Philip Ayres (1638-1712)
The following are from Lyric Poems: Made in Imitation of the Italians (1687), except for the last, which is from Emblems of Love (later) (Saintsbury, ed). I have included the fourteen-line poems in couplets.
Introduction to Ayres by George Saintsbury.
Excerpt from Ayres' preface to Lyric Poems.
- The Proem: To Love
- The Request: To Love
- The Complaint
- Invites Poets and Historians to write in Cynthia's Praise
- Cynthia on Horseback
- On the Death of Cynthia's Horse
- Of Love
- On a Fair Beggar
- A Sonnet, out of Italian, from Claudjo Achillini
- The Rose and Lily
- On Signor Pietro Reggio: His Setting to Music Several of Mr. Cowley's Poems
- On the Picture of Cavalier Guarini, of Il Pastor Fido, painted by the Famous Borgianni, and set up in his Funeral Pile at Rome
- Love's Contrariety
- Love's Garden
- A Sonnet, of Petrarch, on the Death of Laura
- On the Death of Sylvia
- The Resolution: A Sonnet of Petrarch out of Italian
- A Contemplation on Man's Life: Out of Spanish
- To his Grace, George Duke of Northumberland
- A Sonnet of Sig. Francesco Petrarca, Giving an Account of the Time When He Fell in Love with Madonna Laura
- A Sonnet, of Petrarch, Showing How Long he had Lov'd Madonna Laura
- A Sonnet, of Petrarch, Going to Visit M. Laura, Remembers She Is Lately Dead
- Petrarch laments for the Death of M. Laura
- Petrarch on Laura's Death
- Finding Cynthia in Pain, and Crying
- Cynthia Sleeping in a Garden
- Lesbia's Complaint against Thyrsis His Inconstancy
- On Lydia Distracted
- Written by Sig. Fra. Gorgia, Who Was Born as They Were Carrying His Mother to Her Grave
- The Scholar of His Own Pupil
- Platonic Love
- On Cynthia Sick
- An Ode of Anacreon
- The Musical Conqueress
- A Nymph to a Young Shepherd, Insensible of Love
- In Sphaeram Archimedis
- The Frailty of Man's Life
- On Man's Life
- Cupid to Cloe Weeping
The Proem: To Love
Let others sing of Mars, and of his train,
Of great exploits, and honourable scars,
The many dire effects of Civil Wars,
Death's triumphs, and encomiums of the slain.
I sing the conflicts I myself sustain,
With her (Great Love) the cause of all my cares,
Who wounds with looks, and fetters with her hairs.
This mournful tale requires a tragic strain.
Eyes were the Arms, did first my Peace control,
Wounded by them, a source of Tears there sprung,
Running like blood from my afflicted soul;
Thou Love, to whom this conquest does belong,
Leave me at least the comfort to condole,
And as thou wound'st my Heart, inspire my Song.
The Request: To Love
O Love, who in my breast's most noble part,
Didst that fair Image lodge, that Form Divine,
In whom the sum of Heavenly Graces shine,
And there ingrav'dst it with thy golden dart.
Now, mighty Workman! Help me by thy art,
(Since my dull pen trembles to strike a line)
That I on paper copy the design,
By thee express'd so lively in my heart.
Lend me, when I this great attempt do try,
A feather from thy wings, that whilst to write,
My hand's employ'd, my thoughts may soar on high;
Thy Torch, which fires our hearts and burns so bright,
My darker fancy let its flame supply,
And through my numbers dart celestial light.
Now angry Juno sends from Heaven in spite
Rivers and Seas, instead of moderate showers
Horror invests the world, and the bright Hours
Of Delos' God, are chang'd to dismal Night.
So crowds of anxious thoughts on ev'ry side
Invade my soul, and through my restless eyes,
I shed such streams of tears, my heart e'en tries
Death's pangs, whilst I by force in life abide.
