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John Milton: On the University Carrier who sickn’d in the time of his vacancy

John Milton

(1608-1674 )

 

On the University Carrier who sickn’d in the time of his vacancy, being forbid to go to London, by reason of the Plague

Here lies old Hobson, Death hath broke his girt,

And here alas, hath laid him in the dirt,

Or els the ways being foul, twenty to one,

He’s here stuck in a slough, and overthrown.

‘Twas such a shifter, that if truth were known,

Death was half glad when he had got him down;

For he had any time this ten yeers full,

Dodg’d with him, betwixt Cambridge and the Bull.

And surely, Death could never have prevail’d,

Had not his weekly cours of carriage fail’d;

But lately finding him so long at home,

And thinking now his journeys end was come,

And that he had tane up his latest Inne,

In the kind office of a Chamberlin

Shew’d him his room where he must lodge that night,

Pull’d off his Boots, and took away the light:

If any ask for him, it shall be sed,

Hobson has supt, and ‘s newly gon to bed.

 

Another on the Same

Here lieth one who did most truly prove,

That he could never die while he could move,

So hung his destiny never to rot

While he might still jogg on, and keep his trot,

Made of sphear-metal, never to decay

Untill his revolution was at stay.

Time numbers motion, yet (without a crime

‘Gainst old truth) motion number’d out his time;

And like an Engin mov’d with wheel and waight,

His principles being ceast, he ended strait,

Rest that gives all men life, gave him his death,

And too much breathing put him out of breath,

Nor were it contradiction to affirm

Too long vacation hastned on his term.

Meerly to drive the time away he sickn’d,

Fainted, and died, nor would with Ale be quickn’d;

Nay, quoth he, on his swooning bed outstretch’d,

If I may not carry, sure Ile ne’re be fetch’d,

But vow though the cross Doctors all stood hearers,

For one Carrier put down to make six bearers.

Ease was his chief disease, and to judge right,

He di’d for heavines that his Cart went light,

His leasure told him that his time was com,

And lack of load, made his life burdensom,

That even to his last breath (ther be that say’t)

As he were prest to death, he cry’d more waight;

But had his doings lasted as they were,

He had bin an immortall Carrier.

Obedient to the Moon he spent his date

In cours reciprocal, and had his fate

Linkt to the mutual flowing of the Seas,

Yet (strange to think) his wain was his increase:

His Letters are deliver’d all and gon,

Onely remains this superscription.

 

John Milton poetry

kempis.nl poetry magazine

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