The Noon Quatrains
THE Day grows hot, and darts his rays
From such a sure and killing place,
That half this World are fain to fly
The danger of his burning eye.
His early glories were benign,
Warm to be felt, bright to be seen,
And all was comfort, but who can
Endure him when Meridian?
Of him we as of kings complain,
Who mildly do begin to reign,
But to the Zenith got of pow'r,
Those whom they should protect devour.
Has not another Phaeton
Mounted the chariot of the Sun,
And, wanting art to guide his horse,
Is hurri'd from the Sun's due course.
If this hold on, our fertile lands
Will soon be turn'd to parched sands,
And not an onion that will grow
Without a Nile to overflow.
The grazing herds now droop and pant,
E'en without labour fit to faint,
And willingly forsook their meat
To seek out cover from the heat.
The lagging ox is no unbound,
the new turn'd up ground, [pressing down]
Whilst Hobbinal alike o'er-laid
Takes his coarse dinner to the shade.
Cellars and grottos now are best
To eat and drink in, or to rest,
And not a soul above is found
Can find a refuge under ground.
When pagan tyranny grew hot,
Thus persecuted Christians got
Into the dark but friendly womb
Of unknown subterranean Rome
. [the Roman catacombs]
And as that heat did cool at last,
So a few scorching hours o'er-pass'd,
In a more mild and temp'rate ray
We may again enjoy the Day.
Charles Cotton's Other Poems
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