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Summer drought, or singed air,
Never scorch thy tresses fair,
Nor wet October's torrent flood
Thy molten crystal fill with mud;
May thy billows roll ashore
The beryl and the golden ore;
May thy lofty head be crown'd
With many a tower and terrace round,
And here and there thy banks upon
With groves of myrrh and cinnamon.
Come, lady, while Heaven lends us grace,
Let us fly this cursed place,
Lest the sorcerer us entice
With some other new device.
Not a waste or needless sound,
Till we come to holier ground;
I shall be your faithful guide
Through this gloomy covert wide,
And not many furlongs hence
Is your father's residence.
Where this night are met in state
Many a friend to gratulate
His wish'd presence; and beside
All the swains, that there abide,
With jigs and rural dance resort;
We shall catch them at their sport,
And our sudden coming there
Will double all their mirth and cheer:
Come, let us haste, the stars grow high,
But night sits monarch yet in the mid sky.
The scene changes, presenting Ludlow town and the president's castle; then come in country dancers, after them the Attendant Spirit, with the Two Brothers and the Lady.
Spir. Back, shepherds, back; enough your play, Till next sun-shine holiday:
Here be, without duck or nod,
Other trippings to be trod
Of lighter toes, and such court guise
As Mercury did first devise.
With the mincing Dryades,
On the lawns, and on the leas.
This second Song presents them to their Father and Mother.
Noble lord, and lady bright,
I have brought ye new delight;
Here behold so goodly grown
Three fair branches of your own;
Heaven hath timely tried their youth,
Their faith, their patience, and their truth,
And sent them here through hard assays
With a crown of deathless praise,
To triumph in victorious dance
O'er sensual folly and intemperance.
The dances being ended, the Spirit epiloguizes.
Spir. To the ocean now I fly,
And those happy climes that lie
Where day never shuts his eye,
Up in the broad fields of the sky;
There I suck the liquid air
All amidst the gardens fair
Of Hesperus, and his daughters three
That sing about the golden tree:
Along the crisped shades and bowers
Revels the spruce and jocund Spring;
The Graces, and the rosy-bosom❜d Hours
Thither all their bounties bring;
There eternal Summer dwells,
And west-winds, with musky wing,
About the cedar'd alleys fling
Nard and cassia's balmy smells.
Iris there with humid bow
Waters the odorous banks, that blow
Flowers of more mingled hue
Than her purfled scarf can shew;
And drenches with Elysian dew
(List, mortals, if your ears be true),
Beds of hyacinth and roses,
Where young Adonis oft reposes,
Waxing well of his deep wound
In slumber soft, and on the ground
Sadly sits the Assyrian queen:
But far above in spangled sheen
Celestial Cupid, her fam'd son, advanced,
Holds his dear Psyche sweet, entranced
After her wandering labours long,
Till free consent the gods among
Make her his eternal bride,
And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born,
Youth and Joy: so Jove hath sworn.
But now my task is smoothly done,
I can fly, or I can run,
Quickly to the green earth's end,
Where the bow'd welkin low doth bend;
And from thence can soar as soon
To the corners of the moon.
Mortals that would follow me,
Love virtue; she alone is free:
She can teach ye how to climb
Higher than the sphery chime;
Or if virtue feeble were,
Heaven itself would stoop to her.
I. TO THE NIGHTINGALE.
O NIGHTINGALE, that on yon bloomy spray
Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still;
Thou with fresh hopes the lover's heart doth fill,
While the jolly hours lead on propitious May.
The liquid notes that close the eye of day,
First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill,
Portend success in love; O, if Jove's will
Have link'd that amorous power to thy soft lay,
Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate
Foretel my hopeless doom in some grove nigh;
As thou from year to year hast sung too late
For my relief, yet hadst no reason why:
Whether the Muse, or Love, call thee his mate,
Both them I serve, and of their train am I.
11. ON HIS BEING ARRIVED AT THE AGE OF
How soon hath time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom sheweth.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so near;
And inward ripeness doth much less appear, That some more timely-happy spirits endueth. Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven:
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-Master's eye.
III. WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED TO
CAPTAIN, or colonel, or knight in arms,
Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,
If deed of honour did thee ever please,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms.
He can requite thee; for he knows the charms
That call fame on such gentle acts as these,
And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas,
Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muses' bower:
The great Emathian conqueror bid spare
The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
Went to the ground: and the repeated air
Of sad Electra's poet had the power
To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.
VI. TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY.
LADY, that in the prime of earliest youth
Wisely hast shunn'd the broad way and the green, And with those few art eminently seen,
That labour up the hill with heavenly truth,
The better part with Mary and with Ruth
Chosen thou hast; and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,
No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth.
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
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 eloquen't.
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.
VI. 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 MileEnd Green. Why is it harder, sirs, than Gordon, Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?
Those rugged names to our like mouths grow
That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp.