Diary of the Plague Year: Day 87 10 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: John Wilmot (1647 – 1680)

AGAINST CONSTANCY
 
Tell me no more of constancy,
   The frivolous pretense
Of cold age, narrow jealousy,
  Disease, and want of sense.
 
Let duller fools, on whom kind chance
  Some easy heart has thrown,
Despairing higher to advance,
  Be kind to one alone.
 
Old men and weak, whose idle flame
  Their own defects discovers,
Since changing can but spread their shame,
  Ought to be constant lovers.
 
But we, whose hearts do justly swell
  With not vainglorious pride,
Who know how we in love excel,
  Long to be often tried.
 
Then bring my bath, and strew my bed,
  As each kind night returns,
I’ll change a mistress till I’m dead –
  And fate change me to worms.
 
FROM: 
 
The Oxford Library of English Poetry
Volume II
Sackville to Keats
 
Chosen & edited by John Wain
 

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 43 27 April 2020: Quotidian Poetry: Eight Metaphysical Poets George Herbert (1593-1633)

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After Donne I decided to read one of the Metaphysical poets each day for the next seven days.  Today’s poet is George Herbert.

PRAYER
 
Prayer the Churches banquet, Angels age,
  Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
  The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth;
 
Engine against th’Almightie, sinners towre,
  Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
  The six-daies world transposing in an houre,
A kind of tune, which all things heare and fear;
 
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
  Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
  Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,
 
  Church-bells beyond the stares heard, the souls blood,
  The land of spices, something understood.

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 23 7 April 2020: Quotidian Poetry John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1647-80)

John Wilmot

 

To the Postboy

ROCHESTER:

Son of a whore, God damn you, can you tell
A peerless peer the readiest way to Hell?
I’ve outswilled Bacchus, sworn of my own make
Oaths would fright Furies and make Pluto quake.
I’ve swived more whores more ways than Sodom’s walls
E’er knew, or the college of Rome’s cardinals.
Witness heroic scars, look here, ne’er go.
Cerecloths and ulcers from top to toe.
Frighted at my own mischiefs I have fled
And bravely left my life’s defender dead,
Broke houses to break chastity, and dyed
That floor with murder which my lust denied.
Pox on’t, why do I speak of these poor things?
I have blasphemed my God and libelled kings.
The readiest way to Hell? Come quick, ne’er stir.

 

BOY:                    The readiest way, my lord, ‘s by Rochester

FROM:

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
Selected Works

Penguin Classics