The Project Gutenberg eBook of Poetical Works of Edmund Waller and Sir John Denham

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Title: Poetical Works of Edmund Waller and Sir John Denham

Author: Edmund Waller

Sir John Denham

Contributor: George Gilfillan

Release date: May 1, 2004 [eBook #12322]
Most recently updated: December 14, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Carol David and PG Distributed Proofreaders


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Carol David and PG Distributed Proofreaders






It is too true, after all, that the lives of poets are not, in general, very interesting. Could we, indeed, trace the private workings of their souls, and read the pages of their mental and moral development, no biographies could be richer in instruction, and even entertainment, than those of our greater bards. The inner life of every true poet must be poetical. But in proportion to the romance of their souls' story, is often the commonplace of their outward career. There have been poets, however, whose lives are quite as readable and as instructive as their poetry, and have even shed a reflex and powerful interest on their writings. The interest of such lives has, in general, proceeded either from the extraordinary misfortunes of the bard, or from his extremely bad morals, or from his strange personal idiosyncrasy, or from his being involved in the political or religious conflicts of his age. The life of Milton, for instance, is rendered intensely interesting from his connexion with the public affairs of his critical and solemn era. The life of Johnson is made readable from his peculiar conformation of body, his bear-like manners, his oddities, and his early struggles. You devour the life of Gifford, not because he was a poet, but because he was a shoemaker; and that of Byron, more on account of his vices, his peerage, and his domestic unhappiness, than for the sake of his poetry. And in Waller, too, you feel some supplemental interest, because he united what are usually thought the incompatible characters of a poet and a political plotter, and very nearly reached the altitudes of the gallows as well as those of Parnassus.

March 1605 was the date, and Coleshill, in Hertfordshire, the place, of the birth of our poet. He was of an ancient and honourable family originally from Kent, some members of which were distinguished for their wealth and others for the valour with which, at Agincourt and elsewhere, they fought the battles of their country. Robert Waller, the poet's father, inherited from Edmund, his father, the lands of Beaconsfield, in Bucks, and other territory in Hertfordshire. These had been in 1548-9 left by Francis Waller, in default of issue by his own wife, to his brothers Thomas and Edmund, but Thomas dying, Edmund inherited the whole. Robert, on receiving his estates, quitted the profession of the law, to which he had attached himself, and spent the rest of his life chiefly at Beaconsfield, employed in the manly business and healthy amusements of a country gentleman. He died in August 1616, and left a widow and a son—the son, Edmund, being eleven years of age. It was at Beaconsfield. We need hardly remind our readers, that a far greater Edmund—Edmund Burke—spent many of his days. It was there that he composed his latest and noblest works, the "Reflections on the French Revolution," and the "Letters on a Regicide Peace;" and there he surrendered to the Creator one of the subtlest, strongest, brightest, and best of human souls. Shortly after Burke's death, the house of Beaconsfield was burnt down, and no trace of it is now, we believe, extant.

Mrs. Waller's brother, William, was the father of John Hampden. His wife, Elizabeth Cromwell, the aunt of the great Oliver, was, however, and continued to the end, a violent Royalist; and Cromwell, although he treated both her and her son with kindness, and on the terms of their relationship, was so provoked at hearing that she carried on a secret correspondence with the Stewart party, that he confined her under a very strict watch in the house of her daughter, Mrs. Price, whose husband was on the side of the Parliament. It is exceedingly probable that from the "mother's milk" of early prejudice was derived that spirit of partisanship which distinguished alike the writings and the life of the poet. It is possible, too, that contact with men so far above moral heroism and rugged mental force as Cromwell and Hampden, instead of exciting emulation, led to envy, and that his divergence from their political path sprung more from personal feeling than from principle.

He was educated, first, at the grammar school of Market, Wickham; then at Eton; and, in fine, at King's College, Cambridge. Accounts vary as to his proficiency—one Bigge, who had been his school-fellow at Wickham, told Aubrey that he never expected Waller to have become such an eminent poet, and that he used to write his exercises for him. Others, on the contrary, have alleged that it was the fame of his scholarship which led to his election for Agmondesham, a borough in Bucks, when he was only sixteen years of age. This story, so far as his premature learning goes, seems rather apocryphal; but certain it is, that when scarcely eighteen, he had become M.P. for the above-mentioned borough. The parliament in which he found himself, was one of those subservient and cringing assemblies which James I. was wont to summon to sit till they had voted the supplies, and then contemptuously to dismiss. It met in November 1621, and after passing a resolution in support of their privileges, which James tore out of the Journals with his own hand, and granting the usual supplies, was dissolved on the 6th of January 1622. Waller was probably as silent and servile as any of his neighbours. He began, however, to feel his way as a courtier, and overheard some curious and not very canonical talk of James with his lords and bishops, the record of which reminds you of some of the richer scenes of the "Fortunes of Nigel." The next parliament was not called till 1624, when Waller was not elected. The electors of Agmondesham, who had, meantime, obtained fuller privileges, chose two matured members to represent them, and the precocious boy lost his seat.

