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Who from the influence of thine eye
Hath suck'd the deep divinity.
O free them then, that they may teach
The centaur and the horseman; preach
To beasts and birds, sweetly to rest
Each in his proper lare and nest:
They shall convey it to the flood,
Till there thy law be understood.
So shalt thou, with thy pregnant fire,
The water, earth, and air inspire.
TO THE NEW YEAR,
FOR THE COUNTESS OF CARLISLE,
GIVE Lucinda pearl nor stone,
Lend them light who else have none:
Let her beauty shine alone.
Gums nor spice bring from the east,
For the phenix in her breast
Builds his funeral pile and nest.
No rich 'tire thou canst invent Shall to grace her form be sent; She adorns all ornament.
Give her nothing, but restore
Those sweet smiles which heretofore
In her cheerful eyes she wore.
Drive those envious clouds away, Veils that have o'ercast my day, And eclips'd her brighter ray,
Let the royal Goth mow down This year's harvest with his own Sword, and spare Lucinda's frown.
Janus, if, when next I trace Those sweet lines, I in her face Read the charter of my grace;
Then, from bright Apollo's tree, Such a garland wreath'd shall be As shall crown both her and thee.
TO MY HONOURED FRIEND,
MASTER THOMAS MAY2,
UPON HIS COMEDY, THe heir.
THE Heir being born, was in his tender age
Rock'd in a cradle of a private stage,
Where, lifted up by many a willing hand,
The child did from the first day fairly stand.
This was Anne, daughter of Edward lord Howard of Escrick, and wife of Charles Howard, first earl of Carlisle.
2 These complimentary verses must be considered rather as a tribute to friendship than to genius; for though May was a competitor with sir William D' Avenant for the royal laurel, his abilities were much less splendid. He translated the Georgics of Virgil and Lucan's Pharsalia, and was the historian of the Oliverian parliament.-These verses were written in 1620.
Since, having gather'd strength, he dares prefer
His steps into the publick theatre,
The world; where he despairs not but to find
A doom from men more able, not less kind.
I but his usher am, yet if my word
May pass, I dare be bound he will afford
Things must deserve a welcome, if well known,
Such as best writers would have wish'd their own.
You shall observe his words in order meet,
And, softly stealing on with equal feet,
Slide into even numbers with such grace
As each word had been moulded for that place.
You shall perceive an amorous passion spun
Into so smooth a web, as had the Sun,
When he pursu'd the swiftly-flying maid 3,
Courted her in such language, she had stay'd.
A love so well exprest must be the same
The author felt himself from his fair flame.
The whole plot doth alike itself disclose
Through the five acts, as doth the lock that goes
With letters; for till every one be known,
The lock's as fast as if you had found none:
And where his sportive Muse doth draw a thread
Of mirth, chaste matrons may not blush to read.
Thus have I thought it fitter to reveal
My want of art, dear friend, than to conceal
My love. It did appear I did not mean
So to commend thy well-wrought comic scene,
As men might judge my aim rather to be,
To gain praise to myself, than give it thee;
Though I can give thee none, but, what thou hast
Deserv'd, and what must my faint breath out last.
Yet was this garment (though I skilless be
To take thy measure) only made for thee;
And if it prove too scant, 't is 'cause the stuff
Nature allow'd me was not large enough.
TO MY WORTHY FRIEND, MASTER GEORGE SANDS',
ON HIS TRANSLATION OF THE PSALMS.
PRESS not to the choir, nor dare I greet The holy place with my unhallowed feet; My unwasht Muse pollutes not things divine, Nor mingles her profaner notes with thine: Here, humbly waiting at the porch, she stays, And with glad ears sucks in thy sacred lays. So, devout penitents of old were wont, Some without door, and some beneath the font, To stand and hear the church's liturgies, Yet not assist the solemn exercise: Sufficeth her, that she a lay-place gain, To trim thy vestments, or but bear thy train: Though nor in tune, nor wing, she reach thy lark, Her lyric feet may dance before the ark.
3 Alludes to the fable of Apollo and Daphne.
This was Mr. George Sands, son of Edwin archbishop of York. Besides the Translation of the Psalms here mentioned, (which was the delight and amusement of Charles I. during his imprisonment in the Isle of Wight,) he translated Ovid's Metamorphoses and part of Virgil's Eneis. Drydes calls him the best versifier of his time.
Who knows, but that her wand'ring eyes that run,
Now hunting glow-worms, may adore the Sun:
A pure flame may, shot by Almighty pow'r
Into her breast, the earthly flame devour:
My eyes in penitential dew may steep
That brine, which they for sensual love did weep.
So (though 'gainst Nature's course) fire may be
With fire, and water be with water drench'd;
Perhaps my restless soul, tir'd with pursuit
Of mortal beauty, seeking without fruit
Contentment there, which hath not, when enjoy'd,
Quench'd all her thirst, nor satisfy'd, though cloy'd;
Weary of her vain search below, above
In the first fair may find th' immortal love.
