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SIR JOHN DENHAM (1615-1669) RICHARD LOVELACE (1618-1658)
FROM COOPER'S HILL
TO LUCASTA, GOING TO THE WARS
My eye, descending from the hill, surveys
Where Thames amongst the wanton valleys
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Thames, the most loved of all the Ocean's
By his old sire to his embraces runs,
Hasting to pay his tribute to the sea,
Like mortal life to meet eternity;
Though with those streams he no resemblance
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.
True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.
TO ALTHEA, FROM PRISON
When Love with unconfinèd wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at the grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair
And fetter'd to her eye,
The birds that wanton in the air
Know no such liberty.
Up with the day, the sun thou welcom'st
Sport'st in the gilt plaits of his beams,
And all these merry days mak'st merry, men,
Thyself, and melancholy streams.
When flowing cups run swiftly round
With no allaying Thames,1
1 diluting water
Computes its time as well as we!
How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers?
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 our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst 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 wingèd 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 preserved 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.
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 amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt1 power. 40
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.
1 Time is represented as having jaws (chaps) that move slowly. 2 through
HENRY VAUGHAN (1622–1695)
Happy those early days, when I
Shined 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 walked 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 flower
My gazing soul would dwell an hour,
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 several sin to every sense,
But felt through all this fleshly dress
Bright shoots of everlastingness.
O how I long to travel back, And tread again that ancient track! That I might once more reach that plain, Where first I left my glorious train; From whence the enlightened spirit sees That shady city of palm 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.
FROM THE WORLD
I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright;
Of these the false Achitophel1 was first, 150
A name to all succeeding ages curst:
For close designs and crooked counsels fit,
Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit,3
Restless, unfixed in principles and place,
In power unpleased, impatient of disgrace: 155
A fiery soul, which, working out its way,
Fretted the pigmy body to decay
And o'er-informed the tenement of clay.
A daring pilot in extremity,
Pleased with the danger, when the waves went high,
He sought the storms; but, for a calm unfit, Would steer too nigh the sands to boast his wit. 162 Great wits are sure to madness near allied And thin partitions do their bounds divide; Else, why should he, with wealth and honour blest,
Refuse his age the needful hours of rest?
Punish a body which he could not please,
Bankrupt of life, yet prodigal of case?
And all to leave what with his toil he won
To that unfeathered two-legg'd thing, a son. 170
A numerous host of dreaming saints succeed Of the true old enthusiastic breed: 530 'Gainst form and order they their power employ,
Nothing to build and all things to destroy. But far more numerous was the herd of such Who think too little and who talk too much. These out of mere instinct, they knew not why,
Adored their fathers' God and property, 536
And by the same blind benefit of Fate
The Devil and the Jebusite did hate:
Born to be saved even in their own despite,
Because they could not help believing right. 540
1the Earl of Shaftesbury 2 secret 3 intellect 4 overfilled 5 their enemies, the Catholics