot call that Love
Which does not from the Soul, but Humour move.
Thus they who worship't Pan or Isis Shrine,
By the fair Front judg'd all within Divine:
Though entring, found 'twas but a Goat or Cow
To which before their ignorance did bow.
Such Temples and such Goddesses are these
Which foolish Lovers and admirers please:
Who if they chance within the Shrine to prie,
Find that a beast they thought a Deity.
Nor makes it onely our opinion less
Of what we lik't before, and now possess;
But robbs the Fuel, and corrupts the Spice
Which sweetens and inflames Loves sacrifice.
After Fruition once, what is Desire
But ashes kept warm by a dying fire?
This is (if any) the Philosophers Stone,
Which still miscarries at Projection.
For when the Heat ad Octo intermits,
It poorly takes us like Third Ague fits;
Or must on Embers as dull Druggs infuse,
Which we for Med'cine not for Pleasure use.
Since Lovers joyes then leave so sick a taste,
And soon as relish'd by the Sense are past;
They are but Riddles sure, lost if possest,
And therefore onely in Reversion best.
For bate them Expectation and Delay,
You take the most delightful Scenes away.
These two such rule within the fancie keep,
As banquets apprehended in our sleep;
After which pleasing trance next morn we wake
Empty and angry at the nights mistake.
Give me long Dreams and Visions of content,
Rather then pleasures in a minute spent.
And since I know before, the shedding Rose
In that same instant doth her sweetness lose,
Upon the Virgin-stock still let her dwell
For me, to feast my longings with her smell.
Those are but counterfeits of joy at best,
Which languish soon as brought unto the test.
Nor can I hold it worth his pains who tries
To Inne that Harvest which by reaping dies.
Resolve me now what spirit hath delight,
If by full feed you kill the appetite?
That stomack healthy'st is, that nere was cloy'd,
Why not that Love the best then, nere enjoy'd?
Since nat'rally the blood, when tam'd or sated,
Will cool so fast it leaves the object hated.
Pleasures like wonders quickly lose their price
When Reason or Experience makes us wise.
To close my argument then. I dare say
(And without Paradox) as well we may
Enjoy our Love and yet preserve Desire,
As warm our hands by putting out the fire.
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.