If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.
Time drives the flocks from field to fold
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.
The flowers do fare, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.
Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten -
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.
Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.
But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.
Three things there be that prosper up apace
And flourish, whilst they grow asunder far,
But on a day, they meet all in one place,
And when they meet, they one another mar;
And they be these: the wood, the weed, the wag.
The wood is that which makes the gallow tree;
The weed is that which strings the hangman's bag;
The wag, my pretty knave, betokeneth thee.
Mark well, dear boy, whilst these assemble not,
Green springs the tree, hemp grows, the wag is wild,
But when they meet, it makes the timber rot,
It frets the halter, and it chokes the child.
Then bless thee, and beware, and let us pray
We part not with thee at this meeting day.
Go, soul, the body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand;
Fear not to touch the best;
The truth shall be thy warrant.
Go, since I needs must die,
And give the world the lie.
Say to the court, it glows
And shines like rotten wood;
Say to the church, it shows
What's good, and doth no good.
If church and court reply,
Then give them both the lie.
Tell potentates they live
Acting by others' action;
Not loved unless they give,
Not strong but by a faction.
If potentates reply,
Give potentates the lie.
Tell men of high condition,
That manage the estate,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practice only hate.
And if they once reply,
Then give them all the lie.
Tell them that brave it most,
They beg for more by spending,
Who, in their greatest cost,
Seek nothing by commending.
And if they make reply,
Then give them all the lie.
Tell zeal it wants devotion;
Tell love it is but lust;
Tell time it is but motion;
Tell flesh it is but dust.
And wish them not reply,
For thou must give the lie.
Tell age it daily wasteth;
Tell honor how it alters;
Tell beauty how she blasteth;
Tell favor how it falters.
And as they shall reply,
Give every one the lie.
Tell wit how much it wrangles
In tickle points of niceness;
Tell wisdom she entangles
Herself in overwiseness.
And when they do reply,
Straight give them both the lie.
Tell physic of her boldness;
Tell skill it is pretension;
Tell charity of coldness;
Tell law it is contention.
And as they do reply,
So give them still the lie.
Tell fortune of her blindness;
Tell nature of decay;
Tell friendship of unkindness;
Tell justice of delay.
And if they will reply,
Then give them all the lie.
Tell arts they have no soundness,
But vary by esteeming;
Tell schools they want profoundness,
And stand too much on seeming.
If arts and schools reply,
Give arts and schools the lie.
Tell faith it's fled the city;
Tell how the country erreth;
Tell manhood shakes off pity;
Tell virtue least preferreth.
And if they do reply,
Spare not to give the lie.
So when thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done blabbing,
Although to give the lie
Deserves no less than stabbing,
Stab at thee he that will,
No stab thy soul can kill.
Twice or thrice had I loved thee,
Before I knew thy face or name;
So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame,
Angels affect us oft, and worshipped be;
Still when, to where thou wert, I came,
Some lovely glorious nothing I did see.
But since my soul, whose child love is,
Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,
More subtle than the parent is
Love must not be, but take a body too;
And therefore what thou wert, and who,
I bid love ask, and now
That is assume thy body I allow,
And fix itself in thy lip, eye, and brow.
Whilst thus to ballast love I thought,
And so more steadily to have gone,
With wares which would sink admiration,
I saw I had love's pinnace overfraught;
Every thy hair for love to work upon
Is much too much, some fitter must be sought;
For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme and scatt'ring bright, can love inhere.
Than as an angel, face and wings
Of air, not pure as it, yet pure doth wear,
So thy love may be my love's sphere;
Just as disparity
As is 'twixt air and angels' purity,
'Twixt women's love and men's will ever be.
Author: John Donne
Title: "Air and Angels"
Significance: The main issue in the poem is the idea of the spirit vs. the body; angels are angelic, so they do not consist of matter and therefore have no body. If the soul does not consist of matter, the question is how do you recognize it and where do you keep it? This is the main paradox that Donne wrestles with. The poem revolves around the idea of spirit and matter; the development of the poem's argument is a system of ideas. The opening line is a teaser, as it hints that the speaker has not always loved the woman - the first two lines immediately throw us into a paradox. The speaker claims that he has loved the idea of her in a Platonic sense. Lines 3-4 make comparison with premonitions, etc.; the first few lines are flattering in that he sensed there was someone like her out there. In line 5-6, he finally comes to her and says she is "no thing"; she is a woman, but he is not concerned with the physical things about her. He works with the idea of spiritual beauty that is not defined in any physical way. Every line basically presents some kind of paradox (i.e. line 6: seeing nothing). This poem is very representative of the doctrine, "You are a soul. You have a body." In line 7, love is the child of the soul and it must take on limbs/flesh in order to exist and be able to do something. In line 11, the use of "therefore" hints that the poem is taking a turn; he now realizes that she is the one, as she is the person through whom love has become physicalized. The idea of love is transformed from the abstract to the physical. In line 15, he claims he wanted to make his love more solid/balanced; if he concentrates on physical qualities, he will overwhelm the idea of her as a spiritual thing. In line 21, the poem takes another turn: they can't focus on each individual hair. In the last six lines, he claims that in order to see the angel, it wears air to make it slightly more material/visible (the angel adopts something less pure than its angelic nonsubstance). In line 25, he talks about the idea of each sphere being steered by an intelligence; in this case, she is the sphere and he is the intelligence. The last two lines of the poem leave a very teasing ending, as he states that a woman's love is never as pure as a man's love.
But our first strange and fatal interview,
By all desires which thereof did ensue,
By our long staving hopes, by that remorse
Which my words' masculine persuasive force
Begot in thee, and by the memory
Of hurts which spies and rivals threatened me,
I calmly beg; but by thy father's wrath,
By all pains which want and divorcement hath,
I conjure thee; and all the oaths which I
And thou have sworn to seal joint constancy
Here I unswear and overswear them thus:
Thou shalt not love by ways so dangerous.
Temper, oh fair love, love's impetuous rage;
Be my mistress still, not my feigned page.
I'll go, and, by thy kind leave, leave behind
Thee, only worthy to nurse in my mind
Thirst to come back. Oh, if thou die before,
My soul from other lands to thee shall soar.
Thy (else almighty) beauty cannot move
Rage from the seas, nor thy love teach them love,
Nor tame wild Boreas' harshness. Thou has read
How roughly he in pieces shivered
Fair Orithea, whom he swore he loved.
Fall ill or good, 'tis madness to have proved
Dangers unurged; feed on this flattery,
That absent lovers one in th' other be.
Dissemble nothing, not a boy, nor change
Thy body's habit, nor mind's; be not strange
To thyself only; all will spy in thy face
A blushing womanly discovering grace.
Richly clothed apes are called apes, and as soon
Eclipsed as bright we call the moon the moon.
Men of France, changeable chameleons,
Spitals of diseases, shops of fashions,
Love's fuelers and the rightest company
Of players which upon the world's stage be,
Will quickly know thee, and know thee; and alas!
Th' indifferent Italian, as we pass
His warm land, well content to think thee page,
Will hunt thee with such lust and hideous rage
As Lot's fair guests were vexed. But none of these
Nor spongy, hydroptic Dutch shall thee displease
If thou stay here. O stay here, for, for thee,
England is only a worthy gallery
To walk in expectation, till from thence
Our greatest king call thee to his presence.
When I am gone, dream me some happiness,
Nor let thy looks our long-hid love confess;
Nor praise nor dispraise me, bless nor curse
Openly love's force, nor in bed fright thy nurse
With midnight's startings, crying out "Oh, oh!
Nurse, oh my love is slain, I saw him go
O'er the white Alps alone; I saw him, I,
Assailed, fight, taken, stabbed, bleed, fall, and die."
Augur me better change, except dread Jove
Think it enough for me t' have had thy love.
Author: John Donne
Title: "Elegy 16. On His Mistress"
Significance: The poem is written in rhyming couplets and has a regular rhythm. The persona of the poem is speaking very persuasively. The poem is full of subordinate prepositional phrases (ex. "by," "of"). The first verb ("beg") appears in line 7, and the second verb ("conjure") appears in line 9 - these are the main verbs, and they were seen as dangerous verbs in Shakespeare's time. In lines 9-10, the speaker reveals that the lovers have sworn to be constant, but the world is not constant (this is the main theme of many of Donne's poems). In line 11, the speaker says he is going to "unswear" the oath he gave, which is impossible. The persona is denying the constancy that he claims is essential. It is revealed that his mistress wants to travel with him disguised as a male by dressing up as a page boy. In lines 16-17, he claims that the thirst that he has for her will drive him to come back to England. In line 20, he claims that her love is powerful, but not so powerful as natural occurrences, etc. He has a deep concern for her welfare. In line 25, he claims that absent lovers are still "together" and asks her to feed on this "flattery." He claims that anyone looking at her will know she is a woman, even if she is in disguise. The ending of the poem talks about a nightmare about her love dying while he is away.
Where, like a pillow on a bed,
A pregnant bank swelled up to rest
The violet's reclining head,
Sat we two, one another's best.
Our hands were firmly cemented
With a fast balm which thence did spring,
Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
Our eyes upon one double string;
So to intergraft our hands, as yet
Was all our means to make us one,
And pictures in our eyes to get
Was all our propagation.
As 'twixt two equal armies Fate
Suspends uncertain victory,
Our souls (which to advance their state
Were gone out) hung 'twixt her and me;
And whilst our souls negotiate there,
We like sepulchral statues lay;
All day the same our postures were,
And we said nothing all the day.
If any, so by love refined
That he soul's language understood,
And by good love were grown all mind,
Within convenient distance stood,
He (though he knew not which soul spake,
Because both meant, both spake the same)
Might thence a new concoction take,
And part far purer than he came.
This ecstasy doth unperplex,
We said, and tell us what we love;
We see by this it was not sex;
Wee see we saw not what did move;
But as all several souls contain
Mixture of things, they know not what,
Love these mixed souls doth mix again,
And makes both one, each this and that.
A single violet trasnparent,
The strength, the color, and the size
(All which before was poor and scant)
Redoubles still, and multiplies.
When love with one another so
Interinanimates two souls,
That abler soul, which thence doth flow,
Defects of loneliness controls.
We then, who are this new soul, know
Of what we are composed and made,
For th' atomies of which we grow
Are souls, whom no change can invade.
But O alas, so long, so far
Our bodies why do we forbear?
They are ours, though they are not we; we are
The intelligences, they the sphere.
We owe them thanks because they thus
Did us to us at first convey,
Yielded their forces, sense, to us,
Nor are dross to us, but allay.
On man heaven's influence works not so
But that it first imprints the air:
So soul into the soul may flow,
Though it to body first repair.
As our blood labors to beget
Spirits as like souls as it can,
Because such fingers need to knit
That subtle knot which makes us man,
So must pure lovers' souls descend
T' affections, and to faculties
Which sense may reach and apprehend;
Else a great prince in prison lies.
