Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, POLYHYMNIA: THE YOUTH IN THE BOAT (FRAGMENT), by WILLIAM BASSE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

POLYHYMNIA: THE YOUTH IN THE BOAT (FRAGMENT), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When we our young and wanton houres
Last Line: And one his load-star was.....
Subject(s): Love; Youth

WHEN we our young and wanton houres
Have spent in vaine delight,
To shew you how celestiall powers
At length can set us right;

How they can frame our mindes unfixt
Unto their just directions,
When waveringly we reele betwixt
Opinions or affections;

How fatall it may sometimes prove
Unto our frayle estate,
Vainly to hate what we should love,
And love what we should hate.

FOR some unknowne, but grievous crime
Against the Gods committed,
A young man on a time, (sad time,
And young man to be pittyed)

Put forth to Sea (when Sea was swell'd
With winde and tempest sore)
Abourd a little Barque, which held
Himselfe, and but two more.

As Master, Mate, and Sayler far'd
This youth, and with his hand
Rul'd Helme and Rudder, Sayle and Cord,
And Boat both steer'd and man'd.

And though the building of this Boate
Concernes my tale not much,
Nor much it doth deserve your note
The workmans name to touch—

Her Keele was all of Cypresse built,
Her Mast of fragrant Firre;
Her Oares were Ivory, Sterne was guilt,
And calk'd she was with Myrrh.

He that her Ship-wright was, and made
Her timber-worke, is thought
To be young Perdix, who this trade
By Dedalus was taught.

Her Sayles, some say, Arachne wove,
They were so richly done:
And that Ulisses constant Love
Her flaxen Cable spun.

And grant all this for true, (or true
Though grant it to be thought)
Yet works of Art, how short are you
Of works by Nature wrought?

For though this Barke was but three strong,
(Weake Vessel! strong but three,)
Tall Ship from Indian voyage long
Ne're brought such prize as she.

For with two Damsells was she lade,
The one of beauty such
The Captaine her his idoll made,
And she him scorn'd as much.

The other though not all so bright
As was her Mate; yet one
That in him tooke all true delight,
But he in her tooke none.

No other ballast (then) did trim
This Ship: you may conceit
His Love to one, one's Love to him,
Made both sides equall weight.

And Needle (sure) she needed none
By poynt or pole to passe,
When he was Loadstone unto one,
And one his Load-star was.....

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