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Ay, quoth the Cuckoo, that is a quaint law,
That all must love or die; but I withdraw,
And take my leave of all such company,
For mine intent it neither is to die,
Nor ever while I live Love's yoke to draw.
For lovers of all folk that be alive,
The most disquiet have and least do thrive;
Most feeling have of sorrow, woe and care,
And the least welfare cometh to their share;
What need is there against the truth to strive?
What! quoth she, thou art all out of thy mind,
That in thy churlishness a cause canst find
To speak of Love's true servants in this mood;
For in this world no service is so good
To every wight that gentle is of kind.
And full-assured trust, joy without measure,
And jollity, fresh cheerfulness, and mirth;
For thereof comes all goodness and all worth;
All gentiless and honour thence come forth;
Thence worship comes, content and true heart's Within this court full seldom Truth avails,
So diverse in his wilfulness is he.
Good Nightingale! thou speakest wondrous fair,
Yet for all that, the truth is found elsewhere;
For Love in young folk is but rage, I wis;
And Love in old folk a great dotage is;
Who most it useth, him 'twill most impair.
For thereof come all contraries to gladness;
Thence sickness comes, and overwhelming sadness,
Mistrust and jealousy, despite, debate,
Dishonour, shame, envy importunate,
Pride, anger, mischief, poverty, and madness.
Loving is aye an office of despair,
And one thing is therein which is not fair;
For whoso gets of love a little bliss,
Unless it alway stay with him I wis,
He may full soon go with an old man's hair.
Fie, quoth she, on thy name, Bird ill beseen'
The God of Love afflict thee with all teen,
For thou art worse than mad a thousand fold;
For many a one hath virtues manifold,
Who had been nought, if Love had never been.
And, therefore, Nightingale! do thou keep nigh,
For trust me well, in spite of thy quaint cry,
If long time from thy mate thou be, or far,
Thou 'It be as others that forsaken are;
Then shalt thou raise a clamour as do I.
With such a master would I never be ;*
For he, in sooth, is blind, and may not see,
And knows not when he hurts and when he heals:
Then of the Nightingale did I take note,
How from her inmost heart a sigh she brought,
And said, Alas! that ever I was born,
Not one word have I now, I am so forlorn,-
And with that word she into tears burst out.
Alas, alas! my very heart will break,
Quoth she, to hear this churlish bird thus speak
Of Love, and of his holy services;
Now, God of Love! thou help me in some wise,
That vengeance on this Cuckoo I may wreak.
And so methought I started up anon,
And to the brook I ran and got a stone,
Which at the Cuckoo hardily I cast,
And he for dread did fly away full fast;
And glad, in sooth, was I, when he was gone.
And as he flew, the Cuckoo, ever and aye,
Kept crying, "Farewell!-farewell, Popinjay!"
As if in scornful mockery of me;
And on I hunted him from tree to tree,
Till he was far, all out of sight, away.
Then straightway came the Nightingale to me,
And said, Forsooth, my friend, do I thank thee,
That thou wert near to rescue me; and now.
Unto the God of Love I make a vow,
That all this May I will thy songstress be.
Well satisfied, I thanked her, and she said,
With this mishap no longer be dismayed,
Though thou the Cuckoo heard, ere thou heard'st me,
Yet if I live it shall amended be,
When next May comes, if I am not afraid.
* From a manuscript in the Bodleian, as are also stanzas 44 and 45, which are necessary to complete the sense.
She thanked them; and then her leave she took, And flew into a hawthorn by that brook;
And there she sate and sung- upon that tree"For term of life Love shall have hold of me". So loudly that I with that song awoke.
Unlearned book and rude, as well I know,
For beauty thou hast none, nor eloquence,
Who did on thee the hardiness bestow
To appear before my lady? but a sense
Thou surely hast of her benevolence,
Whereof her hourly bearing proof doth give;
For of all good she is the best alive.
