Page images
PDF
EPUB

But if I fail your heart to move,

Or 'tis not yours to give,
I cannot, will not cease to love,
But I will cease to live.

Aphra Behn.

LXVII.

Ah, Chloris ! could I now but sit

As unconcern'd as when
Your infant beauty could beget

No happiness or pain !
When I this dawning did admire,

And praised the coming day,
I little thought the rising fire

Would take my rest away.
Your charms in harmless childhood lay

Like metals in a mine;
Age from no face takes more away

Than youth conceal'd in thine.
But as your charms insensibly

To their perfection prest,
So love as unperceived did fly,

And center'd in my breast.
My passion with your beauty grew,

While Cupid at my heart,
Still as his mother favour'd you,

Threw a new flaming dart.
Each gloried in their wanton part ;

To make a lover, he
Employ'd the utmost of his art-
To make a beauty, she.

Sir Charles Sedley.

LXVIII.

YE happy swains, whose hearts are free

From Love's imperial chain,
Take warning, and be taught by me,

T'avoid th' enchanting pain.
Fatal the wolves to trembling flocks,

Fierce winds to blossoms prove-To careless seamen, hidden rocks

To human quiet, love.

Then fly the Fair, if bliss you prize;

The snake's beneath the flower:
Who ever gazed on beauteous eyes,

And tasted quiet more?
How faithless is the lover's joy!

How constant is his care!
The kind with falsehood do destroy,
The cruel with despair.

Sir George Etherege.

LXIX.

TO CELIA.

Not, Celia, that I juster am

Or better than the rest; For I would change each hour, like them,

Were not my heart at rest. But I am tied to very thee

By every thought I have: Thy face I only care to see,

Thy heart I only crave.
All that in woman is adored

In thy dear self I find--
For the whole sex can but afford

The handsome and the kind.

Why then should I seek further store,

And still make love anew ? When change itself can give no more, 'Tis easy to be true.

Sir Charles Sedley.

LXX.

CARPE DIEM.

It is not, Celia, in your power

To say how long our love will last;
It may be we, within this hour,

May lose those joys we now do taste :
The blessed, who immortal be,
From change of love are only free.

Then, since we mortal lovers are,

Ask not how long our love will last;
But, while it does, let us take care

Each minute be with pleasure past.
Were it not madness to deny
To live, because we're sure to die?
Fear not, though love and beauty fail,

My reason shall my heart direct :
Your kindness now shall then prevail,

And passion turn into respect. Celia, at worst, you'll in the end But change a lover for a friend.

Sir George Etherege.

LXXI.

OF ENGLISH VERSE.
Poets may boast, as safely vain,
Their works shall with the world remain;
Both bound together, live or dię,
The verses and the prophecy.
But who can hope his line should long
Last in a daily changing tongue?
While they are new, envy prevails ;
And, as that dies, our language fails.
When architects have done their part,
The matter may betray their art:
Time, if we use ill-chosen stone,
Soon brings a well-built palace down.
Poets, that lasting marble seek,
Must carve in Latin or in Greek:
We write in sand: our language grows,
And, like the tide, our work o'erflows.
Chaucer his sense can only boast, -
The glory of his numbers lost !
Years have defaced his matchless strain,-
And yet he did not sing in vain !
The beauties which adorn'd that age,
The shining subjects of his page,
Hoping they should immortal prove,
Rewarded with success his love.

This was the generous poet's scope;
And all an English pen can hope;
To make the fair approve his flame,
That can so far extend their name.
Verse, thus design'd, has no ill fate,
If it arrive but at the date
Of fading beauty ; if it prove
But as long-lived as present love.

Edinund Waller.

LXXII.

THE STORY OF PHEBUS AND DAPHNE

APPLIED.

THYRSIS, a youth of the inspired train,
Fair Sacharissa loved, but loved in vain :
Like Phoebus sung the no less amorous boy;
Like Daphne she, as lovely, and as coy!
With numbers he the flying nymph pursues;
With numbers, such as Phoebus' self might use !.
Such is the chase, when Love and Fancy leads,
O'er craggy mountains, and thro’ flowery meads;
Invoked to testify the lover's care,
Or form some image of his cruel fair.
Urged with his fury, like a wounded deer,
O'er these he fled; and now approaching near,
Had reach'd the nymph with his harmonious lay,
Whom all his charms could not incline to stay.
Yet, what he sung in his immortal strain,
Though unsuccessful, was not sung in vain :
All, but the nymph who should redress his wrong.
Attend his passion, and approve his song,
Like Phoebus thus, acquiring unsought praise,
He catch'd at love, and fill'd his arms with bays.

Edmund Waller

LXXIII.

Phillis, for shame ! let us improve,

A thousand different ways,
These few short moments snatch'd by love

From many tedious days.

If you want courage to despise

The censure of the grave,
Tho' Love's a tyrant in your eyes,

Your heart is but a slave.

My love is full of noble pride;

Nor can it e'er submit
To let that fop, Discretion, ride

In triumph over it.

False friends I have, as well as you,

Who daily counsel me
Fame and Ambition to pursue,

And leave off loving thee.

But when the least regard I shou!"

To fools who thus advise,
May I be dull enough to grow
Most miserably wise !

Charles Sackville, Earl of Dorset.

LXXIV.

TO CHLORIS SINGING A SONG OF HIS

COMPOSING.

CHLORIS! yourself you so excel,

When you vouchsafe to breathe my thought, That, like a spirit, with this spell

Of my own teaching, I am caught. That eagle's fate and mine are one,

Which, on the shaft that made him die, Espied a feather of his own,

Wherewith he wont to soar so high.

Had Echo, with so sweet a grace,

Narcissus' loud complaints return'd,
Not for reflection of his face,
But of his voice, the boy had burn'd.

Edmund Waller.

« PreviousContinue »