John Churton Collins.

A treasury of minor British poetry selected and arranged with notes .. online

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With lullaby content thy will ;
Since courage quayles, and comes behind,
Go sleepe, and so beguile thy minde.



Next lullaby, my gazing eyes,

Which wonted were to glance apace ;
For every glasse may nowe suffice

To shewe the furrowes in my face.
With lullaby then winke awhile,
With lullaby your lookes beguile :
Let no faire face, nor beautie brighte
Entice you eft with vaine delighte.



And lullaby, my wanton will !

Let reason's rule nowe reigne thy thought,
Since all too late I finde by skill

Howe deare I have thy fancies bought :
With lullaby nowe take thine ease,
With lullaby thy doubtes appease ;
For, trust to this, if thou be still,
My body shall obey thy will.

G. GASCOIGN.



62 A TREASURY



LVIII
ON TIME

TIME ! I ever must complaine

Of thy craft and cruell cunning ;
Seeming fix'd here to remaine,
When thy feete are ever running ;
And thy plumes
Still resumes
Courses new, repose most shunning.

Like calme winds thou passest by us ;

Lin'd with feathers are thy feete ;
Thy downie wings with silence flie us,
Like the shadowes of the night :
Or the streame,
That no beame
Of sharpest eye discernes to fleet.

Therefore mortals all deluded

By thy grave and wrinkled face,
In their judgements have concluded,
That thy slow and snaile-like pace
Still doth bend
To no end,
But to an eternal race.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 63

Budding youth's vaine blooming wit
Thinks the spring shall ever last,
And the gaudie flowers that sit
On Flora's brow shall never taste
Winter's scorne,
Nor forlorne,
Bend their heads with chilling blast.



Riper age expects to have

Harvests of his proper toile,
Times to give, and to receive

Seedes and fruits from fertile soile ;
But at length,
Doth his strength,
Youth and beauty all recoile.



Cold December hope retaines,

That the spring, each thing reviving,
Shall throughout his aged veines

Pour fresh youth, past joys repriving ;
But thy sithe
Ends his strife,
And to Lethe sends him driving.

J. HAGTHORPE.



64 A TREASURY



LIX

WHAT IS THE WORLD?

SWIFTLY water sweepeth by :

Swifter winged arrowes fly,

Swiftest yet, the winde that passes

When the nether clouds it chases.

But the joyes of earthly mindes,

Worldly pleasures, vain delights,

Far out-swift far sudden flights,

Waters, arrowes, and the windes.

What is the world ? tell, Worldling (if thou know it),

If it be good, why do all ills o'erflow it ?

If it be bad, why dost thou like it so ?

If it be sweet, how comes it bitter then ?

If it be bitter, what bewitcheth men ?

If it be Friend, why kills it, as a Foe,

Vain-minded men that over-love and lust it ?

If it be Foe, Fondling, how dar'st thou trust it ?

J. SYLVESTER.



LX

As Noah's pigeon, which return'd no more,
Did show she footing found, for all the flood ;

So when good soules, departed through Death's doore,
Come not againe, it shewes their dwelling good.

SIR j. DAVIES.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 65

LXI
THE WORLD A GAME

THIS world a hunting is,

The prey, poor man, the Nimrod fierce is death ;

His speedy greyhounds are

Lust, sickness, envy, care,

Strife that ne'er falls amiss,
With all those ills which haunt us while we breathe.

Now if by chance we fly

Of these the eager chase,

Old age with stealing pace
Casts up his nets, and there we panting die.

W. DRUMMOND.
LXII

EPITAPH

I WAS, I am not ; smil'd, that since did weepe ;
Labour'd, that rest ; I wak'd, that now must sleepe ;
I play'd, I play not ; sung, that now am still ;
Saw, that am blind ; I would, that have no will ;
I fed that, which feeds worms ; I stood, I fell ;
I bad God save you, that now bid farewell ;
I felt, I feel not ; followed, was pursued ;
I warr'd, have peace ; I conquer'd, am subdued ;
F



66 A TREASURY



I mov'd, want motion ; I was stiffe, that bow
Below the earth ; then something, nothing now.
I catch'd, am caught ; I travel'd, here I lie ;
Liv'd in the world, that to the world now die.

T. HEYWOOD.



LXIII

LAY a garland on my hearse

Of the dismal yew ;
Maidens, willow-branches bear

Say I died true.
My love was false, but I was firm

From my hour of birth.
Upon my buried body lie

Lightly, gentle earth.

BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER.



