Billeder på siden

To Celia.

[From The Forest."]

Drink to me only with thine eyes,

And I will pledge with mine;

Or leave a kiss but in the cup,

And I'll not look for wine.

The thirst, that from the soul doth rise,
Doth ask a drink divine;

But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much honouring thee,
As giving it a hope, that there
It could not wither'd be.

But thou thereon didst only breathe,
And sent'st it back to me;

Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
Not of itself, but thee.

The Sweet Neglect.

[ocr errors]

[From The Silent Woman."]

Still to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powder'd, still perfum'd:
Lady, it is to be presum❜d,

Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.
Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free;
Such sweet neglect more taketh me
Than all th' adulteries of art :

They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

Hymn to Diana.

[ocr errors]

[From Cynthia's Revels."]

Queen and huntress, chaste and fair, Now the sun is laid to sleep; Seated in thy silver chair,

State in wonted manner keep.
Hesperus intreats thy light,
Goddess excellently bright!

Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia's shining orb was made
Heaven to clear when day did close;
Bless us then with wished sight,
Goddess excellently bright!

Lay thy bow of pearl apart,

And thy crystal shining quiver: Give unto the flying hart,

Space to breathe, how short soever; Thou that mak'st a day of night, Goddess excellently bright!

To Night.

[From The Vision of Delight.]

Break, Phantasy, from thy cave of cloud,
And spread thy purple wings;
Now all thy figures are allow'd,

And various shapes of things;
Create of airy forms a stream,

It must have blood, and nought of phlegm ;
And though it be a waking dream,
Yet, let it like an odour rise

To all the senses here,

And fall like sleep upon their eyes,
Or music in their ear.


[From The Forest."]

Oh do not wanton with those eyes,
Lest I be sick with seeing;
Nor cast them down, but let them rise,
Lest shame destroy their being.

Oh be not angry with those fires,
For then their threats will kill me;
Nor look too kind on my desires,

For then my hopes will spill me.
Oh do not steep them in thy tears,
For so will sorrow slay me;

Nor spread them as distraught with fears; Mine own enough betray me.

To Celia.

[From the same.]

Kiss me, sweet! the wary lover
Can your favours keep and cover,
When the common courting jay
All your bounties will betray.
Kiss again; no creature comes;
Kiss, and score up wealthy sums
On my lips, thus hardly sunder'd
While you breathe. First give a hundred,
Then a thousand, then another
Hundred, then unto the other
Add a thousand, and so more,
Till you equal with the store,
All the grass that Romney yields,
Or the sands in Chelsea fields,
Or the drops in silver Thames,
Or the stars that gild his streams

In the silent summer nights,

When youths ply their stol'n delights;
That the curious may not know
How to tell them as they flow,
And the envious when they find
What their number is, be pined.

Her Triumph.

See the chariot at hand here of love,
Wherein my lady rideth!
Each that draws is a swan or a dove,
And well the car love guideth.
As she goes all hearts do duty
Unto her beauty;

And enamour'd do wish, so they might
But enjoy such a sight,

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
All that love's world compriseth!

Do but look on her, she is bright
As love's star when it riseth!

Do but mark, her forehead's smoother
Than words that soothe her!
And from her arch'd 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' stre.
Have you seen but a bright lily grow,
Before rude hands have touch'd it?
Have you mark'd but the fall of the snow,
Before the soil hath smutch'd it?
Have you felt the wool of the beaver,
Or swan's down ever?

Or have smell'd of the bud o' the brier?
Or the 'nard in the fire?

Or have tasted the bag of the bee?

O so white! O so soft! O so sweet is she!

Good Life, Long Life.

It is not growing like a tree

In bulk, doth make man better be,

Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,

To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear.
A lily of a day

Is fairer far, in May,

Although it fall and die that night,

It was the plant and flower of light!

In small proportions we just beauties see:
And in short measures life may perfect be.

Epitaph on the Countess of Pembroke.
Underneath this sable hearse
Lies the subject of all verse,
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother;
Death! ere thou hast slain another,
Learn'd and fair, and good as she,
Time shall throw a dart at thee.

Epitaph on Elizabeth, L. H.
Would'st thou hear what man say
In a little-reader, stay.
Underneath this stone doth lie
As much beauty as could die;
Which in life did harbour give
To more virtue than doth live.

If at all she had a fault,
Leave it buried in this vault.

One name was Elizabeth,

The other let it sleep with death:
Fitter, where it died, to tell,

Than that it lived at all. Farewell!

