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A Selection From The Lyrical Poems Of Robert Herrick

Part 3 out of 4

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Clear are her eyes,
Like purest skies;
Discovering from thence
A baby there
That turns each sphere,
Like an Intelligence.

*113*

UPON HER FEET

Her pretty feet
Like snails did creep
A little out, and then,
As if they played at Bo-peep,
Did soon draw in again.

*114*

UPON A DELAYING LADY

Come, come away
Or let me go;
Must I here stay
Because you're slow,
And will continue so;
--Troth, lady, no.

I scorn to be
A slave to state;
And since I'm free,
I will not wait,
Henceforth at such a rate,
For needy fate.

If you desire
My spark should glow,
The peeping fire
You must blow;
Or I shall quickly grow
To frost, or snow.

*115*

THE CRUEL MAID

--AND, cruel maid, because I see
You scornful of my love, and me,
I'll trouble you no more, but go
My way, where you shall never know
What is become of me; there I
Will find me out a path to die,
Or learn some way how to forget
You and your name for ever;--yet
Ere I go hence, know this from me,
What will in time your fortune be;
This to your coyness I will tell;
And having spoke it once, Farewell.
--The lily will not long endure,
Nor the snow continue pure;
The rose, the violet, one day
See both these lady-flowers decay;
And you must fade as well as they.
And it may chance that love may turn,
And, like to mine, make your heart burn
And weep to see't; yet this thing do,
That my last vow commends to you;
When you shall see that I am dead,
For pity let a tear be shed;
And, with your mantle o'er me cast,
Give my cold lips a kiss at last;
If twice you kiss, you need not fear
That I shall stir or live more here.
Next hollow out a tomb to cover
Me, me, the most despised lover;
And write thereon, THIS, READER, KNOW;
LOVE KILL'D THIS MAN. No more, but so.

*116*

TO HIS MISTRESS, OBJECTING TO HIM NEITHER
TOYING OR TALKING

You say I love not, 'cause I do not play
Still with your curls, and kiss the time away.
You blame me, too, because I can't devise
Some sport, to please those babies in your eyes;
By Love's religion, I must here confess it,
The most I love, when I the least express it.
Shall griefs find tongues; full casks are ever found
To give, if any, yet but little sound.
Deep waters noiseless are; and this we know,
That chiding streams betray small depth below.
So when love speechless is, she doth express
A depth in love, and that depth bottomless.
Now, since my love is tongueless, know me such,
Who speak but little, 'cause I love so much.

*117*

IMPOSSIBILITIES: TO HIS FRIEND

My faithful friend, if you can see
The fruit to grow up, or the tree;
If you can see the colour come
Into the blushing pear or plum;
If you can see the water grow
To cakes of ice, or flakes of snow;
If you can see that drop of rain
Lost in the wild sea once again;
If you can see how dreams do creep
Into the brain by easy sleep:--
--Then there is hope that you may see
Her love me once, who now hates me.

*118*

THE BUBBLE: A SONG

To my revenge, and to her desperate fears,
Fly, thou made bubble of my sighs and tears!
In the wild air, when thou hast roll'd about,
And, like a blasting planet, found her out;
Stoop, mount, pass by to take her eye--then glare
Like to a dreadful comet in the air:
Next, when thou dost perceive her fixed sight
For thy revenge to be most opposite,
Then, like a globe, or ball of wild-fire, fly,
And break thyself in shivers on her eye!

*119*

DELIGHT IN DISORDER

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility;--
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.

*120*

TO SILVIA

Pardon my trespass, Silvia! I confess
My kiss out-went the bounds of shamefacedness:--
None is discreet at all times; no, not Jove
Himself, at one time, can be wise and love.

*121*

TO SILVIA TO WED

Let us, though late, at last, my Silvia, wed;
And loving lie in one devoted bed.
Thy watch may stand, my minutes fly post haste;
No sound calls back the year that once is past.
Then, sweetest Silvia, let's no longer stay;
True love, we know, precipitates delay.
Away with doubts, all scruples hence remove!
No man, at one time, can be wise, and love.

*122*

BARLEY-BREAK; OR, LAST IN HELL

We two are last in hell; what may we fear
To be tormented or kept pris'ners here I
Alas! if kissing be of plagues the worst,
We'll wish in hell we had been last and first.

*123*

ON A PERFUMED LADY

You say you're sweet: how should we know
Whether that you be sweet or no?
--From powders and perfumes keep free;
Then we shall smell how sweet you be!

*124*

THE PARCAE; OR, THREE DAINTY DESTINIES:
THE ARMILET

Three lovely sisters working were,
As they were closely set,
Of soft and dainty maiden-hair,
A curious Armilet.
I, smiling, ask'd them what they did,
Fair Destinies all three?
Who told me they had drawn a thread
Of life, and 'twas for me.
They shew'd me then how fine 'twas spun
And I replied thereto;
'I care not now how soon 'tis done,
Or cut, if cut by you.'

*125*

A CONJURATION: TO ELECTRA

By those soft tods of wool,
With which the air is full;
By all those tinctures there
That paint the hemisphere;
By dews and drizzling rain,
That swell the golden grain;
By all those sweets that be
I'th' flowery nunnery;
By silent nights, and the
Three forms of Hecate;
By all aspects that bless
The sober sorceress,
While juice she strains, and pith
To make her philtres with;
By Time, that hastens on
Things to perfection;
And by your self, the best
Conjurement of the rest;
--O, my Electra! be
In love with none but me.

