Page images


Ask me why I send you here
This sweet infanta of the year?
Ask me why I send to you

This primrose, thus bepearl'd with dew?
I will whisper to your ears,

The sweets of love are mix'd with tears.

Ask me why this flower does show

So yellow green, and sickly too?
Ask me why the stalk is weak

And bending, yet it doth not break?
I will answer, these discover
What fainting hopes are in a lover.


Here she lies, a pretty bud,
Lately made of flesh and blood;
Who as soon fell fast asleep
As her little eyes did peep.
Give her strewings, but not stir
The earth that lightly covers her!


Virgins promised, when I died,
That they would, each primrose-tide.
Duly morn and evening come,
And with flowers dress my tomb:
Having promised, pay your debts,
Maids, and here strew violets.


Here she lies, in beds of spice,
Fair as Eve in paradise;
For her beauty it was such,
Poets could not praise too much.
Virgins, come, and in a ring
Her supremest requiem sing;
Then depart, but see ye tread
Lightly, lightly o'er the dead.


MRS. CATHERINE PHILIPS was the daughter of John Fowler, a London merchant, and married, when quite young, James Philips, a gentleman of Cardiganshire. Her devotion to the Muses showed itself at a very early age, and she wrote under the fictitious name of Orinda. She continued to write after her marriage; though this did not prevent her from discharging, in a most exemplary manner, the duties of domestic life. Her poems, which had been dispersed among her friends in manuscript, were first printed without her knowledge or consent. She was very much esteemed by her con

temporaries: Jeremy Taylor addressed to her his "Measures and Offices of Friendship," and Cowley wrote an ode on her death. She died of the small

pox, June 22, 1664, aged thirty-three.


There's no such thing as pleasure here,

'Tis all a perfect cheat,

Which does but shine and disappear,
Whose charm is but deceit;

The empty bribe of yielding souls,
Which first betrays, and then controls.

'Tis true, it looks at distance fair,
But if we do approach,

The fruit of Sodom will impair,
And perish at a touch;

It being than in fancy less,

And we expect more than possess.

For by our pleasures we are cloy'd,
And so desire is done;

Or else, like rivers, they make wide
The channels where they run:
And either way true bliss destroys,
Making us narrow, or our joys.

We covet pleasure easily,

But ne'er true bliss possess;

For many things must make it be,

But one may make it less.

Nay, were our state as we could choose it,
'Twould be consumed by fear to lose it.

What art thou then, thou winged air,
More weak and swift than fame?
Whose next successor is despair,

And its attendant shame.

The experienced prince then reason had,
Who said of pleasure, "It is mad."


My dear Antenor, now give o'er,-
For my sake talk of graves no more,
Death is not in our power to gain,

And is both wish'd and fear'd in vain.

Let's be as angry as we will,

Grief sooner may distract than kill,

And the unhappy often prove

Death is as coy a thing as love.

Those whose own sword their death did give,

Afraid were, or ashamed, to live;

1 This was the fictitious name under which she addressed her husband, whose circumstances were much reduced during the civil war. The above poem was written March 16, 1600, to cheer him with the hope that, as parliament had rescued him, Providence would do so too.

And by an act so desperate,

Did poorly run away from fate;

"Tis braver much t' outride the storm,
Endure its rage, and shun its harm;
Affliction nobly undergone,

More greatness shows than having none.
But yet the wheel, in turning round,
At last may lift us from the ground,
And when our fortune's most severe,
The less we have the less we fear.
And why should we that grief permit,
Which cannot mend nor shorten it?
Let's wait for a succeeding good,

Woes have their ebb as well as flood:

And since the parliament have rescued you,
Believe that Providence will do so too.

[blocks in formation]

JEREMY TAYLOR, who, for learning, eloquence, imagination, and piety, stands among the first of English divines, was the son of a barber in Cainbridge. He was born about the year 1602, and at the age of thirteen entered the university of his native place. A short time after taking his degree, he was elected, by the interest of Archbishop Laud, fellow of All-Souls College, Oxford. He became chaplain to Laud, who procured for him the rectory of Uppington in Rutlandshire, where he settled in 1640. In 1642, he was created D. D. at Oxford. In 1644, while accompanying the royal army as chaplain, he was taken prisoner by the parliamentary forces, in the battle fought before the castle of Cardigan, in Wales. Being soon released, he resolved to continue in Wales, and, having established a school in the county of Caermarthen, he there waited calmly the issue of events. In his own felicitous style, he gives the following picturesque account of his retirement: "In the great storm which dashed the vessel of the church all in pieces, I had been cast on the coast of Wales, and, in a little boat, thought to have enjoyed that rest and quietness which in England, in a far greater, I could not hope for. Here I cast anchor, and thinking to ride safely, the storm followed me with so impetuous violence, that it broke a cable, and I lost my anchor: and, but that He that stilleth the raging of the sea, and the noise of his waves, and the madness of the people, had provided a plank for me, I had been lost to all the opportunities of content or study: but I know not whether I have been preserved more by the courtesies of my friends, or the gentleness and mercies of a noble enemy."


