Selected Poems of Margaret Cavendish,
Duchess of Newcastle

Poems from Poems and Fancies (1653)

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An excuse for so much writ upon my Verses

Condemne me not for making such a coyle
About my Book, alas it is my Childe. 
Just like a Bird, when her Young are in Nest,
Goes in, and out, and hops and takes no Rest;
But when their Young are fledg'd, their heads out peep,
Lord what a chirping does the Old one keep.
So I, for feare my Strengthlesse Childe should fall
Against a doore, or stoole, aloud I call,
Bid have a care of such a dangerous place:
Thus write I much, to hinder all disgrace. 

Line 1.  coyle: fuss.
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The weight of Atomes.

If Atomes are as small, as small can bee, 
They must in quantity of Matter all agree: 
And if consisting Matter of the same (be right,) 
Then every Atome must weigh just alike. 
Thus Quantity, Quality and Weight, all 
Together meets in every Atome small. 

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The joyning of severall Figur'd Atomes make other Figures

Severall Figur'd Atomes well agreeing, 
When joyn'd, do give another Figure being. 
For as those Figures joyned, severall waies, 
The Fabrick of each severall Creature raise. 

Line 1.  Severall Figur'd: distinctively shaped.
Line 2.  Figure: shape, form
Line 4.  Severall: distinct, individual.
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A World in an Eare-Ring

An Eare-ring round may well a Zodiacke bee, 
Where in a Sun goeth round, and we not see. 
And Planets seven about that Sun may move, 
And Hee stand still, as some wise men would prove. 
And fixed Stars, like twinkling Diamonds, plac'd 
About this Eare-ring, which a World is vast. 
That same which doth the Eare-ring hold, the hole
Is that, which we do call the Pole
There nipping Frosts may be, and Winter cold, 
Yet never on the Ladies Eare take hold.                                   10 
And Lightnings, Thunder, and great Winds may blow 
Within this Eare-ring, yet the Eare not know. 
There Seas may ebb, and flow, where Fishes swim, 
And Islands be, where Spices grow therein. 
There Christall Rocks hang dangling at each Eare
And Golden Mines as Jewels may they weare. 
There Earth-quakes be, which Mountains vast downe fling, 
And yet nere stir the Ladies Eare, nor Ring
There Meadowes bee, and Pastures fresh, and greene
And Cattell feed, and yet be never seene:                                  20 
And Gardens fresh, and Birds which sweetly sing, 
Although we heare them not in an Eare-ring
There Night, and Day, and Heat, and Cold, and so 
May Life, and Death, and Young, and Old, still grow. 
Thus Youth may spring, and severall Ages dye, 
Great Plagues may be, and no Infections nigh, 
There Cityes bee, and stately Houses built, 
Their inside gaye, and finely may be gilt. 
There Churches bee, and Priests to teach therein, 
And Steeple too, yet heare the Bells not ring.                            30 
From thence may pious Teares to Heaven run, 
And yet the Eare not know which way they're gone. 
There Markets bee, and things both bought, and sold, 
Know not the price, nor how the Markets hold. 
There Governours do rule, and Kings do Reigne, 
And Battels fought, where many may be slaine. 
And all within the Compasse of this Ring
And yet not tidings to the Wearer bring. 
Within the Ring wise Counsellors may sit, 
And yet the Eare not one wise word may get.                           40 
There may be dancing all Night at a Ball
And yet the Eare be not disturb'd at all. 
There Rivals Duels fight, where some are slaine; 
There Lovers mourne, yet heare them not complaine. 
And Death may dig a Lovers Grave, thus were 
A Lover Dead, in a Faire Ladies Eare
But when the Ring is broke, the World is done, 
Then Lovers they into Elysium run. 



Line 2.  Planets seven about that Sun: Apparently a blend of Copernican and Ptolemaic ideas. The Ptolemaic cosmos included seven "planets," the sun and moon, plus Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Uranus was not observed until 1781, so Cavendish must be including the moon as well as the earth to make seven.
Line 5.  fixed Stars: A feature of Ptolemaic cosmology. The sphere of the fixed stars was held to be next beyond the planetary spheres.
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A dialogue betwixt Wit, and Beauty.

