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Read on this dial, how the shades devour
What mean dull souls, in this high measure, My short-lived winter's day! hour eats up hour;
To haberdash Alas ! the total's but from eight to four.
In earth’s base wares, whose greatest treasure Behold these lilies, which thy hands have made,
Is dross and trash ? Fair copies of my life, and open laid
The height of whose enchanting pleasure To view, how soon they droop, how soon they fade!
Is but a flash ?
Are these the goods that thou supply'st Shade not that dial, night will blind too soon;
Us mortals with? Are these the high’st ? My non-aged day already points to noon;
Can these bring cordial peace? false world, thou ly'st. How simple is my suit !-how small my boon! Nor do I beg this slender inch to wile The time away, or falsely to beguile
Delight in God Only.
She is my Maker's creature ; therefore good :
She is my mother, for she gave me birth;
She is my tender nurse—she gives me food; Can he be fair, that withers at a blast?
But what's a creature, Lord, compared with thee? Or he be strong, that airy breath can cast ?
Or what's my mother, or my nurse to me ?
I love the air : her dainty sweets refresh
My drooping soul, and to new sweets invite me; • So fair, strong, wise, so rich, so young is man.
Her shrill-mouth'd quire sustains me with their flesh, So fair is man, that death (a parting blast)
And with their polyphonian notes delight me: Blasts his fair flower, and makes him earth at last;
But what's the air or all the sweets that she So strong is man, that with a gasping breath
Can bless my soul withal, compared to thee! He totters, and bequeaths his strength to death;
I love the sea : she is my fellow-creature,
My careful purveyor ; she provides me store :
She walls me round ; she makes my diet greater; So rich is man, that (all his debts being paid)
She wafts my treasure from a foreign shore : His wealth’s the winding-sheet wherein he's laid ;
But, Lord of oceans, when compared with thee, So young is man, that, broke with care and sorrow, He's old enough to-day, to die to-morrow :
What is the ocean, or her wealth to me ? Why bragg'st thou then, thou worm of five feet long? To heaven's high city I direct my journey, Thou’rt neither fair, nor strong, nor wise, nor rich, nor | Whose spangled suburbs entertain mine eye ; young.
Mine eye, by contemplation's great attorney,
Transcends the crystal pavement of the sky :
But what is heaven, great God, compared to thee! False world, thou ly’st : thou canst not lend
Without thy presence heaven 's no heaven to me. The least delight:
| Without thy presence earth gives no refection; Thy favours cannot gain a friend,
Without thy presence sea affords no treasure ;
Without thy presence air 's a rank infection ;
Without thy presence heaven itself no pleasure : To please at night:
If not possess'd, if not enjoy'd in thee, Poor are the wants that thou supply'st,
What's earth, or sea, or air, or heaven to me? And yet thou vaunt’st, and yet thou vy'st With heaven ; fond earth, thou boasts ; false world,
via The highest honours that the world can boast, thou ly’st.
Are subjects far too low for my desire;
The brightest beams of glory are (at most)
But dying sparkles of thy living fire :
The loudest flames that earth can kindle, be
But nightly glow-worms, if compared to thee.
Without thy presence wealth is bags of cares;
Wisdom but folly ; joy disquiet-sadness :
Friendship is treason, and delights are snares; There's none can give where thou deny'st.
Pleasures but pain, and mirth but pleasing madness; Alas ! fond world, thou boasts; false world, thou ly’st. Without thee, Lord, things be not what they be, What well-advised ear regards
Nor have they being, when compared with thee. What earth can say ?
In having all things, and not thee, what have I ! Thy words are gold, but thy rewards
Not having thee, what have my labours got !
Let me enjoy but thee, what further crave I !
And having thee alone, what have I not!
I wish nor sea nor land ; nor would I be
Possess'd of heaven, heaven unpossess'd of thee.
Decay of Life.