Waller's "political and poetical life began nearly together." It was in his eighteenth year that he wrote his first poetical piece—that on the escape of Prince Charles from a tempest on his return from Spain. It is a tissue of smooth and musical mediocrity. It shews a kind of stunted prematurity. The perfection which is attained by a single effort is generally a poor and tame one. This poem of Waller's, like several of his others, has all that merit which arises from the absence of fault, and all that fault which arises from the absence of merit—of high poetic merit, we mean, for in music it is equal to any of his poems. Much has been said about the model which he followed in his versification, the majority of critics tracing in it an imitation of Fairfax's Tasso. The fact seems to be that Waller, with a good ear, had a very limited theory of verse. He worshipped smoothness, and sought it at every hazard. He preferred the Jacob of a soft flowing commonplace to the rough hairy Esau of a strong originality, cumbered with its own weight and richness. We think that this excessive love of the soft, and horror at the rude, materially weakened his genius. The true theory of versification lies in variety, and in accommodation to the necessities and fluctuations of the thought. The "Paradise Lost," written in Waller's rhyme, would have been as ridiculous as Waller's love to Saccharissa expressed in Milton's blank verse. The school before Waller were too rugged, but surely there is a medium between the roughness of Donne, and the honied monotony of the author of the "Summer Islands." The practice of running the lines into one another, severely condemned by Johnson, and systematically shunned by Waller, has often been practised with success by poets far greater than either—such as Shelley and Coleridge. It is remarkable that Dryden, while he praised, did not copy our poet's manner, but gave himself freer scope. Pope, on the other hand, pushed his love of uniform tinkle and unmitigated softness to excess, and transferred this kind of luscious verse from small poems, where it is often a merit, to large ones, where it is a mistake. In his "Iliad," for instance, the fierce ire of Achilles, the dignified resentment of Agamemnon, the dull courage of Ajax, the chivalrous sentiment of Hector, the glowing energy of Diomede, the veteran wisdom of Nestor, the grief of Andromache, the love of Helen, the jealousy of Juno, and the godlike majesty of Jupiter, are all expressed in the same sweet and monotonous melody—a verse called "heroic," by courtesy, or on the principle of contradiction, like lucus a non lucendo. In Waller, however, his poems being all, without exception, rather short, you never think of quarrelling with his uniformity of manner; and rise from his lines as from a liberal feast of hot-house grapes, thankful, but feeling that a few more would have turned satisfaction into nausea. Yet you feel, too, that perhaps his selection of small themes, and the consequent curbing of his powers, have sprung from his fastidiousness in the matter of versification. The sermons, the satires, the speeches, the odes, and the didactic poems of the fastidious are generally short, and do not, therefore, fully mirror the amplitude, or express the energy of their genius. To his poem on the escape of Prince Charles, succeeded that on the Prince, and two or three others of a similar kind; all finding their inspiration, not as yet in that love of others which animated his amatory effusions, but in that love to himself and his own interest which marks the incipient courtier, who is beginning, in Shakspeare's thought, to hang his knee upon "hinges," that it may bend more readily to power. Yet his case shews that there is a certain incompatibility between the profession of a courtier and that of a poet. He often began his panegyrics with much fervour, but the fit passed, or his fastidious taste produced disgust at what he had written, and it was either not finished, or was delayed till the interest of the occasion had passed away.

After the death of James I., Charles called a new parliament in 1625, and in it Waller took his place for Chipping-Wycombe, a borough in Buckinghamshire. This parliament met in London, but was adjourned to Oxford on account of the Plague. In Oxford, it proved refractory to the king's wishes, and refusing to grant him a tithe of the supplies which he demanded, was summarily dismissed. Waller was not re-elected in 1626, when the next parliament was summoned, but secured his return for Agmondesham in March 1627. He appears to have been in these years a silent senator, taking little interest or share in the debates, but retiring from them to offer the quit-rent of his versicles—a laureate without salary, and yet not probably much more sincere than laureates generally are; for although his loyalty was undoubted, his expressions of it in rhyme are often hyperbolical to a degree.

In his twenty-sixth year, he married an heiress, the daughter of Mr. Banks, a wealthy London citizen. In this there was nothing singular but the fact, that he, as yet obscure, distanced a rival of great influence, whose suit was supported by royalty—namely, Mr. Crofts, afterwards Baron Crofts—gave rather a romantic and adventurous air to the match. He retired soon after to Beaconsfield, where he spent some happy years in the enjoyment of domestic society, pursuing, too, his studies under the direction of Morley, afterwards Bishop of Winchester, a distinguished scholar of the time, who resided with him. During this period he is said to have read many poets, but to have written little poetry. Although the king, jealous of his subjects, had, in 1632, by a most absurd and arbitrary decree, commanded all the lords and gentry in the kingdom to reside on their own estates, Waller did not at the time consider this an exceeding hardship. Indeed, his feelings were on no subject, and under no pressure of circumstances, either very profound or very lasting.

His wife died after having borne him a son and a daughter—a son, who did not long survive his mother; and a daughter, who became afterwards Mrs. Dormer of Oxfordshire. From under this calamity Waller, yet only thirty years of age, rebounded with characteristic elasticity. He came back, nothing both, to the society he had left, and was soon known to be in quest of a fair lady, whom he has made immortal by the sobriquet of Saccharissa. She was the eldest daughter of the Earl of Leicester, and her name was the Lady Dorothy Sidney. This lady was counted beautiful. Her father was absent in foreign parts. She lived almost alone in Penshurst. It added to her charms, at least in a poetical eye, that she was descended from Sir Philip Sidney; a man whose name, as the flower of chivalry and the soul of honour, is still "like ointment poured forth" in the estimation of the world—whose death rises almost to the dignity and grandeur of a martyrdom—and who has left in his "Arcadia" a quaintly decorated, conceived, and unequally chiselled, but true, rich, and magnificent monument of his genius. In spite, however, of all Waller's tender ditties, of the incense he offered up—not only to Dorothy, but to her sister Lady Lucy, and even to her maid Mrs. Braughton—his goddess was inexorable, and not only rejected, but spurned him from her feet. The poet bore this disappointment, as all poets, Dante hardly excepted, have borne the same: he transferred his affections to another, who, indeed, ere Saccharissa-like the sun had set in the west, had risen like the moon in the east of her lover's admiration, and soon, although only for a short time, possessed the sky alone. This was his Amoret, who is said to have been Lady Sophia Murray. The Juliet, however, was not one whit more placable than the Rosalind— she, too, rejected his suit; and this rejection threw Waller, not into despair or melancholy, but into a wide sea of miscellaneous flirtations, with we know not how many Chlorises, Sylvias, Phyllises, and Flavias, all which names stood, it seems, for real persons, and testified to a universality in the poet's affections which is rather ludicrous than edifying. His heart was as soft, and shallower than his verse.

Saccharissa married Lord Spencer, afterwards the Earl of Sunderland, who was killed at the battle of Newbury. After his death, she was united to a Mr. Robert Smythe; and she now lies at Brinton, in Northamptonshire, while her picture continues, from the walls of the gallery at Penshurst, to shed down the soft, languishing, and voluptuous smile which had captivated the passions, if it could hardly be said to have really touched the heart, of her poetical admirer. He not very long after his twofold rejection, consoled himself by marrying a second wife. Her name was Breaux or Bresse; and all we know of her is, that she bore and brought up a great many children.

