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You violets that first appear,

By your pure purple mantles known, Like the proud virgins of the year, 1 As if the spring were all your own! What are you, when the rose is blown? So, when my mistress shall be seen

In form and beauty of her mind; By virtue first, then choice, a Queen! Tell me, if she were not design'd Th' eclipse and glory of her kind?

A Farewell to the Vanities of the World. Farewell, ye gilded follies, pleasing troubles; Farewell, ye honour'd rags, ye glorious bubbles! Fame's but a hollow echo; gold pure clay; Honour the darling but of one short day; Beauty, th' eye's idol, but a damask'd skin; State but a golden prison to live in, And torture free-born minds; embroider'd trains Merely but pageants for proud swelling veins; And blood allied to greatness, is alone Inherited, not purchased, nor our own: Fame, honour, beauty, state, train, blood, and birth, Are but the fading blossoms of the earth.



Welcome, pure thoughts, welcome, ye silent groves,
These guests, these courts, my soul most dearly loves:
Now the wing'd people of the sky shall sing
My cheerful anthems to the gladsome spring:
A prayer-book now shall be my looking-glass,
In which I will adore sweet Virtue's face.
Here dwell no hateful looks, no palace cares,
No broken vows dwell here, nor pale-faced fears:
Then here I'll sigh, and sigh my hot love's folly,
And learn t'affect an holy melancholy;
And if Contentment be a stranger then,
I'll ne'er look for it, but in heaven again.

The Character of a Happy Life. How happy is he born and taught, That serveth not another's will; Whose armour is his honest thought, And simple truth his utmost skill! Whose passions not his masters are, Whose soul is still prepared for death, Untied unto the worldly care Of public fame, or private breath; Who envies none that chance doth raise, Or vice; who never understood How deepest wounds are given by praise; Nor rules of state, but rules of good:

Who hath his life from rumours freed,
Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruin make oppressors great;
Who God doth late and early pray,
More of his grace than gifts to lend;
And entertains the harmless day
With a religious book or friend;
This man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands;
And having nothing, yet hath all.


SHAKSPEARE, as a writer of miscellaneous poetry, claims now to be noticed, and, with the exception of the Faery Queen, there are no poems of the reign of Elizabeth equal to those productions to which the great dramatist affixed his name. In 1593, when the poet was in his twenty-ninth year, appeared his Venus and Adonis, and in the following year his Rape of Lucrece, both dedicated to Henry

Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. I know not,' says the modest poet, in his first dedication, 'how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your lordship, nor how the world will censure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a burthen; only, if your honour seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour. But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so noble a godfather, and never after ear [till] so barren a land.' The allusion to idle hours' seems to point to the author's profession of an actor, in which capacity he had probably attracted the attention of the Earl of Southampton; but it is not so easy to understand how the Venus and Adonis was the first heir of his invention,' unless we believe that it had been written in early life, or that his dramatic labours had then been confined to the adaptation of old plays, not the writing of new ones, for the stage. There is a tradition, that the Earl of Southampton on one occasion presented Shakspeare with L.1000, to complete a purchase which he wished to make. The gift was munificent, but the sum has probably been exaggerated. The Venus and Adonis is a glowing and essentially dramatic version of the well-known mythological story, full of fine descriptive passages, but objectionable on the score of licentiousness. Warton has shown that it gave offence, at the time of its publication, on account of the excessive warmth of its colouring. The Rape of Lucrece is less animated, and is perhaps an inferior poem, though, from the boldness of its figurative expressions, and its tone of dignified pathos and reflection, it is more like the hasty sketch of a great poet.

The sonnets of Shakspeare were first printed in 1609, by Thomas Thorpe, a bookseller and publisher of the day, who prefixed to the volume the following enigmatical dedication:- To the only begetter of these ensuing sonnets, Mr W. H., all happiness and that eternity promised by our ever-living poet, wisheth the well-wishing adventurer in setting forth, T. T.' The sonnets are 154 in number. They are, with the exception of twenty-eight, addressed to some male object, whom the poet addresses in a style of affection, love, and idolatry, remarkable, even in the reign of Elizabeth, for its extravagant and enthusiastic character. Though printed continuously, it is obvious that the sonnets were written at different times, with long intervals between the dates of composition; and we know that, previous to 1598, Shakspeare had tried this species of composition, for Meres in that year alludes to his sugared sonnets among his private friends.' We almost wish, with Mr Hallam, that Shakspeare had not written these sonnets, beautiful as many of them are in language and imagery. They represent him in a character foreign to that in which we love to regard him, as modest, virtuous, self-confiding, and independent. His excessive and elaborate praise of youthful beauty in a man seems derogatory to his genius, and savours of adulation; and when we find him excuse this friend for robbing him of his mistress-a married female-and subjecting his noble spirit to all the pangs of jealousy, of guilty love, and blind misplaced attachment, it is painful and difficult to believe that all this weakness and folly can be associated with the name of Shakspeare, and still more, that he should record it in verse which he believed would descend to future ages


Not marble, not the gilded monuments Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme. Some of the sonnets may be written in a feigned character, and merely dramatic in expression; but

FROM 1553.

in others, the poet alludes to his profession of an
actor, and all bear the impress of strong passion and
deep sincerity. A feeling of premature age seems
to have crept on Shakspeare-



That time of year thou may'st in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou seest the twilight of such day, As after sun-set fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away, Death's second self, that seals up all in rest. In me thou seest the glowing of such fire, That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death-bed whereon it must expire, Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by. This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long. He laments his errors with deep and penitential sorrow, summoning up things past to the sessions of sweet silent thought,' and exhibiting the depths of a spirit 'solitary in the very vastness of its sympathies.' The W. H.' alluded to by Thorpe, the publisher, has been recently conjectured to be William Herbert, afterwards Earl of Pembroke, who (as appears from the dedication of the first folio of 1623) was one of Shakspeare's patrons. This conjecture has received the assent of Mr Hallam and others; and the author of an ingenious work on the sonnets, Mr C. Armitage Brown, has supported it with much plausibility. Herbert was in his eighteenth year, when Meres first notices the sonnets in 1598; he was learned, of literary taste, and gallant character, but of licentious life. The sonnets convey the idea, that the person to whom they were addressed was of high rank, as well as personal beauty and accomplishments. We know of only one objection to this theory-the improbability that the publisher would address William Herbert, then Earl of Pembroke, and a Knight of the Garter, as Mr W. H.' Herbert succeeded his father in the earldom in 1601, while the sonnets, as published by Thorpe, bear the date, as already stated, of 1609.

The composition of these mysterious productions evinces Shakspeare's great facility in versification of a difficult order, and they display more intense feeling and passion than either of his classical poems. They have the conceits and quaint turns of expression, then common, particularly in the sonnet; but they rise to far higher flights of genuine poetry than will be found in any other poet of the day, and they contain many traces of his philosophical and reflective spirit.

[The Horse of Adonis.]

Look, when a painter would surpass the life,
In limning out a well-proportion'd steed,
His art with Nature's workmanship at strife,
As if the dead the living should exceed;
So did this horse excel a common one
In shape, in courage, colour, pace, and bone.
Round-hoof'd, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long,
Broad breast, full eye, small head, and nostril wide,
High crest, short ears, strait legs, and passing strong,
Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide:
Look what a horse should have, he did not lack,
Save a proud rider on so proud a back.
Sometimes he scuds far off, and there he stares;
Anon he starts at stirring of a feather.
To bid the wind a basel he now prepares,
And whe'r he run, or fly, they know not whether.

1 To bid the wind a base: i. e. to challenge the wind to contend with him in speed: base-prison-base, or prison-bars, was rustic game, consisting chiefly in running.

TO 1649.
Fanning the hairs, who wave like feather'd wings.
For through his mane and tail the high wind sings,

[Venus's Prophecy after the Death of Adonis.]
Since thou art dead, lo! here I prophesy,
Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend;
It shall be waited on with jealousy,
Find sweet beginning, but unsavoury end,
Ne'er settled equally, but high or low :
That all love's pleasure shall not match his woe.

