« PreviousContinue »
TENTANDA VIA EST, &c.
WHAT shall I do to be for ever known,
And make the age to come my own
I shall, like beasts or common people, die,
Unless you write my elegy;
Whilst others great, by being born, are grown;
Their mothers' labor, not their own.
In this scale gold, in th' other fame does lie,
The weight of that mounts this so high. These men are Fortune's jewels, moulded bright;| Brought forth with their own fire and light: If I, her vulgar stone, for either look,
Out of myself it must be strook.
Yet I must on. What sound is't strikes mine ear?
Sure I Fame's trumpet hear:
It sounds like the last trumpet; for it can
Raise up the buried man.
Unpast Alps stop me; but I'll cut them all,
And march, the Muses' Hannibal.
Hence, all the flattering vanities that lay
Nets of roses in the way!
Hence, the desire of honors or estate,
And all that is not above Fate!
Hence, Love himself, that tyrant of my days!
Which intercepts my coming praise.
Come, my best friends, my books! and lead me on;
"Tis time that I were gone.
Welcome, great Stagyrite! and teach me now
All I was born to know:
Thy scholar's victories thou dost far outdo;
He conquer'd th' earth, the whole world you. Welcome, learn'd Cicero! whose blest tongue and wit
Preserves Rome's greatness yet: Thou art the first of orators; only he
Who best can praise thee, next must be. Welcome the Mantuan swan, Virgil the wise!
Whose verse walks highest, but not flies; Who brought green Poesy to her perfect age, And made that art which was a rage. Tell me, ye mighty Three! what shall I do To be like one of you?
But you have climb'd the mountain's top, there sit On the calm flourishing head of it,
And, whilst with wearied steps we upwards go, See us, and clouds, below
(Chiefly if I like them should tell All change of weathers that befell,) Than Holingshed or Stow.
But I will briefer with them be,
Since few of them were long with me
An higher and a nobler strain
My present emperess does claim,
Heleonora, first o' th' name;
Whom God grant long to reign!
SOME COPIES OF VERSES, Translated paraphrastically out of Anacreon.
I'LL sing of heroes and of kings, In mighty numbers, mighty things. Begin, my Muse! but lo! the strings To my great song rebellious prove; The strings will sound of nought but love. I broke them all, and put on new; "Tis this or nothing sure will do. These, sure, (said I) will me obey; These, sure, heroic notes will play. Straight I began with thundering Jove, And all th' immortal powers; but Love, I Love smil'd, and from m' enfeebled lyre Came gentle airs, such as inspire Melting love and soft desire. Farewell, then, heroes! farewell, kings And mighty numbers, mighty things! Love tunes my heart just to my strings.
THE thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again,
The plants suck-in the earth, and are
With constant drinking fresh and fair;
The sea itself (which one would think
Should have but little need of drink)
Drinks twice ten thousand rivers up,
So fill'd that they o'erflow the cup.
The busy Sun (and one would guess
By's drunken fiery face no less)
Drinks up the sea, and, when he 'as done
The Moon and Stars drink up the Sun:
They drink and dance by their own light,
They drink and revel all the night.
Nothing in nature's sober found,
But an eternal health goes round.
Fill up the bowl, then, fill it high,
Fill all the glasses there; for why
Should every creature drink but I?
Why, man of morals, tell me why?
LIBERAL Nature did dispense
To all things arms for their defence;
And some she arms with sinewy force,
And some with swiftness in the course;
Some with hard hoofs or forked claws,
And some with horns or tusked jaws:
And some with scales, and some with wings,
And some with teeth, and some with stings.
Wisdom to man she did afford,
Wisdom for shield, and wit for sword.
What to beauteous womankind,
What arms, what armor, has sh' assign'd?
Beauty is both; for with the fair
What arms, what armor, can compare?
What steel, what gold, or diamond,
More impassable is found?
And yet what flame, what lightning, e'er
So great an active force did bear?
They are all weapon, and they dart
Like porcupines from every part.
Who can, alas! their strength express,
Arm'd, when they themselves undress,
Cap-a-pie with nakedness?
