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Man cannot serve Thee: let him go

And serve the swine-there, that is his delight: He doth not like this virtue, no;

Give him his dirt to wallow in all night :

'These preachers make

His head to shoot and ache.'

O foolish man! where are thine eyes?

How hast thou lost them in a crowd of cares! Thou pull'st the rug, and wilt not rise,

No, not to purchase the whole pack of stars: "There let them shine;

Thou must go sleep or dine.'

The bird that sees a dainty bower

Made in the tree, where she was wont to sit,
Wonders and sings, but not His power

Who made the arbour; this exceeds her wit.
But man doth know

The Spring whence all things flow:

And yet, as though he knew it not,

His knowledge winks, and lets his humours reign;

They make his life a constant blot,

And all the blood of God to run in vain.

Ah, wretch! what verse

Can thy strange ways rehearse?

Indeed, at first man was a treasure,
A box of jewels, shop of rarities,
A ring whose posy was 'my pleasure';
He was a garden in a Paradise;
Glory and grace

Did crown his heart and face.

But sin hath fooled him; now he is

A lump of flesh, without a foot or wing To raise him to a glimpse of bliss;

A sick-tossed vessel, dashing on each thing, Nay, his own shelf:

My God, I mean myself.

JAMES SHIRLEY

1596-1666

EQUALITY

THE glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:

Sceptre and Crown

Must tumble down,

And in the dust be equal made

With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field, And plant fresh laurels where they kill: But their strong nerves at last must yield; They tame but one another still:

Early or late

They stoop to fate,

And must give up their murmuring breath When they, pale captives, creep to death.

The garlands wither on your brow;

Then boast no more your mighty deeds; Upon Death's purple altar now

See where the victor-victim bleeds:

Your heads must come

To the cold tomb;

Only the actions of the just

Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.

ANONYMOUS

Circa 1603

LULLABY

WEEP you no more, sad fountains;
What need you flow so fast?
Look how the snowy mountains

Heaven's sun doth gently waste.

But my sun's heavenly eyes

View not your weeping,

That now lies sleeping

Softly, now softly lies

Sleeping.

Sleep is a reconciling,

A rest that peace begets;
Doth not the sun rise smiling

When fair at eve he sets?
Rest you, then, rest, sad eyes,

Melt not in weeping,

While she lies sleeping

Softly, now softly lies

Sleeping.

SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT

1605-1668

MORNING

THE lark now leaves his watery nest,
And climbing shakes his dewy wings,
He takes your window for the east,

And to implore your light, he sings;
Awake, awake, the morn will never rise,
Till she can dress her beauty at your eyes.

The merchant bows unto the seaman's star,
The ploughman from the sun his season takes;
But still the lover wonders what they are,

Who look for day before his mistress wakes; Awake, awake, break through your veils of lawn! Then draw your curtains and begin the dawn.

EDMUND WALLER

1605-1687

THE ROSE

Go, lovely rose !

Tell her that wastes her time and me,

That now she knows,

When I resemble her to thee,

How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that's young

And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung

In deserts, where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth

Of beauty from the light retired;
Bid her come forth,

Suffer herself to be desired,

And not blush so to be admired.

Then die! that she

The common fate of all things rare

May read in thee:

How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!

THOMAS RANDOLPH

1606-1634?

HIS MISTRESS

I HAVE a mistress, for perfections rare
In every eye, but in my thoughts most fair.
Like tapers on the altar shine her eyes;
Her breath is the perfume of sacrifice;
And wheresoe'er my fancy would begin,
Still her perfection lets religion in.

We sit and talk, and kiss away the hours
As chastely as the morning dews kiss flowers.
I touch her, like my beads, with devout care,
And come unto my courtship as my prayer.

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