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TO CASTARA

LET the chaste Phoenix from the flowery East,
Bring the sweet treasure of her perfumed nest,
As incense to this Altar, where the name
Of my Castara 's graved by the hand of fame.
Let purer Virgins, to redeem the air
From loose infection, bring their zealous prayer,
To assist at this great feast: where they shall see,
What rites Love offers up to Chastity.
Let all the amorous Youth, whose fair desire
Felt never warmth, but from a noble fire,
Bring hither their bright flames: which here shall shine
As Tapers fixt about Castara's shrine.
While I the Priest, my untamed heart surprise,
And in this Temple make't her sacrifice.

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TO CASTARA

WHAT should we fear, Castara? The cool air,
That's fall'n in love, and wanton in thy hair,
Will not betray our whispers. Should I steal
A nectar'd kiss, the wind dares not reveal
The pleasure I possess. The wind conspires
To our blest interview, and in our fires
Bathes like a Salamander, and doth sip,
Like Bacchus from the grape, life from thy lip.
Nor think of night's approach. The world's great eye
Though breaking Nature's law, will us supply
With his still flaming lamp: and to obey
Our chaste desires, fix here perpetual day.
But should he set, what rebel night dares rise,
To be subdued i* the victory of thy eyes?

TO THE NIGHTINGALE

O NIGHTINGALE, that on yon bloomy spray
Warblest at eve when all the woods are still,
Thou with fresh hope the lover's heart dost fill,
While the jolly hours lead on propitious May.
Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day,
First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill,
Portend success in love; O, if Jove's will
Have linked that amorous power to thy soft lay,
Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate
Foretell my hopeless doom in some grove nigh;
As thou from year to year hast sung too late
For my relief, yet hadst no reason why:
Whether the Muse, or Love, call thee his mate,
Both them I serve, and of their train am I.

ON HIS BLINDNESS

WHEN I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
"Doth God exaS day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, " God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."

ON HIS DECEASED WIFE

METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescued from Death by force, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed taint
Purification in the Old Law did save,
And such as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind.
Her face was veil'd, yet to my fancied sight
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined
So clear as in no face with more delight.
But oh! as to embrace me she inclined,
I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night.

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