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When I shall voice aloud how good
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
TO LUCASTA, ON GOING BEYOND THE SEAS.
If to be absent were to be
Away from thee;
Or that when I am gone
You or I were alone;
Then, my Lucasta, might I crave
Pity from blustering wind, or swallowing wave.
Though seas and land betwixt us both,
Our faith and troth,
Like separated souls,
All time and space controls:
Above the highest sphere we meet
Unseen, unknown, and greet as angels greet.
So then we do anticipate
And are alive i' the skies,
If thus our lips and eyes
Can speak like spirits unconfined
In Heaven, their earthy bodies left behind.
A CAVALIER WAR-SONG.
A steed, a steed, of matchless speed,
All else to noble hearts is dross,
All else on earth is mean.
The rolling of the drum,
The neighing of the war-horse proud,
The clangour of the trumpet loud,
Be sounds from heaven that come.
And oh the thundering press of knights,
May toll from heaven an angel bright,
And rouse a fiend from hell.
Then mount, then mount, brave gallants all,
And don your helms amain;
Death's couriers, Fame and Honour, call
Us to the field again.
No shrewish tears shall fill our eye,
When the sword-hilt's in our hand;
Heart-whole we'll part, and no whit sigh
Let piping swain and craven wight
Thus weep and puling cry;
Our business is like men to fight,
And, like to heroes, die!
THE SOLDIER GOING TO THE FIELD.
Preserve thy sighs, unthrifty girl,
To purify the air;
Thy tears to thread, instead of pearl,
On bracelets of thy hair.
The trumpet makes the echo hoarse,
For I must go, where lazy peace
And, for the sport of kings, increase
But first I'll chide thy cruel theft ;
Who, being of my heart bereft,
Thou know'st the sacred laws of old
To quit him of his theft, sevenfold
Thy payment shall but double be;
My own seducèd heart to me,
Sir William Davenant.
Beat on, proud billows; Boreas, blow;
Your incivility doth show
That innocence is tempest-proof:
Though surly Nereus frown, my thoughts are calm;
Then strike, Affliction, for thy wounds are balm.
That which the world miscalls a jail,
A private closet is to me,
Whilst a good conscience is my bail,
And innocence my liberty:
Locks, bars, and solitude together met,
I, whilst I wished to be retired,
The salamander should be burned;
The cynic loves his poverty;
The pelican her wilderness;
And 'tis the Indian's pride to be Naked on frozen Caucasus : Contentment cannot smart; stoics we see Make torments easy to their apathy.
These manacles upon my arm
I, as my mistress' favours, wear;
I have some iron shackles there:
I'm in the cabinet locked up,
Like some high-prizèd margarite,
Am cloistered up from public sight:
Retiredness is a piece of majesty,
And thus, proud sultan, I'm as great as thee.
Here sin for want of food must starve,
Where tempting objects are not seen;
And these strong walls do only serve
To keep vice out, and keep me in:
Malice of late's grown charitable, sure,
So he that struck at Jason's life,
Thinking to' have made his purpose sure,
Did only wound him to a cure:
Malice, I see, wants wit; for what is meant
Mischief, ofttimes proves favour by the event.
When once my Prince affliction hath,
And for to smooth so rough a path,
Now not to suffer shows no loyal heart,
When kings want ease, subjects must bear a part.
What though I cannot see my King,
Neither in person nor in coin;
Yet contemplation is a thing
That renders what I have not, mine:
My King from me what adamant can part,
Whom I do wear engraven on my heart?
Have you not seen the nightingale,
A pilgrim, coopt into a cage,
How doth she chaunt her wonted tale
In that her narrow hermitage?
Even there her charming melody doth prove
That all her bars are trees, her cage a grove.
I am that bird, whom they combine
But though they do my corps confine,
Yet, maugre hate, my soul is free:
And though immured, yet can I chirp and sing