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Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude !
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath bé rude.
Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly,
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
Then heigh, ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot!
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remember'd not.
Heigh ho! &c. &c.
Who is Sylvia, what is she,
That all our swains commend her ?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
The heavens such grace did lend her,
That she might admirèd be.
Is she kind as she is fair,
For beauty lives with kindness ?
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness ;
And being helped, inhabits there.
Then to Sylvia let us sing,
That Sylvia is excelling ;
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.
Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander every where,
Swifter than the moone's sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green;
The cowslips tall her pensioners be,
In their gold coats spots you see, —
Those be rubies, fairy favours :
In those freckles live their savours.
I must go seek some dew-drops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
GILES FLETCHER was a cousin of Fletcher the dramatist. He was educated at Cambridge, and afterwards became a clergyman. Little is known of his life. He died at his living of Alderston, in Suffolk, A.D. 1623. His poem entitled the Temptation and Victory of Christ deserves a high place in the religious poetry of England. In its imaginative and allegorical vein it resembles Spenser. The diction of it possesses a remarkable affluence, vigour, and expressiveness.
CHRIST'S VICTORY IN HEAVEN.
The birth of Him that no beginning knew,
Yet gives beginning to all that are borni,
And how the Infinite far greater grew
By growing less, and how the rising morn,
That shot from Heav'n, and back to Heav'n return,
The obsequies of Him that could not die,
And death of life, end of eternity,
How worthily He died, that died unworthily;
How God and man did both embrace each other,
Met in one person, Heaven and Earth did kiss,
And how a Virgin did become a mother,
And bare that Son, who the world's Father is,
And maker of His mother, and how bliss
Descended from the bosom of the High,
To clothe Himself in naked misery,
Sailing at length to Heav'n, in Earth, triumphantly,--
Is the first flame, wherewith my whiter Muse
Doth burn in heavenly love, such love to tell.
O Thou that didst this holy fire infuse,
And taught'st this breast, but late the grave of Hell,
Wherein a blind and dead heart liv'd, to swell
With better thoughts, send down those lights that lend Knowledge, how to begin, and how to end The love, that never was, nor ever can be penn'd.
She was a virgin of austere regard :
Not as the world esteems her, deaf and blind ;
But as the eagle, that hath oft compar’d
Her eye with Heav’n’s, so, and more brightly shin'd
Her lamping sight: for she the same could wind
Into the solid heart, and with her ears,
The silence of the thought loud speaking hears,
And in one hand a pair of even scales she wears.
No riot of affection revel kept
Within her breast, but a still apathy
Possessed all her soul, which softly slept,
Securely, without tempest; no sad cry
Awakes her pity, but wrong'd poverty,
Sending his eyes to heav'n swimming in tears,
With hideous clamours ever struck her ears, Whetting the blazing sword that in her hand she bears. The winged lightning is her Mercury, And round about her mighty thunders sound : Impatient of himself lies pining by Pale Sickness, with her kercher'd head up wound, And thousand noisome plagues attend her round.
But if her cloudy brow but once grow foul,
The flints do melt, and rocks to water roll, And airy mountains shake, and frighted shadows howl. Famine, and bloodless Care, and bloody War, Want, and the want of knowledge how to use Abundance, Age, and Fear, that runs afar Before his fellow Grief, that aye pursues His winged steps; for who would not refuse
Grief's company, a dull, and raw-bon'd spright,
That lanks the cheeks, and pales the freshest sight,
Unbosoming the cheerful breast of all delight ?
Before this cursed throng goes Ignorance,
That needs will lead the way he cannot see:
And, after all, Death doth his flag advance,
And in the midst, Strife still would roguing bc
Whose ragged flesh and clothes did well agree :
And round about, amazed Horror flies,
And over all, Shame veils his guilty eyes,
And underneath, Hell's hungry throat still yawning lies.
Upon two stony tables, spread before her,
She lean'd her bosom, more than stony hard,
There slept th' impartial judge, and strict restorer
Of wrong, or right, with pain, or with reward;
There hung the score of all our debts, the card
Where good, and bad, and life, and death, were painted :
Was never heart of mortal so untainted,
But when that scroll was read with thousand terrors fainted.
Witness the thunder that Mount Sinai heard,
When all the hill with fiery clouds did flame,
And wand'ring Israel, with the sight afеard,
Blinded with seeing, durst not touch the same,
But like a wood of shaking leaves became.
On this dead Justice, she, the living law,
Bowing herself with a majestic awe,
All Heav'n to hear her speech did into silence draw.
How may a worm, that crawls along the dust,
Clamber the azure mountains thrown so high,
And fetch from thence thy fair idea just,
That in those sunny courts doth hidden lie,
Cloth’d with such light, as blinds the angels' eye?
How may weak mortal ever hope to fill
His unsmooth tongue, and his deprostrate style ?
0, raise thou from his corse thy now-entomb'd exile !
One touch would rouse me from my sluggish herse,
One word would call me to my wished home,
One look would polish my affected verse;
One thought would steal my soul from her thick lome,
And force it wand'ring up to Heav'n to come,
There to importune, and to beg apace
One happy favour of thy sacred grace,
To see (what though it lose her eyes ?) to see thy face.
If any ask why roses please the sight!
Because their leaves upon thy cheek do bow'r;
If any ask why lilies are so white ?
Because their blossoms in thy hand do flow'r:
Or why sweet plants so grateful odours show'r ?
It is because thy breath so like they be : Or why the orient Sun so bright we see ? What reason can we give, but from thine eyes, and thee ? Ros'd all in lively crimson are thy cheeks, Where beauties indeflourishing abide, And, as to pass his fellow either seeks, Seems both blush at one another's pride : And on thine eyelids, waiting thee beside,
Ten thousand Graces sit, and when they move
To Earth their amorous belgards from above, They fly from Heav'n, and on their wings convey thy love. And of discolour'd plumes their wings are made, And with so wondrous art the quills are wrought, That whensoever they cut the airy glade, The wind into their hollow pipes is caught: As seems, the spheres with them they down have brought :
Like to the seven-fold reed of Arcady,
Which Pan of Syrinx made, when she did fly To Ladon sands, and at his sighs sung merrily.
Her upper garment was a silken lawn,
With needlework richly embroidered ;
Which she herself with her own hand had drawn,
And all the world therein had portrayed,
With threads so fresh and lively coloured,
That seem'd the world she new created there;
And the mistaken eye would rashly swear
The șilken trees did grow, and the beasts living were.
Low at her feet the Earth was cast alone
(As though to kiss her foot it did aspire,
And gave itself for her to tread upon),
With so unlike and different attire,
That every one that saw it did admire
What it might be, was of so various hue;
For to itself it oft so diverse grew,
That still it seem'd the same, and still it seem'd anew.
And here and there few men she scattered,
(That in their thought the world esteem but small,
And themselves great) but she with one fine thread
So short, and small, and slender wove them all,