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Charles Cotton

All my ambition is, I own, to profit and to please unknown; like streams supplied from springs below, which scatter blessings as they go.

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To Coelia

WHEN, Coelia, must my old day set,
   And my young morning rise
In beams of joy so bright as yet
   Ne'er bless'd a lover's eyes?
My state is more advanced than when
   I first attempted thee:
I sued to be a servant then,
   But now to be made free.

I've served my time faithful and true,
   Expecting to be placed
In happy freedom, as my due,
   To all the joys thou hast:
Ill husbandry in love is such
   A scandal to love's power,
We ought not to misspend so much
   As one poor short-lived hour.

Yet think not, sweet! I'm weary grown,
   That I pretend such haste;

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The Noon Quatrains

THE Day grows hot, and darts his rays
From such a sure and killing place,
That half this World are fain to fly
The danger of his burning eye.
His early glories were benign,
Warm to be felt, bright to be seen,
And all was comfort, but who can
Endure him when Meridian?
Of him we as of kings complain,
Who mildly do begin to reign,
But to the Zenith got of pow'r,
Those whom they should protect devour.
Has not another Phaeton
Mounted the chariot of the Sun,
And, wanting art to guide his horse,
Is hurri'd from the Sun's due course.
If this hold on, our fertile lands
Will soon be turn'd to parched sands,
And not an onion that will grow
Without a Nile to overflow.

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The Evening Quatrains

THE Day's grown old, the fainting Sun
Has but a little way to run,
And yet his steeds, with all his skill,
Scarce lug the chariot down the hill.
With labour spent, and thirst opprest,
Whilst they strain hard to gain the West,
From fetlocks hot drops melted light,
Which turn to meteors in the Night.
The shadows now so long do grow,
That brambles like tall cedars show,
Mole-hills seem mountains, and the ant
Appears a monstrous elephant.
A very little little flock
Shades thrice the ground that it would stock;
Whilst the small stripling following them
Appears a mighty Polypheme.
These being brought into the fold,
And by the thrifty master told
, [counted]
He thinks his wages are well paid,

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Clepsydra

WHY, let is run! who bids it stay?
Let us the while be merry;
Time there in water creeps away,
With us it posts in sherry.
Time not employ'd's empty sound,
Nor did kind Heaven lend it,
But that the glass should quick go round,
And men in pleasure spend it.
Then set thy foot, brave boy, to mine,
Ply quick to cure our thinking;
An hour-glass in an hour of wine
Would be but lazy drinking.
The man that snores the hour-glass out
Is truly a time-waster,
But we, who troll this glass about,
Make him to post it faster.
Yet though he flies so fast, some think,
'Tis well known to the sages,
He'll not refuse to stay and drink,
And yet perform his stages.

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The Morning Quatrains

THE cock has crow'd an hour ago,
'Tis time we now dull sleep forego;
Tir'd Nature is by sleep redress'd,
And Labour's overcome by rest.
We have out-done the work of Night,
'Tis time we rise t'attend the Light,
And e'er he shall his beams display,
To plot new bus'ness for the Day.
None but the slothful, or unsound,
Are by the Sun in feathers found,
Nor, without rising with the Sun,
Can the world's bus'ness e'er be done.
Hark! Hark! the watchful Chanticler
Tells us the Day's bright harbinger
Peeps o'er the eastern hills, to awe
And warm night's sov'reign to withdraw.
The morning curtains now are drawn,
And now appears the blushing dawn;
Aurora has her roses shed,
To strew the way Sol's steeds must tread.

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The Night Quatrains

THE Sun is set, and gone to sleep
With the fair princess of the deep,
Whose bosom is his cool retreat,
When fainting with his proper heat;
His steeds their flaming nostrils cool
In spume of the cerulean pool;
Whilst the wheels dip their hissing naves
[hubs]
Deep in Columbus's western waves.
From whence great rolls of smoke arise
To overshade the beauteous skies,
Who bid the World's bright eye adieu
In gelid tears of falling dew.
And now from the Iberian vales
Night's sable steeds her chariot hales,
Where double cypress curtains screen
The gloomy melancholic queen.
These, as they higher mount the sky,
Ravish all colour from the ey,
And leave it but an useless glass

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The Angler's Ballad

AWAY to the brook,
All your tackle out look,
Here's a day that is worth a year's wishing;
See that all things be right,
For 'tis a very spite
To want tools when a man goes a-fishing.

Your rod with tops two,
For the same will not do
If your manner of angling you vary
And full will you may think
If you troll with a pink,
One too weak will be apt to miscarry.

Then basket, neat made
By a master in's trade
In a belt at your shoulders must dangle;
For none e'er was so vain
To wear this to disdain,
Who a true Brother was of the Angle.

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