The Golden Treasury online

. (page 1 of 21)
Online LibraryAnonymousThe Golden Treasury → online text (page 1 of 21)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Produced by James Tenison


Of the best Songs and Lyrical Pieces
In the English Language

Selected by Francis Turner Palgrave

Illustrated by A. Pearse

London and Glasgow
Collins' Clear-Type Press





This book in its progress has recalled often to my memory a man with
whose friendship we were once honoured, to whom no region of English
literature was unfamiliar, and who, whilst rich in all the noble gifts
of nature, was most eminently distinguished by the noblest and the
rarest, - just judgment and high-hearted patriotism. It would have been
hence a peculiar pleasure and pride to dedicate what I have endeavoured
to make a true national Anthology of three centuries to Henry Hallam.
But he is beyond the reach of any human tokens of love and reverence;
and I desire therefore to place before it a name united with his by
associations which, whilst Poetry retains her hold on the minds of
Englishmen, are not likely to be forgotten.

Your encouragement, given while traversing the wild scenery of Treryn
Dinas, led me to begin the work; and it has been completed under your
advice and assistance. For the favour now asked I have thus a second
reason: and to this I may add, the homage which is your right as Poet,
and the gratitude due to a Friend, whose regard I rate at no common

Permit me then to inscribe to yourself a book which, I hope, may be
found by many a lifelong fountain of innocent and exalted pleasure; a
source of animation to friends when they meet; and able to sweeten
solitude itself with best society, - with the companionship of the wise
and the good, with the beauty which the eye cannot see, and the music
only heard in silence. If this Collection proves a store-house of
delight to Labour and to Poverty, - if it teaches those indifferent to
the Poets to love them, and those who love them to love them more, the
aim and the desire entertained in framing it will be fully accomplished.

May, 1861.


This little Collection differs, it is believed, from others in the
attempt made to include in it all the best original Lyrical pieces and
Songs in our language, by writers not living, - and none beside the best.
Many familiar verses will hence be met with; many also which should be
familiar: - the Editor will regard as his fittest readers those who love
Poetry so well, that he can offer them nothing not already known and
valued. For those who take up the book in a serious and scholarly
spirit, the following remarks on the plan and the execution are added.

The Editor is acquainted with no strict and exhaustive definition of
Lyrical Poetry; but he has found the task of practical decision increase
in clearness and in facility as he advanced with the work, whilst
keeping in view a few simple principles. Lyrical has been here held
essentially to imply that each Poem shall turn on some single thought,
feeling, or situation. In accordance with this, narrative, descriptive,
and didactic poems, - unless accompanied by rapidity of movement,
brevity, and the colouring of human passion, - have been excluded.
Humorous poetry, except in the very unfrequent instances where a truly
poetical tone pervades the whole, with what is strictly personal,
occasional, and religious, has been considered foreign to the idea of
the book. Blank verse and the ten-syllable couplet, with all pieces
markedly dramatic, have been rejected as alien from what is commonly
understood by Song, and rarely conforming to Lyrical conditions in
treatment. But it is not anticipated, nor is it possible, that all
readers shall think the line accurately drawn. Some poems, as Gray's
_Elegy_, the _Allegro_ and _Penseroso_, Wordsworth's _Ruth_ or
Campbell's _Lord Ullin_, might be claimed with perhaps equal justice for
a narrative or descriptive selection: whilst with reference especially
to Ballads and Sonnets, the Editor can only state that he has taken his
utmost pains to decide without caprice or partiality.

This also is all he can plead in regard to a point even more liable to
question; - what degree of merit should give rank among the Best. That a
Poem shall be worthy of the writer's genius, - that it shall reach a
perfection commensurate with its aim, - that we should require finish in
proportion to brevity, - that passion, colour, and originality cannot
atone for serious imperfections in clearness, unity, or truth, - that a
few good lines do not make a good poem, - that popular estimate is
serviceable as a guidepost more than as a compass, - above all, that
Excellence should be looked for rather in the Whole than in the
Parts, - such and other such canons have been always steadily regarded.
He may however add that the pieces chosen, and a far larger number
rejected, have been carefully and repeatedly considered; and that he has
been aided throughout by two friends of independent and exercised
judgment, besides the distinguished person addressed in the Dedication.
It is hoped that by this procedure the volume has been freed from that
one-sidedness which must beset individual decisions: - but for the final
choice the Editor is alone responsible.

Chalmers' vast collection, with the whole works of all accessible poets
not contained in it, and the best Anthologies of different periods, have
been twice systematically read through: and it is hence improbable that
any omissions which may be regretted are due to oversight. The poems are
printed entire, except in a very few instances (specified in the notes)
where a stanza has been omitted. The omissions have been risked only
when the piece could be thus brought to a closer lyrical unity: and, as
essentially opposed to this unity, extracts, obviously such, are
excluded. In regard to the text, the purpose of the book has appeared to
justify the choice of the most poetical version, wherever more than one
exists: and much labour has been given to present each poem, in
disposition, spelling, and punctuation, to the greatest advantage.