To our bodies turn we then, that so
Weak men on love revealed may look;
Love's mysteries in souls do grow,
But yet the body is his book.
And if some lover, such as we,
Have heard this dialogue of one,
Let him still mark us; he shall see
Small change we are to bodies gone.
Author: John Donne
Title: "The Ecstasy"
Significance: The title is a Greek/Latin word and means "out of place." The poem focuses on the idea of a spiritual connection being more important than physical love because spiritual elements are more important sensory elements; it utilizes the ideas of the intelligences of the spheres and others that had been around for thousands of years. There is a clear physical location for the poem: the lovers are sitting on the bank of a river, which relates the popularity at that time of the pastoral mode. There are other pastoral elements present such as violets (this was very unusual for Donne). In line 4, the speaker suggests that they are superior in love to others. In line 5, there is the suggestion that it is very hot outside. Lines 7-8 relate to the work on optics published by Sir Isaac Newton; he proved that the eye receives beams instead of giving them off, but this discovery was made many years after Donne wrote this poem. There is a double transmission because the lovers are looking into each other's eyes. In line 9-10, the speaker makes it clear that the lovers are just holding hands, rather than making babies. There is a shift in the poem in line 13; there is the mention of armies, and the idea of equality in sexual relationships. Lines 15-16 explain the title of the poem: the "ecstasy" is the souls of the lovers leaving their bodies. It is important to pay attention to the conjunctions Donne uses because they signal where the poem is going. In line 17, the souls are negotiating while the bodies just lay there on the violets. In lines 21+, there is the entrance of a challenging idea: a third person appears who is wise in the ways of love and the poem becomes about the the hypothetical viewer (it is important to note the use of the word "if"). In lines 25+, the hypothetical viewer hear something (a voice of unity) which the two lovers produce together; by observing the unity between the couple, the viewer will be able to take a new "concoction" (purification), which is a reference to the ideas of alchemy during Donne's time. In line 29, the speaker makes sure to point out that the poem is not about sex. In lines 33+, the speaker mentions the idea that attraction is not based on physicality, but on the mixing of two mixed souls; the separate existences on a spiritual level create something very significant in love. In lines 37+, the speaker talks about the violets multiplying, joining together, and reproducing - suddenly the poem shows involvement with physical processes. In lines 41+, love puts two souls into one and makes one abler soul; this blended soul is able to overcome loneliness. In lines 49-50, the question of bodies is raised; in lines 51-52, the speaker blatantly bring sup the idea of intelligences and spheres. In lines 53+, the speaker mentions that the bodies are what brought them together in the first place; lines 57+ uses the same kind of argument as "Air and Angels." In lines 65+, we are brought into the physical world so the sensed can be used (the "great prince" is the joined/abler soul). In the ending, the speaker instructs to let the viewer see them, but only small changes will be sensed when the ecstasy is over and their souls return to their bodies. Some critics claim that this is a very clever seduction poem - there is a possible hint of sexual intercourse in the last few lines.
Let man's soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motions, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirled by it.
Hence is 't, that I am carried towards the West
This day, when my soul's form bends toward the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising, set,
And by that setting endless day beget:
But that Christ on this cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad I do not see
That spectacle of, too much weight for me.
Who sees God's face, that is self-life, must die;
What a death were it then to see God die?
It made his own lieutenant, Nature, shrink;
It made his footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands which span the poles,
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes?
Could I behold that endless height which is
Zenith to us, and t'our antipodes,
Humbled below us? Or that blood which is
The seat of all our souls, if not of his,
Make dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for his apparel, ragg'd and torn?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
Upon his miserable mother cast mine eye,
Who was God's partner here, and furnished thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransomed us?
Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye,
They are present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them; and thou look'st towards me,
O Savior, as thou hang'st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.
O think me worth thine anger; punish me;
Burn off my rusts and my deformity;
Restore thine image so much, by thy grace,
That thou may'st know me, and I'll turn my face.
Author: John Donne
Title: "Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward"
Significance: The idea of the soul as the sphere, and the intelligence controlling it devotion is presented in lines 1-2. The speaker claims that people are governed by pleasure or business instead of religion. This thought is repeated in lines 7-8. In lines 9-10, the speaker explains that he is riding westward on Good Friday, but the important action that is happening is at the site of the crucifixion to the East (specifically in the Middle East). The poem was written when Donne was traveling to visit one of his patrons. In lines 11+, there is a pun on "Sun" and "son" - Christ was raised on the cross on Good Friday, which reflects the idea of the sun rising (Donne is playing off of these paradoxes). In lines 13-14, the speaker claims that the only thing that redeems us as humans is Christ's sacrifice. In line 15, he claims that he is glad he's not looking at the Crucifixion because it would be too heavy; he raises the question, if the source of life causes us to die, what would it be like to see God die? He speaks of the physical horrors of the Crucifixion, and how God's blood turns to dust in the dirt at the base of the cross. He wonders, if he dares to look at the Crucifixion, should he turn and look at Mary standing at the base of the cross? (Mary was often seen as God's partner who furnished half the sacrifice.) The poet becomes engaged in physically turning his back on Christ by moving from East to West, so he begs for redemption - he can only turn and look at Christ is he is redeemed. The poem occurs in three distinct stages: lines 1-10, lines 11-32, and lines 33-42. The middle section relies on seeing, while the first and last sections are focused on moving and imagining. During Donne's time there were pamphlets about the organization of prayer circulated, which focused on discipline in prayer (some included 3 or 5 stages of prayer, and Donne relies on 3 stages). The first stage is Donne drawing on the old, well-established ideas of spheres and intelligences; this is the composition loci (composition of place), where one focuses themselves on a particular memory in order not to skip around the entire time. The poet is using the memory part of his brain. The second stage is analysis, and answering the question of what the object one is focusing on really means. The third stage is the colloquy ("speaking with"), in which Donne is talking to God his Savior; he is addressing/appealing to God and therefore recognizing his will. The three stages employ the mental faculties of memory, understanding, and the will respectively.
Kind pity chokes my spleen; brave scorn forbids
Those tears to issue which swell my eyelids;
I must not laugh, nor weep sins, and be wise:
Can railing then cure these worn maladies?
Is not our mistress, fair Religion,
As worth of all our souls' devotion
As virtue was to the first blinded age?
Are not heaven's joys as valiant to assuage
Lusts, as earth's honor was to them? Alas,
As we do them in means, shall they surpass
Us in the end, and shall thy father's spirit
Meet blind philosophers in heaven, whose merit
Of strict life may be imputed faith, and hear
Thee, whom he taught so easy ways and near
To follow, damned? O, if thou dar'st, fear this;
This fear great courage and high valor is. Dar'st thou aid mutinous Dutch, and dar'st thou lay
Thee in ships, wooden sepulchers, a prey
To leaders' rage, to storms, to shot, to dearth?
Dar'st thou dive seas and dungeons of the earth?
Hast thou courageous fire to thaw the ice
Of frozen north discoveries? And thrice
Colder than salamanders, like divine
Children in the oven, fires of Spain and the line,
Whose countries limbecks to our bodies be,
Canst thou for gain bear? And must every he
Who cries not "Goddess!" to thy mistress, draw,
Or eat thy poisonous words? Courage of straw!
O desperate coward, wilt thou seem bold, and
To thy foes and His (who made thee to stand
Sentinel in his world's garrison) thus yield,
And for forbidden wars leave th' appointed field?
Know thy foes: the foul Devil (whom thou
Strivest to please) for hate, not love, would allow
Thee fain his whole realm to be quit; and as
The world's all parts wither away and pass,
So the world's self, thy other loved foe, is
In her decrepit wane, and thou, loving this,
Dost love a withered and worn strumpet; last,
Flesh (itself's death) and joys which flesh can taste
Thou lovest; and thy fair goodly soul, which doth
Give this flesh power to taste joy, thou dost loathe.
Seek true religion. O, where? Mirreus,
Thinking her unhoused here, and fled from us,
Seeks her at Rome; there, because he doth know
That she was there a thousand years ago.
He loves her rags so, as we here obey
The statecloth where the prince sat yesterday.
Crantz to such brave loves will not be enthralled,
But loves her only, who at Geneva is called
Religion - plain, simple, sullen, young,
Contemptuous, yet unhandsome; as among
Lecherous humors, there is one that judges
No wenches wholesome but coarse country drudges.
Graius stays still at home here, and because
Some preachers, vile ambitious bawds and laws
Still new, like fashions, bid him think that she
Which dwells with us is only perfect, he
Embraceth her whom his godfathers will
Tender to him, being tender, as wards still
Take such wives as their guardians offer, or
Pay values. Carless Phrygius doth abhor
All, because all cannot be good, as one
Knowing some women whores, dares marry none.
Graccus loves all as one, and thinks that so
As women do in divers countries go
In divers habits, yet are still one kind,
So doth, so is religion; and this blind-
ness too much light breeds; but unmoved thou
Of force must one, and forced but one allow;
And the right; ask thy father which is she,
Let him ask his; though truth and falsehood be
Near twins, yet truth a little elder is;
Be busy to seek her, believe me this,
He's not of none, nor worst, that seeks the best.
To adore, or scorn an image, or protest,
Mary all be bad; doubt wisely; in strange way
To stand inquiring right is not to stray;
To sleep, or run wrong, is. On a huge hill,
Cragged and steep, Truth stand, and he that will
Reach her, about must, and about must go,
And what the hill's suddenness resists, win so;
Yet strive so, that before age, death's twilight,
Thy soul rest, for none can work in that night.
To will implies delay, therefore now do.
Hard deeds, the body's pains; hard knowledge too
The mind's endeavors reach, and mysteries
Are like the sun, dazzling, yet plain to all eyes.
Keep the truth which thou hast found; men do not stand
In so ill case here, that God hath with his hand
Signed kings' blank charters to kill whom they hate,
Nor are they vicars, but hangmen to fate.
Fool and wretch, wilt thou let thy soul be tied
To man's laws, by which she shall not be tried
At the last day? O, will it then boot thee
To say a Philip, or a Gregory,
A Harry, or a Martin taught thee this?
Is not this excuse for mere contraries
Equally strong? Cannot both sides say so?
That thou mayest rightly obey power, her bounds know;
Those passed, her nature and name is changed; to be
Then humble to her idolatry.
As streams are, power is; those blest flowers that dwell
At the rough stream's calm head, thrive and prove well,
But having left their roots, and themselves given
To the stream's tyrannous rage, alas, are driven
Through mills, and rocks, and woods, and at last, almost
Consumed in going, in the sea are lost:
So perish souls, which more choose men's unjust
Power from God claimed, than God himself to trust.
