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Poetical Works of Edmund Waller and Sir John Denham by Edmund Waller; John Denham

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Thus the wise nightingale that leaves her home,
Her native wood, when storms and winter come,
Pursuing constantly the cheerful spring,
To foreign groves does her old music bring.

The drooping Hebrews' banish'd harps, unstrung,
At Babylon upon the willows hung;
Yours sounds aloud, and tells us you excel
No less in courage, than in singing well;
While, unconcern'd, you let your country know
They have impoverish'd themselves, not you; 10
Who, with the Muses' help, can mock those fates
Which threaten kingdoms, and disorder states.
So Ovid, when from Caesar's rage he fled,
The Roman Muse to Pontus with him led;
Where he so sung, that we, through pity's glass,
See Nero milder than Augustus was.
Hereafter such, in thy behalf, shall be
Th' indulgent censure of posterity.
To banish those who with such art can sing,
Is a rude crime, which its own curse doth bring; 20
Ages to come shall ne'er know how they fought,
Nor how to love, their present youth be taught.

This to thyself.--Now to thy matchless book,
Wherein those few that can with judgment look,
May find old love in pure fresh language told,
Like new-stamp'd coin made out of angel-gold.
Such truth in love as th'antique world did know,
In such a style as courts may boast of now;
Which no bold tales of gods or monsters swell,
But human passions, such as with us dwell. 30
Man is thy theme; his virtue or his rage
Drawn to the life in each elaborate page.
Mars nor Bellona are not named here,
But such a Gondibert as both might fear;
Venus had here, and Hebe, been outshined
By the bright Birtha and thy Rhodalind.
Such is thy happy skill, and such the odds
Betwixt thy worthies and the Grecian gods!
Whose deities in vain had here come down,
Where mortal beauty wears the Sovereign crown; 40
Such as of flesh compos'd, by flesh and blood,
Though not resisted, may be understood.

[1] 'Sir William Davenant': Davenant fled to France in fear of the
displeasure of the Parliament, and there wrote the two first cantos
of _Gondibert_.


1 Thus, by the music, we may know
When noble wits a-hunting go,
Through groves that on Parnassus grow.

2 The Muses all the chase adorn;
My friend on Pegasus is borne;
And young Apollo winds the horn.

3 Having old Gratius in the wind,
No pack of critics e'er could find,
Or he know more of his own mind.

4 Here huntsmen with delight may read
How to choose dogs for scent or speed,
And how to change or mend the breed;

5 What arms to use, or nets to frame,
Wild beasts to combat or to tame;
With all the myst'ries of that game.

6 But, worthy friend! the face of war
In ancient times doth differ far
From what our fiery battles are.

7 Nor is it like, since powder known,
That man, so cruel to his own,
Should spare the race of beasts alone.

8 No quarter now, but with the gun
Men wait in trees from sun to sun,
And all is in a moment done.

9 And therefore we expect your next
Should be no comment, but a text
To tell how modern beasts are vex'd.

10 Thus would I further yet engage
Your gentle Muse to court the age
With somewhat of your proper rage;

11 Since none does more to Phoebus owe,
Or in more languages can show
Those arts which you so early know.

[1] 'Mr. Wase': Wase was a fellow of Cambridge, tutor to Lord Herbert,
and translator of Grathis on 'Hunting,' a very learned man.


Thrice happy pair! of whom we cannot know
Which first began to love, or loves most now;
Fair course of passion! where two lovers start,
And run together, heart still yoked with heart;
Successful youth! whom love has taught the way
To be victorious in the first essay.
Sure love's an art best practised at first,
And where th'experienced still prosper worst!
I, with a different fate, pursued in vain
The haughty Caelia, till my just disdain 10
Of her neglect, above that passion borne,
Did pride to pride oppose, and scorn to scorn.
Now she relents; but all too late to move
A heart directed to a nobler love.
The scales are turn'd, her kindness weighs no more
Now, than my vows and service did before.
So in some well-wrought hangings you may see
How Hector leads, and how the Grecians flee;
Here, the fierce Mars his courage so inspires,
That with bold hands the Argive fleet he fires; 20
But there, from heaven the blue-eyed virgin[2] falls,
And frighted Troy retires within her walls;
They that are foremost in that bloody race,
Turn head anon, and give the conqu'rors chase.
So like the chances are of love and war,
That they alone in this distinguish'd are,
In love the victors from the vanquish'd fly;
They fly that wound, and they pursue that die.

[1] 'Their loves': supposed to be Alexander Hampden, involved with
Waller in the plot. See 'Life'
[2] 'Blue-eyed virgin': Minerva.


Fairest piece of well-form'd earth!
Urge not thus your haughty birth;
The power which you have o'er us lies
Not in your race, but in your eyes.
'None but a prince!'--Alas! that voice
Confines you to a narrow choice.
Should you no honey vow to taste,
But what the master-bees have placed
In compass of their cells, how small
A portion to your share would fall! 10
Nor all appear, among those few,
Worthy the stock from whence they grew.
The sap which at the root is bred
In trees, through all the boughs is spread;
But virtues which in parents shine,
Make not like progress through the line.
'Tis not from whom, but where, we live;
The place does oft those graces give.
Great Julius, on the mountains bred,
A flock perhaps, or herd, had led. 20
He that the world subdued,[2] had been
But the best wrestler on the green.
'Tis art and knowledge which draw forth
The hidden seeds of native worth;
They blow those sparks, and make them rise
Into such flames as touch the skies.
To the old heroes hence was given
A pedigree which reached to heaven;
Of mortal seed they were not held, 29
Which other mortals so excell'd.
And beauty, too, in such excess
As yours, Zelinda! claims no less.
Smile but on me, and you shall scorn,
Henceforth, to be of princes born.
I can describe, the shady grove
Where your loved mother slept with Jove;
And yet excuse the faultless dame,
Caught with her spouse's shape and name.
Thy matchless form will credit bring
To all the wonders I shall sing. 40

[1] 'Zelinda': referring to a novel where the lady, a princess, refuses
a lover, saying, 'I will have none but a prince!'
[2] 'World subdued': Alexander.


Madam! new years may well expect to find
Welcome from you, to whom they are so kind;
Still as they pass, they court and smile on you,
And make your beauty, as themselves, seem new.
To the fair Villiers we Dalkeith prefer,
And fairest Morton now as much to her;
So like the sun's advance your titles show,
Which as he rises does the warmer grow.