LXIV

NATURE'S LESSONS

WHEN the leaves in Autumn wither,
With a tawny, tanned face ;

Warpt and wrinkled-up together,
Th' year's late beauty to disgrace :



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 67



There thy life's glass mayst thou finde thee,
Green now, gray now, gone anon ;

Leaving, Worldling, of thine own
Neither fruit nor leaf behind thee.

When chill Winter's cheer wee see

Shrinking, shaking, shivering, cold ;
See ourselves, for such* are wee

After youth, if ever old.
After Winter, Spring (in order)

Comes again ; but earthly thing
Rotting here, not rooting further,

Can thy Winter hope a Spring ?

J. SYLVESTER.



LXV

ILLUSION

IF Fortune's dark eclipse cloud glorie's light,

Then what availes that pomp which pride doth claim ?

A meere illusion made to mock the sight,

Whose best was but the shadow of a dreame.

Let greatnesse of her glassie scepters vaunt,

Not scepters, no, but reeds, soone bruis'd, soone
broken ;

And let this worldlie pompe our wits enchant,
All fades and scarcelie leaves behinde a token.



68 A TREASURY



Those golden palaces, those gorgeous halls,

With furniture superfluously faire ;
Those statlie courts, those sky-encount'ring walls

Evanish all like vapours in the aire.

Our painted pleasures but apparell paine ;

We spend our dayes in dread, our lives in dangers,
Balls to the starres, and thralls to Fortune's reigne,

Knowne unto all, yet to ourselves but strangers.

ALEXANDER, EARL OF STIRLING.



LXVI

ON THE TOMBS IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY

MORTALITY, behold, and fear,

What a change of flesh is here !

Think how many royal bones

Sleep within this heap of stones.

Here they lie, had realms and lands,

Who now want strength to stir their hands ;

Where, from their pulpits seal'd with dust,

They preach, "In greatness is no trust."

Here's an acre sown indeed

With the richest, royal'st seed,

That the earth did e'er suck in

Since the first man died for sin :

Here the bones of birth have cried

" Though gods they were, as men they died."



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 69

Here are sands, ignoble things
Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings ;
Here's a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.

F. BEAUMONT.



LXVII

TO DEATH

DEATH, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so ;
For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep which but thy picture be,
Much pleasure, then, from thee much more must flow ;
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.

Thou'rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke. Why swell'st thou then ?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally,

And Death shall be no more ; Death, thou shalt die.

DR. DONNE.



70 A TREASURY



LXVIII

A PRAYER

VIEW me, Lord, a work of Thine :
Shall I then lie drowned in night ?

Might Thy grace in me but shine,
I should seeme made all of light.

But my soul still surfeits so

On the poisoned baits of sinne,

That I strange and ugly grow,
All is dark and foul withinne.

Cleanse me, Lord, that I may kneele
At thine altar, pure and white :

They that once Thy mercies feele,
Gaze no more on earth's delight.

Worldly joys, like shadows, fade
When the heavenly light appears;

But the covenants Thou hast made,
Endless, knowe nor dayes nor yeares.

In Thy Word, Lord, is my trust,

To Thy mercies past I flye ;
Though I am but clay and dust,

Yet Thy grace can lift me highe.

T. CAMPION.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 71



LXIX
THE BURNING BABE

As I in hoary winter's night stood shiveringe in the snowe,
Surpris'd I was with sudden heat, which made my heart

to glowe ;

And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was neare,
A prettie babe all burning bright, did in the air appeare,
Who, scorched with exceeding heate, such floodes of teares

did shed,
As though His floodes should quench His flames which

with His teares were fed;

Alas ! quoth He, but newly borne, in fiery heates I fry,
Yet none approach to warme their heartes or feele my fire

but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel woundinge

thornes,
Love is the fire, and sighes the smoke, the ashes shame

and scornes;

The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blowes the coales;
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defiled

soules,
For which, as nowe a fire I am, to worke them to their

good,
So will I melt into a bath, to washe them in my bloode :



72 A TREASURY



With this He vanish'd out of sight, and swiftly shrunk

awaye,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas-

daye.

R. SOUTHWELL.



LXX

A HYMN TO GOD THE FATHER

WILT Thou forgive that sin where I begun,

Which was my sin, though it were done before ?

Wilt thou forgive that sin through which I run
And do run still, though still I do deplore ?

When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,

For I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sins their door ?

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in a score ?

When Thou hast done Thou hast not done,

For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I've spun

My last thread, I shall perish on the shore ;

But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine, as He shines now and heretofore ;

And having done that, Thou hast done,

I fear no more.

