Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

133                                                       Silvia

1564-1616

WHO is Silvia? What is she?
    That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
    The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admiràed be.
Is she kind as she is fair?
    For beauty lives with kindness:
Love doth to her eyes repair,
    To help him of his blindness;
And, being help’d, inhabits there.
Then to Silvia let us sing,
    That silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
    Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.

134                                                The Blossom

ON a day—alack the day!—
Love, whose month is ever May,
Spied a blossom passing fair
Playing in the wanton air:
Through the velvet leaves the wind
All unseen ’gan passage find;
That the lover, sick to death,
Wish’d himself the heaven’s breath.
Air, quoth he, thy cheeks may blow;
Air, would I might triumph so!
But, alack, my hand is sworn
Ne’er to pluck thee from thy thorn:
Vow, alack, for youth unmeet;
Youth so apt to pluck a sweet!
Do not call it sin in me
That I am forsworn for thee;
Thou for whom e’en Jove would swear
Juno but an Ethiop were;
And deny himself for Jove,
Turning mortal for thy love.

135                                           Spring and Winter

                                                                (i)

WHEN daisies pied and violets blue,
   And lady-smocks all silver-white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
   Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
                      Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo!—O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!
When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
   And merry larks are ploughmen’s clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
   And maidens bleach their summer smocks
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
                      Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo!—O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

136                                                         (ii)

WHEN icicles hang by the wall,
   And Dick the shepherd blows his nail.
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
   And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp’d and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
         To-whit!
To-who!—a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all aloud the wind doth blow,
   And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
   And Marian’s nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
         To-whit!
To-who!—a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel1 the pot.

1 keel: skim.

137                                                 Fairy Land

                                                               (i)

OVER hill, over dale,
   Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
   Thorough flood, thorough fire,
   I do wander everywhere,
   Swifter than the moonàe’s sphere;
   And I serve the fairy queen,
   To dew her orbs upon the green:
   The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
   In their gold coats spots you see;
   Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dew-drops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.

138                                                        (ii)

YOU spotted snakes with double tongue,
   Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong;
   Come not near our fairy queen.
       Philomel, with melody,
       Sing in our sweet lullaby;
     Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby!
     Never harm,
     Nor spell nor charm,
   Come our lovely lady nigh;
   So, good night, with lullaby.
Weaving spiders, come not here;
   Hence, you long-legg’d spinners, hence!
Beetles black, approach not near;
    Worm nor snail, do no offence.
       Philomel, with melody,
       Sing in our sweet lullaby;
     Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby!
         Never harm,
     Nor spell nor charm,
   Come our lovely lady nigh;
   So, good night, with lullaby!

139                                                       (iii)

COME unto these yellow sands,
   And then take hands:
Court’sied when you have, and kiss’d,—
   The wild waves whist,—
Foot it featly here and there;
And, sweet sprites, the burthen bear.
     Hark, hark!
     Bow, wow,
    The watch-dogs bark:
     Bow, wow.
    Hark, hark! I hear
The strain of strutting chanticleer
Cry, Cock-a-diddle-dow!

140                                                        (iv)

WHERE the bee sucks, there suck I:
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily:
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

141                                                          (v)

FULL fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
                                              Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them—
                                Ding-dong, bell!

142                                                         Love

TELL me where is Fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in the head?
How begot, how nourishàed?
       Reply, reply.
It is engender’d in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and Fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
      Let us all ring Fancy’s knell:
      I’ll begin it,—Ding, dong, bell!
All. Ding, dong, bell!

143                                               Sweet-and-Twenty

O MISTRESS mine, where are you roaming?
O, stay and hear! your true love’s coming,
    That can sing both high and low:
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
    Every wise man’s son doth know.
    What is love? ’tis not hereafter;
    Present mirth hath present laughter;
      What’s to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet-and-twenty!
    Youth’s a stuff will not endure.

