A Burning-Glasse by John Hall

Strange Chimistry! can dust and sand produce
So pure a body and Diaphanous;
Strange kind of Courtship! that the amorous Sun
T’ imbrace a Min’rall twists his rayes in one,
Talk of the heav’ns mockt by a sphear, alas
The Sun it self ‘s here in a piece of glasse:
Let Magnets drag base iron, this alone
Can to her icie bosome winne the Sun;
Witches may cheat us of his light a while,
But this can him even of himself beguile:
In Heaven he staggers to both Tropicks, here
He keeps fixt residence all times of th’ year,
Here ‘s a perpetuall Solstice, here he lies
Not on a bed of water but of ice;
How well by this himself abridge, he might
Redeem the Scythians from their lingring night?
Well by this glassie proxey might he roule
Beyond th’ Ecliptick, and warm either pole;
Had but Prometheus bin so wise, h’ had ne’re
Scal’d heaven to light his torch, but lighted here;
Had Archimedes once but known this use
H’ had burnt Marcellus from proud Syracuse;
Had Vesta’s maids of honour this but seen,
Their Ladys fire had ne’re extinguisht been;
Hells Engines might have finisht their designe
Of powder (but that heav’n did Countermine)
Had they but thought of this; th’ Egyptians may
Well hatch their eggs without the midwife clay;
Why do not puling Lovers this devise
For a fit Emblem of their Mistres eyes?
They call them Diamonds, and say th’ have been
Reduc’d by them to ashes all within;
But they’l assum’t, and ever hence ’twill passe
A Mistris eye is but Loves Burning-glasse

From: Hall, John, Poems, 2009, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. 19-20.

Date: 1646

By: John Hall (1627-1656)


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