Prompted by thy example then, no more
In moulds of clay will I my God adore;
But tear those idols from my heart, and write
What his blest spirit, not fond love, shall indite;
Then I no more shall court the verdant bay,
But the dry leafless trunk on Golgotha;
And rather strive to gain from thence one thorn,
Than all the flourishing wreaths by laureats worn.
| Requires a satyr. What star guides the soul
Of these our froward times, that dare controul,
Yet dare not learn to judge? When didst thou fly
From hence, clear, candid Ingenuity?
Tuscany, famous for speaking the Italian language in its greatest purity.
2 This gentleman, who was supposed, but with the greatest improbability, to be a natural son of Shakspeare, was one of the first poets of his time. It was he who harmonized the stage. He first introduced scenery, and the order and decorum of the French theatre, upon the British one. He succeeded Ben Jonson as poet-laureat to Charles.
I have beheld, when perch'd on the smooth brow
Of a fair modest troop, thou didst allow
Applause to slighter works; but then the weak
Spectator gave the knowing leave to speak.
Now noise prevails, and he is tax'd for drowth
Of wit, that with the cry spends not his mouth.
Yet ask him reason why he did not like;
Him, why he did; their ignorance will strike
Thy soul with scorn and pity: mark the places
Provoke their smiles, frowns, or distorted faces,
When they admire, nod, shake the head, they'll be
A scene of mirth, a double comedy.
But thy strong fancies (raptures of the brain,
Drest in poetic flames) they entertain
As a bold, impious reach; for they'll still slight
All that exceeds Red Bull' and Cockpit flight.
These are the men in crouded heaps that throng
To that adulterate stage, where not a tongue
Of th' untun'd kennel can a line repeat
Of serious sense, but the lips meet like meat;
Whilst the true brood of actors, that alone
Keep nat❜ral, unstrain'd Action in her throne,
Behold their benches bare, though they rehearse
The terser Beaumont's or great Jonson's verse.
Repine not thou then, since this churlish fate
Rules not the stage alone; perhaps the state
Hath felt this rancour, where men great and good
Have by the rabble been misunderstood.
So was thy play; whose clear, yet lofty strain,
Wise men, that govern fate, shall entertain.
TO THE READER
OF MR. WILLIAM D'AVENANT'S PLAY 1.
Ir hath been said of old, that plays are feasts,
Poets the cooks, and the spectators guests;
The actors, waiters: from this simile,
Some have deriv'd an unsafe liberty
To use their judgments as their tastes, which chuse,
Without controul, this dish, and that refuse :
But wit allows not this large privilege,
Either you must confess or feel its edge;
Nor shall you make a current inference,
If you transfer your reason to your sense:
3 After the restoration, there were two companies of players formed, one under the title of the king's servants, the other under that of the duke's company, both by patent from the crown; the first granted to Mr. Killigrew, and the latter to sir William D'Avenant. first at the Red Bull in St. John's Street, and afterThe king's servants acted wards at the Cockpit in Drury Lane; to which place our poet here alludes. It seems, by the verses before us, that though Killigrew's company was much inferior to D'Avenant's, it was more successful; though the company of the latter, who performed at the duke's theatre in Lincoln-inn-Fields, acted the pieces of Shakspeare, Jonson, Beaumont, and were headed by the celebrated Betterton.
The Just Italian, which did not meet with so much success as it ought to have had from a polite audience.
Things are distinct, and must the same appear
To every piercing eye or well-tun'd ear. [meet:
Though sweets with your's, sharps best with my taste
Both must agree, this meat's or sharp, or sweet.
But if I scent a stench, or a perfume,
Whilst you smell nought at all, I may presume
You have that sense imperfect: so you may
Affect a sad, merry, or humorous play;
If, though the kind distaste or please, the good
And bad be by your judgment understood:
But if, as in this play, where with delight
I feast my Epicurean appetite
With relishes so curious, as dispense
The utmost pleasure to the ravish'd sense,
You should profess that you can nothing meet
That hits your taste either with sharp or sweet,
But cry out, 'T is insipid; your bold tongue
May do its master, not the author wrong;
For men of better palate will by it
Take the just elevation of your wit.
MY FRIEND WILLIAM D'AVENANT.
I CROWDED 'mongst the first, to see the stage
(Inspir'd by thee) strike wonder in our age,
By thy bright fancy dazzled; where each scene
Wrought like a charm, and forc'd the audience lean
To th' passion of thy pen: thence ladies went
(Whose absence lovers sigh'd for) to repent
Their unkind scorn; and courtiers, who by art
Made love before, with a converted heart,
To wed those virgins, whom they woo'd t' abuse;
Both render'd Hymen's pros'lites by thy Muse.
But others, who were proof 'gainst love, did sit To learn the subtle dictates of thy wit;
And, as each profited, took his degree, Master, or bachelor, in comedy.
We of th' adult'rate mixture not complain,
But thence more characters of virtue gain;
More pregnant patterns of transcendent worth,
Than barren and insipid fruit brings forth :
So, oft the bastard nobler fortune mects,
Than the dull issue of the lawful sheets.
