Archive for ‘17th Century’

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Lines 1-22 of “Effusions on the Death of the Noble and Well-born Lady Jane, Widow and Relict of the late Magnificent and Noble Lord, Edward Kelley of Imany, Golden Knight and Counsellor to His Holy Imperial Majesty, by the weeping daughter of her beloved and esteemed Mother” by Elizabeth Jane Weston

No one who has not been touched by it can speak
of the force and power of insatiable Death.
Indeed I would have thought it raged through bodies only
and could not wound the spirit with its darts;
but the reality teaches me far otherwise, and makes me speak
as one who has been wounded and is experienced.
Death’s savagery is wont to be greater against the inner mind,
lesser against the members of the body.
When it has overwhelmed the latter and transfixed it
with a sharp missile, there is no room for more wounds;
but I know not to how many torments the mind is subject.
In how many ways can Death overwhelm the heart’s senses?
For however many of your dear kinsmen it extinguishes,
however many friends it causes to perish in death,
so many wounds it inflicts on you, or as it were directly
on your heart, so often it destroys you with its torments.
Life is not taken away when it strikes but is reserved
for more ills, and Death holds off for new wounds.
And these are so hard to bear, that if he could be spared them
anyone would wish to suffer Death’s ultimate weapons.
I myself who could have borne death’s bit in my heart
find remembering death more bitter than death itself.

From: Weston, Elizabeth Jane; Cheney, Donald and Hosington, Brenda M. (eds. and transls.), Elizabeth Jane Weston: Collected Writings, 2000, University of Toronto Press: Toronto, p. 337.

Date: 1606

By: Elizabeth Jane Weston (1581-1612)

Saturday, 17 December 2022

To Those Worthy Heroes of our Age, whose noble Breasts are wet and wat’red with the dew of Helicon, N.W. wisheth ever-flourishing Laurels by Nathaniel Whiting

You noble laureates, whose able quills
In framing odes, do drean the sacred rills
Of Aganippe dry, within whose breasts
The sire of Æsculapius safely rests;
And all the Muses’ temple, deign your rays
To cheer the measures of an infant bayes,
Spread forth the banners of your worths to shield
His younger Muse, unable yet to wield
Arms ‘gainst the monsters of this critic age,
Envy, detraction, and Saturnine rage.
I to myself assume not double worth,
Or that my teeming fancy can bring forth
Words to make wonder stand amazed, do try
To vindicate the breath of poesy.
In such a thought I’m silent, but because
I’ve heard invectives belched from the jaws
Of nil-scientes, whose audacious brags
Have raised a thunder like a shoal of dags
T’ affright endeavours.
In writing, which if my weak studies hit
Of any fancy speaking worth or wit,
If I have snatchèd any fainting Muse
From the black jaws of envy and abuse,
Shooting a soul into her, and new breath,
Maugre those tongues that doomèd her to death—
Echo forth thanks unto coy Daphne’s lover
(About whose fane the sacred Nine do hover)
Whose kindness smiled on my uncrushed designs;
And locked a muse in my unworthy lines,
Able to blunt the darts of envy, pare
The sharpest-hoofèd satyr, and with air
Shrill as the voice of thunder, chide those galls
That belch forth scandals and invective bawls.
Nay, he, befriending me above my merit,
Unseen of any heaved my wingèd spirit
T’ a higher court than the Star chamber is,
Where souls may surfeit with immortal bliss;
And taught my fancy, in those quiet slumbers,
What, waking, I have folded up in numbers;
To tell the brood of critics that there are
Some few, or if not some, yet one, that dare
(Backèd by your thrice-sacred worths) expose
These lines and letters to the ken of prose.

The humble admirer
of your muses N. W.

From: Saintsbury, George (ed.), Minor Poets of the Caroline Period, Volume III, 1921, Clarendon Press: Oxford, pp. 539-540.

Date: 1637

By: Nathaniel Whiting (?1617-1682)

Sunday, 4 December 2022

On a simple Gentleman which spake in dispraise of Poetry by Pathericke Jenkyn

A Gentleman, for want of education,
Said Epigrams, and Poems, were but toyes.
And in his judgement and small estimation,
Are only fit for Girles, and for Boyes:
Another standing by that wished well
To Poetry, and lov’d a witty Rhime,
Your judgement Sir, alas what can you tell?
Thus ’tis to cast a Pearl before a Swine,
Pray hold your peace, for Poets hold it fit,
That Ignorance must not be Judge of Wit.