But the brisk gales, which rising by and by,
Where Sol at night in Thetis' lap shall lie,
Will make Heaven clear, and drive away the rain.
Ah, Cynthia! That the blasts or sighs I vent,
Could ease my breast of cloudy discontent,
Which still with fresh assaults renews my pain.
Invites Poets and Historians to Write in Cynthia's Praise
Come all ye Wits, that with immortal rhymes,
Glory to others, and yourselves, create:
And you that gratify the future times,
Whilst tales of Love and battles ye relate;
Come, turn your studies, and your eyes this way,
This theme will crown your heads with lasting bays,
'Tis Cynthia's beauty, Heavenly Cynthia;
Come swell your volumes all with Cynthia's praise.
Posterity will then your works admire,
And for her sake shall them as jewels prize,
All things to Cynthia's glory must conspire,
She shall be worshipp'd with the deities.
To her make foreign lands pay honours due,
Thus shall you live by her, and she by you.
Cynthia on Horseback
Fair Cynthia mounted on her sprightly pad,
Which in white robe with silver fringe was clad,
And swift as wind his graceful steps did move,
As with his beauteous guide he'd been in love.
Though fierce, yet humble still to her command,
Obeying ev'ry touch of her fair hand;
Her golden bit his foaming mouth did check,
It spread his crest, and rais'd his bending neck.
She was the rose upon this hill of snow,
Her sparkling beauty made the glorious show;
Whence secret flames men in their bosoms took:
The Graces and the Cupids her surround,
Attending her, while cruel she does wound,
With switch her horse, and hearts with ev'ry look.
On the Death of Cynthia's Horse
Whate'er the world could boast of fair or good,
Thy back with pride has borne, thou happy Horse,
By which thou'rt fall'n in middle of thy course,
Too feeble to sustain so great a load.
Oh happy fall! Oh dying full of bliss!
Whilst she that guided Love did guide thy head,
Big with this thought, thou willingly art dead,
Scorning another burden after this.
A Heaven of Beauty over-press'd thy back,
This might have made Alcides' shoulders crack,
And Atlas truckle under such a weight:
Heav'n thee amongst its horses long'd to see,
As here the world was late in love with thee,
When carrying her who to the sun gave light.
If Love it be not, what is this I feel?
If it be Love, what Love is, fain I'd know?
If good, why the effects severe and ill?
If bad, why do its torments please me so?
If willingly I burn, should I complain?
If 'gainst my will, what helps it to lament?
Oh living Death! oh most delightful pain!
How comes all this, if I do not consent?
If I consent, 'tis madness then to grieve;
Amidst these storms, in a weak boat I'm tost
Upon a dangerous sea, without relief,
No help from Reason, but in Error lost.
Which way in this distraction shall I turn,
That freeze in Summer, and in Winter burn?
On a Fair Beggar
Barefoot and ragged, with neglected hair,
She whom the Heavens at once made poor and fair,
With humble voice and moving words did stay,
To beg an alms of all who pass'd that way.
But thousands viewing her became her prize,
Willingly yielding to her conquering eyes,
And caught by her bright hairs, whilst careless she
Makes them pay homage to her poverty.
So mean a boon, said I, what can extort
From that fair mouth, where wanton Love to sport
Amidst the pearls and rubies we behold?
Nature on thee has all her treasures spread,
Do but incline thy rich and precious head,
And those fair locks shall pour down showers of gold.
A Sonnet, out of Italian, from Claudjo Achillini
Written by a Nymph in Her Own Blood
Since, cruel Thyrsis, you my torments slight,
And take no notice of my amorous flame,
In these vermilion letters thus I write
My bloody reasons to confirm the same.
These of my passion are the lively marks,
Which from my veins you here in blood see writ,
Touch them, your breast will kindle with the sparks,
The ardent characters are reeking yet.
Nor can my pen alone my heart explain,
My very soul o'ercharg'd with grief, I fain
Would send enclos'd herein, the truth to prove.
