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Nor to the Eastern Ind dost rove, To bring from thence the scorched clove: Nor, with the loss of thy loved rest, Bring'st home the ingot from the West. No: thy ambition's master-piece Flies no thought higher than a fleece ; Or how to pay thy hinds, and clear All scores, and so to end the year; But walk'st about thy own dear bounds, Not envying others' larger grounds : For well thou know'st, 'tis not th' extent Of land makes life, but sweet content. When now the cock, the ploughman's horn, Calls forth the lily-wristed morn, Then to thy cornfields thou dost go, Which, though well-soil'd, yet thou dost know That the best compost for the lands Is the wise master's feet and hands. There at the plough thou find'st thy team, With a hind whistling there to them; And cheer'st them up by singing how The kingdom's portion is the plough. This done, then to th' enameli'd meads Thou go'st; and, as thy foot there treads, Thou see'st a present godlike power Imprinted in each herb and flower; And smell'st the breath of great-eyed kine, Sweet as the blossoms of the vine. Here thou behold'st thy large sleek neat, Unto the dewlaps up in meat; And, as thou look'st, the wanton steer, The heifer, cow, and ox draw near, To make a pleasing pastime there. These seen, thou go'st to view thy flocks Of sheep, safe from the wolf and fox; And find'st their bellies there as full Of short, sweet grass, as backs with wool; And leav'st them, as they feed and fill, A shepherd piping on a hill.

For sports, for pageantry, and plays,
Thou hast thy eves and holydays;
On which the young men and maids meet,
To exercise their dancing feet;
Tripping the comely country round,
With daffodils and daisies crown'd.
Thy wakes, quintels, here thou hast ;
Thy May-poles, too, with garlands graced ·
Thy morris-dance, thy Whitsun-ale,
Thy shearing-feast, which never fail;
Thy harvest-home, thy wassail-bowl,
That's tóss'd up after fox i' th' hole;
Thy mummeries, thy Twelfth-night kings
And queens, thy Christmas revellings :
Thy nut-brown mirth, thy russet wit;
And no man pays too dear for it.
To these thou hast thy times to go,
And trace the hare in treacherous snow;
Thy witty wiles to draw and get
The lark into the trammel net;
Thou hast thy cockrood, ånd thy glade
To take the precious pheasant made;
Thy lime-twigs, snares, and pitfalls, then
To catch the pilfering birds, not men.

Oh happy life, if that their good
The husbandmen but understood!
Who all the day themselves do please,
And younglings, with such sports as these ;
And lying down, have naught to affright
Sweet sleep, that makes more short the night.

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ABRAHAM COWLEY. 1618–1667.

WHAT shall I do to be for ever known,

And make the age to come my own,
I shall, like beasts or common people, die,

Unless you write my elegy ;
Whilst others great, by being born, are grown;

Their mothers’ labour, not their own.
In this scale gold, in th' other fame does lie,

The weight of that mounts this so high. These men are Fortune's jewels moulded bright;

Brought forth with their own fire and light : If I, her vulgar stone, for either look,

Out of myself it must be strook.
Yet I must on. What sound is't strikes mine ear?

Sure I Fame's trumpet hear :
It sounds like the last trumpet : for it can

Raise up the buried man.
Unpass’d Alps stop me; but I'll cut them all,

And march, the Muses' Hannibal.
Hence, all the flattering vanities that lay,

Nets of roses in the way!
Hence, the desire of honours or estate,

And all that is not above Fate!
Hence, Love himself, that tyrant of my days!

Which intercepts my coming praise.
Come, my best friends, my books! and lead me on ;

'Tis time that I were gone.
Welcome, great Stagyrite! and teach me now

All I was born to know:
Thy scholar's victories thou dost far outdo;

He conquer'd th' earth, the whole world you. Welcome, learn'd Cicero! whose bless'd tongue and Preserves Rome's greatness yet:

(wit Thou art the first of orators; only he

Who best can praise thee, next must be. Vol. I. G

Welcome the Mantuan swan, Virgil the wise!

Whose verse walks highest, but not flies ; Who brought green Poesy to her perfect age,

And made that art which was a rage. Tell me, ye mighty Three! what shall I do

To be like one of you?
But you have climb'd the mountain's top, there sit

On the calm flourishing head of it,
And, whilst with wearied steps we upward go,

See us and clouds below.


This only grant me, that my means may lie
Too low for envy, for contempt too high.

Some honour I would have,
Not from great deeds, but good alone';
Th' unknown are better than ill-known :

Rumour can ope the grave.
Acquaintance I would have, but when't depends
Not on the number, but the choice of friends.
Books should, not business, entertain the light,
And sleep, as undisturb'd as death, the night.

My house a cottage more
Than palace; and should fitting be
For all my use, no luxury.

My garden painted o'er
With Nature's hand, not Art's; and pleasures yield,
Horace might envy in his Sabine field.
Thus would I double my life's fading space;
For he that runs it well, twice runs his race.

And in this true delight,
These unbought sports, this happy state,
I would not fear nor wish my fate;

But boldly say each night,
To-morrow let my sun his beams display,
Or in clouds hide them; I have lived to-day.


In a deep vision's intellectual scene,
Beneath a bower for sorrow made,

Th' uncomfortable shade

Of the black yew's unlucky green
Mix'd with the mourning willow's careful gray,
Where reverend Cham cuts out his famous way,

The melancholy Cowley lay:
And lo! a Muse appear'd to's closed sight
(The Muses oft in lands of vision play),
Bodied, array'd, and seen, by an internal light,
A golden harp with silver strings she bore;
A wondrous hieroglyphic robe she wore,
In which all colours and all figures were,
That Nature or that Fancy can create,

That art can never imitate;
And with loose pride it wanton'd in the air.
In such a dress, in such a well-clothed dream,
She used of old, near fair Ismenus' stream,
Pindar, her Theban favourite, to meet;
A crown was on her head, and wings were on her

feet. She touch'd him with her harp, and raised him from

the ground; The shaken strings melodiously resound.

“ Art thou return'd at last,” said she,

“To this forsaken place and me?
Thou prodigal! who didst so loosely waste
Of all thy youthful years the good estate;
Art thou return'd here to repent too late,
And gather husks of learning up at last,
Now the rich harvest-time of life is past,

And winter marches on so fast?
But, when I meant t'adopt thee for my son,
And did as learn'd a portion assign
As ever any of the mighty Nine

Had to their dearest children done ;

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