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Epistles

I. The Storm.

To Mr. Christopher Brooke*.

Thou which art I ('tis nothing to be so),

Thou which art stilljhyself, by these shalt know

Part of our passage: and, a hand, or eye

By Hilliard-f- drawn, is worth an history,

By a worse painter made; and (without pride)

When by thy judgment they are dignifi'd,

My lines are such. 'Tis the pre-eminence

Of friendship only to impute excellence.

England, to whom we owe, what wo be, and have,

Sad that her sons did seek a foreign grave

(For fate's, or fortune's drifts none can soothsay,

Honour and misery have one face and way.)

From out her pregnant entrails sigh'd a wind

Which at th' air's middle marble room did find

Such strong resistance, that itself it threw

Downward again; and so when it did view

How in the port our fleet dear time did leese,

Withering like prisoners, which lie but for fees,

Mildly it kist our sails, and fresh, and sweet,

As to a stomach starv'd, whose insides meet,

Meat comes, it came; and swole our sails, when we

So joy'd, as Sarah her swelling joy'd to see.

But 'twas but so kind, as our countrymen,

Which bring friends one day's way, and leave them then.

Then like two mighty kings, which dwelling far

Asunder, meet against a third to war,

The south and west winds joined, and, as they blew,

Waves like a rowling trench before them threw.

* Brother'to Dr. Brooke, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, (who married Donne), and the friend of Jonson, Drayton, and Browne. lie was himself no contemptible poet.—Ed.

f Nicholas Hilliard, born 1547, at Exeter, best known by his portraits of Elizabeth, and Mary Queen of Scots; he was an imitator of Holbein.—Ed.

Sooner than you read this line, did the gale,

Like shot, not feared, till felt, our sails assail;

And what at first was called a gust, the same

Hath now a storm's, anon a tempest's name.

Jonas, I pity thee, and curse those men,

Who when the storm rag'd most, did wake thee then;

Sleep is pain's easiest salve, and doth fulfill

All offices of death, except to kill.

But when I wakt, I saw, that I saw not.

I, and the sun, which should teach me, had forgot

East, west, day, night, and I could only say,

If the world had lasted, now it had been day.

Thousands our noises were, yet we 'mongst all

Could none by his right name, but thunder call;

Lightning was all our light, and it rain'd more

Than if the sun had drunk the sea before;

Some coffin'd in their cabins lie, equally

Griev'd that they are not dead, and yet must die.

And as sin-burden'd souls from graves will creep

At the last day, some forth their cabins peep:

And tremblingly aek what news, and do hear so,

Like jealous hust>ands, what they would not know.

Some sitting on the hatches, would seem there

With hideous gazing to fear away fear.

Then note they the ship's sicknesses, the mast

Shak'd with this ague, and the hold and waste

With a salt dropsy clogged, and all our Sicklings

Snapping, like too high-stretched treble strings.

And from our tottered sails, rags drop down so,

As from one hang'd iu chains, a year ago.

Even our ordnance placed for our defence,

Strive to break loose, and scape away from thence.

Pumping hath tir'd our men, and what's the gain?

Seas into sens thrown, we suck in again;

Hearing hath deaf'd our sailors; and if they

Knew how to hear, there's none knows what to say.

Compar'd to these storms, death is but a qualm,

Hell somewhat lightsome, and the Bermuda* calm.

Darkness, light's eldest brother, his birth-right

Claim'd o'er this world, and to heaven hath chas'd light.

• The reader will remember "The still-vext Bermoothes."—Ed.

All things are one, and that one none can be,

Since all forms, uniform deformity

Doth cover, s0 that we, except God say

Another fiat, shall have no more day.

So violent, yet long these furies be,

That though thine absence starve me, I wish not thee.

II. The Calm.
To the Same.

Our storm is past, and that storm's tyrannous rage
A stupid calm, but nothing it, doth swage.
.The fable is inverted, and far more
A block afflicts, now, than a stork before.
Storms chafe, and soon wear out themselves, or us:
In calms, heaven laughs to see us languish thus.
As steady as I can wish that my thoughts were,
Smooth as thy mistress' glass, or what shines there,
The sea is now. And, as the isles which we
Seek, when we can'move, our ships rooted be.
As water did in storms, now pitch runs out
As lead, when a firM church becomes one spout.
And all our beauty, and our trim, decays,
Like courts removing, or like ended plays.
The fighting place now seamen's rags supply;
And all the tackling is a frippery.
No use of lanthorns; and in one place lay
Feathers and dust, to-day and yesterday.
Earth's hollownesses, which the worlds lungs are,
Have no more wind than the upper vault of air.
We can nor lost friends, nor sought foes recover,
But meteor-like, save that we move not, hover.
Only the calenture* together draws ,
Dear friends, which meet dead in great fishes jaws:
And on the hatches as on altars lies
Each one, his own priest, and own sacrifice.
Who live, that miracle do multiply
Where walkers in hot ovens do not die.

* Calenture, an illusion during calms in hot climates, which makes the sea appear like fields, and the sailors fancy it to be land, and throw themselves on it.—Johnson.

If in despite of these, we swim, that hath
No more refreshing, than our brimstone bath,
But from the sea, into the ship we turn,
Like par-boilM wretches, on the coals to burn.
Like Bajazet encag'd, the shepherds' scoff*,
Or like slack-sinew'd Sampson, his hair off,
Languish our ships. Now, as a myriad
Of ants durst the emperor's lov'd snake invade,
The crawling gallies, sea-gulls, finny chips,
Might brave our Venices, now bed-rid ships.
Whether a rotten state, and hope of gain,
Or to disuse me from the queasy pain
Of being belov'd, and loving, or the thirst
Of honour, or fair death, out-push'd me first,
I lose my end: for here as well as I
A desperate may live, and a coward die.
Stag, dog, and all which from, or towards flies,
Is paid with life, or prey, or doing dies.
Fate grudges us all, and doth subtly lay
A scourge, 'gainst which we all forget to pray,
He that at sea prays for more wind? as well
Under the poles may beg cold, heat in hell.
What are we then? How little more alas
Is man now, than before he was! he was
Nothing; for us, we are for nothing fit;
Chance, or ourselves still disproportiou it.
We have no power, no will, no sense; I lie,
I should not then thus feel this misery.

