John Churton Collins.

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

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I hope I shall have no occasion to send
For priests or physicians, till I'm so near my end,
That I have eat all my bread and drank my last glass,
Let them come then and set their seals to my pass.
May I govern, etc.



With courage undaunted may I face my last day,
And when I am dead may the better sort say,
In the morning when sober, in the evening when mellow,
He's gone, and has left not behind him his fellow ;

For he governed his passion with an absolute sway,
And grew wiser and better as his strength wore

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

DR. w. POPE.



96 A TREASURY



XCI

THE BAG OF THE BEE

ABOUT the sweet bag of a bee,

Two Cupids fell at odds ;
And whose the pretty prize should be

They vow'd to ask the gods.

Which Venus hearing, thither came,
And for their boldness stript them ;

And taking thence from each his flame,
With rods of myrtle whipt them.

Which done, to still their wanton cries,
When quiet grown she had seen them,

She kiss'd and wip'd their dove-like eyes,
And gave the bag between them.

R. HERRICK.



XCI I

AGAINST PLEASURE

THERE'S no such thing as pleasure here,

'Tis all a perfect cheat,
Which does but shine and disappear,

Whose charm is but deceit ;



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 97



The empty bribe of yielding souls,
Which first betrays, and then controls.

Tis true, it looks at distance fair ;

But if we do approach,
The fruit of Sodom will impair,

And perish at a touch :
It being then in fancy less,
And we expect more than possess.

For by our pleasures we are cloy'd,

And so desire is done ;
Or else, like rivers, they make wide

The channel where they run ;
And either way true bliss destroys,
Making us narrow, or our joys.

We covet pleasure easily,

But ne'er true bliss possess ;
For many things must make it be,

But one may make it less ;
Nay, were our state as we could choose it,
'Twould be consum'd by fear to lose it.

What art thou, then, thou winged air,
More weak and swift than fame,

Whose next successor is Despair,
And its attendant Shame ?

Th' experienced prince then reason had,

Who said of pleasure " It is mad."

KATHERINE PHILIPS.
H



98 A TREASURY



XCIII
LOVE AND DEATH

LOVE and Death o' th' way once meeting,
Having past a friendly greeting,
Sleep their weary eyelids closing,
Lay them downe themselves reposing.
Love, whom divers cares molested,
Could not sleep, but whilst Death rested,
All in haste away he posts him,
But his haste full dearly costs him ;
For it chanc'd that going to sleeping,
Both had giv'n their darts in keeping
Unto Night, who, Error's mother,
Blindly knowing not one from t'other,
Gave Love Death's, and ne'er perceiv'd it,
While as blindly Love received it.
Since which time their darts confounding,
Love now kills instead of wounding ;
Death our hearts with sweetness rilling,
Gently wounds, instead of killing.

R. FLECKNO.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 99



XCIV
FAIR HELEN OF KIRCONNEL

I WISH I were where Helen lies,
Nicht and day on me she cries ;
Oh, that I were where Helen lies,

On fair Kirconnel lee !
Oh, Helen fair, beyond compare,
I'll mak' a garland o' thy hair,
Shall bind my heart for ever mair,

Until the day I dee.

Oh, think na ye my heart was sair,

When my love dropt down and spak nae mair

She sank, and swoon'd wi' mickle care,

On fair Kirconnel lee.
Curst be the heart that thocht the thocht,
And curst the hand that shot the shot,
When in my arms burd Helen dropt,

And died to succour me.

As I went down the water-side,
None but my foe to be my guide,
None but my foe to be my guide,
On fair Kirconnel lee.



ioo A TREASURY



I lichtit doun, my sword did draw,
I hackit him in pieces sma',
I hackit him in pieces sma',

For her sake that died for me.

Oh, that I were where Helen lies !
Nicht and day on me she cries,
Out of my bed she bids me rise

Oh, come, my love, to me !
Oh, Helen fair ! Oh, Helen chaste !
If I were with thee I were blest,
Where thou lies low and takes thy rest,

On fair Kirconnel lee.

