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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 ;
Is dross and trash ?
Is but a flash ?
Delight in God only.
But what's a creature, Lord, compared with Thee ?
Or what 's my mother or my nurse to me?
But what's the air or all the sweets that she
Can bless my soul withal, compared to Thee ?
But, Lord of oceans, when compared with Thee,
What is the ocean or her wealth to me?
Without thy presence, heaven 's no heaven to me,
If not possessed, if not enjoyed in Thee,
What's earth, or sea, or air, or heaven to me?
The loudest flames that earth can kindle, be
Without thy presence, wealth is bags of cares;
Without thee, Lord, things be not what they be,
Decay of Life.
Nature now calls to supper, to refresh
DR. HENRY KING.
DR. HENRY KING (1592-1669), who was chaplain to e 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 ligliter verse, the following song may suffice:
Song. Dry those fair, those crystal eyes,
Then clear those waterish stars again, Which, like growing fountains, rise Which else portend a lasting rain; To drown their banke: grief 's sullen Lest the clouds which settle there, brooks
Prolong my winter all the year, Would better flow in furrowed looks; And thy example others make Thy lovely face was never meant
In love with sorrow for thy sake. To be the shore of discontent.
Sic Vita. Like to the falling of a star,
Even such is man, whose borrowed light Or as the flights of eagles are ;
Is straight called in, and paid to-night. Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue, The wind blows out, the bubble dies; Or silver drops of morning dew;
The spring entombed in antumn lies; Or like a wind that chafes the flood, The dew dries up, the star is shot; Or bubbles which on water stood :
The flight is past--aud man forgot.
The Dirge. What is the existence of man's life, It is a dream-whose seeming truth But open war, or slumbered strife; Is moralised in age and youth ; Where sickness to his sense presents Where all the comforts he can share, The combat of the elements;
As wandering as his fancies are;
Till in a mist of dark decay,
It is a dial--which points out
The sunset, as it moves about; And each loose passion of the mind And shadows out in lines of night Is like a furious gust of wind,
The subtle stages of Time's flight; Which beats his bark with many a wave, Till all-obscuring earth hath laid Till he casts anchor in the grave.
His body in perpetual shade. It is a flower—which buds, and growe It is a weary interludeAnd withers as the leaves disclose; Which doth short joys, long woes, include; Whose spring and fall faint seasons keep, The world the stage, the prologue tears, Like fits of waking before sleep;
The acts vain hopes and varied fears; Then shrinks into that fatal mould
The scene shuts up with loss of breath, Where its first being was enrolled. And leaves no epilogue but death.
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 ; lis limbs were incarcerated within stone walls and iron bars, but his faucy was among the hills and plains, with shepherds hunting, or loitering with Poesy by rustling boughs and murmuring springs. There is a fresliness 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 barsh, obscure, and affected; but he has an endless diversity of style and subjects, and true poetical feeling and expre-sion. Wither was a native of Hampshire, and received his education at Magdalen College, Oxford. He tirst 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 he 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 ruse 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 Denbam interfered for liis brother-bard, alleging, that as long as Wither lived, he (Denhan) 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; bis 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;' lis '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 ap. pearance in 1635. His satirical and controversial works were numerous but are now forgotten. Some authors of our own day-Southey in particular-lave helped to popularise Wither, by frequent quotation and culogy; 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 tu 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 de nied 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,
It shall never risc so high
As to stain thy poesy.
Mists of envy, fogs of spite,
'Twixt men's judgments and her light: So, my Willy, shall it be
But so much her power may do, With detraction's breath and three: That she can dissolve them too.
As that sun dotli oft exhale
Ii thy verse do bravely tower,
In my former days of bliss, As she makes wing she gets power
Her divine skill taught me this, Yet the higher she doth soar,
That from everything I saw,
I could some invention draw,
Through the meanest object's sight;
Or the least bough's rustlëing. For, if I could match thy rhyme,
By a daisy, whose leaves spread, To the very stars I'd climb;
Shut when Titan goes to bed ; There begin again, and fly
Or a shady bush or tree, Till I reached eternity.
She could more infuse in me, But, alas ! my muse is slow;
Than all Nature's beauties can For thy page she flags too low :
In some other wiser man.
By her help I also now
Some things that may sweeten gladness, And myself put up a-mewing:
In the very gall of sadness. But if I my cage can rid,
The dull loveness, the black shade, I'll fly where I never did :
That these hanging vaults have made; And so for her sake I'm crost,
The strange music of the waves, Though my best hopes I have lost, Beating on these hollow caves : And knew she would make my trouble This black den which rocks emboss, Ten times more than ten times double : Overgrown with eldest moss; I should love and keep her too,
The rude portals that give light Spite of all the world could do.
More to terror than delight: For, though banished from my flocks, This my chamber of neglect, And confined within these rocks,
Walled about with disrespect. Here I waste away the light,
From all these, and this dull air, Aud consume the sullen night,
A fit object for despair, She doth for my comfort stay,
She hath taught me by her might And keeps many cares away.
To draw confort and delight.
Therefore, thou best earthly bliss,
Though they as a trille leave thee,
Whose dull thoughts cannot conceive Though of all those pleasures past,
thee, Nothing now remains at last,
Though thou be to them a scorn,
That io nought but earth are born,
Than I am in love with thee!
Though our wise ones call it madness, (Whence she would be driven, too, Let me never taste of gladness, Were 't it mortal's power to do.)
If I love not thy maddest fits She doth tell me where to borrow
Above all their greatest wits. Comfort in the midst of sorrow :
And though some, too seeming holy, Makes the desolatest place
Do account thy raptures folly, To her presence be a grace;
Thou dost teach me to contemn And the blackest discontents
What makes kuaves and fools of them. Be her fairest ornaments.
Sonnet upon a Stolen Kiss.