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Read on this dial, how the shades devour
My short-lived winter's day! hour eats up hour;
Alas! the total's but from eight to four.

Behold these lilies, which thy hands have made,
Fair copies of my life, and open laid
To view, how soon they droop, how soon they fade!
Shade not that dial, night will blind too soon;
My non-aged day already points to noon;
How simple is my suit!--how small my boon!

Nor do I beg this slender inch to wile

The time away, or falsely to beguile

My thoughts with joy: here's nothing worth a smile.

Mors Tua.

Can he be fair, that withers at a blast?

Or he be strong, that airy breath can cast?
Can he be wise, that knows not how to live?
Or he be rich, that nothing hath to give?
Can he be young, that's feeble, weak, and wan?
So fair, strong, wise, so rich, so young is man.
So fair is man, that death (a parting blast)
Blasts his fair flower, and makes him earth at last;
So strong is man, that with a gasping breath
He totters, and bequeaths his strength to death;
So wise is man, that if with death he strive,
His wisdom cannot teach him how to live;
So rich is man, that (all his debts being paid)
His wealth's the winding-sheet wherein he's laid;
So young is man, that, broke with care and sorrow,
He's old enough to-day, to die to-morrow:
Why bragg'st thou then, thou worm of five feet long?
Thou'rt neither fair, nor strong, nor wise, nor rich, nor

The Vanity of the World.

False world, thou ly'st thou canst not lend
The least delight:
Thy favours cannot gain a friend,
They are so slight:

Thy morning pleasures make an end

To please at night:

Thy babbling tongue tells golden tales
Of endless treasure;
Thy bounty offers easy sales

Of lasting pleasure;

Thou ask'st the conscience what she ails,
And swear'st to ease her:
There's none can want where thou supply'st:
There's none can give where thou deny'st.
Alas! fond world, thou boasts; false world, thou ly'st.
What well-advised ear regards
What earth can say?
Thy words are gold, but thy rewards
Are painted clay:

Thy cunning can but pack the cards,
Thou canst not play:
Thy game at weakest, still thou vy'st;
If seen, and then revy'd, deny'st:

Thou art not what thou seem'st; false world, thou ly'st.

Thy tinsel bosom seems a mint

Of new-coin'd treasure;
A paradise, that has no stint,

No change, no measure;
A painted cask, but nothing in't,
Nor wealth, nor pleasure:
Vain earth! that falsely thus comply'st
With man; vain man! that thou rely'st

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Poor are the wants that thou supply'st,
And yet thou vaunt'st, and yet thou vy'st
With heaven; fond earth, thou boasts; false world, The highest honours that the world can boast,

thou ly'st.

Are subjects far too low for my desire;
The brightest beams of glory are (at most)
But dying sparkles of thy living fire:

The loudest flames that earth can kindle, be
But nightly glow-worms, if compared to thee.
Without thy presence wealth is bags of cares;
Wisdom but folly; joy disquiet-sadness:
Friendship is treason, and delights are snares;
Pleasures but pain, and mirth but pleasing madness;
Without thee, Lord, things be not what they be,
Nor have they being, when compared with thee.

I love the sea she is my fellow-creature,
My careful purveyor; she provides me store:
She walls me round; she inakes my diet greater;
She wafts my treasure from a foreign shore:

But, Lord of oceans, when compared with thee,
What is the ocean, or her wealth to me?

To heaven's high city I direct my journey,
Whose spangled suburbs entertain mine eye;
Mine eye, by contemplation's great attorney,
Transcends the crystal pavement of the sky:

But what is heaven, great God, compared to thee?
Without thy presence heaven 's no heaven to me.
Without thy presence earth gives no refection;
Without thy presence sea affords no treasure;
Without thy presence air 's a rank infection;
Without thy presence heaven itself no pleasure:
If not possess'd, if not enjoy'd in thee,
What's earth, or sea, or air, or heaven to me?

In having all things, and not thee, what have I !
Not having thee, what have my labours got?
Let me enjoy but thee, what further crave I!
And having thee alone, what have I not?

I wish nor sea nor land; nor would I be
Possess'd of heaven, heaven unpossess'd of thee.

Decay of Life.

The day grows old, the low-pitch'd lamp hath made
No less than treble shade,

And the descending damp doth now prepare

To uncurl bright Titan's hair;

Whose western wardrobe now begins to unfold
Her purples, fringed with gold,
To clothe his evening glory, when the alarms

On earth; vain man, thou dot'st; vain earth, thou ly'st. Of rest shall call to rest in restless Thetis' arms.

