>> / Sir John Harrington

. Poems of Sir John Harrington



(4 1561 , 20 1612 )


Dear, I to thee this diamond commend

Dear, I to thee this diamond commend,
In which a model of thyself I send.
How just unto thy joints this circlet sitteth,
So just thy face and shape my fancy fitteth.
The touch will try this ring of purest gold,
My touch tries thee, as pure though softer mold.
That metal precious is, the stone is true,
As true, and then how much more precious you.
The gem is clear, and hath nor needs no foil,
Thy face, nay more, thy fame is free from soil.
You'll deem this dear, because from me you have it,
I deem your faith more dear, because you gave it.
This pointed diamond cuts glass and steel,
Your love's like force in my firm heart I feel.
But this, as all things else, time wastes with wearing,
Where you my jewels multiply with bearing.



Such colour had her face as when the sun
Shines in a watery cloud in pleasant spring;
And even as when the summer is begun
The nightingales in boughs do sit and sing,
So the blind god, whose force can no man shun
Sits in her eyes, and thence his darts doth fling;
Bathing his wings in her bright crystal streams,
And sunning them in her rare beauties beams.
In these he heads his golden-headed dart,
In those he cooleth it, and tempereth so,
He levels thence at good Oberto's heart,
And to the head he draws it in his bow.



Unthankfulness is that great sin,
Which made the devil and his angels fall:
Lost him and them the joys that they were in,
And now in hell detains them bound in thrall.


Of An Accident Of Saying Grace

MY Mall, in your short absence from this place,
Myself here dining at your mother's board,
Your little son did thus begin his grace,
The eyes of all things look on thee O Lord,
And thou their food dost give them in due season.
Peace boy (quoth I) not more of this a word,
For in this place this grace hath little reason,
Whenas we speak to God we must speak true,
And though the meat be good in taste and season,
This season for a dinner is not due,
Then peace, I say, to lie to God is treason.
Say on my boy (saith she) your father mocks,
Clowns and not courtiers use to go by clocks.
Courtiers by clocks (said I) and clowns by cocks.
Now if your mother chide with me for this,
Then you must reconcile us with a kiss.


On The Wares In Ireland

I praised the speech, but cannot now abide it,
That warre is sweet to those that have not try'd it;
For I have proved it now and plainly see't,
It is so sweet, it maketh all things sweet.
At home Canaric wines and Greek grow lothsome;
Here milk is nectar, water tasteth toothsome.
There without baked, rost, boyl'd, it is no cheere;
Bisket we like, and Bonny Clabo here.
There we complain of one wan roasted chick;
Here meat worse cookt ne're makes us sick.
At home in silken sparrers, beds of Down,
We scant can rest, but still tosse up and down;
Here we can sleep, a saddle to our pillow,
A hedge the Curtaine, Canopy a Willow.
There if a child but cry, O what a spite!
Here we can brook three larums in one night.
There homely rooms must be perfumed with Roses;
Here match and powder ne're offend our noses.
There from a storm of rain we run like Pullets;
Here we stand fast against a shower of bullets.
Lo, then how greatly their opinions erre,
That think there is no great delight in warre;
But yet for this, sweet warre, He be thy debtor,
I shall forever love my home the better.



Against bad tongues goodness cannot defend her,
Those be most free from faults they least will spare,
But prate of them whom they have scantly known,
Judging their humors to be like their own.



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