As well might men who in a fever fry,

Mathematic doubts debate;
As well might men who mad in darkness lie,

Write the dispatches of a state.
I try'd devotion, sermons, frequent prayer,

But those did worse than useless prove;
For prayers are turn’d to sin, in those who are

Out of charity, or in love.
I try'd in wine to drown the mighty care;

But wine, alas! was oil to the fire :
Like drunkards' eyes, my troubled fancy there

Did double the desire.
I try'd what mirth and gaiety would do,

And mix'd with pleasant companies ;
My mirth did graceless and insipid grow,

And 'bove a clinch it could not rise. Nay, God forgive me for't! at last I try’d,

'Gainst this some new desire to stir, And loved again, but ’twas where I espy'd

Some faint resemblances of her.
The physic made me worse, with which I strove,

This mortal ill to' expel;
As wholesome medicines the disease improve

There where they work not well.


She loves, and she confesses too ;
There's then, at last, no more to do:
The happy work's entirely done ;
Enter the town which thou hast won;

The fruits of conquest now begin ;
Io triumph! Enter in.

What's this, ye Gods! what can it be?
Remains there still an enemy

Bold Honour stands up in the gate,
And would yet capitulate;
Have I o'ercome all real foes,
And shall this phantom me oppose?
Noisy nothing ! stalking shade!
By what witchcraft wert thou made?
Empty cause of solid harms!
But I shall find out counter-charms,
Thy airy devilship to remove
From this circle here of love.

Sure I shall rid myself of thee
By the night's obscurity,
And obscurer secrecy !
Unlike to every other sprite,
Thou attempt'st not men to affright,
Nor appear'st, but in the light.

THE INNOCENT ILL. Though all thy gestures and discourses be

Coin'd and stamp'd by modesty;

Though from thy tongue ne'er slipp'd away One word which nuns at the altar might not say;

Yet such a sweetness, such a grace,
In all thy speech appear,
That what to the eye a beauteous face,
That thy tongue is to the ear:


So cunningly it wounds the heart,

It strikes such heat through every part, That thou a tempter worse than Satan art. Though in thy thoughts scarce any tracks have been

So much as of original sin,

Such charms thy beauty wears as might
Desires in dying confess'd saints excite:

Thou, with strange adultery,
Dost in each breast a brothel keep ;
Awake all men do lust for thee,

And some enjoy thee when they sleep.
Ne'er before did woman live,

Who to such multitudes did give
The root and cause of sin, but only Eve.
Though in thy breast so quick a pity be,

That a fly's death's a wound to thee;

Though savage and rock-hearted those Appear, that weep not even Romance's woes ;

Yet ne'er before was tyrant known,
Whose rage was of so large extent;
The ills thou dost are whole thine own;

Thou'rt principal and instrument:
In all the deaths that come from you,

You do the treble office do
Of judge, of torturer, and of weapon too.
Thou lovely instrument of angry Fate,

Which God did for our faults create !

Thou pleasant, universal ill,
Which, sweet as health, yet like a plague dost kill!

Thou kind, well natured tyranny !
Thou chaste committer of a rape!
Thou voluntary destiny,
Which no man can, or would, escape!


So gentle, and so glad to spare,

So wondrous good, and wondrous fair, (We know) even the destroying-angels are.


ShE. What have we done? what cruel passion

moved thee,
Thus to ruin her that loved thee?
Me thou'st robb’d; but what art thou
Thyself the richer now?

Shame succeeds the short-lived pleasure;
So soon is spent, and gone, this thy ill-gotten

treasure ! HE. We have done no harm ; nor was it theft in me,

But noblest charity in thee. I'll the well-gotten pleasure Safe in my memory treasure:

What though the flower itself do waste, [last. The essence from it drawn does long and sweeter SHE. No: I'm undone; my honour thou hast slain,

And nothing can restore 't again.
Art and labour to bestow,
Upon the carcass of it now,

Is but to' embalm a body dead;
The figure may remain, the life and beauty's fled.
HE. Never, my dear, was honour yet undone

By Love, but Indiscretion.
To the wise it all things does allow;
And cares not What we do, but How.

Like tapers shut in ancient urns,
Unless it Jet-in air, for ever shines and burns.


ShE. Thou first, perhaps, who didst the fault

Wilt make thy wicked boast of it; [commit, For men, with Roman pride, above The conquest do the triumph love;

Nor think a perfect victory gain’d, [enchain'd. Unless they through the streets their captive lead HE. Whoe'er his secret joys has open laid,

The bawd to his own wife is made; Beside, what boast is left for me, Whose whole wealth's a gift from thee? 'Tis

you the conqueror are, 'tis you (me too. Who have not only ta’en, but bound and gagged SHE. Though public punishment we escape, the sin

Will rack and torture us within:
Guilt and sin our bosom bears ;
And, though fair yet the fruit appears,

That worm which now the core does waste, When long 't has gnaw'd within, will break the

skin at last. HE. That thirsty-drink, that hungry-food, I sought,

That wounded-balm, is all my fault;
And thou in pity didst apply,
The kind and only remedy:

The cause absolves the crime ; since me
So mighty force did move, so mighty goodness thee.
SHE. Curse on thine arts ! methinks I hate thee now;

And yet I'm sure I love thee too!
angry ;

wrath will

prove More innocent than did thy love.

Thou hast this day undone me quite ; Yet wilt undo me more shouldst thou not come

at night. VOL. II.


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