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SAMUEL DANIEL. 1562–1619.
RICHARD THE SECOND, THE MORNING BEFORE HIS MURDER
IN POMFRET CASTLE.
WHETHER the soul receives intelligence,
By her near genius, of the body's end,
And so imparts a sadness to the sense,
Foregoing ruin, whereto it doth tend;
Or whether nature else hath conference,
With profound sleep, and so doth warning sendo
By prophetizing dreams, what hurt is near,
And gives the heavy, careful heart to fear:
However, so it is, the now sad king,
Toss'd here and there his quiet to confound,
Feels a strange weight of sorrows gathering
Upon his trembling heart, and sees no ground;
Feels sudden terror bring cold shivering;
Lists not to eat, still muses, sleeps unsound;
His senses droop, his steady eyes unquick ;
And much he ails, and yet he is not sick.
The morning of that day which was his last,
After a weary rest, rising to pain,
Out at a little grate his eyes he cast
Upon those bordering hills and open plain,
Where other's liberty makes him complain
The more his own, and grieves his soul the more,
Conferring captive crowns with freedom poor.
Oh happy man, saith he, that lo I see,
Grazing his cattle in those pleasant fields,
If he but knew his good. How blessed he
That feels not what affliction greatness yields !
Other than what he is he would not be,
Nor change his state with him that sceptre wields.
Thine, thine is that true life: that is to live,
To rest secure, and not rise up to grieve.
Thou sitt'st at home safe by thy quiet fire,
And hear'st of other's harms, but fearest none:
And there thou tell'st of kings, and who aspire,
Who fall, who rise, who triumph, who do moan.
Perhaps thou talk'st of me, and dost inquire
Of my restraint, why here I live alone,
And pitiest this my miserable fall;
For pity must have part-envy not all.
Thrice happy you that look as from the shore,
And have no venture in the wreck you see ;
No interest, no occasion to deplore
Other men's travels, while yourselves sit free.
How much doth your sweet rest make us the more
To see our misery and what we be:
Whose blinded greatness, ever in turmoil,
Still seeking happy life makes life a toil.
MERCY DWBLLING IN HEAVEN AND PLEADING FOR THE GUILTY,
WITH JUSTICE DESCRIBED BY HER QUALITIES. But Justice had no sooner Mercy seen Smoothing the wrinkles of her father's brow, But up she starts, and throws herself between : As when a vapour from a moory slough, Meeting with fresh Eöus, that but now Opend the world, which all in darkness lay, Doth heaven's bright face of his rays disarray, And sads the smiling orient of the springing day. She was a virgin of austere regard : Not as the world esteems her, deaf and blind; But as the eagle, that hath oft compared Her eye with heaven's, so, and more brightly shined Hor lamping sight : for she the same could wind
Into the solid heart, and, with her ears,
The silence of the thought loud speaking hears,
And in one hand a pair of even scales she wears
riot of affection revel kept
Within her breast, but a still apathy
Possess'd all her soul, which softly slept
Securely without tempest; no sad cry
Awakes her pity, but wrong'd Poverty,
Sending his eyes to heav'n swimming in tears,
With hideous clamours ever struck her ears,
Whetting the blazing sword that in her hand she
bears. The winged lightning is her Mercury, And round about her mighty thunders sound: Impatient of himself lies pining by Pale Sickness, with his kercher'd head upwound, And thousand noisome plagues attend her round. But if her cloudy brow but once grow foul, The flints uo melt, and rocks to water roll, The airy mountains shake, and frighted shadows
howl. Famine, and bloodless Care, and bloody War; Want, and the want of knowledge how to use Abundance; Age, and Fear, that runs afar Before his fellow Grief, that aye pursues His winged steps; for who would not refuse Grief's company, a dull and raw-boned spright, That lanks the cheeks, and pales the freshest sight, Unbosoming the cheerful breast of all delight?
MERCY BRIGHTENING THE RAINBOW.
High in the airy element there hung
Another cloudy sea, that did disdain,
As though his purer waves from heaven sprung,
To crawl on earth, as doth the sluggish main;
But it the earth would water with his rain,
That ebb’d and flow'd as wind and season would; And oft the sun would cleave the limber mould To alabaster rocks, that in the liquid roll’d.
Beneath those sunny banks a darker cloud,
Dropping with thicker dew, did melt apace,
And bent itself into a hollow shroud,
On which, if Mercy did but cast her face
A thousand colours did the bow enchase,
That wonder was to see the silk distain'd
With the resplendence from her beauty gain’d,
And Iris paint her locks with beams so lively feign'd.
About her head a cypress heav'n she wore,
Spread like a veil upheld with silver wire,
In which the stars so burned in golden ore,
As seem'd the azure web was all on fire:
But hastily, to quench their sparkling ire,
A flood of milk came rolling up the shore,
That on his curded wave swift Argus wore,
And the immortal swan, that did her life deplore.
Yet strange it was so many stars to see,
Without a sun to give their tapers light:
Yet strange it was not that it so should be ;
For, where the sun centres himself by right,
Her face and locks did flame, that at the sight
The heavenly veil, that else should nimbly move,
Forgot his flight, and all incensed with love,
With wonder, and amazement, did her beauty prove.
Over her hung a canopy of state,
Not of rich tissue nor of spangled gold,
But of a substance, though not animate,
Yet of a heavenly and spiritual mould,
That only eyes of spirits might behold:
Such light as from main rocks of diamond,
Shooting their sparks at Phæbus, would rebound,
And little angels, holding hands, danced all around.
THE PALACE OF PRESUMPTION.
Here did Presumption her pavilion spread
Over the temple, the bright stars among
(Ah that her foot should trample on the head
Of that most reverend place!), and a lewd throng
Of wanton boys sung her a pleasant song
Of love, long life, of mercy, and of grace,
And every one her dearly did embrace,
And she herself enamour'd was of her own face.
A painted face, belied with vermeil store,
Which light Euëlpis every day did trim,
That in one hand a gilded anchor wore,
Not fixed on the rock, but on the brim
Of the wide air, she let it loosely swim!
Her other hand a sprinkle carried,
And ever when her lady wavered,
Court-holy water all upon her sprinkled.
Her tent with sunny clouds was ceil'd aloft,
And so exceeding shone with a false light,
That heav'n itself to her it seemed oft,
Heav'n without clouds to her deluded sight;
But clouds withouten heav'n it was aright :
And as her house was built so did her brain
Build castles in the air, with idle pain,
But heart she never had in all her body vain.
Like as a ship, in which no balance lies,
Without a pilot on the sleeping waves,
Fairly along with wind and water flies,
And painted masts with silken sails embraves,
That Neptune's self the bragging vessel saves,
To laugh a while at her so proud array;
Her waving streamers loosely she lets play,
And flagging colours shine as bright as smiling day.