Mixt Rose, and Lilly, why are you so proud,                        Wit.
Since Faire is not in all Minds best allow'd? 
Some like the Black, the Browne, as well as White
In all Compexions some Eyes take delight: 
Nor doth one Beauty in the World still reigne. 
For Beauty is created in the Braine
But say there were a Body perfect made, 
Complexion pure, by Natures pensill laid: 
A Countenance where all sweet Spirits meet, 
A Haire that's thick, or long curl'd to the Feet:                       10 
Yet were it like a Statue made of stone, 
The Eye would weary grow to look thereon. 
Had it not Wit, the Mind still to delight, 
It soon would weary be, as well as Sight
For Wit is fresh, and new, doth sport, and play, 
And runs about the Humour every way. 
With all the Passions Wit can well agree; 
Wit tempers them, and makes them pleas'd to bee. 
Wit's ingenious, doth new Inventions find, 
To ease the Body, recreate the Mind.                                       20 

     When I appeare, I strike the Optick Nerve,                Beauty.
I wound the Heart, I make the Passions serve. 
Soules are my Prisoners, yet love me so well, 
My Company is Heaven, my absence Hell
Each Knee doth bow to me, as to a Shrine
And all the World accounts me as Divine. 

     Beauty, you cannot long Devotion keep:                         Wit.
The Mind growes weary, Senses fall a sleep. 
As those which in the House of God do go, 
Are very zealous in a Prayer, or two:                                       30 
But if they kneele an houre-long to pray, 
Their Zeale growes cold, nor know they what they say. 
So Admiration last not very long, 
After nine daies the greatest wonder's gone. 
The Mind, as Senses all, delights in Change
They nothing love, but what is new, and strange
But subtle Wit can both please long, and well; 
For, to the Eare a new Tale Wit can tell. 
And, for the Tast, meat dresses severall waies, 
To please the Eye, new Formes, and Fashions raise.               40 
And for the Touch, Wit spins both Silk, and Wooll
Invents new waies to keep Touch warm, and coole. 
For Sent, Wit mixtures, and Compounds doth make, 
That still the Nose a fresh new smell may take. 
I by discourse can represent the Mind
With severall Objects, though the Eyes be blind. 
I can create Ideas in the Braine
Which to the Mind seem reall, though but fain'd. 
The Mind like to a Shop of Toies I fill, 
With fine Conceits, all sorts of Humours sell.                           50 
I can the work of Nature imitate; 
And change my selfe into each severall Shape
I conquer all, am Master of the Feild
I make faire Beauty in Loves Wars to yeild. 


"Mixt Rose, and Lilly, why 
are you so proud"

Line 17.  With all: "withall" (1653).
Line 35.  nine daies: the proverbial "nine days' wonder" attracts interest only for a short time.
Line 40.  dresses: to prepare food by making it ready to cook. Also, to season food.
Line 41.  Formes: style of dress.
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The hunting of the Stag.