In the arrangement, the most poetically effective order has been
attempted. The English mind has passed through phases of thought and
cultivation so various and so opposed during these three centuries of
Poetry, that a rapid passage between Old and New, like rapid alteration
of the eye's focus in looking at the landscape, will always be wearisome
and hurtful to the sense of Beauty. The poems have been therefore
distributed into Books corresponding, I. to the ninety years closing
about 1616, II. thence to 1700, III. to 1800, IV. to the half century
just ended. Or, looking at the Poets who more or less give each portion
its distinctive character, they might be called the Books of
Shakespeare, Milton, Gray, and Wordsworth. The volume, in this respect,
so far as the limitations of its range allow, accurately reflects the
natural growth and evolution of our Poetry. A rigidly chronological
sequence, however, rather fits a collection aiming at instruction than
at pleasure, and the Wisdom which comes through Pleasure: - within each
book the pieces have therefore been arranged in gradations of feeling or
subject. The development of the symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven has
been here thought of as a model, and nothing placed without careful
consideration. And it is hoped that the contents of this Anthology will
thus be found to present a certain unity, "as episodes," in the noble
language of Shelley, "to that great Poem which all poets, like the
co-operating thoughts of one great mind, have built up since the
beginning of the world."

As he closes his long survey, the Editor trusts he may add without
egotism, that he has found the vague general verdict of popular Fame
more just than those have thought, who, with too severe a criticism,
would confine judgments on Poetry to "the selected few of many
generations." Not many appear to have gained reputation without some
gift or performance that, in due degree, deserved it: and if no verses
by certain writers who show less strength than sweetness, or more
thought than mastery in expression, are printed in this volume, it
should not be imagined that they have been excluded without much
hesitation and regret, - far less that they have been slighted.
Throughout this vast and pathetic array of Singers now silent, few have
been honoured with the name Poet, and have not possessed a skill in
words, a sympathy with beauty, a tenderness of feeling, or seriousness
in reflection, which render their works, although never perhaps
attaining that loftier and finer excellence here required, - better worth
reading than much of what fills the scanty hours that most men spare for
self-improvement, or for pleasure in any of its more elevated and
permanent forms.

And if this be true of even mediocre poetry, for how much more are we
indebted to the best! Like the fabled fountain of the Azores, but with a
more various power, the magic of this Art can confer on each period of
life its appropriate blessing: on early years Experience, on maturity
Calm, on age Youthfulness. Poetry gives treasures "more golden than
gold," leading us in higher and healthier ways than those of the world,
and interpreting to us the lessons of Nature. But she speaks best for
herself. Her true accents, if the plan has been executed with success,
may be heard throughout the following pages:-wherever the Poets of
England are honoured, wherever the dominant language of the world is
spoken, it is hoped that they will find fit audience.





The Elizabethan Poetry, as it is rather vaguely termed, forms the
substance of this Book, which contains pieces from Wyat under Henry
VIII. to Shakespeare midway through the reign of James I., and Drummond
who carried on the early manner to a still later period. There is here a
wide range of style; - from simplicity expressed in a language hardly yet
broken in to verse, - through the pastoral fancies and Italian conceits
of the strictly Elizabethan time, - to the passionate reality of
Shakespeare: yet a general uniformity of tone prevails. Few readers can
fail to observe the natural sweetness of the verse, the single-hearted
straightforwardness of the thoughts: - nor less, the limitation of
subject to the many phases of one passion, which then characterised our
lyrical poetry, - unless when, as with Drummond and Shakespeare, the
"purple light of Love" is tempered by a spirit of sterner reflection.

It should be observed that this and the following Summaries apply in the
main to the Collection here presented, in which (besides its restriction
to Lyrical Poetry) a strictly representative or historical Anthology has
not been aimed at. Great Excellence, in human art as in human character,
has from the beginning of things been even more uniform than Mediocrity,
by virtue of the closeness of its approach to Nature: - and so far as the
standard of Excellence kept in view has been attained in this volume, a
comparative absence of extreme or temporary phases in style, a
similarity of tone and manner, will be found throughout: - something
neither modern nor ancient but true in all ages, and like the works of
Creation perfect as on the first day.


Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune their merry lay,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
Spring, the sweet Spring!



Phoebus, arise!
And paint the sable skies
With azure, white, and red:
Rouse Memnon's mother from her Tithon's bed
That she may thy career with roses spread:
The nightingales thy coming eachwhere sing:
Make an eternal spring!
Give life to this dark world which lieth dead;
Spread forth thy golden hair
In larger locks than thou wast wont before,
And emperor-like decore
With diadem of pearl thy temples fair:
Chase hence the ugly night
Which serves but to make dear thy glorious light.