Author: John Sonne
Title: "Satire 3"
Significance: Donne uses rhyming couplets throughout the poem. The satire is expected to be mocking, humorous, etc. In lines 1-4, the speaker claims that satire is meant to denounce something, and he can't be scornful because he feels piteous. In the introduction of the poem, he is going to rail against the way that we handle religion. He utilizes the metaphor of Religion as the guiding female presence in our life. It is important to note that this poem was written in a time of continuous religious warfare. In lines 6-7, the poet explains that before the New and Old Testament, people relied on virtuous behavior; therefore, we are ahead of the pagans in "means," but they are more virtuous than we are (in line 13, he claims that Pagans may be saved by imputing faith). This poem represents Donne's struggled between Catholicism and Protestantism. He is railing against the supposed Christian who is not purifying their life. The Dutch are mentioned because they are a rising maritime power in that period just like England, and they are Protestants as well. There are many contemporary references; people dare to do all sorts of things but they won't dare to examine their conscious/what faith is correct. In line 26, Donne asks why people show courage for stupid reasons. In line 32, he claims that the continuing battle is acting in a moral manner. In line 33, he claims that if the supreme battle is religion, then our greatest foe is the Devil, because the Devil will offer you everything but you must not give in. In line 37, he claims that the second foe is the physical world, and the third foe is flesh (l. 40). In line 43, he makes a three-word command ("Seek true religion.") just like he does in line 33 ("Know thy foes."). In lines 73-74, he claims that truth is a little older than falsehood if they are twins because truth had to come first. For Donne, the true Christian path is like a hill and you must labor to climb it.
What if this present were the world's last night?
Mark in my heart, O soul, where thou dost dwell,
Thy picture of Christ crucified, and tell
Whether that countenance can thee affright.
Tears in his eyes quench the amazing light,
Blood fills his frowns, which from his pierced head fell;
And can that tongue adjudge thee unto hell
Which prayed forgiveness for his foes' fierce spite?
No, no; but as in my idolatry
I said to all my profane mistresses,
Beauty of pity, foulness only is
A sign of rigor: so I say to thee,
To wicked spirits are horrid shapes assigned,
This beauteous form assures a piteous mind.
Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but O, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy.
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again:
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
Oh, to vex me, contraries meet in one:
Inconstancy unnaturally hath begot
A constant habit; that when I would not
I change in vows, and in devotion.
As humorous is my contrition
As my profane love, and as soon forgot:
As riddlingly distempered, cold and hot,
As praying, as mute, as infinite, as none.
I durst not view heaven yesterday; and today
In prayers and flattering speeches I court God:
Tomorrow I quake with true fear of his rod.
So my devout fits come and go away
Like a fantastic ague: save that here
Those are my best days, when I shake with fear.
When all that rich soul which to her heaven is gone,
Whom all they celebrate who know they have one
(For who is sure he hath a soul, unless
It see, and judge, and follow worthiness,
Any by deeds praise it? He who doth not this,
May lodge an inmate soul, but 'tis not his);
This man, this world's vice-emporer, in whom
All faculties, all graces are at home -
And if in other creatures they appear,
They're but man's ministers and legates there,
To work on their rebellions, and reduce
Them to civility, and to man's use -
This man, whom God did woo, and loath to attend
Till man came up, did down to man descend,
This man, so great, that all that is, is his,
Oh what a trifle, and poor thing he is!
If man were anything, he's nothing now:
Help, or at least some time to waste, allow
To his other wants, yet when he did depart
With her whom we lament, he lost his heart.
She, of whom th' ancients seemed to prophesy
When they called virtues by the name of she;
She in whom virtue was so much refined
That for allay unto so pure a mind
She took the weaker sex, she that could drive
The poisonous tincture, and the stain of Eve,
Out of her thoughts and deeds, and purify
All, by a true religious alchemy;
She, she is dead; she's dead: when thou knowest this,
Thou knowest how poor a trifling thing man is.
And learn'st thus much by our anatomy,
The heard being perished, no part can be free.
And that except thou feed (not banquet) on
The supernatural food, religion,
Thy better growth grows withered and scant;
Be more than man, or thou'rt less than an ant.
Then, as mankind, so is the world's whole frame
Quite out of joint, almost created lame:
For, before God had made up all the rest,
Corruption entered and depraved the best.
It seized the angels, and then first of all,
The world did in her cradle take a fall,
And turned her brains, and took a general maim,
Wronging each joint of th' universal frame.
The noblest part, man, felt it first; and then
Both beasts and plants, cursed in the curse of man.
So did the world from the first hour decay,
That evening was beginning of the day,
And now the springs and summers which we see
Like sons of women after fifty be.
And new philosophy calls all in doubt:
The element of fire is quite put out;
The sun is lost, and the earth, and no man's wit
Can well direct him where to look for it.
And freely men confess that this world's spent,
When in the planets and the firmament
They seek so many new; they see that this
Is crumbled out again to his atomies.
'Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone;
All just supply, and all relation:
Prince, subject; father, son, are things forgot,
For every man alone thinks he hath got
To be a phoenix, and that there can be
None of that kind of which he is, but he.
Author: John Donne
Title: "And Anatomy of the World"
Significance: This poem was commissioned by Donne's patron Sir Robert Drury on the death of his only daughter Elizabeth; however, Donne knew very little about Elizabeth Drury, which caused a major problem. This is the first of two poems he wrote on the event of her death, and both appeared in print. In the poem, Donne writes about how the world has suffered a serious loss with Elizabeth's death. This poem contains very important ideas about the state of the world at the time, and most importantly the idea that the world is in a constant state of decline. In the opening lines (l. 1-6), Donne talks about the idea of the soul being more important than the body. There are section headings throughout to separate the different parts of the poem; the first section is about the damage done to the world through Elizabeth's death. There are three verse paragraphs on page 1403; lines 190-198 are rhyming couplets that allude to the fall of the Garden of Eden. Lines 205+ are very famous lines, as they makes reference to the impacts of William Harvey, Newton, Galileo, and the tremendous shattering of old beliefs that was occurring in the 17th century. They deal with the enormous crisis/awareness of what the world is made of, and they mention the breaking down of the social order.
Here lies, to each her parents' ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth;
Yet all heaven's gifts being heaven's due,
It makes the father less to rue.
At six months' end she parted hence,
With safety of her innocence;
Whose soul heaven's queen, whose name she bears,
In comfort of her mother's tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin-train:
Where, while that severed doth remain,
This grave partakes the fleshly birth;
Which cover lightly, gentle earth!
Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy.
Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
O could I lose all father now! For why
Will man lament the state he should envy,
To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage,
And, if no other misery, yet age?
Rest in soft peace, and asked, say, "Here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry."
For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such
As what he loves may never like too much.
To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame,
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither man nor muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise;
For silliest ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin where it seemed to raise.
These are as some infamous bawd or *****
Should praise a matron. What could hurt her more? But thou art proof against them, and, indeed,
Above th' ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin. Soul of the age!
The applause! Delight! The wonder of our stage!
My Shakespeare, rise; I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further to make thee a room:
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still while thy book doth live,
And we have wits to read and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses,
I mean with great, but disproportioned Muses;
For, if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honor thee I would not seek
For names, but call forth thund'ring Aeschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To life again, to hear thy buskin tread
And shake a stage; or, when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all that insolent Greece of haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain; thou hast one to show
To whome all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses still were in their prime
When like Apollo he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm.
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines,
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit:
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus now not please,
But antiquated and deserted lie,
As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give nature all; thy art,
My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion; and that he
Who casts to write a living line must sweat
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil; turn the same,
And himself with it, that he thinks to frame,
Or for the laurel he main gain a scorn;
For a good poet's made as well as born,
And such wert thou. Look how the father's face
Lives in his issue; even so the race
Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well-turned and true-filed lines,
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandished at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet swan of Avon, what a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames
That so did take Eliza and our James!
But stay; I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced and made a constellation there!
Shine forth, thou star of poets, and with rage
Or influence chide or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.
Author: Ben Jonson
Title: "To the Memory of My Beloved, The Author, Mr. William Shakespeare, and What He Hath Left Us"
Significance: This poem was included in the folio compiled after Shakespeare's death. The first sixteen lines of the poem declare from what point of view Jonson is writing this poem. In lines 1-4, he points out that Shakespeare is a good writer, but Jonson is not meaning to draw jealousy; nobody can really do justice to praise Shakespeare (this takes some of the pressure off of Jonson). In line 5, Jonson claims that everyone acknowledges this inability to do justice to praise Shakespeare. In the remainder of the introduction, he claims that there may be many devices utilized by others in construction praise for Shakespeare, such as ignorance, blind affection, malice, etc.; these are things that Jonson claims he will not do. In line 20 Jonson mentions other important writers who are buried in Westminster Abbey; Shakespeare was buried in Stratford and therefore has his own room. Jonson brings up the idea in lines 23-24 of a work surviving its creator (Shakespeare is a monument without a tomb). In lines 29-30, Jonson mentions other contemporaries of Shakespeare, such as Kyd and Marlowe. He makes a bit of a snotty remark when he claims that Shakespeare did not know much Latin or Greek (unlike Jonson, who had remarkable scholarship). Still, however, Jonson claims that Shakespeare is a match for the great figures of Greek and Roman literature; he mentions several classical Greek authors. One of the most famous lines in the poem is line 43, which states, "He was not of an age, but for all time!" This line is very simple and consists only of monosyllabic words. Jonson then goes on to claim that Shakespeare became prominent when all the Muses were still in their prime, and that his talent is so great that the muse has exhausted all her powers of giving, and therefore has no talent left to bestow on other authors. In lines 60+, Jonson brings up images of metalworking. He claims that, even though Shakespeare was talented, he still had to work hard to be the poet that he was. There is a brief mention of two monarchs (Elizabeth and James) because they both enjoyed going to plays. Jonson ends the poem by essentially claiming that Shakespeare is the inspiration for the modern stage.
Come, leave the loathed stage,
And the more loathsome age,
Where pride and impudence, in faction knit,
Usurp the chair of wit,
Indicting and arraigning every day
Something they call a play.
Let their fastidious, vain
Commission of the brain
Run on and rage, sweat, censure, and condemn:
They were not made for thee, less thou for them.
Say that thou pour'st them wheat,
And they will acorns eat;
'Twere simple fury still thyself to waste
On such as have no taste!
To offer them a surfeit of pure bread,
Whose appetites are dead!
No, give them grains their fill,
Husks, draff to drink, and swill:
If they love lees, and leave the lusty wine,
Envy them not; their palate's with the swine.
No doubt some moldy tale
Like Pericles, and stale
As the shrieve's crusts, and nasty as his fish -
Scraps, out of every dish
Thrown forth and raked into the common tub,
May keep up the play club:
There, sweepings do as well
As the best-ordered meal;
For who the relish of these guests will fit
Needs set them but the alms basket of wit.
And much good do 't you then:
Brave plush and velvet men
Can feed on orts; and, safe in your stage clothes,
Dare quit, upon your oaths,
The stagers and the stage-wrights too, your peers,
Of larding your large ears
With their foul comic socks,
Wrought upon twenty blocks;
Which, if they're torn, and turned, and patched enough,
The gamesters share your guilt, and you their stuff.