I wish my grave were growin' green,
A windin' sheet drawn ower my een,
And I in Helen's arms lying,

On fair Kirconnel lee.
I wish I were where Helen lies,
Nicht and day on me she cries ;
And I am weary of the skies,

For her sake that died for me.

ANON.

xcv
BEAUTY'S BEAUTY

CAN you paint a thought ? or number

Every fancy in a slumber ?
Can you count soft minutes roving
From a dial's point by moving ?



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 101



Can you grasp a sigh ? or, lastly,
Rob a virgin's honour chastely ?

No, oh no ! yet you may
Sooner do both that and this,
This and that, and never miss,
Than by any praise display

Beauty's beauty ; such a glory,
As beyond all fate, all story,
All arms, all arts,
All loves, all hearts,
Greater than those, or they,
Do, shall, and must obey.

j. FORD.

xcvi
WHAT IS LOVE?

'Tis a child of phansie's getting,

Brought up between hope and fear,

Fed with smiles, grown by uniting
Strong, and so kept by desire ;

'Tis a perpetual vestal fire

Never dying,
Whose smoak like incense doth aspire

Upwards flying.

'Tis a soft magnetique stone

Attracting hearts by sympathie,



102 A TREASURY



Binding up close two souls in one,
Both discoursing secretlie :

'Tis the true Gordian knot that tyes

Yet ne'er unbinds,
Fixing thus two lovers eyes

As wel as mindes.

'Tis the sphere's heavenly harmonic
Where two skilful hearts do strike,

And everie sound expressively
Marries sweetly with the like.

'Tis the world's everlasting chain

That all things ty'd
And bid them like the fixed Waine

Unmov'd to bide.



R. HEATH.



XCVII

THE DIRGE

WHAT is th' 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 ?



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 103



It is a storme, where the hot blood
Outvies in rage the boiling flood ;
And each loose passion of the minde
Is like a furious gust of winde,
Which beats his bark with many a wave,
Till he casts anchor in the grave.



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






It is a dreame, whose seeming truth
Is moralis'd in age and youth ;
Where all the comforts he can share
As wandering 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
The body in perpetual shade.



104 A TREASURY



It is a wearie interlude,
Which doth short joys, long woes include ;
The world the stage, the prologue tears,
The acts vain hope and varied fears ;
The scene shuts up with loss of breath,
And leaves no epilogue but death.

H. KING.



XCVIII

RESPICE FINEM

MY soul, sit thou a patient looker on ;
Judge not the play before the play is done :
Her plot has many changes : every day
Speaks a new scene ; the last act crowns the play.

F. QUARLES.



XCIX

THE WORLD'S PROMISES

FALSE world, thou ly'st ; thou canst not lend
The least delight :

Thy favours cannot gain a friend,

They are so slight :

Thy morning pleasures make an end

To please at night :



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 105

Poor are the wants that thou supply'st,
And yet thou vaurit'st, and yet thou vy'st
With heaven : fond earth, thou boast'st ; false world,
thou ly'st.

Thy babbling tongue tells golden tales

Of endless treasure :
Thy bounty offers easy sales

Of lasting pleasure :
Thou ask'st the conscience what she ails,

And swear'st to ease her :
There's none can want where thou supply'st,
There's none can give where thou deny'st ;
Alas ! fond world, thou boast'st ; false world, thou ly'st.

What well-advised ear regards

What earth can say ?
Thy words are gold, but thy rewards

Are painted clay :
Thy cunning can but pack the cards,

Thou can'st not play :
Thy game at weakest, still thou vy'st,
If seen, and then revy'd, deny'st ;
Thou art not what thou seem'st : false world, thou ly'st.

Thy tinsel bosom seems a mint

Of new-coin'd treasure ;

A paradise that has no stint,

No change, no measure ;



106 A TREASURY



A painted cask, but nothing in't

Nor wealth, nor pleasure :
Vain earth ! that falsly thus comply'st
With man ; vain man ! that thou rely'st
On earth; vain man, thou doat'st; vain earth, thou ly'st.