But thus to style you fair, your sex's praise,
Gives you but myrtle, who may challenge bays; 10
From armed foes to bring a royal prize,
Shows your brave heart victorious as your eyes.
If Judith, marching with the gen'ral's head,
Can give us passion when her story's read,
What may the living do, which brought away,
Though a less bloody, yet a nobler prey;
Who from our flaming Troy, with a bold hand,
Snatch'd her fair charge, the Princess, like a brand?
A brand! preserved to warm some prince's heart,
And make whole kingdoms take her brother's part. 20
So Venus, from prevailing Greeks, did shroud
The hope of Rome, and saved him in a cloud.

This gallant act may cancel all our rage,
Begin a better, and absolve this age.
Dark shades become the portrait of our time;
Here weeps Misfortune, and there triumphs Crime!
Let him that draws it hide the rest in night;
This portion only may endure the light,
Where the kind nymph, changing her faultless shape,
Becomes unhandsome, handsomely to 'scape, 30
When through the guards, the river, and the sea,
Faith, beauty, wit, and courage, made their way.
As the brave eagle does with sorrow see
The forest wasted, and that lofty tree
Which holds her nest about to be o'erthrown,
Before the feathers of her young are grown,
She will not leave them, nor she cannot stay,
But bears them boldly on her wings away;
So fled the dame, and o'er the ocean bore
Her princely burthen to the Gallic shore. 40
Born in the storms of war, this royal fair,
Produced like lightning in tempestuous air,
Though now she flies her native isle (less kind,
Less safe for her than either sea or wind!)
Shall, when the blossom of her beauty's blown,
See her great brother on the British throne;
Where peace shall smile, and no dispute arise,
But which rules most, his sceptre, or her eyes.

[1] 'New-year's day': Lady Morton, daughter of Sir Edward Villiers,
niece of the Duke of Buckingham, and wife of Lord Douglas, of
Dalkeith, one of the most celebrated beauties of her day. She
accompanied the Princess Henrietta in disguise to Paris. Waller,
then in France, wrote these lines in 1650.


1 Strange! that such horror and such grace
Should dwell together in one place;
A fury's arm, an angel's face!

2 'Tis innocence, and youth, which makes
In Chloris' fancy such mistakes,
To start at love, and play with snakes.

3 By this and by her coldness barr'd,
Her servants have a task too hard;
The tyrant has a double guard!

4 Thrice happy snake! that in her sleeve
May boldly creep; we dare not give
Our thoughts so unconfined a leave.

5 Contented in that nest of snow
He lies, as he his bliss did know,
And to the wood no more would go.

6 Take heed, fair Eve! you do not make
Another tempter of this snake;
A marble one so warm'd would speak.


Lucretius, (with a stork-like fate,
Born, and translated, in a state)
Comes to proclaim, in English verse,
No Monarch rules the universe;
But chance, and atoms, make this All
In order democratical,
Where bodies freely run their course,
Without design, or fate, or force.
And this in such a strain he sings,
As if his Muse, with angels' wings, 10
Had soar'd beyond our utmost sphere,
And other worlds discover'd there;
For his immortal, boundless wit,
To Nature does no bounds permit,
But boldly has removed those bars
Of heaven, and earth, and seas, and stars,
By which they were before supposed,
By narrow wits, to be enclosed,
Till his free Muse threw down the pale,
And did at once dispark them all. 20

So vast this argument did seem,
That the wise author did esteem
The Roman language (which was spread
O'er the whole world, in triumph led)
A tongue too narrow to unfold
The wonders which he would have told.
This speaks thy glory, noble friend!
And British language does commend;
For here Lucretius whole we find,
His words, his music, and his mind. 30
Thy art has to our country brought
All that he writ, and all he thought.
Ovid translated, Virgil too,
Show'd long since what our tongue could do;
Nor Lucan we, nor Horace spared;
Only Lucretius was too hard.
Lucretius, like a fort, did stand 37
Untouch'd, till your victorious hand
Did from his head this garland bear,
Which now upon your own you wear:
A garland made of such new bays,
And sought in such untrodden ways,
As no man's temples e'er did crown,
Save this great author's, and your own!

[1] 'Master Evelyn': the well-known author of 'Sylva,' translated the
first book of Lucretius, 'De Rerum Natura.'


The winged lion's not so fierce in fight
As Liberi's hand presents him to our sight;
Nor would his pencil make him half so fierce,
Or roar so loud, as Businello's verse;
But your translation does all three excel,
The fight, the piece, and lofty Businel.
As their small galleys may not hold compare
With our tall ships, whose sails employ more air;
So does th'Italian to your genius vail,
Moved with a fuller and a nobler gale. 10
Thus, while your Muse spreads the Venetian story,
You make all Europe emulate her glory;
You make them blush weak Venice should defend
The cause of Heaven, while they for words contend;
Shed Christian blood, and pop'lous cities raze,
Because they're taught to use some different phrase.
If, list'ning to your charms, we could our jars
Compose, and on the Turk discharge these wars,
Our British arms the sacred tomb might wrest 19
From Pagan hands, and triumph o'er the East;
And then you might our own high deeds recite,
And with great Tasso celebrate the fight.

[1] 'Sir T. Higgons': a knight of some note, who translated the
'Venetian Triumph,' an Italian poem by Businello, addressed to
Liberi, the painter.


1 Chloris! yourself you so excel,
When you vouchsafe to breathe my thought,
That, like a spirit, with this spell
Of my own teaching, I am caught.

2 That eagle's fate[1] and mine are one,
Which, on the shaft that made him die,
Espied a feather of his own,
Wherewith he wont to soar so high.

3 Had Echo, with so sweet a grace,
Narcissus' loud complaints return'd,
Not for reflection of his face,
But of his voice, the boy had burn'd.

[1] 'Eagle's fate': Byron copies this thought in his verses on Kirke


Here, Caelia! for thy sake I part
With all that grew so near my heart;
The passion that I had for thee,
The faith, the love, the constancy!
And, that I may successful prove,
Transform myself to what you love.

Fool that I was! so much to prize
Those simple virtues you despise;
Fool! that with such dull arrows strove,
Or hoped to reach a flying dove; 10
For you, that are in motion still,
Decline our force, and mock our skill;
Who, like Don Quixote, do advance
Against a windmill our vain lance.

Now will I wander through the air,
Mount, make a stoop at every fair;
And, with a fancy unconfined
(As lawless as the sea or wind),
Pursue you wheresoe'er you fly,
And with your various thoughts comply. 20

The formal stars do travel so,
As we their names and courses know;
And he that on their changes looks,
Would think them govern'd by our books;
But never were the clouds reduced
To any art; the motions used
By those free vapours are so light,
So frequent, that the conquer'd sight
Despairs to find the rules that guide
Those gilded shadows as they slide; 30
And therefore of the spacious air,
Jove's royal consort had the care;
And by that power did once escape,
Declining bold Ixion's rape;
She with her own resemblance graced
A shining cloud, which he embraced.