The day grows old, the low-pitch'd lamp hath made A paradise, that has no stint,
No less than treble shade,
And the descending damp doth now prepare
To uncurl bright Titan's hair ;
Whose western wardrobe now begins to unfold
Her purples, fringed with gold, With man; vain man! that thou rely'st
To clothe his evening glory, when the alarms On earth; vain man, thou dot'st; vain earth, thou ly’st. I of rest shall call to rest in restless Thetis' arms.
Nature now calls to supper, to refresh
Lord Herbert of Cherbury, George was educated The spirits of all flesh;
at Cambridge, and in the year 1619 was chosen The toiling ploughman drives his thirsty teams, orator for the university. Herbert was the intimate To taste the slipp’ry streams :
friend of Sir Henry Wotton and Dr Donne; and The droiling swineherd knocks away, and feasts | Lord Bacon is said to have entertained such a high His hungry whining guests :
regard for his learning and judgment, that he sub-
To cobweb every green ;
The fast-declining year :
And wain their winter fruits ;
To the next door to night;
- Sad as her neighb’ring urn:
Lights but to further pains,
Upon the furrow'd brow;
Have blanch'd the falling hair :
Disturbs his weary night :
mitted his works to him before publication. The Read lectures to thy last :
poet was also in favour with King James, who gave Those hasty wings that hurried them away
him a sinecure office worth £120 per annum, which Will give these days no day :
Queen Elizabeth had formerly given to Sir Philip The constant wheels of nature scorn to tire
Sidney. With this,' says Izaak Walton, and Until her works expire :
his annuity, and the advantages of his college, and That blast that nipp'd thy youth will ruin thee; That hand that shook the branch will quickly strike
of his oratorship, he enjoyed his genteel humour for the tree.
clothes and court-like company, and seldom looked towards Cambridge unless the king were there, but
then he never failed.' The death of the king and To Chastity.
of two powerful friends, the Duke of Richmond and
Marquis of Hamilton, destroyed Herbert's court Oh, Chastity !—the flower of the soul,
hopes, and he entered into sacred orders. He was How is thy perfect fairness turn’d to foul !
first prebend of Layton Ecclesia (the church of How are thy blossoms blasted all to dust,
which he rebuilt), and afterwards was made rector By sudden lightning of untamed lust!
of Bemerton, in Wiltshire, where he passed the reHow hast thou thus defil'd thy ev'ry feet,
mainder of his life.* After describing the poet's Thy sweetness that was once, how far from sweet ! marriage on the third day after his first interview Where are thy maiden smiles, thy blushing cheek with the lady, old Izaak Walton relates, with chaThy lamb-like countenance, so fair, so meek?
racteristic simplicity and minuteness, a matrimonial Where is that spotless flower, that while-ere
scene preparatory to their removal to Bemerton: Within thy lily bosom thou did'st wear ?
• The third day after he was made rector of BemerHas wanton Cupid snatched it ? hath his dart
ton, and had changed his sword and silk clothes into Sent courtly tokens to thy simple heart ?
a canonical habit (he had probably never done duty Where dost thou bide? the country half disclaims thee; regularly at Layton Ecclesia), he returned so habited The city wonders when a body names thee :
with his friend Mr Woodnot to Bainton ; and imOr have the rural woods engrost thee there,
mediately after he had seen and saluted his wife, he And thus forestali'd our empty markets here?
said to her, “You are now a minister's wife, and Sure thou art not; or kept where no man shows thee; I must now so far forget your father's house as not to Or chang'd so much scarce man or woman knows thee
claim a precedence of any of your parishioners; for
you are to know that a priest's wife can challenge GEORGE HERBERT.
no precedence or place but that which she purchases
by her obliging humility; and I am sure places so GEORGE HERBERT (1593-1632) was of noble birth, purchased do best become them. And let me tell though chiefly known as a pious country clergy. you, I am so good a herald as to assure you that this man holy George Herbert,' who
is truth.” And she was so meek a wife, as to assure
him it was no vexing news to her, and that he The lowliest duties on himself did lay. should see her observe it with a cheerful willingness.' His father was descended from the earls of Pembroke, I
Herbert discharged his clerical duties with saintand lived in Montgomery Castle, Wales, where the * The rectory of Bemerton is now held by another poet, the poet was born. His elder brother was the celebrated Rev. W. Lisle Bowles.
