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Charles Cotton

(28 April 1630 – 16 February 1687 / Beresford Hall)

The Morning Quatrains


THE cock has crow'd an hour ago,
'Tis time we now dull sleep forego;
Tir'd Nature is by sleep redress'd,
And Labour's overcome by rest.
We have out-done the work of Night,
'Tis time we rise t'attend the Light,
And e'er he shall his beams display,
To plot new bus'ness for the Day.
None but the slothful, or unsound,
Are by the Sun in feathers found,
Nor, without rising with the Sun,
Can the world's bus'ness e'er be done.
Hark! Hark! the watchful Chanticler
Tells us the Day's bright harbinger
Peeps o'er the eastern hills, to awe
And warm night's sov'reign to withdraw.
The morning curtains now are drawn,
And now appears the blushing dawn;
Aurora has her roses shed,
To strew the way Sol's steeds must tread.
Xanthus and Aethon harness'd are,
To roll away the burning car,
And, snorting flame, impatient bear
The dressing of the charioteer.
The sable cheeks of sullen Night
Are streak'd with rosy streams of light,
Whilst she retires away in fear,
To shade the other hemisphere.
The merry lark now takes her wings,
And long'd-for Day's loud welcome sings,
Mounting her body out of sight,
As if she meant to meet the Light.
Now doors and windows are unbarr'd,
Each-where are cheerful voices heard,
And round about 'Good-morrows' fly,
As if Day taught Humanity.
The chimnies now to smoke begin,
And the old wife sits down to spin,
Whilst Kate, taking her pail, does trip
Mull's swoll'n and straddl'ing paps to strip.
Vulcan now makes his anvil ring,
Dick whistles loud, and Maud doth sing,
And Silvio with his bugle horn
Winds an Imprime unto the Morn.
Now through the morning doors behold
Phoebus array'd in burning gold,
Lashing his fiery steeds, displays
His warm and all-enlight'ning rays.
Now each one to his work prepares,
All that have hands are labourers,
And manufactures of each trade
By op'ning shops are open laid.
Hob yokes his oxen to the team,
The angler goes unto the stream,
The woodman to the purlews hies,
And lab'ring bees to load their thighs.
Fair Amarillis drives her flocks,
All night safe-folded from the fox,
To flow'ry downs, where Colin stays,
To court her with his roundelays.
The traveller now leaves his inn
A new day's journey to begin,
As he would post it with the day,
And early rising makes good way.
The slick-fac'd school-boy satchel takes,
And with slow pace small riddance makes;
For why, the haste we make, you know
To Knowledge and to Virtue's slow.
The fore-horse jingles on the road,
The wagoner lugs on his load,
The field with busy people snies,
And city rings with various cries.
The World is now a busy swarm,
All doing good, or doing harm;
But let's take heed our acts be true,
For Heaven's eye sees all we do.
None can that piercing sight evade,
It penetrates the darkest shade,
And sin, though it could 'scape the eye,
Would be discover'd by the cry.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Edited: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

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