Page images
PDF
EPUB

In first obedience, and their state of goou.
O may we soon again renew that song,
And keep in tune with Heav'n, till God ere long
To his celestial concert us unite,
To live with Him, and sing in endless morn of light,

SONG. ON MAY MORNING.
Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flow'ry May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose.

Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,

Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

AN EPITAPH ON THE MARCHIONESS OF

WINCHESTER."

This rich marble doth inter
The honour'd wife of Winchester,
A Viscount's daughter, an Earl's heir,
Besides what her virtues fair

1 This lady was the wife of John, Marquis of Winchester, one of the noblest and most devoted of the adherents of Charles I. His house at Basing, in Hants, stood a two-years' siege by the rebels, and was finally levelled to the ground by them. Lord Winchester

died in 1874. On his monument is an epitaph by Dryden. “It is remarkable,” BAYS Warton, that both husband and wife shor:ld have severally received the honour of an epitaph from two such poets as Milton and Dryden."

Added to her noble birth,
More than she could own from earth,
Summers three times eight save ono
She had told; alas ! too soon,
After so short time of breath,
To house with darkness, and with death. .
Yet had the number of her days
Been as complete as was her praise,
Nature and Fate had had no strife
In ziving limit to her life.
Her high birth, and her graces sweet
Quickly found a lover meet;
The virgin choir for her request
The god that sits at mirriage feast;
He at their invoking came,
But with a scarce well-lighted Aame;
And in his garland as he stood,
Ye might discern a cyprus

bud.'
Once had the early matrons run
To greet ber of a lovely son,
And now with second hope she goes
And calls Lucina to her throes;
But whether by mischance or blame
Atroposo for Lucina came;
And with remorseless cruelty
Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree:
The hapless babe before his birth
Had burial, yet not laid in earth,
And the languish'd mother's womb
Was not long a living tomb.
So have I seen some tender slip,
Saved with care from winter's nip,
The pride of her carnation train,
Pluck'd up by some unheedy swain,
Who only thought to crop the flow's
New shot up from vernal show t;
But the fair blossom hangs the head

1 An omblern of Death.

* One of the Fates.

Side-ways, as on a dying bed,
And those pearls of dew she wears
Prove to be presaging tears,
Which the sad morn had let fall
On her hastening funeral.
Gentle Lady, may thy grave
Peace and quiet ever have;
After this thy travail sore
Sweet rest seize thee evermore,
That to give the world increase,
Shorten'd hast thy own life's leaso.
Here, besides the sorrowing
That thy noble house doth bring,
Here be tears of perfect moan
Wept for thee in Helicon,
And some flowers, and some bays,
For thy hearse, to strew the ways,
Sent thee from the banks of Came,
Devoted to thy virtuous name;
Whilst thou, bright Saint, high sitt'st in glory,
Next her, much like to thee in story
That fair Syrian shepherdegg,
Who after years of barrenness,
The highly favour'd Joseph bore
To him that served for her before,
And at her next birth much like thee
Through pangs fled to felicity,
Far within the bosom bright
Of blazing Majesty and Light:
There with thee, new welcome Sainty
Like fortnnes may her soul againt,
With thee there clad in radiant sheen,
No Marchioness, but now a Queen.

1 Rachel, the wife of Jacobs

AN EPITAPH ON THE ADMIRABLE DRAMATIC

POET W. SHAKESPEARE.

1630.

What needs my Shakespeare for his honour'd bones,
The labour of an age in pilèd stones ?
Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid
Under a star-y-pointing pyramid ?
Dear son of memory, great heir of fame,
What need’st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thyself a live-long monument.
For whilst to the shame of slow-endeavouring art
Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book
Those Delphic lines with deep impression took,
Then thou our fancy of itself bereaving,
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;
And so sepulchred in such

pomp

dost lie, That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.

ON THE UNIVERSITY CARRIER.

Who sickened in the time of his vacancy, being forbid to go to London,

by reason of the Plague.

HERE lies old Hobson;' Death hath broke his girt,
And here, alas, hath laid him in the dirt;
Or else the ways being foul, twenty to one,
He's here stuck in a slough, and overthrown.
'Twas such a shifter, that if truth were known,
Death was half glad when he had got him down;

1 This Epitaph was prefixed to tho folio edition of Shakespeare, 1632, but without Milton's name. It is the first of his poems which was published.

none," by always obliging the person who hired a horso of himn to take the one standing next to the stable-door;

80 that every custorner should have an equal chance of being well served, and every horse be used in its turn." See Spectator, No. 609.

2 This carrier gave rise to the old proverb of “Hobson's choice : this or

For he had any time this ten years full,
Dodged with him betwixt Cambridge and the Bull.
And surely death could never have prevailid,
Had not his weekly course of carriage fail'd;
But lately finding him so long at home,
And thinking now his journey's end was come,
And that he had ta’en up his latest inn,
In the kind office of a chamberlin
Show'd him nis room where he must lodge that night,
Pull'd off his boots, and took away the light:
If any ask for him, it shall be said,
Hobson has supp'd, and's newly gone to bed.

ANOTHER ON THE SAME.

HERE lieth one, who did most truly prove
That he could never die while he could move;
So hung his destiny, never to rot
While he might still jog on and keep his troty
Made of sphere-metal never to decay
Until his revolution was at stay.
Time numbers motion, yet (without a crime
'Gainst old truth) motion number'd out his time:
And like an engine moved with wheel and weight,
His principles being ceased, he ended straight.
Rest that gives all men life, gave him his death,
And too much breathing put him out of breath;
Nor were it contradiction to affirm
Too long vacation hasten'd on his term.
Merely to drive the time away he sicken'd,
Fainted, and died, nor would with ale be quicken'd;
“Nay," quoth he, on his swooning bed out-stretch'd,
“If'I mayn't carry, sure I'll ne'er be fetch'd,
But vow, though the cross doctors all stood hearers,
For one carrier put down to make six bearers."
Ease was his chief discase, and to judge right,
He died for heaviness, that his cart went light:

« PreviousContinue »