On my First Daughter.

Here lies to each her parents ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth:

Yet all heaven's gifts being heaven's due,

It makes the father less to rue.

At six months' end she parted hence
With safety of her innocence;

Whose soul heaven's queen (whose name she bea)
In comfort of her mother's tears,

Hath placed among her virgin train:

Where, while that sever'd doth remain,
This grave partakes the fleshly birth,
Which cover lightly, gentle earth.

To Penshurst."

[From The Forest."]

Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show
Of touch or marble; nor canst boast a row
Of polish'd pillars, or a roof of gold:
Thou hast no lantern, whereof tales are told;
Or stair, or courts; but stand'st an ancient pile,
And these grudg'd at, are reverenced the while.
Thou joy'st in better marks of soil and air,
Uf wood, of water; therein thou art fair.

* Penshurst is situated in Kent, near Tunbridge, in a wide and rich valley. The grey walls and turrets of the old mansion; its high-peaked and red roofs, and the new buildings of fresh stone. mingled with the ancient fabric, present a very striking and venerable aspect. It is a fitting abode for the noble Sidneys. The park contains trees of enormous growth, and others to which past events and characters have given an everlasting interest; as Sir Philip Sidney's Oak, Saccharissa's Walk. Gamage's Bower, &c. The ancient massy oak tables remain; and from Jonson's description of the hospitality of the family, they must often have groaned with the weight of the feast. Mr William Howitt has given an interesting account of Penshurst in his Visits to Remarkable Places, 1840.

[merged small][graphic][merged small]

There, in the writhed bark, are cut the names
Of many a Sylvan token with his flames.
And thence the ruddy Satyrs oft provoke
The lighter Fauns to reach thy Ladies' Oak.
Thy copse, too, named of Gamage, thou hast here
That never fails, to serve thee, season'd deer,
When thou would'st feast or exercise thy friends.
The lower land that to the river bends,
Thy sheep, thy bullocks, kine, and calves do feed:
The middle ground thy mares and horses breed.
Each bank doth yield thee conies, and the tops
Fertile of wood. Ashore, and Sidney's copse,
To crown thy open table doth provide
The purpled pheasant, with the speckled side:
The painted partridge lies in every field,
And, for thy mess, is willing to be kill'd.
And if the high-swollen Medway fail thy dish,
Thou hast thy ponds that pay thee tribute fish,
Fat, aged carps that run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat,
As loath the second draught or cast to stay,
Officiously, at first, themselves betray.

Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on land,
Before the fisher, or into his hand.
Thou hast thy orchard fruit, thy garden flowers,
Fresh as the air, and new as are the hours.
The early cherry with the later plum,
Fig, grape, and quince, each in his time doth come:
The blushing apricot and woolly peach
Hang on thy walls that every child may reach.
And though thy walls be of the country stone,
They're rear'd with no man's ruin, no man's groan;
There's none that dwell about them wish them down;
But all come in, the farmer and the clown,
And no one empty handed, to salute
Thy lord and lady, though they have no suit.
Some bring a capon, some a rural cake,
Some nuts, some apples; some that think they make

The better cheeses, bring them, or else send
By their ripe daughters, whom they would commend
This way to husbands; and whose baskets bear
An emblem of themselves, in plum or pear.
But what can this (more than express their love)
Add to thy free provisions, far above

The need of such? whose liberal board doth flow
With all that hospitality doth know!
Where comes no guest but is allow'd to eat
Without his fear, and of thy lord's own meat:
Where the same beer, and bread, and self-same wine
That is his lordship's shall be also mine.
And I not fain to sit (as some this day
At great men's tables) and yet dine away.
Here no man tells my cups; nor, standing by,
A waiter doth my gluttony envy:

But gives me what I call, and lets me eat;
He knows below he shall find plenty of meat;
Thy tables hoard not up for the next day,
Nor, when I take my lodging, need I pray
For fire, or lights, or livery; all is there,
As if thou, then, wert mine, or I reign'd here.
There's nothing I can wish, for which I stay.
This found King James, when hunting late this way
With his brave son, the Prince; they saw thy fires
Shine bright on every hearth, as the desires
Of thy Penates had been set on flame

To entertain them; or the country came,
With all their zeal, to warm their welcome here.
What (great, I will not say, but) sudden cheer
Did'st thou then make them! and what praise was

On thy good lady then, who therein reap'd
The just reward of her high housewifery;
To have her linen, plate, and all things nigh,
When she was far; and not a room but drest
As if it had expected such a guest!

