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Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side. These latter scenes confine my roving verse, To this horizon is my Phæbus bound; His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce, And former sufferings otherwhere are found;
25 Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound:
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things.
Befriend me Night, best patroness of grief,
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,
And work my flatter'd fancy to belief
That Heav'n and Earth are colour'd with my woe;
My sorrows are too dark for day to know:
The leaves should all be black whereon I write,
And letters where my tears have washt ,a wannish white.
See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels
That whirl'd the prophet up at Chebar flood;
My spirit some transporting cherub feels
To bear me where the towers of Salem stood,
Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless blood;
There doth my soul in holy vision sit, In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit. Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock That was the casket of Heav'ns richest store; And here though grief my feeble hands up lock, 45 Yet on the softned quarry would I score My plaining verse as lively as before;
For sure so well instructed are my tears, That they would fitly fall in order'd characters. Or should I thence hurried on viewless wing,
50 Take up a weeping on the mountains wild, The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild; And I (for grief is easily beguiled)
Might think th' infection of my sorrows loud 55 Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud. This subject the Author finding to be above the years he had
when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished.
ON THE ADMIRABLE DRAMATIC POET,
WHAT needs my Shakespear for his honour'd bones,
The labour of an age in piled stones,
Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid
Under a star-ypointing pyramid ?
Dear son of memory, great heir of fame,
What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thyself a live-long monument :
For whilst to th' shame of slow-endeavouring art
Canale Thy easy numbers flow; and that each heart
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalu'd
Those Delphic lines with deep impression took ;
Then thou our fancy of itself bereaving, 1:14 in
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;
And so sepulcher'd in such pomp dost lie, face ful That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.
ON THE UNIVERSITY CARRIER,
Who sickened at the time of his vacancy, being forbid to go to
London, by reason of the Plague.
HERE lies old Hobson; Death hath broke his girt,
And here alas, hath laid him in the dirt;
Or else the ways being foul, twenty to one,
He's here stuck in a slough, and overthrown.
'Twas such a shifter, that if truth were known
5 Death was half glad when he had got him down; For he had any time this ten years full Dodg'd with him, betwixt Cambridge and The Bull. And surely, Death could never have prevail'd, Had not his weekly course of carriage fail'd; But lately finding him so long at home, And thinking now his journey's end was come, And that he had ta'en up his latest inn, In the kind office of a chamberlin Shew'd him his room where he must lodge that night, Pull'd off his boots, and took away the light:
16 If any ask for him, it shall be sed, Hobson has supt, and's newly gone to bed.
HERE lieth one who did most truly prove,
That he could never die while he could move;
So hung his destiny, never to rot
While he might still jog on, and keep his trot;
Made of sphere-metal, never to decay
Until his revolution was at stay.
Time numbers motion, yet (without a crime
'Gainst old truth) motion number'd out his time;
And like an engine mov'd with wheel and weight,
His principles being ceast, he ended straight.
Rest that gives all men life, gave him his death,
And too much breathing put him out of breath;
Nor were it contradiction to affirm
Too long vacation hastned on his term.
Merely to drive the time away he sickn’d,
Fainted, and died, nor would with ale be quickn'd;
Nay,' quoth he, on his swooning bed outstretcht,
• If I mayn't carry, sure I'll ne'er be fetcht;
• But vow though the cross doctors all stood hearers,
For one carrier put down to make six bearers.'
Ease was his chief disease, and to judge right,
He di'd for heaviness that his cart went light,
His leisure told him that his time was come,
And lack of load made his life burdensome,
That even to his last breath (there be that say 't)
As he were prest to death, he cried,More weight';
But had his doings lasted as they were,
He had been an immortal carrier.
Obedient to the moon he spent his date
In course reciprocal; and had his fate
Linkt to the 'mutual flowing of the seas,
Yet (strange to think) his wain was his increase :
His letters are deliver'd all and gone,
Only remains this superscription.
ON THE MARCHIONESS OF WINCHESTER.
This rich marble doth inter
The honour'd wife of Winchester;
A viscount's daughter, an earl's heir,
Besides what her virtues fair
Added to her noble birth,
More than she could own from Earth.
Summers three times eight save one
She had told; alas too soon,
After so short time of breath,
To house with darkness, and with death.
Yet had the number of her days
Been as complete as was her praise,
Nature and fate had had no strife
In giving limit to her life.
Her high birth, and her graces sweet,
Quickly found a lover meet;
The virgin quire for her request
The god that sits at marriage feast;
He at their invoking came,
But with a scarce-well-lighted flame;
And in his garland as he stood,
Ye might discern a cypress bud.
Once had the early matrons run
To greet her of a lovely son ;
And now with second hope she goes,
And calls Lucina to her throes;
But whether by mischance or blame
Atropos for Lucina came;
And with remorseless cruelty,
Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree:
The hapless babe before his birth
Had burial, yet not laid in earth;
And the languisht mother's womb
Was not long a living tomb.
So have I seen some tender slip
Sav'd with care from winter's nip,
The pride of her carnation train,
Pluck’t up by some unheedy swain,
Who only thought to crop the flow'r
New shot up from vernal show'r;
But the fair blossom hangs the head
Side-ways as on a dying bed;
And those pearls of dew she wears,
Prove to be presaging tears
Which the sad morn had let fall
On her hast’ning funeral.
Gentle lady, may thy grave
Peace and quiet ever have;
After this thy travail sore
Sweet rest seize thee evermore,
That to give the world increase
Shortned hast thy own life's lease.
Here besides the sorrowing
That thy noble house doth bring,
Here be tears of perfect moan
Wept for thee in Helicon;