Such was that image, so it smiled
With seeming kindness which beguiled
Your Thyrsis lately, when he thought
He had his fleeting Caelia caught. 40
'Twas shaped like her, but, for the fair,
He fill'd his arms with yielding air.

A fate for which he grieves the less,
Because the gods had like success;
For in their story one, we see,
Pursues a nymph, and takes a tree;
A second, with a lover's haste,
Soon overtakes whom he had chased,
But she that did a virgin seem,
Possess'd, appears a wand'ring stream; 50
For his supposed love, a third
Lays greedy hold upon a bird,
And stands amazed to find his dear
A wild inhabitant of the air.

To these old tales such nymphs as you
Give credit, and still make them new;
The am'rous now like wonders find
In the swift changes of your mind.

But, Caelia, if you apprehend
The Muse of your incensed friend, 60
Nor would that he record your blame,
And make it live, repeat the same;
Again deceive him, and again,
And then he swears he'll not complain;
For still to be deluded so,
Is all the pleasure lovers know;
Who, like good falc'ners, take delight,
Not in the quarry, but the flight.


1 Madam! intending to have tried
The silver favour which you gave,
In ink the shining point I dyed,
And drench'd it in the sable wave;
When, grieved to be so foully stain'd,
On you it thus to me complain'd.

2 'Suppose you had deserved to take
From her fair hand so fair a boon,
Yet how deserved I to make
So ill a change, who ever won
Immortal praise for what I wrote,
Instructed by her noble thought?

3 'I, that expressed her commands
To mighty lords, and princely dames,
Always most welcome to their hands,
Proud that I would record their names,
Must now be taught an humble style,
Some meaner beauty to beguile!'

4 So I, the wronged pen to please,
Make it my humble thanks express
Unto your ladyship, in these:
And now 'tis forced to confess
That your great self did ne'er indite,
Nor that, to one more noble, write.


Chloris! since first our calm of peace
Was frighted hence, this good we find,
Your favours with your fears increase,
And growing mischiefs make you kind.

So the fair tree, which still preserves
Her fruit and state while no wind blows,
In storms from that uprightness swerves,
And the glad earth about her strows
With treasure, from her yielding boughs.


1 Sees not my love how time resumes
The glory which he lent these flowers?
Though none should taste of their perfumes,
Yet must they live but some few hours:
Time what we forbear devours!

2 Had Helen, or the Egyptian Queen,[1]
Been ne'er so thrifty of their graces,
Those beauties must at length have been
The spoil of age, which finds out faces
In the most retired places.

3 Should some malignant planet bring
A barren drought, or ceaseless shower,
Upon the autumn or the spring,
And spare us neither fruit nor flower;
Winter would not stay an hour.

4 Could the resolve of love's neglect
Preserve you from the violation
Of coming years, then more respect
Were due to so divine a fashion,
Nor would I indulge my passion.

[1] 'Egyptian Queen': Cleopatra.


1 How bold a work attempts that pen,
Which would enrich our vulgar tongue
With the high raptures of those men
Who, here, with the same spirit sung
Wherewith they now assist the choir
Of angels, who their songs admire!

2 Whatever those inspired souls
Were urged to express, did shake
The aged deep and both the poles;
Their num'rous thunder could awake
Dull earth, which does with Heaven consent
To all they wrote, and all they meant.

3 Say, sacred bard! what could bestow
Courage on thee to soar so high?
Tell me, brave friend! what help'd thee so
To shake off all mortality?
To light this torch, thou hast climb'd higher
Than he who stole celestial fire.[2]

[1] 'Sandys,' besides his 'Ovid,' which Pope read and relished in his
boyhood, versified some of the poetical parts of the Bible.
[2] 'Celestial fire': Prometheus.


The rising sun complies with our weak sight,
First gilds the clouds, then shows his globe of light
At such a distance from our eyes, as though
He knew what harm his hasty beams would do.

But your full majesty at once breaks forth
In the meridian of your reign. Your worth,
Your youth, and all the splendour of your state,
(Wrapp'd up, till now, in clouds of adverse fate!)
With such a flood of light invade our eyes,
And our spread hearts with so great joy surprise, 10
That if your grace incline that we should live,
You must not, sir! too hastily forgive.
Our guilt preserves us from th'excess of joy,
Which scatters spirits, and would life destroy.
All are obnoxious! and this faulty land,
Like fainting Esther, does before you stand,
Watching your sceptre. The revolted sea
Trembles to think she did your foes obey.

Great Britain, like blind Polypheme, of late,
In a wild rage, became the scorn and hate 20
Of her proud neighbours, who began to think
She, with the weight of her own force, would sink.
But you are come, and all their hopes are vain;
This giant isle has got her eye again.
Now she might spare the ocean, and oppose
Your conduct to the fiercest of her foes.
Naked, the Graces guarded you from all
Dangers abroad; and now your thunder shall.
Princes that saw you, diff'rent passions prove,
For now they dread the object of their love; 30
Nor without envy can behold his height,
Whose conversation was their late delight.
So Semele, contented with the rape
Of Jove disguised in a mortal shape,
When she beheld his hands with lightning fill'd,
And his bright rays, was with amazement kill'd.

And though it be our sorrow, and our crime,
To have accepted life so long a time
Without you here, yet does this absence gain
No small advantage to your present reign; 40
For, having view'd the persons and the things,
The councils, state, and strength of Europe's kings,
You know your work; ambition to restrain,
And set them bounds, as Heaven does to the main.
We have you now with ruling wisdom fraught,
Not such as books, but such as practice, taught.
So the lost sun, while least by us enjoy'd,
Is the whole night for our concern employ'd;
He ripens spices, fruits, and precious gums,
Which from remotest regions hither comes. 50

This seat of yours (from th'other world removed)
Had Archimedes known, he might have proved
His engine's force, fix'd here; your power and skill
Make the world's motion wait upon your will.

Much suffring monarch! the first English born
That has the crown of these three nations worn!
How has your patience, with the barb'rous rage
Of your own soil, contended half an age?
Till (your tried virtue, and your sacred word,
At last preventing your unwilling sword) 60
Armies and fleets which kept you out so long,
Own'd their great sov'reign, and redress'd his wrong;
When straight the people, by no force compell'd,
Nor longer from their inclination held,
Break forth at once, like powder set on fire,
And, with a noble rage, their king require.
So th'injured sea, which from her wonted course,
To gain some acres, avarice did force,
If the new banks, neglected once, decay,
No longer will from her old channel stay; 70
Raging, the late got land she overflows,
And all that's built upon't to ruin goes.

