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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 100/175 -


Why warbling birds forget to sing, And winter storms invert the year: Chloris is gone; and fate provides To make it Spring where she resides.

Chloris is gone, the cruel fair; She cast not back a pitying eye: But left her lover in despair To sigh, to languish, and to die: Ah! how can those fair eyes endure To give the wounds they will not cure?

Great God of Love, why hast thou made A face that can all hearts command, That all religions can invade, And change the laws of every land? Where thou hadst placed such power before, Thou shouldst have made her mercy more.

When Chloris to the temple comes, Adoring crowds before her fall; She can restore the dead from tombs And every life but mine recall, I only am by Love designed To be the victim for mankind.

John Dryden [1631-1700]

SONG Written At Sea, In The First Dutch War (1665), The Night Before An Engagement

To all you ladies now at land We men at sea indite; But first would have you understand How hard it is to write: The Muses now, and Neptune too, We must implore to write to you - With a fa, la, la, la, la.

For though the Muses should prove kind, And fill our empty brain, Yet if rough Neptune rouse the wind To wave the azure main, Our paper, pen, and ink, and we, Roll up and down our ships at sea - With a fa, la, la, la, la.

Then if we write not by each post, Think not we are unkind; Nor yet conclude our ships are lost By Dutchmen or by wind: Our tears we'll send a speedier way, The tide shall bring them twice a day - With a fa, la, la, la, la.

The King with wonder and surprise Will swear the seas grow bold, Because the tides will higher rise Than e'er they did of old: But let him know it is our tears Bring floods of grief to Whitehall stairs - With a fa, la, la, la, la.

Should foggy Opdam chance to know Our sad and dismal story, The Dutch would scorn so weak a foe, And quit their fort at Goree: For what resistance can they find From men who've left their hearts behind? - With a fa, la, la, la, la.

Let wind and weather do its worst, Be you to us but kind; Let Dutchmen vapor, Spaniards curse, No sorrow we shall find: 'Tis then no matter how things go, Or who's our friend, or who's our foe - With a fa, la, la, la, la.

To pass our tedious hours away We throw a merry main, Or else at serious ombre play: But why should we in vain Each other's ruin thus pursue? We were undone when we left you - With a fa, la, la, la, la.

But now our fears tempestuous grow And cast our hopes away; Whilst you, regardless of our woe, Sit careless at a play: Perhaps permit some happier man To kiss your hand, or flirt your fan - With a fa, la, la, la, la.

When any mournful tune you hear, That dies in every note As if it sighed with each man's care For being so remote, Think then how often love we've made To you, when all those tunes were played - With a fa, la, la, la, la.

In justice you cannot refuse To think of our distress, When we for hopes of honor lose Our certain happiness: All those designs are but to prove Ourselves more worthy of your love - With a fa, la, la, la, la.

And now we've told you all our loves, And likewise all our fears, In hopes this declaration moves Some pity for our tears: Let's hear of no inconstancy - We have too much of that at sea - With a fa, la, la, la, la.

Charles Sackville [1638-1706]

SONG

In vain you tell your parting lover, You wish fair winds may waft him over. Alas! what winds can happy prove That bear me far from what I love? Alas! what dangers on the main Can equal those that I sustain From slighted vows, and cold disdain?

Be gentle, and in pity choose To wish the wildest tempests loose: That, thrown again upon the coast, Where first my shipwrecked heart was lost, I may once more repeat my pain; Once more in dying notes complain Of slighted vows and cold disdain.

Matthew Prior [1664-1721]

BLACK-EYED SUSAN

All in the Downs the fleet was moored, The streamers waving in the wind, When black-eyed Susan came aboard; "O! where shall I my true-love find? Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true If my sweet William sails among the crew."

William, who high upon the yard Rocked with the billow to and fro, Soon as her well-known voice he heard He sighed, and cast his eyes below: The cord slides swiftly through his glowing hands, And, quick as lightning, on the deck he stands.

So the sweet lark, high poised in air, Shuts close his pinions to his breast If chance his mate's shrill call he hear, And drops at once into her nest: - The noblest captain in the British fleet Might envy William's lip those kisses sweet.

"O Susan, Susan, lovely dear, My vows shall ever true remain; Let me kiss off that falling tear; We only part to meet again. Change as ye list, ye winds; my heart shall be The faithful compass that still points to thee.

"Believe not what the landmen say Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind: They'll tell thee, sailors, when away, In every port a mistress find: Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so, For Thou art present wheresoe'er I go.

"If to far India's coast we sail, Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright, Thy breath is Afric's spicy gale, Thy skin is ivory so white. Thus every beauteous object that I view Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.

"Though battle call me from thy arms Let not my pretty Susan mourn; Though cannons roar, yet, safe from harms, William shall to his Dear return. Love turns aside the balls that round me fly, Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye."

The boatswain gave the dreadful word, The sails their swelling bosom spread, No longer must she stay aboard; They kissed, she sighed, he hung his head.


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 100/175

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