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And sweet is middle life, for it hath left us
A newer good to cure an older ill;
And sweet are all things when we learn to prize them Not for their sake, but His who grants them or denies them.
– AUBREY De Vere.
TO THE MOON.
WITH how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies! How silently, and with how wan a face!
What, may it be that even in heavenly place
Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case, I read it in thy looks; thy languisht grace, To me, that feel the like, thy state descries.
Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me, Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.
THE COMMON GRAVE.
LAST night beneath the foreign stars I stood,
To the great grave upon the hill of blood.
Upon the darkness they went visibly, Each in the vesture of its own distress.
Among them there came One, frail as a sigh, And like a creature of the wilderness
Dug with her bleeding hands. She neither cried Nor wept; nor did she see the many stark
And dead that lay unburied at her side. All night she toiled; and at that time of dawn, When Day and Night do change their More and Less, And Day is More, I saw the melting Dark Stir to the last, and knew she labored on.
- SYDNEY Dobell.
TO HIS LUTE.
My lute, be as thou wert when thou didst grow
Since that dear Voice which did thy sounds approve, Which wont in such harmonious strains to flow,
Is reft from Earth to tune those spheres above,
Thy pleasing notes be pleasing notes no more,
- WILLIAM DRUMMOND.
RESIGNATION AND DESPAIR.
As due by many titles, I resign
Myself to Thee, O God. First I was made
By Thee and for Thee; and, when I was decayed, Thy blood bought that, the which before was thine: I am thy son, made with Thyself to shine;
Thy servant, whose pains Thou hast still repaid, Thy sheep, thine image; and, till I betrayed Myself, a temple of thy Spirit divine.
Why doth the devil then usurp on me? Why doth he steal, nay, ravish that's thy right? Except Thou rise, and for thine own work fight, Oh! I shall soon despair, when I shall see That Thou lov'st mankind well, yet wilt not choose me And Satan hates me, yet is loth to lose me.
- JOHN DONNE.
BRIGHT star! would I were steadfast as thou art
Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite,
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors. No yet still steadfast, still unchangeable, Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast, To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest;
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
GIVE me a cottage on some Cambrian wild Where, far from cities, I may spend my days, And by the beauties of the scene beguil'd,
May pity man's pursuits, and shun his ways, While on the rock I mark the browsing goat,
List to the mountain-torrent's distant noise, Or the hoarse bittern's solitary note,
I shall not want the world's delusive joys; But with my little scrip, my book, my lyre,
Shall think my lot complete, nor covet more; And when, with time, shall wane the vital fire, I'll raise my pillow on the desert shore, And lay me down to rest where the wild wave Shall make sweet music o'er my lonely grave.
- HENRY KIRke White.
ALREADY evening! In the duskiest nook
Shelves his sharp light up shallow banks thin-spread;
The moon is lifting: and deliciously
Along the warm blue hills the day declines.
The first star brightens while she waits for me, And round her swelling heart the zone grows tight: Musing, half-sad, in her soft hair she twines.
The white rose, whispering "He will come to-night!" – OWEN MEREDITH (LORD LYTTON).
It is the hour when from the boughs
Seem sweet in every whispered word;