*126*

TO SAPHO

Sapho, I will chuse to go
Where the northern winds do blow
Endless ice, and endless snow;
Rather than I once would see
But a winter's face in thee,--
To benumb my hopes and me.

*127*

OF LOVE: A SONNET

How Love came in, I do not know,
Whether by th'eye, or ear, or no;
Or whether with the soul it came,
At first, infused with the same;
Whether in part 'tis here or there,
Or, like the soul, whole every where.
This troubles me; but I as well
As any other, this can tell;
That when from hence she does depart,
The outlet then is from the heart.

*128*

TO DIANEME

Sweet, be not proud of those two eyes,
Which, star-like, sparkle in their skies;
Nor be you proud, that you can see
All hearts your captives, yours, yet free;
Be you not proud of that rich hair
Which wantons with the love-sick air;
Whenas that ruby which you wear,
Sunk from the tip of your soft ear,
Will last to be a precious stone,
When all your world of beauty's gone.

*129*

TO DIANEME

Dear, though to part it be a hell,
Yet, Dianeme, now farewell!
Thy frown last night did bid me go,
But whither, only grief does know.
I do beseech thee, ere we part,
(If merciful, as fair thou art;
Or else desir'st that maids should tell
Thy pity by Love's chronicle)
O, Dianeme, rather kill
Me, than to make me languish still!
'Tis cruelty in thee to th' height,
Thus, thus to wound, not kill outright;
Yet there's a way found, if thou please,
By sudden death, to give me ease;
And thus devised,--do thou but this,
--Bequeath to me one parting kiss!
So sup'rabundant joy shall be
The executioner of me.

*130*

KISSING USURY

Biancha, let
Me pay the debt
I owe thee for a kiss
Thou lend'st to me;
And I to thee
Will render ten for this.

If thou wilt say,
Ten will not pay
For that so rich a one;
I'll clear the sum,
If it will come
Unto a million.

He must of right,
To th' utmost mite,
Make payment for his pleasure,
(By this I guess)
Of happiness
Who has a little measure.

*131*

UPON THE LOSS OF HIS MISTRESSES

I have lost, and lately, these
Many dainty mistresses:--
Stately Julia, prime of all;
Sapho next, a principal:
Smooth Anthea, for a skin
White, and heaven-like crystalline:
Sweet Electra, and the choice
Myrha, 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 sorrow by
Their departures hence, and die.

*132*

THE WOUNDED HEART

Come, bring your sampler, and with art
Draw in't a wounded heart,
And dropping here and there;
Not that I think that any dart
Can make your's bleed a tear,
Or pierce it any where;
Yet do it to this end,--that I
May by
This secret see,
Though you can make
That heart to bleed, your's ne'er will ache
For me,

*133*

HIS MISTRESS TO HIM AT HIS FAREWELL

You may vow I'll not forget
To pay the debt
Which to thy memory stands as due
As faith can seal it you.
--Take then tribute of my tears;
So long as I have fears
To prompt me, I shall ever
Languish and look, but thy return see never.
Oh then to lessen my despair,
Print thy lips into the air,
So by this
Means, I may kiss thy kiss,
Whenas some kind
Wind
Shall hither waft it:--And, in lieu,
My lips shall send a thousand back to you.

*134*

CRUTCHES

Thou see'st me, Lucia, this year droop;
Three zodiacs fill'd more, I shall stoop;
Let crutches then provided be
To shore up my debility:
Then, while thou laugh'st, I'll sighing cry,
A ruin underpropt am I:
Don will I then my beadsman's gown;
And when so feeble I am grown
As my weak shoulders cannot bear
The burden of a grasshopper;
Yet with the bench of aged sires,
When I and they keep termly fires,
With my weak voice I'll sing, or say
Some odes I made of Lucia;--
Then will I heave my wither'd hand
To Jove the mighty, for to stand
Thy faithful friend, and to pour down
Upon thee many a benison.

*135*

TO ANTHEA

Anthea, I am going hence
With some small stock of innocence;
But yet those blessed gates I see
Withstanding entrance unto me;
To pray for me do thou begin;--
The porter then will let me in.

*136*

TO ANTHEA

Now is the time when all the lights wax dim;
And thou, Anthea, must withdraw from him
Who was thy servant: Dearest, bury me
Under that holy-oak, or gospel-tree;
Where, though thou see'st not, thou may'st think upon
Me, when thou yearly go'st procession;
Or, for mine honour, lay me in that tomb
In which thy sacred reliques shall have room;
For my embalming, Sweetest, there will be
No spices wanting, when I'm laid by thee.

*137*

TO HIS LOVELY MISTRESSES

One night i'th' year, my dearest Beauties, come,
And bring those dew-drink-offerings to my tomb;
When thence ye see my reverend ghost to rise,
And there to lick th' effused sacrifice,
Though paleness be the livery that I wear,
Look ye not wan or colourless for fear.
Trust me, I will not hurt ye, or once show
The least grim look, or cast a frown on you;
Nor shall the tapers, when I'm there, burn blue.
This I may do, perhaps, as I glide by,--
Cast on my girls a glance, and loving eye;
Or fold mine arms, and sigh, because I've lost
The world so soon, and in it, you the most:
--Than these, no fears more on your fancies fall,
Though then I smile, and speak no words at all.

