Lovelace Advice To My Best Brother
By Francis Lovelace
Frank, wil’t live unhandsomely? trust not too far
Thy self to waving seas: for what thy star,
Calculated by sure event, must be,
Look in the glassy-epithete, and see.
Yet settle here your rest, and take your state,
And in calm halcyon’s nest ev’n build your fate;
Prethee lye down securely, Frank, and keep
With as much no noyse the inconstant deep
As its inhabitants; nay, stedfast stand,
As if discover’d were a New-found-land,
Fit for plantation here. Dream, dream still,
Lull’d in Dione’s cradle; dream, untill
Horrour awake your sense, and you now find
Your self a bubbled pastime for the wind;
And in loose Thetis blankets torn and tost.
Frank, to undo thy self why art at cost?
Nor be too confident, fix’d on the shore:
For even that too borrows from the store
Of her rich neighbour, since now wisest know
(And this to Galileo’s judgement ow),
The palsie earth it self is every jot
As frail, inconstant, waveing, as that blot
We lay upon the deep, that sometimes lies
Chang’d, you would think, with ‘s botoms properties;
But this eternal, strange Ixion’s wheel
Of giddy earth ne’er whirling leaves to reel,
Till all things are inverted, till they are
Turn’d to that antick confus’d state they were.
Who loves the golden mean, doth safely want
A cobwebb’d cot and wrongs entail’d upon’t;
He richly needs a pallace for to breed
Vipers and moths, that on their feeder feed;
The toy that we (too true) a mistress call,
Whose looking-glass and feather weighs up all;
And cloaths which larks would play with in the sun,
That mock him in the night, when ‘s course is run.
To rear an edifice by art so high,
That envy should not reach it with her eye,
Nay, with a thought come neer it. Wouldst thou know,
How such a structure should be raisd, build low.
The blust’ring winds invisible rough stroak
More often shakes the stubborn’st, prop’rest oak;
And in proud turrets we behold withal,
‘Tis the imperial top declines to fall:
Nor does Heav’n’s lightning strike the humble vales,
But high-aspiring mounts batters and scales.
A breast of proof defies all shocks of Fate,
Fears in the best, hopes in worser state;
Heaven forbid that, as of old, time ever
Flourish’d in spring so contrary, now never.
That mighty breath, which blew foul Winter hither,
Can eas’ly puffe it to a fairer weather.
Why dost despair then, Frank? Aeolus has
A Zephyrus as well as Boreas.
‘Tis a false sequel, soloecisme ‘gainst those
Precepts by fortune giv’n us, to suppose
That, ’cause it is now ill, ‘t will ere be so;
Apollo doth not always bend his bow;
But oft, uncrowned of his beams divine,
With his soft harp awakes the sleeping Nine.
In strictest things magnanimous appear,
Greater in hope, howere thy fate, then fear:
Draw all your sails in quickly, though no storm
Threaten your ruine with a sad alarm;
For tell me how they differ, tell me, pray,
A cloudy tempest and a too fair day?