Edmund Waller.

The poems of Edmund Waller; online

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As well resembled the conspiring voice

Of routed armies, when the field is won,

To reach the ears of her escaped son. 60

He, though a league removed from the foe,

Hastes to her aid ; the pious Trojan so,

Neglecting for Creusa's life his own,

Repeats the danger of the burning town.

The men, amazed, blush to see the seed 65

Of monsters human piety exceed.

Well proves this kindness, what the Grecians sung,

That Love's bright mother from the ocean sprung.

Their courage droops, and, hopeless now, they wish

For composition with the unconquered fish ; 70

So she their weapons would restore again.

Through rocks they'd hew her passage to the main.


But how instructed in each other's mind ?

Or what commerce can men with monsters find ?

Not daring to approach their wounded foe, 75

Whom her courageous son protected so,

They charge their muskets, and, with hot desire

Of fell revenge, renew the fight with fire ;

Standing aloof, with lead they bruise the scales,

And tear the flesh of the incensed whales. 80

But no success their fierce endeavours found,

Nor this way could they give one fatal wound.

Now to their fort they are about to send

For the loud engines which their isle defend ;

But what those pieces framed to batter walls, 85

Would have effected on those mighty whales,

Great Neptune will not have us know, who sends

A tide so high that it relieves his friends.

And thus they parted with exchange of harms ; [90

Much blood the monsters lost, and they their arms.



WHILST I was free I wrote with high conceit,

And love and beauty raised above their height ;

Love, that bereaves us both of brain and heart,

Sorrow and silence doth at once impart.

What hand at once can wield a sword and write 5

Or battle paint, engaged in the fight ?

Who will describe a storm must not be there :

Passion writes well, neither in love nor fear.

Why on the naked boy have poets then

Feathers and wings bestowed, that wants a pen ? 10


BRAVE Holland leads, and with him Falkland goes.

Who hears this told, and does not straight suppose

We send the Graces and the Muses forth,

To civilize and to instruct the north ?

Not that these ornaments make swords less sharp ; 5

Apollo bears as well his bow as harp ;

And though he be the patron of that spring,

Where, in calm peace, the sacred virgins sing,

He courage had to guard the invaded throne

Of Jove, and cast the ambitious giants down. 10

Ah, noble friend ! with what impatience all
That know thy worth, and know how prodigal


Of thy great soul thou art, (longing to twist

Bays with that ivy which so early kissed

Thy youthful temples) with what horror we 15

Think on the blind events of war and thee !

To fate exposing that all -knowing breast

Among the throng, as cheaply as the rest ;

Where oaks and brambles (if the copse be burned)

Confounded lie, to the same ashes turned. 20

Some happy wind over the ocean blow
This tempest yet, which frights our island so !
Guarded with ships, and all the sea our own,
From heaven this mischief on our heads is thrown.

In a late dream, the Genius of this land, 25

Amazed, I saw, like the fair Hebrew stand,
When first she felt the twins begin to jar,
And found her womb the seat of civil war.
Inclined to whose relief, and with presage
Of better fortune for the present age, 30

Heaven sends, quoth I, this discord for our good,
To warm, perhaps, but not to waste our blood ;
To raise our drooping spirits, grown the scorn
Of our proud neighbours, who ere long shall mourn
(Though now they joy in our expected harms) 35
We had occasion to resume our arms.

A lion so with self-provoking smart,
(His rebel tail scourging his noble part)
Calls up his courage ; then begins to roar
And charge his foes, who thought him mad before. 40



THE lark, that shuns on lofty boughs to build
Her humble nest, lies silent in the field ;
But if the promise of a cloudless day,
Aurora smiling, bids her rise and play,
Then straight she shows 'twas not for want of voice, 5
Or power to climb, she made so low a choice ;
Singing she mounts ; her airy wings are stretched
Towards heaven, as if from heaven her note she fetched.

So we, retiring from the busy throng,
Use to restrain the ambition of our song ; 10

But since the light which now informs our age
Breaks from the court, indulgent to her rage,
Thither my muse, like bold Prometheus, flies,
To light her torch at Gloriana's eyes.

Those sovereign beams which heal the wounded
soul, 15

And all our cares, but once beheld, control ;
There the poor lover, that has long endured
Some proud nymph's scorn, of his fond passion cured,
Fares like the man who first upon the ground
A glow-worm spied, supposing he had found 20

. 1&45, Of and to tht Queette.