*138*

TO PERlLLA

Ah, my Perilla! dost thou grieve to see
Me, day by day, to steal away from thee?
Age calls me hence, and my gray hairs bid come,
And haste away to mine eternal home;
'Twill not be long, Perilla, after this,
That I must give thee the supremest kiss:--
Dead when I am, first cast in salt, and bring
Part of the cream from that religious spring,
With which, Perilla, wash my hands and feet;
That done, then wind me in that very sheet
Which wrapt thy smooth limbs, when thou didst implore
The Gods' protection, but the night before;
Follow me weeping to my turf, and there
Let fall a primrose, and with it a tear:
Then lastly, let some weekly strewings be
Devoted to the memory of me;
Then shall my ghost not walk about, but keep
Still in the cool and silent shades of sleep.

*139*

A MEDITATION FOR HIS MISTRESS

You are a Tulip seen to-day,
But, Dearest, of so short a stay,
That where you grew, scarce man can say.

You are a lovely July-flower;
Yet one rude wind, or ruffling shower,
Will force you hence, and in an hour.

You are a sparkling Rose i'th' bud,
Yet lost, ere that chaste flesh and blood
Can show where you or grew or stood.

You are a full-spread fair-set Vine,
And can with tendrils love entwine;
Yet dried, ere you distil your wine.

You are like Balm, enclosed well
In amber, or some crystal shell;
Yet lost ere you transfuse your smell.

You are a dainty Violet;
Yet wither'd, ere you can be set
Within the virgins coronet.

You are the Queen all flowers among;
But die you must, fair maid, ere long,
As he, the maker of this song.

*140*

TO THE VIRGINS, TO MAKE MUCH OF TIME

Gather ye rose-buds while ye may:
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles to-day,
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the Sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best, which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times, still succeed the former.

--Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.

** EPIGRAMS **

*141*

POSTING TO PRINTING

Let others to the printing-press run fast;
Since after death comes glory, I'll not haste.

*142*

HIS LOSS

All has been plunder'd from me but my wit:
Fortune herself can lay no claim to it.

*143*

THINGS MORTAL STILL MUTABLE

Things are uncertain; and the more we get,
The more on icy pavements we are set.

*144*

NO MAN WITHOUT MONEY

No man such rare parts hath, that he can swim,
If favour or occasion help not him.

*145*

THE PRESENT TIME BEST PLEASETH

Praise, they that will, times past: I joy to see
Myself now live; this age best pleaseth me!

*146*

WANT

Want is a softer wax, that takes thereon,
This, that, and every base impression,

*147*

SATISFACTION FOR SUFFERINGS

For all our works a recompence is sure;
'Tis sweet to think on what was hard t'endure.

*148*

WRITING

When words we want, Love teacheth to indite;
And what we blush to speak, she bids us write.

*149*

THE DEFINITION OF BEAUTY

Beauty no other thing is, than a beam
Flash'd out between the middle and extreme.

*150*

A MEAN IN OUR MEANS

Though frankincense the deities require,
We must not give all to the hallow'd fire.
Such be our gifts, and such be our expense,
As for ourselves to leave some frankincense.

*151*

MONEY MAKES THE MIRTH

When all birds else do of their music fail,
Money's the still-sweet-singing nightingale!

*152*

TEARS AND LAUGHTER

Knew'st thou one month would take thy life away,
Thou'dst weep; but laugh, should it not last a day.

*153*

UPON TEARS

Tears, though they're here below the sinner's brine,
Above, they are the Angels' spiced wine.

*154*

ON LOVE

Love's of itself too sweet; the best of all
Is, when love's honey has a dash of gall.

*155*

PEACE NOT PERMANENT

Great cities seldom rest; if there be none
T' invade from far, they'll find worse foes at home.

*156*

PARDONS

Those ends in war the best contentment bring,
Whose peace is made up with a pardoning.

*157*

TRUTH AND ERROR

Twixt truth and error, there's this difference known
Error is fruitful, truth is only one.

*158*

WlT PUNISHED PROSPERS MOST

Dread not the shackles; on with thine intent,
Good wits get more fame by their punishment.

*159*

BURIAL

Man may want land to live in; but for all
Nature finds out some place for burial.

*160*

NO PAINS, NO GAINS

If little labour, little are our gains;
Man's fortunes are according to his pains.

*161*

TO YOUTH

Drink wine, and live here blitheful while ye may;
The morrow's life too late is; Live to-day.

*162*

TO ENJOY THE TIME

While fates permit us, let's be merry;
Pass all we must the fatal ferry;
And this our life, too, whirls away,
With the rotation of the day.

*163*

FELICITY QUICK OF FLIGHT

Every time seems short to be
That's measured by felicity;
But one half-hour that's made up here
With grief, seems longer than a year.

*164*

MIRTH

True mirth resides not in the smiling skin;
The sweetest solace is to act no sin.

*165*

THE HEART

In prayer the lips ne'er act the winning part
Without the sweet concurrence of the heart.

*166*

LOVE, WHAT IT IS

Love is a circle, that doth restless move
In the same sweet eternity of Love.

*167*

DREAMS

Here we are all, by day; by night we're hurl'd
By dreams, each one into a several world.

*168*

AMBITION

In man, ambition is the common'st thing;
Each one by nature loves to be a king.