In 1639, the urgencies of the times compelled Charles to call a new parliament, and it was decreed that politics instead of love and song should now for a time engross our poet. And there opened up to him unquestionably a noble field of patriotic exertion had he been fully adapted for its cultivation—his firmness been equal to his eloquence, and his sincerity to his address—had he been more of a Whig in the good old Hampden sense, and less of a trimmer. As it is, he cuts, on the whole, a doubtful figure, and is no great favourite with the partisans of either of the great contending parties. He was again elected member for Agmondesham, and when the question came before the House, whether the supplies demanded by Strafford should be granted, or the grievances complained of by the Commons should be first redressed, he delivered an oration, trying with considerable dexterity to steer a medium course between the two sides. In this speech, while contending for the constitutional principle advocated by the Commons, and expressing great attachment to his Majesty's person, he maintained that the chief blame of the king's obnoxious measures lay with his clerical advisers, and concluded by moving that the House should first consider the grievances, and then grant the royal demand. Charles, who had personally requested Waller to second the motion for instantly granting the supplies, was not, we imagine, particularly pleased with his "volunteer" laureate's conduct; and his temporary defection did not tend to allay the royal fury at the parliament, which burst out forthwith in an act of sudden and wrathful dismissal.

This session, called from its extreme brevity the Short Parliament, ended in May. In November met that memorable assembly, destined not to separate till it had outlived a monarchy and a hierarchy, and seen a brewer's son take the sceptre instead of the descendant of a hundred kings, the Long Parliament. Waller, again member for Agmondesham, had made himself popular by his speech in the beginning of the year, and was chosen by the Commons to manage the prosecution of Judge Crawley for advising the levy of ship-money. He conducted the case with talent, acuteness, and moderation. Soon after, however, as the gulph widened between the king and the parliament, his position became extremely awkward. His understanding on the whole was with the parliament, although he did not approve of some of their measures, but his heart was with the royal cause. He first of all, along with a others (whose example was imitated by Fox and his party during the French Revolution), retired from parliament, but in consequence of the permission or request of the king, he speedily resumed his seat. When Charles put himself in a warlike attitude in August 1642, Waller sent him a present of a thousand broad pieces. Still his plausible language, the tone of moderation which he preserved, and his connexion with Cromwell and Hampden, rendered the popular party unwilling to believe him a traitor to their cause, and he was appointed, after the battle at Edgehill, one of the commissioners who met at Oxford to treat of peace. Here, it is said, that one of those compliments which cost the subtle Charles so little (Waller was last in being presented to the king, and his Majesty told him, "Though last, you are not the lowest nor the least in my favour"), gained over Waller, and suggested to him the scheme of his famous plot. We do not think so little of our hero's intellect, or so much of his heart, as to credit this story. Though not aged, he was by far too old to be caught with such chaff. He knew, too, before, Charles' private sentiments towards him, and we incline with some of his biographers to suppose that these words of royalty were simply the signal to Waller to fire the train which the king knew right well had already been prepared.

Poets are in general poor politicians and miserable plotters. They seldom, even in verse or fiction, manage a state plot well. Scott, at least, has completely failed in his treatment of the Popish plot in "Peveril," and they always bungle it in reality. They are either too unsuspicious or too scheming, too shallow or too profound. That mixture of transparency and craft, of simplicity and subtlety, requisite to all deep schemes, and which Poe (himself a confused compound of the genius, the simpleton, and the scoundrel) has so admirably exemplified in the "Purloined Letter," is not often competent to men of imagination and impulse. Waller was not a very creative spirit; but here he was true to his class, and failed like a very poet. He had a brother-in-law named Tomkins, clerk of the Queen's Council, and possessed of much influence in the city. Consulting together on national affairs, it struck them simultaneously that energetic measures might yet save the court. They saw, or thought they saw, a reaction in favour of the royal cause, and they determined to try and unite the royalists together in a peaceful but strong combination against the parliament. They appointed confidential agents to make out, in the different parishes and wards, lists of those persons who were or were not friendly to their cause; and to secure secresy, they prohibited more than three of their party from meeting in one place, and no individual was to reveal the design to more than two others. Lord Conway, fresh from Ireland, joined the confederacy, and probably the counsels of such an ardent soldier served to modify the original purpose, and to give it a military colour. Meanwhile, Sir Nicholas Crispe, a bolder spirit than Waller, had organised a different scheme in favour of Charles. He had, when a merchant in the city, procured a loan of £100,000 for the king; he had then raised and taken the command of a regiment; he had obtained from Charles a commission of array, which Lady Aubigny, ignorant of its contents, was to deliver to a gentleman in London. Crispe's plan was bold and comprehensive. He intended to remove the king's children to a place of safety, to enlist soldiers, collect magazines, and raise monies by contribution, to release the prisoners committed by the parliament, to arrest some of the leading members in both Houses, to issue declarations, and whenever the conspiracy was ripe, to raise flags at Temple Bar, the Exchange, and other central spots.

It was impossible that two such plots could escape collision with each other—or that either should be long concealed. On the 31st May 1643, a fast-day, Pym is seated in St. Margaret's Church, hearing sermon. A messenger enters and gives him a letter. He reads hastily—communicates its intelligence in whispers to those beside him, and hurries out. No time is lost. Pym and his party could not trifle now though they would, and would not though they could. Waller and Tomkins are seized that night in their houses, and overwhelmed with fear, confess everything. It is suspected that Waller was betrayed by his sister, Mrs. Price, who was married to a zealous parliamentarian. A strange story is told, that one Goode, her chaplain, had stolen some of his papers, and would have got a hold of them all, had not Waller, having DREAMED that his sister was perfidious, risen and secured the rest. Clarendon, on the other hand, says that the discovery was made by a servant of Tomkins, who acted as a spy for the parliament. At all events, they were found out, and, in their terror and pusillanimity, they betrayed their associates. The Duke of Portland and Lord Conway were instantly arrested. Lady Aubigny, too, was imprisoned, but contrived to make her escape to the Hague. Even the Earl of Northumberland was involved in the charges which now issued in a trembling torrent from the lips of the detected conspirator, who confessed a great deal that could not have been discovered, and offered to reveal the private conversations of ladies of rank, and to betray all and sundry who were in the slightest degree connected with the plot. Tomkins had somehow got possession of Crispe's commission of array, which he had buried in the garden, but which was now, on his information, dug up. Never did a conspiracy fall to pieces more rapidly, completely, and, for the conspirators, more disgracefully.

This discovery proves a windfall to the parliamentary party. Pym hies to the citizens and apprises them, in one breath, at once of their danger and their signal deliverance. The Commons draw up a vow and covenant, expressing their detestation of all such conspiracies, and appoint a day of thanksgiving for the escape of the nation. Meanwhile Waller and Portland are confronted, when the one repeats his charge and Portland denies it. Conway, too, maintains his innocence, and as Waller is the only evidence against either him or Portland, both are, after a long imprisonment, admitted to bail. Tomkins, Chaloner (the agent of Crispe), Hassel (the king's courier between Oxford and London), Alexander Hampden (Waller's cousin), and some subordinate conspirators, are arraigned before a Council of War. Waller feigns himself so ill with remorse of conscience, that his trial is put off that he "may recover his understanding." Hassel dies the night before the trial. Tomkins and Chaloner are hanged before their own doors. Hampden escapes punishment, but is retained in prison, where he dies; and the subordinates just referred to (Blinkorne and White) are pardoned. Northumberland, owing to his rank, is only once examined before the Lords. Those whose names were inserted in the commission of array are treated as malignants, and their estates seized.

