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[.Born 1593. Took his degree of M.A., and became Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, 1615. Appointed orator for the University, 1619. Obtained the prebend of Layton Ecclesia, 1626, and the living of Bemerton, 1630. Published The Temple : Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations, 1631. Died 1633.]
WHAT A VERSE MAY DO.
Thou whose sweet youth and early hopes enhance
A verse may find him who a sermon flies,
(The Church Porch.)
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
Oh, Book ! infinite sweetnesse ! let my heart
Suck ev'ry letter, and a hony gain
Precious for any grief in any part,
Thou art all health, health thriving till it make
A full eternitie; thou art a masse
Of strange delights, where we may wish and take. Ladies, look here; this is the thankfull glasse
That mends the looker's eyes; this is the well
That washes what it shows. Who can indeare Thy praise too much ? Thou art heaven's Lieger
here, Working against the States of death and hell.
Thou art Joy's handsell, heav'n lies flat in thee,
Oh that I knew how all thy lights combine,
And the configurations of their glorie !
Seeing not onely how each verse doth shine, But all the constellations of the storie. This verse marks that, and both do make a motion
Unto a third, that ten leaves off doth lie:
Then as dispersed herbs do watch a potion, These three make up some Christian's destinie. Such are thy secrets, which my life makes good,
And comments on thee: for in ev'ry thing
Thy words do finde me out, and parallels bring, And in another make me understood. Starres are poore books, and oftentimes do misse; This book of starres lights to eternall blisse.
(The Temple, 27).
SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT.
[Born 1605. Educated at Oxford Grammar School, and at Lincoln College. Wrote a number of plays, and in 1635 published his “ Madagascar” and other poems. For his service at the seige of Gloucester was Knighted, 1643. Imprisoned in Cowes Castle, Isle of Wight, 1650. Published part of “Gondibert” 1651. Opened a theatre in Rutland-house, Charter-house-yard, for the perforinance of operas, 1656. Died, 1668.]
THE CABINET OF DEATH.
Which some the monuments of bodies, name;
And call’d, THE MONUMENT OF VANISH'D MINDES.
Where, when they thought they saw in well-sought
books, Th'assembled souls of all that men held wise, It bred such awfull rev'rence in their looks,
As if they saw the bury'd writers rise.
Such heaps of written thought (gold of the dead,
Which Time does still disperse, but not devour) Made them presume all was from deluge free'd,
Which long-liv'd authors writ ere Noah's show'r.
They saw Egyptian roles which vastly great,
Did like fain pillars lie, and did display The tale of Natures life, from her first heat,
Till by the flood o'er-cool'd she felt decay.
And large as these (for pens were pencils then)
Others that Egypt's chiefest science show'd ; Whose river forced geometry on men,
Which did distinguish what the Nyle o’re-flow’d.
Near them, in piles, Chaldean cous'ners lie,
Who the hid business of the stars relate; Who make a trade of worship'd prophesie;
And seem to pick the cabinet of Fate.
There Persian Magi stand; for wisdom prais'd; Long since wise statesmen, now magicians
thought : Altars and arts are soon to fiction rais'd,
And both would have, that miracles are wrought.
In a dark text, these states-men left their mindes
For well they knew, that monarch's mistery (Like that of priests) but little rev'rence findes,
When they the curtain ope to ev'ry eye.