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The god that sits at marriage feast;
So have I seen some tender slip,
Gentle lady, may thy, grave
The highly favour'd Joseph bore,
SONG ON MAY MORNING. Now the bright morning-star, day's harbinger, Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her The flowery May, who from her green lap, throws The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose. Hail bounteous May, that dost inspire Mirth, and youth, and warm desire ; Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing, Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.
ANNO ÆTATIS XIX. At a VACATION Exercise in the College, part
Latin, part English. The Latin speeches ended, the English thus began.
Written in 1627.
Hail native language, that, by sinews weak, Didst move my first endeavouring tongue to speak, And madest imperfect words, with childish trips, Half unpronounced, slide through my infant-lips, Driving dumb silence from the portal door, Where he had mutely sat two years before : Here I salute thee, and thy pardon ask, That now I use thee in my latter task : Small loss it is that thence can come unto thee, I know my tongue but little grace can do thee, Thou need'st not be ambitious to be first, Believe me I have thither pack'd the worst : And, if it happen, as I did forecast, The daintiest dishes shall be serv'd up last; I pray thee then deny me not thy aid, For this same small neglect, that I have made : But haste thee straight to do me once a pleasure, And, from thy wardrobe, bring thy chiefest treasure; Not those new-fangled toys, and trimming slight, Which takes our late fantastics with delight, But call those richest robes, and gay'st attire, Which deepest spirits, and choicest wits desire : I have some naked thoughts, that rove about, And loudly knock to have their passage out ; And, weary of their place, do only stay Till thou hast deck'd them in thy best array ; That so they may, without suspect or fears, Fly swiftly to this fair assembly's ears; Yet I had rather, if I were to chuse, Thy service in some graver subject use;
Such as may make thee search thy coffers round,
Then Ens is represented as father of the Predica
ments, his two sons, whereof the eldest stood for Substance, with his canons, which Ens, thus speak
ing, explains. Good luck befriend thee, son; for at thy birth, The faery ladies danced upon the hearth ; Thy drowsy nurse hath sworn she did them spy, Come tripping to the room, where thou didst lie, And sweetly singing round about thy bed, Strew all their blessings on thy sleeping head. She heard them give thee this, that thou shouldst still, From eyes of mortals, walk invisible : Yet there is something that doth force my fear, For once it was my dismal hap to hear A Sibyl old, bow-bent with crooked age, That far events full wisely could presage,
And, in time's long and dark prospective glass,
“ Your son,” says she, nor can you it prevent,
The next, QUANTITY and QUALITY spake in prose ,
then RELATION was called by the same. Rivers, arise : whether thou be the son Of utmost Tweed, or Oose, or gulfy Dun, Or Trent, who, like some earth-born giant, spreads His thirsty arms, along the indented meads, Or sullen Mole, that runneth underneath, Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death, Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee, Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee; Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name ; Or Medway smooth, or royal-tower': Thame,
[The rest was prose.]
ON THE ADMIRABLE DRAMATIC POET,
W. SHAKSPEARE." What needs my Shakspeare, for his honour'd bones, The labour of an age in piled stones ?
* This Epitaph is dated 1630, in Milton's own edition of his poems, in 1673.