DR. DONNE.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 73



LXXI
TIME AND HOPE

EVEN such is time, that takes in trust
Our youth, our joyes, our all we have,
And pays us but with Earth and Dust ;
Who, in the dark and silent Grave,
(When we have wandred all our ways),
Shuts up the story of our days ;
But from this Earth, this Grave, this Dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust !

SIR W. RALEIGH.



LXXII

EVEN-SONG

O MORTALL folke, you may beholde and see

Howe I lye here, sometime a mighty knight ;

The end of joye and all prosperitee

Is death at last, thorough his course and mighte,

After the daye there cometh the darke night,

For though the daye be never so long,

At last the belle ringeth to even-song.

S. HAWES.



BOOK II



LXXIII

A FATHER'S BLESSING

WHAT I shall leave thee none can tell,

But all shall say I wish thee well ;

I wish thee, Vin, before all wealth,

Both bodily and ghostly health :

Nor too much wealth, nor wit, come to thee,

So much of either may undoe thee.

I wish thee learning, not for show,

Enough for to instruct, and know ;

Not such as gentlemen require,

To prate at table, or at fire.

I wish thee all thy mother's graces,

Thy father's fortunes, and his places.

I wish thee friends, and one at court,

Not to build on, but support ;

To keep thee, not in doing many

Oppressions, but from suffering any.

I wish thee peace in all thy ways,

Nor lazy nor contentious dayes ;

And when thy soul and body part,

As innocent as now thou art.

R. CORBET.



78 A TREASURY



LXXIV

THE RETREAT

HAPPY those early dayes, when I

Shin'd in my angel infancy !

Before I understood this place

Appointed for my second race.

Or taught my soul to fancy ought

But a white, celestial thought ;

When yet I had not walkt above

A mile or two from my first love,

And looking back, at that short space,

Could see a glimpse of his bright face ;

When on some gilded Cloud or Flowre

My gazing soul would dwell an houre,

And in those weaker glories spy

Some shadows of eternity ;

Before I taught my tongue to wound

My conscience with a sinful sound,

Or had the black art to dispense

A sev'rall sin to ev'ry sense ;

But felt through all this fleshly dresse

Bright shootes of everlastingnesse.

O how I long to travel back,

And tread again that ancient track !

That I might once more reach that plaine

Where first I left my glorious traine ;



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 79

From whence th' enlightened spirit sees
That shady city of palme trees.
But ah ! my soul with too much stay
Is drunk, and staggers in the way !
Some men a forward motion love,
But I by backward steps would move ;
And, when this dust falls to the urn,
In that state I came, return.

H..VAUGHAN.



LXXV

THE ALCHEMY OF LOVE

WHAT pearls, what rubies can
Seem so lovely fair to man,
As her lips whom he doth love,
When in sweet discourse they move,
Or her lovelier teeth, the while
She doth bless him with a smile ?
Stars indeed fair creatures bee :
Yet amongst us where is hee
Joys not more the whilst he lies
Sunning in his mistress' eyes,
Than in all the glimmering light
Of a starrie winter's night ?
Note the beautie of an eye
And if aught you praise it bye



8o A TREASURY



Leave such passion in your mind,
Let my reason's eye be blind.
Mark if ever red or white
Anywhere gave such delight,
As when they have taken place
In a worthie woman's face.

G. WITHER.



LXXVI

LOVE

ALL love, at first, like gen'rous wine,
Ferments and frets, until 'tis fine ;
But when 'tis settled on the lee,
And from th' impurer matter free,
Becomes the richer still, the older,
And proves the pleasanter, the colder.
Love is too great a happiness
For wretched mortals to possess :
For, could it hold inviolate
Against those cruelties of Fate,
Which all felicities below
By rigid laws are subject to,
It would become a bliss too high
For perishing mortality,
Translate to earth the joys above ;
For nothing goes io Heaven but love.

S. BUTLER.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 81



LXXVII
THE PRIMROSE

ASKE me why I send you here

This sweet Infanta of the yeare ?

Aske me why I send to you

This primrose, thus bepearl'd with dew ?

I will whisper to your eares

The sweets of love are mixt with tears.

Ask me why this flower does show
So yellow-green, and sickly too ?
Ask me why the stalk is weak
And bending, yet it doth not break ?
I will answer, These discover
What fainting hopes are in a lover.

R. HERRICK.



LXXVIII

AGAINST THEM WHO LAY UNCHASTITY TO
THE SEX OF WOMEN

THEY meet but with unwholesome springs,
And summers which infectious are ;
G



82 A TREASURY



They heare but when the mermaid sings,
And onely see the falling starre,

Who ever dare,
Affirme no woman chaste and faire.