*169*

SAFETY ON THE SHORE

What though the sea be calm? Trust to the shore;
Ships have been drown'd, where late they danced before.

*170*

UPON A PAINTED GENTLEWOMAN

Men say you're fair; and fair ye are, 'tis true;
But, hark! we praise the painter now, not you.

*171*

UPON WRINKLES

Wrinkles no more are, or no less,
Than beauty turn'd to sourness.

*172*

CASUALTIES

Good things, that come of course, far less do please
Than those which come by sweet contingencies.

*173*

TO LIVE FREELY

Let's live in haste; use pleasures while we may;
Could life return, 'twould never lose a day.

*174*

NOTHING FREE-COST

Nothing comes free-cost here; Jove will not let
His gifts go from him, if not bought with sweat.

*175*

MAN'S DYING-PLACE UNCERTAIN

Man knows where first he ships himself; but he
Never can tell where shall his landing be.

*176*

LOSS FROM THE LEAST

Great men by small means oft are overthrown;
He's lord of thy life, who contemns his own.

*177*

POVERTY AND RICHES

Who with a little cannot be content,
Endures an everlasting punishment.

*178*

UPON MAN

Man is composed here of a twofold part;
The first of nature, and the next of art;
Art presupposes nature; nature, she
Prepares the way for man's docility.

*179*

PURPOSES

No wrath of men, or rage of seas,
Can shake a just man's purposes;
No threats of tyrants, or the grim
Visage of them can alter him;
But what he doth at first intend,
That he holds firmly to the end.

*180*

FOUR THINGS MAKE US HAPPY HERE

Health is the first good lent to men;
A gentle disposition then:
Next, to be rich by no by-ways;
Lastly, with friends t' enjoy our days.

*181*

THE WATCH

Man is a watch, wound up at first, but never
Wound up again; Once down, he's down for ever.
The watch once down, all motions then do cease;
The man's pulse stopt, all passions sleep in peace.

*182*

UPON THE DETRACTER

I ask'd thee oft what poets thou hast read,
And lik'st the best? Still thou repli'st, The dead.
--I shall, ere long, with green turfs cover'd be;
Then sure thou'lt like, or thou wilt envy, me.

*183*

ON HlMSELF

Live by thy Muse thou shalt, when others die,
Leaving no fame to long posterity;
When monarchies trans-shifted are, and gone,
Here shall endure thy vast dominion.

** NATURE AND LIFE **

*184*

I CALL AND I CALL

I call, I call: who do ye call?
The maids to catch this cowslip ball!
But since these cowslips fading be,
Troth, leave the flowers, and maids, take me!
Yet, if that neither you will do,
Speak but the word, and I'll take you,

*185*

THE SUCCESSION OF THE FOUR SWEET MONTHS

First, April, she with mellow showers
Opens the way for early flowers;
Then after her comes smiling May,
In a more rich and sweet array;
Next enters June, and brings us more
Gems than those two that went before;
Then, lastly, July comes, and she
More wealth brings in than all those three.

*186*

TO BLOSSOMS

Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,
Why do ye fall so fast?
Your date is not so past,
But you may stay yet here a-while,
To blush and gently smile;
And go at last.

What, were ye born to be
An hour or half's delight;
And so to bid good-night?
'Twas pity Nature brought ye forth,
Merely to show your worth,
And lose you quite.

But you are lovely leaves, where we
May read how soon things have
Their end, though ne'er so brave:
And after they have shown their pride,
Like you, a-while;--they glide
Into the grave.

*187*

THE SHOWER OF BLOSSOMS

Love in a shower of blossoms came
Down, and half drown'd me with the same;
The blooms that fell were white and red;
But with such sweets commingled,
As whether (this) I cannot tell,
My sight was pleased more, or my smell;
But true it was, as I roll'd there,
Without a thought of hurt or fear,
Love turn'd himself into a bee,
And with his javelin wounded me;---
From which mishap this use I make;
Where most sweets are, there lies a snake;
Kisses and favours are sweet things;
But those have thorns, and these have stings.

*188*

TO THE ROSE: SONG

Go, happy Rose, and interwove
With other flowers, bind my Love.
Tell her, too, she must not be
Longer flowing, longer free,
That so oft has fetter'd me.

Say, if she's fretful, I have bands
Of pearl and gold, to bind her hands;
Tell her, if she struggle still,
I have myrtle rods at will,
For to tame, though not to kill.

Take thou my blessing thus, and go
And tell her this,--but do not so!--
Lest a handsome anger fly
Like a lightning from her eye,
And burn thee up, as well as I!

*189*

THE FUNERAL RITES OF THE ROSE

The Rose was sick, and smiling died;
And, being to be sanctified,
About the bed, there sighing stood
The sweet and flowery sisterhood.
Some hung the head, while some did bring,
To wash her, water from the spring;
Some laid her forth, while others wept,
But all a solemn fast there kept.
The holy sisters some among,
The sacred dirge and trental sung;
But ah! what sweets smelt everywhere,
As heaven had spent all perfumes there!
At last, when prayers for the dead,
And rites, were all accomplished,
They, weeping, spread a lawny loom,
And closed her up as in a tomb.

*190*

THE BLEEDING HAND;
OR THE SPRIG OF EGLANTINE GIVEN TO A MAID

From this bleeding hand of mine,
Take this sprig of Eglantine:
Which, though sweet unto your smell,
Yet the fretful briar will tell,
He who plucks the sweets, shall prove
Many thorns to be in love.