Offenders now, the chiefest, do begin
To strive for grace, and expiate their sin.
All winds blow fair, that did the world embroil;
Your vipers treacle yield, and scorpions oil.

If then such praise the Macedonian[1] got,
For having rudely cut the Gordian knot,
What glory's due to him that could divide
Such ravell'd interests; has the knot untied, 80
And without stroke so smooth a passage made,
Where craft and malice such impeachments laid?

But while we praise you, you ascribe it all
To His high hand, which threw the untouch'd wall
Of self-demolish'd Jericho so low;
His angel 'twas that did before you go,
Tamed savage hearts, and made affections yield,
Like ears of corn when wind salutes the field.

Thus, patience-crown'd, like Job's, your trouble ends,
Having your foes to pardon, and your friends; 90
For, though your courage were so firm a rock,
What private virtue could endure the shock?
Like your Great Master, you the storm withstood,
And pitied those who love with frailty show'd.

Rude Indians, tort'ring all the royal race,
Him with the throne and dear-bought sceptre grace
That suffers best. What region could be found, 97
Where your heroic head had not been crown'd?

The next experience of your mighty mind
Is, how you combat Fortune, now she's kind.
And this way, too, you are victorious found;
She flatters with the same success she frown'd.
While to yourself severe, to others kind,
With pow'r unbounded, and a will confined,
Of this vast empire you possess the care,
The softer parts fall to the people's share.
Safety, and equal government, are things
Which subjects make as happy as their kings.

Faith, Law, and Piety, (that banished train!)
Justice and Truth, with you return again. 110
The city's trade, and country's easy life,
Once more shall flourish without fraud or strife.
Your reign no less assures the ploughman's peace,
Than the warm sun advances his increase;
And does the shepherds as securely keep
From all their fears, as they preserve their sheep.

But, above all, the Muse-inspired train
Triumph, and raise their drooping heads again!
Kind Heaven at once has, in your person, sent
Their sacred judge, their guard, and argument. 120

Nec magis expressi vultus per ahenea signa,
Quam per vatis opus mores, animique, virorum
Clarorum apparent.... HOR.

[1] 'Macedonian': Alexander.


Nothing lies hid from radiant eyes;
All they subdue become their spies.
Secrets, as choicest jewels, are
Presented to oblige the fair;
No wonder, then, that a lost thought
Should there be found, where souls are caught.

The picture of fair Venus (that
For which men say the goddess sat)
Was lost, till Lely from your book
Again that glorious image took.

If Virtue's self were lost, we might
From your fair mind new copies write.
All things but one you can restore;
The heart you get returns no more.


Farewell the year! which threaten'd so
The fairest light the world can show.
Welcome the new! whose every day,
Restoring what was snatch'd away
By pining sickness from the fair,
That matchless beauty does repair
So fast, that the approaching spring
(Which does to flow'ry meadows bring
What the rude winter from them tore)
Shall give her all she had before. 10

But we recover not so fast
The sense of such a danger past;
We that esteem'd you sent from heaven,
A pattern to this island given,
To show us what the bless'd do there,
And what alive they practised here,
When that which we immortal thought,
We saw so near destruction brought,
Felt all which you did then endure,
And tremble yet, as not secure. 20
So though the sun victorious be,
And from a dark eclipse set free,
The influence, which we fondly fear,
Afflicts our thoughts the following year.

But that which may relieve our care
Is, that you have a help so near
For all the evil you can prove,
The kindness of your royal love;
He that was never known to mourn,
So many kingdoms from him torn, 30
His tears reserved for you, more dear,
More prized, than all those kingdoms were!
For when no healing art prevail'd,
When cordials and elixirs fail'd,
On your pale cheek he dropp'd the shower,
Revived you like a dying flower.

[1] 'Dangerous sickness': the Queen of Charles II. These verses belong
to the year 1663.


Sir, you should rather teach our age the way
Of judging well, than thus have changed your play;
You had obliged us by employing wit,
Not to reform Pandora, but the pit;
For as the nightingale, without the throng
Of other birds, alone attends her song,
While the loud daw, his throat displaying, draws
The whole assemblage of his fellow-daws;
So must the writer, whose productions should
Take with the vulgar, be of vulgar mould;
Whilst nobler fancies make a flight too high
For common view, and lessen as they fly.

[1] 'Mr. Killigrew': a gentleman usher to Charles II., and one of the
playwrights of the period.


Sir! you've obliged the British nation more
Than all their bards could ever do before,
And, at your own charge, monuments as hard
As brass or marble to your fame have rear'd;
For, as all warlike nations take delight
To hear how their brave ancestors could fight,
You have advanced to wonder their renown, 7
And no less virtuously improved your own;
That 'twill be doubtful whether you do write,
Or they have acted, at a nobler height.
You of your ancient princes, have retrieved
More than the ages knew in which they lived;
Explain'd their customs and their rights anew,
Better than all their Druids ever knew;
Unriddled those dark oracles as well
As those that made them could themselves foretell.
For as the Britons long have hoped, in vain,
Arthur would come to govern them again,
You have fulfill'd that prophecy alone,
And in your poem placed him on his throne. 20
Such magic power has your prodigious pen
To raise the dead, and give new life to men,
Make rival princes meet in arms and love,
Whom distant ages did so far remove;
For as eternity has neither past
Nor future, authors say, nor first nor last,
But is all instant, your eternal Muse
All ages can to any one reduce.
Then why should you, whose miracles of art
Can life at pleasure to the dead impart, 30
Trouble in vain your better-busied head,
T'observe what times they lived in, or were dead?
For since you have such arbitrary power,
It were defect in judgment to go lower,
Or stoop to things so pitifully lewd,
As use to take the vulgar latitude;
For no man's fit to read what you have writ,
That holds not some proportion with your wit;
As light can no way but by light appear,
He must bring sense that understands it here. 40

[1] 'The British Princes': an heroic poem, by the Hon. Edward Howard,
was universally laughed at. See our edition of 'Butler.'


Bold is the man that dares engage
For piety in such an age!
Who can presume to find a guard
From scorn, when Heaven's so little spared?
Divines are pardon'd; they defend
Altars on which their lives depend;
But the profane impatient are,
When nobler pens make this their care;
For why should these let in a beam
Of divine light to trouble them, 10
And call in doubt their pleasing thought,
That none believes what we are taught?
High birth and fortune warrant give
That such men write what they believe;
And, feeling first what they indite,
New credit give to ancient light.
Amongst these few, our author brings
His well-known pedigree from kings.[2]
This book, the image of his mind,
Will make his name not hard to find; 20
I wish the throng of great and good
Made it less eas'ly understood!