What mean dull souls, in this high measure,

To haberdash
In earth's base wares, whose greatest treasure

Is dross and trash ;
The height of whose enchanting pleasure

Is but a flash ?

Are these the goods that thou supply'st
Us mortals with ? Are these the high'st ?
Can these bring cordial peace? False world, thou
ly'st.

F. QUARLES.



C

A REQUIEM

SLEEPE on, my Love, in thy cold bed

Never to be disquieted !

My last good-night ! thou wilt not wake

Till I thy fate shall overtake :

Till age, or grief, or sickness must

Marry my body to that dust



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 107



It so much loves ; and fill the room
My heart keeps empty in thy tomb.
Stay for me there ; I will not faile
To meet thee in that hollow vale.
And think not much of my delay :
I am already on the way,
And follow thee with all the speed
Desire can make, or sorrows breed.
Each minute is a short degree,
And ev'ry houre a step towards thee.

DR. H. KING.



ci
HYMN TO LIGHT

THOU tide of glory which no rest dost know,

But ever ebb and ever flow !

Thou golden shower of a true Jove !
Who does in thee descend, and Heav'n to earth make
love.



Say from what golden quivers of the sky,

Do all thy winged arrows fly ?

Swiftness and power by birth are thine :
From thy great sire they came, thy sire the word Divine.



io8 A TREASURY



Thou in the moon's bright chariot proud and gay,
Dost thy bright wood of stars survey ;
And all the year dost with thee bring

Of thousand flowry lights thine own nocturnal spring.

Thou Scythian-like dost round thy lands above
The Sun's gilt tent for ever move,
And still as thou in pomp do'st go,

The shining pageants of the world attend thy show.

When, goddess, thou lift'st up thy wak'ned head,
Out of the morning's purple bed,
Thy quire of birds about thee play,

And all the joyful world salutes the rising day.

All the world's brav'ry that delights our eyes
Is but thy sev'ral liveries,
Thou the rich dye on them bestow'st ;

Thy nimble pencil paints this landscape as thou go'st.

A crimson garment in the rose thou wear'st ;

A crown of studded gold thou bear'st ;

The virgin lillies in their white,
Are clad but with the lawn of almost naked light.

With flame condens'd thou do'st thy jewels fix,

And solid colours in it mix :

Flora herself envies to see
Flowers fairer than her own, and durable as she.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 109



Through the soft wayes of Heav'n, and air, and sea,

Which open all their pores to Thee,

Like a clear river thou do'st glide,

And with thy living stream through the close channels
slide.



But the vast ocean of unbounded day

In th' empyrean Heaven does stay.

Thy rivers, lakes, and springs below,
From thence took first their rise, thither at last must
flow.

A. COWLEY.



CII

FAITH AND REASON

SOME blind themselves, 'cause possibly they may

Be led by others a right way ;
They build on sands, which if unmov'd they find,

'Tis but because there was no wind.
Less hard 'tis, not to erre ourselves, than know

If our forefathers err'd or no.
When we trust men concerning God, we then

Trust not God concerning men.



i io A TREASURY



The Holy Book, like the eighth sphere, does shine

With thousand lights of truth divine.
So numberless the stars, that to the eye,

It makes but all one galaxie.
Yet Reason must assist too, for in seas

So vast and dangerous as these,
Our course by stars above we cannot know,

Without the compass too below.

Though Reason cannot through Faith's mysteries see,

It sees that there and such they be ;
Leads to Heaven's door, and there does humbly keep,

And there through chinks and key-holes peep.
Though it, like Moses, by a sad command,

Must not come in to th' Holy Land,
Yet thither it infallibly does guide ;

And from afar 'tis all descry'd.

