Of Melancholy


A sad and solemn verse doth please the mind,
With chains of passions doth the spirits bind.
As pencilled pictures drawn present2 the night,
Whose darker shadows give the eye delight,
Melancholy aspects invite3 the eye,                                           5
And always have4 a seeming majesty.
By its converting qualities, there grows
A perfect likeness, when itself it shows.
Then let the world in mourning sit, and weep,
Since only sadness we are apt to keep.                                     10
In light and toyish things we seek for change;
The mind grows weary, and about doth range.
What serious is, there constancy5 will dwell,
Which shows that sadness mirth doth far excel.
Why should men grieve when they think on their grave,6  15
Since they no settlement in mirth can have?7
The grave, though sad, in quiet still they keep;
Without disturbing dreams8 they lie asleep.
No rambling thoughts to9 vex their restless brains,
Nor labor hard to scorch and dry10 their veins,                     20
No care to search for that they cannot find,
Which is an appetite in11 every mind.
Then wish, good man, to die in quiet peace,
Since death in misery is a release.

  1. Of Melancholy] A Discourse of Melancholy. 1653
  2. present] presents 1653
  3. Melancholy aspects invite] A Melancholy Object draws 1664, 1668
  4. have] hath 1664, 1668
  5. constancy] Constancies 1653
  6. think on their grave,] do think of Death, 1653
  7. in mirth can have?] can have in Mirth? 1653
  8. disturbing dreams] Disturbing-dreams, 1668
  9. to] do 1664, 1668
  10. Nor labor hard to scorch and dry] No Labour hard doth dry and scorch 1664, 1668
  11. in] to 1653