[1] 'Several subjects': supposed to be Lord Berkeley. It contained
testimonies of celebrated men to the value of religion.
[2] 'Pedigree from kings': the Earl of Berkeley was descended from the
royal house of Denmark.


That sun of beauty did among us rise;
England first saw the light of your fair eyes;
In English, too, your early wit was shown;
Favour that language, which was then your own,
When, though a child, through guards you made your way;
What fleet or army could an angel stay?
Thrice happy Britain! if she could retain
Whom she first bred within her ambient main.
Our late burnt London, in apparel new,
Shook off her ashes to have treated you; 10
But we must see our glory snatch'd away,
And with warm tears increase the guilty sea;
No wind can favour us; howe'er it blows,
We must be wreck'd, and our dear treasure lose!
Sighs will not let us half our sorrows tell,--
Fair, lovely, great, and best of nymphs, farewell!

[1] 'Court at Dover': the Duchess of Orleans, the youngest daughter of
Charles I., came to England on the 14th May 1670, on a political


Chloris! what's eminent, we know
Must for some cause be valued so;
Things without use, though they be good,
Are not by us so understood.
The early rose, made to display
Her blushes to the youthful May,
Doth yield her sweets, since he is fair,
And courts her with a gentle air.
Our stars do show their excellence
Not by their light, but influence;
When brighter comets, since still known
Fatal to all, are liked by none.
So your admired beauty still
Is, by effects, made good or ill.


Great Sir! disdain not in this piece to stand,
Supreme commander both of sea and land.
Those which inhabit the celestial bower,
Painters express with emblems of their power;
His club Alcides, Phoebus has his bow,
Jove has his thunder, and your navy you.

But your great providence no colours here
Can represent, nor pencil draw that care,
Which keeps you waking to secure our peace,
The nation's glory, and our trade's increase; 10
You, for these ends, whole days in council sit,
And the diversions of your youth forget.

Small were the worth of valour and of force,
If your high wisdom governed not their course;
You as the soul, as the first mover you,
Vigour and life on every part bestow;
How to build ships, and dreadful ordnance cast,
Instruct the artists, and reward their haste.

So Jove himself, when Typhon heaven does brave,
Descends to visit Vulcan's smoky cave, 20
Teaching the brawny Cyclops how to frame
His thunder, mix'd with terror, wrath, and flame.
Had the old Greeks discover'd your abode,
Crete had not been the cradle of their god;
On that small island they had looked with scorn,
And in Great Britain thought the Thunderer born.


Madam! I here present you with the rage,
And with the beauties of a former age;
Wishing you may with as great pleasure view
This, as we take in gazing upon you.
Thus we writ then: your brighter eyes inspire
A nobler flame, and raise our genius higher.
While we your wit and early knowledge fear,
To our productions we become severe;
Your matchless beauty gives our fancy wing,
Your judgment makes us careful how we sing. 10
Lines not composed, as heretofore, in haste,
Polish'd like marble, shall like marble last,
And make you through as many ages shine,
As Tasso has the heroes of your line.

Though other names our wary writers use,
You are the subject of the British Muse;
Dilating mischief to yourself unknown,
Men write, and die of wounds they dare not own.
So the bright sun burns all our grass away,
While it means nothing but to give us day. 20


What all men wish'd, though few could hope to see,
We are now bless'd with, and obliged by thee.
Thou, from the ancient, learned Latin store,
Giv'st us one author, and we hope for more.
May they enjoy thy thoughts!--Let not the stage
The idlest moment of thy hours engage;
Each year that place some wondrous monster breeds,
And the wits' garden is o'errun with weeds.
There, Farce is Comedy; bombast called strong;
Soft words, with nothing in them, make a song. 10
'Tis hard to say they steal them now-a-days;
For sure the ancients never wrote such plays.
These scribbling insects have what they deserve,
Not plenty, nor the glory for to starve.
That Spenser knew, that Tasso felt before;
And death found surly Ben exceeding poor.
Heaven turn the omen from their image here!
May he with joy the well-placed laurel wear!
Great Virgil's happier fortune may he find,
And be our Caesar, like Augustus, kind! 20

But let not this disturb thy tuneful head;
Thou writ'st for thy delight, and not for bread;
Thou art not cursed to write thy verse with care;
But art above what other poets fear.
What may we not expect from such a hand,
That has, with books, himself at free command?
Thou know'st in youth, what age has sought in vain;
And bring'st forth sons without a mother's pain.
So easy is thy sense, thy verse so sweet,
Thy words so proper, and thy phrase so fit, 30
We read, and read again; and still admire
Whence came this youth, and whence this wondrous fire!

Pardon this rapture, sir! but who can be
Cold, and unmoved, yet have his thoughts on thee?
Thy goodness may my several faults forgive,
And by your help these wretched lines may live.
But if, when view'd by your severer sight,
They seem unworthy to behold the light,
Let them with speed in deserv'd flames be thrown!
They'll send no sighs, nor murmur out a groan; 40
But, dying silently, your justice own.

[1] 'Lucretius': this piece is not contained in Anderson, or the edition
of 1693.



1 Stay, Phoebus! stay;
The world to which you fly so fast,
Conveying day
From us to them, can pay your haste
With no such object, nor salute your rise,
With no such wonder as De Mornay's eyes.

2 Well does this prove
The error of those antique books,
Which made you move
About the world; her charming looks
Would fix your beams, and make it ever day,
Did not the rolling earth snatch her away.


1 Peace, babbling Muse!
I dare not sing what you indite;
Her eyes refuse
To read the passion which they write.
She strikes my lute, but, if it sound,
Threatens to hurl it on the ground;
And I no less her anger dread,
Than the poor wretch that feigns him dead,
While some fierce lion does embrace
His breathless corpse, and lick his face;
Wrapp'd up in silent fear he lies,
Torn all in pieces if he cries.


1 Chloris! farewell. I now must go;
For if with thee I longer stay,
Thy eyes prevail upon me so,
I shall prove blind, and lose my way.

2 Fame of thy beauty, and thy youth,
Among the rest, me hither brought;
Finding this fame fall short of truth,
Made me stay longer than I thought.

3 For I'm engaged by word and oath,
A servant to another's will;
Yet, for thy love, I'd forfeit both,
Could I be sure to keep it still.

4 But what assurance can I take,
When thou, foreknowing this abuse,
For some more worthy lover's sake,
Mayst leave me with so just excuse?

