Friday, September 07, 2012



Henry Vaughan (1621-1695), To His Retired Friend, an Invitation to Brecknock, lines 73-80, in The Works of Henry Vaughan, ed. Leonard Cyril Martin, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1914), p. 47:
Come, then! and while the slow Isicle hangs
At the stiffe thatch, and Winters frostie pangs
Benumme the year, blith (as of old) let us        75
'Midst noise and War, of Peace, and mirth discusse.
This portion thou wert born for: why should wee
Vex at the times ridiculous miserie?
An age that thus hath fool'd itself, and will,
(Spite of thy teeth and mine) persist so still.        80
Id. (p. 61), To My Worthy Friend Master T. Lewes:
Sees not my friend, what a deep snow
Candies our Countries wooddy brow?
The yeelding branch his load scarse bears
Opprest with snow, and frozen tears,
While the dumb rivers slowly float,        5
All bound up in an Icie Coat.
Let us meet then! and while this world
In wild Excentricks now is hurld,
Keep wee, like nature, the same Key,
And walk in our forefathers way;        10
Why any more cast wee an Eye
On what may come, not what is nigh?
Why vex our selves with feare, or hope
And cares beyond our Horoscope?
Who into future times would peere        15
Looks oft beyond his terme set here,
And cannot goe into those grounds
But through a Church-yard which them bounds;
Sorrows and sighes and searches spend
And draw our bottome to an end,        20
But discreet Joyes lengthen the lease
Without which life were a disease,
And who this age a Mourner goes,
Doth with his tears but feed his foes.
2 candies: OED, s.v. candy, v., sense 4: "To cover or incrust with crystalline substance, as hoar-frost, etc."

Others have pointed out Vaughan's debt to Horace, Odes 1.9, here in John Dryden's translation:
Behold yon Mountains hoary height,
    Made higher with new Mounts of snow:
Again behold the Winter's weight
    Oppress the lab'ring Woods below;
And Streams, with Icy fetters bound,
Benum'd and crampt to solid Ground.

With well-heap'd logs dissolve the cold
    And feed the genial hearth with fires;
Produce the Wine, that makes us bold,
    And sprightly Wit and Love inspires:
For what hereafter shall betide,
God, if 'tis worth his care, provide.

Let him alone, with what he made,
    To toss and turn the World below;
At his command the storms invade,
    The winds by his Commission blow,
Till with a nod he bids 'em cease,
And then the Calm returns, and all is peace.

To morrow and her works defie,
    Lay hold upon the present hour,
And snatch the pleasures passing by,
    To put them out of Fortune's pow'r;
Nor love nor love's delights disdain;
Whate're thou get'st to day is gain.

Secure those golden early joyes
    That Youth unsowr'd with sorrow bears,
E're with'ring time the taste destroyes
    With sickness and unwieldy years!
For active sports, for pleasing rest,
This is the time to be possest;
    The best is but in season best.

The pointed hour of promis'd Bliss,
    The pleasing whisper in the dark,
The half unwilling willing kiss,
    The laugh that guides thee to the mark,
When the kind Nymph wou'd coyness feign,
And hides but to be found again;
    These, these are the joyes the Gods for Youth ordain.
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