III.

To Sir Henry Wootton.

Sib, more than kisses, letters mingle souls; "For thus friends absent speak. This ease controls The tediousness of my life: but for these I could ideate nothing, which could please, But I should wither in one day, and pass To a bottle of hay, that am a lock of grass. Life is a voyage, and in our life's ways Countries, courts, towns are rocks, or remoras;

• "The shepherds;"—the Tartars.—Ed.

They break or stop all ships, yet our state is such,

That though than pitch they stain worse, we must touch.

If in the furnace of the raging line,

Or under the adverse icy pole thou pine,

Thou know'st two temperate regions girded in,

Dwell there: but O! what refuge canst thou win

Parched in the court, and in the country frozen,

Shall cities built of both extremes be chosen?

Can dung, and garlic be a perfume? or can

A scorpion, or torpedo cure a man I

Cities are worst of all three; of all three

(O knotty riddle) each is worst equally.

Cities are sepulchres; they who dwell there

Are carcases, as if no such there were.

And courts are theatres, where some men play

Princes, some slaves, all to one end, and of one clay.

The country is a desert, where no good,

Gained, as habits, nor born, is understood.

There men become beasts, and prone to more evils;

In cities blocks, and in a lewd court, devils.

As in the first chaos confusedly

Each element's qualities were in the other three;

So pride, lust, covetous, being several

To these three places, yet all are in all,

And mingled thus, their issue incestuous.

Falsehood is denizen'd. Virtue is barbarous.

Let no man say there, Virtue's flinty wall

Shall lock vice in me, I'll do none, but know all.

Men are spunges, which to pour out, receive,

Who know false play, rather than lose, deceive.

For in best understandings, sin began,

Angels sinned first, then devils, and then man.

Only perchance beasts sin not; wretched we

Are beasts in all, but white integrity.

I think if men, which in these places live,

Durst look in themselves, and themselves retrieve,

They would like strangers greet themselves, seeing then

Utopian youth, grown old Italian.

Be thou thine own home, and in thyself dwell;

Inn anywhere ; continuance maketh hell.

And seeing the snail, which everywhere doth roam,

Carrying his own house still, still is at home,

Follow (for he is easy paced) this snail,

Be thine own palace, or the world's thy jail;

And in the world's sea, do not like cork sleep

Upon the water's face; nor in the deep

Sink like a lead without a line: but as

Fishes glide, leaving no print where they pass,

Nor making sound; so, closely thy course go,

Let men dispute, whether thou breath, or no:

Only in this one thing, be no Galenist. To make

Court's hot ambitions wholesome, do not take

A dram of country's dulness; do not add

Correctives, but as chymics, purge the bad.

But, sir, I advise not you, I rather do

Say o'er those lessons, which I learned of you.

Whom, free from German schisms, and lightness

Of France, and fair Italy's faithlessness,

Having from these sucked all they had of worth,

And brought home that faith, which you carried forth,

I throughly love. But if myself, I have won

To know my rules, I have, and you have

Donne.

IV.

To Sir Henry Goody ere.

Who makes the past, a pattern for next year,

Turns no new leaf, but still the same things reads,

Seen things, he sees again, heard things doth hear,
And makes his life, but like a pair of beads.

A palace, when 'tis that, which it .should be,
Leaves growing, and stands such, or else decays,

But he which dwells there, is not so; for he
Strives to urge upward, and his fortune raise.

So had your body her morning, hath her noon,
And shall not better; her next change is night:

But her fair larger guest, to whom sun and moon
Are sparks, and short-lived, claims another right.

The noble soul by age grows lustier,
Her appetite, and her digestion mend,

We must not starve, nor hope to pamper her
With women's milk, and pap, unto the end.

Provide you manlier diet, you have seen

All libraries, which are schools, camps, and courts;

But ask your garners it' you have not been
In harvests, too indulgent to your sports.

Would you redeem it? then yourself transplant

A while from hence. Perchance outlandish ground

Bears no more wit, than ours, but yet more scant
Are those diversions there, which here abound.

To be a stranger hath that benefit,

We can beginnings, but not habits choke. Go, whither? hence; you get, if you forget;

New faults, till they prescribe in us, are smoke.

Our soul, whose country is heaven, and God her father,

Into this world, corruption's sink, is sent; Yet so much in her travel she doth gather,

That she returns home, wiser than she went.

It pays you well, if it teach you to spare,

And make you ashamed, to make your hawk's praise yours, Which when herself she lessens in the air,

You then first say, that high enough she tow'rs.

However, keep the lively taste you hold

Of God, love him as now, but fear him more,

And in your afternoons think what you told
And promised him, at morning prayer before.

Let falsehood like a discord anger you,

Else be not froward; but why do I touch Things, of which none is in your practice new,

And tables, or fruit-trenchers teach as much!

But thus I make you keep your promise, sir,
Riding I had you, though you still stayed there,

And in these thoughts, although you never stir,
You came with me to Mitcham, and are here.

V.

To Mr. Rowland Woodward.

Like one who in her third widowhood doth profess

Herself a nun, tied to retiredness,

So affects my muse now, a chaste fallowness.

Since she to few, yet to too many hath shown
How lovo-song weeds, and satiric thorns are grown,
Where seeds of better arts were early sown.

Though to use, and love poetry, to me,
Betrothed to no one art, be no adultery;
Omissions of good, ill, as ill deeds be.

For though to us it seem, and be, light and thin,
Yet in those faithful scales, where God throws in
Men's works, vanity weighs as much as sin.

If our souls have stained their first white, yet we
May clothe them with faith, and dear honesty,
Which God imputes as native purity.

There is no virtue, but religion,

Wise, valiant, sober, just, are names, which none

Want, which want not vice-covering discretion.

Seek we then ourselves in ourselves; for as
Men force the sun with much more force to pass,
By gathering his beams with a crystal glass;

So we, if we into ourselves will turn,
Blowing our sparks of virtue, may outburn
The straw, which doth about our hearts sojourn.

You know, physicians, when they would infuse

Into any oil, the souls of simples, use

Places, where they may lie still warm, to choose.

