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One while, a scorching indignation burns
The flowers and blossoms of our hopes away;
Which into scarcity our plenty turns,
And changeth unmown-grass to parched bay;
Anon, his fruitful showers, and pleasing dews,
Commixt with cheerful rays, he sendeth down;
And then the barren-earth her crop renews,
Which with rich harvests, hills and vallies crown:
For as to relish joys he sorrow sends,
So comfort on temptation still attends.
The Emblem of Love is lively, ingenious, and delightful.
If to his thoughts my comments have assented,
By whom the following Emblem was invented,
I'll hereby teach you, ladies, to discover
A true-bred Cupid, from a fained lover ;
And shew, if you have wooers, which be they,
That worthiest are to bear your hearts away.
As is the boy, which here you pictured see,
Let them be young, or let them, rather, be
Of suiting-years, which is instead of youth,
And, woo you in the nakedness of truth;
Not in the common and disguised clothes,
Of mimic gestures, compliments, and oaths,
Let them be winged with a swift desire;
And not with slow-affections, that will tire.
But look to this as to the principal ;
That Love do make them truly musical.
For Love's a good musician : and will show
How every faithful lover
Each word he speaks, will presently appear
To be melodious raptures in
Each gesture of his body, when he moves,
Will seem to play, or sing a song of loves :
The very looks, and motions of his eyes
Will touch your heart-strings with sweet harmonies;
And if the name of him be but exprest,
'Twill cause a thousand quaverings in your breast.
Nay, ev’n those discords, which occasion’d are,
Will make your music much the sweeter far.
And, such a moving diapason strike,
As none but Love, can ever play the like.
From the next extract, the reader will see the peculiar tone in which Wither frequently concludes his illustrations.
When, with a serious musing, I behold
The grateful, and obsequious marigold,
How duly, ev'ry morning, she displays
Her open breast, when Titan spreads his rays ;
How she observes him in his daily walk,
Still bending towards him her small tender stalk :
How, when he down declines, she droops and mourns,
Bedew'd (as 'twere) with tears, till he returns ;
And, how she vails her flow'rs when he is gone,
As if she scorned to be looked on
By an inferior eye; or, did contemn
To wait upon a meaner light than him.
When this I meditate, methinks, the flowers
Have spirits far more generous than ours;
And give us fair examples to despise
The servile fawnings, and idolatries,
Wherewith we court these earthly things below
Which merit not the service we bestow.
But, oh my God! though grovelling 1 appear
Upon the ground, and have a rooting here,
Which hales me downward, yet in my desire,
To that, which is above me, I aspire:
And, all my best affections I profess
To him, that is the Son of Righteousness.
Oh! keep the morning of his Incarnation;
The burning noon tide of his bitter Passion,
The night of his Descending, and the height
Of his Ascension, ever in my sight:
That imitating him in what I may,
I never follow an inferior way.
The most popular of our books of Emblems is that written by Francis Quarles, the darling, as Phillips calls him, of our plebeian judgements, and, we may add, the scorn of our refined wits. The contempt with which he has been treated is, however, at a much greater distance from a just appreciation of his works than the vulgar preference. In his poetical compositions, which are chiefly of a religious cast, there is a passionate earnestness well calculated to please the common sort of people, and a want of taste and propriety in his application of the
terms and feelings of earthly to divine love, likely enough to disgust the man of cultivated mind. Perhaps nothing more readily captivates the unlearned than quaint and antithetical phraseology, which has frequently the appearance without the reality of pithiness. Quarles is particularly distinguished by this quality of style, with which, however, he combines a great variety of new and poetical turns of expression. This character applies to his other works as well as to his Emblems, which alone demand our attention at this time; but as they still enjoy a considerable portion of public favour, we shall on that account appropriate a much less space to them than we should otherwise have done. They consist of five books, the prints and mottoes of the two last of which are exactly copied from the Pia Desideria of Herman Hugo, the title of whose work stands amongst those placed at the head of this article. The subject being the same, Quarles has frequently taken ideas from his prototype; but he has so added to and improved them, that the imitation detracts little from his originality. The few extracts we shall make are the best, according to our judgement, to be found in the volume.
Will't ne'er be morning? Will that promis'd light
Ne'er break and clear those clouds of night?
Sweet Phosphor, bring the day,
Whose conq'ring ray
May chase these fogs; sweet Phosphor, bring the day.
How long ! How long shall these benighted eyes
Languish in shades, like feeble flies
Expecting Spring? How long shall darkness soil
The face of earth, and thus beguile
Our souls of sprightful action? When, when will day
Begin to dawn, whose new-born ray
May gild the weathercocks of our devotion,
And give our unsould souls new motion ?
Sweet Phosphor, bring the day:
Thy light will fray
These horrid mists; sweet Phosphor, bring the day.
Let those have night, that slily love to immure
Their cloister'd crimes, and sin secure;
Let those have night, that blush to let men know
The baseness they ne'er blush to do;
Let those have night, that love to have a nap,
And loll in Ignorance's lap;
Let those, whose eyes, like owls, abhor the light,
Let those have night, that love the night:
Sweet Phosphor, bring the day:
How sad delay
Afflicts dull hopes! sweet Phosphor, bring the day.
Alas! my light-in-vain expecting eyes
Can find no objects, but what rise
From this poor mortal blaze, a dying spark
Of Vulcan's forge, whose flames are dark,
A dangerous, dull, blue-burning light,
As melancholy as the night:
Here's all the suns that glitter in the sphere
Of earth : Ah me! what comfort's here?
Sweet Phosphor, bring the day:
Haste, haste away,
Heaven's loit’ring lamp; sweet Phosphor, bring the day.
Blow, Ignorance: O thou, whose idle knee
Rocks earth into a lethargy,
And with thy sooty fingers has benight
The world's fair cheeks, blow, blow thy spite;
Since thou hast puft our greater taper; do
Puff on, and out the lesser too:
If e'er that breath-exiled flame return,
Thou hast not blown, as it will burn:
Sweet Phosphor, bring the day :
Light will repay
The wrongs of night; sweet Phosphor, bring the day.
Alas! fond child,
How are thy thoughts beguild
To hope for honey from a nest of wasps ?
Thou may’st as well
Go seek for ease in hell,
Or sprightly nectar from the mouths of asps.
The world's a hive,
From whence thou cans't derive
No good, but what thy soul's vexation brings :
But case thou meet
Some pretty-pretty sweet,
Each drop is guarded with a thousand stings.
Why dost thou make
These murm'ring troops forsake
The safe protection of their waxen homes ?
Their hive contains
No sweet that's worth thy pains ;
There's nothing here, alas ! but empty combs.
For trash and toys,
And grief-engend'ring joys, What torment seems too sharp for flesh and blood;
What bitter pills,
Compos'd of real ills,
Men swallow down to purchase one false good!
The dainties here,
Are least what they appear;
Though sweet in hopes, yet in fruition sour;
The fruit that's yellow
Is found not always mellow;
The fairest tulip's not the sweetest flow'r.
Fond youth, give o'er,
And vex thy soul no more,
In seeking what were better far unfound;
Alas! thy gains
Are only present pains
To gather scorpions for a future wound.
What's earth? or in it,
That longer than a minute
Can lend a free delight that can endure?
O who would droil,
Or delve in such a soil,
Where gain's uncertain, and the pain is sure ?
I love (and have some cause to love) the earth;
She is my Maker's creature; therefore good : She is my mother, for she gave me birth;
She is my tender nurse ; she gives me food : But what's a creature, Lord, compar'd with thee? Or what's my mother, or my nurse, to me?