Page images
PDF
EPUB

ELEGY IX.

THE AUTUMNAL.

No spring, nor summer's beauty, hath such grace,
As I have seen in oue autumnal face.

Young beauties force our loves, and that's a rape;
This doth but counsel, yet you cannot 'scape.
If 't were a shame to love, here 't were no shame :

Affections here take reverence's name.
Were her first years the golden age; that 's true.
But now she's gold oft try'd, and ever new.
That was her torrid and inflaming time;

This is her habitable tropic clime.
Fair eyes; who asks more heat than comes from
He in a fever wishes pestilence.
[hence,
Call not these wrinkles graves: if graves they were,
They were Love's graves; or else he is no where.
Yet lies not Love dead here, but here doth sit

Vow'd to this trench, like an anachorit.
And here, till her's, which must be his death, come,

He doth not dig a grave, but build a tomb.
Here dwells he; though he sojourn ev'ry where

In progress, yet his standing house is here.
Here, where still evening is, not noon nor night,
Where no voluptuousness, yet all delight.
In all her words, unto all hearers fit,

You may at revels, you at councils sit.
This is Love's timber, youth his underwood;

There he, as wine in June, enrages blood,
Which then comes seasonablest, when our taste
And appetite to other things is past.
Xerxes' straage Lydian love, the platane tree,

Was lov'd for age, none being so old as she,
Or else because, being young, nature did bless

Her youth with age's glory-barrenness.
If we love things long sought; age is a thing,
Which we are fifty years in compassing:
If transitory things, which soon decay,

Age must be loveliest at the latest day.
But name not winter-faces, whose skin's slack;

Lank, as an unthrift's purse, but a soul's sack:
Whose eyes seek light within; for all here's shade;
Whose mouths are holes, rather worn out than
made;

Whose every tooth to a several place is gone
To vex the soul at resurrection;
Name not these living death-heads unto me,
For these not ancient but antique be:
I hate extremes: yet I had rather stay

With tombs than cradles, to wear out the day.
Since such Love's natural station is, may still

My love descend, and journey down the hill; Not panting after growing beauties; so

I shall ebb on with them, who homeward go.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

DEATH.

LANGUAGE, thou art too narrow, and too weak
To ease us now, great sorrows cannot speak.
If we could sigh out accents, and weep words,
Grief wears and lessens, that tear's breath affords.
Sad hearts, the less they seem, the more they are,
(So guiltiest men stand mutest at the bar)
Not that they know not, feel not their estate,
But extreme sense hath made them desperate;
Sorrow, to whom we owe all that we be,
Tyrant in th' fifth and greatest monarchy,
Was 't that she did possess all 1⚫ arts before,
Thou hast kill'd her, to make thy empire more?
Knew'st thou some would, that knew her not, lament,
As in a deluge perish th' innocent?
Was 't not enough to have that palace won,
But thou must raze it too, that was undone ?
Hadst thou stay'd there, and look'd out at her eyes,
All had ador'd thee, that now from thee flies;
They told not when, but did the day begin;
For they let out more light than they took in,
She was too saphirine and clear for thee;
Clay, flint, and jet now thy fit dwellings be:
Alas! she was too pure, but not too weak;
Who e'er saw crystal ordnance but would break?
And if we be thy conquest, by her fall

Th' hast lost thy end, in her we perish all:
Or if we live, we live but to rebel,

That know her better now, who knew her well.
If we should vapour out, and pine and die,
Since she first went, that were not misery:
She chang'd our world with her's: now she is gone,
Mirth and prosperity's oppression:
For of all moral virtues she was all,
That ethics speak of virtues cardinal.
Her soul was paradise: the cherubin
Set to keep it was Grace, that kept out Sin:
She had no more than let in Death, for we
All reap consumption from one fruitful tree:
God took her hence, lest some of us should love
Her, like that plant, him and his laws above:
To raise our minds to Heav'n, where now she is:
And when we tears, he mercy shed in this,
Whom if her virtues would have let her stay,
We'd had a saint, have now a holiday.