OFT am I by the women told,
Poor Anacreon! thou grow'st old:
Look how thy hairs are falling all;
Poor Anacreon, how they fall!
Whether I grow old or no,
By th' effects, I do not know;
This I know. without being told
"Tis ume to live, if I grow old;
"Tis time short pleasures now to take
Of little life the best to make,
And manage wisely the last stake.
A MIGHTY pain to love it is,
And 'tis a pain that pain to miss
But, of all pains, the greatest pair
It is to love, but love in vain.
Virtue now, nor noble blood,
Nor wit, by love is understood
Gold alone does passion move
Gold monopolizes love.
A curse on her, and on the man
Who this traffic first began!
A curse on him who found the ore!
A curse on him who digg'd the store!
A curse on him who did refine it!
A curse on him who first did coin it!
A curse, all curses else above,
On him who us'd it first in love!
Gold begets in brethren hate;
Gold in families debate;
Gold does friendships separate;
Gold does civil wars create.
These the smallest harms of it!
Gold, alas! does love beget.
VIII. THE EPICURE.
FILL the bowl with rosy wine!
Around our temples roses twine!
And let us cheerfully awhile,
Like the wine and roses, smile.
Crown'd with roses, we contemn
Gyges' wealthy diadem.
To-day is ours, what do we fear?
To-day is ours; we have it here:
Let's treat it kindly, that it may
Wish, at least, with ns to stay.
Let's banish business, banish sorrow;
To the gods belongs to-morrow
UNDERNEATH this myrtle shade,
On flowery beds supinely laid,
With odorous oils my head o'erflowing,
And around it roses growing,
What should I do but drink away
The heat and troubles of the day?
In this more than kingly state
Love himself shall on me wait.
Fill to me, Love; nay, fill it up;
And mingled cast into the cup
Wit, and mirth, and noble fires,
Vigorous health and gay desires.
The wheel of life no less will stay
In a smooth than rugged way:
Since it equally doth flee,
Let the motion pleasant be.
Why do we precious ointments show'r?
Nobler wines why do we pour?
Beauteous flowers why do we spread,
Upon the monuments of the dead?
Nothing they but dust can show,
Or bones that hasten to be so.
Crown me with roses whilst I live,
Now your wines and ointments give;
After death I nothing crave,
Let me alive my pleasures have,
All are Stoics in the grave.
X. THE GRASSHOPPER.
HAPPY Insect! what can be
In happiness compar'd to thee?
Fed with nourishment divine,
The dewy Morning's gentle wine!
Nature waits upon thee still,
And thy verdant cup does fill;
"Tis fill'd wherever thou dost tread,
Nature's self's thy Ganymede.
Thou dost drink, and dance, and sing;
Happier than the happiest king!
All the fields which thou dost see,
All the plants, belong to thee;
All that summer-hours produce,
Fertile made with early juice.
Man for thee does sow and plow;
Farmer he, and landlord thou!
Thou dost innocently joy;
Nor does thy luxury destroy;
The shepherd gladly heareth thee,
More harmonious than he.
The country hinds with gladness hear,
Prophet of the ripen'd year!
Thee Phoebus loves, and does inspire,
Phoebus is himself thy sire.
To thee, of all things upon earth,
Life is no longer than thy mirth.
Happy insect, happy thou!
Dost neither age nor winter know;
But, when thou'st drunk, and danc'd, and sung
Thy fill, the flow'ry leaves among,
(Voluptuous, and wise withal,
Sated with thy summer feast,
Thou retir'st to endless rest.
XI. THE SWALLOW.
FOOLISH Prater, what dost thou So early at my window do,
With thy tuneless serenade?
Well't had been had Tereus made
Thee as dumb as Philomel;
There his knife had done but well.
In thy undiscover'd nest
Thou dost all the winter rest,
And dreamest o'er thy summer joys,
Free from the stormy seasons' noise,
Free from th' ill thou'st done to me;
Who disturbs or seeks out thee?
Hadst thou all the charming notes
Of the wood's poetic throats,
All thy art could never pay
What thou hast ta'en from me away.
