William Drummond, fully Sir William Drummond of Hawthornden
It is a well-known fact that most artists produce their best work early in their career. They may refine what they do but you usually get the measure of what they are about on their first outing.
So that my life be brave, what though not long?
Lamp of heaven's crystal hall that brings the hours, Eye-dazzler, who makes the ugly night At thine approach fly to her slumb'ry bow'rs, And fills the world with wonder and delight; Life of all lives, death-giver by thy flight To southern pole from these six signs of ours, Goldsmith of all the stars, with silver bright Who moon enamels, Apelles of the flow'rs; Ah! from those watery plains thy golden head Raise up, and bring the so long lingering morn; A grave, nay, hell, I find become this bed, This bed so grievously where I am torn; But, woe is me! though thou now brought the day, Day shall but serve more sorrow to display.
Study what thou art whereof thou art a part what thou knowest of this art this is really what thou art. All that is without thee also is within.
Let Zephyr only breathe and with her tresses play.
The last and greatest herald of heaven's king, girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild, among that savage brood the woods forth bring, which he than man more harmless found and mild.
All that the hand of man can uprear, is either overturned by the hand of man, or at length by standing and continuing consumed: as if there were a secret opposition in Fate (the unevitable decree of the Eternal) to control our industry, and countercheck all our devices and proposing. Possessions are not enduring, children lose their names. . . .
Make an eternal spring; give life to this dark world which lieth dead. Spread forth thy golden hair in larger locks than thou wast wont before, and emperor-like decore with diadem of pearl thy temples fair.
There is a silence, the child of love, which expresses everything, and proclaims more loudly than the tongue is able to do.
All war will end when women cease to find men in uniforms attractive - discuss.
Mine eyes, dissolve your globes in briny streams, and with a cloud of sorrow dim your sight; the sun's bright sun is set, of late whose beams gave lustre to your day, day to your night. My voice, now deafen earth with anathemes, roar forth a challenge in the world's despite, tell that disguised grief is her delight, that life a slumber is of fearful dreams. And, woful mind, abhor to think of joy; my senses all now comfortless you hide, accept no object but of black annoy, tears, plaints, sighs, mourning weeds, graves gaping wide. I have nought left to wish, my hopes are dead, and all with her beneath a marble laid.
This is the morn should bring unto this grove my love, to hear and recompense my love.
As we had no part of our will on our entrance into this life, we should not presume to any on our leaving it, but soberly learn to will which he wills.
My life lies in those eyes which have me slain.
This life, which seems so fair, is like a bubble blown up in the air by sporting children's breath, who chase it everywhere and strive who can most motion it bequeath. And though it sometimes seem of its own might like to an eye of gold to be fixed there, and firm to hover in that empty height, that only is because it is so light. But in that pomp it doth not long appear; for when 'tis most admired, in a thought, because it erst was nought, it turns to nought.
Bright portals of the sky, emboss'd with sparkling stars, doors of eternity, with diamantine bars, your arras rich uphold, loose all your bolts and springs, ope wide your leaves of gold, that in your roofs may come the king of kings. O well-spring of this all! Thy father's image vive; word, that from nought did call what is, doth reason, live; the soul's eternal food, earth's joy, delight of heaven; all truth, love, beauty, good: to thee, to thee be praises ever given! O glory of the heaven! O sole delight of earth! To thee all power be given, god's uncreated birth! Of mankind lover true, indearer of his wrong, who doth the world renew, still be thou our salvation and our song!
My lute, be as thou wert when thou didst grow with thy green mother in some shady grove, when immelodious winds but made thee move, and birds their ramage did on thee bestow.
Thrice happy he, who by some shady grove, Far from the clamorous world, doth live his own Though solitary, who is not alone, But doth converse with that eternal love.
Doth then the world go thus? Doth all thus move? Is this the justice which on earth we find? Is this that firm decree which all doth bind? Are these your influences, powers above? Those souls, which vice's moody mists most blind, blind fortune, blindly, most their friend doth prove; and they who thee, poor idol virtue! Love, ply like a feather tossed by storm and wind. Ah! If a providence doth sway this all, why should best minds groan under most distress? Or why should pride humility make thrall, and injuries the innocent oppress? Heavens! Hinder, stop this fate; or grant a time when good may have, as well as bad, their prime!
My thoughts hold mortal strife; I do detest my life, and with lamenting cries peace to my soul to bring oft call that prince which here doth monarchise: — but he, grim-grinning king, who caitiffs scorns, and doth the blest surprise, late having deck'd with beauty's rose his tomb, disdains to crop a weed, and will not come.
To The Nightingale - sweet bird, that sing'st away the early hours of winters past or coming, void of care, well pleased with delights which present are, (fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers) to rocks, to springs, to rills, from leafy bowers thou thy creator's goodness dost declare, and what dear gifts on thee he did not spare: a stain to human sense in sin that lours, what soul can be so sick which by thy songs (attired in sweetness) sweetly is not driven quite to forget earth's turmoils, spites, and wrongs, and lift a reverend eye and thought to heaven? Sweet artless songster, thou my mind dost raise to airs of spheres, yes, and to angels' lays.
For me starting the day without a pot of tea would be a day forever out of kilter.
O cruel beauty, meekness inhumane, That night and day contend with my desire, And seek my hope to kill, not quench my fire, by death, not balm, to ease my pleasant pain; though ye my thoughts tread down which would aspire, And bound my bliss, do not, alas! Disdain that I your matchless worth and grace admire, And for their cause these torments sharp sustain. Let great Empedocles vaunt of his death, Found in the midst of those Sicilian flames, and Phaëthon, that heaven him reft of breath, And Dædal's son, he nam'd the Samian streams: Their haps I envy not; my praise shall be, the fairest she that liv'd gave death to me.
Trust not, sweet soul, those curled waves of gold, with gentle tides which on your temples flow, nor temples spread with flakes of virgin snow, nor snow of cheeks with Tyrian grain enroll'd; trust not those shining lights which wrought my woe, when first I did their burning rays behold, nor voice, whose sounds more strange effects do show than of the Thracian harper have been told. Look to this dying lily, fading rose, dark hyacinth, of late whose blushing beams made all the neighboring herbs and grass rejoice, and think how little is 'twixt life's extremes: the cruel tyrant that did kill those flow'rs, shall once, ay me! Not spare that spring of yours. That I so slenderly set forth my mind, writing I wot not what in ragged rhymes, and charg'd with brass into these golden times, when others tower so high, am left behind; I crave not Phoebus leave his sacred cell to bind my brows with fresh aonian bays; let them have that who tuning sweetest lays by tempe sit, or Aganippe's well; nor yet to venus' tree do I aspire, sith she for whom I might affect that praise, my best attempts with cruel words gainsays, and I seek not that others me admire. Of weeping myrrh the crown is which I crave, with a sad cypress to adorn my grave.
For what doth serve all that this world contains, sith she for whom those once to me were dear, no part of them can have now with me here?