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THE COUNTESS OF CARLISLE IN
WHEN from black clouds no part of sky is clear,
But just so much as lets the sun appear,
Heaven then would seem thy image, and reflect
Those sable vestments, and that bright aspect.
A spark of virtue by the deepest shade
Of sad adversity is fairer made;
Nor less advantage doth thy beauty get,
A Venus rising from a sea of jet!
Such was th' appearance of new-formed light,
While yet it struggled with eternal night.
Then mourn no more, lest thou admit increase
Of glory by thy noble lord's decease.
We find not that the laughter-loving dame 2
Mourn'd for Anchises ; 'twas enough she came
To grace the mortal with her deathless bed,
And that his living eyes such beauty fed;
Had she been there, untimely joy, through all
Men's hearts diffused, had marr'd the funeral.
Those eyes were made to banish grief : as well
Bright Plæbus might affect in shades to dwell,
As they to put on sorrow: nothing stands,
But power to grieve, exempt from thy commands.
If thou lament, thou must do so alone;
Grief in thy presence can lay hold on none.
Yet still persist the memory to love
Of that great Mercury of our mighty Jove,
Who, by the power of his enchanting tongue,
Swords from the hands of threat'ning monarchs wrung.
War he prevented, or soon made it cease,
Instructing princes in the arts of peace;
Such as made Sheba's curious queen resort
To the large-hearted Hebrew's famous court.
Had Homer sat amongst his wond'ring guests,
He might have learn'd at those stupendous feasts,
With greater bounty, and more sacred state,
The banquets of the gods to celebrate.
But oh! what elocution might he use,
What potent charms, that could so soon infuse
His absent master's love into the heart
Of Henrietta! forcing her to part
From her loved brother, country, and the sun,
And, like Camilla, o'er the waves to run
Into his arms! while the Parisian dames
Mourn for the ravish'd glory; at her flames
No less amazed than the amazed stars,
When the bold charmer of Thessalia wars
With Heaven itself, and numbers does repeat,
Which call descending Cynthia from her seat.
IN ANSWER TO ONE WHO WRIT A LIBEL AGAINST THE COUNTESS OF CARLISLE.
1 What fury has provoked thy wit to dare,
With Diomede, to wound the Queen of Love?
Thy mistress' envy, or thine own despair?
Not the just Pallas in thy breast did move
So blind a rage, with such a diff’rent fate;
He honour won, where thou hast purchased hate.
2 She gave assistance to his Trojan foe;
Thou, that without a rival thou may'st love, Dost to the beauty of this lady owe,
While after her the gazing world does move. Canst thou not be content to love alone ? Or is thy mistress not content with one?
3 Hast thou not read of Fairy Arthur's shield,
Which, but disclosed, amazed the weaker eyes Of proudest foes, and won the doubtful field?
So shall thy rebel wit become her prize.
Should thy iambics swell into a book,
All were confuted with one radiant look.
4 Heaven he obliged that placed her in the skies;
Rewarding Phæbus, for inspiring so
His noble brain, by likening to those eyes
His joyful beams; but Phæbus is thy foe,
And neither aids thy fancy nor thy sight,
So ill thou rhym'st against so fair a light.
They taste of death that do at heaven arrive;
But we this paradise approach alive.
Instead of death, the dart of love does strike,
And renders all within these walls alike.
The high in titles, and the shepherd, here
Forgets his greatness, and forgets his fear.
All stand amazed, and gazing on the fair,
Lose thought of what themselves or others are;
Ambition lose, and have no other scope,
Save Carlisle’s favour, to employ their hope.
The Thracian 1 could (though all those tales were true
The bold Greeks tell) no greater wonders do;
Before his feet so sheep and lions lay,
Fearless and wrathless while they heard him play.
The gay, the wise, the gallant, and the grave,
Subdued alike, all but one passion have;
No worthy mind but finds in hers there is
Something proportion'd to the rule of his;
While she with cheerful, but impartial grace,
(Born for no one, but to delight the race
Of men) like Phæbus so divides her light,
And warms us, that she stoops not from her height.
As lately I on silver Thames did ride,
Sad Galatea on the bank I spied;
Such was her look as sorrow taught to shine,
And thus she graced me with a voice divine.
You that can tune your sounding strings so well,
Of ladies' beauties, and of love to tell,
Once change your note, and let your lute report
The justest grief that ever touch'd the Court.
1. Thracian': Orpheus. — ? Galatea”: the lady here mourned was the Duchess of Hamilton, a niece of Buckingham; she died in 1638.
Fair nymph! I have in your delights no share,
Nor ought to be concerned in your care;
Yet would I sing if I your sorrows knew,
And to my aid invoke no Muse but you.
Hear then, and let your song augment our grief,
Which is so great as not to wish relief.
She that had all which Nature gives, or Chance,
Whom Fortune join'd with Virtue to advance
To all the joys this island could afford,
The greatest mistress, and the kindest lord;
Who with the royal mix'd her noble blood,
And in high grace with Gloriana 1 stood;
Her bounty, sweetness, beauty, goodness, such,
That none e'er thought her happiness too much ;
So well-inclined her favours to confer,
And kind to all, as Heaven had been to her!
The virgin's part, the mother, and the wife,
So well she acted in this span of life,
That though few years (too few, alas!) she told,
She seem'd in all things, but in beauty, old.
As unripe fruit, whose verdant stalks do cleave
Close to the tree, which grieves no less to leave
The smiling pendant which adorns her so,
And until autumn on the bough should grow;
So seem'd her youthful soul not eas’ly forced,
Or from so fair, so sweet a seat divorced.
Her fate at once did hasty seem and slow;
At once too cruel, and unwilling too.
"Gloriana': Queen Henrietta.