Page images

So, when my mistress shall be seen

In sweetness of her looks and mind;
By virtue first, then choice a queen;

Tell me, if she was not design'd
Theclipse and glory of her kind ?

[" Written, on that amiable princess, Elizabeth, daughter of James 1. and wife of the Elector Palatine, who was chosen King of Bohemia, Sept. 5, 1619," PERCY.

In Chambers' Scottish Songs, vol. ii. p. 31, this beautiful song is printed with three additional verses, and attributed to Lord Darnley, “ written it is said in praise of the beauty of Queen Mary, before their marriage.” These are the other verses, Mr. Chambers prints them from an old copy :

You glancing jewels of the East,

Whose estimation fancies raise,
Pearls, rubies, sapphires, and the rest

Of glittering gems what is your praise,
When the bright diamond shows his rays ?

But ah! poor light, gem, voice, and sound,

What are ye if my Mary shine?
Moon, diamond, flowers, and Philomel,

Light, lustre, scent, and music tine,

And yield to merit more divine.
The rose, and lily, the whole spring,

Unto her breath for sweetness speed ;
The diamond darkens in the ring;

When she appears, the moon looks dead,
As when Sol lifts his radiant head.

In a little publication bearing date 1663, entitled, “ A crew of Kind London Gossips, to which is added ingenious poems," the last verse of the additions is found, the rhyme in the second line is made run,' and the two last lines are thus given :

If she appear the moons undone,

As in the presence of the sun. There can be po good grounds for printing the song as Lord Darnley's!)



How happy is he born or taught,

That serveth not another's will; Whose armour is his honest thought,

And simple truth his highest skill: Whose passions not his masters are ;

Whose soul is still prepared for death; Not tyd unto the world with care

Of prince's ear, or vulgar breath : Who hath his life from rumours freed;

Whose conscience is his strong retreat : Whose state can neither flatterers feed,

Nor ruin make oppressors great : Who envies none, whom chance doth raise,

Or vice : who never understood How deepest wounds are given with praise ;

Nor rules of state, but rules of good; Who God doth late and early pray

More of his grace than gifts to lend; And entertains the harmless day

With a well chosen book or friend.

This man is freed from servile bands

Of hope to rise, or fear to fall ;
Lord of himself, though not of lands ;

And having nothing, yet hath all.



Born 1574-Died 1631.

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove,
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines, and silver hooks.

There will the river whisp’ring run, Warm’d by thy eyes more than the sun; And there th' innamour'd* fish will stay, Begging themselves they may betray.

When thou wilt swim in that live bath, Each fish, which every channel hath, Most amorously to thee will swim, Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.

If thou, to be so seen, be'st loath,
By sun or moon, thou dark’nest both;
And if mine eyes have leave to see,
I need not their light, having thee.
Let others freeze with angling reeds,
And cut their legs with shells and weeds,
Or treacherously poor fish beset
With strangling snares, or windowy net ;
Let coarse bold hands, from slimy nest,
The bedded fish in banks outwrest ;
Let curious traitors sleave silk flies,
Bewitch poor fishes' wand'ring eyes ;

* Walton, who was a good judge of fish, reads “ enameli'd."

For thee thou need'st no such deceit,
For thou thyself art thine own bait;
That fish that is not catch'd thereby,
Alas, is wiser far than I.

[From Donne's Works, 1635: it is in imitation of Marlowe's Shepherd's song. Isaak Walton, in his Angler, says, " I will speak you a copy of verses that were made by Dr. Donne, and made to shew the world that he could make soft and smooth verses when he thought smoothness worth his labour ; and I love them better, because they allade to rivers, fish, and fishing." Walton reckons them among the " choice verses of other days."]



Born 1574-Died 1637.

Drink to me only with thine

And I will pledge with mine,
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,

And I'll not look for wine :
The thirst that from the soul doth rise,

Doth ask a drink divine,
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,

I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,

Not so much honouring thee,
As giving it a chance* that there

It could not wither'd be:
But thou thereon didst only breathe,

And sent’st it back to me,
Since when it grows and smells, I swear,

Not of itself, but thee.

(“Of this song," says Ritson, “Anacreon, had Anacreon written in English, need not have been ashamed.”

Richard Cumberland tells us that the thoughts are poached from an “ obscure collection of love-letters, written by the sophist Philostratus." To those who are curious in Greek, we refer them to the Observer, No. lxxiv. ; and Gifford's Ben Jonson, vol. 8, p. 267, where they will see the origin of this song explained in several pages.

Jonson is certainly indebted for the idea to the old Greek, but who, save Jonson, could have rendered the thoughts so gracefully?

Herrick wrote an address to “ The Water Nymphs drinking at a fountain," much in the spirit of the first verse :

Reach with your whiter hands to me

Some crystal of the spring;
And I about the cup shall see

Fresh lilies flourishing:

Or else, sweet nymphs, do you but this;

To th' glass your lips incline;
And I shall see by that one kiss

The water turn'd to wine.]

# Mr. Gifford reads"


« PreviousContinue »