Her heart was that strange bush, where sacred fire,
Religion, did not consume, but inspire

[ocr errors]

Such piety, so chaste use of God's day,
That what we turn to feast, she turn'd to pray,
And did prefigure here in devout taste
The rest of her high sabbath, which shall last.
Angels did hand her up, who next God dwell,
(For she was of that order whence most fell)
Her body's left with us, lest some had said,
She could not die, except they saw her dead;
For from less virtue and less beauteousness
The Gentiles fram'd them gods and goddesses;
The ravenous Earth, that now woos her to be
Earth too, will be a Lemnia; and the tree,
That wraps that crystal in a wooden tomb,
Shall be took up spruce, fill'd with diamond:
And we her sad glad friends all bear a part
Of grief, for all would break a stoic's heart.

ELEGY XII.

UPON THE

LOSS OF HIS MISTRESS'S CHAIN, FOR WHICH HE MADE SATISFACTION.

NOT, that in colour it was like thy hair,

Armlets of that thou may'st still let me wear:
Nor, that thy hand it oft embrac'd and kiss'd,
For so it had that good, which oft I miss'd:
Nor for that silly old morality,

That as these links were knit, our loves should be;
Mourn I, that I thy sevenfold chain have lost :
Nor for the luck's sake; but the bitter cost.
O! shall twelve righteous angels, which as yet
No leaven of vile solder did admit;

Nor yet by any way have stray'd or gone
From the first state of their creation;
Angels, which Heaven commanded to provide
All things to me, and be my faithful guide;
To gain new friends, t' appease old enemies;
To comfort my soul, when I lie or rise:
Shall these twelve innocents by thy severe
Sentence (dread judge) my sin's great burden bear?
Shall they be damn'd, and in the furnace thrown,
And punish'd for offences not their own?

They save not me, they do not ease my pains,
When in that Hell they're burnt and ty'd in chains:
Were they but crowns of France, I cared not,
For most of them their natural country rot
I think possesseth, they come here to us,
So pale, so lame, so lean, so ruinous;
And howsoe'er French kings most Christian be,
Their crowns are circumcis'd most Jewishly;
Or were they Spanish stamps still travelling,
That are become as catholic as their king,
Those unlick'd bear-whelps, unfil'd pistolets,
That (more than cannon-shot) avails or lets,
Which, negligently left unrounded, look
Like many angled figures in the book
Of some dread conjurer, that would enforce
Nature, as these do justice, from her course.
Which, as the soul quickens head, feet, and heart,
As streams like veins run through th' Earth's ev'ry
Visit all countries, and have slily made [part,
Gorgeous France ruin'd; ragged and decay'd
Scotland, which knew no state, proud in one day;
And mangled seventeen-headed Belgia:
Or were it such gold as that, wherewithall
Almighty chymics from each mineral

Having by subtle fire a soul out-pull'd,
Are dirtily and desperately gull'd:

I would not spit to quench the fire they 're in,
For they are guilty of much heinous sin.
But shall my harmless angels perish? Shall
I lose my guard, my ease, my food, my all?
Much hope, which they should nourish, will be dead
Much of my able youth, and lusty head
Will vanish, if thou, love, let them alone,
For thou wilt love me less, when they are gone;
And be content, that some lewd squeaking crier,
Well pleas'd with one lean thread-bare groat for hire,
May like a devil roar through every street,
And gall the finder's conscience, if they meet.
Or let me creep to some dread conjurer,
That with fantastic scenes fills full much paper;
Which hath divided Heaven in tenements, [rents
And with whores, thieves, and murderers, stuff'd his
So full, that though he pass them all in sin,
He leaves himself no room to enter in.

But if, when all his art and time is spent, He say 't will ne'er be found, yet be content; Receive from him the doom ungrudgingly, Because he is the mouth of Destiny.

Thou say'st, alas! the gold doth still remain, Though it be chang'd, and put into a chain; So in the first fall'n angels resteth still Wisdom and knowledge, but 't is turn'd to ill: As these should do good works, and should provide Necessities; but now must nurse thy pride: And they are still bad angels; mine are none: For form gives being, and their form is gone : Pity these angels yet: their dignities Pass virtues, powers, and principalities,

But thou art resolute; thy will be done; Yet with such anguish, as her only son The mother in the hungry grave doth lay, Unto the fire these martyrs I betray. Good souls, (for you give life to every thing) Good angels, (for good messages you bring) Destin'd you might have been to such an one, As would have lov'd and worshipp'd you alone: One that would suffer hunger, nakedness, Yea death, ere he would make your number less. But I am guilty of your sad decay: May your few fellows longer with me stay.

