Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT, by HENRY KING (1592-1669)



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AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: My best of friends! What needs a chain to tie
Last Line: Will period, though never crown, my hope.


MY best of friends! what needs a chain to tie
One by your merit bound a votary?
Think you I have some plot upon my peace,
I would this bondage change for a release?
Since 'twas my fate your prisoner to be,
Heav'n knows I nothing fear, but liberty.

Yet you do well, that study to prevent,
After so rich a stock of favour spent
On one so worthless, lest my memory
Should let so dear an obligation die
Without record. This made my precious Friend
Her token, as an antidote, to send,
Against forgetful poisons; That as they
Who Vespers late, and early Mattins say
Upon their beads, so on this linked score
In golden numbers I might reckon o'er
Your virtues and my debt, which does surmount
The trivial laws of popular account:
For that, within this emblematic knot,
Your beauteous mind, and my own fate, is wrote.

The sparkling constellation which combines
The lock, is your dear self, whose worth outshines
Most of your sex; so solid and so clear
You like a perfect diamond appear;
Casting, from your example, fuller light
Than those dim sparks which glaze the brow of night,
And gladding all your friends, as doth the ray
Of that East-star which wakes the cheerful day.

But the black map of death and discontent
Behind that adamantine firmament,
That luckless figure, which, like Calvary,
Stands strew'd and copied out in skulls, is I:
Whose life your absence clouds, and makes my time
Move blindfold in the dark ecliptic line.

Then wonder not, if my removed Sun
So low within the western tropic run;
My eyes no day in this horizon see,
Since where You are not, all is night to me.

Lastly, the anchor which enfast'ned lies
Upon a pair of deaths, sadly applies
That Monument of Rest, which harbour must
Our ship-wrackt fortunes in a road of dust.

So then, how late soe'er my joyless life
Be tired out in this affection's strife:
Though my tempestuous fancy, like the sky,
Travail with storms, and through my wat'ry eye,
Sorrow's high-going waves spring many a leak;
Though sighs blow loud, till my heart's cordage break;
Though Faith, and all my wishes prove untrue,
Yet Death shall fix and anchor Me with You.
'Tis some poor comfort, that this mortal scope
Will period, though never crown, my Hope.





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