Leave things so prostitute
And take th' Alcaic lute;
Or thine own Horace, or Anacreon's lyre;
Warm thee by Pindar's fire:
And though thy nerves be shrunk, and blood be cold,
Ere years have made thee old,
Strike that disdainful heat
Throughout, to their defeat,
As curious fools, and envious of thy strain,
May, blushing, swear no palsy's in thy brain.
But when they hear thee sing
The glories of thy king,
His zeal to God and his just awe o'er men,
They may, blood-shaken then,
Feel such a flesh-quake to possess their powers
As they shall cry, "Like ours,
In sound of peace or wars,
No harp e'er hit the stars
In tuning forth the acts of his sweet reign,
And raising Charles his chariot 'bove his Wain."
Weep with me, all you that read
This little story;
And know for whom a tear you shed,
Death's self is sorry.
'Twas a child that so did thrive
In grace and feature,
As Heaven and Nature seemed to strive
Which owned the creature.
Years he numbered scarce thirteen
When fates turned cruel,
Yet three filled zodiacs had he been
The stage's jewel;
And did act (what now we moan)
Old men so duly,
As, sooth, the Parcae though him one,
He played so truly.
So, by error, to his fate
They all consented;
But, viewing him since (alas, too late),
They have repented,
And have sought (to give new birth)
In baths to steep him;
But, being so much too good for earth,
Heaven vows to keep him.
Brave infant of Sanguntum, clear
Thy coming forth in that great year
When the prodigious Hannibal did crown
His rage, with razing your immortal town.
Thou, looking then about
Ere thou wert half got out,
Wise child, didst hastily return
And mad'st thy mother's womb thine urn.
How summed a circle didst thou leave mankind
Of deepest lore, could we the center find!
Did wiser nature draw thee back
From out the horror of that sack,
Where shame, faith, honor, and regard of right
Lay trampled on? - the deeds of death and night
Urged, hurried forth, and hurled
Upon th' affrighted world?
Sword, first, and famine, with fell fury met,
And all on utmost ruin set:
As, could they but life's miseries foresee,
No doubt all infants would return like thee.
For what is life if measured by the space,
Not by the act?
Or masked man, if valued by his face,
Above his fact?
Here's one outlived his peers
And told fourth fourscore years:
He vexed time, and busied the whole state,
Troubled both foes and friends,
But ever to no ends:
What did this stirrer but die late?
How well at twenty had he fall'n or stood!
For three of his four score, he did no good.
He entered well, by virtuous parts,
Got up and thrived with honest arts:
He purchased friends and fame and honors then,
And had his noble name advanced with men;
But, weary of that flight,
He stooped in all men's sight
To sordid flatteries, acts of strife,
And sunk in that dead sea of life
So deep, as he did then death's waters sup;
But that the cork of title buoyed him up.
Alas, but Morison fell young;-
He never fell, thou fall'st, my tongue.
He stood, a soldier, to the last right end,
A perfect patriot and a noble friend,
But most a virtuous son.
All offices were done
By him, so ample, full, and round
In weight, in measure, number, sound,
As, though his age imperfect might appear,
His life was of humanity the sphere.
Go now, and tell out days summed up with fears,
And make them years;
Produce thy mass of miseries on the stage
To swell thine age;
Repeat of things a throng,
To show thou hast been long,
Not lived; for life doth her great actions spell,
By what was done and wrought
In season, and so brought
To light: her measures are, how well
Each syllab'e answered, and was formed how fair;
These make the lines of life, and that's her air.
It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be,
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night;
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures life may perfect be.
Call, noble Lucius, then for wine,
And let thy looks with gladness shine:
Accept this garland, plant it on thy head,
And think, nay, know, thy Morison's not dead.
He leaped the present age,
Possessed with holy rage,
To see that bright eternal day,
Of which we priests and poets say
Such truths as we expect for happy men,
And there he lies with memory: and Ben
Jonson, who sung this of him ere he went
Himself to rest,
Or taste a part of that full joy he meant
To have expressed
In this bright asterism:
Where it were friendship's schism
(Were not his Lucius long with us to tarry)
To separate these twi-
Lights, the Dioscuri,
And keep the one half from his Harry.
But fate doth so alternate the design,
Whilst that in heaven, this light on earth must shine.
And shine as you exalted are,
Two names of friendship, but one star,
Of hearts the union. And those not by chance
Made, or indentured, or leased out t' advance
The profits for a time.
No pleasures vain did chime
Of rhymes or riots at your feasts,
Orgies of drink, or feigned protests;
But simple love of greatness and of good
That knits brave minds and manners, more than blood.
This made you first to know the why
You liked, then after to apply
That liking; and approach so one the tother,
Till either grew a portion of the other;
Each styled by his end,
The copy of his friend.
You lived to be the great surnames
And titles by which all made claims
Unto the virtue: nothing perfect done,
But as a Cary or a Morison.
And such a force the fair example had,
As they that saw
The good and durst not practice it, were glad
That such a law
WAs left yet to mankind;
Where they might read and find
Friendship in deed was written, not in words.
And with the heart, not pen,
Of two so early men,
Whose lives her rolls were, and records,
Who, ere the first down bloomed on the chin
Had sowed these fruits, and got the harvest in.
Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show,
Of touch or marble; nor canst boast a row
Of polished pillars, or a roof of gold;
Thou hast no lantern whereof tales are told
Or stair, or courts; but stand'st an ancient pile,
And, these grudged at, art reverenced the while.
Thou joy'st in better marks, of soil, of air,
Of wood, of water; therein thou art fair.
Thou hast thy walks for health, as well as sport;
Thy mount, to which the dryads do resort,
Where pan and Bacchus their high feasts have made,
Beneath the broad beech and the chestnut shade;
That teller tree, which of a nut was set
At his great birth where all the Muses met.
There at the writhed bark at cut the names
Of many a sylvan, taken with his flames;
And thence the ruddy satyrs oft provoke
The lighter fauns to reach thy Lady's Oak.
Thy copse too, named of Gamage thou hast there,
That never fails to serve thee seasoned deer
When thou wouldst feast or exercise thy friends.
The lower land, that to the river bends,
Thy sheep, thy bullocks, kines, and calves do feed;
The middle grounds thy mares and horses breed.
Each bank doth yield thee conies; and the tops,
Fertile of wood, Ashore and Sidney's copse,
To crown thy open table, doth provide
The purpled pheasant with the speckled side;
The painted partridge lies in every field,
And for thy mess is willing to be killed.
And if the high-swollen Medway fail thy dish,
Thou hast thy ponds, that pay thee tribute fish:
Fat aged carps that run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat,
As loath the second draft or cast to stay,
Officiously at first themselves betray;
Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on land
Before the fisher, or into his hand.
Then hath thy orchard fruit, thy garden flowers,
Fresh as the air, and new as are the hours.
The early cherry, with the later plum,
Fig, grape, and quince, each in his time doth come;
The blushing apricot and woolly peach
Hang on thy walls, that every child may reach.
And thou they walls be of the country stone,
They're reared with no man's ruin, no man's groan;
There's none that dwell about them wish them down;
But all come in, the farmer and the clown,
And no one empty-handed, to salute
Thy lord and lady, though they have no suit.
Some bring a capon, some a rural cake,
Some nuts, some apples; some that think they make
Thy better cheese bring them, or else send
By their ripe daughters, whom they would commend
This way to husbands, and whose baskets bear
An emblem of themselves in plum or pear.
But what can this (more thane express their love)
Add to thy free provisions, far above
The need of such? whose liberal board doth flow
With all that hospitality doth know;
Where comes no quest but is allowed to eat,
Without his fear, and of thy lord's own meat;
Where the same beer and bread, and selfsame wine,
That is his lordship's shall be also mine,
And I not fain to sit (as some this day
At great men's tables), and yet dine away.
Here no man tells my cups; nor standing by,
A waiter doth my gluttony envy,
But gives me what I call, and lets me eat;
He knows below he shall find plenty of meat.
Thy tables hoard not up for the next day;
Nor, when I take my lodging, need I pray
For fire, or lights, or livery; all is there,
As if thou then wert mine, or I reigned here:
There's nothing I can wish, for which I stay.
That found King James when, hunting late this way
With his brave son, the Prince, they saw thy fires
Shine bright on every heart, as the desires
Of thy Penates had been set on flame
To entertain them; or the country came
With all their zeal to warm their welcome here.
What (great I will not say, but) sudden cheer
Didst thou then make 'em! And what praise was heaped
On thy good lady then, who therein reaped
The just reward of her high housewifery;
To have her linen, plate, and all things nigh,
When she was far; and not a room but dressed
As if it had expected such a guest!
These, Penshurst, are thy praise, and yet not all.
Thy lady's noble, fruitful, chaste withal.
His children thy great lord may call his own,
A fortune in this age but rarely known.
They are, and have been, taught religion; thence
Their gentler spirits have sucked innocence.
Each morn and even they are taught to pray,
With the whole household, and may, every day,
Read in their virtuous parents' noble parts
The mysteries of manners, arms, and arts.
Now, Penshurst, they that will proportion thee
With other edifices, when they see
Those proud, ambitious heaps, and nothing else
May say, their lords have built, but thy lord dwells.
Author: Ben Jonson
Title: "To Penshurst"
Significance: This poem is part of a sub-genre known as poems of praise/place; it is a celebratory poem of a delightful rural spot. The poem is addressed to the actual place of the estate, rather than someone living in the estate. The beginning of the poem (lines 1-6) exhibit a typical rhetorical device of not puffing the place up or building it up too much; line 6 claims that the big, flashy places that are built up are grudged at (and envied if you are a peasant). According to Jonson, the terrain has the four elements (lines 7-8), as wood stands for fire; all of the elements are in balance at Penshurst, so the estate is healthy. The fertility and richness of the terrain allows for many different dishes at the meals; there are edible creatures who are literally willing to be killed for the dinner. It is the animals' duty to provide themselves for consumption - this is a seriously exaggerated complimentary poem. The fruit is always ready to be picked, and the lines dealing with the fruit are almost sensuous in nature. There are classical references in lines 6-12 with the mention of the gods Pan and Bacchus. The mention in lines 12-13 of the taller tree is a reference to an ancestor (Sir Philip Sidney, who was born at Penshurst). According to Jonson, there was no tortuous labor to build the estate; rather, no man complained about constructing the estate (pay attention to "r" sound in those lines). All sorts of people come to Penshurst, even if they have no fancy set of clothes. The end of the poem points to the idea that religion allows things to run smoothly/harmoniously on the estate; there is a superior spirit in the Sidney family, as the children learn good manners and decorum from their parents. The last two lines are a typical Jonsonian conclusion.
