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Hail, bard triumphant! and some care bestow
On us, the poets militant below.

Opposed by our old enemy, adverse chance,
Attacked by envy and by ignorance,

Enchained by beauty, tortured by desires,
Exposed by tyrant love to savage beasts and fires.
Thou from low earth in nobler flames didst rise,
And, like Elijah, mount alive the skies.
Elisha-like (but with a wish much less,
More fit thy greatness and my littleness),
Lo, here I beg (I, whom thou once didst prove
So humble to esteem, so good to love)

Not that thy spirit might on me doubled be

I ask but half thy mighty spirit for me;

And when my muse soars with so strong a wing, "Twill learn of things divine, and first of thee, to sing.

HYMN TO THE LIGHT

FIRST-BORN of chaos, who so fair didst come
From the old Negro's darksome womb!

Which, when it saw the lovely child,

The melancholy mass put on kind looks and smiled!

Thou tide of glory which no rest dost know,

But ever ebb and ever flow!

Thou golden shower of a true Jove

Who does in thee descend, and Heaven to Earth make love!

Hail, active Nature's watchful life and health!

Her joy, her ornament, and wealth!

Hail to thy husband, Heat, and thee!

Thou the world's beauteous Bride, the lusty Bridegroom he.

Say from what golden quivers of the sky

Do all thy winged arrows fly?

Swiftness and power by birth are thine :

From thy great Sire they came, thy Sire the Word Divine.

"Tis, I believe, this archery to show,

That so much cost in colours thou

And skill in painting dost bestow

Upon thy ancient arms, the gaudy heavenly bow.

Swift as light thoughts their empty career run,
Thy race is finished when begun.

Let a post-angel start with thee,

And thou the goal of earth shalt reach as soon as he.

Thou, in the moon's bright chariot proud and gay, Dost thy bright wood of stars survey;

And all the year dost with thee bring

Of thousand flowery lights thine own nocturnal spring.

Thou, Scythian-like, dost round thy lands above
The sun's gilt tent for ever move;

And still as thou in pomp dost go,

The shining pageants of the world attend thy show.

Nor amidst all these triumphs dost thou scorn
The humble glow-worms to adorn,

And with those living spangles gild
(0, greatness without pride!) the lilies of the field.

Night and her ugly subjects thou dost fright,

And sleep, the lazy owl of night;

Ashamed and fearful to appear,

They screen their horrid shapes with the black hemisphere.

With them there hastes, and wildly takes the alarm Of painted dreams a busy swarm.

At the first opening of thine eye

The various clusters break, the antic atoms fly.

The guilty serpents and obscener beasts

Creep, conscious, to their secret rests;
Nature to thee does reverence pay,

Ill omens and ill sights remove out of thy way.

At thy appearance, Grief itself is said

To shake his wings and rouse his head:
And cloudy Care has often took

A gentle beamy smile, reflected from thy look.

At thy appearance, Fear itself grows bold;
Thy sunshine melts away his cold.

Encouraged at the sight of thee,

To the cheek colour comes, and firmness to the knee.

Even Lust, the master of a hardened face,
Blushes, if thou be 'st in the place,

To darkness' curtain he retires,

In sympathising night he rolls his smoky fires.

When, goddess, thou lift'st up thy wakened head
Out of the morning's purple bed,

Thy quire of birds about thee play,
And all thy joyful world salutes the rising day.

The ghosts and monster-spirits that did presume

A body's privilege to assume,

Vanish again invisibly,

And bodies gain again their visibility.

All the world's bravery that delights our eyes,
Is but thy several liveries:

Thou the rich dye on them bestow'st,

Thy nimble pencil paints this landscape as thou go'st.

A crimson garment in the rose thou wear'st,
A crown of studded gold thou bear'st.

The virgin lilies in their white

Are clad but with the lawn of almost naked light.

The violet, Spring's little infant, stands
Girt in the purple swaddling-bands;
On the fair tulip thou dost dote,

Thou cloth'st it in a gay and parti-coloured coat.

With flames condensed thou dost thy jewels fix,
And solid colours in it mix :

Flora herself envies to see

Flowers fairer than her own, and durable as she.

Ah goddess! would thou couldst thy hand withhold And be less liberal to gold;

Didst thou less valuo to it give,

Of how much care (alas!) might'st thou poor man relieve.

To me the sun is more delightful far,

And all fair days much fairer are.

But few, ah, wondrous few there be

Who do not gold prefer, O goddess, even to thee!

Through the soft ways of heaven, and air, and sea, Which open all their pores to thee;

Like a clear river thou dost glide,

And with thy living streams through the close channels slide.

But where firm bodies thy free course oppose,
Gently thy source the land o'erflows;

Takes there possession, and does make,
Of colours mingled, Light, a thick and standing lake.

But the vast ocean of unbounded Day

In the Empyrean Heaven does stay.

Thy rivers, lakes, and springs below

From thence took first their rise, thither at last must flow.

RICHARD LOVELACE

1618-1658

TO LUCASTA ON GOING TO THE WARS

TELL me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery

Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.

True; a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;

And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.

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