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Thy care is fix'd, and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light, And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure Thou, when the bridegroom with his feastful friends Passes to bliss at the mid-hour of night, Hast gain'd thy entrance, virgin wise and pure.
V. TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY.
DAUGHTER to that good earl, once president
Of England's council and her treasury,
Who lived in both, unstain'd with gold or fee,
And left them both, more in himself content,
Till sad the breaking of that parliament
Broke him, as that dishonest victory
At Chæronea, fatal to liberty,
Kill'd with report that old man eloquent.
Though later born than to have known the days
Wherein your father flourish'd, yet by you,
Madam, methinks I see him living yet;
So well your words his noble virtues praise,
That all both judge you to relate them true,
And to possess them, honour'd Margaret.
ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED UPON
MY WRITING CERTAIN TREATISES.
A BOOK was writ of late, called Tetrachordon,
And woven close, both matter, form, and style;
The subject new; it walk'd the town awhile,
Numbering good intellects; now seldom pored on.
Cries the stall-reader, "Bless us! what a word on
A title-page is this!" And some in file
Stand spelling false, while one might walk to Mile-
End Green. Why is it harder, sirs, than Gordon,
Colkitto, or Macdonel, or Galasp?
Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek, That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp. Thy age like ours, O soul of Sir John Cheek, Hated not learning worse than toad or asp, [Greek. When thou taught'st Cambridge and King Edward
I DID but prompt the age to quit their clogs,
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
When straight a barbarous noise environs me
Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs:
As when those hinds that were transform'd to frogs
Rail'd at Latona's twin-born progeny,
Which after held the sun and moon in fee.
But this is got by casting pearl to hogs;
That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
And still revolt when truth would set them free.
Licence they mean when they cry liberty;
For who loves that, must first be wise and good;
But from that mark how far they rove we see,
For all this waste of wealth, and loss of blood.
VIII. TO MR. H. LAWES, ON THE PUBLISHING HIS AIRS.
HARRY, whose tuneful and well-measured song
First taught our English music how to span
Words with just note and accent, not to scan
With Midas' ears, committing short and long;
Thy worth and skill exempt thee from the throng,
With praise enough for Envy to look wan;
To after-age thou shalt be writ the man
That with smooth air couldst humour best our tongue.
Thou honour'st verse, and verse must lend her wing
To honour thee, the priest of Phoebus' quire,
That tunest their happiest lines in hymn or story,
Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher
Than his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing,
Met in the milder shades of purgatory.
IX. ON THE RELIGIOUS MEMORY OF MRS. CATHERINE
THOMSON, MY CHRISTIAN FRIEND, DECEASED,
DECEMBER 16, 1646.
WHEN faith and love, which parted from thee never,
Had ripen'd thy just soul to dwell with God,
Meekly thou didst resign this earthly load
Of death, called life; which us from life doth sever.
Thy works, and alms, and all thy good endeavour,
Staid not behind, nor in the grave were trod;
But, as faith pointed with her golden rod,
Follow'd thee up to joy and bliss for ever.
Love led them on, and faith, who knew them best
Thy hand-maids, clad them o'er with purple beams
And azure wings, that up they flew so drest,
And spake the truth of thee on glorious themes
Before the Judge; who thenceforth bid thee rest,
And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.
X. TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX.
FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,
Filling each mouth with envy or with praise,
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze,
And rumours loud that daunt remotest kings;
Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings
Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Their Hydra heads, and the false North displays Her broken league to imp their serpent wings. O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand
(For what can war, but endless war still breed?) Till truth and right from violence be freed, And public faith clear'd from the shameful brand Of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed, While avarice and rapine share the land.
XI. TO THE LORD GENERAL CROMWELL.
CROMWELL, Our chief of men, who through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough'd, And on the neck of crowned fortune proud
Hast rear'd God's phies, and his work pursued, While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots imbued, And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud, And Worcester's laureate wreath. Yet much remains To conquer still; peace hath her victories No less renown'd than war: new foes arise, Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains: Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves, whose Gospel is their maw.
XII. TO SIR HENRY VANE, THE YOUNger.
VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
Than whom a better senator ne'er held.
The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, repell'd
The fierce Epirot and the African bold;
Whether to settle peace, or to unfold
The drift of hollow states hard to be spell'd;
Then to advise how war may, best upheld,
Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold, In all her equipage: besides to know
Both spiritual power and civil, what each means, What severs each, thou hast learn'd, which few have done:
The bounds of either sword to thee we owe;
Therefore on thy firm hand religion leans
In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son.
XIII. ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEDMONT.
AVENGE, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshipp'd stocks and stones,
Forget not: in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that roll'd
Mother with infant down the rocks. The moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To heaven. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant: that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who, having learn'd thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
XIV. ON HIS BLINDNESS.
WHEN I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he, returning, chide;
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"