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I saw Eternity the other night,

Like a great ring of pure and endless light,

All calm, as it was bright;

And round beneath it, Time, in hours, days, years,

Driven by the spheres,

Like a vast shadow moved; In which the world

And all her train were hurl'd.

The doting Lover in his quaintest strain

Did there complain;

Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his slights147147slights, sleights, tricks,

Wit's sour148148sour, perhaps, unsatisfying delights;

With gloves and knots149149knots. ribbons, the silly snares of pleasure;

Yet his dear treasure

All scatter'd lay, while he his eyes did pour

Upon a flower.

The darksome Statesman150150the Statesman, Pym's career, with O. Cromwell's by poetic insight, is here (1650) unquestionably photographed hung with weights and woe,

Like a thick midnight-fog, moved there so slow,

He did not stay, nor go;

Condemning thoughts--like sad eclipses--scowl

Upon his soul,

And clouds of crying witnesses without

Pursued him with one shout;

Yet digg'd the mole, and lest his ways be found,

Work'd under ground,


Where he did clutch his prey; but One did see

That policy;

Churches and altars fed him; perjuries

Were gnats and flies;

It rain'd about him blood and tears, but he

Drank them as free.

The fearful Miser on a heap of rust

Sate pining all his life there; did scarce trust

His own hands with the dust;

Yet would not place one piece above, but lives

In fear of thieves:

Thousands there were as frantic as himself,

And hugg'd each one his pelf.

The down-right Epicure placed heaven in sense,

And scorn'd pretence;

While others, slipt into a wide excess,

Said little less;

The weaker sort, slight, trivial wares enslave,

Who think them brave151151brave, magnificent;

And poor, despiséd Truth sat counting by

Their victory.

Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing,

And sing, and weep, soar'd up into the ring;

But most would use no wing.

O fools--said I--thus to prefer dark night

Before true light!

To live in grots, and caves, and hate the day

Because it shews the way:--

The way, which from this dead and dark abode

Leads up to GOD;

A way where you might tread the Sun, and be

More bright than he!

But as I did their madness so discuss,

One whisper'd thus,--

This ring the Bride-groom did for none provide,

But for His Bride.

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