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Whilst yet there was no fear of Jove. Come, pensive Nun, devout and pure, Sober, steadfast, and demure, All in a robe of darkest grain, Flowing with majestic train, And sable stole of cypress lawn Over thy decent shoulders drawn. Come; but keep thy wonted state, With even step, and musing gait, And looks commercing with the skies, Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes: There, held in holy passion still, Forget thyself to marble, till With a sad leaden downward cast Thou fix them on the earth as fast. And join with thee calm Peace and Quiet, Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet, And hears the Muses in a ring Aye round about Jove's altar sing; And add to these retired Leisure, That in trim gardens takes his pleasure; But, first and chieftest, with thee bring Him that yon soars on golden wing, Guiding the fiery-wheelèd throne, The Cherub Contemplation; And the mute Silence hist along, 'Less Philomel will deign a song, In her sweetest saddest plight, Smoothing the rugged brow of Night, While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke Gently o'er the accustomed oak. Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly, Most musical, most melancholy! Thee, Chauntress, oft the woods among I woo, to hear thy even-song; And, missing thee, I walk unseen On the dry smooth-shaven green, To behold the wandering Moon, Riding near her highest noon, Like one that had been led astray
Through the heaven's wide pathless way, And oft, as if her head she bowed, Stooping through a fleecy cloud. Oft, on a plat of rising ground, I hear the far-off curfew sound, Over some wide-watered shore, Swinging slow with sullen roar; Or, if the air will not permit, Some still removed place will fit, Where glowing embers through the room Teach light to counterfeit a gloom, Far from all resort of mirth, Save the cricket on the hearth, Or the Bellman's drowsy charm To bless the doors from nightly harm. Or let my lamp, at midnight hour, Be seen in some high lonely tower, Where I may oft outwatch the Bear, With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere The spirit of Plato, to unfold What worlds or what vast regions hold The immortal mind that hath forsook Her mansion in this fleshly nook; And of those Dæmons that are found In fire, air, flood, or underground, Whose power hath a true consent With planet or with element. Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy In sceptred pall come sweeping by, Presenting Thebs, or Pelops' line, Or the tale of Troy divine, Or what (though rare) of later age Ennobled hath the buskined stage. But, O sad Virgin! that thy power Might raise Musæus from his bower; Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing Such notes as, warbled to the string, Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek, And made Hell grant what Love did scek; Or call up him that left half-told
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Softly on my eyelids laid.
SONNET TO THE NIGHTINGALE
(1632-33) O NIGHTINGALE that on yon blooming spray Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still, Thou with fresh hopes the Lover's heart dost fill, While the jolly Hours lead on propitious May. Thy liquid notes that close the eye of Day, First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill, Portend success in love. O if Jove's will Have linked that amorous power to thy soft lay, Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate Foretell my hopeless doom, in some grove nigh; As thou from year to year hast sung too late For my relief, yet had'st no reason why. Whether the Muse or Love call thee his inate, Both them I serve, and of their train am I.
SONG ON MAY MORNING
(1632-33) Now the bright morning-star, Day's harbinger, Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her The flowery May, who from her green lap throws The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire Mirth, and youth, and warm desire! Woods and groves are of thy dressing; Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing. Thus we salute thee with our early song, And welcome thee, and wish thee long.
(1633-34) Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race: Call on the lazy leaden-stepping Hours, Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace; And glut thyself with what thy womb devours, Which is no more than what is false and vain, And merely mortal dross; So little is our loss, So little is thy gain! For, whenas each thing bad thou hast entombed, And, last of all, thy greedy Self consumed, Then long eternity shall greet our bliss With an individual kiss, And joy shall overtake us as a flood; When everything that is sincerely good