The School Or Pearl Of Putney, The Mistress Of All Singular Manners, Mistress Portman.

A poem by Robert Herrick

Whether I was myself, or else did see
Out of myself that glorious hierarchy;
Or whether those, in orders rare, or these
Made up one state of sixty Venuses;
Or whether fairies, syrens, nymphs they were,
Or muses on their mountain sitting there;
Or some enchanted place, I do not know,
Or Sharon, where eternal roses grow.
This I am sure: I ravished stood, as one
Confus'd in utter admiration.
Methought I saw them stir, and gently move,
And look as all were capable of love;
And in their motion smelt much like to flowers
Inspir'd by th' sunbeams after dews and showers.
There did I see the reverend rectress stand,
Who with her eye's gleam, or a glance of hand,
Those spirits raised; and with like precepts then,
As with a magic, laid them all again.
A happy realm! When no compulsive law,
Or fear of it, but love keeps all in awe.
Live you, great mistress of your arts, and be
A nursing mother so to majesty,
As those your ladies may in time be seen,
For grace and carriage, everyone a queen.
One birth their parents gave them; but their new,
And better being, they receive from you.
Man's former birth is graceless; but the state
Of life comes in, when he's regenerate.

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