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CHARLES SACKVILLE, EARL OF DORSET

1638-1706

419                                                      Song

Written at Sea, in the First Dutch War (1665), the night
        before an Engagement

TO all you ladies now at land
   We men at sea indite;
But first would have you understand
   How hard it is to write:
The Muses now, and Neptune too,
We must implore to write to you
      With a fa, la, la, la, la.
For though the Muses should prove kind,
   And fill our empty brain,
Yet if rough Neptune rouse the wind
   To wave the azure main,
Our paper, pen, and ink, and we,
Roll up and down our ships at sea
      With a fa, la, la, la, la.
Then if we write not by each post,
   Think not we are unkind;
Nor yet conclude our ships are lost
   By Dutchmen or by wind:
Our tears well send a speedier way,
The tide shall bring them twice a day
      With a fa, la, la, la, la.
The King with wonder and surprise
   Will swear the seas grow bold,
Because the tides will higher rise
   Than eer they did of old:
But let him know it is our tears
Bring floods of grief to Whitehall stairs
      With a fa, la, la, la, la.
Should foggy Opdam chance to know
   Our sad and dismal story,
The Dutch would scorn so weak a foe,
   And quit their fort at Goree:
For what resistance can they find
From men whove left their hearts behind?
      With a fa, la, la, la, la.
Let wind and weather do its worst,
   Be you to us but kind;
Let Dutchmen vapour, Spaniards curse,
   No sorrow we shall find:
Tis then no matter how things go,
Or whos our friend, or whos our foe
      With a fa, la, la, la, la.
To pass our tedious hours away
   We throw a merry main,
Or else at serious ombre play;
   But why should we in vain
Each others ruin thus pursue?
We were undone when we left you
      With a fa, la, la, la, la.
But now our fears tempestuous grow
   And cast our hopes away;
Whilst you, regardless of our woe,
   Sit careless at a play:
Perhaps permit some happier man
To kiss your hand, or flirt your fan
      With a fa, la, la, la, la.
When any mournful tune you hear,
   That dies in every note
As if it sighd with each mans care
   For being so remote,
Think then how often love weve made
To you, when all those tunes were playd
      With a fa, la, la, la, la.
In justice you cannot refuse
   To think of our distress,
When we for hopes of honour lose
   Our certain happiness:
All those designs are but to prove
Ourselves more worthy of your love
      With a fa, la, la, la, la.
And now weve told you all our loves,
   And likewise all our fears,
In hopes this declaration moves
   Some pity for our tears:
Lets hear of no inconstancy
We have too much of that at sea
      With a fa, la, la, la, la.

420                                                   Dorinda

DORINDAs sparkling wit, and eyes,
   Uniting cast too fierce a light,
Which blazes high, but quickly dies,
   Pains not the heart, but hurts the sight.

Love is a calmer, gentler joy,
   Smooth are his looks and soft his pace,
Her Cupid is a black-guard boy
   That runs his link full in your face.

 

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