There was a Stag did in the Forrest lye, 
Whose Neck was long, and Hornes branch'd up high. 
His Haunch was broad, Sides large, and Back was long, 
His Legs were Nervous, and his Joynts were strong. 
His Haire lay sleek, and smooth upon his Skin
None in the Forrest might compare with him. 
In Summers heat he in coole Brakes him laies, 
Which grew so high, kept of the Suns hot Raies
In Evenings coole, or dewy Mornings new, 
Would he rise up, and all the Forrest view.                             10 
Then walking to some cleare, and Cristall Brook
Not for to Drink, but on his Hornes to look: 
Taking such Pleasure in his Stately Crowne
His Pride forgets that Dogs might pull him downe. 
From thence unto a Shady Wood did go, 
Where Streightest Pines, and tallest Cedars grow; 
And upright Olives, which th' loving Vine oft twines, 
And slender Birch bowes head* to golden Mines
Small Aspen Stalkt which shakes like Agues cold, 
That from perpetuall Motion never hold.                                 20 
The sturdy Oake on Foamy Seas doth ride, 
Firre, which tall Masts doth make, where Sailes are tied. 
The weeping Maple, and the Poplar green, 
Whose Cooling Buds in Salves have healing been. 
The Fatting Chestnut, and the Hasle small, 
The Smooth-rind Beech, which groweth large, and tall. 
The Loving Myrtle is for Amorous kind
The yeilding Willow, as inconstant Mind
The Cypres sad, which makes the Funerall Hearse
And Sicomors, where Lovers write their Verse:                     30 
And Juniper, which gives a pleasant smell, 
And many more, which were too long to tell. 
Round from their Sappy Roots sprout Branches small, 
Some call it Under-wood, that's never tall. 
There walking through, the Stag was hindred much, 
The bending Twigs his Hornes would often catch. 
While on the tender Leaves, and Buds did browse
His Eyes were troubl'd with broken Boughs
Then strait He seeks this Labyrinth to unwind, 
But hard it was his first way out to find.                                  40 
Unto this Wood a rising Hill did joyne, 
Where grew wild Margeroin, and sweet wild Time
And Winter-savory which was never set, 
On which the Stag delighted much to eat. 
But looking downe upon the Vallies low, 
He sees the Grasse, and Cowslips thick to grow; 
And Springs, which dig themselves a Passage out, 
Much like as Serpents wind each Feild about. 
Rising in Winter high, do over-flow, 
The Flowry Banks, but rich the Soile doth grow.                   50 
So as he went, thinking therein to feed, 
He saw a Feild, which sow'd was with Wheat Seed
The Blades were growne a hand-full high, and more, 
Which Sight his Tast did soon invite him o're. 
In hast goes on, feeds full, then downe he lies, 
The Owner coming there, he soon espies: 
Strait call'd his Dogs to hunt him from that place, 
At last it came to be a Forrest Chase
The Chase grew hot, the Stag apace did run, 
Dogs followed close, and Men for sport did come.                 60 
At last a Troop of Men, Horse, Dogs did meet, 
Which made the Hart to try his Nimble Feet
Full swift he was, his Hornes he bore up high, 
Then Men did shout, the Dogs ran yelping by: 
And Bugle Hornes with severall Notes did blow, 
Hunts-men to crosse the Stag did side-waies go. 
The Horses beat their Hoofes against dry ground, 
Raising such Clouds of dust their waies scarce found. 
Their Sides ran downe with sweat, as if they were 
New come from watring, dropping every Haire.                    70 
The Dogs their Tongues out of their Mouths hung long, 
Their Sides did beat like Feaverish Pulse so strong, 
Their Short Ribbs heave up high, then fall downe low, 
As Bellowes draw in wind the same to blow. 
Men tawny grew, the Sun their Skins did turne, 
Their Mouths were dry, their Bowels felt to burne. 
The Stag so hot as Coles, when kindled through, 
Yet swiftly ran, when he the Dogs did view. 
Coming at length unto a Rivers side, 
Whole Current flow'd, as with a falling Tide:                          80 
Where he leapes in to quench his scortching heat
To wash his Sides, to coole his burning Feet
Hoping the Dogs in water could not swim, 
But hee's deceiv'd, the Dogs do enter in; 
Like Fishes, try'd to swim in water low: 
But out alas, his Hornes too high do shew. 
When Dogs were cover'd over Head, and Eares
No part is seen, onely their Nose appeares, 
The Stag, and River, like a Race did shew, 
He striving still the swift River to out-go.                                90 
Whilst Men, and Horses ran the Banks along, 
Encouraging the Dogs to follow on: 
Where he on waters, like a Looking-glasse
By a Reflection sees their Shadowes passe. 
Feare cuts his Breath off short, his Limbs do shrink, 
Like those the Cramp doth take, to bottom sink. 
Thus out of Breath, no longer could he stay, 
But leapes on Land, and swiftly runs away. 
Change gave him ease, ease strength, in strength hope lives, 
Hope joyes the Heart, or light Heele joy still gives.              100 
His Feet like to a Feather'd Arrow flies
Or like a winged Bird, that mounts the Skies
The Dogs like Ships, that saile with Wind, and Tide
Which cut the Aire, and waters deep divide. 
Or like a greedy Merchant, seeks for Gaine, 
Will venture Life, so trafficks on the Maine
The Hunters, like to Boies, no danger shun, 
To see a Sight, will venture Life, and Limb
Which sad become, when Mischiefe takes not place, 
Is out of Countenance, as with disgrace.                             110 
But when they see a Ruine, and a fall
Return with Joy, as Conquerors they were all. 
Thus their severall Passions their waies did meet, 
As Dogs desire to catch did make them Fleet
The Stag with feare did run, his life to save, 
Whilst Men for love of Mischiefe dig his Grave
The angry Dust in every Face up flies, 
As with Revenge, seeks to put out their Eies
Yet they so fast went on with such loud Cries
The Stag no hope had left, nor help espies.                          120 
His Heart so heavie grew, with Griefe, and Care
That his small Feet his Body could not beare. 
Yet loth to dye, or yeild to Foes was he, 
But to the last would strive for Victory
Twas not for want of Courage he did run, 
But that an Army against One did come. 
Had he the Valour of bold Casar stout, 
Must yeild himselfe to them, or dye no doubt. 
Turning his Head, as if he dar'd their Spight
Prepar'd himselfe against them all to fight.                              130 
Single he was, his Hornes were all his helpes
To guard him from a Multitude of Whelpes
Besides, a company of Men were there, 
If Dogs should faile, to strike him every where. 
But to the last his Fortune hee'll try out: 
The Men, and Dogs do circle him about. 
Some bite, some bark, all ply him at the Bay
Where with his Hornes he tosses some away. 
But Fate his thread had spun, so downe did fall, 
Shedding some Teares at his owne Funerall.                        140