Goe cure your fevers ; and you'll say

The dog-dayes scorch not all the yeare ;

In copper mines no longer stay,
But travell to the West, and there
The right ones see,

And grant all gold's not alchemie.



What madman, 'cause the glow-worme's flame
Is cold, sweares there's no warmth in fire ?

'Cause some make forfeit of their name,
And slave themselves to man's desire,
Shall the sex, free

From guilt, damn'd to the bondage be ?



Nor grieve, Castara, though 'twere fraile ;

Thy vertue then would brighter shine,
When thy example should prevaile,

And every woman's faith be thine :

And were there none,
'Tis majesty to rule alone.

W. HABINGTON.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 83



LXXIX

CASTARA

LIKE the violet which alone

Prospers in some happy shade ;
My Castara lives unknown,
To no looser eye betray'd.
For she's to herself untrue,
Who delights i' the public view.

Such is her beauty, as no arts

Have enriched with borrowed grace ;
Her high birth no pride imparts,
For she blushes in her place.
Folly boasts a glorious blood,
She is noblest, being good.

She her throne makes reason climbe,

While wild passions captive lie,
And each article of time

Her pure thoughts to heaven fly :
All her vowes religious be,
And her love she vowes to me.

W. HABINGTON.



84 A TREASURY



LXXX
THE NIGHT-PIECE TO JULIA

HER eyes the glow-worme lend thee,
The shooting starres attend thee ;

And the elves also,

Whose little eyes glow,
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee.

No Will-o'-th'-Wispe mislight thee ;
Nor snake, or slow-worme bite thee :

But on, on thy way,

Not making a stay,
Since ghost there's none t' affright thee.

Let not the darke thee cumber ;
What though the moon does slumber ?

The starres of the night

Will lend thee their light
Like tapers cleare without number.

Then Julia let me woo thee,
Thus, thus to come unto me ;

And when I shall meet

Thy silv'ry feet,
My soul I'll poure into thee.

R. HERRICK.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 85

LXXXI
THE POWER OF LOVE

THERE are two births, the one when light
First strikes the new awaken'd sense ;

The other when two souls unite,

And we must count our life from thence :

When you lov'd me and I lov'd you,

Then both of us were born anew.

Love then to us did new souls give,

And in those souls did plant new powers ;

Since when another life we live,

The breath we breathe is his not ours :

Love makes those young, whom age doth chill,

And whom he finds young, keeps young still.

W. CARTWRIGHT.
LXXXII

TO HIS COY MISTRESS

HAD we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime,
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass one long, love's day.



86 A TREASURY



Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Should'st rubies find ; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews ;
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow ;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze ;>
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest ;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.



But at my back I always hear

Time's winged chariot hurrying near ;

And yonder all before us lie

Deserts of vast eternity.

Thy beauty shall no more be found,

Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound

My echoing song : then worms shall try

That long preserv'd virginity ;

And your quaint honour turn to dust,

And into ashes all my lust :

The grave's a fine and private place,

But none, I think, do there embrace.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 87

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapt pow'r.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball ;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife,
Thorough the iron gates of life ;
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

A. MARVELL.



LXXXIII

SONG

PHILLIS is my only joy,

Faithless as the winds or seas ;
Sometimes coming, sometimes coy,
Yet she never fails to please ;
If with a frown
I am cast down,
Phillis smiling
And beguiling,
Makes me happier than before.



88 A TREASURY



Though, alas ! too late I find
Nothing can her fancy fix,
Yet the moment she is kind,
I forgive her all her tricks ;
Which though I see,
I can't get free ;
She deceiving,
I believing ;
What need lovers wish for more ?

SIR C. SEDLEY.



LXXXIV

AMORET

FAIR Amoret is gone astray,

Pursue and seek her, ev'ry lover ;

I'll tell the signs by which you may
The wand'ring shepherdess discover.

Coquette and coy at once her air,
Both studied, tho' both seem neglected ;
Careless she is, with artful care,
Affecting to seem unaffected.

With skill her eyes dart ev'ry glance,
Yet change so soon you'd ne'er suspect them,
For she'd persuade they wound by chance,
Tho' certain aim and art direct them.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 89

She likes herself, yet others hates
For that which in herself she prizes ;
And, while she laughs at them, forgets
She is the thing that she despises.

