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364                                           An Horatian Ode

upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland

THE forward youth that would appear
Must now forsake his Muses dear,
     Nor in the shadows sing
     His numbers languishing.
’Tis time to leave the books in dust,
And oil the unused armour’s rust,
     Removing from the wall
     The corslet of the hall.
So restless Cromwell could not cease
In the inglorious arts of peace,
     But through adventurous war
     Urgàed his active star:
And like the three-fork’d lightning, first
Breaking the clouds where it was nurst,
     Did thorough his own side
     His fiery way divide:
For ’tis all one to courage high,
The emulous, or enemy;
     And with such, to enclose
     Is more than to oppose.
Then burning through the air he went
And palaces and temples rent;
     And Caesar’s head at last
     Did through his laurels blast.
’Tis madness to resist or blame
The face of angry Heaven’s flame;
     And if we would speak true,
     Much to the man is due,
Who, from his private gardens, where
He lived reservàed and austere
     (As if his highest plot
     To plant the bergamot),
Could by industrious valour climb
To ruin the great work of time,
     And cast the Kingdoms old
     Into another mould;
Though Justice against Fate complain,
And plead the ancient rights in vain—
     But those do hold or break
     As men are strong or weak—
Nature, that hateth emptiness,
Allows of penetration less,
     And therefore must make room
     Where greater spirits come.
What field of all the civil war
Where his were not the deepest scar?
     And Hampton shows what part
     He had of wiser art;
Where, twining subtle fears with hope,
He wove a net of such a scope
     That Charles himself might chase
     To Carisbrook’s narrow case;
That thence the Royal actor borne
The tragic scaffold might adorn:
     While round the armàed bands
     Did clap their bloody hands.
He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable scene,
     But with his keener eye
     The axe’s edge did try;
Nor call’d the Gods, with vulgar spite,
To vindicate his helpless right;
     But bow’d his comely head
     Down, as upon a bed.
This was that memorable hour
Which first assured the forcàed power:
     So when they did design
     The Capitol’s first line,
A Bleeding Head, where they begun,
Did fright the architects to run;
     And yet in that the State
     Foresaw its happy fate!
And now the Irish are ashamed
To see themselves in one year tamed:
     So much one man can do
     That does both act and know.
They can affirm his praises best,
And have, though overcome, confest
     How good he is, how just
     And fit for highest trust;
Nor yet grown stiffer with command,
But still in the Republic’s hand—
     How fit he is to sway
     That can so well obey!
He to the Commons’ feet presents
A Kingdom for his first year’s rents,
     And, what he may, forbears
     His fame, to make it theirs:
And has his sword and spoils ungirt
To lay them at the public’s skirt.
     So when the falcon high
     Falls heavy from the sky,
She, having kill’d, no more does search
But on the next green bough to perch,
     Where, when he first does lure,
     The falconer has her sure.
What may not then our Isle presume
While victory his crest does plume?
     What may not others fear,
     If thus he crowns each year?
As Caesar he, ere long, to Gaul,
To Italy an Hannibal,
     And to all States not free
     Shall climacteric be.
The Pict no shelter now shall find
Within his particolour’d mind,
     But, from this valour, sad
     Shrink underneath the plaid,
Happy, if in the tufted brake
The English hunter him mistake,
     Nor lay his hounds in near
     The Caledonian deer.
But thou, the War’s and Fortune’s son,
March indefatigably on;
And for the last effect,
Still keep the sword erect:
Besides the force it has to fright
The spirits of the shady night,
     The same arts that did gain
     A power, must it maintain.

365                                                 A Garden

Written after the Civil Wars

SEE how the flowers, as at parade,
Under their colours stand display’d:
Each regiment in order grows,
That of the tulip, pink, and rose.
But when the vigilant patrol
Of stars walks round about the pole,
Their leaves, that to the stalks are curl’d,
Seem to their staves the ensigns furl’d.
Then in some flower’s belovàed hut
Each bee, as sentinel, is shut,
And sleeps so too; but if once stirr’d,
She runs you through, nor asks the word.
   O thou, that dear and happy Isle,
The garden of the world erewhile,
Thou Paradise of the four seas
Which Heaven planted us to please,
But, to exclude the world, did guard
With wat’ry, if not flaming, sword;
What luckless apple did we taste
To make us mortal and thee waste!
Unhappy! shall we never more
That sweet militia restore,
When gardens only had their towers,
And all the garrisons were flowers;
When roses only arms might bear,
And men did rosy garlands wear?

366                                           The Definition of Love

MY Love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for object strange and high:
It was begotten by Despair
Upon Impossibility.
Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing,
Where feeble Hope could ne’r have flown
But vainly flapt its tinsel wing.
And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended Soul is fixt,
But Fate does iron wedges drive,
And always crowds it self betwixt.
For Fate with jealous eye does see
Two perfect Loves; nor lets them close:
Their union would her ruin be,
And her Tyrannic pow’r depose.
And therefore her Decrees of Steel
Us as the distant Poles have plac’d,
(Though Love’s whole World on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embrac’d.
Unless the giddy Heaven fall,
And Earth some new Convulsion tear;
And, us to join, the World should all
Be cramp’d into a Planisphere.
As Lines so Loves oblique may well
Themselves in every Angle greet:
But ours so truly Parallel,
Though infinite can never meet.
Therefore the Love which us doth bind
But Fate so enviously debars,
Is the Conjunction of the Mind,
And Opposition of the Stars.