And if those pieces were extended and stretched out in man as they are in the world, man would be the giant and the world the dwarf; the world by the map, and the man the world. If all the veins in our bodies were extended to rivers, and all the sinews to veins of mines, and all the muscles that lie upon one another to hills, and all the bones to quarries of stones, and all the other pieces to the proportion of those which correspond to them in the world, the air would be too little for this orb of man to move in, the firmament would be but enough for this star.
And then as the other world produces serpents and vipers, malignant and venomous creatures, and worms and caterpillars, that endeavor to devour that world which produces them, and monsters compiled and complicated of divers parents and kinds, so this world, our selves, produces all these in us, in producing diseases and sicknesses of all those sorts; venomous and infectious diseases, feeding and consuming diseases, and manifold and entangled diseases made up o fmany several ones.
Man hath not that innate instinct to apply these natural medicines to his present danger, as those inferior creatures have. He is not his own apothecary, his own physician, as they are. Call back therefore thy meditation again, and bring it down. What's become of man's great extent and proportion, when himself shrinks himself and consumes himself to a handful of dust?
Author: John Donne
Title: "Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions," Meditation 4
Significance: These excerpts come from a larger work of 23 meditations, which make up a 3-part structure of prayer (setting up of image, analysis of image, and prayer). In this meditation, Donne is putting things together in pairs, turning ideas on their heads and employing paradoxes. This is meant to be a wake up call, as he asks the question of how can each individual be bigger than the world? Donne employes a very elaborate analogy - everything we contain corresponds to something in the larger world. There is the establishment of the repetition of sentences (this was one thing that made him a very good preacher). He claims that most of us cannot cure ourselves as some animals appear to do. In the first paragraph, he tries to establish the immense capability of man, in the second paragraph he claims that we are wonderful but riddled with disease, and in the third paragraph he tells us where the cure is.
The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all...And when she buries a man, that actions concerns me: all mankind is of one author and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated.
As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. There was a contention as far as a suit (in which piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled) which of the religious orders should ring prayers first in the morning; and it was determined that they should ring first that rose earliest.
Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? But who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? But who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world? No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any mean's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did; for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction.
Since I am coming to that holy room
Where, with thy choir of saints for evermore,
I shall be made thy music; as I come
I tune the instrument there at the door,
And what I must do then, think now before.
Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
That this is my southwest discovery
Per fretum febris, by these straits to die,
I joy, that in these straits, I see my West;
For, though their currents yield return to none,
What shall my West hurt me? As West and East
In all flat maps (and I am one) are one,
So death doth touch the resurrection.
Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are
The Eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?
Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar,
All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them,
Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem.
We think that Paradise and Calvary,
Christ's cross and Adam's tree, stood in one place;
Look, Lord and find both Adams met in me;
As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face,
May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace.
So, in his purple wrapped, receive me, Lord;
By these his thorns give me his other crown;
And, as to others' souls I preached thy word,
Be this my text, my sermon to mine own:
Therefore that he may raise the Lord throws down.
I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers,
Of April, May, of June, and July flowers.
I sing of Maypoles, hock carts, wassails, wakes,
Of bridegrooms, brides, and of their bridal cakes.
I write of youth, of love, and have access
By these to sing of cleanly wantonness.
I sing of dews, of rains, and piece by piece,
Of balm, of oil, of spice, and ambergris.
I sing of times trans-shifting, and I write
How roses first came red and lilies white.
I write of groves, of twilights, and I sing
The court of Mab and of the fairy king.
I write of hell; I sing (and ever shall)
Of heaven, and hope to have it after all.
I have lost, and lately, these
Many dainty mistresses:
Stately Julia, prime of all;
Sappho next, a principal;
Smooth Anthea, for a skin
White and heaven-like crystalline;
Sweet Electra, and the choice
Myrrha, for the lute and voice;
Next Corinna for her wit
And the graceful use of it,
With Perilla; all are gone,
Only Herrick's left alone,
For to number sorrows by
Their departures hence, and die.
Get up! Get up for shame! The blooming morn
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.
See how Aurora throws her fair
Fresh-quilted colors through the air:
Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see
The dew despangling herb and tree.
Each flower has wept and bowed toward the east
Above an hour since, yet you not dressed;
Nay, not so much as out of bed?
When all the birds have matins said,
And sung their thankful hymns, 'tis sin,
Nay, profanation to keep in,
Whenas a thousand virgins on this day
Spring, sooner than the lark, to fetch in May.
Rise, and put on your foliage and be seen
To come forth, like the springtime, fresh and green,
And sweet as Flora. Take no care
For jewels for your gown or hair;
Fear not; the leaves will strew
Gems in abundance upon you;
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept;
Come and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dew-locks of the night,
And Titan on the eastern hill
Retires himself, or else stands still
Till you come forth. Wash, dress, be brief in praying:
Few beads are best when once we go a-Maying.
Come, my Corinna, come; and, coming, mark
How each field turns a street, each street a park
Made green and trimmed with trees; see how
Devotion gives each house a bough
Or branch: each porch, each door ere this,
An ark, a tabernacle is,
Made up of whitethorn neatly interwove,
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
Can such delights be in the street
And open fields, and we not see 't?
Come, we'll abroad; and let's obey
the proclamation made for May,
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;
But, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.
There's not a budding boy or girl this day
But is got up and gone to bring in May;
A deal of youth, ere this, is come
Back, and with whitethorn laden, home.
Some have dispatched their cakes and cream
Before that we have left to dream;
And some have wept, and wooed, and plighted troth,
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth.
Many a green gown has been given,
Many a kiss, both odd and even;
Many a glance, too, has been sent
From out the eye, love's firmament;
Many a jest told of the keys betraying
This night, and locks picked; yet we're not a-Maying.
Come, let us go while we are in our prime,
And take the harmless folly of the time.
We shall grow old apace, and die
Before we know our liberty.
Our life is short, and our days run
As fast away as does the sun;
As, as a vapor or a drop of rain,
Once lost, can ne'er be found again,
So when or you or I are made,
A fable, song, or fleeting shade,
All love, all liking, all delight
Lies drowned with us in endless night.
Then while times serves, and we are but decaying,
Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.
Author: Robert Herrick
Title: "Corinna's Going A-Maying"
Significance: Corinna is mentioned in the long list of Herrick's lost mistresses from his other poem. The natural world is very prominent in this poem (birds, trees, flowers, etc.) - there are bits of rural surroundings throughout. The poem addresses the issue of aging, which was a very common genre in this period; Herrick addresses the Carpe Diem theme (use the joys and energy of youth while you have them). This poem was written for May Day (the beginning of spring, May 1st). Herrick claims that if you are not wrapped up in the city, there is a natural rhythm that you can find in the natural world. May Day is a day for youth to celebrate by playing games, such as dancing around the Maypole. Protestants thought the Maypole was a phallic symbol, but Charles proclaimed that it was okay to dance around it - this shows that Herrick was interested in the politics of his era. The sprinkling of old, classical names shows that he may be acquainted with the classics, although they are used very sparingly in this poem. There are sexual suggestions in the poem - the green dresses from rolling around in the grass. This poem is written by a Christian minister, and it talks about the afterlife in a completely pagan way: the afterlife is darkness, so live it up now. The reference to eyes and love's firmament relates to theories of optics at that time.
Her eyes the glowworm 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 slowworm bite thee;
But on, on thy way,
Not making a stay,
Since ghost there's 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.
Then, Julia, let me woo thee,
Thus, thus to come unto me:
And when I shall meet
Thy silv'ry feet,
My soul I'll pour into thee.
From the dull confines of the drooping west,
To see the day spring from the pregnant east,
Ravished in spirit, I come, nay more I fly
To thee, blest place of my nativity!
Thus, thus with hallowed foot I touch the ground
With thousand blessings by thy fortune crowned.
O fruitful Genius! that bestowest here
An everlasting plenty, year by year.
O place! O people! Manners! framed to please
All nations, customs, kindreds, languages!
I am a free-born Roman; suffer then
That I amongst you live a citizen.
London my home is, though by hard fate sent
Into a long and irksome banishment;
Yet since called back, henceforward let me be,
O native country, repossessed by thee!
For, rather than I'll to the west return,
I'll beg of thee first here to have mine urn.
Weak I am grown, and must in short time fall;
Give thou my sacred relics burial.
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 a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honor, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.
"For if I should," said He,
"Bestow this jewel also in 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 restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast."
Who says that fictions only and false hair
Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?
Is all good structure in a winding stair?
May no lines pass, except they do their duty
Not to a true, but painted chair?
Is it no verse, except enchanted groves
And sudden arbors shadow coarse-spun lines?
Must purling streams refresh a lover's loves?
Must all be veiled, while he that reads, divines,
Catching the sense at two removes?
Shepherds are honest people: let them sing;
Riddle who list, for me, and pull for prime:
I envy no ma's nightingale or spring;
Nor let them punish me with loss of rhyme,
Who plainly say, My God, My King.
Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky:
The dew shall weep thy fall tonight,
For thou must die.
Sweet rose, whose hue, angry and brave,
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye:
Thy root is ever in its grave,
And thou must die.
Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie;
My music shows ye have your closes,
And all must die.
Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like seasoned timber, never gives;
But thou the whole world turn to coal,
then chiefly lives.
When first my lines of heavenly joys made mention,
Such was their luster, they did so excel,
That I sought out quaint words and trim invention;
My thoughts began to burnish, sprout and swell,
Curling with metaphors a plain intention,
Decking the sense, as if it were to sell.
Thousands of notions in my brain did run,
Offering their service, if I were not sped:
I often blotted what I had begun;
This was not quick enough and that was dead.
Nothing could seem too rich to clothe the sun,
Much less those joys which trample on his head.
As flames do work and wind when they ascend,
So did I weave myself into the sense;
But while I bustled, I might hear a friend
Whisper, "How wide is all this long pretense!
There is in love a sweetness ready penned:
Copy out only that, and save expense."
Lord, how can man preach thy eternal word?
He is a brittle, crazy glass,
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford
This glorious and transcendent place,
To be a window through thy grace.
But when thou dost anneal in glass thy story,
Making thy life to shine within
The holy preachers, then the light and glory
More reverend grows, and more doth win,
Which else shows wat'rish, bleak, and thin.
Doctrine and life, colors and light, in one
When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and awe; but speech alone
Doth vanish like a flaring thing,
And in the ear, not conscience, ring.
How fresh, O lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! even as the flowers in spring,
To which, besides their own demesne,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
Like snow in May.
As if there were no such cold thing.
Who would have thought my shriveled heart
Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
Quite underground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown,
Where they together
All the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
These are thy wonders, Lord of power,
Killing and quickening, bringing down to hell
And up to heaven in an hour,
Making a chiming of a passing-bell.
We say amiss
This or that is:
Thy word is all, if we could spell.
O that I once past changing were,
Fast in thy Paradise, where no flower can wither!