- This is that happy morn,
That day, long wishéd day
Of all my life so dark,
(If cruel stars have not my ruin sworn
And fates not hope betray),
Which, purely white, deserves
An everlasting diamond should it mark.
This is the morn should bring unto this grove
My Love, to hear and recompense my love.
Fair King, who all preserves,
But show thy blushing beams,
And thou two sweeter eyes
Shalt see than those which by Penéus' streams
Did once thy heart surprize.
Now, Flora, deck thyself in fairest guise:
If that ye winds would hear
A voice surpassing far Amphion's lyre,
Your furious chiding stay;
Let Zephyr only breathe
And with her tresses play.
- The winds all silent are,
And Phoebus in his chair
Ensaffroning sea and air
Makes vanish every star:
Night like a drunkard reels
Beyond the hills, to shun his flaming wheels:
The fields with flowers are deck'd in every hue,
The clouds with orient gold spangle their blue;
Here is the pleasant place -
And nothing wanting is, save She, alas.



When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of out-worn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed,
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage.

When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store.

When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay,
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate -
That Time will come and take my Love away.

- This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.



Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o'ersways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?

O how shall summer's honey breath hold out,
Against the wreckful siege of battering days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong but time decays?

O fearful meditation, where, alack!
Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back,
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?

O! none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.



Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

There will I make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool,
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair-lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy-buds
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my Love.

Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love.



Crabbed Age and Youth
Cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasance,
Age is full of care;
Youth like summer morn,
Age like winter weather;
Youth like summer brave,
Age like winter bare:
Youth is full of sport,
Age's breath is short,
Youth is nimble, Age is lame:
Youth is hot and bold,
Age is weak and cold;
Youth is wild, and Age is tame: -
Age, I do abhor thee,
Youth, I do adore thee;
O! my Love, my Love is young!
Age, I do defy thee -
O, sweet shepherd, hie thee,
For methinks thou stay'st too long.



Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And tune his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat -
Come hither, come hither, come hither!
Here shall we see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

Who doth ambition shun
And loves to live i' the sun,
Seeking the food he eats
And pleased with what he gets -
Come hither, come hither, come hither!
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.



It was a lover and his lass
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey-nonino!
That o'er the green cornfield did pass,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing hey ding a ding:
Sweet lovers love the Spring.
Between the acres of the rye
These pretty country folks would lie:
This carol they began that hour,
How that life was but a flower:
And therefore take the present time
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey-nonino!
For love is crownéd with the prime
In spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the Spring.



Absence, hear thou my protestation
Against thy strength,
Distance, and length:
Do what thou canst for alteration:
For hearts of truest mettle
Absence doth join, and Time doth settle.

Who loves a mistress of such quality,
He soon hath found
Affection's ground
Beyond time, place, and all mortality.
To hearts that cannot vary
Absence is Presence, Time doth tarry.

By absence this good means I gain,
That I can catch her,
Where none can watch her,
In some close corner of my brain:
There I embrace and kiss her,
And so I both enjoy and miss her.



Being your slave what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require:

Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu:

Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
Save where you are, how happy you make those; -

So true a fool is love, that in your will,
Though you do any thing, he thinks no ill.



How like a winter hath my absence been
From Thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen,
What old December's bareness everywhere!

And yet this time removed was summer's time:
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime
Like widow'd wombs after their lords' decease:

Yet this abundant issue seem'd to me
But hope of orphans, and unfather'd fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute;

Or if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer,
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.



When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate;

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possest,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on Thee - and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;

For thy sweet love remember'd, such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.



O never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seem'd my flame to qualify:
As easy might I from my self depart
As from my soul which in thy breast doth lie;

That is my home of love, if I have ranged,
Like him that travels, I return again,
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.

Never believe, though in my nature reign'd
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stain'd
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good:

For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose, in it thou art my all.



To me, fair Friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers' pride;

Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn'd,
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn'd,
Since first I saw you fresh which yet are green.

Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived:

For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred, -
Ere you were born, was beauty's summer dead.



Diaphenia like the daffadowndilly,
White as the sun, fair as the lily,
Heigh ho, how do I love thee!
I do love thee as my lambs
Are belovéd of their dams;
How blest were I if thou would'st prove me.

Diaphenia like the spreading roses,
That in thy sweets all sweets encloses,
Fair sweet, how do I love thee!
I do love thee as each flower
Loves the sun's life-giving power;
For dead, thy breath to life might move me.

Diaphenia like to all things blesséd
When all thy praises are expresséd,
Dear joy, how do I love thee!
As the birds do love the spring,
Or the bees their careful king:
Then in requite, sweet virgin, love me!



Like to the clear in highest sphere
Where all imperial glory shines,
Of selfsame colour is her hair
Whether unfolded, or in twines:
Heigh ho, fair Rosaline!
Her eyes are sapphires set in snow,
Resembling heaven by every wink;
The Gods do fear whenas they glow,
And I do tremble when I think
Heigh ho, would she were mine!

Her cheeks are like the blushing cloud
That beautifies Aurora's face,
Or like the silver crimson shroud
That Phoebus' smiling looks doth grace;
Heigh ho, fair Rosaline!
Her lips are like two budded roses
Whom ranks of lilies neighbour nigh,
Within which bounds she balm encloses
Apt to entice a deity:
Heigh ho, would she were mine!

Her neck like to a stately tower
Where Love himself imprison'd lies,

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryAnonymousThe Golden Treasury → online text (page 1 of 21)