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.
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.
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.