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The poetical propagation of light:

The prince’s favour is diffus’d o'er all,
From which all fortunes, names, and natures fall;
Then from those wombs of stars, the bride's bright

At every glance a constellation flies
And sowes the court with stars, and doth prevent

In light and power, the all-ey’d firmament:
First her eye kindles other ladies’ eyes,

Then from their beams their jewels lustres rise; And from their jewels torches do take fire, And all is warmth, and light, and good desire.


T H E Y were in very little care to clothe their notions with elegance of dress, and therefore miss the notice and the praise which are often gained by those, who think less, but are more diligent to adorn their thoughts.

That a mistress beloved is fairer in idea than in reality, is by Cowley thus expressed:

Thou in my fancy dost much higher stand,
Than women can be plac’d by Nature's hand; .
And I must needs, I’m sure, a loser be,
To change thee, as thou’rt there, for very thee.

That prayer and labour should co-operate, are thus taught by Donne :

In none but us, are such mixt engines found,
As hands of double office; for the ground
We till with them; and them to heaven we raise;
Who prayerless labours, or, without this, prays,
Doth but one half, that's none.

By the same author, a common topick, the danger of procrastination, is thus illustrated :

That which I should have begun In my youth's morning, now late must be done; And I, as giddy travellers must do, Which stray or sleep all day, and having lost Light and strength, dark and tir’d, must then ride post.

All that man has to do is to live and die; the sum of humanity is comprehended by Donne in the following lines:

Think in how poor a prison thou didst lie;
After enabled but to suck and cry.
Think, when 'twas grown to most, 'twas a poor inn,
A province pack’d up in two yards of skin,
And that usurp’d, or threaten’d with a rage
Of sicknesses, or their true mother, age.
But think that death hath now enfranchis'd thee;
Thou hast thy expansion now, and liberty;

Think, that a rusty piece discharg'd is flown
In pieces, and the bullet is his own,
And freely flies: this to thy soul allow,
Think thy shell broke, think thy soul hatch'd but now.

T H E Y were sometimes indelicate and disgusting. Cowley thus apostrophises Beauty:

Thou tyrant, which leav'st no man free Thou subtle thief, from whom nought safe can be Thou murtherer, which hast kill’d, and devil, which wouldst damn me.

Thus he addresses his mistress:

Thou who, in many a propriety,
So truly art the sun to me,
Add one more likeness, which I’m sure you can,
And let me and my sun beget a man.

Thus he represents the meditations of a lover:

Though in thy thoughts scarce any tracts have been
So much as of original sin,
Such charms thy beauty wears as might
Desires in dying confest saints excite.
Thou with strange adultery
Dost in each breast a brothel keep ;
Awake, all men do lust for thee,
And some enjoy thee when they sleep.

The true taste of tears :

Hither with crystal vials, lovers, come,
And take my tears, which are love’s wine,
And try your mistress’ tears at home ;
For all are false, that taste not just like mine.
Don N E.

This is yet more indelicate:

As the sweet sweat of roses in a still,
As that which from chaf’d musk-cat's pores doth trill,
As the almighty balm of th’ early East,
Such are the sweet drops of my mistress’ breast.
And on her neck her skin such lustre sets,
They seem no sweat drops, but pearl coronets:
Rank sweaty froth thy mistress’ brow defiles.

T H E 1 R expressions sometimes raise horror, when they intend perhaps to be pathetic:

As men in hell are from diseases free,
So from all other ills am I,
Free from their known formality:
But all pains eminently lie in thee.
WOL. I. r

T H E Y were not always strictly curious, whether the opinions from which they drew their illustrations were true; it was enough that they were popular. Bacon remarks, that some falsehoods are continued by tradition, because they supply commodious allusions.

It gave a piteous groan, and so it broke;
In vain it something would have spoke :
The love within too strong for’t was,
Like poison put into a Venice-glass.


IN forming descriptions, they looked out not for images, but for conceits. Night has been a common subject, which poets have contended to adorn. Dryden's Night is well known; Donne's is as follows:

Thou seest me here at midnight, now all rest:
Time’s dead low-water; when all minds divest
To-morrow’s business, when the labourers have
Such rest in bed, that their last church-yard grave,
Subject to change, will scarce be a type of this,
Now when the client, whose last hearing is
To-morrow, sleeps; when the condemned man,
Who, when he opes his eyes, must shut them then

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