DEAREST, thy tresses are not threads of gold,
Thy eyes of diamonds, nor do I hold
Thy lips for rubies, thy fair checks to be
Fresh roses, or thy teeth of ivory:
Thy skin, that doth thy dainty body sheath,
Not alabaster is, nor dost thou breath
Arabian odours; those the earth brings forth,
Compar'd with which, would but impair thy worth.
Such may be others' mistresses, but mine
Holds nothing earthly, but is all divine.
Thy tresses are those rays that do arise,
Not from one sun, but two; such are thy eyes;
Thy lips congealed nectar are, and such
As, but a deity, there's none dare touch;
The perfect crimson that thy cheek doth cloath
(But only that it far exceeds them both)
Aurora's blush resembles, or that red
That Iris struts in when her mantle 's spread;
Thy teeth in white do Leda's swan exceed;
Thy skin's a heavenly and immortal weed;
And when thou breath'st, the winds are ready straight
To filch it from thee; and do therefore wait
Close at thy lips, and, snatching it from thence,
Bear it to Heaven, where 't is Jove's frankincense.
Fair goddess, since thy feature makes thee one,
Yet be not such for these respects alone;
But as you are divine in outward view,
So be within as fair, as good, as true.
AMONGST the myrtles as I walk'd, Love and my sighs thus intertalk'd: "Tell me, (said I in deep distress) Where may I find my shepherdess?"
"Thou fool," (said Love) “know'st thou not this,
In every thing that 's good she is?
In yonder tulip go and seek,
There thou mayst find her lip, her chcek.
"In yon enamel'd pansy by,
There thou shalt have her curious eye.
In bloom of peach, in rosy bud,
There wave the streamers of her blood.
"In brightest lilies that there stand,
The emblems of her whiter hand.
In yonder rising hill there smell
Such sweets as in her bosom dwell.”
"'T is true" (said I): and thereupon I went to pluck them one by one, To make of parts a union;
But on a sudden all was gone.
With that I stopt: said Love, "These be, Fond man, resemblances of thee:
And, as these flow'rs, thy joys shall die,
Ev'n in the twinkling of an eye:
And all thy hopes of her shall wither,
Like these short sweets thus knit together '."
My first love, whom all beauties did adorn,
Firing my heart, supprest it with her scorn;
Sunlike to tinder in my breast it lies,
By every sparkle made a sacrifice.
Each wanton eye now kindles my desire,
And that is free to all, that was entire.
Desiring more by thee, desire I lost,
As those that in consumptions hunger most;
And now my wand'ring thoughts are not confin'd
Unto one woman, but to woman-kind :
This little poem, with the several little love verses and songs that follow, fully evince our poet's superior genius on the subject of love. We wish he had never sacrificed at any shrine but the shrine in Cyprus.
This for her shape I love; that for her face; This for her gesture or some other grace; And where I none of these do use to find, I choose there by the kernel, not the rind: And so I hope, since first my hopes are gone, To find in many what I lost in one; And, like to merchants after some great loss, Trade by retail, that cannot now in gross. The fault is hers that made me go astray; He needs must wander that hath lost his way. Guiltless I am; she did this change provoke, And made that charcoal which to her was oak: And as a looking-glass, from the aspect, Whilst it is whole, doth but one face reflect, But being crack'd or broken, there are shown Many half-faces, which at first were one; So love unto my heart did first prefer Her image, and there planted none but her; But since 't was broke and martyr'd by her scorn, Many less faces in her face are born: Thus, like to tinder, am I prone to catch Each falling sparkle, fit for any match.
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 phenix builds her spicy nest;
For unto you at last she flies,
And in your fragrant bosom dies.
WOULD you know what 's soft, I dare Not bring you to the down or air; Nor to stars to show what 's bright, Nor to snow to teach you white.
Nor, if you would music hear,
Call the orbs to take your ear;
Nor, to please your sense, bring forth
Bruised nard, or what 's more worth.
Or, on food were your thoughts plac'd,
Bring you nectar for a taste:
Would you have all these in onc,
Name my mistress, and 't is done.
THE HUE AND CRY.
IN Love's name, you are charg'd hereby,
To make a speedy hue and cry
After a face which t' other day,
Stole my wand'ring heart away.
To direct you, these, in brief,
Are ready marks to know the thief.
Her hair a net of beams would prove,
Strong enough to captive Jove
In his eagle shape; her brow
Is a comely field of snow;
Her eye so rich, so pure a grey,
Every beam creates a day;
And if she but sleep (not when
The Sun sets) 't is night again;
In her cheeks are .o be seen
Of flowers both the king and queen,
Thither by the Graces led,
And freshly laid in nuptial bed;
On whom lips like nymphs do wait,
Who deplore their virgin state;
Oft they blush, and blush for this,
That they one another kiss:
But observe, besides the rest,
You shall know this felon best
By her tongue; for if your ear
Once a heavenly music hear,
Such as neither gods nor men,
But from that voice, shall hear again,
That, that is she. O straight surprize,
And bring her unto Love's assize: