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POEMS WRITTEN DURING THE CIVIL WAR AND THE PROTECTORATE

1642-1658

CA

WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED

TO THE CITY

(NOVEMBER, 1642)
(APTAIN, or colonel, or knight in arms,
Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,

If deed of honour did thee ever please,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms.
He can requite thee, for he knows the charms
That call fame on such gentle acts as these,
And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas,
Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muse's bower;
The great Emathian conqueror bid spare
The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
Went to the ground; and the repeated air
Of sad Electra's Poet had the power
To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.

TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY

(1644)
LADY! that in the prime of earliest youth
Wisely hast shunned the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,
That labour up the Hill of Heavenly Truth,

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The better part with Mary and with Ruth
Chosen thou hast, and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,
No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth.
Thy care is fixed, and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous Lamp with deeds of light.
And Hope that reaps not shame; therefore be sure,
Thou, when the Bridegroom with his feastful friends
Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
Hast gained thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure.

TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY

(1644-5)
DAUGHTER to that good Earl, once President

Of England's Council and her Treasury,
Who lived in both unstained with gold or fee,

And left them both, more in himself content,
Till the sad breaking of that Parliament

Broke him, as that dishonest victory
At Chæronea, fatal to liberty,

Killed with report that old man eloquent,
Though later born than to have known the days

Wherein your father flourished, yet by you,

Madam, methinks I see him living yet:
So well your words his noble virtues praise

That all both judge you to relate them true
And to possess them, honoured Margaret.

ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED UPON
MY WRITING CERTAIN TREATISES

(1645-6)
A BOOK was writ of late called Tetrachordon,

And woven close, both matter, form, and style;
The subject new: it walked the town a while,

Numbering good intellects; now seldom pored on.
Cries the stall-reader, “ Bless us! what a word on

a

A title-page is this !”; and some in file
Stand spelling false, while one might walk to Mile-

End Green. Why, is it harder, sirs, than Gordon, Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?

Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek

That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp. Thy age, like ours, O soul of Sir Johri Cheek,

Hated not learning worse than toad or asp,
When thou taught'st Cambridge and King Edward

Greek.

ON THE SAME

(1645-6) I DID but

prompt the age to quit their clogs By the known rules of ancient liberty, When straight a barbarous noise environs me

Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs;
As when those hinds that were transformed to frogs

Railed at Latona's twin-born progeny,
Which after held the Sun and Moon in feé.

But this is got by casting pearl to hogs,
That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,

And still revolt when Truth would set them free.

Licence they mean when they cry Liberty;
For who loves that must first be wise and good:

But from that mark how far they rove we see,
For all this waste of wealth and loss of blood.

ON THE NEW FORCERS OF CONSCIENCE UNDER THE LONG PARLIAMENT

(1646) BECAUSE you have thrown off your Prelate Lord,

And with stiff vows renounced his Liturgy,
To seize the widowed whore Plurality,

From them whose sin ye envied, not abhorred,
Dare ye for this adjure the civil sword

To force our consciences that Christ set free,
And ride us with a Classic Hierarchy,

Taught ye by mere A. S. and Rutherford ?
Men whose life, learning, faith, and pure intent,

Would have been held in high esteem with Paul

Must now be named and printed heretics
By shallow Edwards and Scotch What-d'ye-call !
But we do hope to find out all your tricks,
Your plots and packing, worse than those of Trent,

That so the Parliament
May with their wholesome and preventive shears
Clip your phylacteries, though baulk your ears,

And succour our just fears,
When they shall read this clearly in your charge:
New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large.

TO MR. H. LAWES ON HIS AIRS

(1646)
HARRY, whose tuneful and well-measured song

First taught our English music how to span
Words with just note and accent, not to scan

With Midas' ears, committing short and long,
Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng,

With praise enough for Envy to look wan;
To after age thou shalt be writ the man
That with smooth air couldst humour best our

tongue. Thou honour'st Verse, and Verse must lend her wing

To honour thee, the priest of Phoebus' quire,

That tunest their happiest lines in hymn or story. Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher

Than his Casella, whom he wooed to sing,
Met in the milder shades of Purgatory.

ON THE RELIGIOUS MEMORY OF MRS. CATHERINE THOMSON, MY CHRISTIAN FRIEND, DECEASED DEC. 16, 1646

(1646) WHEN Faith and Love, which parted from thee never,

Had ripened thy just soul to dwell with God,
Meekly thou didst resign this earthly load

Of death, called life, which us from life doth sever, Thy works, and alms, and all thy good endeavour,

Stayed not behind, nor in the grave were trod;
But, as Faith pointed with her golden rod,

Followed thee up to joy and bliss for ever.
Love led them on; and Faith, who knew them best

Thy handmaids, clad them o'er with purple beams

And azure wings, that up they flew so drest,
And speak the truth of thee on glorious themes

Before the Judge; who henceforth bid thee rest,
And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.

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ON THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX AT THE

SIEGE OF COLCHESTER

(1648) FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,

Filling each mouth with envy or with praise,
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze,

And rumours loud that daunt remotest kings,
Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings

Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Their Hydra heads, and the false North displays

Her broken league to imp their serpent wings.
O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand

(For what can war but endless war still breed?)

Till truth and right from violence be freed,
And public faith cleared from the shameful brand

Of public fraud. In vain doth Valour bleed,
While Avarice and Rapine share the land.

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