So works retiredness in us; to roam
Giddily and be everywhere, but at home,
Such freedom doth a banishment become.

We are but termers of ourselves, yet may,
If we can stock ourselves, and thrive, uplay
Much, much dear treasure for the great rent-day.

Manure thyself then, to thyself be approved,
And with vain outward things be no more moved,
But to know, that I love thee and would be loved.

VI.

To Sir Henry Wootton.

Here's no more news, than virtue; I may as well
Tell you Calais', or St. Michael's tale for news*, as tell
That vice doth here habitually dwell.

Yet, as to get stomachs, we walk up and down,
And toil to sweeten rest, so, may God frown,
If, but to loathe both, I haunt court, or town.

For here no one is from the extremity

Of vice, by any other reason free,

But that the next to him still is worse than he.

In this world's warfare, they whom rugged fate,

(God's commissary,) doth so throughly hate,

As in the court's squadron to marshal their state;

If they stand armed with seely honesty,
With wishing prayers, and neat integrity,
Like Indians against Spanish hosts they be.

* Suspicious boldness to this place belongs,
And to have as many ears as all have tongues;
Tender to know, tough to acknowledge wrongs.

Believe me sir, in my youth's giddiest days,
When to be like the court, was a play's praise,
Plays were not so like courts, as courts are like plays.

Then let us at these mimic antics jest,
Whose deepest projects, and egregious gestf,
Are but dull morals of a game at chest.

But now 'tis incongruity to smile,

Therefore I end; and bid farewell awhile,

At court, though from court, were the better style.

• In Anderson's Poets, this line is printed *' Tell you Calais or Saint Michael's Mount, as tell," on what authority I know not.—Ed. f Not "jest," as in Anderson's Poets, but " gest," res gestce.Ed.

VII.

To the Countess of Bedford.

Madam,

Beason is our soul's left hand, faith her right,

By these we reach divinity, that's you;
Their loves, who have the blessings of your light,

Grew from their reason, mine from fair faith grew.

But as, although a squint left-handedness

Be ungracious, yet we cannot want that hand,

So would I, not to increase, but to express
My l'aith, as I believe, so understand.

Therefore I study you first in your saints,
Those friends, whom your election glorifies,

Then in your deeds, accesses, and restraints,
And what you read, aud what yourself devise.

But soon, the reasons why you are loved by all,

Grow infinite, and so pass reason's reach,
Then back again to implicit faith I fall,

And rest on what the Catholic faith doth teach;

That you are good: and not one heretic

Denies it: if he did, yet you are so.
For rocks, which high topped* and deep rooted stick,

Waves wash, not undermine, nor overthrow.

In everything there naturally grows

A balsamum to keep it fresh, and new.
If 'twere not injured by extrinsic blows;

Your birth and beauty are this balm in you.

But, you of learning and religion,
And virtue, and such ingredients, have made

A mithridate, whose operation

Keeps off, or cures what can be done or said.

Yet, this is not your physic, but your food,

A diet fit for you; for you are here
The first good angel, since the world's frame stood,

That ever did in woman's shape appear.

• In Anderson's Poets: "For rocks, which high do seem, deep rooted stick.—Ed.

Since you are then God's masterpiece, and so
His factor for our loves; do as you do,

Make your return homo gracious; and bestow
Thy life on that; so make one life of two.

For so God help me, I would not miss you there

For all the good which you can do me here.

VIII.

To the Countefs of Bedford.

Madam,

You have refined me; and to worthiest things,
Virtue, art, beauty, fortune, now I see

Rareness, or use, not nature, value brings;
Aud such, as they are circumstanced, they be.

Two ills cau ne'er perplex us, sin to excuse;

But of two good things, we may leave and choose.

Therefore at court, which is not virtue's clime,
Where a transcendant height, (as lowness me)

Makes her not be, or not show: all my rhyme
Your virtues challenge, which there rarest be;

For, as dark texts need notes: there some must be

To usher virtue, and say, This is she.

So in the country is beauty; to this place
You are the season (Madam) you the day,

'Tis but a grave of spices, till your face

Exhale them, and a thick close bud display.

Widowed and reclused else, her sweets she enshrines

As China, when the sun at Brazil dines.

Out from your chariot, morning breaks at night,

And falsifies both computations so;
Since a new world doth rise here from your light,

We your new creatures, by new reckonings go.
This shows that you from nature lothly stray,
That suffer not an artificial day.

In this you have made the court the antipodes,
And will'd your delegate, the vulgar sun,

To do profane autumnal offices,

Whilst here to you wo sacrificers run ^

And whether priests, or organs, you we obey,

We sound your influence, aud your dictates say.

Yet to that deity which dwells in you,
Your virtuous soul, I now not sacrifice;

These are petitions, and not hymns; they sue
But that I may survey the edifice.

In all religions as much care hath been

Of temples' frames, and beauty, as rites within.

As all which go to Rome, do not thereby

Esteem religions, and hold fast the best, But serve discourse, and curiosity,

With that which doth religion but invest, And shun th' entangling labyrinths of schools, And make it wit, to think the wiser fools:

So in this pilgrimage I would behold

You as you are virtue's temple, not as she,

What walls of tender crystal her enfold,

What eyes, hands, bosom, her pure altars be!

And after this survey, oppose to all

Babblers of chapels, you th' Escurial.

Yet not as consecrate, but merely as fair;

On these I cast a lay and country eye. Of past and future stories, which are rare,

I find you all record, and prophecy. Purge but the book of fate, that it admit No sad nor guilty legends, you are it.

If good and lovely were not one, of both

You were the transcript, and original,
The elements, the parent, and the growth

And every piece of you, is both their all,
So entire are all your deeds, and you, that you
Must do the same things still: you cannot two.

But these (as nice thin school divinity

Serves heresy to further or repress) Taste of poetic rage, or flattery,

And need not, where all hearts one truth profess; Oft' from new proofs, and new phrase, new doubts grow. As strange attire aliens the men we know.

Leaving then busy praise, and all appeal,

To higher courts, sense's decree is true, The mine, the magazine, the commonweal,

The story of beauty, in TwickVam is, and you. Who hath seen one, would both; as, who had been In paradise, would seek the cherubin.