But oh, thou wretched finder, whom I hate So, that I almost pity thy estate, Gold being the heaviest metal amongst all, May my most heavy curse upon thee fall: Here fetter'd, manacled, and hang'd in chains, First may'st thou be; then chain'd to hellish pains; Or be with foreign gold brib'd to betray

Thy country, and fail both of it and thy pay.
May the next thing, thou stoop'st to reach, contain
Poison, whose nimble fume rot thy moist brain:
Or libels, or some interdicted thing,
Which, negligently kept, thy ruin bring.
Lust-bred diseases rot thee; and dwell with thee
Itching desire, and no ability.

May all the evils, that gold ever wrought;
All mischief, that all devils ever thought;
Want after plenty; poor and gouty age;
The plague of travailers, love and marriage,
Afflict thee; and at thy life's last moment
May thy swoln sins themselves to thee present.
But I forgive: repent, thou honest man:
Gold is restorative, restore it then:
But if that from it thou be'st loth to part,
Because 't is cordial, would 't were at thy heart,

ELEGY XIII.

COME, Fates; I fear you not. All, whom I owe,
Are paid but you. Then 'rest me ere I go.
But chance from you all sovereignty hath got,
Love wounded none but those, whom Death dares not:
True if you were and just in equity,
I should have vanquish'd her, as you did me.
Else lovers should not brave death's pains, and liye:
But 't is a rule, "death comes not to relieve."
Or pale and wan death's terrours, are they laid
So deep in lovers, they make death afraid?
Or (the least comfort) have I company?
Or can the Fates love death, as well as me?

Yes, Fates do silk unto her distaff pay For ransom, which tax they on us do lay. Love gives her youth, which is the reason why Youths, for her sake, some wither and some die. Poor Death can nothing give; yet for her sake, Still in her turn, he doth a lover take. And if Death should prove false, she fears him not, Our Muses to redeem ber she hath got. That fatal night we last kiss'd, I thus pray'd, (Or rather thus despair'd, I should have said) Kisses, and yet despair. The forbid tree Did promise (and deceive) no more than she. Like lambs that see their teats, and must eat hay, A food, whose taste hath made me pine away. Dives, when thou saw'st bliss, and crav'dst to touch A drop of water, thy great pains were such. Here grief wants a fresh wit, for mine being spent, And my sighs weary, groans are all my rent; Unable longer to endure the pain, They break like thunder, and do bring down rain. Thus, till dry tears solder mine eyes, I weep: And then I dream, how you securely sleep, And in your dreams do laugh at me. I hate, And pray Love all may: he pities my state, But says, I therein no revenge shall find; The Sun would shine, though all the world were blind. Yet, to try my hate, Love show'd me your tear; And I had dy'd, had not your smile been there. Your frown undoes me; your smile is my wealth; And as you please to look, I have my health. Methought Love pitying me, when he saw this, Gave me your hands, the backs and palms to kiss. That cur'd me not, but to bear pain gave strength; And what is lost in force, is took in length. I call'd on Love again, who fear'd you so, That his compassion still prov'd greater woe: For then I dreain'd I was in bed with you, But durst not feel, for fear 't should not be true. This merits not our anger, had it been; The queen of chastity was naked seen: And in bed not to feel the pain, I took, Was more than for Actæon not to look. And that breast, which lay ope, I did not know, But for the clearness, from a lump of snow.

ELEGY XIV.

HIS PARTING FROM HER.

SINCE she must go, and I must mourn, come Night,
Environ me with darkness, whilst I write :
Shadow that Hell unto me, which alone
I am to suffer, when my love is gone.