Waller, having received some respite, employed the time in petitioning, flattering, bribing, confessing, beseeching, and in the exercise of every other art by which a mean, cowardly spirit seeks to evade death. He appealed from the military jurisdiction to the House of Commons, and was admitted to plead his cause at their bar. His speech was humble, conciliating, and artful, but failed to gain the object. He was expelled from the House, and soon after was sisted before the Court of War, and condemned to die. He was reprieved, however, by Essex, and at the end of a year's imprisonment, the sentence was commuted into a fine of £10,000, and banishment for life. He was sent to "recollect himself in another country." He had previously expended, it is said, £30,000 in bribes.

Waller's conduct in this whole matter was a mixture of cowardice and meanness. Recollecting his poetical temperament, and the well-known stories of Demosthenes at Cheronea, and Horace at Philippi, we are not disposed to be harsh on his cowardice, but we have no excuse for his meanness. It discovers a want of heart, and an infinite littleness of soul. We can hardly conceive him to have possessed a drop of the blood of Hampden or Cromwell in his veins, and cease to wonder why two high-spirited ladies of rank should have spurned the homage of a poetic poltroon, whom instinctively they seem to have known to be such, even before he proved it to the world.

"Infamous, and not contented," Waller repairs to the Continent, first to Rouen, then to Switzerland and Italy, in company with his friend Evelyn, and, in fine, settles for a season in Paris. Here he keeps open table for the banished royalists, as well as for the French wits, till his means are impaired by his liberality. A middling poet, a pitiful politician, a fickle dangler in affairs of love, Waller was an admirable host, and not only gave good dinners and suppers, but flavoured them delicately with compliment and repartee. In Paris he recovered his tone of spirits, and, had his money lasted, might have remained there till his dying day. But fines and bribes had exhausted his patrimony, and he was compelled first to sell a property in Bedfordshire, worth more than £1,000 a-year, then to part with his wife's jewels, and in fine to sell the last of these, which he called "the rump jewel." His family, too, had increased, and added to his incumbrances. His favourite was a daughter, Margaret, born in Rouen, who acted as his amanuensis. At last, through the intercession of his brother-in-law, Scroope, he was permitted to return to England. This was on the 13th of January 1652. During all his residence on the Continent, he had continued to amuse himself with poetry, "in which," says Johnson, "he sometimes speaks of the rebels and their usurpation, in the natural language of an honest man." If this mean that Waller, when he uttered such sentiments, was, for the nonce, sincere, it is quite true; but if the Doctor means that Waller was, speaking generally, an honest man, it is not true; and Dr. Johnson repeatedly signifies, in other parts of his life, that he does not believe it to be true. He speaks, for instance, of the "exorbitance of his adulation," of his "having lost the esteem of all parties," and says, "It is not possible to read without some contempt and indignation, poems ascribing the highest degree of power and piety to Charles the First, and then transferring the same power and piety to Oliver Cromwell." In keeping with this, Bishop Burnet asserts, that "in the House he was only concerned to say what should make him applauded, and never laid the business of the House to heart."

Waller, returning, found his mother still alive at Beaconsfield, where Cromwell sometimes visited her; and when she talked in favour of the royal cause, would throw napkins at her, and say that he would not dispute with his aunt, although afterwards, as we have seen, her spirit of political intrigue compelled him to make her a prisoner in her own house. The poet took up his residence near her at Hall-barn, a house of his own erection, and on the walls of which he hung up a picture of Saccharissa, whence he hoped, it may be, draw consolation for the past, and inspiration for the future. Here Cromwell, who probably despised Waller in his heart, as often men of action despise men of mere literary ability, especially when that ability is not transcendent, but whose cue it was to conciliate all men according to their respective positions and capabilities, paid great attention to his kinsman. Waller found Cromwell well acquainted with the ancient historians, and they conversed a good deal on such topics. It is said, that when Waller jeered him on his using the peculiar phraseology of the Puritans in his conversation with them, the Protector answered, "Cousin Waller, I must talk to these men in their own way;" an anecdote which is sometimes quoted as if it proved that Cromwell had no religion; whereas it only proved that he had at heart no cant. It was not as if he had privately avowed infidelity to his kinsman. Cromwell found cant prevalent on his stage, just as any great actor of that century found rant on his, and, like the actor, he used it occasionally as a means of gaining his own lofty ends, and as a foil to his own genuine earnestness and power.

The Protector, however, seems to have profoundly impressed even Waller's light and fickle mind; and the panegyric which he produced on him in 1654, is not only the ablest, but seems the sincerest of his productions. He had hitherto been writing about women, courtiers, and kings; but now he had to gird up his loins and write on a man. The piece is accordingly as masculine in style, as it is just in appreciation; and, with the exception of Milton's glorious sketch in the "Defensio pro populo Anglicano," and Carlyle's lecture in his "Heroes and Hero-worship," it is, perhaps, the best encomium ever pronounced on the Lord Protector of England—almost worthy of Cromwell's unrivalled merits and achievements, and more than worthy of Waller's powers. It is said, that when twitted with having written a better panegyric on Cromwell than a congratulation to Charles II., he wittily replied, "You should remember that poets succeed better in fiction than in truth." Perhaps in this he spoke ironically; certainly the fact was the reverse of his words. It is because he has spoken truth in the first, and fiction in the second, of productions, that the first is incomparably the better poem. Sketches of character taken from the life are better than those where imagination operates on hearsays and on recorded actions. And certainly few men had a better opportunity than Waller of seeing in private and in undress, and with an eye in which native sagacity was sharpened by prejudices, partly for, partly against, the Man of that century—a man in whom we recognise a union of Roman, Hebrew, and English qualities—the faith of the Jew, the firmness of the Roman, and the homespun simplicity of the Englishman of his own age—in purpose and in powers "an armed angel on a battle-day;" in manners a plain blunt corporal; and in language always a stammerer, and sometimes a buffoon; the middle-class man of his time, with the merits and the defects of his order, but touched with an inspiration as from heaven, lifting him far above all the aristocracy, and all the royalty, and all the literature of his period; who found his one great faculty—inflamed and consecrated commonsense—to be more than equal to the subleties, and brilliancies, and wit, and eloquence, and taste, and genius, of his thousand opponents—whose crown was a branch of English oak, his sceptre a strong sapling of the same, his throne a mound of turf—who economised matters by being at once king and king's jester, and whose mere clenched fist, held up at home or across the waters, saved millions of money, awed despots, encouraged freedom in every part of the world, and had nearly established a pure form of Christianity over Great Britain—who gave his country a model of excellence as a man, and as a ruler, simple, severe, ruggedly picturesque, and stupendously original, and solitary as one of the primitive rocks—whose eloquence was uneven and piercing as the forked lightning, which is never so terrible as when it falls to pieces —and highest praise of all, whose deeds and character were so great in their sublime simplicity, that the poet, who afterwards sung the hierarchies of heaven, and the anarchies of hell, was fain to sit a humble secretary, recording the thoughts and actions of Cromwell, and felt afterwards that he had been as nobly employed when defending his grand defiance of evil and arbitrary power, as when he did