IX.

To Sir Edward Herbert, at Juliers.

Man is a lump, where all beasta kneaded be,

Wisdom makes him an ark where all agree;

The fool, in whom these beasts do live at jar,

Is sport to others, and a theatre.

Nor 'scapes he so, but is himself their prey;

All which was man in him, is eat away,

And now his beasts on one another feed,

Yet couple in anger, and new monsters breed.

How happy's he, which hath due place assigned

To his beasts, and disaforested his mind!

Empal'd himself to keep them out, not in;

Can sow, and dares trust corn where they've been;

Can use his horse, goat, wolf, and every beast,

And is not ass himself to all the rest.

Else, man not only is the herd of swine,

But he's those devils too, which did incline
Them to a headlong rage, and made them worse:
For man can add weight to heaven's heaviest curse.

As souls (they say) by our first touch, take in

The poisonous tincture of original sin:

So, to the punishments which God doth fling.

Our apprehension contributes the sting.

To us, as to his chickens, he doth cast

Hemlock; and we, as men, his hemlock taste.

We do infuse to what he meant for meat,

Corrosiveness, or intense cold or heat.

For God no such specific poison hath

As kills we know not how; his fiercest wrath

Hath no antipathy, but may be good

At least for physic, if not for our food.

Thus man, that might be his pleasure, is his rod,

And is his devil, that might be his God.

Since then our business is, to rectify

Nature, to what she was, we're led awry

By them, who man to us in little show:

Greater than due, no form we can bestow

On him; for man into himself can draw

All, all his faith can swallow, or reason chaw.

All that is filled, and all that which doth fill,

All the round world, to man is hut a pill:

In all it works not, but it is in all

Poisonous, or purgative or cordial.

For knowledge kindles calentures in some,

And is to others icy opium.

As brave as true, is that profession than

Which you do use to make: that you know man.

This makes it credible, you have dwelt upon

All worthy books, and now are such an one;

Actions are authors, and of those in you

Your friends find every day a mart of new.

X.

To the Countess of Bedford.

To have written then, when you writ, seemed to me

Worst of spiritual vices, simony;

And not t' have written then, seems little less

Than worst of civil vices, thanklessness.

In this, my doubt I seenVd loth to confess,

In that, I seem'd to shun beholdingness.

But 'tis not so, nothing, as I am, may

Pay all they have, and yet have all to pay.

Such borrow in their payments, and owe more

By having leave to write so, than before.

Yet since rich mines in barren grounds are shown,

May not I yield (not gold) but coal or stone I

Temples were not demolished, though profane:

Here Peter, Jove's—there Paul have D inn's fane.

So, whether my hymns you admit or choose,

In me you've hallowed a pagan muse;

And denizen'd a stranger, who, mistaught

By blamers of the times they marred, hath sought

Yirtues in corners, which now bravely do

Shine in the world's best part, or all, iu you*.

I have been told, that virtue in courtiers' hearts

Suffers an ostracism, and departs.

Profit, ease, fitness, plenty, bid it go,

But whither, only knowing you, I know;

* "Or all it, you." Anderson's Poets.

You, or your virtue, two vast uses serves, It ransoms one sex, and one court preserves; There's nothing but your worth, which being true, Is known to any other, not to you. And you can never know it: to admit No knowledge of your worth, is some of it. But since to you, your praises discords be, Stop others' ills, to meditate with me. Oh! to confess we know not what we would, Is half excuse, we know not what we should. Lightness depresseth us, emptiness fills, We sweat and faint, yet still go down the hills; As new philosophy arrests the sun, And bids the passive earth about it run, So we have dull'd our mind, it hath no ends: Only the body's busy, and pretends; As dead low earth eclipses and controls The quick high moon: so doth the body, souls. In none but us, are such mixed engines found, As hands of double office: for the ground We till with them, and them to heaven we raise; Who prayerless labours, or, without this, prays, Doth but one half: that's none. He which said, plough And look not back, to look up doth allow. Good seed degenerates, and oft obeys The soil's disease, and into cockle strays. Let the mind's thoughts be but transplanted so, Into the body, and bastardly they grow. What hate could hurt our bodies like our love? We but no foreign tyrants could remove, These not engraved, but inborn dignities— Caskets of souls, temples, and palaces. For bodies shall from death redeemed be: Souls but preserved, not naturally free; As men to our prisons, new souls to us are sent, Which learn it there, and come in innocent. First seeds of every creature are in us, Whate'er the world hath bad, or precious, Man's body can produce. Hence hath it been That stones, worms, frogs, and snakes in man are seen. But whoe'er saw, though nature can work so, That pearl, or gold, or corn in man did grow? Vol. vi. 2 H

We've added to the world V irginia, and sent
Two new stars lately to the firmament:
Why grudge we us (not heaven) the dignity
T' increase with ours, those fair souls' company?
But I must end this letter; though it do
Stand on two truths, neither is true to you.
Virtue hath some perverseness; for she will
Neither believe her good, nor others ill.
Even in your virtue's best paradise,
Virtue hath some, but wise degrees of vice.
Too many virtues, or too much of one,
Begets in you unjust suspicion;
And ignorance of vice, makes virtue less,
Quenching compassion of our wretchedness.
But these are riddles; some aspersion
Of vice becomes well some complexion.
Statesmen purge vice with vice, and may corrode
The bad with bad—a spider with a toad;
For so, ill thralls not them, but they tame ill,
And make her do much good against her will.
But in your commonwealth or world in you,
Vice hath no office, or good work to do;
Take then no vicious purge, but be content
With cordial virtue, your known nourishment.

XI.

To the Countess of Bedford.On New Year's Day.

This twilight of two years, not past nor next,
Some emblem is of me, or I of this:

Who, meteor-like, of stuff and form perplext,
Whose what, and where, in disputation is,
If I should call me anything, should miss.

I sum the years, and me, and find me not
Debtor to th' old, nor creditor to the new:

That cannot say, my thanks I have forgot,

Nor trust I this with hopes, and yet scarce true,
This bravery is since these time show'd me*, you.

• In Anderson,

"Since these times showed me you." The old edition is as in the text, but with no comma at me.—Ed.

