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And now, just God, I humbly pray,
That thou wilt take the slime away
That keeps my sovereign's eyes from seeing
The things that will be our undoing.
Then let him hear, good God, the sounds
As well of men as of his hounds.
Give him a taste, and truly too,
Of what his subjects undergo.
Give him a feeling of their woes,
And then no doubt his royal nose
Will quickly smell the rascals forth,
Whose black deeds have eclips'd his worth :
They found, and scourged for their offences,
Heavens bless my sovereign and his senses.
VERSES ON THE LATE WILLIAM EARL OF PEMBROKE.
The doubtful fears of change so fright my mind, Though raised to the highest joy in love,
As in this slippery state more grief I find
Than they who never such a bliss did prove;
But, fed with lingʻring hopes of future gain,
Dream not what 'tis to doubt a loser's pain.
Desire a safer harbour is than fear,
And not to rise less danger than to fall;
The want of jewels we far better bear,
Than, so possest, at once to lose them all:
Unsatisfied hopes time may repair,
When ruin'd faith must finish in despair.
Alas! ye look but up the hill on me,
Which shows to you a fair and smooth ascent;
The precipice behind ye cannot see,
On which high fortunes are too pronely bent :
If there I slip, what former joy or bliss
Can heal the bruise of such a fall as this?
The flow'r of virgins, in her prime of years,
By ruthless destinies is ta'en away,
And rap'd from Earth, poor Earth! before this day
Which ne'er was rightly nam’d a vale of tears.
Beauty to Heaven is fled, sweet modesty
No more appears; she whose harmonious sounds
Did ravish sense,
and charm mind's deepest wounds, Embalm’d with many a tear now low doth lie!
Fair hopes now vanish'd are. She would have grac'd
A prince's marriage-bed! but lo! in Heaven
Blest paramours to her were to be given !
She liv'd an angel, now is with them plac’d.
Virtue is but a name abstractly trimm'd,
Interpreting what she was in effect ;
A shadow from her frame which did reflect,
A portrait by her excellences limm’d.
Thou whom free-will or chance hath hither brought, And read'st, here lies a branch of Maitland's stem, And Seyton's offspring; know that either name Designs all worth yet reach'd by human thought.
Tombs elsewhere use life to their guests to give, These ashes can frail monuments make live.
Hand laws of mortal life!
To which made thralls we come without consent,
Like tapers, lighted to be early spent,
Our griefs are always rife,
When joys but halting march, and swiftly fly,
Like shadows in the eye:
The shadow doth not yield unto the Sun,
But joys and life do waste e'en when begun.
TO SIR WILLIAM ALEXANDER.
With the Author's Epitaph.
Though I have twice been at the doors of Death,
And twice found shut those gates which ever mourn,
This but a lightning is, truce ta’en to breathe,
For late-born sorrows augur fleet return.
Amidst thy sacred cares, and courtly toils, Alexis, when thou shalt hear wand'ring fame Tell, Death has triumph'd o'er my mortal spoils, And that on Earth I am but a sad name;
If thou e'er held me dear, by all our love,
By all that bliss, those joys Heaven here us gave,
I conjure thee, and by the maids of Jove,
To grave this short remembrance on my grave:
“Here Damon lies, whose songs did sometime grace The murmuring Esk:--may roses shade the place.”
Too long I follow'd have my fond desire,
And too long painted on the ocean streams;
Too long refreshment sought amidst the fire,
Pursued those joys which to my soul are blames.
Ah! when I had what most I did admire,
And seen of life's deligbts the last extremes,
I found all but a rose hedg'd with a brier,
A nought, a thought, a masquerade of dreams.
Henceforth on thee, my only good, I'll think ;
For only thou canst grant what I do crave;
Thy nail my pen shall be ; thy blood, mine ink;
Thy winding-sheet, my paper; study, grave :
And, till my soul forth of this body flee,
No hope I 'll have but only, only thee.
To spread the azure canopy of Heaven,
And spangle it all with sparks of burning gold;
To place this pond'rous globe of Earth so even,
That it should all, and nought should it uphold;
With motions strange t'endue the planets seven,
And Jove to make so mild, and Mars so bold;
To temper what is moist, dry, hot, and cold,
Of all their jars that sweet accords are given ;
Lord, to thy wisdom's nought, nought to thy might:
But that thou shouldst, thy glory laid aside,
Come basely in mortality to 'bide,
And die for those deserv'd an endless night;
A wonder is, so far above our wit,
That angels stand amaz’d to think on it.
What hapless hap had I for to be born
In these unhappy times, and dying days,
Of this now doting world, when good decays,
Love's quite extinct, and virtue's held a scorn!
When such are only priz’d by wretched ways,
Who with a golden fleece them can adorn ;
When avarice and lust are counted praise,
And bravest minds live, orphan like, forlorn!
Why was not I born in that golden age,
When gold was not yet known, and those black arts
By which base worldlings vilely play their parts,
With horrid acts staining Earth's stately stage?
To have been then, O Heaven! 't had been my bliss ;
But bless me now, and take me soon from this,