And if I've been too sparing of my blood,
This is the reason why I stopp'd the flood,
I would not spoil the face I'd have you love.
The Rose and Lily
Courted by Cupids, and the amorous air,
Upon a shady throne, at her repose,
She sate, than whom, none e'er so sweet or fair:
It was the Queen of Flowers, the blushing rose.
With no less pride, upon his bed of state,
A Lily, pale with envy, look'd that way;
With humble flowers, encompass'd round he sate,
And scorn'd the sceptre at her feet to lay.
To arms, with thorns and prickles, they prepare
And each designs to try it out by war;
Till on good counsel, they in rule combine:
So in your face, the lovely White and Red,
Cynthia, I see all quarrels banishéd,
And Rose and Lily do in empire join.
On Signor Pietro Reggio His Setting to Music Several of Mr. Cowley's Poems
If Theban Pindar rais'd his country's fame,
Whilst its great deeds he does in odes rehearse,
And they made greater by his noble verse
In gratitude are trophies to his name:
Then English Pindar shall for ever live,
Since his divine and lofty poetry
Secur'd, great Regglo, by thy harmony,
Shall to itself immortal glory give.
The world's amaz'd to hear the sweet consent,
Betwixt thy charming voice and instrument,
They'd stop the bays which from Apollo fled;
Thy skilful notes would make in full career
Phoebus, the God of Music, stay to hear,
And with his Daphne crown thy rival head.
On the Picture of Cavalier Guarini, of Il Pastor Fido, Painted by the Famous Borgianni, and Set up in His Funeral Pile at Rome
You, who to fam'd Guarini, now he's dead,
Your verses consecrate, and statues rear,
For that sweet Padan swan your tears have shed,
Sweetest that ever did, or will sing here.
Behold this picture on his fun'ral pile,
Your mournful spirits 'twill with joy revive,
Tho' th' artist cheats your senses all the while,
For 'tis but paint which you would swear does live.
This serves to keep our friend in memory,
Since Death hath robb'd us of his better part,
And that he so might live as ne'er to die,
He drew himself too, but with diff'rent art.
Judge, which with greatest life and spirit looks,
Borgianni's painting, or Guarini's Books.
I make no war, and yet no peace have found,
With heat I melt, when starv'd to death with cold.
I soar to Heav'n, while grovelling on the ground,
Embrace the world, yet nothing do I hold.
I'm not confin'd, yet cannot I depart,
Nor loose the chain tho' not a captive led;
Love kills me not, yet wounds me to the heart,
Will neither have m' alive, nor have me dead.
Being blind, I see; not having voice, I cry:
I wish for Death, while I of Life make choice;
I hate myself, yet love you tenderly;
Do feed of tears, and in my grief rejoice.
Thus, Cynthia, all my health is but disease;
Both life and death do equally displease.
Love's Garden: Translated from Girolamo Preti
I to Love's garden came, with my attire
Was wove with herbs of Hope, and of Desire,
Branches of Trouble too by me were worn,
Whose flowers and fruit were Prejudice and Scorn.
'Twas wall'd with Pain, and Anguish round about,
And from a thousand places issu'd out
Water of Grief and Air of Sighs, beside
Deceit and Cruelty, did there reside.
Pride was the Keeper; and to cultivate
Was Jealousy who still with mortal Hate,
Tare up my happiness ere it could grow;
Whilst, like a madman, thus I strive to sow,
Under the shadow of a thought that's kind,
I plough in stone, dig water, stop the wind.
A Sonnet, of Petrarch, on the Death of Laura
I fill with sighs the air whene'er I stand
On yon' high hill, and thence survey the plain,
Where Laura, she who could my heart command,
Did in her Earthly Paradise remain.
For now she's dead, and left me here alone,
Griev'd for her loss, that I could gladly die;
Drowning my eyes in making of my moan,
My tears have left no space about me dry.
There is no stone upon that craggy hill,
Nor these sweet fields an herb or plant do bring,
Nor flower 'mongst all that do the valleys fill,
Nor any drop of water from the spring;
Nor beasts so wild, that in the woods do dwell,
But of my grief for Laura's death can tell.
On the Death of Sylvia
Oh Death! without regard to wrong or right,
All things at will thy boundless rage devours;
This tender plant thou hast cut down in spight,
And scatter'd on the ground its fruit, and flowers.
Our love's extinct that with such ardour burn'd,
And all my hope of future pleasure dies;
Nature's chief master-piece to earth's return'd,
Deaf to my passion, and my grievous cries.
Sylvia, the tears which on thy sepulchre,
Hereafter shall be shed, or those now are,
Tho' fruitless, yet I offer them to thee,
Until the coming of th' Eternal Night
Shall close these eyes, once happy with thy sight,
And give me eyes with which I thee may see.
The Resolution: A Sonnet of Petrarch out of Italian
O Time! Oh rolling Heavens, that fly so fast,
And cheat us mortals ignorant and blind!
Oh fugitive Day, swifter than bird or wind!
Your frauds I see, by all my suff'rings past.
But pardon me, 'tis I myself must blame,
Nature that spreads your wings, and makes you fly,
To me gave eyes, that I my ills might spy:
Yet I retain'd them to my grief, and shame.
Time was I might, and Time is still I may
Direct my steps in a securer way,
And end this sad infinity of ill;
Yet 'tis not from thy yoke, O Love, I part,
But the effects; I will reclaim my heart:
Virtue's no chance, but is acquir'd by skill.
A Contemplation on Man's Life. Out of Spanish
Vile Composition, Earth inspir'd with breath,
Man, that at first wert made of dust and tears,
And then by law divine condemn'd to death;
When wilt thou check thy lusts in their careers?
Change all thy mirth to sorrow, and repent,
That thou so often didst just Heav'n offend,
Deplore thy precious hours so vainly spent,
If thou wilt 'scape such pains as have no end.
The gaping grave expects thee as its right,
'Tis a strait place, but can contain with ease,
Honour, Command, Wealth, Beauty, and Delight,
And all that does our carnal senses please.
Only th' immortal soul can never die,
Therefore on that thy utmost care employ.
To His Grace, George Duke of Northumberland
Th' unruly steed by laws to tame and ride;
With graceful course the well-pois'd lance to guide;
In martial sports ever to win the prize;
And troops with skill and judgement exercise:
In a calm breast a warlike heart to show;
To glory friend, to wantonness a foe;
To keep on Passion, Reason's powerful hand;
Over his soul, and self, to have command:
To sport with books, whilst arms aside he lays;
To interweave the olive with the bays;
When tir'd with arts, to tune Apollo's lyre;
To merit honours ere he them desire.
These fruits which others bring with art and time,
Your blooming age does yield before your prime.
A Sonnet of Sig. Francesco Petrarca, Giving an Account of the Time When He Fell in Love with Madonna Laura
Will spurs me on, Love wounds me with his dart,
Pleasure does draw me, Custom pulls me too,
Hope flatters, that I should my ends pursue,
And lends her right hand to my fainting heart.
My wretched heart accepts, nor yet espies
The weakness of my blind disloyal guide,
My Passions rule, long since my Reason died,
And from one fond Desire, still others rise.
Virtue and Wealth, Beauty and Graceful Mien,
Sweet Words, and Person fair as e'er was seen,
Were the allurements drew me to her net:
'Twas Thirteen hundred twenty sev'n, the year,
April the sixth, this Nymph did first appear,
And tied me so, I ne'er shall Freedom get.
A Sonnet, of Petrarch, Showing How Long He Had Lov'd Madonna Laura
Pleasure in thought, in weeping ease I find;
I catch at shadows, grasp air with my hand;
On seas I float are bounded with no land;
Plough water, sow on rocks, and reap the wind.
