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ROBERT HERRICK: 1591-1674.
Herrick, one of the most exquisite of our early lyrical poets, was educated
for the church, and was presented by Charles I. to the vicarage of Dean Prior in Devonshire. From this he was ejected during the Civil War, but was replaced in it at the Restoration.
Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,
fall so fast ?
you may stay yet here awhile
And go at last.
An hour or half's delight,
And so to bid good-night ?
And lose you quite.
May read, how soon things have
Their end, though ne'er so brave :
Into the grave.
Fair daffodils, we weep to see
Will go with you along !
We have short time to stay as you ;
Ne'er to be found again.
Gather the rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying ; And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heav'n, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting, The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.
age is best which is the first, When youth and blood are warmer ; But being spent, the worse and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And, whilst ye may, go marry ; For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.
Cowley, the last and greatest of the metaphysical poets, was the son of a
stationer in London. He was educated at Cambridge and at Oxford. Cowley attached himself to the king's party during the Civil War, and accompanied the queen to France, where he was employed in deciphering the correspondence between her and the king. He returned to England in 1656, and at the Restoration, finding his services neglected and unrewarded, he retired to Chertsey, on the banks of the Thames, where he spent the rest of his life. His works consist of Anacreontics (light, gay trifles, in the manner of the Greek poet Anacreon); elegiac poems; an epic named The Davideis ; a long poem descriptive of plants; and a few epistles and miscellanies. (For a specimen of Cowley's prose, see Readings in English Prose, page 44.)
Happy insect! what can be
Cup-bearer. Ganymede was cup-bearer to Zeus.
Thou dost innocently enjoy ;
FROM THE HYMN TO LIGHT.
Say, from what golden quivers of the sky
Do all thy winged arrows fly?
Swiftness and Power by birth are thine From thy great Sire they come, thy Sire, the Word Divine. Thou in the moon's bright chariot, proud and gay,
Dost thy bright world of stars survey,
And all the year dost with thee bring
Thou, Scythian-like, dost round thy lands above
The Sun's gilt tent for ever move,
go, The shining pageants of the world attend thy show.
Nor amidst all these triumphs dost thou scorn
The humble glowworms to adorn,
And with those living spangles gild (O greatness without pride !) the bushes of the field.
SIR JOHN DENHAM: 1615-1668.
Denham is known chiefly by his Cooper's Hill, a poem descriptive of the
scenery of the river Thames.
THE THAMES. From Cooper's Hill.
My eye, descending from the Hill, surveys