In recompense, I would show future times

What you were, and teach them t' urge towards such;

Verse embalms virtue, and tombs'or thrones of rhymes
Preserve frail transitory fame, as much
As spice doth bodies, from corrupt air's touch.

Mine are short-lived; the tincture of your name
Creates in them, but dissipates as fast,

New spirit; for strong agents, with tho same
Force that doth warm and cherish, us do waste:
Kept hot with strong extracts, no bodies last.

So, my verse built of your just praise, might want
Reason and likelihood, the firmest base;

And, made of miracle, now faith is scant,
Will vanish soon, and so possess no place:
And you, and it, too much grace might disgrace.

When all (as truth commands assent) confess
All truth of you, yet they will doubt how I,

One corn of one low ant-hill's dust, and less,
Should name, know, or express a thing so high,
And (not an inch) measure infinity.

I cannot tell them, nor myself, nor you,

But leave, lest truth be 'ndangered by my praise;

And turn to God, who knows I think this true,
And useth oft, when such a heart mis-says,
To make it good; for such a praiser prays.

He will best teach you, how you should lay out
His stock of beauty, learning, favour, blood:

He will perplex security with doubt,
And clear those doubts; hide from you, and show you good;
And so increase your appetite and food.

He will teach you, that good and bad have not
One latitude in cloisters, and in court;

Indifferent there the greatest space hath got,
Some pity's not good there: some vain disport
On this side sin, with that place may comport.

Yet he, as he bounds seas, will fix your hours,
Which pleasure, and delight may not ingress;

And though what none else lost, be truliest yours,
He will make you, what you did not possess,
By using others', not vice, but weakness.

] le will make you speak truths, and credibly. And make you doubt, that others do not so:

He will provide you keys and locks, to spy

And scape spies, to good ends; and he will show
What you may not acknowledge, what not know.

For your own conscience, he gives innocence,
But for your fame, a discreet wariness;

And though to scape, than to revenge, offence.
Be better, he shows both: and to repress
Joy, when your state swells, sadness when 'tis less.

From need of tears he will defend your soul,
Or make a rebaptizing of one tear;

He cannot (that's, he will not) disenroll

Your name; and when with active joy we hear
This private Gospel, then 'tis our new year.

XII.

To the Countess of Huntingdon.
Madam, »

Man to God's image, Eve to man's was made,
Nor find we that God breathed a soul in her;

Canons will not, church functions you invade,
Nor laws to civil office you prefer.

Who vagrant transitory comets sees,

Wonders, because they're rare; but a new star

Whose motion with the firmament agrees,
Is miracle: for there no new things are.

In woman so perchance mild innocence
A seldom comet is, but active good

A miracle, which reason scapes, and sense;
For art and nature this in them withstood.

As such a star, which Magi led to view
The manger-cradled infant, God below;

By virtue's beams, by fame, derived from you,
May apt souls, and the worst may virtue know.

If the world's age and death be argued well

By the sun's fall, which now towards earth doth bend,

Then we might fear that virtue, since she fell
So low as woman, should be near her end.

But she's not stooped, but raised; exiled by men
She fled to heaven, that's heavenly things, that's you,

She was in all men, thinly scattered then,
But now amassed, contracted in a few.

She gilded us; but you are gold, and she,
Us she informed, but transubstantiates you;

Soft dispositions which ductile be,

Elixir-like, she makes not clean, but new.

Though you a wife's and mother's name retain,

'Tis not as woman, for all are not so; But virtue having made you virtue, 's fain

T' adhere in these names, her and you to show.

Else, being alike pure, we should neither see;

As water being into air rarified, Neither appear, till in one cloud they be,

So for our sakes you do low names abide.

Taught by great constellations, which being framed
Of the most stars, take low names, Crab and Bull,

When single planets by the gods are named,
You covet no great names, of great things full.

So you, as woman, one doth comprehend,

And in the veil* of kindred others see; To some ye are revealed, as in a friend.

And as a virtuous prince far off, to me.

To whom, because from you all virtues flow,
And 'tis not none, to dare contemplate you,

I, which to you as your true subject owe
Some tribute for that, so these lines are due.

If you can think these flatteries, they are,
For then your judgment is below my praise;

If they were so, oft flatteries work as far
As counsels, and as far th' endeavour raise.

* "Vale.'' Anderson's Poets.

So my ill reaching you might there grow good,
But I remain a poisoned fountain still;

But not your beauty, virtue, knowledge, blood
Are more above all flattery, than my will.

And if I flatter any, 'tis not you

But my own judgment, who did long ago

Pronounce, that all these praises should be true,
And virtue should your beauty and birth outgrow.

Now that my prophecies are all fulfilled,

Rather than God should not be honoured too,

And all these gifts confessed, which he instilled,
Yourself were bound to say that which I do.

So I but your recorder am in this,
Or mouth, or speaker of the universe,

A ministerial notary, for 'tis
Not I, but you and fame, that make this verse;

I was your prophet in your younger days,
And now your chaplain, God in you to praise.

XIII.
To Mr. I. W.

All hail, sweet poet! more full of more strong fire
Than hath or shall enkindle any spirit *,
I loved what nature gave thee, but this merit

Of wit and art I love not, but admire;

Who have before, or shall write after thee,

Their works, though toughly laboured, will be
Like infancy or age to man's firm stay,
Or early and late twilights to mid-day.

Men say, and truly, that they better be
Which be envied than pitied: therefore I,
Because I wish thee best, do thee envy;

O would'st thou, by like reason, pity me,

But care not for me, I, that ever was

In nature's and in fortune's gifts, (alas,

Before by thy grace got in th' muses' school)
A monster and a beggar, am a fool.

In Anderson's Poets,

"And full of more strong fire Than hath or shall enkindle my dull spirit."

0 how I grieve, that late-bom modesty Hath got such root in easy waxen hearts, That men may not themselves their own good parts

Extol, without suspect of surquedry;

For, but thyself, no subject can be found

Worthy thy quill, nor any quill resound

Thy work, but thine: how good it were to see
A poem in thy praise, and writ by thee.