For if I should,' said he,
* Bestow this jewel also on my creature, He would adore my gifts instead of me, And rest in nature, not the God of nature
So both should losers be. Yet let him keep the rest
But keep them, with repining restlessnessLet him be rich and weary; that, at least, If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.'
like zeal and purity, but his strength was not equal to his self-imposed tasks, and he died at the early age of thirty-nine. His principal production is entitled, The Teniple, or Sacred Poems and Prirate Ejaculations. It was not printed till the year after his death, but was so well received, that Walton says twenty thousand copies were sold in a few years after the first impression. The lines on Virtue
Sweet day, so cool, so calnı, so bright, are the best in the collection ; but even in them we find, what mars all the poetry of Herbert, ridiculous conceits or coarse unpleasant similes. His taste was very inferior to his genius. The most sacred subject could not repress his love of fantastic imagery, or keep him for half a dozen verses in a serious and natural strain. Herbert was a musician, and sang his own hymns to the lute or viol; and indications of this may be found in his poems, which have sometimes a musical flow and harmonious cadence. It may be safely said, however, that Herbert's poetry alone would not have preserved his name, and that he is indebted for the reputation he enjoys, to his excellent and amiable character, embalmed in the pages of good old Walton, to his prose work, the Country Parson, and to the warm and fervent piety which gave a charm to his life and breathes through all his writings.
Matin Hymn. I cannot ope mine eyes But thou art ready there to catch My mourning soul and sacrifice, Then we must needs for that day make a match. My God, what is a heart ? Silver, or gold, or precious stone, Or star, or rainbow, or a part Of all these things, or all of them in one! My God, what is a heart ! That thou should'st it so eye and woo, Pouring upon it all thy art, As if that thou hadst nothing else to do? Indeed, man's whole estate Amounts (and richly) to serve thee; He did not heaven and earth create, Yet studies them, not him by whom they be. Teach me thy love to know; That this new light which now I see May both the work and workman show; Then by a sunbeam I will climb to thce.
For thou must die.
And thou must die.
And all must die.
Then chiefly lives.
Religion. All may of thee partake;
Nothing can be so mean, Which, with this tincture, for thy sake,
Will not grow bright and clean. This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold, For that which God doth touch and own,
Cannot for less be told.
Sunday. O day most calm, most bright, The fruit of this the next world's bud, The indorsement of supreme delight, Writ by a Friend, and with his blood; The couch of time, care's balm and bay: The week were dark, but for thy light;
Thy torch doth show the way.
The other days and thou Make up one man; whose face thou art, Knocking at heaven with thy brow: The workydays are the back-part; The burden of the week lies there, Making the whole to stoop and bow,
Till thy release appear.
Man had straight forward gone To endless death: but thou dost pull And turn us round, to look on one, Whom, if we were not very dull, We could not choose but look on still; Since there is no place so alone,
The which he doth not fill.
Sundays the pillars are,
Which parts their ranks and orders.
The Sundays of man's life,
[Stanzas.] (Oddly called by Herbert • Tho Pulley:') When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by, Let us,' said he, pour on him all we can ; Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.' So strength first made away ; Then beauty flow'd; then wisdom, honour,
pleasure; When almost all was out, God made a stay; Perceiving that alone, of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.
This day my Saviour rose, And did enclose this light for his ; That, as each beast his manger knows, Man inight not of his fodder miss. Christ hath took in this piece of ground, And made a garden there for those
Who want herbs for their wound.
The rest of our creation
The brightness of that day
And fit for paradise.
Thou art a day of mirth : And where the week-days trail on ground, Thy flight is higher, as thy birth: O let me take thee at the bound, Lea ping with thee from seven to seven, Till that we both, being toss'd from earth,
Fly hand in hand to heaven !
