E l e g y XX
Till I have peace with thee, war other men,
And when I have peace, can I leave thee then?
All other wars are scrupulous; only thou
O fair free city, mayst thyself allow
- To any one. In Flanders, who can tell
Whether the master press, or men rebel?
Only we know, that which all idiots say,
They bear most blows which come to part the fray.
France in her lunatic giddiness did hate
- Ever our men, yea and our God of late;
Yet she relies upon our angels well,
Which ne'er return; no more than they which fell.
Sick Ireland is with a strange war posessed
Like to an ague, now raging, now at rest,
- Which time will cure, yet it must do her good
If she were purged, and her head-vein let blood.
And Midas' joys our Spanish journeys give,
We touch all gold, but find no food to live.
And I should be in that hot parching clime,
- To dust and ashes turned before my time.
To mew me in a ship, is to enthral
Me in a prison, that were like to fall;
Or in a cloister, save that there men dwell
In a calm heaven, here in a swaggering hell.
- Long voyages are long consumptions,
And ships are carts for executions.
Yea they are deaths; is't not all one to fly
Into another world, as 'tis to die?
Here let me war; in these arms let me lie;
- Here let me parley, batter, bleed, and die.
Thine arms imprison me, and mine arms thee,
Thy heart thy ransom is, take mine for me.
Other men war that they their rest may gain,
But we will rest that we may fight again.
- Those wars the ignorant, these th'experienced love,
There we are always under, here above.
There engines far off breed a just true fear,
Near thrusts, pikes, stabs, yea bullets hurt not here.
There lies are wrongs; here safe uprightly lie;
- There men kill men, we'will make one by and by.
Thou nothing; I not half so much shall do
In these wars, as they may which from us two
Shall spring. Thousands we see which travel not
To wars, but stay swords, arms, and shot
- To make at home; and shall not I do then
More glorious service, staying to make men?