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Thy Lord shall never die, the whiles this verse
Shall live, and surely it shall live for ever :
For ever it shall live, and shall rehearse
His worthie praise, and vertues dying never,
Though death his sonle doo from his body sever;
And thou thyselfe herein shalt also live :
Such grace the heavens doo to my verses give.
(The Ruins of Time, Collier's edition, iv., 305.)
VERSE MORE DURABLE THAN STONE, OR BRASS,
For deeds doe die, how ever noblie donne,
And thoughts do as themselves decay ;
But wise words, taught in numbers for to runne,
Recorded by the Muses, live for ay ;
Ne may with storming showers be washt away,
Ne bitter breathing windes with harmfull blast
Nor age, nor envie, shall them ever wast.
In vaine doo earthly Princes, then, in vaine,
Seeke with Pyramides to heaven aspired;
Or huge Colosses built with costlie paine,
Or brasen Pillowes never to be fired,
Or Shrines made of the mettall most desired,
To make their memories for ever live;
For how can mortall immortalitie give?
Such one Mausolus made, the worlds great wonder,
But now no remnant doth thereof remain :
Such one Marcellus, but was torne of thunder:
Such one Lisippus, but is worne with raine :
Such one King Edmond, but was rent for gaine.
All such vaine moniments of earthlie masse,
Devour'd of Time, in time to nought doo passe.
But Fame with golden wings aloft doth flie,
Above the reach of ruinous decay,
And with brave plumes doth beate the azure skie,
Admir'd of base-borne men from farre away :
Then, who so will with vertuous deeds assay
To mount to heaven on Pegasus must ride,
And with sweete Poets verse be glorifide.
(Ibid, iv. 311-12)
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAN AND BEAST.
What difference twixt man and beast is left,
When th' heavenlie light of knowledge is put out,
And th' ornaments of wisdome are bereft?
Then wandreth he in error and in doubt,
Unweeting of the danger hee is in
Through fleshes frailtie, and deceipt of sin.
In this wide world in which they, wretches, stray,
It is the onlie comfort which they have
It is their light, their loadstarre, and their day;
But hell, and darknesse, and the grislie grave,
Is ignorance; the enemy of grace
That mindes of men, borne heavenlie, doth debase.
Through knowledge we behould the worlds creation,
How in his cradle first he fostred was ;
And judge of Natures cunning operation,
How things she formed of a formlesse mas;
By knowledge wee do learne our selves to knowe,
And what to man, and what to God, wee owe.
From hence wee mount aloft unto the skie,
And looke into the Christall firmament:
There we behold the heavens great Hierarchie,
The Starres pure light, the Spheres swift move-
The Spirites and Intelligences fayre,
And Angels waighting on th' Almighties chayre.
And there with humble minde and high insight,
Th' eternall Makers majestie wee viewe,
His love, his truth, his glorie, and his might,
And mercie more then mortall men can vew.
O soveraigne Lord ! O soveraigne happinesse,
To see thee, and thy mercie measurelesse !
(The Teares of the Muses, iv. 346, 247.)
One day I wrote her name upon the strand;
But came the waves, and washed it away :
Agayne, I wrote with a second hand ;
But came the tyde, and made my paynes
pray. Vayne man ! sayd she, that doest in vaine assay A mortall thing so to immortalize; For I my selfe shall lyke to this decay, And eek my name bee wyped out lykewize.
Not so (quod I); let baser things devize
To dy in dust, but you shall live by fame :
My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
And in the hevens wryte your glorious name;
Where, when as death shall the world subdew,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.
(Sonnet, LXXV., v. 154.)
[Born, 1552. Knighted, 1585. Committed a Prisoner in the Tower, 1603. Published his History of the World, 1614. Set out on his last expedition, 1616. Executed, 1618.]
THE TRIUMPHS OF HISTORY.—To me it belongs in the first part of this preface, following the common and approved custom of those who have left the memories of time past to after-ages, to give, as near as I can, the same right to history which they have done. Yet seeing therein I