Cruel bird! thou'st ta'en away
A dream out of my arms to-day;
A dream, that ne'er must equall'd be
By all that waking eyes may see
Thou, this damage to repair,
Nothing half so sweet or fair,
Nothing half so good, canst bring,
Though men say thou bring'st the Spring.
WHO WAS CHOKED BY A GRAPE STONE.
SPOKEN BY THE GOD OF LOVE
How shall I lament thine end,
My best servant and my friend?
Nay, and, if from a deity
So much deified as I,
It sound not too profane and odd,
Oh, my master and my god!
For 'tis true, most mighty poet!
(Though I like not men should know it) I am in naked Nature less,
Less by much, than in thy dress.
All thy verse is softer far
Than the downy feathers are
Of my wings, or of my arrows,
Of my mother's doves or sparrows,
Sweet as lovers' freshest kisses,
Or their riper following blisses;
Graceful, cleanly, smooth, and round,
All with Venus' girdle bound;
And thy life was all the while
Kind and gentle as thy style,
The smooth-pac'd hours of every day
Glided numerously away.
Like thy verse each hour did pass;
Sweet and short, like that, it was.
Some do but their youth allow me,
Just what they by Nature owe me,
The time that's mine, and not their own,
The certain tribute of my crown:
When they grow old, they grow to be
Too busy, or too wise, for me..
Thou wert wiser, and didst know
None too wise for love can grow;
Love was with thy life entwin'd,
Close as heat with fire is join'd;
A powerful brand prescrib'd the date
Of thine, like Meleager's fate.
Th' antiperistasis of age
More inflam'd thy amorous rage;
Thy silver hairs yielded me more
Than even golden curls before.
Had I the power of creation,
As I have of generation,
Where I the matter must obey,
And cannot work plate out of clay,
My creatures should be all like thee,
"Tis thou should'st their idea be:
They, like thee, should thoroughly hate
Business, honor, title, state;
Other wealth they should not know,
But what my living mines bestow;
The pomp of kings, they should confess,
At their crownings, to be less
Than a lover's humblest guise,
When at his mistress' feet he lies.
Rumor they no more should mind
Than men safe landed do the wind;
Wisdom itself they should not hear,
When it presumes to be severe;
Beauty alone they should admire,
Nor look at Fortune's vain attire.
Nor ask what parents it can show;
With dead or old 't has nought to do.
They should not love yet all, or any,
But very much and very many:
All their life should gilded be
With mirth, and wit, and gaiety;
Well remembering and applying
The necessity of dying.
Their cheerful heads should always wear
All that crowns the flowery year:
They should always laugh, and sing,
And dance, and strike th' harmonious string, Verse should from their tongues so flow,
As if it in the mouth did grow,
As swiftly answering their command,
As tunes obey the artful hand.
And whilst I do thus discover
Th' ingredients of a happy lover,
"Tis, my Anacreon! for thy sake
I of the grape no mention make.
Till my Anacreon by thee fell,
Cursed Plant! I lov'd thee well;
And 'twas oft my wanton use
To dip my arrows in thy juice.
Cursed Plant! 'tis true, I see,
The old report that goes of thee-
That with giants' blood the Earth
Stain'd and poison'd gave thee birth;
And now thou wreak'st thy ancient spite
On men in whom the gods delight.
Thy patron, Bacchus, 'tis no wonder,
Was brought forth in flames and thunder,
In rage, in quarrels, and in fights,
Worse than his tigers, he delights;
In all our Heaven I think there be
No such ill-natur'd god as he.
Thou pretendest, traitorous Wine!
To be the Muses' friend and mine:
With love and wit thou dost begin,
False fires, alas! to draw us in;
Which, if our course we by them keep,
Misguide to madness or to sleep:
Sleep were well, thou'st learn't a way
To death itself now to betray.
It grieves me when I see what fate
Does on the best of mankind wait.