After continuing some years in this solitude, he lost his three sons in the short space of two or three months. This most afflicting calamity caused him to go to London, where he administered, though in circumstances of great danger, to a private congregation of loyalists. At the Restoration he was made bishop of Down and Connor, in Ireland, and subsequently was elected vice-chancellor of the University of Dublin, which office he retained to his death, 1667.

The writings of Bishop Taylor, which are numerous, are all of a theologi

1 A most noble and just tribute to the Republican cause.

cal character. His greatest work, perhaps, is his "Liberty of Prophesying." By prophesying, he means preaching or expounding. The object of this is to show the unreasonableness of prescribing to other men's faith, and the iniquity of persecuting for difference of opinion. It has been justly described As, perhaps of all Taylor's writings, that which shows him farthest in advance of the age in which he lived, and of the ecclesiastical system in which he had been reared; as the first distinct and avowed defence of toleration which had been ventured on in England, perhaps in Christendom." The most popular, however, of his works is his "Rule and Exercise of Holy Living and Dying," which contains numerous passages of singular beauty and truth. A writer in the Edinburgh Review remarks, that in one of Taylor's "prose folios, there is more fine fancy and original imagery-more brilliant conceptions and glowing expressions-more new figures and new application of old figures,―more, in short, of the body and soul of poetry, than in all the odes and epics that have since been produced in Europe." This is rather extravagant; but the encomium passed upon his writings by Dr. Rust, in his funeral sermon, is most richly deserved: "They will," says he, "be famous to all succeeding generations for their greatness of wit, and profoundness of judgment, and richness of fancy, and clearness of expression, and copiousness of invention, and general usefulness to all the purposes of a Christian."1


Prayer is an action of likeness to the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of gentleness and dove-like simplicity; an imitation of the holy Jesus, whose spirit is meek, up to the greatness of the biggest example; and a conformity to God, whose anger is always just, and marches slowly, and is without transportation, and often hindered, and never hasty, and is full of mercy. Prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of recolJection, the seat of meditation, the rest of our cares, and the calm of our tempest; prayer is the issue of a quiet mind, of untroubled thoughts, it is the daughter of charity, and the sister of meekness; and he that prays to God with an angry, that is, with a troubled and discomposed spirit, is like him that retires into a battle to meditate, and sets up his closet in the out-quarters of an army, and chooses a frontier garrison to be wise in. Anger is a perfect alienation of the mind from prayer, and therefore is contrary to hat attention, which presents our prayers in a right line to God. For so have I seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and soarLag upwards, singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and climb above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and inconstant, descending more at every breath of the tempest than it could recover by the libration and frequent weighing of his wings; till the little creature was forced to sit down and

1 The best edition of his works is that by Bishop Heber, "with a Life of the Author, and a critical Examination of his Works."

pant, and stay till the storm was over; and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing as if it had learned music and motion from an angel, as he passed sometimes through the air about his ministries here below: so is the prayer of a good man: when his affairs have required business, and his business was matter of discipline, and his discipline was to pass upon a sinning person, or had a design of charity, his duty met with the infirmities of a man, and anger was its instrument, and the instrument became stronger than the prime agent, and raised a tempest, and overruled the man; and then his prayer was broken, and his thoughts were troubled, and his words went up towards a cloud, and his thoughts pulled them back again, and made them without intention, and the good man sighs for his infirmity, but must be content to lose the prayer, and he must recover it when his anger is removed, and his spirit is becalmed, made even as the brow of Jesus, and smooth like the heart of God; and then it ascends to heaven upon the wings of the holy dove, and dwells with God, till it returns, like the useful bee, loaden with a blessing and the dew of heaven.


Any zeal is proper for religion but the zeal of the sword and the zeal of anger: this is the bitterness of zeal, and it is a certain temptation to every man against his duty; for if the sword turns preacher, and dictates propositions by empire instead of arguments, and engraves them in men's hearts with a poniard, that it shall be death to believe what I innocently and ignorantly am persuaded of, it must needs be unsafe to try the spirits, to try all things, to make inquiry; and, yet, without this liberty, no man can justify himself before God or man, nor confidently say that his religion is best. This is inordination of zeal; for Christ, by reproving St. Peter drawing his sword even in the cause of Christ, for his sacred and yet injured person, teaches us not to use the sword, though in the cause of God, or for God himself.

When Abraham sat at his tent door, according to his custom, waiting to entertain strangers, he espied an old man, stooping and leaning on his staff, weary with age and travail, coming towards him, who was a hundred years of age. He received him kindly, washed his feet, provided supper, caused him to sit down; but observing that the old man eat, and prayed not, nor begged for a blessing on his meat, he asked him why he did not worship the God of heaven. The old man told him that he worshipped the fire only, and acknowledged no other God. At which answer Abraham grew so zealously angry, that he thrust the old man out of his tent, and exposed him to all the evils of the night, and an unguarded condition. When the old man was gone, God called

« PreviousContinue »