Old Deer and Faun


The Stag looking into the Water
 "Then walking to some 
cleare, and Cristall Brook,
 Not for to Drink, but on his 
Hornes to look"


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Coursing Fallow Deer
 "At last a Troop of Men
Horse, Dogs did meet,
Which made the Hart to try
his Nimble Feet."


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Stag Hunting
"Single he was, his Hornes
were all his helpes,
To gaurd him from a
Multitude of Whelpes.

Line 4.  Nervous: sinewy, muscular; vigorous, strong.
Line 8.  of: off
Line 19.  Agues: the cold or shivering stage of malarial fever.
Line 19.  *: Good Mines are found out by the Birches bowing. (Author's note)
Line 42.  Margeroin: marjoram
Line 100.  Heele: heal
Line 127.  Casar: "Ca ar". (1653). The spacing suggests an omitted letter, and the context suggests "Casar," a variant spelling of "Cæsar."
Line 137.  at the Bay: cornered, facing the pursuers.
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Of Poets, and their Theft.

As Birds, to hatch their Young do sit in Spring
Some Ages severall Broods of Poets bring; 
Which to the World in Verse do sweetly sing. 

Their Notes, great Nature set, not Art so taught; 
So Fancies in the Braine that Nature wrought, 
Are best; what Imitation makes, are naught. 

For though they sing as well, as well may bee, 
And make their Notes of what they learne, agree; 
Yet he that teaches still hath Mastery

And ought to have the Crowne of Praise, and Fame,               10
In the long Role of Time to write his Name
And those that steale it out to blame. 

There's None should Places have in Fames high court
But those that first do win Inventions Fort
Not Messengers, that onely make Report

To Messengers Rewards of Thanks are due, 
For their great Paines, telling their Message true. 
But not the Honour to Invention new

Many there are that Sutes will make to weare, 
Of severall Patches stole, both here, and there;                        20
That to the World they Gallants may appeare. 

And the Poore Vulgar, which but little know, 
Do Reverence all, that makes a Glistring Shew; 
Examines not, the same how they came to. 

Then do they call their Friends and all their Kin
They Factions make, the Ignorant to bring: 
And with their help, into Fame's Court get in. 

Some take a Line or two of Horace Wit
And here, and there they will a Fancy pick. 
And so of Homer, Virgill, Ovid sweet:                                    30 
Makes all those Poets in their Book to meet: 
Yet makes them not appeare in their right shapes
But like to Ghosts do wander in dark Shades
But those that do so, are but Poet-Juglers
And like to Conjurers are Spirit-troublers
By Sorcery the Ignorant delude
Shewing false Glasses to the Multitude
And with a small, and undiscerning Haire
They pull Truth out the place wherein she were. 
But by the Poets Lawes they should be hang'd,                        40
And in the Hell of Condemnation damn'd. 

