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But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloister's pale,
And love the high-embowed1 roof,
With antique pillars, massy, proof;
And storied windows, richly dight,2
Casting a dim religious light.
There let the pealing organ blow
To the full-voiced choir below
In service high, and anthems clear,
with sweetness, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstacies,
And bring all Heav'n before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
Find out the peaceful hermitage,
The hairy gown and mossy cell,
Where I may sit and rightly spell
Of every star that heav'n doth shew,
herb that sips the dew;
Till old experience do attain
To something like prophetic strain.
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
And I with thee will choose to live.
Two Brothers in search of their lost Sister. Younger Bro. If our eyes Be barr'd that happiness, might we but hear The folded flocks penn'd in their wattled cots, Or sound of pastoral reeds with oaten stops, Or whistle from the lodge or village cock Count the night-watches to his feathery dames, "Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering, In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs. But oh, that hapless virgin, our lost sister,
TWO BROTHERS IN SEARCH OF THEIR SISTER.
Where may she wander now, whither betake her
From the chill dew, amongst rude burrs and thistles?
Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,
Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm
Leans her unpillow'd head, fraught with sad fears-
What if in wild amazement and affright?
Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp
Of savage hunger or of savage heat?
Elder Bro. Peace, brother; be not over-exquisite1
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils :
For grant they be so, while they rest unknown
What need a man forestall his date of grief,
And run to meet what he would most avoid?
Or, if they be but false alarms of fear,
How bitter is such self-delusion?
I do not think my sister so to seek,
Or so unprincipled2 in virtue's book,
And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever,
As that the single want of light and noise
(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not)
Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,
And put them into misbecoming plight.
Virtue could see to do what Virtue would
By her own radiant light, though sun and moon
Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self
Oft seeks to sweet retired Solitude,
Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation,
She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings,
That in the various bustle of resort
Were all too ruffled, and sometimes impair'd.
He that has light within his own clear breast
May sit i' th' centre, and enjoy bright day;
But he that hides a dark soul, and foul thoughts,
Benighted walks under the mid-day sun :
Himself is his own dungeon.
That musing meditation most affects
2 ungrounded in the principles.
The pensive secrecy of desert cell,
Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds,
And sits as safe as in a senate-house;
For who would rob a hermit of his weeds,
His few books, or his beads, or maple dish,
Or do his grey hairs any
But beauty, like the fair Hesperian1 tree
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
Of dragon watch, with unenchanted eye,
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit
From the rash hand of bold Incontinence.
You may as well spread out the unsunn'd2 heaps
Of miser's treasure by an outlaw's den,
And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope
Danger will wink on Opportunity,
And let a single helpless maiden pass
Uninjured in this wild surrounding waste.
Born A.D. 1631, died A.D. 1700.
WHENCE but from heav'n could men unskill'd in arts,
In several ages born, in several parts,
Weave such agreeing truths? or how or why
Should all conspire to cheat us with a lie?
Unasked their pains, ungrateful their advice,
Starving their gain, and martyrdom their price.
If on the book itself we cast our view,
Concurrent heathens prove the story true:
The doctrine, miracles, which must convince,
For heav'n in them appeals to human sense;
And though they prove not, they confirm the cause,
When what is taught agrees with nature's laws.
1 A fabulous tree bearing golden apples, guarded by a dragon, which Hercules slew.
not exposed to the light, concealed.
Then for the style: majestic and divine,
It speaks no less than God in ev'ry line;
Commanding words, whose force is still the same,
As the first fiat that produced our frame.
All faiths beside, or did by arms ascend,
Or sense indulged has made mankind their friend;
This only doctrine does our lusts oppose;
Unfed by nature's soil on which it grows;
Cross to our interests, curbing sense and sin,
Oppressed without, and undermined within,
It thrives through pain, its own tormentors tires,
And with a stubborn patience still aspires.
To what can reason such effects assign,
Transcending nature, but to laws divine,
Which in that sacred volume are contain'd,
Sufficient, clear, and for that use ordain'd?
Two friends or brothers, with devout intent,
On some far pilgrimage together went.
It happened so, that when the sun went down,
They just arrived by twilight at a town;
That day had been the baiting of a bull,
'Twas at a feast, and every inn so full,
That no void room in chamber or on ground,
And but one sorry bed, was to be found;
And that so little it would hold but one,
Though till this hour they never lay alone.
So they were forced to part; one stayed behind,
His fellow sought what lodging he could find:
At last he found a stall where oxen stood,
And that he rather chose than lie abroad;
'Twas in a farther yard without a door,
But, for his ease, well littered was the floor.
His fellow, who the narrow bed had kept,
Was weary, and without a rocker slept;
Supine' he snored; but in the dead of night
He dreamt his friend appeared before his sight,
Who with a ghastly look and doleful cry,
Said, Help me, brother, or this night I die ;
Arise and help, before all help be vain,
Or in an ox's stall I shall be slain."
Roused from his rest, he wakened in a start,
Shivering with horror, and with aching heart;
At length to cure himself by reason tries :
'Tis but a dream, and what are dreams but lies?
So sinking, changed his side, and closed his eyes.
His dream returns; his friend appears again :
"The murderers come! now help, or I am slain !"
'Twas but a vision still, and visions are but vain.
He dreamt a third; but now his friend appeared,
Pale, naked, pierced with wounds, with blood besmeared:
"Thrice warned, awake," said he ; "relief is late
The deed is done; but thou avenge my fate :
Tardy of aid, unseal thy heavy eyes,
Awake, and with the dawning day arise:
Take to the western gate thy ready way,
For by that passage they my corpse convey;
My corpse is in a tumbril laid, among
The filth and ordure, and enclosed with dung;
That cart arrest, and raise a common cry;
For sacred1 hunger of my gold I die :”
Then shewed his grisly wound and last he drew
A piteous sigh, and took a long adieu.
The frighted friend arose by break of day,
And found the stall where his late fellow lay;
Then of his impious host inquiring more,
Was answered that his guest was gone before:
Muttering, he went, said he, by morning light,
And much complained of his ill rest by night.
This raised suspicion in the pilgrim's mind,
Because all hosts are of an evil kind,
And oft to share the spoils with robbers joined.
His dream confirmed his thought: with troubled look, Straight to the western gate his way he took.
1 Sacred here means accursed.'