A Poem by Andrew Marvell
Alas, how pleasant are their dayes
With whom the Infant Love yet playes!
Sorted by pairs, they still are seen
By Fountains cool, and Shadows green.
But soon these Flames do lose their light,
Like Meteors of a Summers night:
Nor can they to that Region climb,
To make impression upon Time.
‘Twas in a Shipwrack, when the Seas
Rul’d, and the Winds did what they please,
That my poor Lover floting lay,
And, e’re brought forth, was cast away:
Till at the last the master-Wave.
Upon the Rock his Mother drave;
And there she split against the Stone,
In a Cesarian Section.
The Sea him lent these bitter Tears
Which at his Eyes he alwaies bears.
And from the Winds the Sighs he bore,
Which through his surging Breast do roar.
No Day he saw but that which breaks,
Through frighted Clouds in forked streaks.
While round the ratling Thunder hurl’d,
As at the Fun’ral of the World.
While Nature to his Birth presents
This masque of quarrelling Elements;
A num’rous fleet of Corm’rants black,
That sail’d insulting o’re the Wrack,
Receiv’d into their cruel Care,
Th’ unfortunate and abject Heir:
Guardians most fit to entertain
The Orphan of the Hurricane.
They fed him up with Hopes and Air,
Which soon digested to Despair.
And as one Corm’rant fed him, still
Another on his Heart did bill.
Thus while they famish him, and feast,
He both consumed, and increast:
And languished with doubtful Breath,
Th’ Amphibium of Life and Death.
And now, when angry Heaven wou’d
Behold a spectacle of Blood,
Fortune and He are call’d to play
At sharp before it all the day:
And Tyrant Love his brest does ply
With all his wing’d Artillery.
Whilst he, betwixt the Flames and Waves,
Like Ajax, the mad Tempest braves.
See how he nak’d and fierce does stand,
Cuffing the Thunder with one hand;
While with the other he does lock,
And grapple, with the stubborn Rock:
From which he with each Wave rebounds,
Torn into Flames, and ragg’d with Wounds.
And all he saies, a Lover drest
In his own Blood does relish best.
This is the only Banneret
That ever Love created yet:
Who though, by the Malignant Starrs,
Forced to live in Storms and Warrs;
Yet dying leaves a Perfume here,
And Musick within every Ear:
And he in Story only rules,
In a Field Sable a Lover Gules.