A. COWLEY.



cm
THE GARDEN

WHAT wond'rous life is this I lead !
Ripe apples drop about my head ;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine ;



OF MINOR BRITISH FOE TRY in

The nectarine, and curious peach,
Into my hands themselves do reach ;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass.

Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,

Withdraws into its happiness ;

The mind, that ocean where each kind

Does straight its own resemblance find ;

Yet it creates, transcending these,

Far other worlds, and other seas,

Annihilating all that's made,

To a green thought in a green shade.

Here at the fountain's sliding foot,
Or at some fruit-tree's mossy root,
Casting the body's vest aside,
My soul into the boughs does glide :
There, like a bird, it sits and sings,
Then whets and claps its silver wings,
And, till prepared for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.

Such was that happy garden state,
While man there walked without a mate :
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet !
But 'twas beyond a mortal's share
To wander solitary there :
Two paradises are in one,
To live in Paradise alone.



A TREASURY



How well the skilful gardener drew

Of flow'rs, and herbs, this dial new,

Where, from above, the milder sun

Does through a fragrant zodiac run,

And, as it works, the industrious bee

Computes its time as well as we !

How could such sweet and wholesome hours

Be reckon'd but with herbs and flowers ?

A. MARVELL.



CIV



PHOSPHORE REDDE DIEM

WILL'T ne'er be morning ? Will that promis'd light
Ne'er break, and clear those clouds of night ?

Sweet Phosphor, bring the day,
Whose conqu'ring ray

May chase these fogs ; sweet Phosphor, bring the day.

How long ! How long shall these benighted eyes

Languish in shades, like feeble flies
Expecting spring ? How long shall darkness soil

The face of earth, and thus beguile
The souls of sprightful action ? When, when will day

Begin to dawn, whose new-born ray



OF MINOR BRITISH FOE TRY 113



May gild the weather-cocks of our devotion,
And give our unsoul'd souls new motion ?
Sweet Phosphor, bring the day,

Thy light will fray
These horrid mists ; sweet Phosphor, bring the day.

Alas ! my light in vain expecting eyes

Can find no objects, but what rise
From this poore mortal blaze, a dying spark

Of Vulcan's forge, whose flames are dark,
A dang'rous, a dull blue-burning light,

As melancholy as the night :
Here's all the sunnes that glister in the sphere

Of earth : ah me ! what comfort's here ?
Sweet Phosphor, bring the day ;

Haste, haste away,
Heav'n's loit'ring lamp; sweet Phosphor, bring the day.

F. QUARLES.



CV

PRESENT AND FUTURE

How we dally out our days !
How we seek a thousand ways
To find death ! the which, if none
We sought out, would show us one.

i



H4 A TREASURY



Never was there morning yet,

Sweet as is the violet,

Which man's follie did not soon

Wish to be expir'd in noon :

As though such an haste did tend

To our bliss, and not our end.

Nay, the young ones in the nest
Sucke this folly from the breast ;
And no stammering ape but can
Spoil a prayer to be a man.

Sooner shall the wandering star
Learn what rest and quiet are ;
Sooner shall the slippery rill
Leave his motion and stand still.

Be it joy, or be it sorrow,
We refer all to the morrow ;
That, we think, will ease our paine ;
That, we do suppose again,
Will increase our joy ; and soe
Events, the which we cannot know,
We magnify, and are (in sum)
Enamour'd of the time to come.

Well, the next day comes, and then
Another next, and soe to ten,
To twenty we arrive, and find
No more before us than behind



OF MINOR BRITISH POETR Y 115

Of solid joy ; and yet haste on
To our consummation ;
Till the forehead often have
The remembrance of a grave ;
And, at last, of life bereav'd,
Die unhappy and deceiv'd.

R. GOMERSALL.



CVI



DEPARTED FRIENDS

THEY are all gone into the world of light !

And I alone sit ling'ring here !
Their very memory is faire and bright,

And my sad thoughts doth clear.

It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast
Like stars upon some gloomy grove,

Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest
After the Sun's remove.

