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Thy tinsel bosom seems a mint

Of new-coined treasure; A paradise, that has no stint,

No change, no measure:

A painted cask, but nothing in't,

Nor wealth, nor pleasure: that falsely thus comply'st vain man! that thou rely'st

On earth; vain man, thou dot'st; vain earth, thou ly'st.

Vain earth With man

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Without thy presence, wealth is bags of cares;
Wisdom, but folly; joy, disquiet-sadness:
Friendship is treason, and delights are snares;
Pleasures but pain, and mirth but pleasing madness;
Without thee, Lord, things be not what they be.
.Nor have they being, when compared with Thee.

In having all things, and not Thee, what have I?
Not having Thee, what have my labours got?
Let me enjoy but Thee, what further crave I?
And having Thee alone, what have I not?


I wish nor sea nor land; nor would I be
Possessed of heaven, heaven unpossessed of Thee.

Decay of Life.

The day grows old, the low-pitched lamp hath made
No less than treble shade,

And the descending damp doth now prepare
To uncurl bright Titan's hair;

Whose western wardrobe now begins to unfold
Her purples, fringed with gold,

To clothe his evening glory, when the alarms
Of rest shall call to rest in restless Thetis' arms.

Nature now calls to supper, to refresh

The spirits of all flesh;

The toiling ploughman drives his thirsty teams,
To taste the slippery streams:

The droiling swineherd knocks away, and feasts
His hungry whining guests:

The boxbill ousel, and the dappled thrush,
Like hungry rivals meet at their beloved bush.


DR. HENRY KING (1592-1669), who was chaplain to ames I. and did honour to the church preferment which was bestowed upon him, was best known as a religious poet. He was the author of Sermons,' 1621-65; and of poems, elegies, &c. 1657. His language and imagery are chaste and refined. Of his lighter verse, the following song may suffice:

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[TO 1689.

Then clear those waterish stars again,
Which else portend a lasting rain;
Lest the clouds which settle there,
Prolong my winter all the year,
And thy example others make
In love with sorrow for thy sake.

Sic Vita.

Even such is man, whose borrowed light
Is straight called in, and paid to-night.
The wind blows out, the bubble dies;
The spring entombed in antumn lies;
The dew dries up, the star is shot;
The flight is past-aud man forgot.

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GEORGE WITHER (1588-1667) was a voluminous author, in the midst of disasters and sufferings that would have damped the spirit of any but the most adventurous and untiring enthusiast. Some of his happiest strains were composed in prison; his limbs were incarcerated within stone walls and iron bars, but his fancy was among the hills and plains, with shepherds hunting, or loitering with Poesy by rustling boughs and murmuring springs. There is a freshness and natural vivacity in the poetry of Wither, that renders his early works a 'perpetual feast.' We cannot say that it is a feast where no crude surfeit reigns,' for he is often harsh, obscure, and affected; but he has an endless diversity of style and subjects, and true poetical feeling and expression. Wither was a native of Hampshire, and received his education at Magdalen College, Oxford. He first appeared as an author in the year 1613, when he published a satire, entitled 'Abuses Stript and Whipt.' For this he was thrown into the Marshalsea, where composed his fine poem, the 'Shepherds' Hunting.' When the abuses satirised by the poet had accumulated and brought on the Civil War, Wither took the popular side, and sold his paternal estate to raise a troop of horse for the parliament. He rose to the rank of a major, and in 1612, was made governor of Farnham Castle, afterwards held by Denham. Wither was accused of deserting his appointment, and the castle was ceded the same year to Sir William Waller. During the struggles of that period, the poet was made prisoner by the royalists, and stood in danger of captital punishment, when Denham interfered for his brother-bard, alleging, that as long as Wither lived, he (Denham) would not be considered the worst poet in England. The joke was a good one, if it saved Wither's life; but George was not frightened from the perilous contentions of the times.

He was afterwards one of Cromwell's majors-general, and kept watch. and ward over the royalists of Surrey. From the sequestrated estates of these gentlemen, Wither obtained a considerable fortune; but the Restoration came, and he was stripped of all his possessions. He remonstrated loudly and angrily; his remonstrances were voted libels, and the unlucky poet was again thrown into prison. He published various treatises, satires, and poems during this period, though he was treated with great rigour. He was released, under bond for good behaviour, in 1663, and survived nearly four years afterwards, dying in London on the 2d of May 1667.