Now if this song be too harsh for rhyme, yet, as
The painter's bad god made a good devil,
Twill be good prose, although the verse be evil.
If thou forget the rhyme as thou do'st pass,
Then write, then I may follow, and so be
Thy debtor, thy echo, thy foil, thy zany.
I shall be thought, if mine like thine I shape,
All the world's lion, though I be thy ape.

XIV.

To Mr. T. W.

Haste thee, harsh verse, as fast as thy lame measure
Will give thee leave, to him: my pain and pleasure
I have given thee, and yet thou art too weak,
Feet, and a reasoning soul, and tongue to speak.
Tell him, all questions which men have defended
Both of the place and pains of hell, are ended;
And 'tis decreed our hell is but privation
Of him, at least in this earth's habitation.
And 'tis where I am, where in every street
Infections follow, overtake, and meet:
Live I or die, by you my love is sent,
And you're my pawns, or else my testament.

XV.

To Mr. T. W.

Pregnant again with th' old twins, hope and fear,
Oft have I asked for thee, both how and where
Thou wert, and what my hopes of letters were.

As in our streets sly beggars narrowly
Watch motions of the giver's hand or eye,
And evermore conceive some hope thereby.

And now thy alms is given, thy letter is read,
Thy body risen again, the which was dead,
And thy poor starveling bountifully fed.

After this banquet my soul doth say grace,
And praise thee for it, and zealously embrace
Thy love, though I think thy love in this case
To be as gluttons', which say 'midst their meat,
They love that best of which they most do eat.

At once, from hence, my lines and I depart,
I to my soft still walks, they to my heart;
I to the nurse, they to the child of art.

Yet as a firm house, though the carpenter
Perish, doth stand; as an ambassador
Lies safe, howe'er his king be in danger:

So, though I languish, prest with melancholy,
My verse, the strict map of my misery,
Shall live to see that, for whose want I die.

Therefore I envy them, and do repent,

That from unhappy me, things happy are sent;

Yet as a picture, or bare sacrament,

Accept these lines, and if in them there be
Merit of love, bestow that love on me.

XVI.
To Mr. C. B*

Thy friend, whom thy deserts to thee enchain,

Urged by this unexcusable occasion,

Thee and the saint of his affection
Leaving behind, doth of both wants complain;
And let the love I bear to both sustain

No blot nor maim by this division;

Strong is this love which ties our hearts in one,

• Probably, Christopher Brook.—Ed.

And strong that love pursued with amorous pain;

But though besides thyself I leave behind
Heaven's liberal and earth's thrice-fair sun,
Going to where stern winter aye doth won,

Yet love's hot fires, which martyr my sad mind,
Do send forth scalding sighs, which have the art
To melt all ice, but that which walls her heart.

XVII.
To Mr. S. B*.

0 Thol- which to search out the secret parts
Of the India, or rather paradise

Of knowledge, hast with courage and advico
Lately launched into the vast sea of arts,
Disdain not in thy constant travelling
To do as other voyagers, and make
Some turns into less creeks, and wisely take
Fresh water at the Heliconian spring;

1 sing not, siren-like, to tempt; for I

Am harsh, nor as those schismatics with you,
Which draw all wits of good hope to their crew;
But seeing in you bright sparks of poetry,
I, though I brought no fuel, had desire
With these articulate blasts to blow the fire.

XVIII.
To Mr. B. Bf.

Is not thy sacred hunger of science

Yet satisfied? Is not thy brain's rich hive
Fulfill'd with honey which thou dost derive

From the arts' spirits and their quintessence?

Then wean thyself at last, and thee withdraw
From Cambridge thy old nurse, and, as the rest,
Here toughly chew, and sturdily digest

Th' immense vast volumes of our common law;

* Probably Samuel Brook.—Ed. t This Poem seems to be addressed to the same person as the last.—Ed.

And begin soon, lest my grief grieve thee too,
Which is, that that which I should have begun
In my youth's morning, now late must be done;

And I, as giddy travellers must do,

Which stray or sleep all day, and having lost

Light and strength, dark and tired, must then ride post.

If thou unto thy muse be married,

Embrace her ever, ever multiply,

Be far from me that strange adultery,
To tempt thee and procure her widowhood;
My nurse* (for I had one), because I am cold,

Divorced herself, the cause being in me,

That I can take no new in bigamy,
Not my will only but power doth withhold.

Hence comes it, that these rhymes which never had

Mother, want matter, and they only have

A little form, the which their father gave; They are profane, imperfect, O, too bad

To be counted children of poetry

Except confirmed and bishoped by thee.

XIX.

To Mr. R. W.

If, as mine is, thy life a slumber be,

Seem, when thou read'st these lines, to dream of me:

Never did Morpheus nor his brother wear

Shapes so like those shapes, whom they would appear,

As this my letter is like me, for it

Hath my name, words, hand, feet, heart, mind and wit;

It is my deed of gift of me to thee,

It is my will, myself the legacy.

So thy retirings I love, yea envy,

Bred in thee by a wise melancholy,

That I rejoice, that unto where thou art,

Though I stay here, I can thus send my heart,

As kindly as any enamoured patient

His picture to his absent love hath sent.

* Query, Muse ?—Ed.

All news I think sooner reach thee than me;
Havens are heavens, and ships wing'd angels be,
The which both gospel, and stern threatenings bring,
Guyana's harvest is nipped in the spring,
I fear; and with us (methinks) fate deals so
As with the Jews' guide God did; he did show
Him the rich land, but barr'd his entry in;
Our slowness is our punishment and sin;
Perchance, these Spanish businesses being done,
Which as the earth between the moon and sun
Eclipse the light which Guyana would give,
Our discontinued hopes we shall retrieve:
But if (as all th' all must) hopes smoke away,
Is not Almighty virtue an India?

If men be worlds, there is in every one
Something to answer in some proportion
All the world's riches: And in good men, this
Virtue, our form's form and our soul's soul is.

XX.

To Mr. I. L.

Of that short roll of friends writ in my heart

Which with thy name begins, since their depart,

Whether in the English provinces they be,

Or drink of Po, Sequan, or Danubie,

There's none that sometimes greets us not, and yet

Your Trent is Lethe, that past, us you forget,

You do not duties of societies,

If from the embrace of a loved wife you rise,

View your fat beasts, stretched barns, and laboured fields,

Eat, play, ride, take all joys which all day yields,

And then again to your embracements go:

Some hours on us your friends, and some bestow

Upon your muse, else both we shall repent,

I that my love, she that her gifts, on you are spent.

