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How I love, at liberty,
By turns to come and visit ye?
Dear Solitude, the soul's best friend,
With thee I here converse at will,
And would be glad to do so still, For it is thou alone that keep'st the soul awake.
How calm and quiet a delight
Is it, alone,
To read, and meditate, and write,
By none offended, and offending none ! To walk, ride, sit, or sleep at one's own ease, And, pleasing a man's self, none other to displease.
O my beloved nymph, fair Dove,
Upon thy flowery banks to lie,
And with my angle, upon them
The all of treachery
I ever learn'd, industriously to try!
Such streams Rome's yellow Tiber cannot show;
The Iberian Tagus, or Ligurian Po,
The Maese, the Danube, and the Rhine,
Are puddle water all compared with thine!
And Loire's pure streams yet too polluted are
With thine much purer to compare;
The rapid Garonne and the winding Seine
Are both too mean,
Belovèd Dove, with thee
To vie priority;
Nay, Thame and Isis, when conjoin'd, submit,
O my beloved rocks, that rise
To awe the earth and brave the skies,
Giddy with pleasure, to look down;
And, from the vales, to view the noble heights above!
O my beloved caves! from dog-star's heat.
And all anxieties, my safe retreat ;
What safety, privacy, what true delight,
In the artificial night,
Your gloomy entrails make,
Have I taken, do I take!
How oft, when grief has made me fly,
To hide me from society,
Een of my dearest friends, have I,
In your recesses' friendly shade,
All my sorrows open laid,
And my most secret woes intrusted to your privacy!
Lord! would men let me alone,
What an over-happy one
Should I think myself to be;
Might I in this desert place
(Which most men in discourse disgrace) Live but undisturbed and free!
Here, in this despised recess,
Would I, maugre winter's cold,
Without an envious eye
On any thriving under Fortune's smile, Contented live, and then contented die.
"WHEN FIRST THY EYES."
BY HENRY VAUGHAN.
[HENRY VAUGHAN was born at Newton, in Brecknockshire, in 1614. He studied at Oxford, and first became a lawyer, then a physician : but in neither capacity does he seem to have obtained a competency. In the latter part of his life, he became very serious and devout. He died in 1695.
Vaughan's poetry exhibits great strength and originality of thought, and abounds in imagery; but his ideas are gloomy and sectarian, and his rhymes are not pleasing.]
WHEN first thy eyes unveil, give thy soul leave
To do the like; our bodies but forerun
The spirit's duty true hearts spread and leave
Unto their God, as flowers do to the sun :
Give Him thy first thoughts then, so shalt thou keep
Him company all day, and in Him sleep.
Yet never sleep the sun up; prayer should
Rise to prevent the sun; sleep doth sins glut,