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JOHN MILTON.

Of heaped Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half regained Eurydice.

These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.

BLINDNESS.

HAIL, holy Light! offspring of Heaven first-born,
Or of th' Eternal coeternal beam,
May I express thee unblamed? since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity; dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear'st thou rather pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell? before the sun,
Before the heavens thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detained
In that obscure sojourn; while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to th' Orphean lyre,
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night;
Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp: but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;

BLINDNESS.

So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit; nor sometimes forget
Those other two equalled with me in fate,
So were I equalled with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old :
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and, in shadiest covert hid,
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of Knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of Nature's works, to me expunged and rased,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the Mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

EVE TO ADAM.

My author and disposer, what thou bidst
Unargued I obey; so God ordains.
God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more
Is Woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise.
With thee conversing, I forget all time;
All seasons, and their change, all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the Sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile Earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful Evening mild; then silent Night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train:
But neither breath of Morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after shower;
Nor grateful Evening mild ; nor silent Night,
With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon,
Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.

MAY MORNING.

Now the bright Morning Star, Day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.

Hail, bounteous May, that doth inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing;

Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing!
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

SAMUEL BUTLER.

1612--1680.

HUDIBRAS GOES INTO POETICAL RAPTURES WITH

THE WIDOW.

QUOTI he “My faith as adamantine
As chains of destiny, I'll maintain;
True as Apollo ever spoke,
Or oracle from heart of oak;
And if you 'll give my flame but vent,
Now in close hugger-mugger pent,
And shine upon me but benignly,
With that one, and that other pigsney,
The sun and day shall sooner part,
Than love, or you, shake off my heart;
The sun that shall no more dispense
His own, but your, bright influence;
I'll carve your name on barks of trees,
With true-love-knots, and flourishes
That shall infuse eternal spring,
And everlasting flourishing;
Drink every letter on't in stum,
And make it brisk champagne become;
Where'er you tread, your foot shall set
The primrose and the violet;
All spices, perfumes, and sweet powders,
Shall borrow from your breath their odours;
Nature her charter shall renew,
And take all lives of things from you;
The world depend upon your eye,
And when you frown upon it, die.

SAMUEL BUTLER,

Only our loves shall still survive,
New worlds and natures to outlive;
And, like to herald's moons, remain
All crescents, without change or wane."

“Hold, hold,” quoth she, “no more of this.
Sir knight, you take your aim amiss;
For you will find it a hard chapter,
To catch me with poetic rapture,
In which your mastery of art
Doth show itself, and not your heart;
Nor will you raise in mine combustion,
By dint of high heroic fustian:
She that with poetry is won,
Is but a desk to write upon;
And what men say of her, they mean
No more than on the thing they lean.
Some with Arabian spices strive
T' embalm her cruelly alive;
Or season her, as French cooks use
Their haut-gouts, bouillions, or ragouts,
Use her so barbarously ill,
To grind her lips upon a mill,
Until the facet doublet doth
Fit their rhymes rather than her mouth;
Iler mouth compared t' an oyster's, with
A row of pearl in 't, 'stead of teeth;
Others make posies of her cheeks,
Where red and whitest colours mix;
In which the lily and the rose,
For Indian lake and ceruse goes.
The sun and moon, by her bright eyes,
Eclipsed and darkened in the skies,
Are but black patches, that she wears,
Cut into suns, and moons, and stars."

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