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Early Poems.

ANNO ÆTATIS 17.

ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT,’ DYING OF A COUGH.

1620

i.

O PATREST flower, no sooner blown but blasted,
Soft silken primrose fading timelessly,
Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted
Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry;
For he being amorous on that lovely dye

That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss,
But kill'd, alas, and then bewail'd his fatal bliss.

II.

For since grim Aquilo' his charioteer
By boisterous rape th' Athenian damsel' got,
He thought it touch'd his deity full near,
If likewise he some fair one wedded not,
Thereby to wipe away the infamous blot

Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld,
Which ʼmongst the wanton Gods a foul reproach was held.

The Poet's infant ndooe, daughter of his sister, Mrs. Philips

8 Boreas, or the North Wind.
• Drithyia. -OVID. Metam. 6.

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Bo mounting op in icy-pearlèd car,
Through middle empire of the freezing air
He wander'd long, till thee he spy'd from far;
There ended was his quest, there ceased his caro.
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair,

But all unwares with his cold-kind embrace Unhoused thy virgin soul from her fair biding places

IV.

Yet art thon not inglorious in thy fatas
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilome did slay his dearly-loved mate,
Young Hyacinth,' born on Eurotas' strand,
Young Hyacinth, the pride of Spartan land;

But then transform'd him to a purple flower: Alack, that so to change thee Winter had no power i

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Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead,
Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb,
Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed,
Hid from the world in a low delvèd tomb;
Could Heaven for pity thee so strictly doom P

Ob no! for something in thy face did shine
Above mortality, that show'd thou wast divina

VI.

Resolve me then, ob Soul most surely blest,
(If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear,)
Tell me, bright Spirit, where'er thou hoverest,
Whether above that high first-moving sphere,
Or in th’ Elysian fields, (if such there were,)

Oh say me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
And why from as so quickly thou didst take thy flig'ato

"A prince of Sparta, said to have been nocidentally slawi by Apollo. Festivals

to his honour were held annually by

the Groeks at Amyclæ, a city of Laconia.

VII.

Wert thou some star which from the ruin'd roof
Of shaked Olympus by mischance didst fall;
Which careful Jove in nature's true behoof
Took up, and in fit place did reinstall ?
Or did of late earth's sons besiege the wall

Of sheeny Heaven, and thou some Goddess filed
Amongst us here below to hide thy nectar'd head?

VIIL

Or wert thon that just Maid, who once before
Forsook the hated earth, O tell me sooth,
And camest again to visit us once more ?
Or wert thou that sweet-smiling youth?
Or that crown'd matron sage white-robed Truth P

Or any other of that heavenly brood
Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some good?

Or wert thon of the golden-winged host,
Who having clad thyself in human weed,
To earth from thy prefixed seat didst post,
And after short abode fly back with speed,
As if to show what creatures heaven doth breed,

Therehy to set the hearts of men on fire
To scorn the sordid world and unto heav'n aspire ?

But oh, why didst thou not stay here below
To bless us with thy heav d-loved innocence,
To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe,
To turn swift-rushing black Perdition hence,
Or drive away the slaughtering Pestilence,

To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart!
But thou canst best perform that office where thou art.

XI.

Then thou, the Mother of 80 sweet a Child,
Her false imagined loss cease to lament,
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild;
Think what a present thou to God hast sent,
And render Him with patience what He lent;

This if thou do, He will an offspring give
That till the world's last end shall make thy name to live.

ANNO ÆTATIS 19.

AT A VACATION EXERCISE IN THE COLLEGE.

1627.

PART LATIN, PART ENGLISH.

The Latin speeches ended, the English thus began :-
Hail, native Language, that by sinews weak
Didst move my first endeavouring tongue to speak,
And mad'st imperfect words with childish trips,
Half unpronounced, slide through my infant lips,
Driving dumb silence from the portal door,
Where he had mutely sat two years before:
Here I salute thee, and thy pardon ask,
That now I use thee in my latter task :
Small loss it is that thence can come unto thee,
I know my tongu, but little grace can do thee:
Thou need'st not be ambitious to be first,
Believe me I have thither pack'd the worst;
And, if it happen as I did forecast,
The daintiest dishes shall be served

up

laste
I pray thee then deny me not thy aid
For this same small neglect that I have made:
But haste thee straight to do me once a pleasure,
And from thy wardrobe bring thy chiefest treasure,

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Not those new-fangled toys, and trimming slight1
Which takes our late fantastics with delight,
But cull those richest robes, and gay'st attire
Which deepest spirits, and choicest wits desire :
I have some naked thoughts that rove about,
And loudly knock to have their passage out;
And weary of their place do only stay
Till thou hast deck'd them in thy best array;
That so they may without suspect or fears
Fly swiftly to this fair assembly's ears.
Yet I had rather, if I were to choose,
Thy service in some graver subject use,
Such as may make thee search thy coffers round,
Before thou clothe my fancy in fit sound:
Sach where the deep transported mind may soar
Above the wheeling poles, and at Heav'n's door
Look in, and see each blissful Deity
How he before the thunderous throne doth lio,
List’ning to what unshorn Apollo sings
To the touch of golden wires, while Hebe bringe
Immortal nectar to her kingly sire:
Then passing through the spheres of watchful fire,
And misty regions of wide air next under,
And hills of snow, and lofts of pilèd thunder,
May tell at length how green-eyed Neptune raves,
In Heav'n's defiance mustering all his waves ;
Then sing of secret things that came to pass
When beldam Nature in her cradle was;
And last of kings and queens and heroes old,
Such as the wise Demodocus” once told,
In solemn songs at king Alcinous' feast,
While sad Ulysses' soul, and all the rest,
Are held with his melodious harmony,
In willing chains and sweet captivity.
But fie, my wand'ring Muse, how thou dost stray!
Expectance calls thee now another way,

1 Milton alludes to the affected phraseology of the period, called Euphuism, which originated in Lily's Buphues, and his England, a book intended to refino the English language. Scott bas given

us a lively picture of this affected jar. gon in his Sir Piercie Saafton, in the Monastery: see p. 449.

: A Greek bard. Seo Odysey, Books VIL

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