367                                            To His Coy Mistress

   HAD we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast;
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart;
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
   But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingàed chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
   Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt1 power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
1 slow-chapt: slow-jawed, slowly devouring.

368                               The Picture of Little T. C. in a
                                              Prospect of Flowers

   SEE with what simplicity
   This nymph begins her golden days!
   In the green grass she loves to lie,
And there with her fair aspect tames
The wilder flowers, and gives them names;
   But only with the roses plays,
               And them does tell
What colour best becomes them, and what smell.
       Who can foretell for what high cause
     This darling of the gods was born?
       Yet this is she whose chaster laws
   The wanton Love shall one day fear,
   And, under her command severe,
     See his bow broke and ensigns torn.
                          Happy who can
Appease this virtuous enemy of man!
       O then let me in time compound
     And parley with those conquering eyes,
       Ere they have tried their force to wound;
   Ere with their glancing wheels they drive
   In triumph over hearts that strive,
     And them that yield but more despise:
                          Let me be laid,
Where I may see the glories from some shade.
       Meantime, whilst every verdant thing
     Itself does at thy beauty charm,
       Reform the errors of the Spring;
   Make that the tulips may have share
   Of sweetness, seeing they are fair,
     And roses of their thorns disarm;
                          But most procure
That violets may a longer age endure.
       But O, young beauty of the woods,
     Whom Nature courts with fruits and flowers,
       Gather the flowers, but spare the buds;
   Lest Flora, angry at thy crime
   To kill her infants in their prime,
   Do quickly make th’ example yours;
                         And ere we see,
Nip in the blossom all our hopes and thee.

369                                      Thoughts in a Garden

HOW vainly men themselves amaze
To win the palm, the oak, or bays,
And their uncessant labours see
Crown’d from some single herb or tree,
Whose short and narrow-vergàed shade
Does prudently their toils upbraid;
While all the flowers and trees do close
To weave the garlands of repose!
Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
And Innocence thy sister dear?
Mistaken long, I sought you then
In busy companies of men:
Your sacred plants, if here below,
Only among the plants will grow:
Society is all but rude
To this delicious solitude.
No white nor red was ever seen
So amorous as this lovely green.
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress’ name:
Little, alas! they know or heed
How far these beauties hers exceed!
Fair trees! wheres’e’er your barks I wound,
No name shall but your own be found.
When we have run our passions’ heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat:
The gods, that mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race;
Apollo hunted Daphne so
Only that she might laurel grow;
And Pan did after Syrinx speed
Not as a nymph, but for a reed.
What wondrous life in this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.
Meanwhile the mind from pleasure less
Withdraws into its happiness;
The mind, that Ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that’s made
To a green thought in a green shade.
Here at the fountain’s sliding foot,
Or at some fruit-tree’s mossy root,
Casting the body’s vest aside,
My soul into the boughs does glide;
There, like a bird, it sits and sings,
Then whets and combs its silver wings,
And, till prepared for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.
Such was that happy Garden-state
While man there walk’d without a mate:
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!
But ’twas beyond a mortal’s share
To wander solitary there:
Two paradises ’twere in one,
To live in Paradise alone.
How well the skilful gard’ner drew
Of flowers and herbs this dial new!
Where, from above, the milder sun
Does through a fragrant zodiac run:
And, as it works, th’ industrious bee
Computes its time as well as we.
How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckon’d, but with herbs and flowers!

370                                               Bermudas

WHERE the remote Bermudas ride
In the ocean’s bosom unespied,
From a small boat that row’d along
The listening woods received this song:
   ‘What should we do but sing His praise
That led us through the watery maze
Unto an isle so long unknown,
And yet far kinder than our own?
Where He the huge sea-monsters wracks,
That lift the deep upon their backs,
He lands us on a grassy stage,
Safe from the storms’ and prelates’ rage:
He gave us this eternal Spring
Which here enamels everything,
And sends the fowls to us in care
On daily visits through the air:
He hangs in shades the orange bright
Like golden lamps in a green night,
And does in the pomegranates close
Jewels more rich than Ormus shows:
He makes the figs our mouths to meet
And throws the melons at our feet;
But apples plants of such a price,
No tree could ever bear them twice.
With cedars chosen by His hand
From Lebanon He stores the land;
And makes the hollow seas that roar
Proclaim the ambergris on shore.
He case (of which we rather boast)
The Gospel’s pearl upon our coast;
And in these rocks for us did frame
A temple where to sound His name.
O, let our voice His praise exalt
Till it arrive at Heaven’s vault,
Which thence (perhaps) rebounding may
Echo beyond the Mexique bay!’
Thus sung they in the English boat
A holy and a cheerful note:
And all the way, to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time.

371                                            An Epitaph

ENOUGH; and leave the rest to Fame!
’Tis to commend her, but to name.
Courtship which, living, she declined,
When dead, to offer were unkind:
Nor can the truest wit, or friend,
Without detracting, her commend.

To say—she lived a virgin chaste
In this age loose and all unlaced;
Nor was, when vice is so allowed,
Of virtue or ashamed or proud;
That her soul was on Heaven so bent,
No minute but it came and went;
That, ready her last debt to pay,
She summ’d her life up every day;
Modest as morn, as mid-day bright,
Gentle as evening, cool as night:
—’Tis true; but all too weakly said.
’Twas more significant, she’s dead.


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