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SIR JOHN HARINGTON. [Born in 1561, son of a natural daughter of Henry VIII. ; died in 1612. Author of the celebrated translation of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso]..
OF A PRECISE TAILOR.
A TAILOR, à man of an upright dealing,
True but for lying, honest but for stealing,
Did fall one day extremely sick by chance,
And on the sudden was in wondrous trance.
The Fiends of hell, mustering in fearsul manner,
Of sundry-coloured silks displayed a banner,
Which he had stoln; and wished, as they did tell,
That one day he might find it all in hell.
The man, affrighted at this apparition,
Upon recovery grew a great precisian.
He bought a Bible of the new translation,
And in his life he showed great reformation.
He walked mannerly and talked meekly ;
He heard three lectures and two sermons weekly;
He vowed to shun all companies unruly,
And in his speech he used no oath but“ truly:"
And, zealously to keep the Sabbath's rest,
His meat for that day on the even was dressed.
And, lest the custom that he had to steal
Might cause him sometime to forget his zeal,
He gives his journeyman a special charge
That, if the stuff allowed fell out too large,
And that to filch his fingers were inclined,
He then should put the Banner in his mind.
This done, I scant the rest can tell for laughter.
A Captain of a ship came three days after,
And brought three yards of velvet and three quarters,
To make Venetians down below the garters.
He, that precisely knew what was enough,
Soon slipped away three quarters of the stuff.
His man, espying it, said in derision,
“Remember, Master, how you saw the vision!"
Peace, knave,” quoth he ; " I did not see one rag
Of such-a-coloured silk in all the flag,”
SIR JOHN DAVIES. [Born in 1570; died in 1626, in which year he had been appointed Lord Chief Justice. Author of the noted work Nosce Teipsum, published in 1599, and accounted one of the prime specimens of the so-called “Metaphysical School" of poetry.)
A RIDDLE UPON A COFFIN.
THERE was a man bespake a thing,
Which when the owner home did bring,
He that made it did refuse it;
And he that brought it would not use it ;
And he that hath it doth not know
Whether he hath it yea or no.
GERON his mouldy memory corrects
Old Holinshed, our famous Chronicler,
With moral rules ; and policy collects
Out of all actions done these fourscore year ;
Accounts the time of every old event,
Not from Christ's birth, nor from the Prince's reign,
But from some other famous accident,
Which in men's general notice doth remain,-
The siege of Boulogne and the Plaguy Sweat,
The going to St. Quintin's and New-haven,
The rising in the North, the Frost so great
That cart-wheels' prints on Thamis' face were graven,
The fall of money, and burning of Paul's steeple,
The blazing star, and Spaniard's overthrow.
By these events, notorious to the people,
He measures times, and things forepast doth show.
But, most of all, he chiefly reckons by
A private chance,—the death of his curst wife ;
This is to him the dearest memory,
And the happiest accident of all his life.
JOHN DONNE. [Born in London, 1573; died there, 31 March 1631. Donne was at first destined for the law: afterwards he travelled in Italy, Spain, and elsewhere ; and then became Secretary to Lord Chancellor Egerton. He incurred great displeasure by contracting a clandestine marriage with the Chancellor's niece, daughter of Sir George More. Finally, after serious studies, he entered holy orders, and became Dean of St. Paul's. In all his vocations he excited grea admiration, and as a clergyman he was highly revered. The poems of Donne are loaded with ingenious thought; often provokingly involved or paradoxical. and thwarting the true and natural course of poesy,-yet it is constantly thought, not mere whim or wire-drawing. A large and keen intellect, and a fervid poetic sense, are united in Donne; and combine to produce poetry much of which is truly fine, and can even become fascinating to a reader willing to “acclimatize” himself in this rarefied and vibrating atmosphere. Few English poetic writers give indication of a more masculine capacity. The man of the world, of adventure and gallantry, is quite as prominent in the verses as the student or divine ; and it is often startling to reflect that the personage so thorough-going in th former character was the same who shone with genuire sanctity in the latter.]
Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root ;
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the Devil's foot;
Teach me to hear Mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou beest born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee;
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee,
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find'st one, let me know ;
Such a pilgrimage were sweet.
Yet do not; I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet.
Though she were true when you met her,
And last till you write your letter,
False, ere I come, to two or three.
Now thou hast loved me one whole day,
To-morrow, when thou leav'st, what wilt thou say?
Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow ?
Or say that now
We are not just those persons which we were ?
Or that oaths made in reverential fear
Of Love, and his wrath, any may forswear ?
(For, as true deaths true marriages untie,
So lovers' contracts, images of those,
Bind but till sleep, death's image, them unloose);
Or, your own end to justify,
For, having purposed change and falsehood, you
Can have no way but falsehood to be true?
Vain lunatic! against these scapes I could
Dispute, and conquer, if I would ;
Which I abstain to do,
For by to-morrow I may think so too.
THE INDIFFERENT. I can love both fair and brown ; Her whom abundance melts, and her whom want betrays; Her who loves loneness best, and her who masks and plays; Her whom the country formed, and whom the town ; Her who believes, and her who tries ; Her who still weeps with spongy eyes, And her who is dry cork, and never cries; I can love her, and her, and you, and you, I can love any, so she be not true. Will no other vice content you? Will it not serve your turn to do as did your mothers ? Or have you all old vices spent, and now would find out others? Or doth a fear that men are true torment you ? Oh we are not ; be not you so ! Let me, and do you, twenty know ! Rob me, but bind me not, and let me go. Must I, who came to travel thorough you, Grow your fixed subject, because you are true ? Venus heard me sigh this song ; And by Love's sweetest part, Variety, she swore, She heard not this till now; it should be so no more. She went, examined, and returned ere long, And said : “ Alas! some two or three Poor Heretics in love there be Which think to stablish dangerous constancy. But I have told them, Since you will be true, You shall be true to them who are false to you."
BEFORE I sigh my last gasp, let me breathe,
Great Jove, some legacies. Here I bequeath
Mine eyes to Argus, if mine eyes can see ;
If they be blind, then, Love, I give them thee.
My tongue to Fame ; to Embassadors mine ears;
women or the sea, my tears. Thou, Love, hast taught me heretofore
By making me serve her who had twenty more,
That I should give to none but such as had too much before.
My constancy I to the Planets give;
My truth to them who at the Court do live ;
Mine ingenuity and openness,
To Jesuits, tó Buffoons my pensiveness ;
My silence to any who abroad hath been;
My money to a Capuchin.
Thou, Love, taught'st me, by appointing me
To love there where no love received can be,
Only to give to such as have an incapacity.
My faith I give to Roman Catholics ;
All my good works unto the Schismatics
Of Amsterdam ; my best civility
And courtship, to an University;
My modesty I give to Soldiers bare ;
My patience let gamesters share.
Thou, Love, taught'st me, by making me
Love her that holds my love disparity,
Only to give to those that count my gifts indignity.
I give my reputation to those
Which were my friends; mine industry to foes ;
To schoolmen Í bequeath my doubtfulness ;
My sickness to Physicians, or excess ;
To Nature, all that I in rhyme have writ;
And to my company my wit.
Thou, Love, by making me adore
Her who begot this love in me before,
Taught'st me to make as though I gave when I do but restore.
To him for whom the passing-bell next tolls,
I give my physic-books; my written rolls
Of moral counsels I to Bedlam give ;
My brazen medals, unto them which live
In want of bread ; to them which pass among
All foreigners, mine English tongue.
Thou, Love, by making me love one
Who thinks her friendship a fit portion
For younger lovers, dost my gift thus disproportion.