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"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;
"When I resolv'd t' exalt thy' anointed name, "Among the spiritual lords of peaceful fame; "Thou changeling! thou, bewitch'd with noise and show "Wouldst into courts and cities from me go; "Wouldst see the world abroad, and have a share "In all the follies and the tumults there : "Thou wouldst, forsooth, be something in a state, "And business thou wouldst find, and wouldst create: "Business! the frivolous pretence
"Of human lusts, to shake off innocence;
"Business! the grave impertinence;
"Business! the thing which I of all things hate; 'Business! the contradiction of thy fate.
"Go, renegado! cast up thy account, "And see to what amount
"Thy foolish gains by quitting me:
"The sale of Knowledge, Fame, and Liberty, "The fruits of thy unlearn'd apostacy.
"Thou thought'st, if once the public storm were past, "All thy remaining life should sun-shine be
"Behold! the public storm is spent at last,
"The sovereign 's tost at sea no more,
"But, whilst thy fellow-voyagers I see
Upon the naked beach, upon the barren sand!
"As a fair morning of the blessed spring,
"After a tedious stormy night,
"Such was the glorious entry of our king;
Enriching moisture dropp'd on every thing;
"Plenty he sow'd below, and cast about him light!
"One of old Gideon's miracles was shown;
"And upon all the quicken'd ground
"The fruitful seed of heaven did brooding lie,
("When God to his own people said
"The men whom through long wanderings he had led) "That he would give them ev'n a heaven of brass: "They look'd up to that heaven in vain,
"That bounteous heaven, which God did not restrain "Upon the most unjust to shine and rain.
"The Rachel, for which twice seven years and more
"Given to another, who had store
"Of fairer and of richer wives before,
"And not a Leah left, thy recompense to be!
"Into the court's deceitful lottery:
But think how likely 't is that thou,
"Thou, to whose share so little bread did fall,
Thus spake the Muse, and spake it with a smile,
That seem'd at once to pity and revile.
And to her thus, raising his thoughtful head,
The melancholy Cowley said
Ah, wanton foe! dost thou upbraid
"The hills which thou thyself hast made? "When in the cradle innocent I lay,
"Thou, wicked spirit! stolest me away,
"And my abused soul didst hear
"Into thy new-found worlds, I know not where,
Thy golden Indies in the air;
"And ever since I strive in vain
'My ravish'd freedom to regain;
"Still I rebel, still thou dost reign;
"Lo! still in verse against thee I complain.
"The foolish sports I did on thee bestow,
"Make all my art and labour fruitless now;
"Where once such fairies dance, no grass doth ever grow.
"When my new mind had no infusion known,
"Thou gav'st so deep a tincture of thine own, "That ever since I vainly try
"To wash away th' inherent dye:
"Long work perhaps may spoil thy colours quite, "But never will reduce the native white :
"To all the ports of honour and of gain
"Thy gale comes cross, and drives me back again.
By making them so oft to be
"The tinkling strings of thy loose minstrelsy.
"As they who only heaven desire
"This was my error, this my gross mistake,
"Thus, with Sapphira and her husband's fate
(A fault which I, like them, am taught too late),
"For all that I gave up I nothing gain,
"And perish for the part which I retain.
"Teach me not then, O thou fallacious Muse! "The court, and better king, t' accuse:
"The heaven under which I live is fair, "The fertile soil will a full harvest bear:
Thine, thine is all the barrenness; if thou
"Mak'st me sit still and sing, when I should plough.
"Our patient sovereign did attend
"How cheerfully, and how exempt from fear,
"I ought to be accurst, if I refuse
"To wait on his, O thou fallacious Muse!
"Kings have long hands, they say; and though I be
"So distant, they may reach at length to me.
"However of all princes, thou
"Shouldst not reproach rewards for being small or slow; "Thou! who rewardest but with popular breath,
"And that too after death."
ODE ON SOLITUDE.
Hail, old patrician trees, so great and good!
Where the poetic birds rejoice,
And for their quiet nests and plenteous food
Hail, the poor Muses' richest manor-seat
That for you oft they quit their bright and great
Here Nature does a house for me erect,
Nature, the wisest architect,
Who those fond artist does despise
That can the fair and living trees neglect ;
Here let me, careless and unthoughtful lying,
A silver stream shall roll his waters near,
A wretched and too solitary he,
Who loves not his own company! He'll feel the weight of't many a day, Unless he call in sin or vanity
To help to bear 't away.
Oh Solitude, first state of human kind!
As soon as two, alas! together join'd,
Though God himself, through countless ages, thee His sole companion chose to be,
Thee, sacred Solitude, alone,
Before the branchy head of number's tree
Thou (though men think thine an unactive part)
Thou the faint beams of reason's scatter'd light Dost, like a burning-glass, unite;
Dost multiply the feeble heat,
And fortify the strength, till thou dost bright
Whilst this hard truth I teach, methinks, I see
I should at thee too, foolish city!
Let but thy wicked men from out thee go,