Most of our Moderne Writers now a daies, 
Consider not the Fancy, but the Phrase
As if fine words were Wit; or, One should say, 
A Woman's handsome if her Cloaths be gay
Regarding not what Beauty's in the Face
Nor what Proportion doth the Body grace
As when her Shooes be high, to say shee's tall
And when shee is straight-lac'd, to say shee's small
When Painted, or her Haire is curl'd with Art,                         50
Though of itself tis Plaine, and Skin is swart
We cannot say, from her a Thanks is due 
To Nature, nor those Arts in her we view. 
Unlesse she them invented, and so taught 
The World to set forth that which is stark naught. 
But Fancy is the Eye, gives Life to all; 
Words, the Complexion, as a whited Wall
Fancy is the Form, Flesh, Blood, Bone, Skin
Words are but Shadowes, have no Substance in. 
But Number is the Motion, gives the Grace,                           60
And is the Countenance to a well-form'd Face


English Noblewoman

"A Woman's handsome
if her Cloaths be gay."
Line 5.  Fancies: an attribute manifested in poetical or literary composition - aptitude for the invention of illustrative or decorative imagery, inventive design--often personified.
Line 28-30.  Horace, Homer, Virgill and Ovid: well known classical poets.
Line 37.  Glasses: glaze or superficial lustre. A deceptive appearance.
Line 45.  gay: bright or lively-looking, especially in colour; brilliant or showy.
Line 49.  straight-lac'd: to compress the waist of a woman by drawing the laces (of the corset) tight.
Line 51.  swart: dark or dusky. To darken, especially the skin or complexion.
Line 56.  Eye: particular visual ability or maybe mind's eye.
Line 60.  Number: poetic meter.
Line 61.  Countenance: facial expression.
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Natures Dresse.

The Sun crownes Natures Head, Beames splendent are, 
And in her Haire, as Jewels, hang each Star
Her Garments made of pure Bright watchet Skie
The Zodiack round her Wast those Garments tye. 
The Polar Circles are Bracelets for each Wrist
The Planets round about her Neck do twist. 
The Gold, and Silver Mines, Shoes for her Feet
And for her Garters, are soft Flowers sweet. 
Her Stockings are of Grasse, that's fresh, and green, 
And Rainbow Ribbons many Colours in. 
The Powder for her Haire is Milk-white Snow
And when she combes her Locks, the Windes do blow. 
Light, a thin Veile doth hang upon her Face
Through which her Creatures see in every place. 

Line 1.  splendent: shining brightly by virtue of inherent light.
Line 3.  watchet: a light blue colour; cloth or garments of this colour.
Line 4.  Zodiack: a belt of the celestial sphere extending about eight or nine degrees on each side of the ecliptic, within which the apparent motions of the sun, moon and principal planets take place.
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Similizing Thoughts

Thoughts as a Pen do write upon the Braine
The Letters which wise Thoughts do write, are plaine. 
Fooles Scribble, Scrabble, and make many a Blot
Which makes them Non-sense speak, they know not what. 
Or Thoughts like Pencils draw still to the Life
And Fancies mixt, as colours give delight. 
Sad melancholy Thoughts are for Shadowes plac'd, 
By which the lighter Fancies are more grac'd. 
As through a dark, and watry Cloud, more bright, 
The Sun breakes forth with his Resplendent Light
Or like to Night's black Mantle, where each Star 
Doth clearer seem, so lighter Fancies are. 
Some like to Rain-bowes various Colours shew, 
So round the Braine Fantastick Fancies grow. 

Title.  Similizing: to create a simile, to liken or compare.
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Of the Spider

The Spiders Housewifry no Webs doth spin, 
To make her Cloath, but Ropes to hang Flies in. 
Her Bowels are the Shop where Flax is found, 
Her Body is the Wheele that goeth round. 
A Wall her Distaff, where she sticks Thread on, 
The Fingers are the Feet that pull it long. 
And wheresoever she goes nere idle sits, 
Nor wants a House, builds one with Ropes, and Nets
Though it be not so strong, as Brick, and Stone
Yet strong enough to beare light Bodies on. 
Within this House the Female Spider lies, 
The whilst the Male doth hunt abroad for Flies
Nere leaves, till he the Flies gets in, and there 
Intangles him within his subtle Snare
Like Treacherous Host, which doth much welcome make, 
Yet watches how his Guests Life he may take. 

