1633 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Phineas Fletcher

Francis Quarles, in Purple Island (1633) Sig. ¶¶3v-¶¶4.



Mans Bodie's like a house: his greater bones
Are the main timber; and the lesser ones
Are smaller splints: his ribs are laths, daub'd o're,
Plaister'd with flesh, and bloud: his mouth's the doore,
His throat's the narrow entrie, and his heart
Is the great chamber, full of curious art:
His midriffe is a large partition-wall
'Twixt the great chamber, and the spacious hall:
His stomack is the kitchin, where the meat
Is often but half sod, for want of heat:
His splene's a vessell nature does allot
To take the skumme that rises from the pot:
His lungs are like the bellows, that respire
In ev'ry office, quickning ev'ry fire:
His nose the chimney is, whereby are vented
Such fumes as with the bellows are augmented:
His bowels are the sink, whose part's to drein
All noisome filth, and keep the kitchin clean:
His eyes are crystall windows, cleare and bright;
Let in the object, and let out the sight.
And as the timber is or great, or small,
Or strong, or weak, 'tis apt to stand, or fall:
Yet is the likeliest building sometimes known
To fall by obvious chances; overthrown
Ofttimes by tempests, by the full-mouth'd blasts
Of heav'n; sometimes by fire; sometimes it wastes
Through unadvis'd neglect: put case the stuffe
Were ruine-proofe, by nature strong enough
To conquer time, and age; put case it should
Ne're know an end, alas our leases would.
What hast thou then, proud flesh and bloud, to boast?
Thy dayes are evil, at best; but few, at most;
But sad, at merriest; and but weak, at strongest;
Unsure, at surest; and but short, at longest.