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FAIR daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain'd its noon.
Until the hasting day
But to the even song ;
And having pray'd together, we
Will go with you along.
We have short time to stay as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you or anything.
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer's rain,
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.
THE NIGHT-PIECE, TO JULIA. Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee, The shooting stars attend thee;
And the elves also,
Whose little eyes glow
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee.
No Will o' th’ Wisp mislight thee;
Nor snake or slow-worm bite thee;
But on, on thy way,
Not making a stay, Since ghost there is none to affright thee.
Let not the dark thee cumber;
What though the moon does slumber?
The stars of the night
Will lend thee their light, Like tapers clear without number.
Fair p.edges of a fruitful tree,
Why do ye fall so fast ?
Your date is not so past;
But you may stay yet here a while,
To blush and gently smile,
And go at last.
What, were ye born to be
An hour or half's delight,
And so to bid good-night?
'Twas pity Nature brought ye forth
Merely to show your worth,
And lose you quite.
But you are lovely leaves, where we
May read how soon things have
Their end, though ne'er so brave: And after they have shown their pride, Like you, a while, they glide
Into the grave.
SWEET country life, to such unknown,
Whose lives are others, not their own!
But serving courts and cities, be
Less happy, less enjoying thee!
Thou never plough’st the ocean's foam
To seek and bring rough pepper home;
Nor to the Eastern Ind dost rove,
To bring from thence the scorched clove:
Nor, with the loss of thy loved rest,
Bring'st home the ingot from the West.
No: thy ambition's master-piece
Flies no thought higher than a fleece ;
Or how to pay thy hinds, and clear
All scores, and so to end the year;
But walk'st about thy own dear bounds,
Not envying others' larger grounds :
For well thou know'st, 'tis not th' extent
Of land makes life, but sweet content.
When now the cock, the ploughman's horn,
Calls forth the lily-wristed morn,
Then to thy cornfields thou dost go,
Which, though well-soil'd, yet thou dost know
That the best compost for the lands
Is the wise master's feet and hands.
There at the plough thou find'st thy team,
With a hind whistling there to them ;
And cheer'st them up by singing how
The kingdom's portion is the plough.
This done, then to th' enameli'd meads
Thou go'st; and, as thy foot there treads,
Thou see'st a present godlike power
Imprinted in each herb and flower;
And smell'st the breath of great-eyed kine,
Sweet as the blossoms of the vine.
Here thou behold'st thy large sleek neat,
Unto the dewlaps up in meat;
And, as thou look’st, the wanton steer,
The heifer, cow, and ox draw near,
To make a pleasing pastime there.
These seen, thou go'st to view thy flocks
Of sheep, safe from the wolf and fox;
And find'st their bellies there as full
Of short, sweet grass, as backs with wool;
And leav'st them, as they feed and fill,
A shepherd piping on a hill.
For sports, for pageantry, and plays,
Thou hast thy eves and holydays;
On which the young men and maids meet,
To exercise their dancing feet;
Tripping the comely country round,
With daffodils and daisies crown'd.
Thy wakes, thy quintels, here thou hast;
Thy May-poles, too, with garlands graced
Thy morris-dance, thy Whitsun-ale,
Thy shearing-feast, which never fail;
Thy harvest-home, thy wassail-bowl,
That's toss'd up after fox i' th' hole;
Thy mummeries, thy Twelfth-night kings
And queens, thy Christmas revellings :
Thy nut-brown mirth, thy russet wit;
And no man pays too dear for it.
To these thou hast thy times to go,
And trace the hare in treacherous snow;
Thy witty wiles to draw and get
The lark into the trammel net;
Thou hast thy cockrood, and thy glade
To take the precious pheasant made;
Thy lime-twigs, snares, and pitfalls, then
To catch the pilfering birds, not men.
Oh happy life, if that their good
The husbandmen but understood!
Who all the day themselves do please,
And younglings, with such sports as these ;
And lying down, have naught to affright
Sweet sleep, that makes more short the night.
ABRAHAM COWLEY. 1618–1667.
WHAT shall I do to be for ever known,
And make the age to come my own,
I shall, like beasts or common people, die,
Unless you write my elegy ;
Whilst others great, by being born, are grown;
Their mothers' labour, not their own.
In this scale gold, in th’ other fame does lie,
The weight of that mounts this so high. These men are Fortune's jewels moulded bright;
Brought forth with their own fire and light : If I, her vulgar stone, for either look,
Out of myself it must be strook.
Yet I must on. What sound is't strikes mine ear!
Sure I Fame's trumpet hear :
It sounds like the last trumpet: for it can
the buried man.
Unpass'd Alps stop me; but I'll cut them all,
And march, the Muses' Hannibal.
Hence, all the flattering vanities that lay
Nets of roses in the way!
Hence, the desire of honours or estate,
And all that is not above Fate !
Hence, Love himself, that tyrant of my days!
Which intercepts my coming praise.
Come, my best friends, my books! and lead me on;
'Tis time that I were gone.
Welcome, great Stagyrite! and teach me now
All I was born to know:
Thy scholar's victories thou dost far outdo;
He conquer'd th' earth, the whole world you. Welcome, learn'd Cícero! whose bless'd tongue and Preserves Rome's greatness yet :
(wit Thou art the first of orators; only he
Who best can praise thee, next must be. VOL. I.-G