Line 3.  Flax: the fibres of the plant.
Line 5.  Distaff: in the ancient mode of spinning, a cleft staff about three feet long, on which wool or flax was wound.
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Of the Sunne, and the Earth

Through Earth's porous holes her sweat doth passe, 
Which is the Dew that lyes upon the Grasse
Where (like a Lover kinde) the Sun wipes clean, 
That her faire face may to the Light be seen; 
And for her sake that water he esteemes, 
Threading those drops upon his silver beames
Like ropes of Pearle; he draws them to his sphere
Turning those drops to Chrystall when they're there. 
Yet, what he gathers, cannot he keep all, 
But downe againe some of those drops doe fall:                      10 
When turning back upon her head they run, 
He clouds his browes, as if he had ill done. 
But Lovers thinke they alwayes doe amisse, 
Although those showres her refreshment is. 
When she by sweat exhausted growes, and dry, 
The Sun the moystest Clouds doth squeeze in sky; 
Or else he takes some of his sharpest beames, 
To breake the Clouds, from whence pour Chrystall streams. 
Then Earth doth drinke too much, yet doth not reele; 
She cannot dizzy be, though sicknesse feele.                           20



Line 13.  doe amisse: do wrong, act inappropriately.
Line 19.  reele: to be physically or mentally shaken.
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A Man to his Mistresse.

O Doe not grieve, Deare Heart, nor shed a teare, 
Since in your eyes my life doth stil keep there; 
And in your countenance my death I finde, 
And buried in your melancholly mind. 
But in your smiles I'me glorifi'd to rise, 
And in your Love you me eternalize: 
Thus by your favour I a God become, 
And by your hate I doe a Devil turne. 

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An Epistle to Souldiers

Great Heroicks, you may justly laugh at me, if I went about to censure, instruct or advise in the valiant Art, and Discipline of Warre. But I doe but only take the name, having no knowledge in the Art, nor practice in the use; for I never saw an Army together, nor any Incounters in my life. I have seen a Troop, or a Regiment march on the High way by chance, or so; neither have I the courage to looke on the cruell assaults, that Mankind (as I have heard) will make at each other; but according to the constitution of my Sex, I am as fearefull as a Hare: for I shall start at the noise of a Potgun, and shut my eyes at the sight of a bloudy sword, and run away at the least Alarum. Only My courage is, I can heare a sad relation, but not without griefe, and chilnesse of spirits: but these Armies I mention, were rais'd in my braine, fought in my fancy, and registred in my closet. 

Title.  Epistle: poem in the form of a letter.
Line 1.  Heroicks: heros. May be a general or a sarcastic reference to heroes of war or may be a Classical reference to heros (mostly human but part God) who existed during the Heroic period--the age of the Theban wars and the Trojan war.
Line 1.  censure: to form or give a "censure" or opinion of.
Line 7.  Potgun: popgun. Contemptuously or ludicrously applied to a pistol or similar fire-arm.
Line 9.  closet: a room for privacy. A small room.
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On a Melting Beauty.

Going into a Church my prayers to say, 
Close by a Tombe a mourning Beauty lay. 
Her knees on Marble cold were bow'd down low, 
So firme were fix'd, as if she there did grow. 
Her Elbow on the Tombe did steady stand, 
Her Head hung back, the hind-part in her hand, 
Turning her Eyes up to the heavens high, 
Left nothing but the white of either eye
Upon the lower shut* did hang a teare
Like to a Diamond pendent in an eare.                                      10 
Her Breast did pant, as if Life meant 
To seek her Heart, which way it went. 
I standing there, observing what she did, 
At last she from her hand did raise her head
And casting down her eyes, ne're look'd about, 
Teares pull her eye-lids down, as they gush'd out, 
And with a gentle Groane at last did speake, 
Her words were soft, her voyce sound low, and weak. 
O Heavens (said she) what doe you meane, 
I dare not think you Gods can have a spleen,                              20 
And yet I find great torments you doe give, 
Creatures to make in misery to live. 
You shew us Joyes, but we possesse not one
You give us Life, for Death to feed upon. 
O cruell Death, thy dart hath made me poore, 
You struck that Heart my Life did most adore. 
You Gods, delight not thus me to torment, 
But strike me dead by this deare Monument
And let our Ashes mixe both in this Urne
So as one Phnix shall we both become.                                   30 
Hearing her mourne, I went to give reliefe
But, Oh alas, her eares were stopt with griefe
When I came neere, Her bloud congeal'd to Ice
And all her Body changed in a trice; 
That Ice strait melted into teares, down run 
Through porous earth: so got into that Urne