A moving diamond, a breathing stone ;
For life it had, and like those jewels shone ;
He held it dear, till by the springing day
Informed, he threw the worthless worm away.

She saves the lover, as we gangrenes stay, 25

By cutting hope, like a lopped limb, away ;
This makes her bleeding patients to accuse
High Heaven, and these expostulations use :
"Could Nature then no private woman grace,
Whom we might dare to love, with such a face, 30
Such a complexion, and so radiant eyes,
Such lovely motion, and such sharp replies ?
Beyond our reach, and yet within our sight,
What envious power has placed this glorious light ? "

Thus, in a starry night, fond children cry 35

For the rich spangles that adorn the sky,
Which, though they shine for ever fixed there,
With light and influence relieve us here.
All her affections are to one inclined ;
Her bounty and compassion to mankind ; 40

To whom, while she so far extends her grace,
She makes but good the promise of her face ;
For Mercy has, Could Mercy's self be seen,
No sweeter look than this propitious queen.
Such guard, and comfort, the distressed find 45

From her large power, and from her larger mind,
That whom ill Fate would ruin, it prefers,
For all the miserable are made hers.
So the fair tree whereon the eagle builds,


Poor sheep from tempests, and their shepherd
shields ; 50

The royal bird possesses all the boughs,
But shade and shelter to the flock allows.

Joy of our age, and safety of the next !
For which so oft thy fertile womb is vexed ;
Nobly contented, for the public good, 55

To waste thy spirits and diffuse thy blood,
What vast hopes may these islands entertain,
Where monarchs, thus descended, are to reign ?
Led by commanders of so fair a line,
Our seas no longer shall our power confine. 60

A brave romance who would exactly frame,
First brings his knight from some immortal dame,
And then a weapon, and a flaming shield,
Bright as his mother's eyes, he makes him wield.
None might the mother of Achilles be, 65

But the fair pearl and glory of the sea ;
The man to whom great Maro gives such fame,
From the high bed of heavenly Venus came ;
And our next Charles, whom all the stars design
Like wonders to accomplish, springs from thine. 70




MY charge it is those breaches to repair
Which Nature takes from sorrow, toil, and care ;
Rest to the limbs, and quiet I confer
On troubled minds ; but nought can add to her
Whom Heaven and her transcendent thoughts have
placed 5

Above those ills which wretched mortals taste.

Bright as the deathless gods, and happy, she
From all that may infringe delight is free ;
Love at her royal feet his quiver lays,
And not his mother with more haste obeys. 10

Such real pleasures, such true joys suspense,
What dream can I present to recompense ?

Should I with lightning fill her awful hand,
And make the clouds seem all at her command ;
Or place her in Olympus' top, a guest 15

Among the immortals, who with nectar feast ;
That power would seem, that entertainment, short
Of the true splendour of her present court,
Where all the joys, and all the glories, are


Of three great kingdoms, severed from the care. 20

I, that of fumes and humid vapours made,

Ascending, do the seat of sense invade,

No cloud in so serene a mansion find,

To overcast her ever-shining mind,

Which holds resemblance with those spotless skies, 25

Where flowing Nilus want of rain supplies ;

That crystal heaven, where Phoebus never shrouds

His golden beams, nor wraps his face in clouds.

But what so hard which numbers cannot force ?

So stoops the moon, and rivers change their course. 30

The bold Mseonian made me dare to steep

Jove's dreadful temples in the dew of sleep ;

And since the Muses do invoke my power,

I shall no more decline that sacred bower

Where Gloriana their great mistress lies ; 35

But, gently taming those victorious eyes,

Charm all her senses, till the joyful sun

Without a rival half his course has run ;

Who, while my hand that fairer light confines,

May boast himself the brightest thing that shines. 40



You gods that have the power

To trouble, and compose,

All that's beneath your bower,

Calm silence on the seas, on earth impose.

Fair Venus ! in thy soft arms 5

The God of Rage confine ;

For thy whispers are the charms

Which only can divert his fierce design.

What though he frown, and to tumult do incline ?
Thou the flame 10

Kindled in his breast canst tame
With that snow which unmelted lies on thine.

Great goddess ! give this thy sacred island rest ;
Make heaven smile,

That no storm disturb us while 15

Thy chief care, our halcyon, builds her nest.

Great Gloriana ! fair Gloriana !