Alas! the darkest magic cannot do it,

And that great Hell to boot are shadows to it. Should Cynthia quit thee, Venus, and each star, It would not form one thought dark as mine are; I could lend them obscureness now, and say Out of myself, there should be no more day. Such is already my self-want of sight, Did not the fire within me force a light. Oh Love, that fire and darkness should be mix'd, Or to thy triumphs such strange torments fix'd! Is 't because thou thyself art blind, that we Thy martyrs must no more each other see? Or tak'st thou pride to break us on thy wheel, And view old Chaos in the pains we feel? Or have we left undone some mutual right, That thus with parting thou seek'st us to spite? No, no. The fault is mine, impute it to me, Or rather to conspiring Destiny; Which (since I lov'd) for me before decreed, That I should suffer, when I lov'd indeed: And therefore sooner now, than I can say I saw the golden fruit, 't is wrapt away: Or as I'd watch'd one drop in the vast stream, And I left wealthy only in a dream. Yet, Love, thou 'rt blinder than thyself in this, To vex my dove-like friend for my amiss: And, where one sad truth may expiate Thy wrath, to make her fortune run my fate. So blinded Justice doth, when favourites fall, Strike them, their house, their friends, their favourites all.

Was 't not enough that thou didst dart thy fires Into, our bloods, inflaming our desires,

And mad'st us sigh and blow, and pant, and burn,

And then thyself into our flames didst turn?
Was 't not enough, that thou didst hazard us
To paths in love so dark and dangerous:
And those so ambush'd round with household spies
And over all thy husband's tow'ring eyes
Inflam'd with th' ugly sweat of jealousy,
Yet went we not still on in constancy?
Have we for this kept guards, like spy o'er spy?
Had correspondence, whilst the foe stood by?
Stoll'n (more to sweeten them) our many blisses
Of meetings, conference, embracements, kisses?
Of becks, winks, looks, and often under boards
Shadow'd with negligence our best respects?
Varied our language through all dialects
Spoke dialogues with our feet far from our words ?
Have we prov'd all the secrets of our art,

Yea, thy pale inwards, and thy panting heart?
And after all this passed purgatory,

Must sad divorce make us the vulgar story?
First let our eyes be riveted quite through
Our turning brains, and both our lips grow to:
Let our arms clasp like ivy, and our fear
Freeze us together, that we may stick here;
Till Fortune, that would ruin us with the deed,
Strain his eyes open, and yet make them bleed.
For Love it cannot be, whom hitherto

I have accus'd, should such a mischief do.
Oh Fortune, thou 'rt not worth my least exclaim,
And plague enough thou hast in thy own name:
Do thy great worst, my friends and I have arins,
Though not against thy strokes, against thy harms.
Rend us in sunder, thou canst not divide
Our bodies so, but that our souls are ty'd,
And we can love by letters still, and gifts,
And thoughts, and dreams; love never wanteth shifts. ̧

I will not look upon the quick'ning Sun,
But straight her beauty to my sense shall run;
The air shall note her soft, the fire most pure;
Waters suggest her clear, and the earth sure;
Time shall not lose our passages; the spring,
How fresh our love was in the beginning;
The summer, how it enripen'd the year;
And autumn, what our golden harvests were.
The winter I 'll not think on to spite thee,
But count it a lost season, so shall she.
And, dearest friend, since we must part, drown night
With hope of day; burthens well borne are light.
The cold and darkness longer hang somewhere,
Yet Phoebus equally lights all the sphere.
And what we cannot in like portion pay,
The world enjoys in mass, and so we may.
Be ever then yourself, and let no woe
Win on your health, your youth, your beauty: so
Declare yourself base Fortune's enemy,
No less be your contempt than her inconstancy;
That I may grow enamour'd on your mind,
When my own thoughts I here neglected find.
And this to th' comfort of my dear I vow,
My deeds shall still be, what my deeds are now;
The poles sball move to teach me ere I start,
And when I change my love, I'll change my heart;
Nay, if I wax but cold in my desire,
Think Heav'n hath motion lost, and the world fire:
Much more I could; but many words have made
That oft suspected, which men most persuade :
Take therefore all in this; I love so true,
As I will never look for less in you.

ELEGY XV.

ELEGY XVI.

A TALE OF A CITIZEN AND HIS WIFE.

I SING no harm, good sooth, to any wight,
To lord, to fool, cuckold, beggar, or knight,
To peace-teaching lawyer, proctor, or brave
Reformed or reduced captain, knave,
Officer, juggler, or justice of peace,
Juror or judge; I touch no fat sow's grease;
I am no libeller, nor will be any,

But (like a true man) say there are too many:
I fear not ore tenus, for my tale

Nor count nor counsellor will red or pale.

