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The Father's wisdom willed it so,
Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
What comfort by him do we win,
To see this Babe, all innocence,
A martyr born in our defence;
Can man forget this story?
A CELEBRATION OF CHARIS.
IN TEN LYRIC PIECES.
I. HIS EXCUSE FOR LOVING.
LET it not your wonder move,
It would appear from the opening verses that these graceful lyrics, which will not suffer in comparison with the most perfect love poems of antiquity, were composed when Jonson had attained the age of fifty, about 1623; but as the concluding stanzas of Her Triumph (see post, p. 141) are to be found in the Devil's an Ass, produced about seven years before, the date of these pieces must not be inferred from the introduction, which seems to have been written last. They were, probably, produced at different periods, and finally arranged in their present order with a view to publication.-B.
Though I now write fifty years,
II. HOW HE SAW HER.
I beheld her, on a day,
When her look out-flourished May;
And her dressing did outbrave
"Love, if thou wilt ever see
Mark of glory, come with me;
Where's thy quiver? bend thy bow: Here's a shaft, — thou art too slow!"
And withal, I did untie
Every cloud about his eye.
But he had not gained his sight
Straight he ran, and durst not stay,
Nor for any threat, or call,
Could be brought once back to look.
Or else one that played his ape,
In a Hercules his shape.
III. WHAT HE SUFFERED.
After many scorns like these,
She content was to restore
And would fain have changed the fate,
IV. HER TRIUMPH.
See the chariot at hand here of Love,
Each that draws is a swan or a dove,
And well the car Love guideth.
As she goes, all hearts do duty
And, enamored, do wish, so they might
That they still were to run by her side, Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride.
Do but look on her eyes, they do light
As Love's star when it riseth!
Do but mark, her forehead's smoother
Than words that soothe her! And from her arched brows such a grace Sheds itself through the face,
As alone there triumphs to the life
All the gain, all the good, of the elements' strife.
Have you seen but a bright lily grow,
Or swan's down ever?
Or have smelt o' the bud o' the brier?
Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
O so white! O so soft! O so sweet is she!