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248                                              A Welcome

WELCOME, welcome! do I sing,
   Far more welcome than the spring;
He that parteth from you never
   Shall enjoy a spring for ever.
He that to the voice is near
   Breaking from your iv’ry pale,
Need not walk abroad to hear
   The delightful nightingale.
                         Welcome, welcome, then ...
He that looks still on your eyes,
   Though the winter have begun
To benumb our arteries,
   Shall not want the summer’s sun.
                         Welcome, welcome, then ...
He that still may see your cheeks,
   Where all rareness still reposes,
Is a fool if e’er he seeks
   Other lilies, other roses.
                         Welcome, welcome, then ...
He to whom your soft lip yields,
   And perceives your breath in kissing,
All the odours of the fields
   Never, never shall be missing.
                         Welcome, welcome, then ...
He that question would anew
   What fair Eden was of old,
Let him rightly study you,
   And a brief of that behold.
                         Welcome, welcome, then ...

249                                     The Sirens’ Song

STEER, hither steer your wingàed pines,
   All beaten mariners!
Here lie Love’s undiscover’d mines,
   A prey to passengers—
Perfumes far sweeter than the best
Which make the Phoenix’ urn and nest.
   Fear not your ships,
Nor any to oppose you save our lips;
   But come on shore,
Where no joy dies till Love hath gotten more.
For swelling waves our panting breasts,
   Where never storms arise,
Exchange, and be awhile our guests:
   For stars gaze on our eyes.
The compass Love shall hourly sing,
And as he goes about the ring,
   We will not miss
To tell each point he nameth with a kiss.
   —Then come on shore,
Where no joy dies till Love hath gotten more.

250                                               The Rose

A ROSE, as fair as ever saw the North,
Grew in a little garden all alone;
A sweeter flower did Nature ne’er put forth,
Nor fairer garden yet was never known:
The maidens danced about it morn and noon,
And learnàed bards of it their ditties made;
The nimble fairies by the pale-faced moon
Water’d the root and kiss’d her pretty shade.
But well-a-day!—the gardener careless grew;
The maids and fairies both were kept away,
And in a drought the caterpillars threw
Themselves upon the bud and every spray.
   God shield the stock! If heaven send no supplies,
   The fairest blossom of the garden dies.

251                                                Song

FOR her gait, if she be walking;
Be she sitting, I desire her
For her state’s sake; and admire her
For her wit if she be talking;
    Gait and state and wit approve her;
    For which all and each I love her.
Be she sullen, I commend her
For a modest. Be she merry,
For a kind one her prefer I.
Briefly, everything doth lend her
    So much grace, and so approve her,
    That for everything I love her.

252                                                 Memory

SO shuts the marigold her leaves
   At the departure of the sun;
So from the honeysuckle sheaves
   The bee goes when the day is done;
So sits the turtle when she is but one,
And so all woe, as I since she is gone.
To some few birds kind Nature hath
   Made all the summer as one day:
Which once enjoy’d, cold winter’s wrath
   As night they sleeping pass away.
Those happy creatures are, that know not yet
The pain to be deprived or to forget.
I oft have heard men say there be
   Some that with confidence profess
The helpful Art of Memory:
   But could they teach Forgetfulness,
I’d learn; and try what further art could do
To make me love her and forget her too.


253                                  In Obitum M. S. X° Maij, 1614

MAY! Be thou never graced with birds that sing,
                 Nor Flora’s pride!
In thee all flowers and roses spring,
                 Mine only died.

254                           On the Countess Dowager of Pembroke

UNDERNEATH this sable herse
Lies the subject of all verse:
Sidney’s sister, Pembroke’s mother:
Death, ere thou hast slain another
Fair and learn’d and good as she,
Time shall throw a dart at thee.


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