Bright as high heaven is, and fertile as earth,

Whose beauty relieves us,

Whose royal bed gives us 20

Both glory and peace,

Our present joy, and all our hopes' increase. 1

i. 1645, Our present joy, our hopes ittcrease.



AMORET ! the Milky Way
Framed of many nameless stars !
The smooth stream where none can say
He this drop to that prefers !

Amoret ! my lovely foe !
Tell me where thy strength does lie ?
Where the power that charms us so ?
In thy soul, or in thy eye?

By that snowy neck alone,

Or thy grace in motion seen, 10

No such wonders could be done ;

Yet thy waist is straight and clean

As Cupid's shaft, or Hermes' rod,

And powerful, too, as either god.

G 2



PHYLLIS ! why should we delay

Pleasures shorter than the day

Could we (which we never can

Stretch our lives beyond their span,

Beauty like a shadow flies, 5

And our youth before us dies.

Or would youth and beauty stay,

Love hath wings, and will away.

Love hath swifter wings than Time ;

Change in love to heaven does climb. 10

Gods, that never change their state,

Vary oft their love and hate.

Phyllis ! to this truth we owe
All the love betwixt us two.
Let not you and I inquire 15

What has been our past desire ;
On what shepherds you have smiled,
Or what nymphs I have beguiled ;
Leave it to the planets too,
What we shall hereafter do ; 20

For the joys we now may prove,
Take advice of present love.



AH, lovely Amoret ! the care

Of all that know what's good or fair !

Is heaven become our rival too ?

Had the rich gifts, conferred on you

So amply thence, the common end 5

Of giving lovers to pretend ?

Hence, to this pining sickness (meant
To weary thee to a consent
Of leaving us) no power is given
Thy l>eauties to impair ; for heaven 10

Solicits thee with such a care,
As roses from their stalks we tear,
When we would still preserve them new
And fresh, as on the bush they grew.

With such a grace you entertain, 15

And look with such contempt on pain,
That languishing you conquer more,
And wound us deeper than before.
So 1 lightnings which in storms appear,
Scorch more than when the skies are clear. 20

i. 1645, The.


And as pale sickness does invade
Your frailer part, the breaches made
In that fair lodging, still more clear
Make the bright guest, your soul, appear.
So nymphs o'er pathless mountains borne, 25
Their light robes by the brambles torn
From their fair limbs, exposing new
And unknown beauties to the view
Of following gods, increase their flame,
And haste to catch the flying game. 30



ANGER, in hasty words or blows,

Itself discharges on our foes ;

And sorrow, too, finds some relief

In tears, which wait upon our grief ;

So every passion, but fond love, 5

Unto its own redress does move ;

But that alone the wretch inclines

To what prevents his own designs ;

Makes him lament, and sigh, and weep,

Disordered, tremble, fawn, and creep ; 10

Postures which render him despised,

Where he endeavours to be prized.

For women (born to be controlled)

Stoop to the forward and the bold ;

Affect the haughty and the proud, 15

The gay, the frolic, and the loud.

Who first the generous steed oppressed,

Not kneeling did salute the heast ;

But with high courage, life, and force,

Approaching, tamed the unruly horse. 2O

Unwisely we the wiser East
Pity, supposing them oppressed
With tyrants' force, whose law is will,
By which they govern, spoil, and kill :
Each nymph, but moderately fair, 25

Commands with no less rigour here.
Should some brave Turk, that walks among


His twenty lasses, bright and young,

And beckons to the willing dame,

Preferred to quench his present flame, 30

Behold as many gallants here,

With modest guise and silent fear,

All to one female idol bend,

While her high pride does scarce descend

To mark their follies, he would swear 35

That these her guard of eunuchs were,

And that a more majestic queen,

Or humbler slaves, he had not seen.

All this with indignation spoke,
In vain I struggled with the yoke 40

Of mighty Love ; that conquering look,
When next beheld, like lightning strook
My blasted soul, and made me bow
Lower than those I pitied now.

So the tall stag, upon the brink 45

Of some smooth stream about to drink,
Surveying there his armed head,
With shame remembers that he fled
The scorned dogs, resolves to try
The combat next ; but if their cry 50

Invades again his trembling ear,
He straight resumes his wonted care, 1
Leaves the untasted spring behind,
And, winged with fear, outflies the wind.

i. 1645, fear.



AND is antiquity of no more force !