These, Penshurst, are thy praise, and yet not all;
Thy lady's noble, fruitful, chaste withal.
His children

[ocr errors]

have been taught religion; thence
Their gentler spirits have suck'd innocence.
Each inorn and even they are taught to pray,
With the whole household, and may, every day,
Read, in their virtuous parents' noble parts,
The mysteries of manners, arms, and arts.
Now, Penshurst, they that will proportion thee
With other edifices, when they see

Those proud ambitious heaps, and nothing else,
May say their lords have built, but thy lord dwells.

To the Memory of my beloved Master, William Shakspeare, and what he hath left us.

To draw no envy, Shakspeare, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise;
For silliest ignorance on these would light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urges all by chance;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin, where it seem'd to raise.
But thou art proof against them, and, indeed,
Above the ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin: Soul of the age!
The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!
My Shakspeare, rise! I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further off, to make thee room:
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still, while thy book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.

That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses,
I mean with great but disproportion'd Muses:
For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou had small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee I will not seek
For names; but call forth thund'ring Eschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,

Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To live again, to hear thy buskin tread,
And shake a stage: or when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison

Of all, that insolent Greece or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show,
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury, to charm!
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joy'd to wear the dressing of his lines!
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please;
But antiquated and deserted lie,
As they were not of nature's family.
Yet must I not give nature all; thy art,
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion; and, that he
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil; turn the same,
And himself with it, that he thinks to frame;
Or for the laurel, he may gain a scorn;
For a good poet's made as well as born.
And such wert thou! Look how the father's face
Lives in his issue, even so the race

Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well turned and true filed lines:
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandish'd at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet Swan of Avon! what a sight it were
To see thee in our water yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames
That so did take Eliza and our James!
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there!
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage,
Or influence, chide, or cheer the drooping stage,
Which since thy flight from hence hath mourned like


And despairs day, but for thy volume's light!

On the Portrait of Shakspeare.

[Under the frontispiece to the first edition of his works: 1623.]
This figure that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakspeare 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 :
But since he cannot, reader, look
Not on his picture but his book.*

This attestation of Ben Jonson to the first engraved portrait of Shakspeare, seems to prove its fidelity as a likeness. The portrait corresponds with the monumental effigy at Stratford, but both represent a heavy and somewhat inelegant


RICHARD CORBET (1582--1635) was the son of a man who, though only a gardener, must have possessed superior qualities, as he obtained the hearty commendations, in verse, of Ben Jonson. The son was educated at Westminster and Oxford, and having taken orders, he became successively bishop of Oxford and bishop of Norwich. The social quali

the jolly Friar of Copmanhurst than the acts of a Protestant bishop, but Corbet had higher qualities; his toleration, solid sense, and lively talents, procured him deserved esteem and respect. His poems were first collected and published in 1647. They are of a miscellaneous character, the best known being a Journey into France, written in a light easy strain of descriptive humour. The Farewell to the Fairies is equally lively, and more poetical.


[To Vincent Corbet, his Son.]

What I shall leave thee none can tell,
But all shall say I wish thee well:
I wish thee, Vin, before all wealth,
Both bodily and ghostly health;

Nor too much wealth, nor wit come to thee,
So much of either may undo thee.
I wish thee learning not for show,
Enough for to instruct and know;
Not such as gentlemen require
To prate at table or at fire.

I wish thee all thy mother's graces,
Thy father's fortunes and his places.
I wish thee friends, and one at court
Not to build on, but support;
To keep thee not in doing many
Oppressions, but from suffering any.
I wish thee peace in all thy ways,
Nor lazy nor contentious days;
And, when thy soul and body part,
As innocent as now thou art.

[Journey to France.]

I went from England into France, Nor yet to learn to cringe nor dance, Nor yet to ride nor fence:

But I to Paris rode along,
Much like John Dory* in the song,
Upon a holy tide.

I on an ambling nag did get,
(I trust he is not paid for yet),

And spurr'd him on each side.
And to Saint Dennis fast we came,
To see the sights of Notre Dame,

(The man that shows them snuffles),
Where who is apt for to believe,
May see our Lady's right-arm sleeve,
And eke her old pantofles;

Her breast, her milk, her very gown
That she did wear in Bethlehem town,

When in the inn she lay.
Yet all the world knows that's a fable,
For so good clothes ne'er lay in stable,
Upon a lock of hay.

