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It shall never rise so high
As to stain thy poesy.

As that sun doth oft exhale
Vapours from each rotten vale,

Poesy so sometimes drains

Gross conceits from muddy brains,
Mists of envy, fogs of spite,

"Twixt men's judgments and her light,
But so much her power may do,
That she can dissolve them too.
If thy verse do bravely tower,
As she makes wing, she gets power;
Yet the higher she doth soar,
She's affronted still the more,
Till she to the high'st hath pass'd,
Then she rests with fame at last.
Let naught therefore thee affright,
But make forward in thy flight.
For, if I could match thy rhyme,
To the very stars I'd climb;
There begin again, and fly
Till I reach'd eternity.

But, alas! my Muse is slow,

For thy place she flags too low;

Yea, the more's her hapless fate,

Her short wings were clipp'd of late;

And poor I, her fortune ruing,
Am myself put up a muing.
But if I my cage can rid,
I'll fly where I never did.

And though for her sake I'm cross'd,
Though my best hopes I have lost,
And knew she would make my trouble
Ten times more than ten times double;
I should love and keep her too,
Spite of all the world could do.
For, though banish'd from my flocks,
And confined within these rocks,
Here I waste away the light,
And consume the sullen night.

She doth for my comfort stay,
And keeps many cares away.
Though I miss the flowery fields,

With those sweets the spring-tide yields;
Though I may not see those groves,
Where the shepherds chant their loves,
And the lasses more excel

Than the sweet-voiced Philomel;
Though of all those pleasures past
Nothing now remains at last

But remembrance (poor relief)

That more makes than mends my grief;
She's my mind's companion still,
Maugre envy's evil will;

Whence she should be driven too,
Were't in mortals' power to do.
She doth tell me where to borrow
Comfort in the midst of sorrow;
Makes the desolatest place
To her presence be a grace;
And the blackest discontents
Be her fairest ornaments.
In my former days of bliss,
Her divine skill taught me this,
That from everything I saw
I could some invention draw,
And raise pleasure to her height
Through the meanest object's sight.
By the murmur of a spring,
Or the least bough's rustling,
By a daisy whose leaves spread
Shut when Titan goes to bed,
Or a shady bush or tree,
She could more infuse in me
Than all Nature's beauties can
In some other wiser man.
By her help I also now
Make this churlish place allow

Some things that may sweeten gladness
In the very gall of sadness.

The dull loneness, the black shade,
That these hanging vaults have made;
The strange music of the waves,
Beating on these hollow caves;
This black den which rocks emboss,
Overgrown with eldest moss;
The rude portals, which give light
More to terror than delight;
This my chamber of Neglect,
Wall'd about with Disrespect:
From all these and this dull air,
A fit object for despair,

She hath taught me by her might
To draw comfort and delight.
Therefore, thou best earthly bliss,
I will cherish thee for this;
Poesy, thou sweet'st content
That e'er heaven to mortals lent,
Though they as a trifle leave thee,

Whose dull thoughts cannot conceive thee;

Though thou be to them a scorn,

Who to naught but earth are born;

Let my life no longer be

Than I am in love with thee.

Though our wise ones call it madness,
Let me never taste of sadness,
If I love not thy madd'st fits
Above all their greatest wits.
And though some, too, seeming holy,
Do account thy raptures folly,
Thou dost teach me to contemn

What makes knaves and fools of them.

DR. HENRY KING. 1591-1669.


LIKE to the falling of a star,
Or as the flights of eagles are;
Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue,
Or silver drops of morning dew;

Or like the wind that chafes the flood,
Or bubbles which on water stood:
Ev'n such is man, whose borrow'd light
Is straight call'd in, and paid to night.
The wind blows out, the bubble dies;
The spring entomb'd in autumn lies:
The dew dries up, the star is shot;
The flight is past—and man forgot.


WHAT is the existence of man's life
But open war or slumber'd strife?
Where sickness to his sense presents
The combat of the elements,
And never feels a perfect peace
Till death's cold hand signs his release.
It is a storm-where the hot blood
Outvies in rage the boiling flood:
And each loud passion of the mind
Is like a furious gust of wind,
Which beats the bark with many a wave,
Till he casts anchor in the grave.

It is a flower-which buds, and grows,
And withers, as the leaves disclose;
Whose spring and fall faint seasons keep,
Like fits of waking before sleep,
Then slips into that fatal mould
Where its first being was enroll'd.

It is a dream-whose seeming truth
Is moralized in age and youth;
Where all the comforts he can share
As wand'ring as his fancies are,
Till in a mist of dark decay
The dreamer vanish quite away.

It is a dial-which points out
The sunset as it moves about;
And shadows out in lines of night
The subtle stages of Time's flight,
Till all-obscuring earth hath laid
His body in perpetual shade.

It is a weary interlude

Which doth short joys, long woes, include:
The world the stage, the prologue tears;
The acts vain hopes and varied fears;
The scene shuts up with loss of breath,
And leaves no epilogue but Death!

JOHN MILTON. 1608-1674.


HENCE, loathed Melancholy,

Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born,

In Stygian cave forlorn,

'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights un

Find out some uncouth cell,


Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous

And the night-raven sings;


There underebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks,

As ragged as thy locks,

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.

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