Poets or lovers let them be,
"Tis neither love nor poesy
Can arm, against Death's smallest dart,
The poet's head or lover's heart;
But when their life, in its decline,
Touches th' inevitable line,
All the world's mortal to them then,
And wine is aconite to men;
Nay, in Death's hand, the grape-stone proves As strong as thunder is in Jove's:
I'd advise them, when they spy
Any illustrious piety,
To reward her, if it be she
To reward him, if it be he
With such a husband, such a wife, With Acme's and Septimius' life.
ACME AND SEPTIMIUS.
WHILST on Septimius' panting breast
(Meaning nothing less than rest)
Acme lean'd her loving head,
Thus the pleas'd Septimius said:
My dearest Acme, if I be
Once alive, and love not thee
With a passion far above
All that e'er was called love;
In a Libyan desert may
I become some lion's prey;
Let him, Acme, let him tear
My breast, when Acme is not there."
The god of love, who stood to hear him,
(The god of love was always near him,)
Pleas'd and tickled with the sound,
Sneez'd aloud; and all around
The little Loves, that waited by,
Bow'd, and blest the augury.
Acme, inflam'd with what he said,
Rear'd her gently-bending head;
And, her purple mouth with joy
Stretching to the delicious boy,
Twice (and twice could scarce suffice)
She kiss'd his drunken rolling eyes.
My little life, my all!" (said she)
So may we ever servants be
To this best god, and ne'er retain
Our hated liberty again!
So may thy passion last for me,
As I a passion have for thee,
Greater and fiercer much than can
Be conceiv'd by thee a man!
Into my marrow is it gone,
Fixt and settled in the bone;
It reigns not only in my heart,
But runs, like life, through every part."
She spoke; the god of love aloud
Sneez'd again; and all the crowd
Of little Loves, that waited by,
Bow'd, and bless'd the augury.
This good omen thus from Heaven
Like a happy signal given,
Their loves and lives (all four) embrace,
And hand in hand run all the race.
To poor Septimius (who did now
Nothing else but Acme grow)
Acme's bosom was alone
The whole world's imperial throne;
And to faithful Acme's mind
Septimius was all human-kind.
If the gods would please to be But advis'd for once by me,
IN a deep vision's intellectual scene,
Beneath a bower for sorrow made,
Th' uncomfortable shade
Of the black yew's unlucky green
Mixt with the mourning willow's careful grey
Where reverend Cham cuts out his famous way,
The melancholy Cowley lay.
And lo! a Muse appear'd to's closed sight,
(The Muses oft in lands of vision play,)
Body'd, array'd, and seen, by an internal light.
A golden harp with silver strings she bore;
A wondrous hieroglyphic robe she wore,
In which all colors and all figures were,
That Nature or that Fancy can create,
That art can never imitate;
And with loose pride it wanton'd in the air.
In such a dress, in such a well-cloth'd dream,
She us'd, of old, near fair Ismenus' stream,
Pindar, her Theban favorite, to meet;
A crown was on her head, and wings were on her
She touch'd him with her harp, and rais'd him fro
The shaken strings melodiously resound.
Art thou return'd at last," said she,
"To this forsaken place and me?
Thou prodigal! who didst so loosely waste
Of all thy youthful years the good estate;
Art thou return'd here, to repent too late,
And gather husks of learning up at last,
Now the rich harvest-time of life is past,
And Winter marches on so fast?
But, when I meant t'adopt thee for my son,
And did as learn'd a portion assign,
As ever any of the mighty Nine
Had to their dearest children done,
When I resolv'd t'exalt thy anointed name,
Among the spiritual lords of peaceful fame;
Thou, changeling! thou, bewitch'd with noise and
Would'st into courts and cities from me go;
Would'st see the world abroad, and have a share
In all the follies and the tumults there:
Thou wouldst, forsooth, be something in a state.
And business thou would'st find, and would'st
Business! the frivolous pretence
Of human lusts, to shake off innocence;
Business! the grave impertinence;
Business! the thing which I of all things hate; Business! the contradiction of thy fate.
"Go, renegado! cast up thy account,
And see to what amount
Thy foolish gains by quitting me: The sale of knowledge, fame, and liberty, The fruits of thy unlearn'd apostasy. Thou thought'st, if once the public storm were