Man Stands at the Crossroad and Contemplates Humankind Making
its Way Beyond the Cosmic Machine. Cecilia Bustamante

Literary works by leading poets and thinkers of the English world

Edmund Spenser, born in London, 1552, died there, 1599.


    Most glorious Lord of Life! that, on this day,
    Didst make Thy triumph over death and sin;
    And, having harrowd hell, didst bring away
    Captivity thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, deare Lord, with joy begin;
And grant that we, for whom thou diddest dye,
Being with Thy deare blood clene washt from sin,
My live for ever in felicity!
And that Thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love Thee for the same againe;
And for Thy sake, that all lyke deare didst buy,
With love may one another entertayne!
    So let us love, deare Love, lyke as we ought,
    -Love is the lesson wich the Lord us taught.

William Shakespeare, born at Stratford-on-Avon, 1564, died there in 1616.

        SONNET VII

Loe in the Orient when the gracious light,
Lifts up his burning head, each under eye
Doth homage to his new appearing sight,
Serving with lookes his sacred majesty,
And having climbd the steepe up heavenly hill,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
Yet mortall lookes adore his beauty still,
Attending on his goulden pilgrimage
But when from high-most pich with wery car,
Like feeble age he reeleth from the day,
The eyes (fore dutious) now converted are
From his low tract and looke an other way;
      So thou, thy selfe out-going in thy noon;
      Unlockd on diest unlesse thou get a sonne.

  (Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth)

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
Fooled by these rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of his excess,
Eat up that charge? Is this thy body's end?
Then, soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
       So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
       And Death once dead, there's no more dying then.

Ben Jonson, born at Westminster, London 1572, died 1637.

	Wretched and foolish Jealousy, 
	How cam'st thou thus to enter me? 
      			I ne'er was of thy kind: 
   		Nor have I yet the narrow mind 
         		To vent that poor desire, 
	That others should not warm them at my fire: 
         	I wish the sun should shine 
	On all men's fruit, and flowers, as well as mine. 

	But under the disguise of love, 
	Thou say'st, thou only cam'st to prove 
         		What my affections were. 
   		Think'st thou that love is help'd by fear? 
         		Go, get thee quickly forth, 
	Love's sickness, and his noted want of worth. 
         	Seek doubting men to please; 
		I ne'er will owe my health to a disease.
John Donne, born in London, 1573, died there, 1631
                       DEATH BE NOT PROUD

     	Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
     	Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so:
     	For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
     	Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst thou kill me.
     	From rest and sleep, which but thy picture be,
     	Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow;
     	And soonest our best men with thee do go,
     	Rest of their bones and souls' delivery.
     	Thou'rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
     	And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
     	And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
     	And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
          	One short sleep past, we make eternally,
          	And Death shall be no more: Death thou shalt die!

George Herbert, born in Montgomery Castle, Wales, 1593, died at Bemerton, Wilts, 1633.


		When God at first made man,
	Having a glass of blessings standing by,
		"Let us," said He, "pour on him all we can;
	Let the world´s riches, which dispersed lie,
		Contract into a span."

		So strength first made a way;
	Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure,
		When almost all was out, God made a stay,
	Perceiving that, alone of all His treasure,
		Rest in the bottom lay.

		"For if I should," said He,
	"Bestow this jewel also on My creature,
		He would adore my gifts instead of Me,
	And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
		So both should losers be.

		"Yet let him keep the rest,
	But keep them with repining restlessness:
		Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
	If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
		May toss him to My breast."
John Milton, born in London, 1608, died there, 1674.


	I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
		By the known rules of ancient liberty,
		When straight a barbarous noise environs me
		Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs;
	As when those hinds that were transformed to frogs
		Railed at Letona's twin-born progeny,
		Which after held the Sun and Moon in fee.
		But this is got by casting pearls to hogs,
	That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
		And still revolt when Truth would set them free.
		License they mean when they cry liberty;
	For who loves that, must first be wise and good;
		But from that mark how far they rove we see,
		For all this waste of wealth, and loss of blood.

                    	ON HIS BLINDNESS

	When I consider how my light is spent
     		Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
     		And that one talent which is death to hide
     		Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
	To serve therewith my Maker, and present
     		My true account, lest He returning chide;
     		"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
     		I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
	That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
     		Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
     		Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
	Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
     		And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
     		They also serve who only stand and wait."


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