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Which some brave Muse may sing
To ages following,
Upon the bridal day, which is not long :

Sweet Thames ! run softly, till I end my song.
From those high towers this noble lord issuing
Like radiant Hesper, when his golden hair
In th' ocean billows he hath bathéd fair,
Descended to the river's open viewing
With a great train ensuing.
Above the rest were goodly to be seen
Two gentle knights of lovely face and feature,
Beseeming well the bower of any queen,
With gifts of wit and ornaments of nature,
Fit for so goodly stature,
That like the twins of Jove they seem'd in sight
Which deck the baldric of the Heavens bright;
They two, forth pacing to the river's side,
Received those two fair brides, their love's delight:
Which, at th' appointed tide,
Each one did make his bride
Against their bridal day, which is not long :
Sweet Thames ! run softly, till I end my song.



Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers ?

O sweet content!
Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplexed ?

O punishment !
Dost thou laugh to see how fools are ve
To add to golden numbers, golden numbers ?
O sweet content! O sweet, O sweet content/

Work apace, apace, apace, apace ;

Honest labour bears a lovely face ;
Then hey nonny nonny, hey nonny nonny !

Canst drink the waters of the crispéd spring ?

O sweet content !
Swimm'st thou in wealth, yet sink'st in thine own tears?

O punishment !
Then he that patiently want's burden bears
No burden bears, but is a king, a king !
O sweet content! O sweet, O sweet content !

Work apace, apace, apace, apace ;

Honest labour bears a lovely face ;
Then hey nonny nonny, hey nonny nonny !



This Life, which seems so fair,
Is like a bubble blown up in the air
By sporting children's breath,
Who chase it everywhere
And strive who can most motion it bequeath.
And though it sometimes seem of its own might
Like to an eye of gold to be fix'd there,
And firm to hover in that empty height,
That only is because it is so light.
-But in that pomp it doth not long appear :
For when 'tis most admiréd, in a thought,
Because it erst was nought, it turns to nought.



Poor Soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
Fool'd by those rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within, and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?

Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend ?

Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? is this thy body's end?

Then, Soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store ;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross ;
Within be fed, without be rich no more :

So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men, And death once dead, there's no more dying then.


57. LIFE.

The World's a bubble, and the Life of Man

Less than a span :
In his conception wretched, from the womb

So to the tomb;
Curst from his cradle, and brought up to years

With cares and fears.
Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
But limns on water, or but writes in dust.

Yet whilst with sorrow here we live opprest,

What life is best?
Courts are but only superficial schools

To dandle fools :
The rural parts are turn'd into a den

Of savage men :
And where's a city from foul vice so free,
But may be term'd the worst of all the three ?

Domestic cares afflict the husband's bed,

Or pains his head :
Those that live single, take it for a curse,

Or do things worse :

Some would have children : those that have them,


Or wish them gone :
What is it, then, to have, or have no wife,
But single thraldom, or a double strife?

Our own affections still at home to please

Is a disease :
To cross the seas to any foreign soil,

Peril and toil:
Wars with their noise affright us; when they cease,

We are worse in peace ;-
What then remains, but that we still should cry
For being born, or, being born, to die ?



Of this fair volume which we World do name
If we the sheets and leaves could turn with care,
Of Him who it corrects, and did it frame,
We clear might read the art and wisdom rare :

Find out His power which wildest powers doth tame,
His providence extending everywhere,
His justice which proud rebels doth not spare,
In every page, no period of the same.

But silly we, like foolish children, rest
Well pleased with colour'd vellum, leaves of gold,
Fair dangling ribbands, leaving what is best,
On the great Writer's sense ne'er taking hold;

Or if by chance we stay our minds on aught,
It is some picture on the margin wrought.



Doth then the world go thus, doth all thus move?
Is this the justice which on Earth we find ?
Is this that firm decree which all doth bind ?
Are these your influences, Powers above ?

Those souls which vice's moody mists most blind,
Blind Fortune, blindly, most their friend doth prove ;
And they who thee, poor idol Virtue ! love,
Ply like a feather toss'd by storm and wind.

Ah! if a Providence doth sway this all,
Why should best minds groan under most distress ?
Or why should pride humility make thrall,
And injuries the innocent oppress?

Heavens ! hinder, stop this fate; or grant a time When good may have, as well as bad, their prime!



Tired with all these, for restful death I cry-
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,

And gilded honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,

And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,

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