  "Assert Eternal Providence,
  And justify the ways of God to man."

We have seen pictured representations of Cromwell and Milton seated together at the council-table, in which the painter wished more than to insinuate that Milton was the superior being; but in our judgment the advantage was on the other side, and the poet seemed to bear only that relation and proportion to the Protector which the eloquent Raphael, the "affable archangel," the bard of the war in heaven, does to the Gabriel or the Michael, whose tremendous sword mingled in and all but decided the fray. And we thought what a junction were that of the two powers—of the sword and the pen, the actor and the recorder, the man to do, and the poet to sing! Waller in his panegyric sees and shews in a few lines Cromwell's relation to Britain, and that of both to the world:—

  "Heaven that has placed this island to give law,
  To balance Europe, and her states to awe,
  In this conjunction does on Britain smile,
  The greatest leader and the greatest isle."

He saw that in Cromwell, and in Cromwell alone, had the power of Britain come to a point: IT was made, if not to be the governor to be the moderator of the earth, and HE was sent to govern it, to condense its scattered energies, to awe down its warring factions, and to wield all its forces to one good and great end. In him for the first time had the wild island, the Bucephalus of the West, found a rider able, by backing, bridling, and curbing him, to give due direction and momentum to his fury, force, and speed.

He has scattered some other precious particles of thought in this poem, such as:—

  "Lords of the world's great waste, the ocean, we
  Whole forests send to reign upon the sea."

"The Caledonians, arm'd with want and cold."

  "The states, changed by you,
  Changed like the world's great scene, when without noise,
  The rising sun night's vulgar lights destroys."

  "Illustrious acts high raptures do infuse,
  And every conqueror creates a Muse."

When Cromwell died, Waller again lifted up his pen, and indited a short lamentation over his loss. After the Restoration, he was one of the first to read a poetical recantation of his errors in verses addressed to Charles II. In 1661 he was returned to parliament for Hastings, in Sussex, and sat afterwards at various times for Chipping-Wycombe, and Saltash. In parliament, he was rather famed for his lively sallies of wit, than for his logic, sense, or earnestness. In private, his spirits, even without the aid of wine,—which he never drank,—continued to a great age unusually buoyant. As he advanced in life he became more religious, and intermixed a vein of devotion with his verse. When eighty-two, he bought a small estate in Coleshill, near his native place, desirous, he said, "to die, like the stag, where he was roused." His wish, however, was not granted. Seized with tumours in his legs, he went to Windsor to consult Sir Charles Scarborough, then waiting on the king. Sir Charles, at Waller's request to know the "meaning" of these swellings, told him that they showed that his "blood would no longer run." On this the poet quietly repeated a passage from Virgil, and returned to Beaconsfield to die. Having received the sacrament, and shared it with his children, and expressed his faith in Christianity, he expired on the 21st of October 1687. He was buried in the churchyard of Beaconsfield. He left five sons and eight daughters. His eldest son being an imbecile, Edmund, his second, inherited the estates, and having joined the party of the Prince of Orange, sat for Agmondesham for some years, but became ultimately a Quaker. The fortunes of the rest of his family are not particularly interesting, and need not be related.

As a character, our opinion of Waller has been already indicated. He was indecisive, vacillating, with more wit than judgment, and with more judgment than earnestness. In that age of high hearts, stormy passions, and determined purpose, he looks helpless and not at home, like a butterfly in an eagle's eyrie. A gifted, accomplished, and apparently an amiable man, he was a feeble, and almost a despicable character. The parliament seem to have thought him hardly worth hanging. Cromwell bore with him only as a kinsman, and respected him only as a scholar. Charles II. liked to laugh at his jokes, and to Saville his company was as good as an additional bottle of wine. His only chance of fame as a man of action arose from his connexion with the plot, which, however, in its issue covered him with infamy, as all bad things bungled, inevitably do to those who attempt them.

Although he unquestionably in some points improved our correctness of style and our versification, there is not much to be said either for or against his poetry. It is as a whole a mass of smooth and easy, yet systematic, trifling. Nine-tenths of it does not rise above mediocrity, and the tenth that remains is more distinguished by grace than by grandeur or depth. His lines on Cromwell we have already characterised. It may seem odd, but in his verses on the head of a stag, which Johnson singles out as bad, we see more of the soul of poetry than in any of his other productions.

Let our readers, if they will not be convinced by our assertion, listen to some of these lines:—

  "So we some antique hero's strength,
  Learn by his lance's weight and length—
  As these vast beams express the beast
  Whose shady brows alive they dress'd.
  Such game, while yet the world was new,
  The mighty Nimrod did pursue;
  What huntsman of our feeble race
  Or dogs dare such a monster chase?
       * * * * *
  Oh, fertile head, which every year
  Could such a CROP of WONDER bear!"

In his amorous and complimentary ditties, he is often very successful. So, too, is he in much of his "Divine Poetry," particularly the lines at the end, beginning with—

  "The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,"
  Lets in new light through chinks which time hath made.

These contain a thought, so far as we remember, new and highly poetical.