Whoe'er opposed that ancient friendly course,

And free expression of our absent love,

Against the custom of all nations strove

And lost his labour, it does still prevail, 5

And shall, while there is friendship, wine, or ale.

Let brutes and vegetals, that cannot think,

So far as drought and nature urges, drink ;

A more indulgent mistress guides our sprites,

Reason, that dares beyond our appetites, 10

(She would our care, as well as thirst, redress)

And with divinity rewards excess.

Deserted Ariadne, thus supplied,

Did perjured Theseus' cruelty deride ;

Bacchus embraced, from her exalted thought 15

Banished the man, her passion, and his fault.

Bacchus and Phrebus are by Jove allied,

And each by other's timely heat supplied ;

All that the grapes owe to his ripening fires

Is paid in numbers which their juice inspires. 20

Wine fills the veins, and healths are understood

To give our friends a title to our blood ;

Who, naming me, doth warm his courage so,

Shows for my sake what his bold hand would do.

'Twere slender kindness that would not dispense 25

With health itself, to breed a confidence

Of true love in a friend, and he that quits


Each custom which the rude plebeian gets,

For his reserv'dness will too dearly pay,

Employ the night and loose the cheerful day : 30

The burnished face oft decked with hoary hairs

Shows drinking brings no death, but to our cares.

Who with a full red countenance ends his days,

He sets like Phoebus and discerns his bays.



SUCH moving sounds from such a careless touch !

So unconcerned herself, and we so much !

What art is this, that with so little pains

Transports us thus, and o'er our 1 spirit reigns ?

The trembling strings about her fingers crowd, 5

And tell their joy for every kiss aloud.

Small force there needs to make them tremble so';

Touched by that hand, who would not tremble too ?

Here love takes stand, and while she charms the ear,

Empties his quiver on the listening deer. 10

Music so softens and disarms the mind,

That not an arrow does resistance find.

Thus the fair tyrant celebrates the prize,

And acts herself the triumph of her eyes :

So Nero once, with harp in hand, surveyed 15

His flaming Rome, and as it burned he played.

i. 1645, the.



BEHOLD, and listen, while the fair

Breaks in sweet sounds the willing air,

And with her own breath fans the fire

Which her bright eyes do first inspire.

What reason can that love control, 5

Which more than one way courts the soul ?

So when a flash of lightning falls
On our abodes, the danger calls
For human aid, which hopes the flame
To conquer, though from heaven it came ; 10
But if the winds with that conspire,
Men strive not, but deplore the fire.



DESIGN, 1 or chance, makes others wive :

But Nature did this match contrive ;

Eve might as well have Adam fled,

As she denied her little bed

To him, for whom Heaven seemed to frame, 5

And measure out, this only dame.

Thrice happy is that humble pair,
Beneath the level of all care !
Over whose heads those arrows fly
Of sad distrust and jealousy ; 10

Secured in as high extreme,
As if the world held none but them.

To him the fairest nymphs do show
Like moving mountains, topped with snow ;
And every man a Polypheme 15

Does to his Galatea seem ;
None may presume her faith to prove ;
He proffers death that proffers love.

Ah, Chloris, that kind Nature thus
From all the world had severed us ; 20

Creating for ourselves us two,
As love has me for only you !

i. 1645, The signe.



TREADING the path to nobler ends,
A long farewell to love I gave,
Resolved my country, and my friends,
All that remained of me should have.

And this resolve no mortal dame, 5

None but those eyes could have o'erthrown,
The nymph I dare not, need not name,
So high, so like herself alone.

Thus the tall oak, which now aspires

Above the fear of private fires, 10

Grown and designed for nobler use,

Not to make warm, but build the house,

Though from our meaner flames secure,

Must that which falls from heaven endure.



MADAM, as in some climes the warmer sun

Makes it full summer ere the spring's begun,

And with ripe fruit the bending boughs can load,

Before our violets dare look abroad ;

So measure not by any common use 5

The early love your brighter eyes produce.

When lately your fair hand in woman's weed

Wrapped my glad head, I wished me so indeed,

That hasty time might never make me grow

Out of those favours you afford me now ; 10

That I might ever such indulgence find,

And you not blush, or think yourself too kind ;

Who now, I fear, while I these joys express,

Begin to think how you may make them less.

The sound of love makes your soft heart afraid, 1 5

And guard itself, though but a child invade,

And innocently at your white breast throw

A dart as white, a ball of new fall'n snow.



