Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Great Alexander to subdue the world,
Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:

There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit

By voice or hand; and various-measured verse,
Eolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,

And his who gave them breath but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer call'd,
Whose poem Phoebus challenged for his own;
Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught
In chorus or iambic, teachers best

Of moral prudence, with delight received
In brief sententious precepts, while they treat
Of fate, and chance, and change in human life,
High actions, and high passions best describing:
Thence to the famous orators repair,

Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence

Wielded at will that fierce democratie,

Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece

To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne:

To sage Philosophy next lend thine ear,

From heaven descended to the low-roof'd house
Of Socrates; see there his tenement,
Whom well inspired the oracle pronounced
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth
Mellifluous streams, that water'd all the schools
Of Academics old and new, with those
Surnamed Peripatetics, and the sect

Epicurean, and the Stoic severe.

Paradise Regained, Book IV.

LIFE-ITS TRUE ESTIMATE.

Ir is not growing like a tree,

In bulk, doth make man better be;

Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:

A lily of a day

Is fairer far in May,

Although it fall and die that night,

It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.

་་

BEN JONSON.

TIME steals away like to a stream,
And we glide hence away with him:
No sound recalls the hours once fled,
Or roses being withered :-

Whose life with care is overcast,
That man's not said to live, but last;
Nor is't a life seven years to tell,
But for to live that half seven well.

HERRICK. To John Wicks.

LONG I have lasted in this world 'tis true,
But yet those years that I have lived but few.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

He lives who lives to virtue; men who cast
Their ends for pleasure, do not live, but last.
HERRICK. On Himself.

THO' death the virtuous young destroy,*
They go to rest and heavenly joy;

Life is not to be judged by days,
Virtue endures-when time decays,
old we falsely call,

And many

Who, truly, never lived at all;

For what is Time if not employ'd
In worthy deeds--but all a void ?
Then think not, tho' abridged by fate,
Too short this youth's allotted date.
With dignity he fill'd his span,
In conduct and in worth a man.
So spent, a life to Heaven appears
As full as Nestor's length of years.

ANON.

ODE TO THE WEST WIND.

O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being, Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead

Perhaps the early grave

Which men weep over may be sent to save.

Don Juan.

Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,*
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes. O thou
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow
Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill :
Wild spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver: Hear, O hear!

Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion, Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed, Shook from the tangled boughs of heaven and ocean, Angels of rain and lightning; these are spread

On the blue surface of thy airy surge,

Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
Of some fierce Maenad, e'en from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height-

The locks of the approaching storm.

Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere

Black rain, and fire, and hail, will burst: O hear!

Thou who didst waken from his summer-dreams

The blue Mediterranean, where he lay

Lull'd by the coil of his crystalline streams
Beside a pumice isle in Baia's bay,

And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,
All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Angel forms, who lay entranced

Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
In Vallambrosa, where th' Etrurian shades
High over arch'd imbow'r.

Paradise Lost, Book I.

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms, and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!

O wind,

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

[blocks in formation]

Now gentle gales,

Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now art past
Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shore

Of Araby the Blest; with such delay

Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league,
Cheer'd with the grateful smell, old ocean smiles.
Paradise Lost. Book IV.

LUXURIES.

Ir is an old and good distinction that some things are made only for our use, and some things for enjoyment. The first we value only for their use, the second we account our happiness. SHERLOCK. On Death.

Lear. O, REASON not the need; our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous:

Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life is cheap as beasts'; thou art a lady;

If only to go warm were gorgeous,

Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
Which scarcely keeps thee warm.

King Lear.

BOASTING.

BOASTING is but an art our fears to blind,
And with false terrors sink another mind.

BOLDNESS.

POPE. Iliad, Book XXII.

FEAR not, but be bold:

A decent boldness ever meets with friends,
Succeeds, and ev'n a stranger recommends.

CHASTITY.

POPE. Odyssey, Book VII.

'TIS chastity, my brother, chastity:

She that has that, is clad in complete steel;
And, like a quiver'd nymph with arrows keen,
May trace huge forests, and unharbour'd heaths,
Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds;
Where, through the sacred rays of chastity,
No savage fierce, bandit, or mountaineer,
Will dare to soil her virgin purity.

Yea, there where every desolation dwells,
By grots and caverns shagg'd with horrid shades,
She may pass on with unblench'd majesty,
Be it not done in pride, or in presumption.
Some say, no evil thing that walks by night,
In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen,
Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost
That breaks his magic chains at curfew time,
No goblin, or swart faery of the mine,
Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.
believe me yet, or shall I call
Antiquity from the old schools of Greece

Do ye

To testify the arms of chastity?

Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow,
Fair silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste,

Wherewith she tamed the brinded lioness

And spotted mountain-pard, but set at naught

The frivolous bolt of Cupid; gods and men

Fear'd her stern frown, and she was queen o' the woods.

What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield,

That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin,

Wherewith she freezed her foes to congeal'd stone,

But rigid looks of chaste austerity,

And noble grace that dash'd brute violence

« ForrigeFortsæt »