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Poor Soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
Fool'd by those rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within, and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay ?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend ?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge ? is this thy body's end ?
Then, Soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store ;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross ;
Within be fed, without be rich no more :-
So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men,
And death once dead, there's no more dying then.

W. Shakespeare

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The World's a bubble, and the Life of Man

Less than a span :
In his conception wretched, from the womb

So to the tomb;
Curst from his cradle, and brought up to years

With cares and fears.
Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
But limns on water, or but writes in dust.
Yet whilst with sorrow here we live opprest,

What life is best?
Courts are but only superficial schools

To dandle fools :
The rural parts are turn’d into a den

Of savage men :

And where's a city from foul vice so free,
But may be term'd the worst of all the three?
Domestic cares afflict the husband's bed,

Or pains his head :
Those that live single, take it for a curse,

Or do things worse :
Some would have children : those that have them,

moan

Or wish them gone :
What is it, then, to have, or have no wife,
But single thraldom, or a double strife ?
Our own affections still at home to please

Is a disease :
To cross the seas to any foreign soil,

Peril and toil :
Wars with their noise affright us; when they cease,

We are worse in peace ;-
What then remains, but that we still should cry
For being born, or, being born, to die?

Lord Bacon

LVIII

THE LESSONS OF NATURE Of this fair volume which we World do name If we the sheets and leaves could turn with care, Of him who it corrects, and did it frame, We clear might read the art and wisdom rare : Find out his power which wildest powers doth tame, His providence extending everywhere, His justice which proud rebels doth not spare, In every page, no period of the same. But silly we, like foolish children, rest Well pleased with colour'd vellum, leaves of gold, Fair dangling ribbands, leaving what is best, On the great writer's sense ne'er taking hold; Or if by chance we stay our minds on aught, It is some picture on the margin wrought.

W. Drummond

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Doth then the world go thus, doth all thus move? .
Is this the justice which on Earth we find ?
Is this that firm decree which all doth bind ?
Are these your influences, Powers above ?
Those souls which vice's moody mists most blind,
Blind Fortune, blindly, most their friend doth prove ;
And they who thee, poor idol Virtue ! love,
Ply like a feather toss'd by storm and wind.
Ah! if a Providence doth sway this all
Why should best minds groan under most distress?
Or why should pride humility make thrall,
And injuries the innocent oppress?
Heavens ! hinder, stop this fate; or grant a time
When good may have, as well as bad, their prime !

W. Drummond

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Tired with all these, for restful death I cry-
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall’d simplicity,
And captive Good attending captain Ill :-
-Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my Love alone.

W. Shakespeare

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SAINT JOHN BAPTIST The last and greatest Herald of Heaven's King Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild, Among that savage brood the woods forth bring, Which he more harmless found than man, and mild. His food was locusts, and what there doth spring, With honey that from virgin hives distillid; Parch'd body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing Made him appear, long since from earth exiled. There burst he forth : All ye whose hopes rely On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn, Repent, repent, and from old errors turn ! -Who listen'd to his voice, obey'd his cry? Only the echoes, which he made relent, Rung from their flinty caves, Repent ! Repent !

W. Drummond

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This is the month, and this the happy morn Wherein the Son of Heaven's Eternal King Of wedded maid and virgin mother born, Our great redemption from above did bring ; For so the holy sages once did sing That he our deadly forfeit should release, And with his Father work us a perpetual peace. That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable, And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table To sit the midst of Trinal Unity, He laid aside ; and, here with us to be Forsook the courts of everlasting day, And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay. Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein Afford a present to the Infant God ? Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain To welcome him to this his new abode, Now while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod, Hath took no print of the approaching light, And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons

bright ?

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