144                                                        Dirge

COME away, come away, death,
    And in sad cypres let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away, breath;
    I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
      O prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
      Did share it.
Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
    On my black coffin let there be strown;
Not a friend, not a friend greet
    My poor corse, where my bones shall be thrown:
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
      Lay me, O, where
Sad true lover never find my grave
      To weep there!

cypres: crape.

145                                         Under the Greenwood Tree

Amiens sings:
   UNDER the greenwood tree,
   Who loves to lie with me,
   And turn his merry note
   Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
      Here shall he see
      No enemy
But winter and rough weather.
   Who doth ambition shun,
   And loves to live i’ the sun.
   Seeking the food he eats,
    And pleased with what he gets,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
      Here shall be see
      No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

Jaques replies:

   If it do come to pass
   That any man turn ass,
   Leaving his wealth and ease
   A stubborn will to please,
Ducdamàe, ducdamàe, ducdamàe:
      Here shall he see
      Gross fools as he,
An if he will come to me.

146                                     Blow, blow, thou Winter Wind

   BLOW, blow, thou winter wind,
   Thou art not so unkind
    As man’s ingratitude;
   Thy tooth is not so keen,
   Because thou art not seen,
    Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh ho! sing, heigh ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
    Then heigh ho, the holly!
    This life is most jolly.
     Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
   That dost not bite so nigh
    As benefits forgot:
   Though thou the waters warp,
   Thy sting is not so sharp
    As friend remember’d not.
Heigh ho! sing, heigh ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
    Then heigh ho, the holly!
    This life is most jolly.

147                                      It was a Lover and his Lass

IT was a lover and his lass,
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o’er the green corn-field did pass,
   In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
Between the acres of the rye,
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country folks would lie,
   In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
This carol they began that hour,
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that life was but a flower
   In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
And, therefore, take the present time
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crownàed with the prime
   In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

148                                     Take, O take those Lips away

   TAKE, O take those lips away,
   That so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
   Lights that do mislead the morn!
But my kisses bring again,
      Bring again;
Seals of love, but seal’d in vain,
      Seal’d in vain!

149                                                     Aubade

   HARK! hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings,
   And Phbus ’gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
   On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
   To ope their golden eyes:
With everything that pretty bin,
   My lady sweet, arise!
       Arise, arise!

150                                                     Fidele

   FEAR no more the heat o’ the sun,
   Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
   Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
Fear no more the frown o’ the great,
   Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
   To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.
Fear no more the lightning-flash,
   Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
   Thou hast finish’d joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.
No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renownàed be thy grave!

151                                                Bridal Song

ROSES, their sharp spines being gone,
Not royal in their smells alone,
   But in their hue;
Maiden pinks, of odour faint,
Daisies smell-less, yet most quaint,
   And sweet thyme true;
Primrose, firstborn child of Ver;
Merry springtime’s harbinger,
   With harebells dim;
Oxlips in their cradles growing,
Marigolds on death-beds blowing,
   Larks’-heels trim;
All dear Nature’s children sweet
Lie ’fore bride and bridegroom’s feet,
   Blessing their sense!
Not an angel of the air,
Bird melodious or bird fair,
   Be absent hence!
The crow, the slanderous cuckoo, nor
The boding raven, nor chough hoar,
   Nor chattering pye,
May on our bride-house perch or sing,
Or with them any discord bring,
   But from it fly!

? or John Fletcher.

152                                       Dirge of the Three Queens

URNS and odours bring away!
Vapours, sighs, darken the day!
Our dole1 more deadly looks than dying;
   Balms and gums and heavy cheers,
   Sacred vials fill’d with tears,
And clamours through the wild air flying!
Come, all sad and solemn shows,
That are quick-eyed Pleasure’s foes!
We convàent2 naught else but woes.

? or John Fletcher.

1 dole: lamentation.

2 convent: summon.

