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THE ATTENDANT SPIRIT, FROM COMUS

To the ocean now I fly,

And those happy climes that lie
Where day never shuts his eye,
Up in the broad fields of the sky.
There I suck the liquid air,

All amid the gardens fair

Of Hesperus, and his daughters three
That sing about the golden tree.
Along the crisped shades and bowers
Revels the spruce and jocund Spring;
The Graces and the rosy-bosomed Hours
Thither all their bounties bring.

There eternal Summer dwells,

And west winds with musky wing

About the cedarn alleys fling

Nard and cassia's balmy smells.

Iris there with humid bow

Waters the odorous banks, that blow

Flowers of more mingled hue
Than her purpled scarf can show,
And drenches with Elysian dew
(List, mortals, if your ears be true)
Beds of hyacinth and roses,
Where young Adonis oft reposes,
Waxing well of his deep wound
In slumber soft, and on the ground
Sadly sits the Assyrian queen.

But far above, in spangled sheen,

Celestial Cupid, her famed son, advanced, Holds his dear Psyche, sweet entranced,

James Graham, Marquis of Montrose

After her wandering labours long,
Till free consent the gods among
Make her his eternal bride,

And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born,
Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn.

But now my task is smoothly done:
I can fly or I can run

Quickly to the green earth's end,

Where the bowed welkin slow doth bend,
And from thence can soar as soon
To the corners of the moon.
Mortals that would follow me,
Love Virtue; she alone is free,
She can teach ye how to climb
Higher than the sphery chime;
Or if feeble Virtue were,

Heaven itself would stoop to her.

JAMES GRAHAM, MARQUIS OF MONTROSE

1612-1650

THE VIGIL OF DEATH

LET them bestow on every airth a limb,
Then open all my veins, that I may swim
To thee, my Maker! in that crimson lake.

Then place my parboiled head upon a stake

Scatter my ashes--strew them in the air:

Lord! since thou know'st where all these atoms are,

I'm hopeful thou 'lt recover once my dust,

And confident thou 'lt raise me with the just.

RICHARD CRASHAW

1615(?)-1652

ON A PRAYER-BOOK SENT TO MRS. M. R.

Lo, here a little volume, but great book!

A nest of new-born sweets,

Whose native pages, 'sdaining

To be thus folded, and complaining

Of these ignoble sheets,

Affect more comely bands,

Fair one, from thy kind hands,

And confidently look

To find the rest

Of a rich binding in your breast!

It is in one choice handful, heaven; and all
Heaven's royal hosts encamped, thus small
To prove that true schools use to tell,

A thousand angels in one point can dwell.

It is love's great artillery,

Which here contracts itself, and comes to lie

Close couched in your white bosom; and from thence,

As from a snowy fortress of defence,

Against your ghostly foe to take your part,

And fortify the hold of your chaste heart.

It is an armoury of light;

Let constant use but keep it bright,

You'll find it yields

To holy hands and humble hearts

More swords and shields

Than sin hath snares, or hell hath darts.

Only be sure

The hands be pure

That hold these weapons, and the eyes

Those of turtles, chaste, and true,

Wakeful, and wise.

Here's a friend shall fight for you;
Hold but this book before your heart,
Let prayer alone to play his part.

But, O! the heart

That studies this high art

Must be a sure housekeeper,

And yet no sleeper.

Dear soul, be strong;

Mercy will come ere long,

And bring her bosom full of blessings,
Flowers of never-fading graces,

To make immortal dressings

For worthy souls, whose wise embraces Store up themselves for Him who is alone The Spouse of virgins, and the Virgin's Son.

But if the noble Bridegroom when He comes Shall find the wandering heart from home, Leaving her chaste abode

To gad abroad,

Amongst the gay mates of the god of flies

To take her pleasure, and to play

And keep the Devil's holy day;

To dance in the sunshine of some smiling,

But beguiling

Spheres of sweet and sugared lies,
Some slippery pair

Of false, perhaps, as fair,

Flattering, but forswearing, eyes;

Doubtless some other heart

Will get the start

Meanwhile, and, stepping in before,
Will take possession of that sacred store
Of hidden sweets, and holy joys,
Words which are not heard with ears-
These tumultuous shops of noise-
Effectual whispers, whose still voice
The soul itself more feels than hears;

Amorous languishments, luminous trances,
Sights which are not seen with eyes,
Spiritual and soul-piercing glances

Whose pure and subtle lightning flies

Home to the heart, and sets the house on fire
And melts it down in sweet desire,

Yet does not stay

To ask the window's leave to pass that way;

Delicious deaths, soft exhalations

Of soul; dear and divine annihilations;

A thousand unknown rites

Of joys, and rarefied delights;

A hundred thousand goods, glories, and graces,

And many a mystic thing,

Which the divine embraces

Of the dear Spouse of spirits with them will bring

For which it is no shame

That dull mortality must not know a name.

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