It shall be fickle, false, and full of fraud,
Bud and be blasted in a breathing while,
The bottom poison, and the top o'erstraw'd
With sweets that shall the truest sight beguile.
Strike the wise dumb, and teach the fool to speak.
The strongest body shall it make most weak,
Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures;
It shall be sparing, and too full of riot,
The staring ruffian shall it keep in quiet,
Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures;
Make the young old, the old become a child.
It shall be raging mad, and silly mild,

It shall suspect, where is no cause of fear;
It shall not fear, where it should most mistrust;
It shall be merciful, and too severe,
Perverse it shall be, when it seems most toward,
And most deceiving when it seems most just:
Put fear to valour, courage to the coward.
It shall be cause of war, and dire events,
And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire:
Subject and servile to all discontents,
As dry combustious matter is to fire.
They that love best, their love shall not enjoy.
Sith in his prime, death doth my love destroy,

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
[Selections from Shakspeare's Sonnets.]
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least ;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee-and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd, such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Alas, 'tis true, I have gone here and there,
And made myself a motley to the view,
Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
Made old offences of affections new.

Most true it is, that I have look'd on truth
Askance and strangely; but, by all above,
These blenches gave my heart another youth,
And worst essays prov'd thee my best of love.
Now all is done, save what shall have no end:
Mine appetite I never more will grind
On newer proof, to try an older friend,
A God in love, to whom I am confined.
Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best,
E'en to thy pure and most most loving breast.
O for my sake do thou with fortune chide,
The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,
That did not better for my life provide,
Than public means, which public manners breeds.
Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,
And almost thence my nature is subdued
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand.
Pity me then, and wish I were renew'd ;

Whilst, like a willing patient, I will drink
Potions of eysell, 'gainst my strong infection;
No bitterness that I will bitter think,
Nor double penance to correct correction.
Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye,
E'en that your pity is enough to cure me.

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long-since-cancell'd woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight.
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored, and sorrows end.

O how much more doth beauty beauteous seem,
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye,
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
When summer's breath their masked buds discloses;
But, for their virtue only is their show,
They live unwoo'd and unrespected fade;
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made;
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall fade, my verse distils your truth.

No longer mourn for me when I am dead,
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world, that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell!
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it: for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O if (I say) you look upon this verse,
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse;
But let your love even with my life decay:
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.

Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now; Now while the world is bent my deeds to cross, Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow, And do not drop in for an after-loss;

Ah! do not, when my heart hath 'scaped this sorrow,
Come in the rearward of a conquer'd woe;
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
To linger out a purposed overthrow.

If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
When other petty griefs have done their spite,
But in the onset come; so shall I taste
At first the very worst of Fortune's might;
And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Compared with loss of thee, will not seem so.

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dress'd in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh'd and leap'd with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer's story tell,

Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:

1 Vinegar.

Nor did I wonder at the lilies white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seem'd it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.

My love is strengthen'd, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear:
That love is merchandized, whose rich esteeming
The owner's tongue doth publish everywhere.
Our love was new, and then but in the spring,
When I was wont to greet it with my lays;
As Philomel in summer's front doth sing,
And stops his pipe in growth of riper days :
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burdens every bough,

And sweets grown common lose their dear delight. Therefore, like her, I sometimes hold my tongue, Because I would not dull you with my song.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove :
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests, and is never shaken ;
It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out e'en to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

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Fear no more the heat o' th' sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,

Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
Fear no more the frown o' th' great,

Thou art past the tyrant's stroke; Care no more to clothe and eat,

To thee the reed is as the oak. The sceptre, learning, physic, must All follow this, and come to dust. Fear no more the lightning-flash,

Nor th' all-dreaded thunder stone; Fear not slander, censure rash,

Thou hast finished joy and moan. All lovers young, all lovers must Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have,
And renowned be thy grave!

