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And sung their thankful hymns: 'tis sin,
Nay, profanation, to keep in-

Whenas a thousand virgins on this day

Spring, sooner than the lark, to fetch in May.

Rise, and put on your foliage, and be seen

To come forth, like the Spring-time, fresh and green,
And sweet as Flora. Take no care

For jewels for your gown or hair:
Fear not; the leaves will strew

Gems in abundance upon you:

Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept:
Come, and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dew-locks of the night:
And Titan on the eastern hill

Retires himself, or else stands still

Till you come forth. Wash, dress, be brief in praying:

Few beads are best, when once we go a-Maying.

Come, my Corinna, come! and coming, mark
How each field turns a street, each street a park
Made green, and trimmed with trees: see how
Devotion gives each house a bough

Made

Or branch: each porch, each door, ere this,
An ark, a tabernacle is,

up of white-thorn neatly interwove, As if here were those cooler shades of love.

Can such delights be in the street
And open fields, and we not see't?
Come, we'll abroad: and let's obey
The proclamation made for May:

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And sin no more, as we have done, by staying:
But, my Corinna, come! let's go a-Maying.

There's not a budding boy or girl, this day,
But is got up, and gone to bring in May.
A deal of youth, ere this, is come
Back, and with white-thorn laden home.

Some have despatched their cakes and cream,
Before that we have left to dream:

And some have wept, and wooed, and plighted troth
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth:

Many a green-gown has been given;

Many a kiss, both odd and even :

Many a glance, too, has been sent

From out the eye, Love's firmament:

Many a jest told of the keys betraying

This night, and locks picked :-Yet we're not aMaying.

Come! let us go, while we are in our prime,

And take the harmless folly of the time!

We shall grow old apace, and die
Before we know our liberty.

Our life is short; and our days run

As fast away as does the sun :

And as a vapour, or a drop of rain
Once lost, can ne'er be found again;

So when or you or I are made
A fable, song, or fleeting shade,

All love, all liking, all delight

Lies drowned with us in endless night.

Then while time serves, and we are but decaying,
Come, my Corinna, come! let's go a-Maying.

GRACE FOR A CHILD

HERE, a little child, I stand,
Heaving up my either hand:
Cold as paddocks though they be,
Here I lift them up to Thee,

For a benison to fall

On our meat and on our all. Amen.

BEN JONSON

Aн, Ben!

Say how, or when,

Shall we thy guests

Meet at those lyric feasts
Made at the Sun,

The Dog, the Triple Tun?
Where we such clusters had

As made us nobly wild, not mad;
And yet each verse of thine
Out-did the meat, out-did the frolic wine.

My Ben!

Or come again

Or send to us

Thy wit's great over-plus;

But teach us yet

Wisely to husband it,

Lest we that talent spend:

And having once brought to an end

That precious stock, the store

Of such a wit, the world should have no more.

GEORGE HERBERT

1593-1632

HOLY BAPTISM

SINCE, Lord, to Thee

A narrow way and little gate Is all the passage, on my infancy

Thou didst lay hold, and antedate

My faith in me.

O, let me still

Write Thee 'great God,' and me ‘a child'; Let me be soft and supple to Thy will,

Small to myself, to others mild,

Behither ill.

Although by stealth

My flesh get on; yet let her sister, My soul, bid nothing but preserve her wealth The growth of flesh is but a blister; Childhood is health.

VIRTUE

SWEET day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky,
The dew shall weep thy fall to-night,
For thou must die.

Sweet rose, whose hue, angry and brave,

Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye,

Thy root is ever in its grave,

And thou must die.

Sweet Spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie,
My music shows ye have your closes,
And all must die.

Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like seasoned timber, never gives;

But though the whole world turn to coal,
Then chiefly lives.

UNKINDNESS

LORD, make me coy and tender to offend :
In friendship, first I think if that agree
Which I intend

Unto my friend's intent and end;

I would not use a friend as I use Thee.

If any touch my friend or his good name,
It is my honour and my love to free
His blasted fame

From the least spot or thought of blame; I could not use a friend as I use Thee.

My friend may spit upon my curious floor; Would he have gold? I lend it instantly; But let the poor,

And Thee within them, starve at door; I cannot use a friend as I use Thee.

When that my friend pretendeth to a place, I quit my interest, and leave it free;

But when Thy grace

Sues for my heart, I Thee displace; Nor would I use a friend as I use Thee.

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