Many a spring I shoot up fair,
Offering at heaven, growing and groaning thither;
Nor doth my flower
Want a spring shower,
My sins and I joining together.
But while I grow in a straight line,
Still upwards bent, as if heaven were mine own,
Thy anger comes, and I decline:
What frost to that? What pole is not the zone
Where all things burn,
When thou dost turn,
And the least frown of thine is shown?
And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing. O my only light,
I cannot be
That I am he
On whom thy tempests fell all night.
These are thy wonders, Lord of love,
To make us see we are but flowers that glide;
Which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide;
Who would be more,
Swelling through store,
Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.
Meeting with Time, "Slack thing," said I,
"Thy scythe is dull; whet it for shame."
"No marvel, sir," he did reply.
"If it at length deserve some blame;
But where one man would have me grind it,
Twenty for one too sharp do find it."
"Perhaps some such of old did pass,
Who above all things loved this life;
To whom thy scythe a hatchet was,
Which now is but a pruning knife.
Christ's coming hath mad man thy debtor,
Since by thy cutting he grows better.
"And in his blessing thou art blessed,
For where thou only wert before
An executioner at best,
Thou art a gardener now, and more,
An usher to convery our souls
Beyond the utmost stars and poles.
"And this is that makes life so long,
While it detains us from our God.
Ev'n pleasures here increase the wrong,
And length of days lengthens the rod.
Who wants the place where God doth dwell
Partakes already half of hell.
"Of what strange length must that needs be,
Which ev'n eternity excludes!" -
Thus far Time heard me patiently,
Then chafing said, "This man deludes:
What do I here before his door?
He doth not crave less time, but more."
Death, thou wast once an uncouth, hideous thing,
Nothing but bones,
The sad effect of sadder groans:
Thy mouth was open, but thou couldst not sing.
For we considered thee as at some six
Or ten years hence,
After the loss of life and sense,
Flesh being turned to dust and bones to sticks.
We looked on this side of thee, shooting short,
Where we did find
The shells of fledge-souls left behind -
Dry dust, which sheds no tears, but may extort.
But since our Savior's death did put some blood
Into thy face,
Thou art grown fair and full of grace,
Much in request, much sought for as good.
For we do now behold thee gay and glad
As at doomsday,
When souls shall wear their new array,
And all thy bones with beauty shall be clad.
Therefore we can go die as sleep, and trust
Half that we have
Unto an honest faithful grave,
Making our pillows either down or dust.
Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.
"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here":
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"
"Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.
I struck the board and cried, "No more;
I will abroad!
What? Shall I ever sigh and pine?
My lines and life are free, free as the road,
Loose as the wind, as large as store,
Shall I be still in suit?
Have I no harvest but a thorn
To let me blood, and not restore
What I have lost with cordial fruit?
Sure there was wine
Before my sighs did dry it; there was corn
Before my tears did drown it.
Is the year only lost to me?
Have I no bays to crown it,
No flowers, no garlands gay? All blasted?
Not so, my heart; but there is fruit,
And thou hast hands.
Recover all thy sigh-blown age
On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute
Of what is fit and not. Forsake thy cage,
Thy rope of sands,
Which petty thoughts have made, and made to thee
Good cable, to enforce and draw,
And by thy law,
While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.
Away! Take heed;
I will abroad.
Call in thy death's-head there; tie up thy fears.
He that forbears
To suit and serve his need,
Deserves his load."
But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild
At every word
Methoughts I heard one calling, Child!
And I replied, My Lord.
Throw away thy rod,
Throw away thy wrath:
O my God,
Take the gentle path.
For my heart's desire
Unto thine is bent:
To a full consent.
Not a word or look
I affect to own,
But by book,
And thy book alone.
Though I fall, I weep:
Though I halt in pace,
Yet I creep
To the throne of grace.
Then let wrath remove;
Love will do the deed:
For with love
Stony hearts will bleed.
Love is swift of foot;
Love's a man of war,
And can shoot,
And can hit from far.
Who can 'scape his bow?
That which wrought on thee,
Brought thee low,
Needs must work on me.
Throw away thy rod;
Though man frailties hath,
Thou art God:
Throw away thy wrath.
Can we not force from widowed poetry,
Now thou art dead, great Donne, one elegy
To crown thy hearse? Why yet dare we not trust,
Though with unkneaded dough-baked prose, thy dust,
Such as the unscissored churchman from the flower
Of fading rhetoric, short-lived as his hour,
Dry as the sand that measures it, should lay
Upon thy ashes on funeral day?
Have we no voice, no tune? Didst thou dispense
Through all our language both the words and sense?
'Tis a sad truth. The pulpit may her plain
And sober Christian precepts still retain;
Doctrines it may, and wholesome uses, frame,
Grave homilies and lectures; but the flame
Of thy brave soul, that shot such heat and light
As burnt our earth and made our darkness bright,
Committed holy rapes upon our will,
Did through the eye the melting heart distill,
And the deep knowledge of dark truths so teach
As sense might judge what fancy could not reach,
Must be desired forever. So the fire
That fills with spirit and heat the Delphic choir,
Which, kindled first by the Promethean breath,
Glowed here a while, lies quenched now in thy death.
The Muses' garden, with pedantic weeds
O'erspread, was purged by thee; the lazy seeds
Of servile imitation thrown away,
And fresh invention planted; thou didst pay
The debts of our penurious bankrupt age -
Licentious thefts, that make poetic rage
A mimic fury, when our souls must be
Possessed or with Anacreon's ecstasy,
Or Pindar's, not their own. The subtle cheat
Of sly exchanges, and the juggling feat
Of two-edge words, or whatsoever wrong
By ours was done the Greek or Latin tongue,
Thou hast redeemed, and opened us a mine
Of rich and pregnant fancy, drawn a line
Of masculine expression, which had good
Old Orpheus seen, or all the ancient brood
Our superstitious fools admire, and hold
Their lead more precious than thy burnished gold,
Thou hadst been their exchequer, and no more
They in each other's dust had raked for ore.
Thou shalt yield no precedence but of time
And the blind fate of language, who tuned chime
More charms the outward sense; yet thou mayest claim
From so great disadvantage greater fame,
Since to the awe of thy imperious wit
Our stubborn language bends, made only fit
With her tough thick-ribbed hoops to gird about
Thy giant fancy, which had proved too stout
For their soft melting phrases. As in time
They had the start, so did they cull the prime
Buds of invention many a hundred year,
And left the rifled fields, besides the fear
To touch their harvest; yet from those bare lands
Of what is purely thine, thy only hands
(And that thy smallest work) have gleaned more
Than all those times and tongues could reap before.
But thou art gone, and thy strict laws will be
Too hard for libertines in poetry.
They will repeal the goodly exiled train
Of gods and goddesses, which in thy just reign
Were banished nobler poems; now with these
The silenced tales o' the' Metamorphoses
Shall stuff their lines and swell the windy page,
Till verse, refined by thee in this last age,
Turn ballad-rhyme, or those old idols be
Adored again with new apostasy.
O pardon me, that break with untuned verse
The reverend silence that attends thy hearse,
Whose awful solemn murmurs were to thee,
More than these faint lines, a loud elegy,
That did proclaim in a dumb eloquence
The death of all the arts, whose influence,
Grown feeble, in these panting numbers lies
Gasping short-winded accents, and so dies:
So doth the swiftly turning wheel not stand
In th' instant we withdraw the moving hand,
But some small time maintain a faint weak course
By virtue of the first impulsive force;
And so whilst I cast on thy funeral pile
Thy crown of bays, oh, let it crack awhile
And spit disdain, till the devouring flashes
Suck all the moisture up; then turn to ashes.
I will not draw the envy to engross
All thy perfections, or weep all our loss;
Those are too numerous for an elegy,
And this too great to be expressed by me.
Though every pen should take a distinct part,
Yet are thou theme enough to tire all art.
Let others carve the rest; it shall suffice
I on thy tomb this epitaph incise:
Here lies a king, that rules as he thought fit
The universal monarchy of wit;
Here lie two flamens, and both those the best:
Apollo's first, at last the true God's priest.
'Tis true, dear Ben, thy just chastising hand
Hath fixed upon the sotted age a brand
To their swoll'n pride and empty scribbling due.
It can nor judge nor write; and yet 'tis true
Thy comic Muse from the exalted line
Touched by thy Alchemist doth since decline
From that her zenith and foretells a red
And blushing evening when she goes to bed -
Yet such as shall outshine the glimmering light
With which all stars shall gild the following night.
Nor think it much (since all thy eaglets may
Endure the sunny trial) if we say,
This hath the stronger wing, or that doth shine
Tricked up in fairer plumes, since all are thine.
Who hath his flock of cackling geese compared
With thy tuned choir of swans? Or who hath dared
To call thy birds deformed? But if thou bind
By city-custom, or by gavelkind,
In equal shares thy love to all thy race,
We may distinguish of their sex and place:
Though one hand shape them and thou one brain strike
Souls into all, they are not all alike.
Why should the follies then of this dull age
Draw from thy pen such an immodest rage
As seems to blast thy else-immortal bays,
When thine own tongue proclaims thy itch of praise?
Such third will argue drought. No, let be hurled
Upon thy works by the detracting world
What malice can suggest; let the rout say
The running sands that, ere thou make a play,
Count the slow minutes might a Goodwin frame
To swallow when th' hast done thy shipwrecked name.
Let them the dear expense of oil upbraid,
Sucked by thy watchful lamp that hath betrayed
To theft the blood of martyred authors, spilt
Into thy ink, while thou growest pale with guilt.
Repine not at the taper's thrifty waste,
That sleeks thy terser poems; nor is haste
Praise, but excuse; and if thou overcome
A knotty writer, bring the booty home;
Nor think it theft if the rich spoils so torn
From conquered authors be as trophies worn.
Let others glut on the extorted praise
Of vulgar breath: trust thou to after days.
Thy labored works shall live when Time devours
Th' abortive offspring of their hasty hours.
Thou art not of their rank, the quarrel lies
Within thine own verge - then let this suffice,
The wiser world doth greater thee confess
Than all men else, than thy self only less.
Ask me no more where Jove bestows,
When June is past, the fading rose;
For in your beauties orient deep,
These flowers, as in their causes, sleep.
Ask me no more whither do stray
The golden atoms of the day;
For in pure love heaven did prepare
Those powders to enrich your hair.
Ask me no more whither doth haste
The nightingale when May is past;
For in your sweet dividing throat
She winters, and keeps warm her note.
Ask me no more where those stars light,
That downwards fall in dead of night;
For in your eyes they sit, and there
Fixed become, as in their sphere.
Ask me no more if east or west
The phoenix builds her spicy next;
For unto you at least she flies,
And in your fragrant bosom dies.
Tell me not, sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.
True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.
Yet this inconstancy is such
As you too shall adore;
I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Love I not honor more.
When Love with unconfined wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at the grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair
And fettered to her eye,
The gods that wanton in the air
Know no such liberty.