We may close by saying a few words on a question which Dr. Johnson has started in his "Life of Waller" in reference to sacred poetry. That great and good man, our readers remember, maintains that the ideas of the Christian theology are too simple for eloquence, too sacred for fiction, and too majestic for ornament, and "that faith, thanksgiving, repentance, and supplication," are all unsusceptible of poetical treatment. He grants that the doctrines of religion may be defended in a didactic poem, and that a poet may not only describe God's works in nature, but may trace them up to nature's God. But he asserts that "contemplative piety, or the intercourse between God and the human soul, cannot be poetical." It is curious to remember that, up to Johnson's time, the best poetry in the world had been sacred. There had been the poetry of the Bible, in which truth of the deepest import was expressed, now in "eloquence," now in "fiction," and now in language most gorgeously "ornamented," and in which "Faith" in Isaiah, "Thanksgiving" in Moses, "Penitence" in David, and "Supplication" in Jeremiah, had uttered themselves in sublime, or lively, or subdued, or tender strains —the poetry of the "Divine Commedia," of the "Jerusalem Delivered," of the "Faery Queen," of the "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained," of the "Night-Thoughts," of "Smart's David," all poetry, let it be observed, not defending religion merely, or confining itself to the praise of God's lower works, but entering into the depths of divine contemplation, into the very adyta of the heavenly temple. And it is no less interesting to recollect that in spite of Dr. Johnson's sage diction, sacred poetry of a very high order has, since his day, abounded. Cowper has extracted it from "the intercourse between God and the human soul;" Montgomery has made now "the supplication," and now the "thanksgiving," of the poor negro ring in every ear, and vibrate through every heart; Coleridge has expressed, in his sounding and splendid measures, at one time his "faith," and at another his "repentance;" Pollok has with true, although unequal steps, followed Milton and Dante, both into the heaven of heavens, and into the gloom of Gehenna; and Wordsworth, Southey, Croly, Milman, Trench, Keble, and a host more have, by their noble religious hymns, shamed the wisdom of the Sadducee, and darkened the glory of the song of the sceptic. Why argue about principles while we can appeal to facts? Why shew either the probabilities against, or the probabilities for, good sacred poetry, while we see it before us, gushing from a thousand springs, and gladdening every corner of the church and of the world?

Dr. Johnson says, "Whatever is great, desirable, or tremendous, is comprised in the name of the Supreme Being. Omnipotence cannot be exalted. Infinity cannot be amplified. Perfection cannot be improved." All this is as true as it is pointedly expressed; but though true, it is nothing to the purpose—nay, bears as much against prayer as against poetry. What meant the Psalmist when he said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord?" Did he aspire to exalt Omnipotence or to amplify perfection? No; but only first to shew his own feeling of their magnitude; and, again, to raise himself a step toward an approximately adequate conception of the Most High. So in religious poetry. We cannot add to, or exalt God, but we can raise ourselves up nearer to Him, and attain, if not a full understanding, a deeper feeling of the elements of His surpassing excellence and glory. Indeed, as the highest poetry (in Milton, for instance) blossoms into prayer, so the truest prayer, often by insensible gradation, becomes poetry.

Dr. Johnson says, that "of sentiments purely religious, the most simple expression is the most sublime." True, and hence, the best religious poetry is at once sublime and simple. He adds, "Poetry loses its lustre and its power, because it is applied to the decoration of something more excellent than itself." On this principle, poets should never sing of God's works in nature—of the ocean, or the sun, or the stars—no, nor of the heroic achievements of man's courage, or of the self-sacrifices of his love—for are not all these more excellent than poetry? Dr Johnson's theory would hush the "New Song" itself, and perpetuate that silence which was once in heaven "for half-an-hour."

Long before the Doctor vented this paradox, Cowley, in his preface to his poems, had written the following eloquent and memorable sentences on this subject:—"When I consider how many bright and magnificent subjects Scripture affords, and proffers, as it were, to poesy, in the wise managing and illustrating whereof the glory of God Almighty might be joined with the singular utility and noblest delight of mankind, it is not without grief and indignation that I behold that divine science employing all her inexhaustible riches of wit and eloquence, either in the wicked and beggarly flattering of great persons, or the unmanly idolising of foolish women, or the wretched affectation of scurril laughter, or the confused dreams of senseless fables and metamorphoses. Amongst all holy and consecrated things which the devil ever stole and alienated from the service of the Deity—as altars, temples, sacrifices, prayers, and the like—there is none that he so universally and so long usurped as poetry. It is time to recover it out of the tyrant's hands, and to restore it to the kingdom of God, who is the Father of it. It is time to baptize it in Jordan, for it will never become clean by bathing in the waters of Damascus.

"What can we imagine more proper for the ornaments of wit and learning in the story of Deucalion than in that of Noah? Why will not the actions of Samson afford as plentiful matter as the Labours of Hercules? (Perhaps from this Milton took the hint of writing his "Samson Agonistes.") Why is not Jephtha's daughter as good a woman as Iphigenia? and the friendship of David and Jonathan more worthy celebration than that of Theseus and Pirithous? Does not the passage of Moses and the Israelites into the Holy Land yield incomparably more poetic variety than the voyages of Ulysses and Aeneas? Are the obsolete, threadbare tales of Thebes and Troy half so well stored with great, heroical, and supernatural actions (since verse will needs find or make such), as the wars of Joshua, of the Judges, of David, and divers others? Can all the transformations of the gods give such copious hints to flourish and expatiate on as the true miracles of Christ, or of His prophets and apostles? What do I instance in these few particulars? All the books in the Bible are either already most admirable and exalted pieces of poetry, or are the best materials in the world for it.

"Yet," he adds with great judiciousness, "though they be so proper in themselves to be made use of for this purpose, none but a good artist will know how to do it, neither must we think to cut and polish diamonds with so little pains and skill as we do marble. He who can write a profane poem well, may write a divine one better; but he who can do that but ill, will do this much worse, and so far from elevating poesy will but abase divinity. The same fertility of invention—the same wisdom of disposition—the same judgment in observance of decencies—the same lustre and vigour of elocution—the same modesty and majesty of number— briefly, the same kind of habit—is required in both, only this latter allows better stuff, and therefore would look more deformedly drest in it."

The errors of a great author are often more valuable than his sound sentiments; because they tend, by the reaction they provoke, and the replies they elicit, to dart new light upon the opposite truths. And so it has been with this dogma of the illustrious Lexicographer. It has led to some admirable rejoinders from such pens as those of Montgomery, and of Christopher North, which have not only rebutted Johnson's objections, but have directed public attention more strongly to the general theme, and served to shed new light upon the nature and province of religious poetry.




