« PreviousContinue »
And when with hasty noise he spoke 'em,
The ignorant for current took 'em;
That had the orator, who once
Did fill his mouth with pebble stones
When he harangued, but known his phrase,
He would have used no other ways.
In mathematics he was greater
Than Tycho Brahe or Erra Pater;
For he, by geometric scale,
Could take the size of pots of ale;
Resolve by sines and tangents straight
If bread or butter wanted weight;
And wisely tell what hour o'th' day
The clock does strike, by algebra.
Besides, he was a shrewd philosopher,
And had read ev'ry text and gloss over:
Whate'er the crabbed'st author hath,
He understood b'implicit faith:
Whatever skeptic could inquire for,
For ev'ry why he had a wherefore;
Knew more than forty of them do,
As far as words and terms could go;
All which he understood by rote,
And, as occasion served, would quote:
No matter whether right or wrong,
They might be either said or sung.
His notions fitted things so well,
That which was which he could not tell,
But oftentimes mistook the one
For th' other, as great clerks have done.
He could reduce all things to acts,
And knew their natures by abstracts;
Where Entity and Quiddity,
The ghosts of defunct bodies, fly;
Where truth in person does appear,
Like words congeal'd in northern air.
He knew what's what, and that's as high
As metaphysic wit can fly :
In school-divinity as able
As he that hight Irrefragable ;
A second Thomas, or, at once
To name them all, another Dunce;
Profound in all the Nominal
And Real ways beyond them all :
For he a rope of sand could twist
As tough as learned Sorbonist,
And weave fine cobwebs, fit for scull
That's empty when the moon is full;
Such as take lodgings in a head
That's to be let unfurnished.
He could raise scruples dark and nice,
And after solve 'em in a trice;
He knew the seat of Paradise,
Could tell in what degree it lies,
And, as he was disposed, could prove it
Below the moon, or else above it;
What Adam dream'd of, when his bride
Came from her closet in his side ;
Whether the devil tempted her
By a High Dutch interpreter;
Whether the serpent, at the fall,
Had cloven feet, or none at all:
All this, without a gloss or comment,
He could unriddle in a moment,
In proper terms, such as men smatter,
When they throw out, and miss the matter.
Go, lovely rose! Tell her, that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows, When I resemble her to thee, How sweet and fair she seems to be.
Tell her that's young, And shuns to have her graces spied,
That, hadst thou sprung In deserts, where no men abide, Thou must have uncommended died.
Small is the worth
Of beauty, from the light retired :
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.
Then die! that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee:
How small a part of time they share,
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!
That which her slender waist confined,
Shall now my joyful temples bind :
No monarch but would give his crown,
His arms might do what this has done.
It was my heaven's extremest sphere,
The pale which held that lovely deer:
My joy, my grief, my hope, my love,
Did all within this circle move!
A narrow compass! and yet there
Dwelt all that's good and all that's fair:
Give me but what this riband bound,
Take all the rest the sun goes round.
HENRY VAUGHAN. 1695.
EARLY RISING AND PRAYER.
WHEN first thy eyes unveil, give thy soul leave
To do the like; our bodies but forerun
The spirit's duty: true hearts spread and heave
Unto their God as flowers do to the sun;
Give him thy first thoughts then, so shalt thou keep
Him company all day, and in him sleep.
Yet never sleep the sun up; prayer should
Dawn with the day: there are set awful hours
"Twixt heaven and us; the manna was not good
After sun-rising; far day sullies flowers:
Rise to prevent the sun; sleep doth sins glut,
And heaven's gate opens when the world's is shut.
Walk with thy fellow-creatures: note the hush
And whisperings among them. Not a spring
Or leaf but hath his morning hymn; each bush
And oak doth know I AM. Canst thou not sing?
Oh leave thy cares and follies! go this way,
And thou art sure to prosper all the day.
Serve God before the world; let him not go
Until thou hast a blessing; then resign
The whole unto him, and remember who
Prevail'd by wrestling ere the sun did shine:
Pour oil upon the stones, weep for thy sin,
Then journey on, and have an eye to heav'n.
Mornings are mysteries : the first, world's youth,
Man's resurrection, and the future's bud,
Shrowd in their births; the crown of life, light, truth,
Is styled their star; the stone and hidden food :
Three blessings wait upon them, one of which
Should move-they make us holy, happy, rich.
When the world's up, and every swarm abroad,
Keep well thy temper, mix not with each clay;
Despatch necessities; life hath a load
Which must be carried on, and safely may:
Yet keep those cares without thee; let the heart
Be God's alone, and choose the better part.
SURE thou didst flourish once, and many springs,
Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers, Pass'd o'er thy head; many light hearts and wings,
Which now are dead, lodged in thy living towers. And still a new succession sings and flies,
Fresh groves grow up, and their green branches Towards the old and still enduring skies, (shoot
While the low violet thrives at their root.
STILL young and fine, but what is still in view
We slight as old and soil'd, though fresh and new.
How bright wert thou when Shem's admiring eye
Thy burnish'd flaming arch did first descry;