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In what, Aretina,
Dost thou accuse me? have I not obeyed
All thy desires, against mine own opinion;
Quitted the country, and removed the hope
Of our return, by sale of that fair lordship
We lived in: changed a calm and retired life
For this wild town, composed of noise and charge?
Are. What charge, more than is necessary
For a lady of my birth and education?
Bor. I am not ignorant how much nobility
Flows in your blood, your kinsmen great and powerful
In the state; but with this lose not your memory
Of being my wife; I shall be studious,
Madam, to give the dignity of your birth
All the best ornaments which become my fortune;
But would not flatter it, to ruin both,
And be the fable of the town, to teach
Other men wit by loss of mine, employed
To serve your vast expenses.
Am I then
Brought in the balance? so, sir.
Though you weigh
Me in a partial scale, my heart is honest;
And must take liberty to think, you have
Obeyed no modest counsel to effect,
Nay, study ways of pride and costly ceremony;
Your change of gaudy furniture, and pictures,
Of this Italian master, and that Dutchman's;
Your mighty looking-glasses, like artillery
Brought home on engines; the superfluous plate
Antic and novel; vanities of tires,
Fourscore pound suppers for my lord your kinsman,
Banquets for the other lady, aunt, and cousins;
And perfumes that exceed all; train of servants,
To stifle us at home, and show abroad
More motley than the French, or the Venetian,
About your coach, whose rude postilion
Must pester every narrow lane, till passengers
And tradesmen curse your choking up their stalls,
And common cries pursue your ladyship
For hindering of their market.
Have you done, sir.
Bor. I could accuse the gaiety of your wardrobe,
And prodigal embroideries, under which,
Rich satins, plushes, cloth of silver, dare
Not show their own complexions; your jewels,
Able to burn out the spectators' eyes,
And show like bonfires on you by the tapers :
Something inight here be spared, with safety of
Your birth and honor, since the truest wealth
Shines from the soul, and draws up just admirers.
I could urge something more.
Pray, do. I like
Your homily of thrift.
I could wish, madam,
You would not game so much.
A gamester, too!
Bor. But are not come to that repentance yet,
Should teach you skill enough to raise your profit;
You look not through the subtilty of cards,
And mysteries of dice, nor can you save
Charge with the box, buy petticoats and pearls,
And keep your family by the precious income;
Nor do I wish you should: my poorest servant
Shall not upbraid my tables, nor his hire
Purchased beneath my honor: you make play
Not a pastime, but a tyranny, and vex
Yourself and my estate by it.
Bor. Another game you have, which consumes more
Your fame than purse, your revels in the night,
Your meetings, called the ball, to which appear
As to the court of pleasure, all your gallants
And ladies, thither bound by a subpæna
Of Venus and small Cupid's high displeasure:
'Tis but the family of Love, translated
Into more costly sin; there was a play on it;
And had the poet not been bribed to a modest
Expression of your antic gambols in it,
Some darks had been discovered; and the deeds too;
In time he may repent, and make some blush,
To see the second part danced on the stage.
My thoughts acquit you for dishonoring me
By any foul act; but the virtuous know,
'Tis not enough to clear ourselves, but the
Suspicions of our shame.
Have you concluded
I have done, and howsoever
My language may appear to you, it carries
No other than my fair and just intent
To your delights, without curb to their modest
And noble freedom.
I'll not be so tedious
In my reply, but, without art or elegance,
Assure you I keep still my first opinion;
And though you veil your avaricious meaning
With handsome names of modesty and thrift,
I find you would intrench and wound the liberty
I was born with. Were my desires unprivileged
By example; while my judgment thought them fit,
You ought not to oppose; but when the practice
And tract of every honorable lady
Authorize me, I take it great injustice
To have my pleasures circumscribed and taught me.
GEORGE WITHER. — FRANCIS QUARLES. CHAP. IX
THE SO-CALLED METAPHYSICAL POETS.
97. GEORGE WITHER. 1588–1667. (Manual, p. 167.)
Hence away, thou Siren, leave me,
Pish! unclasp these wanton arms;
Sugared wounds can ne'er deceive me,
(Though thou prove a thousand charms),
Fie, fie, forbear;
No common snare
Can ever my affection chain :
Thy painted baits,
And poor deceits,
Are all bestowed on me in vain.
What if my feet should take their hasty fight,
And seek protection in the shades of night?
Alas! no shades can blind the God of light.
What if my soul should take the wings of day,
And find some desert? if she springs away,
The wings of Vengeance clip as fast as they.
What if some solid rock should entertain
My frighted soul? can solid rocks restrain
The stroke of Justice and not cleave in twain?
Nor sea, nor shade, nor shield, nor rock, nor cave,
Nor silent deserts, nor the sullen grave,
What flame-eyed Fury means to smite, can save.
'Tis vain to flee; till gentle Mercy show
Her better eye, the farther off we go,
The swing of Justice deals the mightier blow.
Th’ ingenuous child, corrected, doth not fly
His angry mother's hand, but clings more nigh,
And quenches with his tears her flaming eye.
Great God! there is no safety here below;
Thou art my fortress, thou that seem'st my foe;
'Tis thou, that strik'st the stroke, must guard the blow.
99. GEORGE HERBERT. 1593–1632. (Manual, p. 168.)
O day most calm, most bright!
The fruit of this, the next world's bud;
Th’indorsement of supreme delight,
Writ by a friend, and with his blood;
The couch of time; care's balm and bay;
The week were dark, but for thy light;-
Thy torch doth show the way.
The other days and thou
Make up one man; whose face thou art,
Knocking at heaven with thy brow:
The worky days are the back-part;
The burden of the week lies there,
Making the whole to stoop and bow,
Till thy release appear.