*191*

TO CARNATIONS: A SONG

Stay while ye will, or go,
And leave no scent behind ye:
Yet trust me, I shall know
The place where I may find ye.

Within my Lucia's cheek,
(Whose livery ye wear)
Play ye at hide or seek,
I'm sure to find ye there.

*192*

TO PANSIES

Ah, Cruel Love! must I endure
Thy many scorns, and find no cure?
Say, are thy medicines made to be
Helps to all others but to me?
I'll leave thee, and to Pansies come:
Comforts you'll afford me some:
You can ease my heart, and do
What Love could ne'er be brought unto.

*193*

HOW PANSIES OR HEARTS-EASE CAME FIRST

Frolic virgins once these were,
Overloving, living here;
Being here their ends denied
Ran for sweet-hearts mad, and died.
Love, in pity of their tears,
And their loss in blooming years,
For their restless here-spent hours,
Gave them hearts-ease turn'd to flowers.

*194*

WHY FLOWERS CHANGE COLOUR

These fresh beauties, we can prove,
Once were virgins, sick of love,
Turn'd to flowers: still in some,
Colours go and colours come.

*195*

THE PRIMROSE

Ask me why I send you here
This sweet Infanta of the year?
Ask me why I send to you
This Primrose, thus bepearl'd with dew?
I will whisper to your ears,--
The sweets of love are mixt with tears.

Ask me why this flower does show
So yellow-green, and sickly too?
Ask me why the stalk is weak
And bending, yet it doth not break?
I will answer,--these discover
What fainting hopes are in a lover.

*196*

TO PRIMROSES FILLED WITH MORNING DEW

Why do ye weep, sweet babes? can tears
Speak grief in you,
Who were but born
just as the modest morn
Teem'd her refreshing dew?
Alas, you have not known that shower
That mars a flower,
Nor felt th' unkind
Breath of a blasting wind,
Nor are ye worn with years;
Or warp'd as we,
Who think it strange to see,
Such pretty flowers, like to orphans young,
To speak by tears, before ye have a tongue.

Speak, whimp'ring younglings, and make known
The reason why
Ye droop and weep;
Is it for want of sleep,
Or childish lullaby?
Or that ye have not seen as yet
The violet?
Or brought a kiss
From that Sweet-heart, to this?
--No, no, this sorrow shown
By your tears shed,
Would have this lecture read,
That things of greatest, so of meanest worth,
Conceived with grief are, and with tears brought forth.

*197*

TO DAISIES, NOT TO SHUT SO SOON

Shut not so soon; the dull-eyed night
Has not as yet begun
To make a seizure on the light,
Or to seal up the sun.

No marigolds yet closed are,
No shadows great appear;
Nor doth the early shepherds' star
Shine like a spangle here.

Stay but till my Julia close
Her life-begetting eye;
And let the whole world then dispose
Itself to live or die.

*198*

TO DAFFADILS

Fair Daffadils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain'd his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the even-song;
And, having pray'd together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you;
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or any thing.
We die
As your hours do, and dry
Away,
Like to the summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.

*199*

TO VIOLETS

Welcome, maids of honour,
You do bring
In the Spring;
And wait upon her.

She has virgins many,
Fresh and fair;
Yet you are
More sweet than any.

You're the maiden posies;
And so graced,
To be placed
'Fore damask roses.

--Yet, though thus respected,
By and by
Ye do lie,
Poor girls, neglected.

*200*

THE APRON OF FLOWERS

To gather flowers, Sappha went,
And homeward she did bring
Within her lawny continent,
The treasure of the Spring.

She smiling blush'd, and blushing smiled,
And sweetly blushing thus,
She look'd as she'd been got with child
By young Favonius.

Her apron gave, as she did pass,
An odour more divine,
More pleasing too, than ever was
The lap of Proserpine.

*201*

THE LILY IN A CRYSTAL

You have beheld a smiling rose
When virgins' hands have drawn
O'er it a cobweb-lawn:
And here, you see, this lily shows,
Tomb'd in a crystal stone,
More fair in this transparent case
Than when it grew alone,
And had but single grace.

You see how cream but naked is,
Nor dances in the eye
Without a strawberry;
Or some fine tincture, like to this,
Which draws the sight thereto,
More by that wantoning with it,
Than when the paler hue
No mixture did admit.

You see how amber through the streams
More gently strokes the sight,
With some conceal'd delight,
Than when he darts his radiant beams
Into the boundless air;
Where either too much light his worth
Doth all at once impair,
Or set it little forth.

Put purple grapes or cherries in-
To glass, and they will send
More beauty to commend
Them, from that clean and subtle skin,
Than if they naked stood,
And had no other pride at all,
But their own flesh and blood,
And tinctures natural.

Thus lily, rose, grape, cherry, cream,
And strawberry do stir
More love, when they transfer
A weak, a soft, a broken beam;
Than if they should discover
At full their proper excellence,
Without some scene cast over,
To juggle with the sense.

Thus let this crystall'd lily be
A rule, how far to teach
Your nakedness must reach;
And that no further than we see
Those glaring colours laid
By art's wise hand, but to this end
They should obey a shade,
Lest they too far extend.