5 For thou mayst say, 'twas not thy fault
That thou didst thus inconstant prove;
Being by my example taught
To break thy oath, to mend thy love.

6 No, Chloris! no: I will return,
And raise thy story to that height,
That strangers shall at distance burn,
And she distrust me reprobate.

7 Then shall my love this doubt displace,
And gain such trust, that I may come
And banquet sometimes on thy face,
But make my constant meals at home.


1 'Tis not your beauty can engage
My wary heart;
The sun, in all his pride and rage,
Has not that art;
And yet he shines as bright as you,
If brightness could our souls subdue.

2 'Tis not the pretty things you say,
Nor those you write,
Which can make Thyrsis' heart your prey:
For that delight,
The graces of a well-taught mind,
In some of our own sex we find.

3 No, Flavia! 'tis your love I fear;
Love's surest darts,
Those which so seldom fail him, are
Headed with hearts;
Their very shadows make us yield;
Dissemble well, and win the field.


1 Behold the brand of beauty toss'd!
See how the motion does dilate the flame!
Delighted Love his spoils does boast,
And triumph in this game.
Fire, to no place confined,
Is both our wonder and our fear;
Moving the mind,
As lightning hurled through the air.

2 High heaven the glory does increase
Of all her shining lamps, this artful way;
The sun in figures, such as these,
Joys with the moon to play;
To the sweet strains they advance,
Which do result from their own spheres,
As this nymph's dance
Moves with the numbers which she hears.


1 While I listen to thy voice,
Chloris! I feel my life decay;
That powerful noise
Calls my fleeting soul away.
Oh! suppress that magic sound,
Which destroys without a wound.

2 Peace, Chloris! peace! or singing die,
That together you and I
To heaven may go;
For all we know
Of what the blessed do above,
Is, that they sing, and that they love.


1 Go, lovely Rose!
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

2 Tell her that's young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts, where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

3 Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired;
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

4 Then die! that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!


This happy day two lights are seen,
A glorious saint, a matchless queen;[1]
Both named alike, both crown'd appear,
The saint above, th'Infanta here.
May all those years which Catherine
The martyr did for heaven resign,
Be added to the line
Of your bless'd life among us here!
For all the pains that she did feel,
And all the torments of her wheel,
May you as many pleasures share!
May heaven itself content
With Catherine the Saint!
Without appearing old,
An hundred times may you,
With eyes as bright as now,
This welcome day behold!

[1] 'Matchless queen': Queen Catherine was born on the day set apart in
the calendar for the commemoration of the martyrdom of St.


1 Say, lovely dream! where couldst thou find
Shades to counterfeit that face?
Colours of this glorious kind
Come not from any mortal place.

2 In heaven itself thou sure wert dress'd
With that angel-like disguise:
Thus deluded am I bless'd,
And see my joy with closed eyes.

3 But, ah! this image is too kind
To be other than a dream;
Cruel Saccharissa's mind
Never put on that sweet extreme!

4 Fair dream! if thou intend'st me grace,
Change that heavenly face of thine;
Paint despised love in thy face,
And make it to appear like mine.

5 Pale, wan, and meagre let it look,
With a pity-moving shape,
Such as wander by the brook
Of Lethe, or from graves escape.

6 Then to that matchless nymph appear,
In whose shape thou shinest so;
Softly in her sleeping ear,
With humble words, express my woe.

7 Perhaps from greatness, state, and pride,
Thus surprised she may fall;
Sleep does disproportion hide,
And, death resembling, equals all.



Amaze us not with that majestic frown,
But lay aside the greatness of your crown!
And for that look which does your people awe,
When in your throne and robes you give them law,
Lay it by here, and give a gentler smile,
Such as we see great Jove's in picture, while
He listens to Apollo's charming lyre,
Or judges of the songs he does inspire.
Comedians on the stage show all their skill,
And after do as Love and Fortune will. 10
We are less careful, hid in this disguise;
In our own clothes more serious and more wise.
Modest at home, upon the stage more bold,
We seem warm lovers, though our breasts be cold;
A fault committed here deserves no scorn,
If we act well the parts to which we're born.


Scarce should we have the boldness to pretend
So long-renown'd a tragedy to mend,
Had not already some deserved your praise
With like attempt. Of all our elder plays
This and _Philaster_ have the loudest fame;
Great are their faults, and glorious is their flame.
In both our English genius is express'd; 7
Lofty and bold, but negligently dress'd.

Above our neighbours our conceptions are;
But faultless writing is th'effect of care.
Our lines reform'd, and not composed in haste,
Polished like marble, would like marble last.[2]
But as the present, so the last age writ;
In both we find like negligence and wit.
Were we but less indulgent to our faults,
And patience had to cultivate our thoughts,
Our Muse would flourish, and a nobler rage
Would honour this than did the Grecian stage.

Thus says our author, not content to see
That others write as carelessly as he; 20
Though he pretends not to make things complete,
Yet, to please you, he'd have the poets sweat.

In this old play, what's new we have express'd
In rhyming verse, distinguish'd from the rest;
That as the Rhone its hasty way does make
(Not mingling waters) through Geneva's lake,
So having here the different styles in view,
You may compare the former with the new.

If we less rudely shall the knot untie,
Soften the rigour of the tragedy, 30
And yet preserve each person's character,
Then to the other this you may prefer.
'Tis left to you: the boxes and the pit,
Are sov'reign judges of this sort of wit.
In other things the knowing artist may
Judge better than the people; but a play,
(Made for delight, and for no other use)
If you approve it not, has no excuse.

[1] 'Maid's Tragedy': Waller altered this tragedy without success.
[2] 'Marble last': these lines occur in a previous poem.


The fierce Melantius was content, you see,
The king should live; be not more fierce than he;
Too long indulgent to so rude a time,
When love was held so capital a crime,
That a crown'd head could no compassion find,
But died--because the killer had been kind!
Nor is't less strange, such mighty wits as those
Should use a style in tragedy like prose.
Well-sounding verse, where princes tread the stage,
Should speak their virtue, or describe their rage. 10
By the loud trumpet, which our courage aids,
We learn that sound, as well as sense, persuades;
And verses are the potent charms we use,
Heroic thoughts and virtue to infuse.

