Katherine Philips

Here you will find the Long Poem La Solitude de St. Amant La Solitude A Alcidon of poet Katherine Philips

La Solitude de St. Amant La Solitude A Alcidon

O! Solitude, my sweetest choice 
Places devoted to the night, 
Remote from tumult, and from noise, 
How you my restless thoughts delight! 
O Heavens! what content is mine, 
To see those trees which have appear'd 
From the nativity of Time, 
And which hall ages have rever'd, 
To look to-day as fresh and green, 
 As when their beauties first were seen! 

A cheerful wind does court them so, 
And with such amorous breath enfold, 
That we by nothing else can know, 
But by their hieght that they are old. 
Hither the demi-gods did fly 
To seek the sanctuary, when 
Displeased Jove once pierc'd the sky, 
To pour a deluge upon men, 
And on these boughs themselves did save, 
When they could hardly see a wave. 

Sad Philomel upon this thorn, 
So curiously by Flora dress'd, 
In melting notes, her case forlorn, 
To entertain me, hath confess'd. 
O! how agreeable a sight 
These hanging mountains do appear, 
Which the unhappy would invite 
To finish all their sorrows here, 
When their hard fate makes them endure 
Such woes, as only death can cure. 

What pretty desolations make 
These torrents vagabond and fierce, 
Who in vast leaps their springs forsake, 
This solitary Vale to pierce. 
Then sliding just as serpents do 
Under the foot of every tree, 
Themselves are changed to rivers too, 
Wherein some stately Nayade, 
As in her native bed, is grown 
A queen upon a crystal throne. 

This fen beset with river-plants, 
O! how it does my sense charm! 
Nor elders, reeds, nor willows want, 
Which the sharp steel did never harm. 
Here Nymphs which come to take the air, 
May with such distaffs furnish'd be, 
As flags and rushes can prepare, 
Where we the nimble frogs may see, 
Who frighted to retreat do fly 
If an approaching man they spy. 

Here water-flowl repose enjoy, 
Without the interrupting care, 
Lest Fortune should their bliss destroy 
By the malicious fowler's snare. 
Some ravish'd with so bright a day, 
Their feathers finely prune and deck; 
Others their amorous heats allay, 
Which yet the waters could not check: 
All take their innocent content 
In this their lovely element. 

Summer's, nor Winter's bold approach, 
This stream did never entertain; 
Nor ever felt a boat or coach, 
Whilst either season did remain. 
No thirsty traveller came near, 
And rudely made his hand his cup; 
Nor any hunted hind hath here 
Her hopeless life resigned up; 
Nor ever did the treacherous hook 
Intrude to empty any brook. 

What beauty is there in the sight 
Of these old ruin'd castle-walls 
Of which the utmost rage and spight 
Of Time's worst insurrection falls? 
The witches keep their Sabbath here, 
And wanton devils make retreat. 
Who in malicious sport appear, 
Our sense both to afflict and cheat; 
And here within a thousand holes 
Are nest of adders and of owls. 

The raven with his dismal cries, 
That mortal augury of Fate, 
Those ghastly goblins ratifies, 
Which in these gloomy places wait. 
On a curs'd tree the wind does move 
A carcase which did once belong 
To one that hang'd himself for love 
Of a fair Nymph that did him wrong, 
Who thought she saw his love and truth, 
With one look would not save the youth. 

But Heaven which judges equally, 
And its own laws will still maintain, 
Rewarded soon her cruelty 
With a deserv'd and mighty pain: 
About this squalid heap of bones, 
Her wand'ring and condemned shade, 
Laments in long and piercing groans 
The destiny her rigour made, 
And the more to augment her right, 
Her crime is ever in her sight. 

There upon antique marbles trac'd, 
Devices of past times we see, 
Here age ath almost quite defac'd, 
What lovers carv'd on every tree. 
The cellar, here, the highest room 
Receives when its old rafters fail, 
Soil'd with the venom and the foam 
Of the spider and the snail: 
And th'ivy in the chimney we 
Find shaded by a walnut tree. 

Below there does a cave extend, 
Wherein there is so dark a grot, 
That should the Sun himself descend, 
I think he could not see a jot. 
Here sleep within a heavy lid 
In quiet sadness locks up sense, 
And every care he does forbid, 
Whilst in arms of negligence, 
Lazily on his back he's spread, 
And sheaves of poppy are his bed. 

Within this cool and hollow cave, 
Where Love itself might turn to ice, 
Poor Echo ceases not to rave 
On her Narcissus wild and nice: 
Hither I softly steal a thought, 
And by the softer music made 
With a sweet lute in charms well taught, 
Sometimes I flatter her sad shade, 
Whilst of my chords I make such choice, 
They serve