--So though you're white as swan or snow,
And have the power to move
A world of men to love;
Yet, when your lawns and silks shall flow,
And that white cloud divide
Into a doubtful twilight;--then,
Then will your hidden pride
Raise greater fires in men.

*202*

TO MEADOWS

Ye have been fresh and green,
Ye have been fill'd with flowers;
And ye the walks have been
Where maids have spent their hours.

You have beheld how they
With wicker arks did come,
To kiss and bear away
The richer cowslips home.

You've heard them sweetly sing,
And seen them in a round;
Each virgin, like a spring,
With honeysuckles crown'd.

But now, we see none here,
Whose silvery feet did tread
And with dishevell'd hair
Adorn'd this smoother mead.

Like unthrifts, having spent
Your stock, and needy grown
You're left here to lament
Your poor estates alone.

*203*

TO A GENTLEWOMAN, OBJECTING TO HIM HIS
GRAY HAIRS

Am I despised, because you say;
And I dare swear, that I am gray?
Know, Lady, you have but your day!
And time will come when you shall wear
Such frost and snow upon your hair;
And when, though long, it comes to pass,
You question with your looking-glass,
And in that sincere crystal seek
But find no rose-bud in your cheek,
Nor any bed to give the shew
Where such a rare carnation grew:-
Ah! then too late, close in your chamber keeping,
It will be told
That you are old,--
By those true tears you're weeping.

*204*

THE CHANGES: TO CORINNA

Be not proud, but now incline
Your soft ear to discipline;
You have changes in your life,
Sometimes peace, and sometimes strife;
You have ebbs of face and flows,
As your health or comes or goes;
You have hopes, and doubts, and fears,
Numberless as are your hairs;
You have pulses that do beat
High, and passions less of heat;
You are young, but must be old:--
And, to these, ye must be told,
Time, ere long, will come and plow
Loathed furrows in your brow:
And the dimness of your eye
Will no other thing imply,
But you must die
As well as I.

*205*

UPON MRS ELIZ. WHEELER, UNDER THE NAME OF
AMARILLIS

Sweet Amarillis, by a spring's
Soft and soul-melting murmurings,
Slept; and thus sleeping, thither flew
A Robin-red-breast; who at view,
Not seeing her at all to stir,
Brought leaves and moss to cover her:
But while he, perking, there did pry
About the arch of either eye,
The lid began to let out day,--
At which poor Robin flew away;
And seeing her not dead, but all disleaved,
He chirpt for joy, to see himself deceived.

*206*

NO FAULT IN WOMEN

No fault in women, to refuse
The offer which they most would chuse.
--No fault: in women, to confess
How tedious they are in their dress;
--No fault in women, to lay on
The tincture of vermilion;
And there to give the cheek a dye
Of white, where Nature doth deny.
--No fault in women, to make show
Of largeness, when they're nothing so;
When, true it is, the outside swells
With inward buckram, little else.
--No fault in women, though they be
But seldom from suspicion free;
--No fault in womankind at all,
If they but slip, and never fall.

*207*

THE BAG OF THE BEE

About the sweet bag of a bee
Two Cupids fell at odds;
And whose the pretty prize should be
They vow'd to ask the Gods.

Which Venus hearing, thither came,
And for their boldness stript them;
And taking thence from each his flame,
With rods of myrtle whipt them.

Which done, to still their wanton cries,
When quiet grown she'd seen them,
She kiss'd and wiped their dove-like eyes,
And gave the bag between them.

*208*

THE PRESENT; OR, THE BAG OF THE BEE:

Fly to my mistress, pretty pilfering bee,
And say thou bring'st this honey-bag from me;
When on her lip thou hast thy sweet dew placed,
Mark if her tongue but slyly steal a taste;
If so, we live; if not, with mournful hum,
Toll forth my death; next, to my burial come.

*209*

TO THE WATER-NYMPHS DRINKING AT THE
FOUNTAIN

Reach with your whiter hands to me
Some crystal of the spring;
And I about the cup shall see
Fresh lilies flourishing.

Or else, sweet nymphs, do you but this--
To th' glass your lips incline;
And I shall see by that one kiss
The water turn'd to wine.

*210*

HOW SPRINGS CAME FIRST

These springs were maidens once that loved,
But lost to that they most approved:
My story tells, by Love they were
Turn'd to these springs which we see here:
The pretty whimpering that they make,
When of the banks their leave they take,
Tells ye but this, they are the same,
In nothing changed but in their name.

*211*

TO THE HANDSOME MISTRESS GRACE POTTER

As is your name, so is your comely face
Touch'd every where with such diffused grace,
As that in all that admirable round,
There is not one least solecism found;
And as that part, so every portion else
Keeps line for line with beauty's parallels.

*212*

A HYMN TO THE GRACES

When I love, as some have told
Love I shall, when I am old,
O ye Graces! make me fit
For the welcoming of it!
Clean my rooms, as temples be,
To entertain that deity;
Give me words wherewith to woo,
Suppling and successful too;
Winning postures; and withal,
Manners each way musical;
Sweetness to allay my sour
And unsmooth behaviour:
For I know you have the skill
Vines to prune, though not to kill;
And of any wood ye see,
You can make a Mercury.

*213*

A HYMN TO LOVE

I will confess
With cheerfulness,
Love is a thing so likes me,
That, let her lay
On me all day,
I'll kiss the hand that strikes me.