Nature now calls to supper, to refresh
The spirits of all flesh;

The toiling ploughman drives his thirsty teams,
To taste the slipp'ry streams:

The droiling swineherd knocks away, and feasts
His hungry whining guests:

The boxbill ouzle, and the dappled thrush,
Like hungry rivals meet at their beloved bush.
And now the cold autumnal dews are seen
To cobweb every green;

And by the low-shorn rowans doth appear
The fast-declining year:

The sapless branches doff their summer suits,
And wain their winter fruits;

And stormy blasts have forced the quaking trees
To wrap their trembling limbs in suits of mossy frieze.

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He threatens youth with age; and now, alas!

He owns not what he is, but vaunts the man he was.

Grey hairs peruse thy days, and let thy past

Read lectures to thy last:

Those hasty wings that hurried them away
Will give these days no day:

The constant wheels of nature scorn to tire
Until her works expire:


That blast that nipp'd thy youth will ruin thee;
That hand that shook the branch will quickly strike

the tree.

George Herbert.

mitted his works to him before publication. The poet was also in favour with King James, who gave him a sinecure office worth £120 per annum, which Queen Elizabeth had formerly given to Sir Philip Sidney. With this,' says Izaak Walton, and his annuity, and the advantages of his college, and of his oratorship, he enjoyed his genteel humour for clothes and court-like company, and seldom looked towards Cambridge unless the king were there, but then he never failed.' The death of the king and of two powerful friends, the Duke of Richmond and Marquis of Hamilton, destroyed Herbert's court hopes, and he entered into sacred orders. He was first prebend of Layton Ecclesia (the church of which he rebuilt), and afterwards was made rector of Bemerton, in Wiltshire, where he passed the remainder of his life. After describing the poet's marriage on the third day after his first interview with the lady, old Izaak Walton relates, with characteristic simplicity and minuteness, a matrimonial scene preparatory to their removal to Bemerton :The third day after he was made rector of Bemerton, and had changed his sword and silk clothes into a canonical habit (he had probably never done duty regularly at Layton Ecclesia), he returned so habited with his friend Mr Woodnot to Bainton; and immediately after he had seen and saluted his wife, he said to her, "You are now a minister's wife, and must now so far forget your father's house as not to claim a precedence of any of your parishioners; for you are to know that a priest's wife can challenge no precedence or place but that which she purchases by her obliging humility; and I am sure places so purchased do best become them. And let me tell clergy-you, I am so good a herald as to assure you that this is truth." And she was so meek a wife, as to assure him it was no vexing news to her, and that he should see her observe it with a cheerful willingness.'

Herbert discharged his clerical duties with saint

To Chastity.

Oh, Chastity!-the flower of the soul,
How is thy perfect fairness turn'd to foul!
How are thy blossoms blasted all to dust,
By sudden light'ning of untamed lust!
How hast thou thus defil'd thy ev'ry feet,
Thy sweetness that was once, how far from sweet!
Where are thy maiden smiles, thy blushing check-
Thy lamb-like countenance, so fair, so meek?
Where is that spotless flower, that while-ere
Within thy lily bosom thou did'st wear?
Has wanton Cupid snatched it? hath his dart
Sent courtly tokens to thy simple heart?
Where dost thou bide? the country half disclaims thee;
The city wonders when a body names thee:
Or have the rural woods engrost thee there,
And thus forestall'd our empty markets here?
Sure thou art not; or kept where no man shows thee;
Or chang'd so much scarce man or woman knows thee.

GEORGE HERBERT (1593-1632) was of noble birth, though chiefly known as a pious country -'holy George Herbert,' who


The lowliest duties on himself did lay.

Lord Herbert of Cherbury. George was educated at Cambridge, and in the year 1619 was chosen orator for the university. Herbert was the intimate friend of Sir Henry Wotton and Dr Donne; and Lord Bacon is said to have entertained such a high regard for his learning and judgment, that he sub


His father was descended from the earls of Pembroke, and lived in Montgomery Castle, Wales, where the poet was born. His elder brother was the celebrated

*The rectory of Bemerton is now held by another poet, the Rev. W. Lisle Bowles.

like zeal and purity, but his strength was not equal to his self-imposed tasks, and he died at the early age of thirty-nine. His principal production is entitled, The Temple, or Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations. It was not printed till the year after his death, but was so well received, that Walton says twenty thousand copies were sold in a few years after the first impression. The lines on Virtue

Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,

are the best in the collection; but even in them we find, what mars all the poetry of Herbert, ridiculous conceits or coarse unpleasant similes. His taste was very inferior to his genius. The most sacred subject could not repress his love of fantastic imagery, or keep him for half a dozen verses in a serious and natural strain. Herbert was a musician, and sang his own hymns to the lute or viol; and indications of this may be found in his poems, which have sometimes a musical flow and harmonious cadence. It may be safely said, however, that Herbert's poetry alone would not have preserved his name, and that he is indebted for the reputation he enjoys, to his excellent and amiable character, embalmed in the pages of good old Walton, to his prose work, the Country Parson, and to the warm and fervent piety which gave a charm to his life and breathes through all his writings.