XXI.

To Mr. I. P.

Blest are your north parts, for all this long time
My sun is with you, cold and dark is our clime;
Heaven's sun, which staid so long from us this year,
Staid in your north (I think) for she was there,
And hither by kind nature drawn from thence,
Here rages, chafes, and threatens pestilence;
Yet I, as long as she from hence doth stay,
Think this no south, no summer, nor no day.
With thee my kind and unkind heart is run,
There sacrifice it to that beauteous sun:
So may thy pastures with their flowery feasts,
As suddenly as lard, fat thy lean beasts;
So may thy woods oft polled, yet ever wear
A green, and when thee* list a golden hair;
So may all thy sheep bring forth twins; and so
In chace and race may thy horse all out-go;
So may thy love and courage ne'er be cold;
Thy son ne'er ward; thy loved wife ne'er seem old;
But may'st thou wish great things, and them attain,
As thou tell'st her and none but her my pain.

XXII.

To E. ofB., with Six Holy Sonnets f.

See Sir, how as the sun's hot masculine flame

Begets strange creatures on Nile's dirty slime,

In me, your fatherly yet lusty rhyme

(For these songs are their fruits) have wrought the same;

But though the engendering force from whence they came

Be strong enough, and nature do admit

Seven to be born at once, I send as yet

But six; they say, the seventh hath still some maim;

I choose your judgment, which the same degree

Doth with her sister, your invention, hold,

As fire these drossy rhymes to purify,

Or as elixir, to change them to gold;

You are that alchymist which always had

Wit, whose one spark could make good things of bad.

• She.—Anderson.

t The Earl of Doncaster.—Ed.

XXIII.

To Sir Henry Wootton, at his going Ambassador to Venice.

After those reverend papers, whose soul is

Our good and great king's loved hand and fear'd name,

By which to you he derives much of his,

And (how he may) makes you almost the same,

A taper of his torch, a copy writ

From his original, and a fair beam
Of the same warm, and dazzling sun, though it

Must in another sphere his virtue stream:

After those learned papers, which your hand
Hath stor'd with notes of use and pleasures too,

From which rich treasury you may command
Fit matter whether you will write or do:

After those loving papers, where friends send
With glad grief, to your sea-ward steps, farewell,

Which thicken on you now, as prayers ascend
To heaven in troops at a good man's passing bell

Admit this honest paper, and allow

It such an audience as yourself would ask;

What you must say at Venice, this means now,
And hath for nature, what you have for task.

To swear much love, not to be changed, before

Honour alone will to your fortune fit; Nor shall I then honour your fortune, more

Than I have done you honour, wanting it*.

But 'tis an easier load (though both oppress)
To want, than govern greatness, for we are

In that, our own and only business,
In this, we must for others' vices care.

It is therefore well your spirits now are placed

In their last furnace, in activity; Which fits them (schools and courts and wars o'erpass'd)

To touch and test in any best degree.

"Your noble-wanting wit.—Anderson.

For me, (if there be such a thing as I)
Fortune (if there be such a thing as she)

Spies that I bear so well her tyranny,

That she thinks nothing else so fit for me;

But though she part us, to hear my oft prayers
For your increase, God is as near me here;

And to send you what I shall beg, his stairs
In length and ease are alike everywhere.

XXIV.

To the Countess of Bedford.

Honour is so sublime perfection,

And so refined; that when God was alone

And creatureless at first, himself had none;

But as of the elements, these which we tread,
Produce all things with which we're joyed or fed,
And those are barren both above our head:

So from low persons doth all honour flow;

Kings, whom they would have honoured, to us show,

And but direct our honour, not bestow.

For when from herbs the pure part must be won
From gross, by stilling, this is better done
By despised dung, than by the fire or sun.

Care not then, madam, how low your praises lie;
In labourers ballads more of piety
God finds, than in Te Deutris melody.

And ordnance raised on towers so many mile
Send not their voice, nor last so long a while
As fires from the earth's low vaults in Sicil Isle.

Should I say I lived darker than were true,

Your radiation can all clouds subdue,

But one; it is best light to contemplate you.

You, for whose body God made better clay,
Or took soul's stuff such as shall late decay,
Or such as needs small change at the last day.

This, as an amber drop enwraps a bee,

Covering discovers your quick soul; that we

May in your through-shine front our hearts' thoughts see.

You teach (though we leam not) a thing unknown
To our late times, the use of specular stone,
Through which all things within, without are shown.

Of such were temples; so and such you are;

Being and seeming is your equal care,

And virtue's whole sum is but know and dare.

But as our souls of growth and souls of sense
Have birthright of our reason's soul, yet hence
They fly not from that, nor seek precedence.

Natures first lesson, so, discretion,

Must not grudge zeal a place, nor yet keep none,

Not banish itself, nor religion.

Discretion is a wise man's soul, and so
Religion is a Christian's, and you know
How these are one; her yea, is not her no.

Nor may we hope to solder still and knit

These two, and dare to break them; nor must wit

Be colleague to religion, but be it.

In those poor types of God (round circles) so
Religious types, the pieceless centres flow,
And are in all the lines which always go.

If either ever wrought in you alone

Or principally, then religion

Wrought your ends, and your way's discretion.

Go thither still, go the same way you went,
Who so would change, do covet or repent;
Neither can reach you, great and innocent.

XXV.

To the Countess of Bedford.
Begun in France, but never perfected.

Though I be dead, and buried, yet I have
(Living in you,) court enough in my grave,

As oft as there I think lAyself to be,
So many resurrections waken me.
That thankfulness your favours have begot
In me, embalms me; that I do not rot;
This season, as 'tis Easter, as 'tis spring,
Must both to growth and to confession bring
My thoughts disposed unto your influence, so,
These verses bud, so these confessions grow;
First I confess I have to others lent
Your stock, and over prodigally spent
Your treasure, for since I had never known
Virtue or beauty, but as they are grown
In you, I should not think or say they shine,
(So as I have) in any other mine;
Next I confess this my confession,
For 'tis some fault thus much to touch upon
Your praise to you, where half rights seem too much,
And make your mind's sincere complexion blush.
Next I confess my impenitence, for I
Can scarce repent my first fault, since thereby
Remote low spirits, which shall ne'er read you,
May in less lessons find enough to do,
By studying copies, not originals.
Desunt cwtera.