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 1 my heaven's extremest sphere,
The pale which held that' 2 lovely deer.
My joy, my grief, my hope, my love,
Did 3 all within this circle move !

A narrow compass ! and yet there
Dwelt 4 all that's good, and all that's fair ;
Give me but what this ribband bound,
Take all the rest the sun goes round. 8

i. 1645, it. 2. 1645, the.

3. 1645, Do. 4 .- 1645, Dwells.

5. 1645, Give me but what this Ribbon ty'd,
Take all the sun goes round betide.



SEE ! how the willing earth gave way,

To take the impression where she lay.

See ! how the mould, as loth to leave

So sweet a burden, still doth cleave

Close to the nymph's stained garment. Here 5

The coming spring would first appear,

And all this place with roses strow,

If busy feet would let them grow.

Here Venus smiled to see blind chance

Itself before her son advance, 10

And a fair image to present,

Of what the boy so long had meant.

'Twas such a chance as this, made all

The world into this order fall ;

Thus the first lovers on the clay, 15

Of which they were composed, lay ;

So in their prime, with equal grace,

Met the first patterns of our race.

Then blush not, fair ! or on him frown,

Or wonder how you both came down ; 20

But touch him, and he'll tremble straight,

How could he then support your weight ?

How could the youth, alas ! but bend,

When his whole heaven upon him leaned ?

If aught by him amiss were done, 25

'Twas that he let you rise so soon.



OUR sighs are heard ; just Heaven declares

The sense it has of lover's cares ;

She that so far the rest outshined,

Sylvia the fair, while she was kind,

As if her frowns impaired her brow, 5

Seems only not unhandsome now.

So when the sky makes us endure

A storm, itself becomes obscure.

Hence 'tis that I conceal my flame,

Hiding from Flavia's self her name, 10

Lest she, provoking Heaven, should prove

How it rewards neglected love.

Detter a thousand such as I,

Their grief untold, should pine and die.

Than her bright morning, overcast 15

\Viih sullen clouds, should be defaced.


LATELY on yonder swelling bush,

Big with many a coming rose,

This early bud began to blush,

And did but half itself disclose ;

I plucked it, though no better grown, 5

And now you see how full 'tis blown.

Still as I did the leaves Inspire,

With such a purple light they shone,

As if they had been made of fire,

And spreading so, would flame anon. 10

All that was meant by air or sun,

To the young flower, my breath has done.

If our loose breath so much can do,

What may the same in forms 1 of love,

Of purest love, and music too, 15

When Flavia it aspires to move ?

When that, which lifeless buds persuades

To wax more soft, her youth invades ?

i. This is the reading of the edition of 1645, and I have
preferred to retain it, although the other editions have
inform s, and in that of 1682 inform d in the text is corrected to
i ft/arm's in the Errata.



PYGMALION'S fate reversed is mine ;

His marble love took flesh and blood ;

All that I worshipped as divine,

That beauty ! now 'tis understood,

Appears to have no more of life 5

Than that whereof he framed his wife.

As women yet, who apprehend

Some sudden cause of causeless fear,

Although that seeming cause take end,

And they behold no danger near, 10

A shaking through their limbs they find,

Like leaves saluted by the wind :

So though the beauty do appear

No beauty, which amazed me so ;

Yet from my breast I cannot tear 15

The passion which from thence did grow ;

Nor yet out of my fancy raze

The print of that supposed face.

A real beauty, though too near,

The fond Narcissus did admire ! 20

I dote on that which is nowhere ;

The sign of beauty feeds my fire.

No mortal flame was e'er so cruel

As this, which thus survives the fuel !

H 2



NOT caring to observe the wind,
Or the new sea explore,
Snatched from myself, how far behind
Already I behold the shore !

May not a thousand dangers sleep 5

In the smooth bosom of this deep ?

No ; 'tis so rockless and so clear,

That the rich bottom does appear,

Paved all with precious things, not torn

From shipwrecked vessels, but there born. 10

Sweetness, truth, and every grace
Which time and use are wont to teach,
The eye may in a moment reach,
And read distinctly in her face.

Some other nymphs, with colours faint, 15

And pencil slow, may Cupid paint,

And a weak heart in time destroy ;

She has a stamp, and prints the boy ;

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryEdmund WallerThe poems of Edmund Waller; → online text (page 9 of 21)