Line 6.  hind-part: hind-head. The back of the head; the occiput.
Line 9.  *: The under lid. (Author's note)
Line 21.  Spleen: abdominal organ once believed to be the seat of such feelings as moroseness and irritability, or of laughter and mirth. Alsoill-nature or ill-humour.
Line 31.  Phnix: mythical bird of gorgeous plumage who burnt to death only to emerge from its ashes with renewed youth, to live through another cycle of years.
Line 34.  congeal'd: made solid and hard by freezing.
Line 35.  In a trice: instantly or immediately.
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An Elegy on my Brother, kill'd in these unhappy Warres.

Deare Brother, thy Idea in my mind doth lye, 
And is intomb'd in my sad memory
Where every day I to thy Shrine doe goe, 
And offer tears, which from my eyes doe flow. 
My heart the fire, whose flames are ever pure, 
Laid on Loves Altar last, till life endure. 
My sorrows incense strew, of sighs fetched deep, 
My thoughts do watch while they sweet spirit sleeps. 
Dear blessed soul, though thou art gone, yet lives 
Thy fame on earth, and men thee praises give. 
But all's too smal, for thy Heroick minde
Was above all the praises of Man-kinde

Mounted Soldier
Engraving of a mounted soldier
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[I Language want, to dresse my Fancies in,]

I Language want, to dresse my Fancies in, 
The Haire's uncurl'd, the Garments loose, and thin; 
Had they but Silver Lace to make them gay, 
Would be more courted then in poore array
Or had they Art, might make a better show
But they are plaine, yet cleanly doe they goe. 
The world in Bravery doth take delight, 
And glistering Shews doe more attract the sight
And every one doth honour a rich Hood, 
As if the outside made the inside good. 
And every one doth bow, and give the place, 
Not for the Mans sake, but the Silver Lace
Let me intreat in my poore Booke's behalfe, 
That all may not adore the Golden Calf. 
Consider, pray, Gold hath no life therein, 
And Life in Nature is the richest thing. 
So Fancy is the Soul in Poetrie
And if not good, a Poem ill must be. 
Be just, let Fancy have the upper place, 
And then my Verses may perchance finde grace. 
If flattering Language all the Passions rule, 
Then Sense, I feare, will be a meere dull Foole. 

Line 9.  Hood: worn sometimes with the intention of concealment. A fashionable piece of clothing (French Hood) for women in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Line 11.  place: the space which one person occupies by usage, allotment or right - a place of prestige.
Line 14.  Golden Calf: an idol-god, built when Moses was on mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments; symbolizes false worship. Worship of the Golden Calf came to signify not merely dolatry but also the idolatry of wealth.
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[A Poet I am neither borne, nor bred]

A Poet I am neither borne, nor bred, 
But to a witty Poet married: 
Whose Braine is Fresh, and Pleasant, as the Spring, 
Where Fancies grow, and where the Muses sing. 
There oft I leane my Head, and list'ning harke, 
To heare his words and all his Fancies mark; 
And from that Garden Flowers of Fancies take, 
Whereof a Posie up in Verse I make. 
Thus I, that have no Garden of mine owne, 
There gather Flowers that are newly blowne.

William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle
William Cavendish, 
Duke of Newcastle 
Line 8.  Posie: a bunch of flowers; a nosegay, a bouquet.
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 E-mail Ron Cooley at
 University of Saskatchewan
 Department of English
 Revised September 3, 1998