When flowing cups run swiftly round,
With no allaying Thames,
Our careless heads with roses bound,
Our hearts with loyal flames;
When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
When healths and drafts go free,
Fishes that tipple in the deep
Know no such liberty.
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage.
If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.
The forward youth that would appear
Must now forsake his Muses dear,
Nor in the shadows sing
His numbers languishing:
'Tis time to leave the books in dust
And oil th' unused armor's rust,
Removing from the wall
The corselet of the hall.
So restless Cromwell could not cease
In the inglorious arts of peace,
But through adventurous war
Urged his active star;
And, like the three-forked lightning, first
Breaking the clouds where it was nursed,
Did through his own side
His fiery way divide:
For 'tis all one to courage high,
The emulous, or enemy;
And with such, to enclose
Is more than to oppose.
Then burning through the air he went,
And palaces and temples rent;
And Caesar's head at least
Did through his laurels blast.
'Tis madness to resist or blame
The force of angry heaven's flame;
And if we would speak true,
Much to the man is due,
Who from his private gardens, where
He lived reserved and austere
(As if his highest plot
To plant the bergamot),
Could by industrious valor climb
To ruin the great work of time,
And cast the kingdom old
Into another mold;
Though Justice against Fate complain,
And plead the ancient rights in vain:
But those do hold or break,
As men are strong or weak.
Nature that hateth emptiness,
Allows the penetration less,
And therefore must make room
Where greater spirits come.
What field of all the civil wars
Where his were not the deepest scars?
And Hampton shows what part
He had of wiser art;
Where, twining subtle fears with hope,
He wove a net of such a scope
That Charles himself might chase
To Caresbrooke's narrow case,
That thence the royal actor borne,
The tragic scaffold might adorn;
While round the armed bands
Did clap their bloody hands.
He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable scene,
But with his keener eye
The ax's edge did try;
Nor called the gods with vulgar spite
To vindicate his helpless right;
But bowed his comely head
Down, as upon a bed.
This was that memorable hour,
Which first assured the forced power;
So when they did design
The Capitol's first line,
A bleeding head where they begun
Did fright the architects to run;
And yet in that the state
Foresaw its happy fate.
And now the Irish are ashamed
To see themselves in one year tamed;
So much one man can do,
That does both act and know.
They can affirm his praises best,
And have, though overcome, confessed
How good he is, how just,
And fit for highest trust.
Nor yet grown stiffer with command,
But still in the republic's hand -
How fit he is to sway,
That can so well obey.
He to the Commons' feet presents
A kingdom for his year's rents;
And, what he may, forbears
His fame to make it theirs;
And has his sword and spoils ungirt,
To lay them at the public's skirt:
So, when the falcon high
Falls heavy from the sky,
She, having killed, no more does search,
But on the next green bough to perch;
Where, when he first does lure,
The falconer has her sure.
What may not then our isle presume,
While victory his crest does plume!
What may not others fear,
If thus he crown each year!
A Caesar he ere long to Gaul,
To Italy and Hannibal,
And to all states not fee,
Shall climacteric be.
The Pict no shelter now shall find
Within his parti-colored mind,
But from this valor sad,
Shrink underneath the plaid;
Happy if in the tufted brake
The English hunter him mistake,
Nor lay his hounds in near
The Caledonian deer.
But thou, the war's and Fortune's son,
March indefatigably on;
And for the last effect,
Still keep thy sword erect;
Besides the force it has to fright
The spirits of the shady night,
The same arts that did gain
A power must it maintain.
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you tend years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest:
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Now would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honor turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
My Love is of a birth as rare
As 'tis, for object, strange and high;
It was begotten by Despair
Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing,
Where feeble Hope could ne'er have flown
But vainly flapped its tinsel wing.
And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended soul is fixed;
But Fate does iron wedges drive,
And always crowds itself betwixt.
For Fate with jealous eye does see
Two perfect loves, nor lets them close;
Their union would her ruin be,
And her tyrannic power depose.
And therefore her decrees of steel
Us as the distant poles have placed
(Though Love's whole world on us doth wheel),
Not by themselves to be embraced.
Unless the giddy heaven fall,
And earth some new convulsion tear,
And, us to join, the world should all
Be cramped into a planisphere.
As lines, so loves oblique may well
Themselves in every angel greet;
But ours, so truly parallel,
Though infinite, can never meet.
Therefore the Love which us doth bind,
But Fate so enviously debars,
Is the conjunction of the mind,
And opposition of the stars.
When for the thorns with which I long, too long,
With many a piercing wound,
My Savior's head have crowned,
I seek with garlands to redress that wrong,
Through every garden, every mead,
I gather flowers (my fruits are only flowers),
Dismantling all the fragrant towers
That once adorned my shepherdess's head:
And now, when I have summed up all my store,
Thinking (so I myself deceive)
So rich a chaplet thence to weave
As never yet the King of Glory wore,
Alas! I find the serpent old,
That, twining in his speckled breast,
About the flowers disguised does fold
With wreaths of fame and interest.
Ah, foolish man, that wouldst debase with them,
And mortal glory, heaven's diadem!
But thou who only couldst the serpent tame,
Either his slippery knots at once untie,
And disentangle all his winding snare,
Or shatter too with him my curious frame,
And let these wither, so that he may die,
Though set with skill and chosen out with care;
That they, while thou on both their spoils dost tread,
May crown thy feet, that could not crown thy head.
Where the remote Bermudas ride
In th' ocean's bosom unespied,
From a small boat that rowed along,
The listening winds received this song:
"What should we do but sing His praise
That led us through the wat'ry maze
Unto an isle so long unknown,
And yet far kinder than our own?
Where He the huge sea monsters wracks,
That lift the deep upon their backs;
He lands us on a grassy stage,
Safe from the storms, and prelate's rage.
He gave us this eternal spring
Which here enamels everything,
And sends the fowls to us in care,
On daily visits through the air;
He hands in shades the orange bright,
Like golden lamps in a green night,
And does in the pomegranates close
Jewels more rich than Ormus shows;
He makes the figs our mouths to meet,
And throws the melons at our feet;
But apples plants of such a price,
No tree could every bear them twice;
With cedars, chosen by his hand
From Lebanon, he stores the land;
And makes the hollow seas that roar
Proclaim the ambergris on shore;
He cast (of which we rather boast)
The gospel's pearl upon our coast, And in these rocks for us did frame
A temple, where to sound his name.
O let our voice his praise exalt
Till it arrive at heaven's vault,
Which thence (perhaps) rebounding, may
Echo beyond the Mexique Bay."
Thus sung they in the English boat
An holy and a cheerful note;
And all the way, to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time.
How vainly men themselves amaze
To win the palm, the oak, or bays,
And their uncessant labors see
Crowned from some single herb or tree,
Whose short and narrow-verged shade
Does prudently their toils upbraid;
While all flowers and all trees do close
To weave the garlands of repose!
Fair Quiet, I have found thee here,
And Innocence, thy sister dear?
Mistaken long, I sought you then
In busy companies of men.
Your sacred plants, if here below,
Only among the plants will grow;
Society is all but rude,
To this delicious solitude.
No white nor red was ever seen
So amorous as this lovely green.
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress' name:
Little, alas, they know or heed
How far these beauties hers exceed!
Fair trees, wheresoe'er your barks I wound,
No name shall but your own be found.
When we have run our passion's heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat.
The gods, that mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race:
Apollo hunted Daphne so,
Only that she might laurel grow;
And Pan did after Syrinx speed,
Not as a nymph, but for a reed.
What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.
Meanwhile the mind, from pleasures less,
Withdraws into its happiness;
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds and other seas,
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.
Here at the fountain's sliding foot,
Or at some fruit tree's mossy root,
Casting the body's vest aside,
My soul into the boughs does glide:
There like a bird it sits and sings,
Then whets and combs its silver wings,
And, till prepared for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.
Such was that happy garden-state,
While man there walked without a mate:
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!
But 'twas beyond a mortal's share
To wander solitary there:
Two paradises 'twere in one
To live in paradise alone.
How well the skillful gardener drew
Of flowers and herbs this dial new,
Where from above the milder sun
Does through a fragrant zodiac run;
And as it works, th' industrious bee
Computes its time as well as we!
How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers?
Ye living lamps, by whose dear light
The nightingale does sit so late,
Any studying all the summer night
Her matchless songs does meditate,
Ye country comets, that portend
No war nor prince's funeral,
Shining unto no higher end
Than to presage the grass's fall;
Ye glowworms, whose officious flame
To wand'ring mowers shows the way,
That in the night have lost their aim,
And after foolish fires do stray;
Your courteous fires in vain you waste,
Since Juliana here is come,
For she my mind hath so displaced
That I shall never find my home.
If I were dead, and in my place,
Some fresher youth designed,
To warm thee with new fires, and grace
To those arms I left behind;
Were he as faithful as the sun,
That's wedded to the sphere;
His blood as chaste, and temperate run,
As April's mildest tear;
Or were he rich, and with his heaps,
And spacious share of Earth,
Could make divine affection cheap,
And court his golden birth:
For all these arts I'ld not believe,
(No though he should be thine)
The might amorist could give
So rich a heart as mine.
Fortune and beauty thou mightst find,
And greater men than I:
But my true resolved mind,
They never shall come nigh.
For I not for an hour did love,
Or for a day desire,
But with my soul had from above,
This endless holy fire.
A ward, and still in bonds, one day
I stole abroad;
It was high spring, and all the way
Primrosed and hung with shade;
Yet it was frost within,
And surly winds
Blasted my infant buds, and sin
Like clouds eclipsed my mind.
Stormed thus, I straight perceived my spring
Mere stage and show,
My walk a monstrous, mountained thing,
Roughcast with rocks and snow;
And as a pilgrim's eye,
Far from relief,
Measures the melancholy sky,
Then drops and rains for grief.
So sighed I upwards still; at last
'Twixt steps and falls
I reached the pinnacle, where placed
I found a pair of scales;
I took them up and laid
In th' one, late pains;
The other smoke and pleasures weighed,
But proved the heavier grains.
With that, some cried, "Away!" Straight I
Obeyed, and led
Full east, a fair, fresh field could spy;
Some called it Jacob's bed,
A virgin soil which no
Rude feet ere trod,
Where, since he stepped there, only go
Prophets and friends of God.
Here I reposed; but scarce well set,
A grove descried
Of stately heigh, whose branches met
And mixed on every side;
I entered, and once in,
Amazed to see 't,
Found all was changed, and a new spring
Did all my senses greet.
The unthrift sun shot vital gold,
A thousand pieces,
And heaven its azure did unfold,
Checkered with snowy fleeces;
The air was all in spice,
And every bush
A garland wore; thus fed my eyes,
But all the ear lay hush.
