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pathies. The execution of Charles I broke his spirit, and he spent ten unhappy years in ill-health and poverty, ragged, and lodged like a beggar.
Henry Vaughan (1622–1695) was a Welshman, who after studying at Oxford and later qualifying as a physician, returned to Wales and spent his unostentatious life in the good works of a country physician and in writing poetry and prose in a vein of religious mysticism. He was essentially a pantheist. His poetry attracted little notice in his own day, but Wordsworth's employment of “the Retreat” in his famous Ode on the Intimations of Immortality, called attention to Vaughan in a more sympathetic period, and such poems as They are all gone into the world of light and The Retreat now rank among the finest of English lyrics.
Abraham Cowley (1618-1667) was a juvenile prodigy. He began composing poetry at twelve, and before his entrance to Cambridge at sixteen had published two volumes. The civil wars played havoc with him, however, for though he had no taste for affairs, he was forced to take sides and threw in his lot with the royal family.
Henceforth political events robbed him of his leisure and largely frustrated his literary ambition, yet before he died he was the most popular living poet, revered equally for his verse and for his pure character. He was buried beside Chaucer and Spenser in Westminster Abbey.
The affectations, subtleties, and Pindaric pomp of most of Cowley's verse have robbed it of permanence, but he wrote a little that is lasting because simple and genuine.
John Dryden (1631-1700) was the forerunner of the eighteenth century poets. He firmly established the heroic couplet as the proper verse form, encouraged the taste for didactic and satiric poetry, and made polish and precision the stylistic desiderata.
In his political and religious professions Dryden appears decidedly shifty. He was brought up a Puritan and his earliest poem of distinction was prompted by the death of Cromwell. With the return of the monarchy, however, he forthwith became a royalist, wrote fulsome poems of welcome to Charles II and for twenty years, though decent in his own life, supplied the stage with the corrupt plays which the court society required. Then in 1682 he published Religio Laici (The Religion of a Layman), defending the Established Church, and in 1685 when James II came to the throne, wrote The Hind and the Panther in support of Roman Catholicism. He did not again change front, however, and refused allegiance to William and Mary. It is therefore a question to what extent his earlier movements were governed by policy.
Dryden enjoyed great vogue, was virtually the literary dictator, received the laureateship and, like Cowley, was buried near Chaucer and Spenser in the Abbey. His finest ode, Alexander's Feast, was written when he was sixty-seven. ROBERT HERRICK
And sung their thankful hymns, 'tis sin,
Nay, profanation, to keep in, CORINNA'S GOING A-MAYING
Whereas a thousand virgins on this day Get up, get up for shame! The bloom- Spring sooner than the lark, to fetch ing morn
in May. Upon her wings presents the god unshorn. See how Aurora throws her fair
Rise and put on your foliage, and be seen Fresh-quilted colours through the air : To come forth, like the spring-time, fresh Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see
The dew bespangling herb and tree! And sweet as Flora. Take no care Each flower has wept and bow'd toward For jewels for your gown or hair : the east
Fear not; the leaves will strew Above an hour since, yet you not drest;
Gems in abundance upon you: Nay! not so much as out of bed ? Besides, the childhood of the day has When all the birds have matins said
Against you come, some orient pearls We shall grow old apace, and die
Before we know our liberty.
And, as a vapour or a drop of rain,
A fable, song, or fleeting shade,
Lies drown'd with us in endless night.
Then, while time serves, and we are but Come, my Corinna, come; and coming, decaying, mark
Come, my Corinna, come, let's go How each field turns a street, each street a-Maying.
a park, Made green and trimm'd with trees! TO THE VIRGINS, TO MAKE see how
MUCH OF TIME
GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying: ere this, An ark, a tabernacle is,
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, Can such delights be in the street
The higher he's a-getting, And open fields, and we not see't?
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer; But, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while Back, and with white-thorn laden home.
ye may, go marry : Some have despatch'd their cakes and
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry. cream, Before that we have left to dream :
TO DAFFODILS And some have wept and woo'd, and plighted troth,
Fair daffodils, we weep to see And chose their priest, ere we can cast
You haste away so soon; off sloth:
As yet the early-rising sun Many a green-gown has been given,
Has not attain'd his noon. Many a kiss, both odd and even :
Stay, stay Many a glance, too, has been sent
Until the hasting day From out the eye, love's firmament:
Has run Many a jest told of the keys betraying
But to the evensong;
Will go with you along.
Stone walls do not a prison make,
He that hath found some fledged bird's Nor iron bars a cage;
nest may know, Minds innocent and quiet take
At first sight, if the bird be flown; That for an hermitage;
But what fair well or grove he sings in If I have freedom in my love
now, And in my soul am free,
That is to him unknown.
And yet as angels in some brighter dreams
Call to the soul, when man doth sleep : HENRY VAUGHAN
So some strange thoughts transcend our
wonted themes, A VISION
And into glory peep. I saw Eternity the other night,
If a star were confined into a tomb, Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
Her captive flames must needs burn All calm, as it was bright:
there; And round beneath it, Time, in hours,
But when the hand that lock'd her up days, years,
gives room, Driven by the spheres,
She'll shine through all the sphere. Like a vast shadow moved; in which the World
O Father of eternal life, and all And all her train were hurl'd.
Created glories under Thee !
Resume Thy spirit from this world of FRIENDS DEPARTED
thrall They are all gone into the world of light!
Into true liberty. And I alone sit ling'ring here; Their very memory is fair and bright, Either disperse these mists, which blot And my sad thoughts doth clear.
My perspective still as they pass : It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast, Or else remove me hence unto that hill, Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
Where I shall need no glass. Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest
THE RETREAT After the sun's remove.
HAPPY those early days, when I I see them walking in an air of glory, Shined in my Angel-infancy !
Whose light doth trample on my days: Before I understood this place My days, which are at best but dull and Appointed for my second race, hoary,
Or taught my soul to fancy aught Mere glimmering and decays.
But a white celestial thought:
When yet I had not walk'd above O holy Hope! and high Humility,
A mile or two from my first Love, High as the heavens above!
And looking back
at that short space These are your walks, and you have show'd Could see a glimpse of His bright face:
When on some gilded cloud, or flow'r, To kindle my cold love.
My gazing soul would dwell an hour,
And in those weaker glories spy Dear, beauteous Death! the jewel of Some shadows of eternity: the just,
Before I taught my tongue to wound Shining nowhere, but in the dark ; My conscience with a sinful sound, What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust, Or had the black art to dispense
Could man outlook that mark! A several sin to ev'ry sense,