Of the Danger His Majesty (being Prince) Escaped in the Road at St

Of His Majesty's receiving the News of the Duke of Buckingham's Death

On the Taking of Sallè

Upon His Majesty's Repairing of St. Paul's

The Countess of Carlisle in Mourning

In Answer to One who writ a Libel against the Countess of Carlisle

Of her Chamber

Thyrsis, Galatea

On my Lady Dorothy Sidney's Picture

At Penshurst

Of the Lady who can Sleep when she Pleases

Of the Misreport of her being Painted

Of her Passing through a Crowd of People

The Story of Phoebus and Daphne, applied

On the Friendship betwixt Saccharissa and Amoret

At Penshurst

The Battle of the Summer Islands

Of the Queen

The Apology of Sleep, for not Approaching the Lady who can do anything but Sleep when she Pleases


A La Malade

Upon the Death of my Lady Rich

Of Love

For Drinking of Healths

Of my Lady Isabella, Playing on the Lute

Of Mrs. Arden

Of the Marriage of the Dwarfs

Love's Farewell

From a Child

On a Girdle

The Fall

Of Sylvia

The Bud

On the Discovery of a Lady's Painting

Of Loving at First Sight

The Self-Banished

A Panegyric to my Lord Protector, of the Present Greatness, and Joint
Interest, of His Highness, and this Nation

On the Head of a Stag

The Miser's Speech, in a Masque

Chloris and Hylas, made to a Saraband

In Answer of Sir John Suckling's Verses

An Apology for having Loved Before

The Night-Piece; or, a Picture Drawn in the Dark

On the Picture of a Fair Youth, Taken after he was Dead

On a Brede of Divers Colours, Woven by Four Ladies

Of a War with Spain, and Fight at Sea

Upon the Death of the Lord Protector

On St. James's Park, as lately Improved by His Majesty

Of Her Royal Highness, Mother to the Prince of Orange; and of her
Portrait, Written by the Late Duchess of York, while she Lived with her

Upon Her Majesty's New Buildings at Somerset House

Of a Tree Cut in Paper

Verses to Dr. George Rogers, on his Taking the Degree of Doctor of Physic at Padua, in the Year 1664

Instructions to a Painter, for the Drawing of the Posture and Progress of His Majesty's Forces at Sea, under the Command of His Highness-Royal; together with the Battle and Victory obtained over the Dutch, June 3, 1665

Of English Verse

These Verses were Writ in the Tasso of Her Royal Highness

The Triple Combat

Upon our Late Loss of the Duke of Cambridge

Of the Lady Mary, Princess of Orange

Upon Ben Johnson

On Mr. John Fletcher's Plays

Upon the Earl of Roscommon's Translation of Horace, 'De Arte Poetica;' and of the Use of Poetry

On the Duke of Monmouth's Expedition into Scotland in the Summer

Of an Elegy made by Mrs. Wharton on the Earl of Rochester

Of Her Majesty, on New-Year's Day, 1683

Of Tea, Commended by Her Majesty

Of the Invasion and Defeat of the Turks, in the Year 1683

A Presage of the Ruin of the Turkish Empire; Presented to His Majesty
King James II. on His Birthday


To the King, on His Navy

To Mr. Henry Lawes, who had then newly set a Song of mine in the Year 1635

The Country to my Lady Carlisle

To Phyllis

To the Queen-Mother of France, upon Her Landing

To Vandyck

To my Lord of Leicester

To Mrs. Braughton, Servant to Saccharissa

To my Young Lady Lucy Sydney

To Amoret

To my Lord of Falkland

To my Lord Northumberland, upon the Death of his Lady

Lord Admiral, of his late Sickness and Recovery

To the Queen, occasioned upon sight of Her Majesty's Picture

To Amoret

To Phyllis

To Sir William Davenant, upon his Two First Books of Gondibert

To my Worthy Friend, Mr. Wase, the Translator of Gratius

To a Friend, on the different Success of their Loves

To Zelinda

To my Lady Morton, on New-Year's Day, at the Louvre in Paris

To a Fair Lady, Playing with a Snake

To his Worthy Friend Master Evelyn, upon his Translation of 'Lucretius.'

To his Worthy Friend Sir Thomas Higgons, upon his Translation of 'The
Venetian Triumph'

To a Lady Singing a Song of his Composing

To the Mutable Fair

To a Lady, from whom he Received a Silver Pen

To Chloris

To a Lady in Retirement

To Mr. George Sandys, on his Translation of some Parts of the Bible

To the King, upon His Majesty's Happy Return

To a Lady, from whom he Received the Copy of the Poem entitled, 'Of a
Tree Cut in Paper,' which for many years had been Lost

To the Queen, upon Her Majesty's Birthday, after Her happy Recovery from a Dangerous Sickness

To Mr. Killigrew, upon his Altering his Play, 'Pandora,' from a Tragedy into a Comedy, because not Approved on the Stage

To a Person of Honour, upon his Incomparable, Incomprehensible Poem, entitled, 'The British Princes,'

To a Friend of the Author, a Person of Honour, who lately Writ a
Religious Book, entitled, 'Historical Applications, and Occasional
Meditations, upon several Subjects

To the Duchess of Orleans, when she was taking Leave of the Court at

To Chloris

To the King

To the Duchess, when he Presented this Book to Her Royal Highness

To Mr. Creech, on his Translation of 'Lucretius'


Stay, Phoebus

Peace, Babbling Muse

Chloris! Farewell

To Flavia

Behold the Brand of Beauty Toss'd

While I Listen to thy Voice

Go, Lovely Rose

Sung by Mrs. Knight to Her Majesty, on Her Birthday



Prologue for the Lady-Actors, Spoken before King Charles II

Prologue to the 'Maid's Tragedy'

Epilogue to the 'Maid's Tragedy,' Spoken by the the King

Another Epilogue to the 'Maid's Tragedy,' Designed upon the first
Alteration of the Play, when the King only was left Alive


Under a Lady's Picture

Of a Lady who Writ in Praise of Mira

To One Married to an Old Man

An Epigram on a Painted Lady with ill Teeth

Epigram upon the Golden Medal

Written on a Card that Her Majesty tore at Ombre

To Mr. Granville (now Lord Lansdowne), on his Verses to King James II

Long and Short Life

Translated out of Spanish

Translated out of French

Some Verses of an Imperfect Copy, Designed for a Friend, on his
Translation of Ovid's 'Fasti'

On the Statue of King Charles I., at Charing Cross, in the Year 1674


Epitaph on Sir George Speke

Epitaph on Colonel Charles Cavendish

Epitaph on the Lady Sedley

Epitaph to be Written under the Latin Inscription upon the Tomb of the only Son of the Lord Andover