Only a little fountain lent
Some use for ears,
And on the dumb shades language spent
The music of her tears;
I drew her near, and found
The cistern full
Of divers stones, some bright and round,
Others ill-shaped and dull.
The first, pray mark, as quick as light
Danced through the flood;
But the last, more heavy than the night,
Nailed to the center stood.
I wondered much, but tired
At last with thought,
My restless eye that still desired
A strange an object brought;
It was a bank of flowers, where I descried,
Though 'twas midday,
Some fast asleep, others broad-eyed
And taking in the ray;
Here musing long I heard
A rushing wind
Which still increased, but whence it stirred
Nowhere I could not find.
I turned me round, and to each shade
Dispatched an eye
To see if any leaf had made
Least motion or reply;
But while I listening sought
My mind to ease
By knowing where 'twas, or where not,
It whispered, "Where I please."
"Lord," then said I, "on me one breath,
And let me die before my death!"
"Arise O North, and come thou South wind,
and blow upon my garden, that the spices
thereof may flow out."
Happy those early days! when I
Shined in my angel infancy.
Before I understood this place
Appointed for my second race,
For taught my soul to fancy aught
But a white, celestial thought;
When yet I had not walked above
A mile or two from my first love,
And looking back, at that short space,
Could see a glimpse of His bright face;
When on some gilded cloud or flower
My gazing soul would dwell an hour,
And in those weaker glories spy
Some shadows of eternity;
Before I taught my tongue to wound
My conscience with a sinful sound,
Or had the black art to dispense
A several sin to every sense,
But felt through all this fleshly dress
Bright shoots of everlastingness.
O, how I long to travel back,
And tread again that ancient track!
That I might once more reach that plain
Where first I left my glorious train,
From whence th' enlightened spirit sees
That shady city of palm trees.
But, ah! my soul with too much stay
Is drunk, and staggers in the way.
Some men a forward motion love;
But I by backward steps would move,
And when this dust falls to the turn,
In that state I came, return.
Silence and stealth of days! 'tis now
Since thou art gone
Twelve hundred hours, and not a brow
But clouds hang on.
As he that in some cave's thick damp,
Locked from my light,
Fixeth a solitary lamp
To brave the night,
And walking from his sun, when past
That glimmering ray,
Cuts through the heavy mists in haste
Back to his day,
So o'er fled minutes I retreat
Unto that hour
Which showed thee last, but did defeat
Thy light and power;
I search and rack my soul to see
Those beams again,
But nothing but the snuff to me
That dark and dead sleeps in its known
And common urn;
But those fled to their maker's throne,
There shine and burn.
O could I track them! but souls must
Track one the other,
And now the spirit, not the dust,
Must be thy brother.
Yet I have one pearl, by whose light
All things I see,
And in the heart of earth and night,
Find heaven and thee.
They are all gone into the world of light!
And I alone sit ling'ring here;
Their very memory is fair and bright,
And my sad thoughts doth clear.
It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast
Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
Or those faint beams in which this hill is dressed
After the sun's remove.
I see them walking in an air of glory,
Whose light doth trample on my days;
My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,
Mere glimmering and decays.
O holy hope, and high humility,
High as the heavens above!
These are your walks, and you have showed them me
To kindle my cold love.
Dear, beauteous death! the jewel of the just,
Shining nowhere but in the dark;
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust,
Could man outlook that mark!
He that hath found some fledged bird's nest may know
At first sight if the bird be flown;
But what fair well or grove he sings in now,
That is to him unknown.
And yet, as angels in some brighter dreams
Call to the soul when man doth sleep,
So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes,
And into glory peep.
If a start were confined into a tomb,
Her captive flames must needs burn there;
But when the hand that locked her up gives room,
She'll shine through all the sphere.
O Father of eternal life, and all
Created glories under thee!
Resume thy spirit from this world of thrall
Into true liberty!
Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill
My perspective still as they pass,
Or else remove me hence unto that hill
Where I shall need no glass.
Father of lights! what sunny seed,
What glance of day hast thou confined
Into this bird? To all the breed
This busy ray thou has assigned;
Their magnetism works all night,
And dreams of Paradise and light.
Their eyes watch for the morning hue,
Their little grain expelling night
So shines and sings, as if it knew
The path unto the house of light.
It seems their candle, howe'r done,
Was tinned and lighted at the sun.
If such a tincture, such a touch,
So firm a longing can impower,
Shall thy own image think it much
To watch for thy appearing hour?
If a mere blast so fill the sail,
Shall not the breath of God prevail?
O thou immortal light and heat!
Whose hand so shines through all this frame,
That by the beauty of the seat,
We plainly see, who made the same.
Seeing thy seed abides in me,
Dwell thou in it, and I in thee.
To sleep without thee, is to die;
Yea, 'tis a death partakes of hell:
For where thou dost not close the eye
It never opens, I can tell.
In suck a dark, Egyptian border,
The shades of death dwell and disorder.
If joys, and hopes, and earnest throes,
And hearts, whose pulse beats still for light
Are given to birds; who, but thee, knows
A love-sick soul's exalted flight?
Can souls be tracked by any eye
But his, who gave them wings to fly?
Only this veil which thou hast broke,
And must be broken yet in me,
This veil, I say, is all the cloak
And cloud which shadows thee from me.
This veil thy full-eyed love denies,
And only gleams and fractions spies.
O take it off! Make no delay,
But brush me with thy light, that I
May shine unto a perfect day,
And warm me at thy glorious eye!
O take if off! or till it flee,
Though with no lily, stay with me!
I saw eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time, in hours, days, years,
Driven by the spheres,
Like a vast shadow moved, in which the world
And all her train were hurled.
The doting lover in his quaintest strain
Did there complain;
Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights,
Wit's sour delights,
With gloves and knots, the silly snare of pleasure,
Yet his dear treasure,
All scattered lay, while he his eyes did pour
Upon a flower.
The darksome statesman hung with weights and woe
Like a thick midnight fog moved there so slow
He did nor stay nor go;
Condemning thoughts, like sad eclipses, scowl
Upon his soul,
And clouds of crying witnesses without
Pursued him with one shout.
Yet digged the mole, and, lest his ways be found,
Where he did clutch his prey. But one did see
Churches and altars fed him; perjuries
Were gnats and flies;
It rained about him blood and tears; but he
Drank them as free.
The fearful miser on a heap of rust
Sat pining all his life there, did scarce trust
His own hands with the dust;
Yet would not place one piece above, but lives
In fear of thieves.
Thousands there were as frantic as himself,
And hugged each one his pelf:
The downright epicure placed heaven in sense,
And scorned pretense;
While others, slipped into a wide excess,
Said little less;
The weaker sort slight, trivial wares enslave,
Who think them brave
And poor, despised Truth sat counting by
Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing,
And sing and weep, soared up into the ring;
But most would use no wing.
"O fools!" said I, "thus to prefer dark night
Before true light!
To live in grots and caves, and hate the day
Because it shows the way,
The way which from this dead and dark abode
Leads up to God,
A way where you might tread the sun and be
More bright than he!"
But as I did their madness so discuss,
One whispered thus:
"This ring the bridegroom did for none provide,
But for his bride."
How like an angel I came down!
How bright are all things here!
When first among his works I did appear,
O how their glory me did crown!
The world resembled his eternity,
In which my soul did walk,
And everything that I did see
Did with me talk.
The skies in their magnificence
The lively, lovely air;
O how divine, how soft, how sweet, how fair!
The stars did entertain my sense,
And all the works of God so bright and pure,
So rich and great did seem,
As if they ever must endure,
In my esteem.
A native health and innocence
Within my bones did grow,
And while my God did all his glories show,
I felt a vigor in my sense
That was all Spirit. I within did flow
With seas of life like wine;
I nothing in the world did know
But 'twas divine.
Harsh ragged objects were concealed,
Oppression's tears and cries,
Sins, griefs, complaints, dissensions, weeping eyes,
Were hid; and only things revealed
Which heavenly spirits and the angels prize.
The state of innocence
And bliss, not trades and poverties,
Did fill my sense.
The streets were paved with golden stones,
The boys and girls were mine,
O how did all their lovely faces shine!
The sons of men were holy ones.
Joy, beauty, welfare did appear to me
And everything which here I found
While like an angel I did see,
Adorned the ground.
Rich diamond and pearl and gold
In every place was seen;
Rare splendors, yellow, blue, red, white, and green,
Mine eyes did everywhere behold.
Great wonders clothed with glory did appear,
Amazement was my bliss.
That and my wealth was everywhere:
No joy to this!
Cursed and devised proprieties,
With envy, avarice,
And fraud, those fiends that spoil even paradise,
Fled from the splendor of mine eyes.
And so did hedges, ditches, limits, bounds:
I dreamed not aught of those,
But wandered over all men's grounds,
And found repose.
Proprieties themselves were mine,
And hedges ornaments;
Walls, boxes, coffers, and their rich contents
Did not divide my joys but shine.
Clothes, ribbons, jewels, laces, I esteemed
My joys by others worn;
For me they all to wear them seemed
When I was born.
I saw new worlds beneath the water lie,
New people, and another sky
And sun, which seen by day
Might things more clear display.
Just such another
Of late my brother
Did in his travel see, and saw by night,
A much more strange and wondrous sight;
Nor could the world exhibit such another
So great a sight, but in a brother.
Adventure strange! no such in story we
New or old, true or feigned see.
On earth he seemed to move,
Yet heaven went above;
Up in the skies
His body flies,
In open, visible, yet magic sort:
As he along the way did sport,
Like Icarus over the flood he soars
Without the help of wings or oars.
As he went tripping o'er the king's highway,
A little pearly river lay
O'er which, without a wing
Or oar, he dared to swim,
Swim through the air
On body fair;
He would not use nor trust Icarian wings
Lest they should prove deceitful things;
For had he fallen, it had bee wondrous high,
Not from, but from above, the sky.
He might have dropped through that thin element
Into a fathomless descent
Unto the nether sky
That did beneath him lie
And there might tell
What wonders dwell
On earth above. Yet bold he briskly runs,
And soon the danger overcomes,
Who, as he leapt, with joy related soon
How happy he o'erleaped the moon.
What wondrous things upon the earth are done
Beneath and yet above the sun!
Deeds all appear again
In higher spheres; remain
In clouds as yet:
But there they get
Another light, and in another way
Themselves to us above display.
The skies themselves this earthly globe surround;
We're even here within them found.
On heavenly ground within the skies we walk,
And in this middle center talk:
Did we but wisely move
On earth in heaven above,
We then should be
Above the sky: from whence whoever falls,
Through a long dismal precipice,
Sinks to the deep abyss where Satan crawls,
Where horrid death and despair lies.
As much as other thought themselves to lie
Beneath the moon, so much more high
Himself he thought to fly
Above the starry sky,
As that he spied
Below the tide.
Thus did he yield me in the shady night
A wondrous and instructive light,
Which taught me that under our feet there is,
As o'er our heads, a place of bliss.