I see them walking in an air of glorie,
Whose light doth trample on my days ;

My days, which are at best but dull and hoarie,
Mere glimmering and decays.



ii6 A TREASURY



O holy Hope ! and high Humility !

High as the Heavens above ;
These are your walks, and you have shew'd them me

To kindle my cold love.

Dear, beauteous death ; the Jewel of the Just !

Shining no where but in the dark ;
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust,

Could man outlook that mark !

He that hath found some fledg'd bird's nest may know

At first sight if the bird be flown ;
But what fair dell or grove he sings in now,

That is to him unknown.

And yet, as Angels in some brighter dreams

Call to the soul when man doth sleepe,
So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes,

And into glory peepe.

If a star were confin'd into a tombe,

Her captive flames must needs burn there ;

But when the hand that lockt her up gives roome
She'll shine through all the spheare.

O Father of eternal life, and all

Created glories under thee !
Resume thy spirit from this world of thrall

Into true libertie !



OF MINOR BRITISH POE TRY 117

Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill

My perspective still as they passe :
Or else remove me hence unto that hill,

Where I shall need no glasse.

H. VAUGHAN.



CVII

AN EPITAPH

IN this marble buri'd lyes
Beauty may inrich the skyes
And add light to Phoebus' eyes.

Sweeter than Aurora's aire,
When she paints the lillies faire,
And gilds cowslips with her haire.

Chaster than the virgin Spring,
Ere her blossomes she doth bring,
Or cause Philomel to sing.

If such goodnesse live 'mongst men
Bring me it ! I shall know then
She is come from heaven agen.



But if not, ye standers by,
Cherish me, and say that I
Am the next designed to dye



R. HERRICK (?)



ii8 A TREASURY



CVIII
INVOCATION TO SILENCE

STILL-BORN Silence ! thou that art
Flood-gate of the deeper heart !
Offspring of a heavenly kinde,
Frost o' th' mouth, and thaw o' th' minde.
Secrecy's confident, and he
Who makes religion mystery !
Admiration's speaking'st tongue !
Leave, thy desart shades among,
Reverend hermit's hallow'd cells,
Where retir'dst Devotion dwells !
With thy enthusiasms come,
Seize our tongues, and strike us dumbe.

R. FLECKNO.



CIX

THE ASPIRATION

How long great God, how long must I
Immur'd in this dark prison lye !
Where at the grates and avenues of sense
My Soul must watch to have intelligence ;



OF MINOR BRITISH POETR Y 1 19



Where but faint gleams of thee salute my sight,
Like doubtful moonshine in a cloudy night.

When shall I leave this magic Sphere,
And be all mind, all eye, all ear !



How cold this clime ! and yet my sense
Perceives even here thy influence.
Even here thy strong magnetic charms I feel,
And pant and tremble like the amorous steel.
To lower good, and beauties less divine,
Sometimes my erroneous needle does decline ;
But yet, so strong the sympathy,
It turns, and points again to thee.



I long to see this excellence
Which at such distance strikes my sense.
My impatient Soul struggles to disengage
Her wings from the confinement of her cage.
Would'st thou great Love this prisoner once set free,
How would she hasten to be link'd with thee !
She'd for no Angel's conduct stay,
But fly, and love on all the way.

J. NORRIS OF BEMERTON.



120 A TREASURY



cx
PRAISE AND PRAYER

PRAISE is devotion, fit for mighty mindes,
The differing world's agreeing sacrifice ;

Where Heav'n divided faiths united findes :
But prayer, in various discord, upward flies.

For prayer the ocean is, where diversely

Men steer their course, each to a sev'ral coast ;

Where all our interests so discordant be,

That half beg windes by which the rest are lost.

By penitence, when we ourselves forsake,
'Tis but in wise design on piteous Heaven ;

In praise we nobly give what God may take,
And are without a beggar's blush forgiven.

SIR W. DAVENANT.