I will not, I,
Now blubb'ring cry,
It, ah! too late repents me
That I did fall
To love at all--
Since love so much contents me.

No, no, I'll be
In fetters free;
While others they sit wringing
Their hands for pain,
I'll entertain
The wounds of love with singing.

With flowers and wine,
And cakes divine,
To strike me I will tempt thee;
Which done, no more
I'll come before
Thee and thine altars empty.

*214*

UPON LOVE:
BY WAY OF QUESTION AND ANSWER

I bring ye love. QUES. What will love do?
ANS. Like, and dislike ye.
I bring ye love. QUES. What will love do?
ANS. Stroke ye, to strike ye.
I bring ye love. QUES. What will love do?
ANS. Love will be-fool ye.
I bring ye love. QUES. What will love do?
ANS. Heat ye, to cool ye.
I bring ye love. QUES. What will love do?
ANS. Love, gifts will send ye.
I bring ye love. QUES. What will love do?
ANS. Stock ye, to spend ye.
I bring ye love. QUES. What will love do?
ANS. Love will fulfil ye.
I bring ye love. QUES. What will love do?
ANS. Kiss ye, to kill ye.

*215*

LOVERS HOW THEY COME AND PART

A Gyges ring they bear about them still,
To be, and not seen when and where they will;
They tread on clouds, and though they sometimes fall,
They fall like dew, and make no noise at all:
So silently they one to th' other come,
As colours steal into the pear or plum,
And air-like, leave no pression to be seen
Where'er they met, or parting place has been.

*216*

THE KISS: A DIALOGUE

1 Among thy fancies, tell me this,
What is the thing we call a kiss?
2 I shall resolve ye what it is:--

It is a creature born and bred
Between the lips, all cherry-red,
By love and warm desires fed,--
CHOR. And makes more soft the bridal bed.

2 It is an active flame, that flies
First to the babies of the eyes,
And charms them there with lullabies,--
CHOR. And stills the bride, too, when she cries.

2 Then to the chin, the cheek, the ear,
It frisks and flies, now here, now there:
'Tis now far off, and then 'tis near,--
CHOR. And here, and there, and every where.

1 Has it a speaking virtue? 2 Yes.
1 How speaks it, say? 2 Do you but this,--
Part your join'd lips, then speaks your kiss;
CHOR. And this Love's sweetest language is.

1 Has it a body? 2 Ay, and wings,
With thousand rare encolourings;
And as it flies, it gently sings--
CHOR. Love honey yields, but never stings.

*217*

COMFORT TO A YOUTH THAT HAD LOST HIS LOVE

What needs complaints,
When she a place
Has with the race
Of saints?
In endless mirth,
She thinks not on
What's said or done
In earth:
She sees no tears,
Or any tone
Of thy deep groan
She hears;
Nor does she mind,
Or think on't now,
That ever thou
Wast kind:--
But changed above,
She likes not there,
As she did here,
Thy love.
--Forbear, therefore,
And lull asleep
Thy woes, and weep
No more.

*218*

ORPHEUS

Orpheus he went, as poets tell,
To fetch Eurydice from hell;
And had her, but it was upon
This short, but strict condition;
Backward he should not look, while he
Led her through hell's obscurity.
But ah! it happen'd, as he made
His passage through that dreadful shade,
Revolve he did his loving eye,
For gentle fear or jealousy;
And looking back, that look did sever
Him and Eurydice for ever.

*219*

A REQUEST TO THE GRACES

Ponder my words, if so that any be
Known guilty here of incivility;
Let what is graceless, discomposed, and rude,
With sweetness, smoothness, softness be endued:
Teach it to blush, to curtsey, lisp, and show
Demure, but yet full of temptation, too.
Numbers ne'er tickle, or but lightly please,
Unless they have some wanton carriages:--
This if ye do, each piece will here be good
And graceful made by your neat sisterhood.

*220*

A HYMN TO VENUS AND CUPID

Sea-born goddess, let me be
By thy son thus graced, and thee,
That whene'er I woo, I find
Virgins coy, but not unkind.
Let me, when I kiss a maid,
Taste her lips, so overlaid
With love's sirop, that I may
In your temple, when I pray,
Kiss the altar, and confess
There's in love no bitterness.

*221*

TO BACCHUS: A CANTICLE

Whither dost thou hurry me,
Bacchus, being full of thee?
This way, that way, that way, this,--
Here and there a fresh Love is;
That doth like me, this doth please;
--Thus a thousand mistresses
I have now: yet I alone,
Having all, enjoy not one!

*222*

A HYMN TO BACCHUS

Bacchus, let me drink no more!
Wild are seas that want a shore!
When our drinking has no stint,
There is no one pleasure in't.
I have drank up for to please
Thee, that great cup, Hercules.
Urge no more; and there shall be
Daffadils giv'n up to thee.

*223*

A CANTICLE TO APOLLO

Play, Phoebus, on thy lute,
And we will sit all mute;
By listening to thy lyre,
That sets all ears on fire.

Hark, hark! the God does play!
And as he leads the way
Through heaven, the very spheres,
As men, turn all to ears!

*224*

TO MUSIC, TO BECALM A SWEET SICK YOUTH

Charms, that call down the moon from out her sphere,
On this sick youth work your enchantments here!
Bind up his senses with your numbers, so
As to entrance his pain, or cure his woe.
Fall gently, gently, and a-while him keep
Lost in the civil wilderness of sleep:
That done, then let him, dispossess'd of pain,
Like to a slumbering bride, awake again.

