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Let others sing of Knights and Palladines,
In aged accents and untimely words ;
Paint shadows in imaginary lines,
Which well the reach of their high wits records :
But I must sing of thee, and those fair eyes
Authentic shall my verse in time to come,
When yet th' unborn shall say, lo, where she lies,
Whose beauty made him speak, that else was dumb !
These are the arcs, the trophies I erect,
That fortify thy name against old age ;
And these thy sacred virtues must protect
Against the dark, and Time's consuming rage.
Though th’ error of my youth in them appear,
Suffice, they shew I liv’d, and lov'd thee dear.
Why should your fair eyes with such sovereign grace
Disperse their rays on every vulgar spirit,
Whilst I in darkness, in the self-same place,
Get not one glance to recompense my merit?
So doth the ploughman gaze the wandering star,
And only rests contented with the light,
That never learn'd what constellations are,
Beyond the bent of his unknowing sight.
0, why should Beauty (custom to obey)
To their gross sense apply herself so ill !
Would God I were as ignorant as they,
When I am made unhappy by my skill!
Only compell'd on this poor good to boast,
Heavens are not kind to them that know them most:
Whilst thus my pen strives to eternize thee,
Age rules my lines with wrinkles in my face,
Where, in the map of all my misery,
Is modell’d out the world of my disgrace:
Whilst in despite of tyrannizing times,
Medea-like, I make thee young again,
Proudly thou scorn’st my world-out-wearing rhymes,
And murther'st virtue with thy coy disdain :
And though, in youth, my youth untimely perish,
To keep thee from oblivion and the grave,
Ensuing ages yet my rhymes shall cherish,
Where I entomb'd my better part shall save ;
And though this earthly body fade and die,
My name shall mount upon eternity.
In pride of wit, when high desire of fame
Gave life and courage to my labouring pen,
And first the sound and virtue of my name
Won grace and credit in the ears of men ;
With those the thronged theatres that press,
I in the circuit for the laurel strove,
Where, the full praise, I freely must confess,
In heat of blood, a modest mind might move.
With shouts and claps, at every little pause,
When the proud round on every side hath rung,
Sadly I sit unmov'd with the applause,
As though to me it nothing did belong:
No public glory vainly I pursue ;
The praise I strive, is to eternize you.
CLEAR Anker, on whose silver-sanded shore,
My soul-shrin'd saint, my fair Idea, lies;
O blessed brook, whose milk-white swans adore
That crystal stream refined by her eyes !
Where sweet myrrh-breathing Zephyr in the spring
Gently distils his nectar-dropping showers,
Where nightingales in Arden sit and sing
Amongst the dainty dew-impearled flowers ;
Say thus, fair brook, when thou shalt see thy queen,-
Lo, here thy shepherd spent his wandering years,
And in these shades, dear nymph, he oft hath been,
And here to thee he sacrific'd his tears:
Fair Arden, thou my Tempe art alone,
: And thou, sweet Anker, art my Helicon.