Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
For Thoughts
By Thomas Flatman (1637–1688)
      THOUGHTS! what are they?
    They are my constant friends,
  Who, when harsh Fate its dull brow bends,
  Uncloud me with a smiling ray,
And in the depth of midnight force a day.        5
      When I retire and flee
    The busy throngs of company
  To hug myself in privacy,
  O the discourse—the pleasant talk
’Twixt us, my thoughts, along a lonely walk!        10
      You (like the stupefying wine
    The dying malefactors sip
      With trembling lip,
    T’ abate the rigour of their doom
By a less troublous cut to their long home)        15
Make me slight crosses, though they piled up lie,
All by the magic of an ecstasy.
      Do I desire to see
    The throne and awful majesty
      Of that proud one,        20
Brother and uncle to the stars and sun?
These can conduct me where such toys reside
And waft me ’cross the main, sans wind and tide.
      Would I descry
    Those radiant mansions ’bove the sky,        25
    Invisible to mortal eye,
      My thoughts can easily lay
      A shining track thereto,
      And nimbly flitting go;
Through all the eleven orbs can shove a way.        30
    My thoughts like Jacob’s ladder are
    A most angelic thoroughfare.
      The wealth that shines
    In th’ oriental mines;
  Those sparkling gems which Nature keeps        35
  Within her cabinets, the deeps;
      The verdant fields,
  Those rarities the rich world yields,
  Huge structures, whose each gilded spire
Glisters like lightning, which while men admire        40
  They deem the neighbouring sky on fire—
These can I dwell upon and ’live mine eyes
  With millions of varieties.
  As on the front of Pisgah I
Can th’ Holy Land through these my optics spy.        45
      Contemn we then
    The peevish rage of men,
  Whose violence can ne’er divorce
    Our mutual amity,
    Or lay so damned a curse        50
As non-addresses ’twixt my thoughts and me;
  For though I sigh in irons, they
Use their old freedom, readily obey,
And, when my bosom friends desert me, stay.
  Come then, my darlings, I’ll embrace        55
    My privilege; make known
  The high prerogative I own,
By making all allurements give you place,
    Whose sweet society to me
A sanctuary and a shield shall be        60
’Gainst the full quivers of my Destiny.

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