Sweet day! so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky;
The dews shall weep thy fall to-night;
For thou must die.

Sweet rose! whose hue, angry and brave,
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye;
Thy root is ever in its grave;

And thou must die.

Sweet spring! full of sweet days and roses;
A box where sweets compacted lie;
Thy music shows ye have your closes;
And all must die.

Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like season'd timber never gives;
But, though the whole world turn to coal,
Then chiefly lives.


All may of thee partake;
Nothing can be so mean,
Which, with this tincture, for thy sake,
Will not grow bright and clean.

This is the famous stone

That turneth all to gold,

For that which God doth touch and own, Cannot for less be told.


[Oddly called by Herbert The Pulley.'' When God at first made man,

Having a glass of blessings standing by, 'Let us,' said he, 'pour on him all we can; Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie, Contract into a span.'

So strength first made away;
Then beauty flow'd; then wisdom, honour,
When almost all was out, God made a stay;
Perceiving that alone, of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.

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O day most calm, most bright,
The fruit of this the next world's bud,
The indorsement of supreme delight,
Writ by a Friend, and with his blood;
The couch of time, care's balm and bay:
The week were dark, but for thy light;
Thy torch doth show the way.
The other days and thou

Make up one man; whose face thou art,
Knocking at heaven with thy brow:
The workydays are the back-part;
The burden of the week lies there,
Making the whole to stoop and bow,
Till thy release appear.

Man had straight forward gone
To endless death: but thou dost pull
And turn us round, to look on one,
Whom, if we were not very dull,
We could not choose but look on still;
Since there is no place so alone,

The which he doth not fill.
Sundays the pillars are,

On which heaven's palace arched lies:
The other days fill up the spare
And hollow room with vanities.
They are the fruitful beds and borders
In God's rich garden: that is bare,

Which parts their ranks and orders.

The Sundays of man's life, Threaded together on Time's string, Make bracelets to adorn the wife Of the eternal glorious King. On Sunday heaven's gate stands ope; Blessings are plentiful and rifeMore plentiful than hope.

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WILLIAM HABINGTON (1605-1654) had all the vices of the metaphysical school, excepting its occasional and frequently studied licentiousness. He tells us himself (in his preface) that, if the innocency of a chaste muse shall be more acceptable, and weigh heavier in the balance of esteem, than a fame begot in adultery of study, I doubt I shall leave no hope of competition.' And of a pure attachment, he says finely, that when love builds upon the rock of chastity, it may safely contemn the battery of the waves and threatenings of the wind; since time, that makes a mockery of the firmest structures, shall itself be ruinated before that be demolished.' Habington's life presents few incidents, though he came of a plotting family. His father was implicated in Babington's conspiracy; his uncle suffered death for his share in the same transaction. The poet's mother atoned, in some measure, for these disloyal intrigues; for she is said to have been the writer of the famous letter to Lord Monteagle, which averted the execution of the Gunpowder Plot. The poet was educated at St Omer's, but declined to become a Jesuit. He married Lucia, daughter of the first Lord Powis, whom he had celebrated under the name of Castara. Twenty years before his death, he published his poems, consisting of The Mistress, The Wife, and The Holy Man. These titles include each several copies of verses, and the same design was afterwards adopted by Cowley. The life of the poet seems to have glided quietly away, cheered by the society and affection of his Castara. He had no stormy passions to agitate him, and no unruly imagination to control or subdue. His poetry is of the same unruffled descriptionplacid, tender, and often elegant-but studded with conceits to show his wit and fancy. When he talks of meadows wearing a 'green plush,' of the fire of mutual love being able to purify the air of an infected city, and of a luxurious feast being so rich that heaven must have rained showers of sweetmeats, as if

Heaven were

Blackfriars, and each star a confectioner

we are astonished to find one who could ridicule the 'madness of quaint oaths,' and the 'fine rhetoric of clothes,' in the gallants of his day, and whose sentiments on love were so pure and noble, fall into such absurd and tasteless puerilities.

[Epistle to a Friend.]

