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The brags of life are but a nine days' wonder:
And after death the fumes that spring
From private bodies, make as big a thunder
As those which rise from a huge King.

Only thy Chronicle is lost and yet
Better by worms be all once spent,

Than to have hellish moths still gnaw and fret
Thy name in books, which may not vent.

When all thy deeds, whose brunt thou feel'st alone, Are chaw'd by others' pens and tongue,

And as their wit is, their digestion,

Thy nourish'd fame is weak or strong.

Then cease discoursing, soul, till thine own ground;
Do not thyself or friends importune.

He that by seeking hath himself once found,
Hath ever found a happy fortune.


My God, a verse is not a crown ;
No point of honour, or gay suit,
No hawk, or banquet, or renown,
Nor a good sword, nor yet a lute:

It cannot vault, or dance, or play;
It never was in France or Spain ;
Nor can it entertain the day
With a great stable or domain.

It is no office, art, or news;
Nor the Exchange, or busy Hall:
But it is that, which while I use,
I am with thee, and Most take all.


I SAW the Virtues sitting hand in hand
In several ranks upon an azure throne,
Where all the beasts and fowls, by their command,
Presented tokens of submission.

Humility, who sat the lowest there

To execute their call,

When by the beasts the presents tender'd were,

Gave them about to all.

The angry Lion did present his paw,

Which by consent was given to Mansuetude.
The fearful Hare her ears, which by their law
Humility did reach to Fortitude.

The jealous Turkey brought his coral chain,

That went to Temperance.

On Justice was bestow'd the Fox's brain,

Kill'd in the way by chance.

At length the Crow, bringing the Peacock's plume
(For he would not), as they beheld the grace
Of that brave gift, each one began to fume,
And challenge it, as proper to his place,

Till they fell out;

which when the beasts espied, They leapt upon the throne;

And if the Fox had lived to rule their side,

They had deposed each one.

Humility, who held the plume, at this

Did weep so fast, that the tears trickling down
Spoil'd all the train: then saying, Here it is,

For which ye wrangle, made them turn their frown
Against the beasts: so jointly bandying,

They drive them soon away;

And then amerced them, double gifts to bring
At the next Session-day.


LORD, in my silence how do I despise
What upon trust

Is styled honour, riches, or fair eyes;
But is fair dust!

I surname them gilded clay,
Dear earth, fine grass, or hay;

In all, I think my foot doth ever tread
Upon their head.

But when I view abroad both Regiments,

The world's, and thine;

Thine clad with simpleness, and sad events;
The other fine,

Full of glory and gay weeds,

Brave language, braver deeds:

That which was dust before, doth quickly rise, And prick mine eyes.

O brook not this, lest if what even now

My foot did tread,

Affront those joys, wherewith thou didst endow, And long since wed

My poor soul, e'en sick of love ; It may a Babel prove, Commodious to conquer heaven and thee Planted in me.


WHO is the honest man?

He that doth still and strongly good pursue,
To God, his neighbour, and himself most true:
Whom neither force nor fawning can
Unpin, or wrench from giving all their due.

Whose honesty is not

So loose or easy, that a ruffling wind
Can blow away, or glittering look it blind:
Who rides his sure and even trot,
While the world now rides by, now lags behind.

Who, when great trials come,

Nor seeks, nor shuns them; but doth calmly stay,
Till he the thing and the example weigh:

All being brought into a sum,
What place or person calls for, he doth pay.

Whom none can work or woo,

To use in any thing a trick or sleight;
For above all things he abhors deceit :

His words and works and fashion too

All of a piece, and all are clear and straight.

Who never melts or thaws

At close temptations: when the day is done,
His goodness sets not, but in dark can run ;
The sun to others writeth laws,

And is their virtue; Virtue is his Sun.

Who, when he is to treat

With sick folks, women, those whom passions sway, Allows for that, and keeps his constant way: Whom others' faults do not defeat;

But though men fail him, yet his part doth play.

Whom nothing can procure,

When the wide world runs bias, from his will
To writhe his limbs, and share, not mend the ill.
This is the Marksman, safe and sure,
Who still is right, and prays to be so still.


My heart did heave, and there came forth, O God!
By that I knew that thou wast in the grief,
To guide and govern it to my relief,

Making a sceptre of the rod :

Hadst thou not had thy part,

Sure the unruly sigh had broke my heart.

But since thy breath gave me both life and shape,
Thou know'st my tallies; and when there's assign'd
So much breath to a sigh, what's then behind?
Or if some years with it escape,

The sigh then only is

A gale to bring me sooner to my bliss.

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