*225*

TO MUSIC: A SONG

Music, thou queen of heaven, care-charming spell,
That strik'st a stillness into hell;
Thou that tam'st tigers, and fierce storms, that rise,
With thy soul-melting lullabies;
Fall down, down, down, from those thy chiming spheres
To charm our souls, as thou enchant'st our ears.

*226*

SOFT MUSIC

The mellow touch of music most doth wound
The soul, when it doth rather sigh, than sound.

*227*

TO MUSIC

Begin to charm, and as thou strok'st mine ears
With thine enchantment, melt me into tears.
Then let thy active hand scud o'er thy lyre,
And make my spirits frantic with the fire;
That done, sink down into a silvery strain,
And make me smooth as balm and oil again.

*228*

THE VOICE AND VIOL

Rare is the voice itself: but when we sing
To th' lute or viol, then 'tis ravishing.

*229*

TO MUSIC, TO BECALM HIS FEVER

Charm me asleep, and melt me so
With thy delicious numbers;
That being ravish'd, hence I go
Away in easy slumbers.
Ease my sick head,
And make my bed,
Thou Power that canst sever
From me this ill;--
And quickly still,
Though thou not kill
My fever.

Thou sweetly canst convert the same
From a consuming fire,
Into a gentle-licking flame,
And make it thus expire.
Then make me weep
My pains asleep,
And give me such reposes,
That I, poor I,
May think, thereby,
I live and die
'Mongst roses.

Fall on me like a silent dew,
Or like those maiden showers,
Which, by the peep of day, do strew
A baptism o'er the flowers.
Melt, melt my pains
With thy soft strains;
That having ease me given,
With full delight,
I leave this light,
And take my flight
For Heaven.

** MUSAE GRAVIORES **

*230*

A THANKSGIVING TO GOD, FOR HIS HOUSE

Lord, thou hast given me a cell,
Wherein to dwell;
A little house, whose humble roof
Is weather proof;
Under the spars of which I lie
Both soft and dry;
Where thou, my chamber for to ward,
Hast set a guard
Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep
Me, while I sleep.
Low is my porch, as is my fate;
Both void of state;
And yet the threshold of my door
Is worn by th' poor,
Who thither come, and freely get
Good words, or meat.
Like as my parlour, so my hall
And kitchen's small;
A little buttery, and therein
A little bin,
Which keeps my little loaf of bread
Unchipt, unflead;
Some brittle sticks of thorn or briar
Make me a fire,
Close by whose living coal I sit,
And glow like it.
Lord, I confess too, when I dine,
The pulse is thine,
And all those other bits that be
There placed by thee;
The worts, the purslain, and the mess
Of water-cress,
Which of thy kindness thou hast sent;
And my content
Makes those, and my beloved beet,
To be more sweet.
'Tis thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
With guiltless mirth,
And giv'st me wassail bowls to drink,
Spiced to the brink.
Lord, 'tis thy plenty-dropping hand
That soils my land,
And giv'st me, for my bushel sown,
Twice ten for one;
Thou mak'st my teeming hen to lay
Her egg each day;
Besides, my healthful ewes to bear
Me twins each year;
The while the conduits of my kine
Run cream, for wine:
All these, and better, thou dost send
Me, to this end,--
That I should render, for my part,
A thankful heart;
Which, fired with incense, I resign,
As wholly thine;
--But the acceptance, that must be,
My Christ, by Thee.

*231*

MATINS, OR MORNING PRAYER

When with the virgin morning thou dost rise,
Crossing thyself come thus to sacrifice;
First wash thy heart in innocence; then bring
Pure hands, pure habits, pure, pure every thing.
Next to the altar humbly kneel, and thence
Give up thy soul in clouds of frankincense.
Thy golden censers fill'd with odours sweet
Shall make thy actions with their ends to meet.

*232*

GOOD PRECEPTS, OR COUNSEL

In all thy need, be thou possest
Still with a well prepared breast;
Nor let the shackles make thee sad;
Thou canst but have what others had.
And this for comfort thou must know,
Times that are ill won't still be so:
Clouds will not ever pour down rain;
A sullen day will clear again.
First, peals of thunder we must hear;
When lutes and harps shall stroke the ear.

*233*

PRAY AND PROSPER

First offer incense; then, thy field and meads
Shall smile and smell the better by thy beads.
The spangling dew dredged o'er the grass shall be
Turn'd all to mell and manna there for thee.
Butter of amber, cream, and wine, and oil,
Shall run as rivers all throughout thy soil.
Would'st thou to sincere silver turn thy mould?
--Pray once, twice pray; and turn thy ground to gold.

*234*

THE BELL-MAN

Along the dark and silent night,
With my lantern and my light
And the tinkling of my bell,
Thus I walk, and this I tell:
--Death and dreadfulness call on
To the general session;
To whose dismal bar, we there
All accounts must come to clear:
Scores of sins we've made here many;
Wiped out few, God knows, if any.
Rise, ye debtors, then, and fall
To make payment, while I call:
Ponder this, when I am gone:
--By the clock 'tis almost One.

*235*

UPON TIME

Time was upon
The wing, to fly away;
And I call'd on
Him but awhile to stay;
But he'd be gone,
For aught that I could say.

He held out then
A writing, as he went,

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