[Addressed to his noblest friend, J. C., Esq. 1

I hate the country's dirt and manners, yet
I love the silence; I embrace the wit
And courtship, flowing here in a full tide,
But loathe the expense, the vanity and pride.
No place each way is happy. Here I hold
Commerce with some, who to my care unfold
(After a due oath ministred) the height
And greatness of each star shines in the state,
The brightness, the eclipse, the influence.
With others I commune, who tell me whence
The torrent doth of foreign discord flow;
Relate each skirmish, battle, overthrow,
Soon as they happen; and by rote can tell
Those German towns, even puzzle me to spell.
The cross, or prosperous fate, of princes, they
Ascribe to rashness, cunning, or delay;
And on each action comment, with more skill
Than upon Livy did old Machiavel.
O busy folly! Why do I my brain
Perplex with the dull policies of Spain,

Or quick designs of France! Why not repair
To the pure innocence o' th' country air,
And neighbour thee, dear friend who so dost give
Thy thoughts to worth and virtue, that to live
Blest, is to trace thy ways. There might not we
Arm against passion with philosophy;
And, by the aid of leisure, so control
Whate'er is earth in us, to grow all soul !
Knowledge doth ignorance engender, when
We study mysteries of other men,
And foreign plots. Do but in thy own shade
(Thy head upon some flow'ry pillow laid,
Kind nature's housewifery) contemplate all
His stratagems, who labours to enthral
The world to his great master, and you'll find
Ambition mocks itself, and grasps the wind.
Not conquest makes us great. Blood is too dear
A price for glory: Honour doth appear
To statesmen like a vision in the night,
And, juggler-like, works o' th' deluded sight.
Th' unbusied only wise for no respect
Endangers them to error; they affect
Truth in her naked beauty, and behold
Man with an equal eye, not bright in gold
Or tall in title; so much him they weigh
As virtue raiseth him above his clay.
Thus let us value things: and since we find
Time bend us toward earth, let's in our mind
Create new youth; and arm against the rude
Assaults of age; that no dull solitude
O' th' country dead our thoughts, nor busy care
O' th' town make us to think, where now we are
And whither we are bound. Time ne'er forgot
His journey, though his steps we number'd not.

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She her throne makes reason climb,
While wild passions captive lie:
And, each article of time,
Her pure thoughts to heaven fly:
All her vows religious be,
And her love she vows to me.


SIR JOHN SUCKLING (1608-1641) possessed such a natural liveliness of fancy, and exuberance of animal spirits, that he often broke through the artificial restraints imposed by the literary taste of his times, but he never rose into the poetry of passion and imagination. He is a delightful writer of what have been called 'occasional poems.' His polished wit, playful fancy, and knowledge of life and society, enabled him to give interest to trifles, and to clothe familiar thoughts in the garb of poetry. His own life seems to have been one summer-day—

Youth at the prow, and pleasure at the helm. He dreamt of enjoyment, not of fame. The father of Suckling was secretary of state to James I., and comptroller of the household to Charles I. The poet was distinguished almost from his infancy; and at sixteen he had entered on public life! His first appearance was as a soldier under the celebrated Gustavus Adolphus, with whom he served one campaign. On his return, he entered warmly into the cause of Charles I., and raised a troop of horse in his support. He intrigued with his brother cavaliers to rescue the Earl of Strafford, and was impeached by the House of Commons. To evade a trial, he fled to France, but a fatal accident took place by the way. His servant having robbed him at an inn, Suckling, learning the circumstance, drew on his boots hurriedly, to pursue him; a rusty nail, or (according to another account) the blade of a knife, had been concealed in the boot, which wounded him, and produced mortification, of which he died. The works of Suckling consist of miscellaneous His poems, five plays, and some private letters. poems are all short, and the best of them are dedicated to love and gallantry. With the freedom of a cavalier, Suckling has greater purity of expression than most of his contemporaries. His sentiments are sometimes too voluptuous, but are rarely coarse; and there is so much elasticity and vivacity in his verses, that he never becomes tedious. His Ballad upon a Wedding is inimitable for witty levity and choice beauty of expression. It has touches of graphic description and liveliness equal to the pictures of Chaucer. One well-known verse has never been excelled

Her feet beneath her petticoat,
Like little mice, stole in and out,
As if they fear'd the light;
But oh! she dances such a way,
No sun upon an Easter-day
Is half so fine a sight !*

*Herrick, who had no occasion to steal, has taken this image from Suckling, and spoiled it in the theft

Her pretty feet, like snails, did creep A little out.

Like Sir Fretful Plagiary, Herrick had not skill to steal with taste. Wycherley also purloined Herrick's simile for one of his plays. The allusion to Easter-day is founded upon a beautiful old superstition of the English peasantry, that the sun dances upon that morning.

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