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ON HIS BLINDNESS.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide, Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he, returning, chide;
“ Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ?” I fondly ask : but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “ God doth not need
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best ; his state
o'er land and ocean without rest ;
TO MR. LAWRENCE.
LAWRENCE, of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
On smoother, till Favonius reinspire
The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire The lily and rose, that neither sow'd nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
To hear the lute well touch'd, or artful voice
He who of those delights can judge, and spare
TO CYRIAC SKINNER.
CYRIAC, whose grandsire, on the royal bench
Of British Themis, with no mean applause,
Pronounced, and in his volumes taught, our laws,
In mirth that, after, no repenting draws;
Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause,
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know
For other things mild Heaven a time ordains, And disapproves that care, though wise in show, That with superfluous burden loads the day,
And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.
TO THE SAME.
Cyriac, this three years' day, these eyes, though clear,
To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot ;
year, Or man, or woman. Yet I
not Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot Of heart or hope ; but still bear up and steer
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask ? The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied
In liberty's defence, my noble task, Of which all Europe rings from side to side. mask,
This thought might lead me through the world's vain Content, though blind, had I no better guide.
ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.
Methought I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave, Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint. Mine, as whom, wash'd from spot of child-bed taint,
Purification in the old law did save,
And such, as yet once more I trust to have Full sight of her in heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind : Her face was veil’d, yet, to my fancied sight,
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined
But, oh! as to embrace me she inclined,
HIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
That he our deadly forfeit should release, And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.
That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
To welcome him to this his new abode,
Hath took no print of the approaching light,
See, how from far, upon the eastern road,
And join thy voice unto the angel-quire,
It was the winter wild,
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies ;
With her great Master so to sympathize :