From: Jenkyn, Pathericke, Amorea, the lost lover, or, The idea of love and misfortune being poems, sonets, songs, odes, pastoral, elegies, lyrick poems, and epigrams, never before printed, 1661, Willliam Leake: London, p. 76.

Date: 1661

By: Pathericke Jenkyn (fl 1661)

Sunday, 3 April 2022

[The Midnight Moon] by Yasuhara Teishitsu

the midnight moon—
almost like a big chunk
of coolness.


Date: c1670 (original in Japanese); 2007 (translation in English)

By: Yasuhara Teishitsu (1610-1673)

Translated by: Gabi Greve (1948- )

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Song [Go Lovely Rose] by Edmund Waller

Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts, where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retir’d:
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desir’d,
And not blush so to be admir’d.

Then die, that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair.


Date: 1645

By: Edmund Waller (1606-1687)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Doom by James Shirley

Victorious men of earth, no more
    Proclaim how wide your empires are ;
Though you bind in every shore,
    And your triumphs reach as far
            As night or day,
Yet you, proud monarchs, must obey,
And mingle with forgotten ashes, when
Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.

Devouring Famine, Plague and War,
    Each able to undo mankind,
Death’s servile emissaries are :
    Nor to these alone confined,
            He hath at will
More quaint and subtle ways to kill ;
A smile or kiss, as he will use the art,
Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart.


Date: 1653

By: James Shirley (1596-1666)

Alternative Title: Death’s Subtle Ways

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Love (III) by George Herbert

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
            Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
            From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
            If I lacked anything.

“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here”:
            Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
            I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
            “Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
            Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
            “My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
            So I did sit and eat.


Date: 1633

By: George Herbert (1593-1633)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My Love by Robert Jones

My love is neither young nor old,
Not fiery-hot nor frozen-cold,
But fresh and fair as springing-briar
Blooming the fruit of love’s desire;
Not snowy-white nor rosy-red,
But fair enough for shepherd’s bed;
And such a love was never seen
On hill or dale or country-green.

From: Chambers, Edmund Kerchever, English Pastorals, 1969, Ayer Publishing:New York, p. 109.

Date: 1601

By: Robert Jones (fl.1597-1617)

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Damelus’ Song to His Diaphenia by Henry Constable

Diaphenia, like the daffadowndilly,
White as the sun, fair as the lily,
Heigh ho, how I do love thee!
I do love thee as my lambs
Are belovéd by their dams;
How blest were I if thou would’st prove me.

Diaphenia like the spreading roses,
That in thy sweets all sweets encloses,
Fair sweet, how I do love thee!
I do love thee as each flower
Loves the sun’s life-giving power;
For dead, thy breath to life might move me.

Diaphenia like to all things blesséd,
When all thy praises are expresséd,
Dear joy, how I do love thee!
As the birds do love the spring,
Or the bees their careful king:
Then in requite, sweet virgin, love me!


Date: 1600

By: Henry Constable (1562-1613)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Poverty by Thomas Traherne

As in the house I sate,
Alone and desolate,
No creature but the fire and I,
The chimney and the stool, I lift mine eye
Up to the wall,
And in the silent hall,
Saw nothing mine
But some few cups and dishes shine,
The table and the wooden stools
Where people used to dine;
A painted cloth there was,
Wherein some ancient story wrought
A little entertained my thought,
Which light discovered through the glass.

I wondered much to see
That all my wealth should be
Confined in such a little room,
Yet hope for more I scarcely durst presume.
It grieved me sore
That such a scanty store
Should be my all;
For I forgot my ease and health,
Nor did I think of hands or eyes,
Nor soul nor body prize;
I neither thought the sun,
Nor moon, nor stars, nor people mine,
Though they did round about me shine;
And therefore was I quite undone.

Some greater things, I thought,
Must needs for me be wrought,
Which till my craving mind could see
I ever should lament my poverty;
I fain would have
Whatever bounty gave,
Nor could there be
Without or love or deity;
For should not he be infinite
Whose hand created me?
Ten thousand absent things
Did vex my poor and wanting mind,
Which, till I be no longer blind,
Let me not see the King of kings.

His love must surely be
Rich, infinite, and free;
Nor can he be thought a God
Of grace and power, that fills not his abode,
His holy court,
In kind and liberal sort;
Joys and pleasures,
Plenty of jewels, goods, and treasures,
To enrich the poor, cheer the forlorn,
His palace must adorn,
And given all to me;
For till his works my wealth became,
No love or peace did me inflame:
But now I have a Deity.


Date: 1902 (published)

By: Thomas Traherne (?1636-1674)