WILLIAM HABINGTON. WILLIAM HABINGTON (1605-1654) had all the vices of the metaphysical school, excepting its occasional and frequently studied licentiousness. He tells us himself (in his preface) that, if the innocency of a chaste muse shall be more acceptable, and weigh heavier in the balance of esteem, than a fame begot in adultery of study, I doubt I shall leave no hope of competition. And of a pure attachment, he says finely, that when love builds upon the rock of chastity, it may safely contemn the battery of the waves and threatenings of the wind; since time, that makes a mockery of the firmest structures, shall itself be ruinated before that be demolished. Habington's life presents few incidents, though he came of a plotting family. His father was implicated in Babington's conspiracy; his uncle suffered death for his share in the same transaction. The poet's mother atoned, in some measure, for these disloyal intrigues; for she is said to have been the writer of the famous letter to Lord Monteagle, which averted the execution of the Gunpowder Plot. The poet was educated at St Omer's, but declined to become a Jesuit. He married Lucia, daughter of the first Lord Powis, whom he had celebrated under the name of Castara. Twenty years before his deatlı, he published his poems, consisting of The Mistress, The Wife, and The Holy Man. These titles include each several copies of verses, and the same design was afterwards adopted by Cowley. The life of the poet seems to have glided quietly away, cheered by the socicty and affection of his Castara. He had no stormy passions to agitate him, and no unruly imagination to control or subdue. His poetry is of the same unruffled descriptionplacid, tender, and often elegant-but studded with conceits to show his wit and fancy. When he talks of meadows wearing a 'green plush,' of the fire of mutual love being able to purify the air of an infected city, and of a luxurious feast being so rich that heaven must have rained showers of sweetmeats, as if
Heaven were Blackfriars, and each star a confectioner we are astonished to find one who could ridicule the madness of quaint oaths, and the “fine rhetoric of clothes,' in the gallants of his day, and whose sentiments on love were so pure and noble, fall into such absurd and tasteless puerilities.
How soon doth man decay! When clothes are taken from a chest of sweets
To gwaddle infants, whose young breath
Scarce knows the way :
They are like little winding-sheets, Which do consign and send them unto death.
When boys go first to bed,
Sleep binds them fast ; only their breath
Makes them not dead :
Successive nights, like rolling waves, Convey them quickly, who are bound for death.
When youth is frank and free,
All day exchanging mirth and breath
That music summons to the knell, Which shall befriend him at the house of death.
When man grows staid and wise, Getting a house and home, where he may more
Within the circle of his breath,
Schooling his eyes;
That dumb enclosure maketh love Unto the coffin, that attends his death.
When age grows low and weak, Marking his grave, and thawing ev'ry year,
Till all do melt, and drown his breath
When he would speak;
A chair or litter shows the bier, Which shall convey him to the house of death.
Man, ere he is aware, Ilath put together a solemnity, And dress'd his hearse, while he hath breath
As yet to spare.
Yet, Lord, instruct us so to die,
[Epistle to a Friend.) (Addressed to his noblest friend, J. C., Esq.') I hate the country's dirt and manners, yet I love the silence; I embrace the wit And courtship, flowing here in a full tide, But loathe the expense, the vanity and pride. No place each way is happy. Here I hold Commerce with some, who to my care unfold (After a due oath ministred) the height And greatness of each star shines in the state, The brightness, the eclipse, the influence. With others I commune, who tell me whence The torrent doth of foreign discord flow; Relate ench skirmish, battle, overthrow, Soon as they happen; and by rote can tell Those German towns, even puzzle me to spell, The cross, or prosperous fate, of princes, they Ascribe to rashness, cunning, or delay; And on each action comment, with more skill Than upon Livy did old Machiavel. O busy folly! Why do I my brain Perplex with the dull policies of Spain,
She her throne makes reason climb,
Al her vows religious be,
SIR JOHN SUCKLING.
