Charles Lamb.

The last essays of Elia online

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Sure, if that lon2;-witli-love-acquainted eyes
Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case;
I read it in thy looks ; thy languislit grace
To me, that feel the like, thy state descries.
Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here tliey be?
Do tlie above love to be loved, and yet
Those lovers scorn, whom that love doth possess ?
Do they call virtue there — iingratefulnoiS !

The last line of this poem is a little
obscured by transposition. He means, Do
they call ungratefulness there a virtue?

Come, Sleep, O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting place of wit, tlie balm of woe.
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
The indifferent judge between the high and low;
With shield of proof shield me from out the prease*
Of those tierce darts despair at me doth throw;

make in me those civil wars to cease:

1 Avill good tribute pay, if thou do so.

Take thou of me sweet pillows, sweetest bed,
A chamber deaf to noise, and blind to light;
A rosy garland, and a weary head.
And if these things, as being thine by right.
Move not thy lieavy grace, thou shalt in me,
Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see.

The curious wits, seeing dull pensiveness
Bewray itself in my long-settled eyes.
Whence those same fumes of melancholy rise,
With idle pains, and missing aim, do guess.
Some, that know how my spring I did address.
Deem that my Muse some fruit of knowledge plies
Others, because the Prince my service tries,

* Press,

©he fast (t^^^iixp of («;liit. 133

Think, that I think state errors to recli-ess;
But hariler judsies judge, ambition's rage.
Scourge of itself, still climbing slippery place,
Holds my young brain captived in golden cage.
O fools, or overvvise! alas, the race
Of all my thoughts hath neither stop nor start,
But only Stella's eyes, and Stella's heart.


TBecause I oft in dark abstracted guise
Seem most alone in greatest company.
With dearth of words or answers cpiite awry
To them that would make speech of speech arise
They deem, and of their doom the rumor flies,
That poison foul of bubbling Pride doth lie
So in my swelling breast, that only I
Fawn on myself, and others do despise;
Yet Pride, I think, doth not my soul possess
Which looks too oft in his unflattering glass;
But one worse faidt — Amhifinn — I confess.
That makes me oft my best friends overpass.
Unseen, unheard — while I'hought to highest place
Bends all his power.j, even unto Stella's grace.

Having this day, my horse, my hand, my lance,
Guided so well that I obtained the prize,
Both by the judgment of the English eyes,
And of some sent from that .sweet enemy, — France.
Horsemen my skill in horsemanship advance;
Townsfolk my strength; a daintier judge applies
His praise to slight, which from good use doth rise;
Some lucky wits impute it but to chance;
Others, because of both sides I do take
My blood from them, who did excel in this,
Think Nature mt> a man of arms did make.
How far they shot awry ! the true cause is,
■STELiiA looked on, and from her heavenly face
Sent forth the beams which made so fair my race.

134 (Thf ^n^i (^^^nxp at (SHa.

In martial sports I had my cunning tried,
And yet to bi-eak more staves did me address,
While with the people's shouts {I must confess)
Youtli, hick, and praise, even fill'd my veins witti

pride —
"Wlien Cupid having me (liis slave) descried
In Mars' s livery, ]jrancing in the press,
" What now, ^ir Fool ? " said he: " I would no less;
Look here, I say." I look'd, and Stella spied,
Who hard by made a window send forth light.
My heart then quaked, then dazzled wei-e mine eyes.
One hand forgot to rule, th' other to fight;
Nor trumpet's sound I heard, nor frieiully cries.
My foe came on, and beat the air for me —
Till that her blush made me my shame to see.

"No more, my dear, no more thesfe counsels try;

give my passions leave to run their race;
Let Fortune lay on me her worst disgrace;

Let folk overcharged with brain against me cry;
Let clouds bedim my face, break in mine eye;
Let me no steps, but of lost labor, trace;
Let all the eartli with scorn recount my case, —
But do not will me from my love to fly.

1 do not envy Aristotle's wit.

Nor do aspire to Ca;sar's bleeding fame;
Nor aught do cai-e, though some above me sit;
Nor hope, nor wish, another course to frame,
But that which once may win thy cruel heart
Thou art my wit, and thoa my virtue art.

VII r.

Love still a boy, and oft a wanton, is, \
School'd only by his mother's tender eye;
What wonder then, if he his lesson miss,
W^hen for so soft a rod dear jilay he try ? •
And yet my Stak, because a sugar' d kiss

(The p.^t

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Online LibraryCharles LambThe last essays of Elia → online text (page 8 of 15)