A citizen and his wife th' other day,
Both riding on one horse, upon the way
I overtook; the wench a pretty peat,
And (by her eye) well fitting for the feat:
I saw the lecherous citizen turn back
His head, and on his wife's hp steal a smack.
Whence apprehending that the man was kind,
Riding before to kiss his wife behind,
To get acquaintance with him I began,
And sort discourse fit for so fine a man;
I ask'd the number of the plaguy bill,
Ask'd if the custom-farmers held out still,
Of the Virginian plot, and whether Ward
The traffic of the midland seas had marr'd;
Whether the Britain Burse did fill apace,
And likely were to give th' Exchange disgrace;
Of new-built Aldgate, and the Moorfield crosses,
Of store of bankrupts and poor merchants' losses,
I urged him to speak; but he (as mute
As an old courtier worn to his last suit)
Replies with only yeas and nays; at last
(To fit his element) my theme I cast
On tradesmen's gains; that set his tongue a going,
"Alas, good sir," quoth he, "there is no doing
In court nor city now." She sunil'd, and I,
And (in my conscience) both, gave him the lie
In one met thought. But he went on apace,
And at the present times with such a face
He rail'd, as fray'd me; for he gave no praise
To any but my lord of Essex' days:

Call'd those the age of action. "True," quoth he,
"There's now as great an itch of bravery,
And heat of taking up, but cold lay down;
For put to push of pay, away they run:
Our only city-trades of hope now are
Bawds, tavern-keepers, whore, and scrivener;
The much of privileg'd kinsmen, and the store
Of fresh protections, make the rest all poor:
In the first state of their creation

JULIA.

HARK, news! O Envy, thou shalt hear descry'd
My Julia; who as yet was ne'er envy'd.
To vomit gall in slander, swell her veins
With calumny, that Hell itself disdains,
Is her continual practice, does her best,
To tear opinion ev'n out of the breast
Of dearest friends, and (which is worse than vile)
Sticks jealousy in wedlock; her own child
Scapes not the show'rs of envy: to repeat
The monstrous fashions, how, were alive to eat
Dear reputation. Would to God she were
But half so loth to act vice, as to hear
My mild reproof! Liv'd Mantuan now again,
That female mastix to limn with his pen
This she-Chimera, that hath eyes of fire,
Burning with anger, (anger feeds desire)
Tonga'd like the night-crow, whose ill-boding cries Though many stoutly stand, yet proves not one
Give out for nothing but new injuries.
Her breath like to the juice in Tenarus,
That blasts the springs, though ne'er so prosperous.
Her hands, I know not how, us'd more to spill
The food of others, than herself to fill.
But, oh! her mind, that Orcus, which includes
Legions of mischief, countless multitudes
of former curses, projects unmade up,
Abuses yet unfashion'd, thoughts corrupt,
Misshapen cavils,, palpable untruths,
Inevitable errours, self-accusing loaths:
These, like those atoms swarming in the sua,
Throng in her bosom for creation.
I blush to give her half her due; yet say,
No poison's half se bad as Julia.

A righteous pay-master." Thus ran be on
In a continu'd rage: so void of reason

Seem'd his harsh talk, I sweat for fear of treason.
And (troth) how could I less? when in the prayer
For the protection of the wise lord mayor
And his wise brethren's worships, when one prayeth,
He swore that none could say amen with faith.
To get him off from what I glow'd to hear,
(In happy time) au angel did appear,
The bright sign of a lov'd and well-try'd inn,
Where many citizens with their wives had been
Well us'd and often: here I pray'd him stay,
To take some due refreshment by the way.
Look, how he look'd that hid his gold, his hope,
And at 's return found nothing but a rope;

So he on me; refus'd and made away,
Though willing she pleaded a weary day:
I found my miss, struck hands, and pray'd him tell
(To hold acquaintance still) where he did dwell;
He barely nam'd the street, promis'd the wine;
But his kind wife gave me the very sign.

ELEGY XVII.

THE EXPOSTULATION.

To make the doubt clear, that no woman 's true,
Was it my fate to prove it strong in you?
Thought I, but one had breathed purest air,
And must she needs be false, because she 's fair?
Is it your beauty's mark, or of your youth,
Or your perfection not to study truth?

