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VERSES LOST UPON A WAGER. 109
But that's a guide, alas! we must resign,
When th’ authority's divine.
She said, she said herself it would be so;
And I, bold unbeliever ! answer'd no :
Never so justly, sure, before,
Error the name of blindness bore;
For, whatsoe'er the question be,
There’s no man that has eyes would bet for me.
If Truth itself (as other angels do
When they descend to human view)
In a material form would deign to shine,
"T would imitate or borrow thine :
So dazzling bright, yet so transparent clear,
So well-proportion'd, would the parts appear !
Happy the eye which Truth could see
Cloth'd in a shape like thee;
But happier far the eye
Which could thy shape naked like Truth espy :
Yet this lost wager costs me nothing more
Than what I ow'd to thee before :
Who would not venture for that debt to play,
Which he were bound howe'er to pay ?
If Nature gave me power to write in verse,
She gave it me thy praises to rehearse:
Thy wondrous beauty and thy wit
Has such a sovereign right to it,
That no man's Muse for publick vent is free,
Till she has paid her customs first to thee.
WOL. II, L
THE fish around her crowded, as they do
To the false light that treacherous fishers shew,
And all with as much ease might taken be,
As she at first took me ;
For ne'er did light so clear
Among the waves appear,
Though every night the sun himself set there.
Why to mute fish shouldst thou thyself discover
And not to me, thy no less silent lover ?
As some from men their buried gold commit
To ghosts, that have no use of it;
Half their rich treasures so
Maids bury; and, for aught we know,
(Poor ignorants 1) they’re mermaids all below.
The amorous waves would fain about her stay,
But still new amorous waves drive them away,
And with swift current to those joys they haste
That do as swiftly waste:
I laugh’d the wanton play to view;
But ’t is, alas ! at land so too,
And still old lovers yield the place to new.
Kiss her, and as you part, you amorous waves (My happier rivals, and my fellow-slaves)
Point to your flowery banks, and to her shew
The good your bounties do;
Then tell her what your pride doth cost,
And how your use and beauty's lost,
When rigorous winter binds you up with frost.
Tell her, her beauties and her youth, like thee,
Haste without stop to a devouring sea;
Where they will mix’d and undistinguish'd lie
With all the meanest things that die;
As in the ocean thou
No privilege dost know
Above th' impurest streams that thither flow.
Tell her, kind flood when this has made her sad,
Tell her there's yet one remedy to be had;
Shew her how thou, though long since past, dost
Thyself yet still behind:
Marriage (say to her) will bring
About the self-same thing.
But she, fond maid, shuts and seals-up the spring.
IT is enough ; enough of time and pain
Hast thou consum'd in vain;
Leave, wretched Cowley ! leave
Thyself with shadows to deceive ;
Think that already lost which thou must never gain.
Three of thy lustiest and thy freshest years
(Toss'd in storms of hopes and fears)
Like helpless ships that be
Set on fire i' th' midst o' the sea,
Have all been burnt in love, and all been drown'd
Resolve then on it, and by force or art
Free thy unlucky heart;
Since Fate does disapprove
Th'ambition of thy love,
And not one star in heaven offers to take thy part.
If e'er I clear my heart from this desire,
If e'er it home to its breast retire,
It ne'er shall wander more about,
Though thousand beauties call it out:
A lover burnt like me for ever dreads the fire.
The pox, the plague, and every small disease,
May come as oft as ill-fate please;
But death and love are never found To give a second wound, We're by those serpents bit, but we're devour'd by these.
Alas! what comfort is 't that I am grown
Secure of being again o'erthrown
Since such an enemy needs not fear
Lest any else should quarter there,
Who has not only sack'd, but quite burnt down, the
THE FORCE OF LOVE.
PRESERVED FROM AN OLD MANUSCRIPT.
THROW an apple up a hill,
Down the apple tumbles still;
Roll it down, it never stops
Till within the vale it drops:
So are all things prone to Love,
All below, and all above.
Down the mountain flows the stream,
Up ascends the lambent flame;
Smoke and vapour mount the skies;
All preserve their unities;