Alas, poor book! for thy unworthiness,
To show to her some pleasant meanings writ
In winning words, since through her gentiless,
Thee she accepts as for her service fit!
Oh! it repents me I have neither wit
Nor leisure unto thee more worth to give;
For of all good she is the best alive.
Beseech her meekly with all lowliness,
Though I be far from her I reverence,
To think upon my truth and sted fustness,
And to abridge my sorrow's violence,
Caused by the wish, as knows your sapience,
She of her liking proof to me would give;
For of all good she is the best alive.
Pleasure's Aurora, day of gladsomeness!
Luna by night, with heavenly influence
Illumined! root of beauty and goodnesse,
Write, and allay, by your beneficence,
My sighs breathed forth in silence, — comfort give!
Since of all good, you are the best alive.
TROILUS AND CRESIDA. NEXT morning Troilus began to clear His eyes from sleep, at the first break of day, And unto Pandarus, his own brother dear, For love of God, full piteously did say, We must the palace see of Cresida; For since we yet may have no other feast, Let us behold her palace at the least!
And therewithal to cover his intent
A cause he found into the town to go,
And they right forth to Cresid's Palace went;
But, Lord, this simple Troilus was woe,
Him thought his sorrowful heart would break in two;
For when he saw her doors fast bolted all,
Well nigh for sorrow down he 'gan to fall.
IN THE GROUNDS OF COLEORTON, THE SEAT OF SIR GEORGE BEAUMONT, BART. LEICESTERSHIRE.
THE embowering Rose, the Acacia, and the Pine,
Will not unwillingly their place resign;
If but the Cedar thrive that near them stands,
Planted by Beaumont's and by Wordsworth's hands.
One wooed the silent Art with studious pains, -
These Groves have heard the Other's pensive strains;
Devoted thus, their spirits did unite
By interchange of knowledge and delight.
May Nature's kindliest powers sustain the Tree,
And Love protect it from all injury!
And when its potent branches, wide out-thrown,
Darken the brow of this memorial Stone,
Here may some Painter sit in future days,
Some future Poet meditate his lays;
Not mindless of that distant age renowned
When Inspiration hovered o'er this ground,
The haunt of him who sang how spear and shield
In civil conflict met on Bosworth Field;
And of that famous Youth, full soon removed
From earth, perhaps by Shakspeare's self approved,
Fletcher's Associate, Jonson's Friend beloved.
IN A GARDEN OF THE SAME.
OFT is the Medal faithful to its trust
When Temples, Columns, Towers, are laid in dust;
And 't is a common ordinance of fate
That things obscure and sinall outlive the great:
Hence, when yon Mansion and the flowery trim
Of this fair Garden, and its alleys dim,
And all its stately trees, are passed away,
This little Niche, unconscious of decay,
Perchance may still survive. And be it known
That it was scooped within the living stone,
Not by the sluggish and ungrateful pains
Of labourer plodding for his daily gains,
But by an industry that wrought in love;
With help from female hands, that proudly strove
To aid the work, what time these walks and bowers
Were shaped to cheer dark winter's lonely hours.
FOR A SEAT IN THE GROVES OF COLEORTON BENEATH yon eastern Ridge, the craggy Bound, Rugged and high, of Charnwood's forest ground, Stand yet, but, Stranger! hidden from thy view, The ivied Ruins of forlorn GRACE DIEU; Erst a religious house, which day and night With hymns resounded, and the chanted rite: And when those rites had ceased, the Spot gave birth To honourable Men of various worth: There, on the margin of a Streamlet wild, Did Francis Beaumont sport, an eager Child There, under shadow of the neighbouring rocks, Sang youthful tales of shepherds and their flocks; Unconscious prelude to heroic themes, Heart-breaking tears, and melancholy dreams Of slighted love, and scorn, and jealous rage, With which his genius shook the buskined Stage. Communities are lost, and Empires die,
And things of holy use unhallowed lie;
They perish; but the Intellect can raise, From airy words alone, a Pile that ne'er decays 38*