Wither's fame as a poet is derived chiefly from his early produc tions, written before he had imbibed the sectarian gloom of the Puritans, or become embroiled in the struggles of the Civil War. A collection of his poems was published by himself in 1622, with the title, Mistress of Philarete; his Shepherds' Hunting,' being certain eclogues written during the time of the author's imprisonment in the Marshalsea, appeared in 1633. His 'Collection of Emblems, Ancient and Modern, quickened with Metrical Illustrations,' made their appearance in 1635. His satirical and controversial works were numer ous but are now forgotten. Some authors of our own day-Southey in particular—have helped to popularise Wither, by frequent quotation and eulogy; but Mr. Ellis, in his 'Specimens of Early English Poets,' was the first to point out that playful fancy, pure taste, and artless delicacy of sentiment, which distinguish the poetry of his early youth.' His poem on Christmas affords a lively picture of the manners of the times His 'Address to Poetry,' the sole yet cheering companion of his prison solitude, is worthy of the theme, and superior to most of the effusions of that period. The pleasure with which he recounts the various charms and the 'divine skill' of his Muse, that had derived nourishment and delight from the meanest objects' of external nature—a daisy, a bush, or a tree; and which, when these picturesque and beloved scenes of the country were denied him, could gladden even the vaults and shades of a prison, is one of the richest offerings that have yet been made to the pure and hallowed shrine of poesy. The superiority of intellectual pursuits over the gratifications of sense, and all the malice of fortune, has never been more touchingly or finely illustrated.

The Companionship of the Muse.-From the 'Shepherds' Hunting."

See'st thou not in clearest days,
Oft thick fogs cloud heaven's rays;
And the vapours that do breathe
From the earth's gross womb beneath,
Seem they not with their black steams
To pollute the sun's bright beams,
And yet vanish into air,
Leaving it, unblemished, fair?
So, my Willy, shall it be

It shall never rise so high
As to stain thy poesy.
As that sun dotli oft exhale
Vapours from its rotton vale;
Poesy so sometime drains
Gross conceits from muddy brains;
Mists of envy, fogs of spite,
"Twixt men's judgments and her light:
But so much her power may do,
That she can dissolve them too.

With detraction's breath and thee:

Ii thy verse do bravely tower,
As she makes wing she gets power
Yet the higher she doth soar,
She 's affronted still the more:
Till she to the high'st hath passed,
Then she rests with fame at last:
Let nought, therefore, thee affright,
But make forward in thy flight;
For, if I could match thy rhyme,
To the very stars I'd climb;
There begin again, and fly
Till I reached eternity.
But, alas! my muse is slow;
For thy page she flags too low:
Yea, the more's her hapless fate,
Her short wings were clipt of late:
And poor I, her fortune rueing,
And myself put up a-mewing:
But if I my cage can rid,
I'll fly where I never did:
And so for her sake I'm crost,
Though my best hopes I have lost,
And knew she would make my trouble
Ten times more than ten times double:
I should love and keep her too,
Spite of all the world could do.
For, though banished from my flocks,
And confined within these rocks,
Here I waste away the light,
And consume the sullen night,
She doth for my comfort stay,
And keeps many cares away.
Though I miss the flowery fields,
With those sweets the spring-tide yields,
Though I may not see those groves,
Where the shepherds chant their loves,
And the lasses more excel

Than the sweet-voiced Philomel.
Though of all those pleasures past,
Nothing now remains at last,
But remembrance, poor relief,
That more makes than mends my grief:
She 's my mind's companion still,
Maugre euvy's evil will.

(Whence she would be driven, too,
Were 't in mortal's power to do.)
She doth tell me where to borrow
Comfort in the midst of sorrow:
Makes the desolatest place
To her presence be a grace;
And the blackest discontents
Be her fairest ornaments.

In my former days of bliss,
Her divine skill taught me this,
That from everything I saw,
I could some invention draw,
And raise pleasure to her height,
Through the meanest object's sight;
By the murmur of a spring,
Or the least bough's rustling.
By a daisy, whose leaves spread,
Shut when Titan goes to bed;
Or a shady bush or tree,
She could more infuse in me,
Than all Nature's beauties can
In some other wiser man.
By her help I also now
Make this churlish place allow
Some things that may sweeten gladness,
In the very gall of sadness.

The dull loneness, the black shade,
That these hanging vaults have made;
The strange music of the waves,
Beating on these hollow caves:
This black den which rocks emboss,
Overgrown with eldest moss;
The rude portals that give light
More to terror than delight:
This my chamber of neglect,
Walled about with disrespect.
From all these, and this dull air,
A fit object for despair,
She hath taught me by her might
To draw comfort and delight.
Therefore, thou best earthly bliss,
I will cherish thee for this.
Poesy, thou sweet'st content
That e'er Heaven to mortals lent:
Though they as a trifle leave thee,
Whose dull thoughts cannot conceive


Though thou be to them a scorn,
That to nought but earth are born,
Let my life no longer be

Than I am in love with thee!
Though our wise ones call it madness,
Let me never taste of gladness,
If I love not thy maddest fits
Above all their greatest wits.
And though some, too seeming holy,
Do account thy raptures folly,
Thou dost teach me to contemn

What makes knaves and fools of them.

Sonnet upon a Stolen Kiss

Now gentle sleep hath closed up those eyes
Which, waking, kept my boldest thoughts in awe;
And free access unfo that sweet lip lies,
From whence I long the rosy breath to draw.
Methinks no wrong it were. If I should steal
From those two melting rubies, one poor kiss;
None sees the theft that would the theft reveal,
Nor rob I her of ought what she can miss:

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