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When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
When healths and draughts go free, Fishes that tipple in the deep
Know no such liberty.
When, linnet-like confined, I
With shriller note shall sing
And glories of my king;
He is, how great should be,
Know no such liberty.
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage ;
That for an hermitage :
And in my soul am free ;
Enjoy such liberty.
BY JAMES SHIRLEY.
(JAMES SHIRLEY was born in London, in 159+, and studied both at Oxford and Cambridge. He took orders, then taught in a school, and afterwards wrote plays; but the theatres being suppressed by Parliament, he again became a teacher, and published some elementary works. The losses and misery caused to him by the Great Fire of London brought on an illness which caused his death, in 1666.
His poems show that his talents were enlisted in the cause of virtue ; and they well agree with the blameless life he led.]
The glories of our birth and state
Are shadows, not substantial things ;
Sceptre and crown
THE GLORIES OF OUR BIRTH AND STATE.”
And in the dust be equal made
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,
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 :
All heads must come
To the cold tomb :
Only the actions of the just
FROM Oberon, in fairy land,
The king of ghosts and shadows there, Mad Robin I, at his command, Am sent to view the night-sports here.
What revel rout
Is kept about,
I will o'ersee,
And merry be, And make good sport, with ho, ho, ho !
More swift than lightning can I fly
About this airy welkin soon,
There's not a hag
Or ghost shall wag,
But Robin I
Their feats will spy,
Whene'er such wanderers I meet,
As from their night-sports they trudge home, With counterfeiting voice I greet, And call them on with me to roam :
Through woods, through lakes ;
Through bogs, through brakes ; Or else, unseen, with them I go,
All in the nick,
To play some trick,
Sometimes I meet them like a man,
Sometimes an ox, sometimes a hound;
But if to ride