When next we act this tragedy again,
Unless you like the change, we shall be slain.
The innocent Aspasia's life or death,
Amintor's too, depends upon your breath.
Excess of love was heretofore the cause;
Now if we die, 'tis want of your applause. 20


Aspasia bleeding on the stage does lie,
To show you still 'tis the Maid's Tragedy.
The fierce Melantius was content, you see,
The king should live; be not more fierce than he;
Too long indulgent to so rude a time,
When love was held so capital a crime,
That a crown'd head could no compassion find,
But died--because the killer had been kind!
This better-natured poet had reprieved
Gentle Amintor too, had he believed 10
The fairer sex his pardon could approve,
Who to ambition sacrificed his love.
Aspasia he has spared; but for her wound
(Neglected love!) there could no salve be found.

When next we act this tragedy again,
Unless you like the change, I must be slain.
Excess of love was heretofore the cause;
Now if I die, 'tis want of your applause.



Such Helen was! and who can blame the boy[1]
That in so bright a flame consumed his Troy?
But had like virtue shined in that fair Greek,
The am'rous shepherd had not dared to seek
Or hope for pity; but with silent moan,
And better fate, had perished alone.

[1] Paris.


While she pretends to make the graces known
Of matchless Mira, she reveals her own;
And when she would another's praise indite,
Is by her glass instructed how to write.


Since thou wouldst needs (bewitch'd with some ill charms!)
Be buried in those monumental arms,
All we can wish is, may that earth lie light
Upon thy tender limbs! and so good night.


Were men so dull they could not see
That Lyce painted; should they flee,
Like simple birds, into a net
So grossly woven and ill set,
Her own teeth would undo the knot,
And let all go that she had got.
Those teeth fair Lyce must not show
If she would bite; her lovers, though
Like birds they stoop at seeming grapes,
Are disabused when first she gapes;
The rotten bones discover'd there,
Show 'tis a painted sepulchre.


Our guard upon the royal side!
On the reverse our beauty's pride!
Here we discern the frown and smile,
The force and glory of our isle.
In the rich medal, both so like
Immortals stand, it seems antique;
Carved by some master, when the bold
Greeks made their Jove descend in gold,
And Danae[2] wond'ring at their shower,
Which, falling, storm'd her brazen tower.
Britannia there, the fort in vain
Had batter'd been with golden rain;
Thunder itself had fail'd to pass;
Virtue's a stronger guard than brass.

[1] 'Golden Medal': it is said that a Miss Stewart, the favourite of the
unprincipled king, is the original of the figure of Britannia on the
medals to which the poet here alludes.
[2] Transcriber's note: The original text has a single dot over the
second "a" and another over the "e", rather than the more
conventional diaresis shown here.


The cards you tear in value rise;
So do the wounded by your eyes.
Who to celestial things aspire,
Are by that passion raised the higher.


An early plant! which such a blossom bears,
And shows a genius so beyond his years;
A judgment! that could make so fair a choice;
So high a subject to employ his voice;
Still as it grows, how sweetly will he sing
The growing greatness of our matchless king!


Circles are praised, not that abound
In largeness, but th'exactly round:
So life we praise that does excel
Not in much time, but acting well.


Though we may seem importunate,
While your compassion we implore;
They whom you make too fortunate,
May with presumption vex you more.


Fade, flowers! fade, Nature will have it so;
'Tis but what we must in our autumn do!
And as your leaves lie quiet on the ground,
The loss alone by those that loved them found;
So in the grave shall we as quiet lie,
Miss'd by some few that loved our company;
But some so like to thorns and nettles live,
That none for them can, when they perish, grieve.


Rome's holy-days you tell, as if a guest
With the old Romans you were wont to feast.
Numa's religion, by themselves believed,
Excels the true, only in show received.
They made the nations round about them bow,
With their dictators taken from the plough;
Such power has justice, faith, and honesty!
The world was conquer'd by morality.
Seeming devotion does but gild a knave,
That's neither faithful, honest, just, nor brave;
But where religion does with virtue join,
It makes a hero like an angel shine.


That the First Charles does here in triumph ride,
See his son reign where he a martyr died,
And people pay that rev'rence as they pass,
(Which then he wanted!) to the sacred brass,
Is not the effect of gratitude alone,
To which we owe the statue and the stone;
But Heaven this lasting monument has wrought,
That mortals may eternally be taught
Rebellion, though successful, is but vain,
And kings so kill'd rise conquerors again.
This truth the royal image does proclaim,
Loud as the trumpet of surviving Fame.


Not the brave Macedonian youth[1] alone,
But base Caligula, when on the throne,
Boundless in power, would make himself a god,
As if the world depended on his nod.
The Syrian king[2] to beasts was headlong thrown,
Ere to himself he could be mortal known.
The meanest wretch, if Heaven should give him line,
Would never stop till he were thought divine.
All might within discern the serpent's pride,
If from ourselves nothing ourselves did hide.
Let the proud peacock his gay feathers spread,
And woo the female to his painted bed;
Let winds and seas together rage and swell--
This Nature teaches, and becomes them well.
'Pride was not made for men;'[3] a conscious sense
Of guilt, and folly, and their consequence,
Destroys the claim, and to beholders tells,
Here nothing but the shape of manhood dwells.

[1] 'Macedonian youth': Alexander.
[2] 'Syrian king': Nebuchadnezzar.
[3] 'For men': Ecclus. x. 18.


Under this stone lies virtue, youth,
Unblemish'd probity, and truth,
Just unto all relations known,
A worthy patriot, pious son;
Whom neighb'ring towns so often sent
To give their sense in Parliament;
With lives and fortunes trusting one
Who so discreetly used his own.
Sober he was, wise, temperate, 9
Contented with an old estate,
Which no foul avarice did increase,
Nor wanton luxury make less.
While yet but young his father died,
And left him to a happy guide;
Not Lemuel's mother with more care
Did counsel or instruct her heir,
Or teach with more success her son
The vices of the time to shun.
An heiress she; while yet alive,
All that was hers to him did give; 20
And he just gratitude did show
To one that had obliged him so;
Nothing too much for her he thought,
By whom he was so bred and taught.
So (early made that path to tread,
Which did his youth to honour lead)
His short life did a pattern give
How neighbours, husbands, friends, should live.

The virtues of a private life
Exceed the glorious noise and strife 30
Of battles won; in those we find
The solid int'rest of mankind.

Approved by all, and loved so well,
Though young, like fruit that's ripe, he fell.