W. CONGREVE.



LXXXV

SEMELE TO JUPITER

WITH my frailty don't upbraid me,
I am woman as you made me ;
Causeless doubting or despairing,
Rashly trusting, idly fearing.

If obtaining,

Still complaining ;

If consenting,

Still repenting ;

Most complying,

When denying,
And to be follow'd only flying.

With my frailty don't upbraid me,
I am woman as you made me.

W. CONGREVE.



90 A TREASURY



LXXXVI
CHANSON A BOIRE

COME, let's mind our drinking,
Away with this thinking ;

It ne'er, that I heard of, did any one good ;
Prevents not disaster,
But brings it on faster,

Mischance is by mirth and by courage withstood.

He ne'er can recover
The day that is over,

The present is with us, and does threaten no ill ;
He's a fool that will sorrow
For the thing call'd to-morrow,

But the hour we've in hand we may wield as we
will.

There's nothing but Bacchus
Right merry can make us,

That virtue particular is to the vine ;
It fires ev'ry creature
With wit and good-nature,

Whose thoughts can be dark when their noses do
shine ?



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 91



A night of good drinking
Is worth a year's thinking,

There's nothing that kills us so surely as sorrow ;
Then to drown our cares, boys,
Let's drink up the stars, boys,

Each face of the gang will a sun be to-morrow.

c. COTTON.



LXXXVII

LOVE ARMED

LOVE in fantastic triumph sat,

Whilst bleeding hearts around him flow'd
For whom fresh pains he did create,

And strange tyrannic power he show'd.
From thy bright eyes he took his fire,

Which round about in sport he hurl'd ;
But 'twas from mine he took desire,

Enough t' inflame the amorous world.

From me he took his sighs and tears,

From thee his pride and cruelty;
From me his languishments and fears,

And every killing dart from thee.
Thus thou and I the god have arm'd,

And set him up a deity ;
But my poor heart alone is harm'd,

Whilst thine the victor is, and free.

APHRA BEHN.



92 A TREASURY



LXXXVIII
LOVE AND MARRIAGE

IN vain does Hymen, with religious vows

Oblige his slaves to wear his chains with ease ;

A privilege alone that Love allows,

'Tis Love alone can make our fetters please.

The angry tyrant lays his yoke on all,
Yet in his fiercest rage is charming still ;

Officious Hymen comes whene'er we call,
But haughty Love comes only when he will.

APHRA BERN.



LXXXIX

THE SIEGE

Tis now, since I sat down before

That foolish fort, a heart,
(Time strangely spent !) a year and more,

And still I did my part :

Made my approaches, from her hand

Unto her lip did rise ;
And did already understand

The language of her eyes :



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 93

Proceeded on with no less art,

(My tongue was engineer;)
I thought to undermine the heart

By whispering in the ear.

When this did nothing, I brought down

Great cannon-oaths, and shot
A thousand thousand to the town,

And still it yielded not.

I then resolv'd to starve the place,

By cutting off all kisses,
Praising and gazing on her face,

And all such little blisses.

To draw her out and from her strength,

I drew all batteries in ;
And brought myself to lie, at length,

As if no siege had been.

When I had done what man could do,
And thought the place mine own,

The enemy lay quiet too,
And smil'd at all was done.

I sent to know from whence, and where

These hopes and this relief?
A spy inform'd, Honour was there,

And did command in chief.



94 A TREASURY



" March, march," quoth I ; " the word straight give,

Let's lose no time, but leave her ;
That giant upon air will live,

And hold it out for ever."

SIR J. SUCKLING.



xc



THE OLD MAN'S WISH

IF I live to grow old, for I find I go down,

Let this be my fate : in a country town,

May I have a warm house, with a stone at the gate,

And a cleanly young girl to rub my bald pate.

May I govern my passion with an absolute sway,
And grow wiser and better as my strength wears

away,
Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.

Near a shady grove, and a murmuring brook,
With the ocean at distance, whereon I may look,
With a spacious plain without hedge or stile,
And an easy pad-nag to ride out a mile.
May I govern, etc.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 95



With Plutarch and Horace, and one or two more
Of the best wits that lived in the ages before ;
With a dish of roast mutton, not ven'son or teal,
And clean, though coarse linen, at every meal.
May I govern, etc.



With a pudding on Sunday, with stout humming liquor,
And remnants of Latin to puzzle the Vicar ;
With a hidden reserve of Burgundy wine,
To drink the king's health as oft as I dine.
May I govern, etc.


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Online LibraryJohn Churton CollinsA treasury of minor British poetry selected and arranged with notes .. → online text (page 4 of 19)