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“Her eyes like angels watch them still.”
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath
When they, pale captives, creep to death..
The garlands wither on your brow;
Then boast no more your mighty deeds ;
Upon Death's purple altar now
See where the victor-victim bleeds :
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb ;
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.
70. WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED
TO THE CITY.
Captain, or Colonel, or Knight in arms,
Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,
If deed of honour did thee ever please,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms.
He can requite thee ; for he knows the charms
That call fame on such gentle acts as these,
And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas,
Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muses' bower :
The great Emathian conqueror bid spare
The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
Went to the ground : and the repeated air
Of sad Electra's poet had the power
To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.
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 Either man's work, or His own gifts : who best Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best: His state
Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest :-
They also serve who only stand and wait.
72. CHARACTER OF A HAPPY LIFE.
How happy is he born and taught
That serveth not another's will ;
Whose armour is his honest thought
And simple truth his utmost skill!
Whose passions not his masters are,
Whose soul is still prepared for death,
Not tied unto the world with
Of public fame, or private breath;
Who envies none that chance doth raise
Or vice ; Who never understood
How deepest wounds are given by praise ;
Nor rules of state, but rules of good :
Who hath his life from rumours freed,
Whose conscience is his strong retreat ;
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruin make accusers great ;
Who God doth late and early pray
More of His grace than gifts to lend;
And entertains the harmless day
With a well-chosen book or friend;
-This man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands;
And having nothing, yet hath all.
SIR H. WOTTON.
It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make Man better be; Or standing long an oak, three hundred year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night-
It was the plant and flower of Light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.
When God at first made Man, Having a glass of blessings standing by ; Let us (said he) pour on him all we can : Let the world's riches, which disperséd lie,
Contract into a span.
So strength first made a way; Then beauty flow'd, then wisdom, honour, pleasure : When almost all was out, God made a stay, Perceiving that alone, of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.
For if I should (said he)
Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore My gifts instead of Me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature :
So both should losers be.
Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness :
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.
Happy those early days, when I
Shined in my Angel-infancy !
Before I understood this place
Appointed for my second race,
Or taught my soul to fancy aught
But a white, celestial thought;
When yet I had not walk'd above
A mile or two from my first Love,
And looking back, at that short space
Could see a glimpse of his bright face;
When on some gilded cloud or flower
My gazing soul would dwell an hour,
And in those weaker glories spy
Some shadows of eternity;