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Like the fabled fountain of the Azores, but with a more various power, the magic of this Art can confer on each period of life its appropriate blessing: on early years Experience, on maturity Calm, on age, Youthfulness. Poetry gives treasures more golden than gold,' leading us in higher and healthier ways than those of the world, and interpreting to us the lessons of Nature. But she speaks best for herself. Her true accents, if the plan has been executed with success, may be heard throughout the following pages: wherever the Poets of England are honoured, wherever the dominant language of the world is spoken, it is hoped that they will find fit audience.
Some poems, especially in Book I, have been added:either on better acquaintance; in deference to critical suggestions; or unknown to the Editor when first gathering his harvest. For aid in these after-gleanings he is specially indebted to the excellent reprints of rare early verse given us by Dr. Hannah, Dr. Grosart, Mr. Arber, Mr. Bullen, and others, and (in regard to the additions of 1883) to the advice of that distinguished Friend, by whom the final choice has been so largely guided. The text has also been carefully revised from authoritative sources. It has still seemed best, for many reasons, to retain the original limit by which the selection was confined to those then no longer living. But the Editor hopes that, so far as in him lies, a complete and definitive collection of our best Lyrics, to the central year of this fast-closing century, is now offered.
The Golden Treasury
Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king;
5 The palm and may make country houses gay,
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet, 10 Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit, In every street these tunes our ears do greet, Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo! Spring! the sweet Spring!
THE FAIRY LIFE
Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
There I couch, when owls do cry:
On the bat's back I do fly
5 After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough!
Come unto these yellow sands,
Courtsied when you have, and kiss'd
The wild waves whist,
Foot it featly here and there;
And, sweet Sprites, the burthen bear
The watch-dogs bark:
Hark, hark! I hear
The strain of strutting chanticleer
SUMMONS TO LOVE
And paint the sable skies
With azure, white, and red:
Rouse Memnon's mother from her Tithon's bed
That she may thy career with roses spread:
Give life to this dark world which lieth dead; 5 Spread forth thy golden hair
In larger locks than thou wast wont before,
With diadem of pearl thy temples fair:
Chase hence the ugly night
10 Which serves but to make dear thy glorious light.
This is that happy morn,
That day, long-wished day
Of all my life so dark,
(If cruel stars have not my ruin sworn
15 And fates my hopes betray),
Which, purely white, deserves
An everlasting diamond should it mark.
This is the morn should bring unto this grove
20 Fair King, who all preserves,
But show thy blushing beams,
And thou two sweeter eyes
Shalt see than those which by Penéus' streams
25 Now, Flora, deck thyself in fairest guise:
A voice surpassing far Amphion's lyre,
Let Zephyr only breathe
30 And with her tresses play.
35 Night like a drunkard reels
Beyond the hills, to shun his flaming wheels:
40 And nothing wanting is, save She, alas!
W. Drummond of Hawthornden
TIME AND LOVE
When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate-
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality o'ersways their power, How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, Whose action is no stronger than a flower? 5 O how shall summer's honey breath hold out Against the wreckful siege of battering days, When rocks impregnable are not so stout Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays? O fearful meditation! where, alack!
10 Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid? Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back, Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O! none, unless this miracle have might,