« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Here's an acre sown indeed
With the richest royallest seed
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin :
Here the bones of birth have cried
“Though gods they were, as men they died !'
Here are sands, ignoble things,
Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings :
Here's a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.
THE LAST CONQUEROR
Victorious men of earth, no more
Proclaim how wide your empires are ;
Though you bind-in every shore
And your triumphs reach as far
As night or day,
Yet you, proud monarchs, must obey
And mingle with forgotten ashes, when
Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.
Devouring Famine, Plague, and War,
Each able to undo mankind, Death's servile emissaries are ; Nor to these alone confined,
He hath at will More quaint and subtle ways to kill ; A smile or kiss, as he will use the art, Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart.
DEATH THE LEVELLER
The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things ;
There is no armour against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings :
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill :
But their strong nerves at last must yield ;
They tame but one another 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.
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,-
Dóth 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.
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 care
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.
THE GIFTS OF GOD
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,