[From As you Like it."] Under the green-wood tree Who loves to lie with me, And tune his merry note

Unto the sweet bird's throat,

Come hither, come hither, come hither;

Here shall he see

No enemy

But winter and rough weather.

Who doth ambition shun,
And loves to live i' the sun;
Seeking the food he eats,
And pleas'd with what he gets,
Come hither, come hither, come hither;

Here shall he see

No enemy

But winter and rough weather.


SIR JOHN DAVIES (1570-1626), an English barrister, at one time Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, was the author of a long philosophical poem, On the Soul of Man and the Immortality thereof, supposed to have been written in 1598, and one of the earliest poems of that kind in our language. Davies is a profound thinker and close reasoner: in the happier parts of his poem,' says Campbell, 'we come to logical truths so well illustrated by ingenious similes, that we know not whether to call the thoughts more poetically or philosophically just.

The judgment and fancy are reconciled, and the imagery of the poem seems to start more vividly from the surrounding shades of abstraction.' The versification of the poem (long quatrains, was afterwards copied by Davenant and Dryden. Mr Southey has remarked that 'Sir John Davies and Sir William Davenant, avoiding equally the opposite faults of too artificial and too careless a style, wrote in numbers which, for precision, and clearness, and felicity, and strength, have never been surpassed.' The compact structure of Davies's verse is indeed remarkable for his times. In another production, entitled Orchestra, or Poem of Dancing, in a Dialogue between Penelope and One of her Wooers, he is much more fanciful. He there represents Penelope as declining to dance with Antinous, and the latter as proceeding to lecture her upon the antiquity of that elegant exercise, the merits of which he describes in verses partaking, as has been justly remarked, of the flexibility and grace of the subject. The following is one of the most imaginative passages:

[The Dancing of the Air.]

And now behold your tender nurse, the air,

And common neighbour, that aye runs around,
How many pictures and impressions fair
Within her empty regions are there found,
Which to your senses dancing do propound;

For what are breath, speech, echoes, music, winds,
But dancings of the air in sundry kinds?
For when you breathe, the air in order moves,

Now in, now out, in time and measure true; And when you speak, so well she dancing loves, That doubling oft, and oft redoubling new, With thousand forms she doth herself endue:

For all the words that from your lips repair, Are nought but tricks and turnings of the air. Hence is her prattling daughter, Echo, born,

That dances to all voices she can hear :
There is no sound so harsh that she doth scorn,
Nor any time wherein she will forbear
The airy pavement with her feet to wear:

And yet her hearing sense is nothing quick,
For after time she endeth ev'ry trick.

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For lo, the sea that fleets about the land,

And like a girdle clips her solid waist, Music and measure both doth understand: For his great crystal eye is always cast Up to the moon, and on her fixed fast:

And as she danceth in her pallid spheres
So danceth he about the centre here.

Sometimes his proud green waves in order set,
One after other flow into the shore,
Which when they have with many kisses wet,
They ebb away in order as before;
And to make known his courtly love the more,

He oft doth lay aside his three-fork'd mace,
And with his arms the timorous earth embrace.

The poem on Dancing is said to have been written in fifteen days. It was published in 1596. The Nosce Teipsum, or Poem on the Immortality of the Soul, bears the date (as appears from the dedication to the Queen) of 1602. The fame of these works introduced Sir John Davies to James I., who made him successively solicitor-general and attorney-general for Ireland. He was also a judge of assize, and was knighted by the king in 1607. The first Reports of Law Cases, published in Ireland, were made by this able and accomplished man, and his preface to the volume is considered the best that was ever prefixed to a law-book.'

[Reasons for the Soul's Immortality.]

Again, how can she but immortal be,
When, with the motions of both will and wit,
She still aspireth to eternity,
And never rests till she attain to it!


All moving things to other things do move
Of the same kind, which shows their nature such;
So earth falls down, and fire doth mount above,
Till both their proper elements do touch.

