Prelude From The Shepherd's Hunting Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


Seest thou not in clearest daysA
Oft thick fogs cloud Heaven's raysA
And that vapours which do breatheB
From the Earth's gross womb beneathC
Seem unto us with black steamsD
To pollute the Sun's bright beamsD
And yet vanish into airE
Leaving it unblemished fairE
So my Willy shall it beF
With Detraction's breath on theeF
It shall never rise so highG
As to stain thy poesyD
As that sun doth oft exhaleH
Vapours from each rotten valeH
Poesy so sometime drainsD
Gross conceits from muddy brainsD
Mists of envy fogs of spiteI
Twixt men's judgments and her lightI
But so much her power may doJ
That she can dissolve them tooJ
If thy verse do bravely towerK
As she makes wing she gets powerK
Yet the higher she doth soarL
She's affronted still the moreL
Till she to the highest hath pastM
Then she rests with Fame at lastM
Let nought therefore thee affrightM
But make forward in thy flightM
For if I could match thy rhymeN
To the very stars I'd climbN
There begin again and flyG
Till I reached eternityM
But alas my Muse is slowO
For thy place she flags too lowO
Yea the more's her hapless fateM
Her short wings were clipt of lateM
And poor I her fortune ruingP
Am put up myself a mewingP
But if I my cage can ridM
I'll fly where I never didM
And though for her sake I'm crostM
Though my best hopes I have lostM
And knew she would make my troubleQ
Ten times more than ten times doubleQ
I should love and keep her tooM
Spite of all the world could doM
For though banished from my flocksD
And confined within these rocksD
Here I waste away the lightM
And consume the sullen nightM
She doth for my comfort stayM
And keeps many cares awayM
Though I miss the flowery fieldsD
With those sweets the spring tide yieldsD
Though I may not see those grovesD
Where the shepherds chaunt their lovesD
And the lasses more excelR
Than the sweet voiced PhilomelR
Though of all those pleasures pastM
Nothing now remains at lastM
But Remembrance poor reliefS
That more makes than mends my griefS
She's my mind's companion stillR
Maugre envy's evil willR
Whence she should be driven tooM
Were't in mortal's power to doM
She doth tell me where to borrowO
Comfort in the midst of sorrowO
Makes the desolatest placeD
To her presence be a graceD
And the blackest discontentsD
To be pleasing ornamentsD
In my former days of blissD
Her divine skill taught me thisD
That from everything I sawD
I could some invention drawD
And raise pleasure to her heightM
Through the meanest object's sightM
By the murmur of a springP
Or the least bough's rustlingP
By a daisy whose leaves spreadM
Shut when Titan goes to bedM
Or a shady bush or treeM
She could more infuse in meM
Than all Nature's beauties canT
In some other wiser manT
By her help I also nowU
Make this churlish place allowU
Some things that may sweeten gladnessD
In the very gall of sadnessD
The dull loneness the black shadeM
That these hanging vaults have madeM
The strange music of the wavesD
Beating on these hollow cavesD
This black den which rocks embossD
Overgrown with eldest mossD
The rude portals that give lightM
More to terror than delightM
This my chamber of neglectM
Walled about with disrespectM
From all these and this dull airE
A fit object for despairE
She hath taught me by her mightM
To draw comfort and delightM
Therefore thou best earthly blissD
I will cherish thee for thisD
Poesy thou sweet'st contentM
That e'er Heaven to mortals lentM
Though they as a trifle leave theeM
Whose dull thoughts cannot conceive theeM
Though thou be to them a scornV
That to nought but earth are bornV
Let my life no longer beM
Than I am in love with theeM
Though our wise ones call thee madnessD
Let me never taste of gladnessD
If I love not thy maddest fitsD
More than all their greatest witsD
And though some too seeming holyM
Do account thy raptures follyM
Thou dost teach me to contemnV
What makes knaves and fools of themW

George Wither


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