The sun I gaz'd so long at, I became
Struck with its dazzling rays, and lost my eyes;
I chase a nimble doe that always flies,
And hunt with a dull creature, weak and lame.
Heartless I live to all things but my ill,
Which I'm solicitous to follow still;
And only call on Laura, Love and Death.
Thus twenty years I've spent in misery,
Whilst only sighs, and tears, and sobs I buy,
Under such hard stars first I drew my breath.
A Sonnet, of Petrarch, Going to Visit M. Laura, Remembers She Is Lately Dead
Oh eyes! Our Sun's extinct, and at an end,
Or rather glorified in Heav'n does shine;
There shall we see her, there does she attend,
And at our long delay perchance repine.
Alas, my ears, the voice you lov'd to hear,
Is now rais'd up to the celestial choir;
And you, my feet, she's gone that us'd to steer
Your course, where you till death can ne'er aspire.
Cannot my soul nor body yet be free?
'Twas not my fault, you this occasion lost;
That seeing, hearing, finding her y' are crost:
Blame Death, or rather blest be ever He,
Who binds and looses, makes and can destroy,
And, when Life's done, crowns with Eternal Joy.
Petrarch Laments for the Death of M. Laura
This Nightingale that does so much complain
Robb'd of her tender young, or dearest mate,
And to the fields and heav'ns her tale relate,
In such sad notes, but yet harmonious strain;
Perhaps this station kindly does retain,
To join her griefs with my unhappy state;
'Twas my assurance did my woe create:
I thought Death could not have a Goddess slain.
How soon deceiv'd are those, who least mistrust!
I ne'er could think that face should turn to dust,
Which, than all human beauties seem'd more pure:
But now I find that my malicious fate,
Will, to my sorrow, have me learn too late:
Nothing that pleases here, can long endure.
Petrarch on Laura's Death
Hold, treacherous thoughts, that dare my rule despise,
Is 't not enough 'gainst me in war are join'd
Love, Fortune, and grim Death, but I must find
Within me such domestic enemies?
And thou, my heart, that dost my peace oppose,
Disloyal thou wilt give my soul no rest,
But harb'ring still these thoughts within my breast,
Keep'st correspondence with my deadly foes;
To thee Love all his messages conveys,
Fortune my now departed pomp displays,
Death in my mind does all my griefs express;
That my remains fall by necessity,
My thoughts with errors arm themselves in thee:
Thou art the cause of my unhappiness.
Finding Cynthia in Pain, and Crying
Why, Idol of my Heart, these mournful cries,
And so much grief on those fair cheeks appears?
From whence proceed those envious showers of tears,
Dark'ning the lustre of thy beauteous eyes?
How dares hold Sorrow labour to remove
So many graces from their proper place?
Ah, Cynthia! Pain endeavours, in thy face,
To poison all the sweetest charms of Love.
Sense of thy grief my soul with anguish fills,
Which out of pity into tears distills,
And for thy ease would fain endure thy woe!
But this affliction, sure thy heart sustains,
That, cruel Thou, being sensible of pains,
May'st to thy constant martyr pity show.
Cynthia Sleeping in a Garden
Near a cool fountain, on a rose-bed lay
My Cynthia, sleeping in the open air;
Whom Sol espied, and seeing her so fair,
Gaz'd, till his wanton coursers lost their way.
The proudest flowers were not asham'd to find
Their scent and colour rivall'd in her face;
Her bright curl'd hairs were toss'd from place to place,
On neck and bosom by the amorous wind.
Her smiles were animated by her breath,
Which still as soon as born receiv'd their death,
Being mortal made in pity to men's hearts:
Poor Lovers then did lie and take their rest,
For the Blind Boy who does our peace molest,
Had in her sleeping eyes hid all his darts.
Lesbia's Complaint against Thyrsis His Inconstancy
I lov'd thee, faithless Man, and love thee still,
Thou fatal object of my fond desires,