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But since he cannot, reader, look
Not on his picture, but his book.


[Under the frontispiece to the first edition of his works: 1623.]


HIS figure that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut,
Wherein the graver had a strife
With nature, to outdo the life:
O could he but have drawn his wit,
As well in brass, as he hath hit
His face; the print would then surpass
All that was ever writ in brass:

George Wither.



O now is come our joyful'st feast ;
Let every man be jolly;

Each room with ivy leaves is drest,
And every post with holly.

Though some churls at our mirth repine,
Round your foreheads garlands twine,
Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,
And let us all be merry.

Now all our neighbours' chimneys smoke,
And Christmas blocks are burning;
Their ovens they with baked meats choke,
And all their spits are turning.

Without the door let sorrow lie;
And if for cold it hap to die,
We'll bury't in a Christmas pie,
And evermore be merry.

Now every lad is wondrous trim,
And no man minds his labour ;
Our lasses have provided them

A bagpipe and a tabor;

Young men and maids, and girls and boys,
Give life to one another's joys;
And you anon shall by their noise
Perceive that they are merry.

Rank misers now do sparing shun;
Their hall of music soundeth;

And dogs thence with whole shoulders run, So all things there aboundeth.

The country folks, themselves advance,
With crowdy-muttons out of France;
And Jack shall pipe, and Jill shall dance,
And all
town be merry.

Ned Squash hath fetcht his bands from pawn, And all his best apparel;

Brisk Nell hath bought a ruff of lawn
With droppings of the barrel;
And those that hardly all the year
Had bread to eat, or rags to wear,
Will have both clothes and dainty fare,

And all the day be merry.

Now poor men to the justices

With capons make their errants; And if they hap to fail of these,

They plague them with their warrants : But now they feed them with good cheer, And what they want they take in beer, For Christmas comes but once a year,

And then they shall be merry.

Good farmers in the country nurse
The poor, that else were undone;
Some landlords spend their money worse,
On lust and pride at London.
There the roysters they do play,
Drab and dice their lands away,
Which may be ours another day,

And therefore let's be merry.

The client now his suit forbears,

The prisoner's heart is eased; The debtor drinks away his cares,

And for the time is pleased. Though others' purses be more fat, Why should we pine, or grieve at that? Hang sorrow! care will kill a cat,

And therefore let's be merry.

Hark! now the wags abroad do call
Each other forth to rambling:
Anon you'll see them in the hall,
For nuts and apples scrambling.

Hark! how the roofs with laughter sound! Anon they'll think the house goes round, For they the cellar's depth have found, And there they will be merry.

The wenches with their wassail-bowls
About the streets are singing;
The boys are come to catch the owls,
The wild mare in is bringing.
Our kitchen-boy hath broke his box,
And to the dealing of the ox
Our honest neighbours come by flocks,
And here they will be merry.

Now kings and queens poor sheepcotes have,
And mate with everybody;

The honest now may play the knave,
And wise men play the noddy.
Some youths will now a mumming go,
Some others play at Rowland-ho,
And twenty other gambols mo,
Because they will be merry.

Then, wherefore, in these merry days,
Should we, I pray, be duller?
No, let us sing some roundelays,

To make our mirth the fuller:
And, while we thus inspired sing,
Let all the streets with echoes ring;
Woods and hills, and every thing,

Bear witness we are merry.

George Herbert.



WEET day! so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky;

The dews shall weep thy fall to-night;
For thou must die.

Sweet rose! whose hue, angry and brave,
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye;
Thy root is ever in its grave;
And thou must die.

Sweet spring! full of sweet days and roses;
A box where sweets compacted lie;
Thy music shows ye have your closes;
And all must die.

Only a sweet and virtuous soul,

Like season'd timber never gives;

But, though the whole world turn to coal,

Then chiefly lives.


DAY most calm, most bright,

The fruit of this, the next world's bud, The indorsement of supreme delight, Writ by a Friend, and with His blood; The couch of time, care's balm and bay: The week were dark, but for thy light; Thy torch doth show the way.

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