153                                                 Orpheus

ORPHEUS with his lute made trees
And the mountain tops that freeze
   Bow themselves when he did sing:
To his music plants and flowers
Ever sprung; as sun and showers
   There had made a lasting spring.
Every thing that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea,
   Hung their heads and then lay by.
In sweet music is such art,
Killing care and grief of heart
   Fall asleep, or, hearing, die.

? or John Fletcher.

154                                    The Phoenix and the Turtle

LET the bird of loudest lay
   On the sole Arabian tree,
   Herald sad and trumpet be,
To whose sound chaste wings obey.
But thou shrieking harbinger,
   Foul precurrer of the fiend,
   Augur of the fever’s end,
To this troop come thou not near.
From this session interdict
   Every fowl of tyrant wing
   Save the eagle, feather’d king.
Keep the obsequy so strict.
Let the priest in surplice white
   That defunctive music can,1
   Be the death-divining swan,
Lest the requiem lack his right
And thou, treble-dated crow,
   That thy sable gender mak’st
   With the breath thou giv’st and tak’st,
’Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.
Here the anthem doth commence:—
   Love and constancy is dead;
   Phnix and the turtle fled
In a mutual flame from hence.
So they loved, as love in twain
   Had the essence but in one;
   Two distincts, division none;
Number there in love was slain.
Hearts remote, yet not asunder;
   Distance, and no space was seen
   ’Twixt the turtle and his queen:
But in them it were a wonder.
So between them love did shine,
   That the turtle saw his right
   Flaming in the phnix’ sight;
Either was the other’s mine.
Property was thus appall’d,
   That the self was not the same;
   Single nature’s double name
Neither two nor one was call’d.
Reason, in itself confounded,
   Saw division grow together;
   To themselves yet either neither;
Simple were so well compounded,
That it cried, ‘How true a twain
   Seemeth this concordant one!
   Love hath reason, reason none
If what parts can so remain.’
Whereupon it made this threne
   To the phnix and the dove,
   Co-supremes and stars of love,
As chorus to their tragic scene.

1 can: knows.

THRENOS

BEAUTY, truth, and rarity,
Grace in all simplicity,
Here enclosed in cinders lie.
Death is now the phnix’ nest;
And the turtle’s loyal breast
To eternity doth rest,
Leaving no posterity:
’Twas not their infirmity,
It was married chastity.
Truth may seem, but cannot be;
Beauty brag, but ’tis not she;
Truth and beauty buried be.
To this urn let those repair
That are either true or fair;
For these dead birds sigh a prayer.

Sonnets

155                                                       (i)

SHALL I compare thee to a Summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

156                                                       (ii)

WHEN, in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possest,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising—
Haply I think on thee: and then my state,
Like to the Lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at Heaven’s gate;
    For thy sweet love rememb’red such wealth brings
    That then I scorn to change my state with Kings.

157                                                       (iii)

WHEN to the Sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long-since-cancell’d woe,
And moan th’ expense of many a vanish’d sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoanàed moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
    But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
    All losses are restored and sorrows end.

158                                                       (iv)

THY bosom is endearàed with all hearts
Which I, by lacking, have supposàed dead:
And there reigns Love, and all Love’s loving parts,
And all those friends which I thought buriàed.
How many a holy and obsequious tear
Hath dear religious love stol’n from mine eye,
As interest of the dead!—which now appear
But things removed that hidden in thee lie.
Thou art the grave where buried love doth live,
Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone,
Who all their parts of me to thee did give:
—That due of many now is thine alone:
    Their images I loved I view in thee,
    And thou, all they, hast all the all of me.

159                                                       (v)

WHAT is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
Since every one hath, every one, one shade,
And you, but one, can every shadow lend.
Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit
Is poorly imitated after you;
On Helen’s cheek all art of beauty set,
And you in Grecian tires are painted new:
Speak of the spring and foison1 of the year,
The one doth shadow of your beauty show,
The other as your bounty doth appear;
And you in every blessàed shape we know.
    In all external grace you have some part,
    But you like none, none you, for constant heart.