There is one of the cross's nails,
Which, whoso sees, his bonnet vails,

And, if he will, may kneel.
Some say 'twas false, 'twas never so,
Yet, feeling it, thus much I know,
It is as true as steel.

*This alludes to one of the most celebrated of the old English ballads. It was the favourite performance of the English minstrels, as lately as the reign of Charles II., and Dryden alludes to it as to the most hacknied thing of the time

But Sunderland, Godolphin, Lory,
These will appear such chits in story,
"Twill turn all politics to jests,
To be repeated like John Dory,

When fiddlers sing at feasts.

Rilson's Ancient Songs, p. 163

There is a lanthorn which the Jews,
When Judas led them forth, did use,
It weighs my weight downright:
But, to believe it, you must think
The Jews did put a candle in't,

And then 'twas very light.

There's one saint there hath lost his nose:
Another 's head, but not his toes,

His elbow and his thumb.
But when that we had seen the rags,
We went to th' inn and took our nags,
And so away did come.

We came to Paris on the Seine,
'Tis wondrous fair, 'tis nothing clean,
'Tis Europe's greatest town.
How strong it is, I need not tell it,
For all the world may easily smell it,
That walk it up and down.

There many strange things are to see,
The palace and great gallery,

The Place Royal doth excel:
The new bridge, and the statues there,
At Notre Dame, Saint Q. Pater,
The steeple bears the bell.

For learning, th' University;
And, for old clothes, the Frippery;

The house the Queen did build.
Saint Innocents, whose earth devours
Dead corps in four-and-twenty hours,

And there the King was killed: The Bastille, and Saint Dennis Street, The Shafflenist, like London Fleet,

The arsenal no voy.

But if you'll see the prettiest thing,
Go to the court and see the king,
O, 'tis a hopeful boy.*

He is, of all his dukes and peers,
Reverenc'd for much wit at 's years,

Nor must you think it much:
For he with little switch doth play,
And make fine dirty pies of clay,
O never king made such?

[blocks in formation]

Witness those rings and roundelays
Of theirs, which yet remain,
Were footed in Queen Mary's days
On many a grassy plain;
But since of late Elizabeth,
And later, James came in,
They never danc'd on any heath
As when the time hath been.
By which we note the fairies
Were of the old profession,
Their songs were Ave-Maries,
Their dances were procession:
But now, alas! they all are dead,
Or gone beyond the seas;
Or farther for religion fled,

Or else they take their ease.
A tell-tale in their company
They never could endure,
And whoso kept not secretly
Their mirth, was punish'd sure;
It was a just and Christian deed,
To pinch such black and blue:
O how the commonwealth doth need
Such justices as you!



Among the numerous minor poets who flourished, or rather composed, in the reign of James, were SIR JOHN BEAUMONT (1582-1628) and DR HENRY KING, bishop of Chichester (1591-1669). The former was the elder brother of the celebrated dramatist. joying the family estate of Grace Dieu, in Leicesterslire, Sir John dedicated part of his leisure hours to the service of the Muses. He wrote a poem on Bosworth Field in the heroic couplet, which, though generally cold and unimpassioned, exhibits correct and forcible versification. As a specimen, we subjoin Richard's animated address to his troops on the eve of the decisive battle:

My fellow soldiers! though your swords
Are sharp, and need not whetting by my words,
Yet cal! to mind the many glorious days
In which we treasured up immortal praise.
If, when I served, I ever fled from foe,
Fly ye from mine-let me be punish'd so!
But if my father, when at first he tried
How all his sons could shining blades abide,
Found me an eagle whose undazzled eyes
Affront the beams that from the steel arise;
And if I now in action teach the same,
Know, then, ye have but changed your general's


Be still yourselves! Ye fight against the dross
Of those who oft have run from you with loss.
How many Somersets (dissension's brands)
Have felt the force of our revengeful hands?
From whom this youth, as from a princely flood,
Derives his best but not untainted blood.
Have our assaults made Lancaster to droop?
And shall this Welshman with his ragged troop,
Subdue the Norman and the Saxon line,
That only Merlin may be thought divine?
See what a guide these fugitives have chose!
Who, bred among the French, our ancient foes,
Forgets the English language and the ground,
And knows not what our drums and trumpets sound!

Sir John Beaumont wrote the heroic couplet with great ease and correctness. In a poem to the memory of Ferdinando Pulton, Esq., are the following excellent verses:

Why should vain sorrow follow him with tears,
Who shakes off burdens of declining years?

« ForrigeFortsæt »