« PreviousContinue »
(For who can judge or witness of those times,
Where all alike are guilty of the crimes?)
Where he, that would be good, is thought by all
A monster, or at best fantastical:
Since now you durst be good, and that I do
Discern, by daring to contemplate you,
That there may be degrees of fair, great, good,
Through your light, largeness, virtue understood:
If in this sacrifice of mine be shown
Any small spark of these, call it your own:
And if things like these have been said by me
Of others; call not that idolatry.
For had God made man first, and man had seen
The third day’s fruits and flowers, and various green,
He might have said the best that he could say
Of those fair creatures, which were made that day: .
And when next day, he had admir'd the birth
Of Sun, Moon, stars, fairer than late-prais’d Earth,
He might have said the best that he could say,
And not be chid for praising yesterday:
So though some things are not together true,
As, that another's worthiest, and that you :
Yet to say so doth not condemn a man,
If, when he spoke them, they were both true then.
How fair a proof of this in our soul grows?
We first have souls of growth, and sense; and those,
When our last soul, our soul immortal, came,
Were swallow’d into it, and have no name:
Nor doth he injure those souls, which doth cast
The power and praise of both them on the last;
No more do I wrong any, if I adore
The same things now, which I ador'd before,
The subject chang'd, and measure; the same thing
In a low constable and in the king
I reverence; his power to work on me:
So did I humbly reverence each degree
Of fair, great, good; but more, now I am come
From having found their walks, to find their home
And as I owe my first soul's thanks, that they
For my last soul did fit and mould my clay,
So am I debtor unto them, whose worth
Enabled me to profit, and take forth
This new great lesson, thus to study you ;
Which none, not reading others first, could do.
Nor lack I light to read this book, though I
In a dark cave, yea, in a grave do lie;
For as your fellow angels, so you do
Illustrate them, who come to study you.
The first, whom we in histories do find
To have profess'd all arts, was one born blind:
He lack'd those eyes beasts have as well as we,
Not those, by which angels are seen and see;
So, though I’m born without those eyes to live,
Which Fortune, who hath none herself, doth give,
Which are fit means to see bright courts and you,
Yet may I see you thus, as now I do;
I shall by that all goodness have discern'd,
And, though I burn my library, be learn'd.
If great men wrong me, I will spare myself,
If mean, I will spare them; I know, the pelf,
Which is ill got, the owner doth upbraid;
It may corrupt a judge, make me afraid
And a jury: but 'twill revenge in this,
That, though himself be judge, he guilty is.
What care I though of weakness men tax me?
I'd rather sufferer than doer be ;
That I did trust it was my nature's praise,
For breach of word I knew but as a phrase.
That judgment is, that surely can comprise
The world in precepts, most happy and most wise.
What though though less, yet some of both have
Who have learn’d it by use and misery. [we,
Poor I, whom every petty cross doth trouble,
Who apprehend each hurt, that’s done me, double,
Am of this (though it should think me) careless,
It would but force me to a stricter goodness.
They have great gain of me, who gain do win
(If such gain be not loss) from every sin.
The standing of great men's lives would afford
A pretty sum, if God would sell his word.
He cannot; they can theirs, and break them too.
How unlike they are that they’re likened to ?
Yet I conclude, they are amidst my evils,
If good, like gods; the naught are so like devils.
By our first strange and fatal interview,
By all desires, which thereof did ensue,
By our long striving hopes, by that remorse,
Which my words masculine persuasive force
Begot in thee, and by the memory
Of hurts, which spies and rivals threaten’d me,
I calmly beg. But by thy father's wrath,
By all pains, which want and divorcement hath,
I conjure thee; and all the oaths, which I
And thou have sworn to seal joint constancy,
I here unswear, and overswear them thus;
Thou shalt not love by means so dangerous.
Temper, O fair love! love’s impetuous rage,
Be my true mistress, not my feigned page;
I'll go, and, by thy kind leave, leave behind
Thee, only worthy to nurse in my mind,
Thirst to come back; O, if thou die before,
My soul from other lands to thee shall soar;
Thy (else almighty) beauty cannot move
Rage from the seas, northy love teach them love,
Nor tame wild Boreas' harshness; thou hast read
How roughly he in pieces shivered
Fair Orithea, whom he swore he lov’d.
Fall ill or good, 'tis madness to have prov’d
1)angers unurg'd : feed on this flattery,
That absent lovers one in th’ other be.
Dissemble nothing, not a boy, nor change
Thy body's habit, nor mind; be not strange
To thyself only. All will spy in thy face
A blushing womanly discovering grace.
Richly cloth'd apes, are call'd apes; and as soon
Eclips'd, as bright we call the Moon, the Moon,
Men of France, changeable chameleons,
Spittles of diseases, shops of fashions,
Love's fuellers, and th’ rightest company
Of players, which upon the world's stage be,
Will too too quickly know thee; and alas,
Th’ indifferent Italian, as we pass
His warm land, well content to think thee page,
Will hunt thee with such lust and hideous rage,
As Lot's fair guests were vex'd. But none of these,
Nor spungy hydroptic Dutch, shall thee displease,
If thou stay here. O, stay here; for, for thee
England is only a worthy gallery,
To walk in expectation, till from thence
Our greatest king call thee to his presence.
When I am gone, dream me some happiness,
Nor let thy looks our long hid love confess;
Nor praise, nor dispraise me; nor bless, nor curse
Openly love's force; nor in bed fright thy nurse
With midnight's startings, crying out, “Oh! oh!
Nurse, O' my love is slain; I saw him go
O'er the white Alps alone; I saw him, I,
Assail'd, taken, fight, stabb'd, bleed, fall, and die.”
Augure me better chance, except dread Jove
Think it enough for me to have had thy love.