Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Description of a Religious House
By Richard Crashaw (c. 1613–1649)
 
NO roofs of gold o’er riotous tables shining
Whole days and suns, devour’d with endless dining;
No sails of Tyrian silk, proud pavements sweeping,
Nor ivory couches costlier slumber keeping;
False lights of flaring gems; tumultuous joys;        5
Halls full of flattering men and frisking boys;
Whate’er false shows of short and slippery good
Mix the mad sons of men in mutual blood.
But walks, and unshorn woods; and souls, just so
Unforc’d and genuine; but not shady though.        10
Our lodgings hard and homely as our fare,
That chaste and cheap, as the few clothes we wear.
Those, coarse and negligent, as the natural locks
Of these loose groves; rough as th’ unpolish’t rocks.
A hasty portion of prescribèd sleep;        15
Obedient slumbers, that can wake and weep,
And sing, and sigh, and work, and sleep again;
Still rolling a round sphere of still-returning pain.
Hands full of hasty labours; pains that pay
And prize themselves; do much, that more they may,        20
And work for work, not wages; let to-morrow’s
New drops wash off the sweat of this day’s sorrows.
A long and daily-dying life, which breathes
A respiration of reviving deaths.
But neither are there those ignoble stings        25
That nip the blossom of the world’s best things,
And lash Earth-labouring souls….
No cruel guard of diligent cares, that keep
Crown’d woes awake, as things too wise for sleep:
But reverent discipline, and religious fear,        30
And soft obedience, find sweet biding here;
Silence, and sacred rest; peace, and pure joys;
Kind loves keep house, lie close, and make no noise;
And room enough for monarchs, while none swells
Beyond the kingdoms of contentful cells.        35
The self-remembring soul sweetly recovers
Her kindred with the stars; not basely hovers
Below: but meditates her immortal way
Home to the original source of Light and intellectual day.
 
 
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