To The Noblest Of Our Youth And Best Of Friends, Charles Cotton, Esquire.[85.L]
Being At Berisford, At His House In Staffordshire. From London.
Sir, your sad absence I complain, as earth
Her long-hid spring, that gave her verdures birth,
Who now her cheerful aromatick head
Shrinks in her cold and dismal widow'd bed;
Whilst the false sun her lover doth him move
Below, and to th' antipodes make love.
What fate was mine, when in mine obscure cave
(Shut up almost close prisoner in a grave)
Your beams could reach me through this vault of night,
And canton the dark dungeon with light!
Whence me (as gen'rous Spahys) you unbound,
Whilst I now know my self both free and crown'd.
But as at Meccha's tombe, the devout blind
Pilgrim (great husband of his sight and mind)
Pays to no other object this chast prise,
Then with hot earth anoynts out both his eyes:
So having seen your dazling glories store,
It is enough, and sin for to see more.
Or, do you thus those pretious rayes withdraw
To whet my dull beams, keep my bold in aw?
Or, are you gentle and compassionate,
You will not reach me Regulus his fate?
Brave prince! who, eagle-ey'd of eagle kind,
Wert blindly damn'd to look thine own self blind!
But oh, return those fires, too cruel-nice!
For whilst you fear me cindars, see, I'm ice!
A nummed speaking clod and mine own show,[85.2]
My self congeal'd, a man cut out in snow:
Return those living fires. Thou, who that vast
Double advantage from one-ey'd Heav'n hast,
Look with one sun, though 't but obliquely be,
And if not shine, vouchsafe to wink on me.
Perceive you not a gentle, gliding heat,
And quick'ning warmth, that makes the statua sweat;
As rev'rend Ducaleon's black-flung stone,
Whose rough outside softens to skin, anon
Each crusty vein with wet red is suppli'd,
Whilst nought of stone but in its heart doth 'bide.
So from the rugged north, where your soft stay
Hath stampt them a meridian and kind day;
Where now each A LA MODE inhabitant
Himself and 's manners both do pay you rent,
And 'bout your house (your pallace) doth resort,
And 'spite of fate and war creates a court.
So from the taught north, when you shall return,
To glad those looks that ever since did mourn,
When men uncloathed of themselves you'l see,
Then start new made, fit, what they ought to be;
Hast! hast! you, that your eyes on rare sights feed:
For thus the golden triumph is decreed.
The twice-born god, still gay and ever young,
With ivie crown'd, first leads the glorious throng:
He Ariadne's starry coronet
Designs for th' brighter beams of Amoret;
Then doth he broach his throne, and singing quaff
Unto her health his pipe of god-head off.
Him follow the recanting, vexing Nine
Who, wise, now sing thy lasting fame in wine;
Whilst Phoebus, not from th' east, your feast t' adorn,
But from th' inspir'd Canaries, rose this morn.
Now you are come, winds in their caverns sit,
And nothing breaths, but new-inlarged wit.
Hark! One proclaims it piacle[85.3] to be sad,
And th' people call 't religion to be mad.
But now, as at a coronation,
When noyse, the guard, and trumpets are oreblown,
The silent commons mark their princes way,
And with still reverence both look and pray;
So they amaz'd expecting do adore,
And count the rest but pageantry before.
Behold! an hoast of virgins, pure as th' air
In her first face,[85.4] ere mists durst vayl her hair:
Their snowy vests, white as their whiter skin,
Or their far chaster whiter thoughts within:
Roses they breath'd and strew'd, as if the fine
Heaven did to earth his wreath of swets resign;
They sang aloud: "THRICE, OH THRICE HAPPY, THEY
THAT CAN, LIKE THESE, IN LOVE BOTH YIELD AND SWAY."
Next herald Fame (a purple clowd her bears),
In an imbroider'd coat of eyes and ears,
Proclaims the triumph, and these lovers glory,
Then in a book of steel records the story.
And now a youth of more than god-like form
Did th' inward minds of the dumb throng alarm;
All nak'd, each part betray'd unto the eye,
Chastly: for neither sex ow'd he or she.
And this was heav'nly love. By his bright hand,
A boy of worse than earthly stuff did stand;
His bow broke, his fires out, and his wings clipt,
And the black slave from all his false flames stript;
Whose eyes were new-restor'd but to confesse
This day's bright blisse, and his own wretchednesse;
Who, swell'd with envy, bursting with disdain,
Did cry to cry, and weep them out again.
And now what heav'n must I invade, what sphere
Rifle of all her stars, t' inthrone her there?
No! Phoebus, by thy boys[85.5] fate we beware
Th' unruly flames o'th' firebrand, thy carr;
Although, she there once plac'd, thou, Sun, shouldst see
Thy day both nobler governed and thee.
Drive on, Bootes, thy cold heavy wayn,
Then grease thy wheels with amber in the main,
And Neptune, thou to thy false Thetis gallop,
Appollo's set within thy bed of scallop:
Whilst Amoret, on the reconciled winds
Mounted, and drawn by six caelestial minds,
She armed was with innocence and fire,
That did not burn; for it was chast desire;
Whilst a new light doth gild the standers by.
Behold! it was a day shot from her eye;
Chafing perfumes oth' East did throng and sweat,
But by her breath they melting back were beat.
A crown of yet-nere-lighted stars she wore,
In her soft hand a bleeding heart she bore,
And round her lay of broken millions more;[85.6]
Then a wing'd crier thrice aloud did call:
LET FAME PROCLAIM THIS ONE GREAT PRISE FOR ALL.
By her a lady that might be call'd fair,
And justly, but that Amoret was there,
Was pris'ner led; th' unvalewed robe she wore
Made infinite lay lovers to adore,
Who vainly tempt her rescue (madly bold)
Chained in sixteen thousand links of gold;
Chrysetta thus (loaden with treasures) slave
Did strow the pass with pearls, and her way pave.
But loe! the glorious cause of all this high
True heav'nly state, brave Philamore, draws nigh,
Who, not himself, more seems himself to be,
And with a sacred extasie doth see!
Fix'd and unmov'd on 's pillars he doth stay,
And joy transforms him his own statua;
Nor hath he pow'r to breath [n]or strength to greet
The gentle offers of his Amoret,
Who now amaz'd at 's noble breast doth knock,
And with a kiss his gen'rous heart unlock;
Whilst she and the whole pomp doth enter there,
Whence her nor Time nor Fate shall ever tear.
But whether am I hurl'd? ho! back! awake
From thy glad trance: to thine old sorrow take!
Thus, after view of all the Indies store,
The slave returns unto his chain and oar;
Thus poets, who all night in blest heav'ns dwell,
Are call'd next morn to their true living hell;
So I unthrifty, to myself untrue,
Rise cloath'd with real wants, 'cause wanting you,
And what substantial riches I possesse,
I must to these unvalued dreams confesse.
But all our clowds shall be oreblown, when thee
In our horizon bright once more we see;
When thy dear presence shall our souls new-dress,
And spring an universal cheerfulnesse;
When we shall be orewhelm'd in joy, like they
That change their night for a vast half-year's day.
Then shall the wretched few, that do repine,
See and recant their blasphemies in wine;
Then shall they grieve, that thought I've sung too free,
High and aloud of thy true worth and thee,
And their fowl heresies and lips submit
To th' all-forgiving breath of Amoret;
And me alone their angers object call,
That from my height so miserably did fall;
And crie out my invention thin and poor,
Who have said nought, since I could say no more.