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305                              To Roses in the Bosom of Castara

YE blushing virgins happy are
   In the chaste nunnery of her breasts—
For he’d profane so chaste a fair,
   Whoe’er should call them Cupid’s nests.
Transplanted thus how bright ye grow!
   How rich a perfume do ye yield!
In some close garden cowslips so
   Are sweeter than i’ th’ open field.
In those white cloisters live secure
   From the rude blasts of wanton breath!—
Each hour more innocent and pure,
   Till you shall wither into death.
Then that which living gave you room,
   Your glorious sepulchre shall be.
There wants no marble for a tomb
   Whose breast hath marble been to me.

306                                 Nox Nocti Indicat Scientiam

   WHEN I survey the bright
         Celestial sphere;
So rich with jewels hung, that Night
   Doth like an Ethiop bride appear:
   My soul her wings doth spread
         And heavenward flies,
Th’ Almighty’s mysteries to read
   In the large volumes of the skies.
   For the bright firmament
         Shoots forth no flame
So silent, but is eloquent
   In speaking the Creator’s name.
   No unregarded star
         Contracts its light
Into so small a character,
   Removed far from our human sight,
   But if we steadfast look
         We shall discern
In it, as in some holy book,
   How man may heavenly knowledge learn.
   It tells the conqueror
         That far-stretch’d power,
Which his proud dangers traffic for,
   Is but the triumph of an hour:
   That from the farthest North,
         Some nation may,
Yet undiscover’d, issue forth,
   And o’er his new-got conquest sway:
   Some nation yet shut in
         With hills of ice
May be let out to scourge his sin,
   Till they shall equal him in vice.
   And then they likewise shall
         Their ruin have;
For as yourselves your empires fall,
   And every kingdom hath a grave.
   Thus those celestial fires,
         Though seeming mute,
The fallacy of our desires
   And all the pride of life confute:—

   For they have watch’d since first
         The World had birth:
And found sin in itself accurst,
   And nothing permanent on Earth.


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