Or think you Heav'n is deaf, or hath no eyes,
Or those it hath smile at your perjuries?
Are vows so cheap with women, or the matter
Whereof they're made, that they are writ in water,
And blown away with wind? Or doth their breath
(Both hot and cold) at once make life and death?
Who could have thought so many accents sweet
Form'd into words, so many sighs should meet,
As from our hearts, so many oaths, and tears
Sprinkled among (all sweet'ned by our fears)
And the divine impression of stol'p kisses,
That seal'd the rest, should now prove empty blisses?
Did you draw bonds to forfeit? sign to break?
Or must we read you quite from what you speak,
And find the truth out the wrong way? or must
He first desire you false, who 'ld wish you just?
O, I profane: though most of women be

This kind of beast, my thoughts shall except thee,
My dearest love; though froward jealousy
With circumstance might urge thy inconstancy,
Sooner I'll think the Sun will cease to cheer
The teeming Earth, and that forget to bear:
Sooner that rivers will run back, or Thames
With ribs of ice in June will bind his streams;
Or Nature, by whose strength the world endures,
Would change her course, before you alter yours.
But oh! that treacherous breast, to whom weak you
Did trust our counsels, and we both may rue,
Having his falsehood found too late, 't was he
That made me cast you guilty, and you me;
Whilst he (black wretch) betray'd each simple word
We spake unto the cunning of a third.
Curs'd may he be, that so our love hath slain,
And wander on the Earth, wretched as Cain,
Wretched as he, and not deserve least pity;
In plaguing him let misery be witty.
Let all eyes shun him, and he shun each eye,
Till he be noisome as his infamy;

May he without remorse deny God thrice,
And not be trusted more on his soul's price;
And after all self-torment, when he dies
May wolves tear out his heart, vultures his eyes;
Swine eat his bowels; and his falser tongue,
That utter'd all, be to some raven flung;
And let his carrion-corse be a longer feast
To the king's dogs, than any other beast.
Now I have curs'd, let us our love revive;
In me the flame was never more alive;
I could begin again to court and praise,
And in that pleasure lengthen the short days
Of my life's lease; like painters, that do take
Delight, not in made works, but whilst they make.

[blocks in formation]

ELEGY XVIII.

WHOEVER loves, if he do not propose

The right true end of love, he 's one that goes
To sea for nothing but to make him sick :
Love is a bear-whelp born, if we o'er-lick
Our love, and force it new strong shapes to take,
We err, and of a lump a monster make.
Were not a calf a monster, that were grown
Fac'd like a man, though better than his own?
Perfection is in unity: prefer

One woman first, and then one thing in her.
I, when I value gold, may think upon
The ductilness, the application,
The wholesoinness, the ingenuity,
From rust, from soil, from fire ever free:
But if I love it, 't is beause 't is made
By our new nature (use) the soul of trade.

All these in women we might think upon
(If women had them) and yet love but one.
Can men more injure women than to say
They love them for that, by which they 're not they?
Makes virtue woman? must I cool my blood
Till I both be, and find one, wise and good?
May barren angels love so. But if we
Make love to woman, virtue is not she:
As beauties, no, nor wealth: he that strays thus
From her to hers, is more adulterous
Than if he took her maid. Search every sphere
And firmament, our Cupid is not there:
He's an infernal god, and under ground,
With Pluto dwells, where gold and fire abound;
Men to such gods their sacrificing coals
Did not on altars lay, but pits and holes:
Although we see celestial bodies move
Above the earth, the earth we till and love:
So we her airs contemplate, words and heart,
And virtues; but we love the centric part.

Nor is the soul more worthy, or more fit
For love, than this, as infinite as it.
But in attaining this desired place

How much they err, that set out at the face
The hair a forest is of ambushes,

Of springs and snares, fetters and manacles:
The brow becalms us, when 't is smooth and plain;
And when 't is wrinkled, shipwrecks us again.
Smooth, 't is a paradise, where we would have
Immortal stay; but wrinkled, 't is a grave.
The nose (like to the sweet meridian) runs
Not 'twixt an east and west, but 'twixt two suns;
It leaves a cheek, a rosy bemisphere
On either side, and then directs us where
Upon the Islands Fortunate we fall,
Not faint Canaries, but ambrosial.
Unto her swelling lips when we are come,
We anchor there, and think ourselves at home,

« PreviousContinue »