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EDWARD VERE, EARL OF OXFORD.
When wert thou born, Desire? In pride and pomp
of May. By whom, sweet boy, wert thou begot? By fond
conceit, men say. Tell me who was thy nurse ? Fresh youth, in su
gard joy. What was thy meat and daily food ? Sad sighs with
great annoy: What hadst thou then to drink ? Unsavoury lover's
tears. What cradle wert thou rock'd in? In hope devoid
of fears. What lulld thee, then, asleep? Sweet sleep, which
likes me best. Tell me where is thy dwelling-place? In gentle
hearts I rest.
What thing doth please thee most? To gaze on
beauty still. What dost thou think to be thy foe? Disdain of my
good-will. Doth company displease? Yes, surely, many one. Where doth Desire delight to live? He loves to
live alone. Doth either Time or Age bring him into decay ? No, no, Desire both lives and dies a thousand times
a day. Then, fond Desire, farewell! thou art no mate for I should, methinks, be loth to dwell with such a one
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE. 1562–1593.
THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE.
COME live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, groves, and hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies;
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle,
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool,
Which from our pretty lambs we pull ;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs :
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing,
For thy delight, each May morning.
If these delights thy mind may move,
Come live with me and be my love.
SAMUEL DANIEL. 1562–1619.
RICHARD THE SECOND, THE MORNING BEFORE HIS MURDEN
IN POMFRET CASTLE.
WHETHER the soul receives intelligence,
By her near genius, of the body's end,
And so imparts a sadness to the sense;
Foregoing ruin, whereto it doth tend;
Or whether nature else hath conference,
With profound sleep, and so doth warning send,
By prophetizing dreams, what hurt is near,
And gives the heavy, careful heart to fear:
However, so it is, the now sad king,
Toss'd here and there his quiet to confound,
Feels a strange weight of sorrows gathering
Upon his trembling heart, and sees no ground;
Feels sudden terror bring cold shivering ;
Lists not to eat, still muses, sleeps unsound;
His senses droop, his steady eyes unquick;
And much he ails, and yet he is not sick.
The morning of that day which was his last,
After a weary rest, rising to pain,
Out at a little grate his eyes he cast
Upon those bordering hills and open plain,
Where other's liberty makes him complain
The more his own, and grieves his soul the more,
Conferring captive crowns with freedom poor.
Oh happy man, saith he, that lo I see,
Grazing his cattle in those pleasant fields,
If he but knew his good. How blessed he
That feels not what affliction greatness yields !
Other than what he is he would not be,
Nor change his state with him that sceptre wields.
Thine, thine is that true life : that is to live,
To rest secure, and not rise up to grieve.
Thou sitt'st at home safe by thy quiet fire,
And hear'st of other's harms, but fearest none :
And there thou tell'st of kings, and who aspire,
Who fall, who rise, who triumph, who do moan.
Perhaps thou talk'st of me, and dost inquire
Of my restraint, why here I live alone,
And pitiest this my miserable fall ;
For pity must have part-envy not all.
Thrice happy you that look as from the shore,
And have no venture in the wreck you see ;
No interest, no occasion to deplore
Other men's travels, while yourselves sit free.
How much doth your sweet rest make us the more
To see our misery and what we be:
Whose blinded greatness, ever in turmoil,
Still seeking happy life makes life a toil.
MERCY DWELLING IN HEAVEN AND PLEADING FOR THE GUILTY,
WITH JUSTICE DESCRIBED BY HER QUALITIES.
But Justice had no sooner Mercy seen
Smoothing the wrinkles of her father's brow,
But up she starts, and throws herself between :
As when a vapour from a moory slough,
Meeting with fresh Eöus, that but now
Open'd the world, which all in darkness lay,
Doth heaven's bright face of his rays disarray,
And sads the smiling orient of the springing day.
She was a virgin of austere regard :
Not as the world esteems her, deaf and blind;
But as the eagle, that hath oft compared
Her eye with heaven's, so, and more brightly shined
Her lamping sight: for she the same could wind
Into the solid heart, and, with her ears,
The silence of the thought loud speaking hears,
And in one hand a pair of even scales she wears
No riot of affection revel kept
Within her breast, but a still apathy
Possess'd all her soul, which softly slept
Securely without tempest; no sad cry
Awakes her pity, but wrong'd Poverty,
Sending his eyes to heav'n swimming in tears,
With hideous clamours ever struck her ears,
Whetting the blazing sword that in her hand she
The winged lightning is her Mercury,
And round about her mighty thunders sound:
Impatient of himself lies pining by
Pale Sickness, with his kercher'd head upwound,
And thousand noisome plagues attend her round.
But if her cloudy brow but once grow foul,
The flints uo melt, and rocks to water roll,
The airy mountains shake, and frighted shadows
howl. Famine, and bloodless Care, and bloody War; Want, and the want of knowledge how to use Abundance; Age, and Fear, that runs afar Before his fellow Grief, that aye pursues His winged steps; for who would not refuse Grief's company, a dull and raw-boned spright, That lanks the cheeks, and pales the freshest sight, Unbosoming the cheerful breast of all delight?
MERCY BRIGHTENING THE RAINBOW.
High in the airy element there hung
Another cloudy sea, that did disdain,
As though his purer waves from heaven sprung,
To crawl on earth, as doth the sluggish main;
But it the earth would water with his rain,