And as the moisture which the thirsty earth Sucks from the sea to fill her empty veins, From out her womb at last doth take a birth, And runs a lymph along the grassy plains,

Long doth she stay, as loath to leave the land,
From whose soft side she first did issue make;
She tastes all places, turns to every hand,
Her flowery banks unwilling to forsake.

Yet nature so her streams doth lead and carry As that her course doth make no final stay, Till she herself unto the sea doth marry, Within whose wat'ry bosom first she lay.

E'en so the soul, which, in this earthly mould,
The spirit of God doth secretly infuse,
Because at first she doth the earth behold,
And only this material world she views.

At first her mother earth she holdeth dear,
And doth embrace the world and worldly things;
She flies close by the ground, and hovers here,
And mounts not up with her celestial wings :

Yet under heaven she cannot light on aught That with her heavenly nature doth agree; She cannot rest, she cannot fix her thought, She cannot in this world contented be.

For who did ever yet, in honour, wealth,
Or pleasure of the sense, contentment find?
Who ever ceased to wish, when he had health,
Or, having wisdom, was not vex'd in mind?

Then, as a bee which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet flow'rs, with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But, pleased with none, doth rise and soar away.

So, when the soul finds here no true content, And, like Noah's dove, can no sure footing take, She doth return from whence she first was sent, And flies to him that first her wings did make.

[The Dignity of Man.]

Oh! what is man, great Maker of mankind! That thou to him so great respect dost bear; That thou adorn'st him with so bright a mind, Mak'st him a king, and even an angel's peer? Oh! what a lively life, what heav'nly pow'r, How great, how plentiful, how rich a dow'r What spreading virtue, what a sparkling fire,

Dost thou within this dying flesh inspire! Thou leav'st thy print in other works of thine, But thy whole image thou in man hast writ; There cannot be a creature more divine,

Except, like thee, it should be infinite: But it exceeds man's thought, to think how high God hath rais'd man, since God a man became ; The angels do admire this mystery,

And are astonish'd when they view the same: Nor hath he given these blessings for a day,

Nor made them on the body's life depend; The soul, though made in time, survives for aye; And though it hath beginning, sees no end.


JOHN DONNE was born in London in 1573, of a Catholic family; through his mother he was related to Sir Thomas More and Heywood the epigrammatist. He was educated partly at Oxford and partly at Cambridge, and was designed for the law, but relinquished the study in his nineteenth year. About this period of his life, having carefully considered the controversies between the Catholics and Protestants, he became convinced that the latter were right, and became a member of the established church. The great abilities and amiable character of Donne were early distinguished. The Earl of Essex, the Lord Chancellor Egerton, and Sir Robert Drury, successively befriended and employed him; and a saying of the second of these eminent persons respecting him is recorded by his biographers-that he was fitter to serve a king than a subject. He fell, nevertheless, into trouble, in consequence of secretly marrying the daughter of Sir George Moore, lord lieutenant of the Tower. This step kept him for several years in poverty, and by the death of his wife, a few days after giving birth to her twelfth child, he was plunged into the greatest grief. At the age of forty-two, Donne became a clergyman, and soon attaining distinction as a preacher, he was preferred by James I. to the deanery of St Paul's; in which benefice he continued till his death in 1631, when he was buried honourably in Westminster Abbey.

The works of Donne consist of satires, elegies, religious poems, complimentary verses, and epigrams: they were first collected into one volume by Tonson in 1719. His reputation as a poet, great in his own day, low during the latter part of the seventeenth, and the whole of the eighteenth centuries, has latterly in some degree revived. In its days of abasement, critics spoke of his harsh and rugged versification, and his leaving nature for conceit: Dryden even hints at the necessity of translating him into numbers and English. It seems to be now acknowledged that, amidst much rubbish, there is much real poetry, and that of a high order, in Donne. He is described by a recent critic as 'imbued to saturation with the learning of his age,' endowed with a most active and piercing intellect -an imagination, if not grasping and comprehensive, most subtle and far-darting-a fancy, rich,

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