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TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY.
DAUGHTER to that good earl, once president
Of England's council and her treasury,
Who lived in both, unstain'd with gold or fee, And left them both, more in himself content, Till sad the breaking of that parliament
Broke him, as that dishonest victory
At Chæronea, fatal to liberty,
Wherein your father flourish'd, yet by you,
That all both judge you to relate them true,
A BOOK was writ of late, called Tetrachordon,
And woven close, both matter, form, and style;
The subject new; it walk'd the town awhile, Numbering good intellects; now seldom pored on. Cries the stall-reader, “Bless us! what a word on
A title-page is this !” And some in file
Stand spelling false, while one might walk to MileEnd 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 John Cheek,
Hated not learning worse than toad or asp, When thou taught'st Cambridge and King Edward
ON THE SAME.
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 transform’d to frogs,
Rail'd at Latona's twin-born progeny,
Which after held the sun and moon in fee. 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.
TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY.
LADY, that in the prime of earliest youth
Wisely hast shunn'd the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen, That labour up the hill of heavenly truth, The better part with Mary and with Ruth
Chosen thou hast; and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,
To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light,
Passes to bliss at the mid-hour of night, Hast gain'd thy entrance, virgin wise and pure.
TO MR. H. LAWES, ON THE PUBLISHING HIS AIRS. 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 exempt 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 Phæbus' quire,
Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher
ON THE RELIGIOUS MEMORY OF MRS. CATHERINE THOMSON,
DECEASED, DECEMBER 16, 1646. WHEN faith and love, which parted from thee never,
Had ripen'd 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,
Stay'd not behind, nor in the grave were trod;
But, as faith pointed with her golden rod, Follow'd 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 spake the truth of thee on glorious themes
Before the Judge, who thenceforth bid thee rest, And drink thy fill of pure
TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX.
FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,
Filling each mouth with envy or with praise,
And all our 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 clear'd from the shameful brand Of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed,
While avarice and rapine share the land.
TO THE LORD GENERAL CROMWELL.
CROMWELL, our chief of men, who, through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude, To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough'd, And on the neck of crowned fortune proud
Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pursued,
While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots imbrued, And Dunbar field, resounds thy praises loud, And Worcester's laureate wreath. Yet much remains
To conquer still; peace hath her victories
No less renown'd than war: new foes arise, Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains :
Help us to save free conscience from the paw
TO SIR HENRY VANE, THE YOUNGER. VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
Than whom a better senator ne'er held
The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, repell’d The fierce Epirot and the African bold; Whether to settle peace, or to unfold
The drift of hollow states hard to be spellid;
Then to advise how war may, best upheld, Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold,
In all her equipage: besides, to know
The bounds of either sword to thee we owe: