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Thy age, like ours, O soul of Sir John Cheek,
Hated not learning worse than toad or asp, When thou taught'st Cambridge and King Edward
ON THE SAME.
I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
When straight a barbarous noise environs me Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs : As when those hinds, that were transform’d to frogs,
Rail'd at Latona's twin-born progeny,
Which after held the sun and moon in fee. But this is got by casting pearl to hogs;
That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood, And still revolt when truth would set them free. Licence they mean when they cry liberty;
For who loves that, must first be wise and good; But from that mark how far they rove we see,
For all this waste of wealth, and loss of blood.
TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY.
LADY, that in the prime of earliest youth
Chosen thou hast; and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen, No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth.
Thy care is fix’d, and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light, And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure Thou, when the bridegroom with his feastful
Passes to bliss at the mid-hour of night, Hast gain’d thy entrance, virgin wise and pure.
TO MR. H. LAWES, ON THE PUBLISHING HIS AIRS.
HARRY, whose tuneful and well-measured song
First taught our English music how to span
Words with just note and accent, not to scan With Midas' ears, committing short and long; Thy worth and skill exempt thee from the throng,
With praise enough for Envy to look wan;
To after age thou shalt be writ the man That with smooth air couldst humour best our tongue. Thou honour'st verse, and verse must lend her wing
To honour thee, the priest of Phæbus' quire, That tunest their happiest lines in hymn or story.
Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee bigher Than his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing, Met in the milder shades of purgatory.
ON THE RELIGIOUS MEMORY OF MRS. CATHERINE THOMSON,
DECEASED, DECEMBER 16, 1646. WHEN faith and love, which parted from thee never,
Had ripen'd thy just soul to dwell with God,
Meekly thou didst resign this earthly load Of death, call'd life; which us from life doth sever. Thy works, and alms, and all thy good endeavour,
Stay'd not behind, nor in the grave were trod;
But, as faith pointed with her golden rod,
And azure wings, that up they flew so drest,
TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX.
FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze,
Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Their Hydra heads, and the false North displays Her broken league to imp their serpent wings.
O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand (For what can war, but endless war still breed ?) Till truth and right from violence be freed,
And public faith clear’d from the shameful brand Of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed,
While avarice and rapine share the land.
TO THE LORD GENERAL CROMWELL.
CROMWELL, our chief of men, who, through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude, To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough’d, And on the neck of crowned fortune proud
Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pursued, While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots
imbrued, And Dunbar field, resounds thy praises loud, And Worcester's laureate wreath. Yet much
remains To conquer still; peace hath her victories
No less renown'd than war; new foes arise, Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains :
Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw.
TO SIR HENRY VANE, THE YOUNGER.
VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
Than whom a better senator ne'er held
The drift of hollow states hard to be spellid;
Then to advise how war may, best upheld, Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold,
In all her equipage: besides, to know Both spiritual power and civil, what each means, , What severs each, thou hast learn'd, which few
have done: The bounds of either sword to thee we owe; Therefore on thy firm hand religion leans In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son.
ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEDMONT.
AVENGE, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old, When all our fathers worshipp'd stocks and stones, Forget not: in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that rollid Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they To heaven. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who, having learn’d thy way, Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
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,