Sir William Alexander

Song VI

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When silence luls the world asleepe,
And starres do glance in th'Azure field,
The mountaines making shadowes ore the plaines,
All creatures then betake themselues to rest,
And to the law of nature yeeld,
Saue I, who no good order keepe,
That then begin to feele my paines;
For in the Zodiacke of my brest,
The Sunne that I adore her light reuiues,
Whil'st wearied Phœbus in the Ocean diues.

The worlds cleare day was night to me,
Who seem'd asleepe still in a trance,
And all my words were spoken through a dreame:
But then when th'earth puts on th'vmbragious maske,
My passions do themselues aduance,
And from those outward lets set free,
That had them earst restrain'd with shame,
Do set me to my wofull taske:
Then from the night her priuiledge I take,
And in dispight of Morpheus I will wake.
But straight the Sunne that giues me light,
With many duskish vapors cled,
Doth seeme to boast me with some fearful storme;
And whil'st I gaze vpon the glorious beames,
Lo metamorphos'd in my bed,
I lose at once my shapher sight;
And taking on another forme,
Am all dissolu'd in bitter streames,
Where many monsters bathe themselues anone,
At which strange sight the Faunes and Satyres mone.
But whil'st I seeke mo springs t'assemble,
My waters are dride vp againe,
And as the mightie Giant that Ioue tames:
I wot not whether, if thundred or thundring,
Against the heau'ns smokes forth disdaine,
And makes mount Ætna tremble.
So I send forth a flood of flames,
Which makes the world for to stand wondring,
And neuer did the Lemnian fornace burne,
As then my brest, whil'st all to fire I turne.
At last no constancie below,
Thus plagued in two diuers shapes,
I'm turn'd into my selfe, and then I quake,
For this I haue by proofe found worst of all:
Then do my hopes fall dead in heapes,
And to b'aueng'd of their ouerthrow,
Strange troupes of thoughts their musters make,
Which tosse my fancie like a ball:
Thus one mishap doth come as th'other's past,
And still the greatest crosse comes euer last.
To tell the starres my night I passe,
And much conclude, yet questions do arise;
I harrengues make though dumbe, and see though blind,
And though alone, am hem'd about with bands:
I build great castels in the skies,
Whose tender turrets but of glasse,
Are straight oreturn'd with euery wind,
And rear'd and raz'd, yet without hands;
I in this state strange miseries detect,
And more deuise then thousands can effect.
My Sunne whil'st thus I stand perplex'd,
The darknesse doth againe controule,
And then I gaze vpon that diuine grace,
Which as that I had view'd Medusaes head,
Transform'd me once; and my sad soule,
That thus hath bene so strangely vext,
Doth from her seate those troubles chase,
The which before dispaire had made,
And all her pow'r vpon contentment feeds,
No ioy to that which after wo succeeds.
And yet those dainties of my ioyes,
Are still confected with some feares,
That well accustom'd with my cruell fate,
Can neuer trust the gift that th'enemie giues,
And onely th'end true witnesse beares:
For whil'st my soule her pow'r imployes,
To surfet in this happie state,
The heau'n againe my wracke contriues,
And the worlds Sunne enuying this of mine,
To darken my loues world begins to shine.

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Sir William Alexander