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When linnet-like, confined I

With shriller note shall sing
The mercye, sweetness, majestye,
And glories of my king:

20 When I shall voyce aloud how good

He is, how great should be,-
The enlarged windes, that curle the flood,

Know no such libertie.
Stone walls doe not a prison make,

Nor iron barres a cage;
Mindes, innocent and quiet, take

That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love,

And in my soule am free,-
Angels alone, that soare above,
Enjoy such libertie.



BEAT on, proud billows; Boreas, blow;

Swell, curled waves, high as Jove's roof;
Your incivility doth show,

That innocence is tempest-proof;
Though surly Nereus frown, my thoughts are calm; 5
Then strike, Affliction, for thy wounds are balm.

That which the world miscalls a jail,

A private closet is to me:
Whilst a good conscience is my bail,
And innocence my liberty;

10 Locks, bars, and solitude, together met, Make me no prisoner but an anchoret.


I, whilst I wish'd to be retired,

Into this private room was turn'd,
As if their wisdoms had conspired

The salamander should be burn'd:
Or like those sophists, that would drown a fish,
I am constrain'd to suffer, what I wish.


The cynic loves his poverty;

The pelican her wilderness;
And 't is the Indian's pride to be

Naked on frozen Caucasus:
Contentment cannot smart; Stoics, we see,
Make torments easie to their apathy.



These manacles upon my arm

I, as my mistress' favours, wear;
And for to keep my ankles warm,

I have some iron shackles there :
These walls are but my garrison; this cell,
Which men call jail, doth prove my citadel.

I'm in the cabinet lock'd up,

Like some high-prized margarite,
Or like the Great Mogul, or Pope,

Am cloyster'd up from public sight: 1
Retiredness is a piece of majesty,
And thus, proud Sultan, I'm as great as thee.

Here sin for want of food must starve,

Where tempting objects are not seen;
And these strong walls do only serve,

To keep vice out, and keep me in:
Malice of late 's grown charitable, sure;
I'm not committed, but am kept secure.



So he that struck at Jason's life,

Thinking to have made his purpose sure,
By a malicious friendly knife,

Did only wound him to a cure.
Malice, I see, wants wit; for what is meant
Mischief, ofttimes proves favour by the event.

When once my prince affliction hath,
Prosperity doth treason seem;

50 And to make smooth so rough a path,

I can learn patience from him:
Now not to suffer, shows no loyal heart;
When kings want ease, subjects must bear a part.
What though I cannot see my king,

Neither in person or in coin ;
Yet contemplation is a thing

That renders what I have not, mine My king from me what adamant can part, Whom I do wear engraven on my heart ? 60

Have you not seen the nightingale,

A prisoner like, coopt in a cage;
How doth she chant her wonted tale

In that her narrow hermitage !
Even then her charming melody doth prove,

65 That all her bars are trees, her cage a grove.

I am that bird, whom they combine

Thus to deprive of liberty;
But though they do my corps confine,

Yet, maugre hate, my soul is free: 70 And though immured, yet can I chirp, and sing Disgrace to rebels, glory to my king !

My soul is free as ambient air,

Although my baser part 's immew'd,
Whilst loyal thoughts do still repair 75

To accompany my solitude:
Although rebellion do my body binde,
My king alone can captivate my minde.

Attributed to L'ESTRANGE.


THE glories of our birth and state

Are shadows, not substantial things :
There is no armour against fate:
Death lays his icy hand on kings:

Sceptre and crown

Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill,

10 But their strong nerves at last must yield; They tame but one another still:

Early or late

They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath, 15
When they, pale captives, creep to death.
The garlands wither on your brow,

Then boast no more your mighty deeds :
Upon Death's purple altar now

See, where the victor-victim bleeds! 20

All heads must come

To the cold tomb :
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.


This only grant me,

my means may

lie Too low for envy, for contempt too high.

Some honour I would have,
Not from great deeds, but good alone ;
The unknown are better than ill known;
Rumour can ope


grave; Acquaintance I would have, but when't depends Not on the number, but the choice of friends. Books should, not business, entertain the light, And sleep, as undisturb’d as death, the night. 10

My house a cottage more Than palace, and should fitting be For all my use, no luxury.

My garden painted o'er With Nature's hand, not Art's; can pleasures yield, Horace might envy in his Sabine field.

16 Thus would I double my life's fading space; For he that runs it well, twice runs his race.

And in this true delight,
These unbought sports, this happy state,

20 I would not fear, nor wish my fate:

But boldly say each night,
To-morrow let my sun his beams display,
Or in clouds hide them; I have lived to-day.



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