CXI
SAINT TERESA

O THOU undaunted daughter of desires !
By all thy dower of lights and fires,
By all the eagle in thee, all the dove,
By all thy lives and deaths of love,



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 121



By thy large draughts of intellectual day,

And by thy thirsts of love more large than they ;

By all thy brim-fill'd bowls of fierce desire,

By thy last morning's draught of liquid fire,

By the full kingdom of that final kiss

That seiz'd thy parting soul, and seal'd thee his ;

By all the heavens thou hast in him

Fair sister of the seraphim !

By all of him we have in thee,

Leaving nothing of myself in me :

Let me so read thy life that I

Unto all life of mine may die.

R. CRASHAW.



CXII

A TRANQUIL SOUL

THY soul within such silent pomp did keep,
As if humanity were lulled asleep ;
So gentle was thy pilgrimage beneath,

Time's unheard feet scarce make less noise,
Or the soft journey which a planet goes :

Life seemed all calm as its last breath.
A still tranquillity so husht thy breast,

As if some Halcyon were its guest,
And there had built her nest ;

It hardly now enjoys a greater rest.



122 A TREASURY



As that smooth sea which wears the name of Peace,

Still with one even face appears,
And feels no tides to change it from its place,
No waves to alter the fair form it bears ;
So thy unvary'd mind was always one,
And with such clear serenity still shone,
As caused thy little world to seem all temperate zone.

J. OLDHAM.



CXIII

THE MAGNET

LIKE to the arctic needle, that doth guide
The wand'ring shade by his magnetic power,

And leaves his silken gnomon to decide
The question of the controverted hour ;

First frantics up and down, from side to side,
And restless beats his crystal'd iv'ry case
With vain impatience ; jets from place to place,

And seeks the bosome of his frozen bride ;
At length he slacks his motion and doth rest

His trembling point at his bright pole's beloved breast.

Ev'n so my soul, being hurried here and there,

By ev'ry object that presents delight,
Fain would be settled, but she knows not where ;

She likes at morning what she loaths at night.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 123

She bowes to honour ; then she lends an eare

To that sweet swan-like voice of dying pleasure,
Then tumbles in the scatter'd heaps of treasure ;

Now flatter'd with false hope ; now foil'd with fear :
Thus finding all the world's delights to be

But empty toyes, good God, she points alone to Thee.

F. QUARLES.
CXIV

PRAYER

LORD, when the sense of Thy sweet grace
Sends up my soul to seek Thy face,
Thy blessed eyes breed such desire,
I die in love's delicious fire.
O Love, I am thy sacrifice,
Be still triumphant, blessed eyes ;
Still shine on me, fair suns ! that I
Still may behold though still I die.

R. CRASHAW.

cxv

AN ELEGY

MY sweet companion, and my gentle peer,
Why hast thou left me thus unkindly here,
Thy end for ever, and my life to moan ;
Oh, thou hast left me all alone !



124 A TREASURY



Thy soul and body when Death's agony
Besieg'd around thy noble heart,
Did not with more reluctance part

Than I, my dearest Friend, do part from thee.



My dearest Friend, would I had died for thee !

Life and this world henceforth will tedious be.

Nor shall I know hereafter what to do

If once my griefs prove tedious too.

Silent and sad I walk about all day,

As sullen ghosts stalk speechless by,
Where their hid treasures lie ;

Alas, my Treasure's gone, why do I stay ?



Say, for you saw us, ye immortal lights,
How oft unweari'd have we spent the nights ?
Till the Ledaean stars so fam'd for love,

Wonder'd at us from above.
We spent them not in toys, in lusts, or wine ;

But search of deep philosophy,

Wit, Eloquence, and Poetry, .
Arts which I lov'd, for they, my Friend, were thine.



Ye fields of Cambridge, our dear Cambridge, say,
Have ye not seen us walking every day ?


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Online LibraryJohn Churton CollinsA treasury of minor British poetry selected and arranged with notes .. → online text (page 5 of 19)