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Thou sitt'st at home safe by thy quiet fire,
And hear'st of other's harms, but fearest none :
And there thou tell’st of kings, and who aspire,
Who fall, who rise, who triumph, who do moan.
Perhaps thou talk'st of me, and dost inquire
Of my restraint, why here I live alone,
And pitiest this my miserable fall;
For pity must have part-envy not all.
Thrice happy you that look as from the shore,
And have no venture in the wreck you see ;
No interest, no occasion to deplore
Other men's travels, while yourselves sit free.
How much doth your sweet rest make us the more
To see our misery and what we be:
Whose blinded greatness, ever in turmoil,
Still seeking happy life makes life a toil.
MERCY DWELLING IN HEAVEN AND PLEADING FOR THE GUILTY,
WITH JUSTICE DESCRIBED BY HER QUALITIES.
But Justice had no sooner Mercy seen
Smoothing the wrinkles of her father's brow,
But up she starts, and throws herself between:
As when a vapour from a moory slough,
Meeting with fresh Eõus, that but now
Open'd the world, which all in darkness lay,
Doth heaven's bright face of his rays disarray,
And sads the smiling orient of the springing day.
She was a virgin of austere regard :
Not as the world esteems her, deaf and blind;
But as the eagle, that hath oft compared
Her eye with heaven's, so, and more brightly shined
Her lamping sight: for she the same could wind
Into the solid heart, and, with her ears,
The silence of the thought loud speaking hears,
And in one hand a pair of even scales she wears
No riot of affection revel kept
Within her breast, but a still apathy
Possess'd all her soul, which softly slept
Securely without tempest; no sad cry
Awakes her pity, but wrong'd Poverty,
Sending his eyes to heav'n swimming in tears,
With hideous clamours ever struck her ears,
Whetting the blazing: sword that in her hand she
The winged lightning is her Mercury,
And round about her mighty thunders sound :
Impatient of himself lies pining by
Pale Sickness, with his kercher'd head upwound,
And thousand noisome plagues attend her round.
But if her cloudy brow but once grow foul,
The flints uo melt, and rocks to water roll,
The airy mountains shake, and frighted shadows
howl. Famine, and bloodless Care, and bloody War; Want, and the want of knowledge how to use Abundance; Age, and Fear, that runs afar Before his fellow Grief, that aye pursues His winged steps; for who would not refuse Grief's company, a dull and raw-boned spright, That lanks the cheeks, and pales the freshest sight, Unbosoming the cheerful breast of all delight?
MERCY BRIGHTENING THE RAINBOW.
High in the airy element there hung
Another cloudy sea, that did disdain,
As though his purer waves from heaven sprung,
To crawl on earth, as doth the sluggish main;
But it the earth would water with his rain,
That ebb'd and flow'd as wind and season would;
And ort the sun would cleave the limber mould
To alabaster rocks, that in the liquid rollid.
Beneath those sunny banks a darker cloud,
Dropping with thicker dew, did melt apace,
And bent itself into a hollow shroud,
On which, if Mercy did but cast her face
A thousand colours did the bow enchase,
That wonder was to see the silk distain'd
With the resplendence from her beauty gain’d,
And Iris paint her locks with beams so lively feign'd.
About her head a cypress heav'n she wore,
Spread like a veil upheld with silver wire,
In which the stars so burned in golden ore,
As seem'd the azure web was all on fire :
But hastily, to quench their sparkling ire,
A flood of milk came rolling up the shore,
That on his curded wave swift Argus wore,
And the immortal swan, that did her life deplore.
Yet strange it was so many stars to see,
Without a sun to give their tapers light:
Yet strange it was not that it so should be ;
For, where the sun centres himself by right,
Her face and locks did flame, that at the sight
The heavenly veil, that else should nimbly move,
Forgot his flight, and all incensed with love,
With wonder, and amazement, did her beauty prove.
Over her hung a canopy of state,
Not of rich tissue nor of spangled gold,
But of a substance, though not animate,
Yet of a heavenly and spiritual mould,
That only eyes of spirits might behold:
Such light as from main rocks of diamond,
Shooting their sparks at Phæhus, would rebound,
And little angels, holding hands, danced all around.
THE PALACE OF PRESUMPTION.
HERE did Presumption her pavilion spread
Over the temple, the bright stars among
(Ah that her foot should trample on the head
Of that most reverend place !), and a lewd throng
Of wanton boys sung her a pleasant song
Of love, long life, of mercy, and of grace,
And every one her dearly did embrace,
And she herself enamour'd was of her own face.
A painted face, belied with vermeil store,
Which light Euëlpis every day did trim,
That in one hand a gilded anchor wore,
Not fixed on the rock, but on the brim
Of the wide air, she let it loosely swim!
Her other hand a sprinkle carried,
And ever when her lady wavered,
Court-holy water all upon her sprinkled.
Her tent with sunny clouds was ceil'd aloft,
And so exceeding shone with a false light,
That heav'n itself to her it seemed ost,
Heav'n without clouds to her deluded sight;
But clouds withouten heav'n it was aright:
And as her house was built so did her brain
Build castles in the air, with idle pain,
But heart she never had in all her body vain.
ship, in which no balance lies, Without a pilot on the sleeping waves, Fairly along with wind and water flies, And painted masts with silken sails embraves, That Neptune's self the bragging vessel saves, To laugh a while at her so proud array; Her waving streamers loosely she lets play, And flagging colours shine as bright as smiling day.
But all so soon as Heav'n his brows doth bend,
She veils her banners, and pulls in her beams,
The empty bark the raging billows send
Up to the Olympic waves, and Argus seems
Again to ride upon our lower streams :
Right so Presumption did herself behave,
Tossed about with every stormy wave,
And in te lawn she went, most like an
All suddenly the hill his snow devours,
In lieu whereof a goodly garden grew,
As if the snow had melted into flow'rs,
Which their sweet breath in subtle vapours threw,
That all about perfumed spirits flew.
For whatsoever might aggrate the sense,
In all the world, or please the appetence,
Here it was poured out in lavish affluence.
The garden like a lady fair was cut,
That lay as if she slumber'd in delight,
And to the open skies her eyes did shut;
The azure fields of heav'n were 'sembled right
In a large round, set with the flow'rs of light:
The flow'rs-de-luce, and the round sparks of dew
That hung upon their azure leaves, did shew
Like twinkling stars, that sparkle in the evening
Upon a hilly bank her head she cast,
On which the bower of Vain-delight was built.
White and red roses for her face were placed,
And for her tresses marigolds were split:
Them broadly she display'd, like flaming gilt,
Till in the ocean the glad day were drown'd:
Then up again her yellow locks she wound,
And with green fillets in their pretty cauls them