1 foison: plenty.

160                                                       (vi)

O HOW much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The Rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
The Canker-blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumàed tincture of the Roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
When summer’s breath their maskàed buds discloses:
But—for their virtue only is their show—
They live unwoo’d and unrespected fade,
Die to themselves. Sweet Roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made.
    And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
    When that shall vade, my verse distils your truth.

161                                         (vii)

BEING your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu;
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
Save, where you are how happy you make those!
    So true a fool is love, that in your Will,
    Though you do any thing, he thinks no ill.

162                                                       (viii)

THAT time of year thou may’st in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold—
Bare ruin’d choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after Sunset fadeth in the West,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
    This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong
    To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

163                                                        (ix)

FAREWELL! thou art too dear for my possessing,
And like enough thou know’st thy estimate:
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gav’st, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me, to whom thou gav’st it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgment making.
    Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter
    In sleep a King; but waking, no such matter.

164                                                         (x)

THEN hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now;
Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
And do not drop in for an after loss:
Ah! do not, when my heart hath ’scaped this sorrow,
Come in the rearward of a conquer’d woe;
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
To linger out a purposed overthrow.
If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
When other petty griefs have done their spite,
But in the onset come: so shall I taste
At first the very worst of fortune’s might;
    And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
    Compared with loss of thee will not seem so!

165                                                         (xi)

THEY that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmovàed, cold, and to temptation slow—
They rightly do inherit Heaven’s graces,
And husband Nature’s riches from expense;
They are the Lords and owners of their faces,
Others, but stewards of their excellence.
The Summer’s flower is to the Summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die;
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
    For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
    Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

166                                                         (xii)

HOW like a Winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen,
What old December’s bareness everywhere!
And yet this time removed was summer’s time;
The teeming Autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime
Like widow’d wombs after their Lord’s decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;
For Summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute:
    Or if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer
    That leaves look pale, dreading the Winter’s near.

167                                                       (xiii)

FROM you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dress’d in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew;
Nor did I wonder at the Lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the Rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
    Yet seem’d it Winter still, and, you away,
    As with your shadow I with these did play.

168                                                      (xiv)

MY love is strengthen’d, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear:
That love is merchandised whose rich esteeming
The owner’s tongue doth publish everywhere.
Our love was new, and then but in the spring,
When I was wont to greet it with my lays;
As Philomel in Summer’s front doth sing
And stops her pipe in growth of riper days:
Not that the Summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burthens every bough,
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
    Therefore, like her, I sometime hold my tongue,
    Because I would not dull you with my song.

169                                                      (xv)

TO me, fair friend, you never can be old;
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still. Three Winters cold
Have from the forests shook three Summers’ pride;
Three beauteous Springs to yellow Autumn turn’d
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green,
Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived:
    For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred:
    Ere you were born was beauty’s Summer dead.

170                                                       (xvi)

WHEN in the chronicle of wasted time
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
And beauty making beautiful old rime
In praise of Ladies dead and lovely Knights;
Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty’s best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have exprest
Even such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
And for they look’d but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
    For we, which now behold these present days,
    Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.

171                                                       (xvii)

O NEVER say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seem’d my flame to qualify!
As easy might I from myself depart,
As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love; if I have ranged,
Like him that travels I return again,
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe, though in my nature reign’d
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so prepost’rously be stain’d,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good:
    For nothing this wide Universe I call,
    Save thou, my Rose; in it thou art my all.

172                                               (xviii)

LET me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixàed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:—
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

173                                                         (xix)

TH’ expense of Spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoy’d no sooner but despisàed straight;
Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
    All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
    To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

174                                                         (xx)

POOR soul, the centre of my sinful earth—
My sinful earth, these rebel powers array—
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body’s end?
Then, soul, live thou upon thy servant’s loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
    So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men;
    And Death once dead, there’s no more dying then.

 

Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter