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Some air of that late comfort I receiv'd:
And while the evening, with her modest veil,
Gives leave to such poor shadows as myself
To steal abroad, I, like a heartless ghost,
Without the living body of my love,
Will here walk, and attend her.
Not far from hence she is imprisoned,
And hopes of her strict guardian to bribe
So much admittance, as to speak to me,
And cheer my fainting spirits with her breath.
For I know
JULIA appears above at her Chamber-window.
Jul. Ovid! my love!
Here, heav'nly Julia.
Here! and not here! O, how that word doth
With both our fortunes, differing, like ourselves;
But one, and yet divided, as opposed;
I high, thou low! O, this our plight of place
Doubly presents the two lets of our love,
Local and ceremonial height and lowness;
Both ways, I am too high, and thou too low.
Our minds are even, yet: O why should our bodies,
That are their slaves, be so without their rule?
I'll cast myself down to thee; if I die,
I'll ever live with thee: no height of birth,
Of place, of duty, or of cruel power,
Shall keep me from thee; should my father lock
This body up within a tomb of brass,
Yet I'll be with thee. If the forms I hold
Now in my soul, be made one substance with it
That soul immortal, and the same 'tis now,
Death cannot raze the affects she now retaineth: 30
And then may she be anywhere she will.
The souls of parents rule not children's souls;
When death sets both in their dissolv'd estates,
Then is no child nor father: then eternity
Frees all from any temporal respect.
I come, my Ovid, take me in thine arms,
And let me breathe my soul into thy breast.
Ovid. O stay, my love; the hopes thou dost
Of thy quick death, and of thy future life,
Are not authentical. Thou choosest death,
So thou might'st joy thy love in th' other life.
But know, my princely love, when thou art dead
Thou only must survive in perfect soul,
And in the soul are no affections:
We pour out our affections with our blood;
And with our blood's affections fade our loves
No life hath love in such sweet state as this;
No essence is so dear to moody sense
As flesh and blood, whose quintessence is sense.
Beauty, compos'd of blood and flesh, moves more,
And is more plausible to blood and flesh,
Than spiritual beauty can be to the spirit.
Such apprehension as we have in dreams,
(When sleep, the bond of senses, locks them up,)
Such shall we have when death destroys them quite.
If love be then thy object, change not life;
Live high and happy still; I still below,
Close with my fortunes, in thy height shall joy. 19
Jul. Ah me, that virtue, whose brave eagle's wings
With every stroke blow stars in burning heaven,
Should, like a swallow, (preying toward storms)
Fly close to earth; and, with an eager plume
Pursue those objects which none else can see,
But seem to all the world the empty air.
Thus thou, poor Ovid, and all virtuous men,
Must prey, like swallows, on invisible food;
Pursuing flies, or nothing: and thus love,
And every worldly fancy, is transpos'd
By worldly tyranny to what plight it list.
O, father, since thou gav'st me not my mind,
Strive not to rule it; take but what thou gav'st
To thy disposure: thy affections
Rule not in me; I must bear all my griefs;
Let me use all my pleasures: Virtuous love
Was never scandal to a goddess' state.
But he's inflexible! and, my dear love,
Thy life may chance be shorten'd by the length
Of my unwilling speeches to depart.
Farewell, sweet life: though thou be yet exil'd
Th' officious court, enjoy me amply still:
My soul, in this my breath, enters thine ears;
And on this turret's floor will I lie dead,
Till we may meet again. In this proud height,
I kneel beneath thee in my prostrate love,
And kiss the happy sands that kiss thy feet.
Great Jove submits a sceptre to a cell;
And lovers, ere they part, will meet in hell.
Ovid. Farewell all company, and, if I could,
All light, with thee: hell's shade should hide my
Till thy dear beauty's beams redeem'd my vows.
Jul. Ovid, my love: alas! may we not stay
A little longer, think'st thou, undiscern'd?
Ovid. For thine own good, fair goddess, do not stay.
Who would engage a firmament of fires,
Shining in thee, for me, a falling star?
Begone, sweet life-blood: if I should discern
Thyself but touch'd for my sake, I should die.
Jul. I will begone then; and not heav'n itself Shall draw me back.
Ovid. Yet, Julia, if thou wilt,
A little longer stay.
Ovid. O mighty Ovid! what the sway of heav'n Could not retire, my breath hath turned back.
Jul. Who shall go first, my love? my passionate
Will not endure to see thee turn from me.
Ovid. If thou go first, my soul will follow thee.
Jul. Then we must stay.
Ovid. Ay me, there is no stay
In amorous pleasures. If both stay, both die.
I hear thy father. Hence, my deity. [JULIA goes in.
Fear forgeth sounds in my
I did not hear him: I am mad with love.
There is no spirit, under heav'n, that works
With such illusion: yet, such witchcraft kill me,
Ere a sound mind, without it, save my life.
Here on my knees I worship the blest place,
That held my goddess; and the loving air,
That clos'd her body in his silken arms.
Vain Ovid! kneel not to the place, nor air:
She's in thy heart; rise then, and worship there.
The truest wisdom silly men can have,
Is dotage on the follies of their flesh.
AUGUSTUS discourses with his Courtiers concerning Poetry.
CÆSAR, MECENAS, GALLUS, TIBULLUS, HORACE,
Caes. We, that have conquer'd still to save the conquer'd,
And loved to make inflictions fear'd, not felt,
Griev'd to reprove, and joyful to reward,
More proud of reconcilement than revenge,
Resume into the late state of our love
Worthy Cornelius Gallus and Tibullus.*
You both are gentlemen; you Cornelius,
A soldier of renown, and the first provost
That ever let our Roman Eagles fly
On swarthy Egypt, quarried with her spoils.
Yet (not to bear cold forms, nor men's out-terms,
Without the inward fires, and lives of men)
You both have virtues, shining through your shapes;
To shew, your titles are not writ on posts,
Or hollow statues; which the best men are,
Without Promethean stuffings reach'd from heaven.
Sweet Poesy's sacred garlands crown your gentry :
Which is, of all the faculties on earth,
The most abstract, and perfect, if she be
True born, and nursed with all the sciences.
She can so mould Rome, and her monuments,
Within the liquid marble of her lines,
That they shall stand fresh and miraculous,
Even when they mix with innovating dust;
In her sweet streams shall our brave Roman spirits
Chase, and swim after death, with their choice deeds
Shining on their white shoulders; and therein
Shall Tiber, and our famous rivers, fall
With such attraction, that th' ambitious line
Of the round world shall to her centre shrink,
To hear their music. And for these high parts,
Cæsar shall reverence the Pierian arts.
Mec. Your majesty's high grace to poesy
Shall stand 'gainst all the dull detractions
Of leaden souls; who, for the vain assumings
They had offended the Emperor by concealing the love of Ovid for the Princess Julia.
Of some, quite worthless of her sovereign wreaths,
Contain her worthiest prophets in contempt.
Gal. Happy is Rome of all earth's other states,
To have so true and great a president,
For her inferior spirits to imitate,
As Cæsar is; who addeth to the sun
Influence and lustre, in increasing thus
His inspirations, kindling fire in us.
Hor. Phoebus himself shall kneel at Cæsar's shrine
And deck it with bay-garlands dew'd with wine, 10
To quit the worship Cæsar does to him:
Where other princes, hoisted to their thrones
By Fortune's passionate and disorder'd power,
Sit in their height like clouds before the sun,
Hind'ring his comforts; and, (by their excess
Of cold in virtue, and cross heat in vice,)
Thunder and tempest on those learned heads,
Whom Cæsar with such honour doth advance.
Tib. All human business Fortune doth command Without all order; and with her blind hand, 20 She, blind, bestows blind gifts, that still have nurst, They see not who, nor how, but still the worst.
Caes. Cæsar, for his rule, and for so much stuff As fortune puts in his hand, shall dispose it, (As if his hand had eyes, and soul, in it,) With worth and judgment. Hands that part with
Or will restrain their use, without desert,
Or with a misery, numb'd to Virtue's right,
Work, as they had no soul to govern them,
And quite reject her: sev'ring their estates
From human order. Whosoever can,
And will not cherish Virtue, is no man.
Eques. Virgil is now at hand, imperial Cæsar.
Cas. Rome's honour is at hand then.
And set it on our right-hand; where 'tis fit,
Rome's honour and our own should ever sit.
Now he is come out of Campania,
I doubt not he hath finish'd all his Eneids;
Which, like another soul, I long t' enjoy.
What think you three of Virgil, gentlemen,
(That are of his profession, though rank'd higher,)