XXVI.

A Letter to the Lady Carey, and Mrs. Essex Riche, from Amiens.
Madam, .

Hebe where by all, all saints invoked are,
'Twere too much schism to be singular,
And 'gainst a practice general to war.

Yet turning to saints, should my humility
To other saint than you directed be,
That were to make my schism, heresy.

Nor would I be a convertite so cold,
As not to tell it; if this be too bold,
Pardons are in this market cheaply sold.

Where, because faith is in too low degree,

I thought it some apostleship in me

To speak things which by faith alone I see.

That is, of you, who is a firmament

Of virtues, where no one is grown, or spent,

They are your materials, not your ornament.

Others whom we call virtuous, are not so

In their whole substance; but their virtues grow

But in their humours, and at seasons show.

For when through tasteless flat humility

In dough-baked men some harmlessness we see,

'Tis but his phlegm that's virtuous, and not he.

So is the blood sometimes; who ever ran
To danger nnimportuned, he was than
No better than a sanguine virtuous man.

So cloisteral men, who, in pretence of fear
All contributions to this life forbear,
Have virtue in melancholy, and only there.

Spiritual choleric critics, which in all

Religions find faults, and forgive no fall,

Have, through their zeal, virtue but in their gall.

We are thus but parcel-guilt; to gold we are grown

When virtue is our soul's complexion;

Who knows his virtue's name or place, hath none.

Virtue is but anguish, when 'tis several,
By occasion waked, and circumstantial.
True virtue is soul, always in all deeds all.

This virtue thinking to give dignity
To your soul, found there no infirmity,
For your soul was as good virtue, as she.

She therefore wrought upon that part of you
Which is scarce less than soul, as she could do,
And so hath made your beauty, virtue too.

Hence comes it, that your beauty wounds not hearts
As others, with profane and sensual darts,
But as an influence, virtuous thoughts imparts.

But if such friend, by the honour of your sight
Grow capable of this so great a light,
As to partake your virtues, and their might.
VOL. vi. 2 i

What must I think that influence must do,
Where it finds sympathy and matter too,
Virtue, and beauty of the same stuff, as you?

Which is, your noble worthy sister, she
Of whom, if what iu this my ecstasy
And revelation of you both I see

I should write here, as in short galleries
The master at the end large glasses ties,
So to present the room twice to our eyes,

So I should give this letter length, and say
That which I said of you, there is no way
From either, but by* the other not to stray.

May therefore this be enough to testify
My true devotion, free from flattery;
He that believes himself, doth never lie.

XXVII.

To the Countess of Salisbury, August 1G14.

Fair, great, and good, since seeing you, we see
What heaven can do, and what any earth can be:
Since now your beauty shines, now when the sun
Grown stale, is to so low a value run,
That his dishevelled beams and scattered fires
Serve but for ladies'" periwigs and tires
In lovers' sonnets: you come to repair
God's book of creatures, teaching what is fair.
Since now, when all is withered, shrunk, and dried,
All virtues ebbed out to a dead low tide,
All the world's frame being crumbled into sand,
Where every man thinks by himself to stand,
Integrity, friendship, and confidence,
(Cements of greatness) being vapoured hence,
And narrow man being filled with little shares,
Court, city, church, are all shops of small wares,
All having blown to sparks their noble fire,
And drawn their sound gold-ingot into wire;

All trying by a love of littleness

To make abridgements, and to draw to less,

Even that nothing, which at first we were;

Since in these times, your greatness doth appear,

And that we learn by it, that man to get

Towards him that's infinite, must first be great.

Since in an age so ill, as none is fit

So much as to accuse, much less mend it,

(For who can judge, or witness of those times

Where all alike are guilty of the crimes V)

Where he that would be good, is thought by all

A monster, or at best fantastical:

Since now you durst be good, and that I do

Discern, by daring to contemplate you,

That there may be degrees of fair, great, good,

Through your light, largeness, virtue understood:

If in this sacrifice of mine, be shown

Any small spark of these, call it your own.

And if things like these, have been said by me

Of others; call not that idolatry.

For had God made man first, and man had seen

The third day's fruits, and flowers, and various green,

He might have said the best that he could say

Of those fair creatures, which were made that day;

And when next day he had admired the birth

Of sun, moon, stars, fairer than late-praised earth,

He might have said the best that he could say,

And not be chid for praising yesterday:

So though some things are not together true,

As, that another is worthiest, and, that you:

Yet, to say so, doth not condemn a man,

If when he spoke them, they were both true then.

How fair a proof of this, in our soul grows?

We first have souls of growth, and sense, and those,

When our last soul, our soul immortal came,

Were swallowed into it, and have no name.

Nor doth he injure those souls, which doth cast

The power and praise of both them, on the last;

No more do I wrong any; I adore

The same things now, which I adored before,

The subject changed, and measure; the same thing

In a low constable, and in the king

I reverence; his power to work on me;

So did I humbly reverence each degree

Of fair, great, good, but more, now I am come

From having found their walks, to find their home.

And as I owe my first soul's thanks, that they

For my last soul did fit and mould my clay,

So am I debtor unto them, whose worth

Enabled me to profit, and take forth

This new great lesson, thus to study you;

Which none, not reading others, first, could do.

Nor lack I light to read this book, though I

In a dark cave, yea, in a grave do lie;

For as your fellow-angels, so you do

Illustrate them who come to study you.

The first whom we in histories do find

To have professed all arts, was one born blind:

He lacked those eyes beasts have as well as we,

Not those, by which angels are seen and see;

So, though I am born without those eyes to live,

Which fortune, who hath none herself, doth give,

Which are fit means to see bright courts and you

Yet may I see you thus, as now I do;

I shall by that, all goodness have discerned,

And though I burn my library, be learned.