Or quick designs of France ! Why not repair To the pure innocence o' th' country air, And neighbour thee, dear friend ? who so dost give Thy thoughts to worth and virtue, that to live Blest, is to trace thy ways. There might not we Arm against passion with philosophy; And, by the aid of leisure, so control Whate'er is earth in us, to grow all soul? Knowledge doth ignorance engender, when We study mysteries of other men, And foreign plots. Do but in thy own shade (Thy head upon some flow'ry pillow laid, Kind nature's housewifery) contemplate all His stratagems, who labours to enthral The world to his great master, and you'll find Ambition mocks itself, and graspe the wind. Not conquest makes us great. Blood is too dear A price for glory : Honour doth appear To statesmen like a vision in the night, And, juggler-like, works o'th' deluded sight. Th' unbusied only wise : for no respect Endangers them to error; they affect Truth in her naked beauty, and behold Man with an equal eye, not bright in gold Or tall in title; so much him they weigh As virtue raiseth him above his clay. Thus let us value things : and since we find Time bend us toward earth, let's in our mind Create new youth ; and arm against the rude Assaults of age; that no dull solitude O'th' country dead our thoughts, nor busy care O'th' town make us to think, where now we are And whither we are bound. Time ne'er forgot His journey, though his steps we number'd not.
SIR JOHN SUCKLING (1608-1641) possessed such a natural liveliness of fancy, and exuberance of animal spirits, that he often broke through the artificial restraints imposed by the literary taste of his times, but he never rose into the poetry of passicu and imagination. He is a delightful writer of what have been called “occasional poems. His polished wit, playful fancy, and knowledge of life and society, enabled him to give interest to trifles, and to ciotte familiar thoughts in the garb of poetry. His own life seems to have been one summer-day
Youth at the prow, and pleasure at the helm. He dreamt of enjoyment, not of fame. The father of Suckling was secretary of state to James L., and comptroller of the household to Charles I. The poet was distinguished almost from his infancy; and at sixteen he had entered on public life! His first appearance was as a soldier under the celebratei Gustavus Adolphus, with whom he served one canais paign. On his return, he entered warmly into the cause of Charles I., and raised a troop of horse is his support. He intrigued with his brother caraliers to rescue the Earl of Strafford, and was impeached by the House of Commons. To evade a trial, he fled to France, but a fatal accident took place by the way. His servant having robbed him at an inn, Suckling, learning the circumstance, drew (a his boots hurriedly, to pursue him; a rusty nail, T (according to another account) the blade of a knife. had been concealed in the boot, which wounded him, and produced mortification, of which he diel The works of Suckling consist of miscellaneous poems, five plays, and some private letters. His poems are all short, and the best of them are dedi: cated to love and gallantry. With the freedom of a cavalier, Suckling has greater purity of expression than most of his contemporaries. His sentiments are sometimes too voluptuous, but are rarely coarse; and there is so much elasticity and vivacity in his verses, that he never becomes tedious. His Ballad upon a Wedding is inimitable for witty levity and choice beauty of expression. It has touches of graphic description and liveliness equal to the pic tures of Chaucer. One well-known verse has never been excelled
Description of Castara.
For she's to herself untrue,
Who delights i' th' public view.
Folly boasts a glorious blood,
She is noblest, being good. Cautious, she knew never yet What a wanton courtship meant ; Nor speaks loud, to boast her wit; In her silence eloquent :
Of herself survey she takes,
But 'tween men no difference makes. She obeys with speedy will Her grave parents' wise commands; And so innocent, that ill She nor acts, nor understands : Women's feet run still astray,
If once to ill they know the way. She sails by that rock, the court, Where oft honour splits her mast; And retir’dness thinks the port, Where her fame may anchor cast :
Virtue safely cannot sit,
Where vice is enthron'd for wit.
O’er that darkness, whence is thrust
Her feet beneath her petticoat, Like little mice, stole in and out,
As if they feard the light; But oh! she dances such a way, No sun upon an Easter-day
Is half so fine a sight I*
* Herrick, who had no occasion to steal, has taken this image from Suckling, and spoiled it in the theft
Her pretty feet, like snails, did creep A little out.
Like Sir Fretful Plagiary, Herrick had not skill to steal with taste. Wycherley also purloined Herrick's simile for one of plays. The allusion to Easter-day is founded upon a beauti old superstition of the English peasantry, that the sun dances upon that morning.