Here lies Charles Ca'ndish; let the marble stone
That hides his ashes make his virtue known.
Beauty and valour did his short life grace,
The grief and glory of his noble race!
Early abroad he did the world survey,
As if he knew he had not long to stay;
Saw what great Alexander in the East,
And mighty Julius conquer'd in the West;
Then, with a mind as great as theirs, he came
To find at home occasion for his fame; 10
Where dark confusion did the nations hide,
And where the juster was the weaker side.
Two loyal brothers took their sov'reign's part,
Employ'd their wealth, their courage, and their art;
The elder[2] did whole regiments afford;
The younger brought his conduct and his sword.
Born to command, a leader he begun,
And on the rebels lasting honour won.
The horse, instructed by their general's worth,
Still made the king victorious in the north. 20
Where Ca'ndish fought, the Royalists prevail'd;
Neither his courage nor his judgment fail'd.
The current of his vict'ries found no stop,
Till Cromwell came, his party's chiefest prop.
Equal success had set these champions high,
And both resolved to conquer or to die.
Virtue with rage, fury with valour strove;
But that must fall which is decreed above!
Cromwell, with odds of number and of fate,
Removed this bulwark of the church and state; 30
Which the sad issue of the war declared,
And made his task, to ruin both, less hard.
So when the bank, neglected, is o'erthrown,
The boundless torrent does the country drown.
Thus fell the young, the lovely, and the brave;--
Strew bays and flowers on his honoured grave!

[1] 'Charles Cavendish': younger son of the Earl of Devonshire, and
brother of Lady Rich; slain in 1643 at Gainsborough, fighting on the
king's side, in the twenty-third year of his age.
[2] 'The elder': afterwards Earl of Devonshire.


Here lies the learned Savil's heir,
So early wise, and lasting fair,
That none, except her years they told,
Thought her a child, or thought her old.
All that her father knew or got,
His art, his wealth, fell to her lot;
And she so well improved that stock,
Both of his knowledge and his flock,
That wit and fortune, reconciled
In her, upon each other smiled. 10
While she to every well-taught mind
Was so propitiously inclined,
And gave such title to her store,
That none, but th'ignorant, were poor.
The Muses daily found supplies,
Both from her hands and from her eyes.
Her bounty did at once engage,
And matchless beauty warm their rage.
Such was this dame in calmer days,
Her nation's ornament and praise! 20
But when a storm disturb'd our rest,
The port and refuge of the oppress'd.
This made her fortune understood,
And look'd on as some public good.
So that (her person and her state,
Exempted from the common fate)
In all our civil fury she
Stood, like a sacred temple, free.
May here her monument stand so,
To credit this rude age! and show
To future times, that even we
Some patterns did of virtue see;
And one sublime example had
Of good, among so many bad.

[1] 'Lady Sedley': daughter of Sir Henry Savil, provost of Eton, and who
married Sir John Sedley.


'Tis fit the English reader should be told,
In our own language, what this tomb does hold.
'Tis not a noble corpse alone does lie
Under this stone, but a whole family.
His parents' pious care, their name, their joy,
And all their hope, lies buried with this boy;
This lovely youth! for whom we all made moan,
That knew his worth, as he had been our own.

Had there been space and years enough allow'd,
His courage, wit, and breeding to have show'd, 10
We had not found, in all the num'rous roll
Of his famed ancestors, a greater soul;
His early virtues to that ancient stock
Gave as much honour, as from thence he took.

Like buds appearing ere the frosts are past,
To become man he made such fatal haste,
And to perfection labour'd so to climb,
Preventing slow experience and time,
That 'tis no wonder Death our hopes beguiled; 19
He's seldom old that will not be a child.

[1] 'Lord Andover': the eldest son of the Earl of Berkshire.


Great soul! for whom Death will no longer stay,
But sends in haste to snatch our bliss away.
O cruel Death! to those you take more kind,
Than to the wretched mortals left behind!
Here beauty, youth, and noble virtue shined,
Free from the clouds of pride that shade the mind.
Inspired verse may on this marble live,
But can no honour to thy ashes give--



Floriferis ut apes in saltibus omnia libant,
Sic nos Scripturae depascimur aurea dicta;
Aurea! perpetua semper dignissima vita!
Nam divinus amor cum coepit vociferari,
Diffugiunt animi terrores.... _Lucretius_, lib. iii.

Exul eram, requiesque mihi, non fama, petita est,
Mens intenta suis ne foret usque malis:
Namque ubi mota calent sacra mea pectora Musa,
Altior humano spiritua ille malo est.
OVID. _De Trist_. lib. iv. el. I.


I. Asserting the authority of the Scripture, in which this love is
revealed.--II. The preference and love of God to man in the creation.--
III. The same love more amply declared in our redemption.--IV. How
necessary this love is to reform mankind, and how excellent in itself.--
V. Showing how happy the world would be, if this love were universally
embraced.--VI. Of preserving this love in our memory, and how useful
the contemplation thereof is.

[1] These were Waller's latest poems, composed when he was eighty-two.


The Grecian Muse has all their gods survived,
Nor Jove at us, nor Phoebus is arrived;
Frail deities! which first the poets made,
And then invoked, to give their fancies aid.
Yet if they still divert us with their rage,
What may be hoped for in a better age,
When not from Helicon's imagined spring,
But Sacred Writ, we borrow what we sing?
This with the fabric of the world begun,
Elder than light, and shall outlast the sun. 10
Before this oracle, like Dagon, all
The false pretenders, Delphos, Ammon, fall;
Long since despised and silent, they afford
Honour and triumph to th'Eternal Word.

As late philosophy[1] our globe has graced,
And rolling earth among the planets placed,
So has this book entitled us to heaven,
And rules to guide us to that mansion given;
Tells the conditions how our peace was made,
And is our pledge for the great Author's aid. 20
His power in Nature's ample book we find,
But the less volume does express his mind.

This light unknown, bold Epicurus taught
That his bless'd gods vouchsafe us not a thought,
But unconcern'd let all below them slide,
As fortune does, or human wisdom, guide.
Religion thus removed, the sacred yoke,
And band of all society, is broke.
What use of oaths, of promise, or of test,
Where men regard no God but interest? 30
What endless war would jealous nations tear,
If none above did witness what they swear?
Sad fate of unbelievers, and yet just,
Among themselves to find so little trust!
Were Scripture silent, Nature would proclaim,
Without a God, our falsehood and our shame.
To know our thoughts the object of his eyes,
Is the first step t'wards being good or wise;
For though with judgment we on things reflect,
Our will determines, not our intellect. 40
Slaves to their passion, reason men employ
Only to compass what they would enjoy.
His fear to guard us from ourselves we need,
And Sacred Writ our reason does exceed;
For though heaven shows the glory of the Lord,
Yet something shines more glorious in His Word;
His mercy this (which all His work excels!)
His tender kindness and compassion tells;
While we, inform'd by that celestial Book,
Into the bowels of our Maker look. 50
Love there reveal'd (which never shall have end,
Nor had beginning) shall our song commend;
Describe itself, and warm us with that flame

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