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And from her arched brows such a grace

Sheds itself through the face,
As alone there triumphs to the life
All the gain, all the good of the elements' strife.


Have you seen but a bright lily grow,

Before rude hands have touched it ?
Have you marked but the fall o' the snow,

Before the soil hath smutched it ?
Have you felt the wool of the beaver ?

25 Or swan's down ever? Or have smelt o' the bud of the briar?

Or the nard in the fire ?
Or have tasted the bag o' the bee ?
O so white ! O so soft ! O so sweet is she!

Ben Jonson.


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All, dear Nature's children sweet,
Lie 'fore bride and bridegroom's feet,

Blessing their sense !
Not an angel of the air,
Bird melodious, or bird fair,

Be absent hence !


The crow, the slanderous cuckoo, nor
The boding raven, nor chough hoar,

Nor chattering pie,
May on our bride-house perch or sing,
Or with them any discord bring,
But from it fly!

Beaumont and Fletcher.



You that do search for every purling spring,
Which from the ribs of old Parnassus flows,
And every flower, not sweet perhaps, which grows
Near thereabouts, into your posy wring ;
You that do dictionaries' method bring

Into your rhymes, running in rattling rows;
You that poor Petrarch's long deceased woes
With new-born sighs and wit disguised sing ;
You take wrong ways : those far-fetched helps be such
As do bewray a want of inward touch :'
And sure at length stoln goods do come to light.
But if (both for your love and skill) your name
You seek to nurse at fullest breasts of fame,
Stella behold, and then begin to' endite.

Sir Philip Sidney.



Come Sleep, O Sleep, that certain knot of peace,
The baiting place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
The indifferent Judge between the high and low;
With shield of proof shield me from out the prease 5
Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw.
Oh ! make in me those civil wars to cease ;
I will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,
A chamber deaf to noise, and blind of light,
- A rosy garland, and a weary head :
And if these things, as being thine by right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me
Livelier than elsewhere Stella's image see,

Sir Philip Sidney.



To yield to those I cannot but disdain,
Whose face doth but entangle foolish hearts;
It is the beauty of the better parts,
With which I mind my fancies for to chain.
Those that have nought wherewith men's minds to gain, 5
But only curlèd locks and wanton looks,
Are but like fleeting baits that have no hooks,
Which may well take, but cannot well retain.
He that began to yield to the outward grace,
And then the treasures of the mind doth prove,
He who as 'twere was with the mask in love,
What doth he think whenas he sees the face ?
No doubt being limed by the outward colours so,
That inward worth would never let him go.

Earl of Stirling



When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste ;
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,

For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long-since-cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight.
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before :-
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored, and sorrows end.

William Shakespeare.




From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Had put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell

Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer's story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew :
Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose ;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you-you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.

William Shakespeare,




Oh how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give !
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye

As the perfumèd tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
When summer's breath their masked buds discloses ;
But, for their virtue only is their show,
They live unwooed, and unrespected fade ;
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so ;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made :
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall vade, by verse distils your truth.

William Shakespeare.




A good that never satisfies the mind,
A beauty fading like the April flowers,
A sweet with floods of gall that runs combined,
A pleasure passing ere in thought made ours,
A honour that more fickle is than wind,

A glory at opinion's frown that lowers,
A treasury which bankrupt time devours,
A knowledge than grave ignorance more blind,
A vain delight our equals to command,
A style of greatness, in effect a dream,
A swelling thought of holding sea and land,
A servile lot, decked with a pompous name ;
Are the strange ends we toil for here below,
Till wisest death make us our errors know.

William Drummond.


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