Epitaph Unfinished


Of Divine Love

Of the Fear of God

Of Divine Poesy

On the Paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer, Written by Mrs. Wharton

Some Reflections of his upon the Several Petitions in the same Prayer

On the Foregoing Divine Poems




Cooper's Hill

The Destruction of Troy, an Essay on the 2d Book of Virgil's Eneis

On the Earl of Stafford's Trial and Death

On my Lord Croft's and my Journey into Poland

On Mr. Thomas Killigrew's Return from Venice, and Mr. William Murrey's from Scotland

To Sir John Mennis

Natura Naturata

Sarpedon's Speech to Glaucus, in the Twelfth Book of Homer

Friendship and Single Life, against Love and Marriage

On Mr. Abraham Cowley, his Death, and Burial amongst the Ancient Poets

A Speech against Peace at the Close Committee

To the Five Members of the Honourable House of Commons, the humble
Petition of the Poets

A Western Wonder

A Second Western Wonder

A Song

On Mr. John Fletcher's Works

To Sir Richard Fanshaw, upon his Translation of 'Pastor Fido'

To the Hon. Edward Howard, on 'The British Princes'

An Occasional Imitation of a Modern Author upon the Game of Chess

The Passion of Dido for Aeneas

Of Prudence

Of Justice

The Progress of Learning

Elegy on the Death of Helfry Lord Hastings, 1650

Of Old Age






Now bad his Highness bid farewell to Spain,
And reach'd the sphere of his own power—the main;
With British bounty in his ship he feasts
Th' Hesperian princes, his amazed guests,
To find that watery wilderness exceed
The entertainment of their great Madrid.
Healths to both kings, attended with the roar
Of cannons, echo'd from th'affrighted shore,
With loud resemblance of his thunder, prove
Bacchus the seed of cloud-compelling Jove; 10
While to his harp divine Arion sings[2]
The loves and conquests of our Albion kings.

Of the Fourth Edward was his noble song,
Fierce, goodly, valiant, beautiful, and young;
He rent the crown from vanquish'd Henry's head,
Raised the White Rose, and trampled on the Red;
Till love, triumphing o'er the victor's pride,
Brought Mars and Warwick to the conquer'd side:
Neglected Warwick (whose bold hand, like Fate,
Gives and resumes the sceptre of our state) 20
Woos for his master; and with double shame,
Himself deluded, mocks the princely dame,
The Lady Bona, whom just anger burns,
And foreign war with civil rage returns.
Ah! spare your swords, where beauty is to blame;
Love gave th'affront, and must repair the same;
When France shall boast of her, whose conqu'ring eyes
Have made the best of English hearts their prize;
Have power to alter the decrees of Fate,
And change again the counsels of our state. 30
  What the prophetic Muse intends, alone
To him that feels the secret wound is known.
  With the sweet sound of this harmonious lay,
About the keel delighted dolphins play,
Too sure a sign of sea's ensuing rage,
Which must anon this royal troop engage;
To whom soft sleep seems more secure and sweet,
Within the town commanded by our fleet.
  These mighty peers placed in the gilded barge,
Proud with the burden of so brave a charge, 40
With painted oars the youths begin to sweep
Neptune's smooth face, and cleave the yielding deep;
Which soon becomes the seat of sudden war
Between the wind and tide that fiercely jar.
As when a sort[3] of lusty shepherds try
Their force at football, care of victory
Makes them salute so rudely breast to breast, 47
That their encounter seems too rough for jest;
They ply their feet, and still the restless ball,
Toss'd to and fro, is urged by them all:
So fares the doubtful barge 'twixt tide and winds,
And like effect of their contention finds.
Yet the bold Britons still securely row'd;
Charles and his virtue was their sacred load;
Than which a greater pledge Heaven could not give,
That the good boat this tempest should outlive.
But storms increase, and now no hope of grace
Among them shines, save in the Prince's face;
The rest resign their courage, skill, and sight,
To danger, horror, and unwelcome night. 60
The gentle vessel (wont with state and pride
On the smooth back of silver Thames to ride)
Wanders astonish'd in the angry main,
As Titan's car did, while the golden rein
Fill'd the young hand of his adventurous son,[4]
When the whole world an equal hazard run
To this of ours, the light of whose desire
Waves threaten now, as that was scared by fire.
Th' impatient sea grows impotent, and raves,
That, night assisting, his impetuous waves 70
Should find resistance from so light a thing;
These surges ruin, those our safety bring.
Th' oppress'd vessel doth the charge abide,
Only because assail'd on every side;
So men with rage and passion set on fire,
Trembling for haste, impeach their mad desire.

The pale Iberians had expired with fear,
But that their wonder did divert their care,
To see the Prince with danger moved no more
Than with the pleasures of their court before; 80
Godlike his courage seem'd, whom nor delight
Could soften, nor the face of death affright.
Next to the power of making tempests cease,
Was in that storm to have so calm a peace.
Great Maro could no greater tempest feign,
When the loud winds usurping on the main,
For angry Juno labour'd to destroy
The hated relics of confounded Troy;
His bold Aeneas, on like billows toss'd
In a tall ship, and all his country lost, 90
Dissolves with fear; and both his hands upheld,
Proclaims them happy whom the Greeks had quell'd
In honourable fight; our hero, set
In a small shallop, Fortune in his debt,
So near a hope of crowns and sceptres, more
Than ever Priam, when he flourish'd, wore;
His loins yet full of ungot princes, all
His glory in the bud, lets nothing fall
That argues fear; if any thought annoys
The gallant youth, 'tis love's untasted joys, 100
And dear remembrance of that fatal glance,
For which he lately pawn'd his heart[5] in France;
Where he had seen a brighter nymph than she[6]
That sprung out of his present foe, the sea.
That noble ardour, more than mortal fire,
The conquer'd ocean could not make expire;
Nor angry Thetis raise her waves above
Th' heroic Prince's courage or his love;
'Twas indignation, and not fear he felt,
The shrine should perish where that image dwelt.
Ah, Love forbid! the noblest of thy train 111
Should not survive to let her know his pain;
Who nor his peril minding, nor his flame,
Is entertain'd with some less serious game,
Among the bright nymphs of the Gallic court,
All highly born, obsequious to her sport;
They roses seem, which in their early pride
But half reveal, and half their beauties hide;
She the glad morning, which her beams does throw
Upon their smiling leaves, and gilds them so; 120
Like bright Aurora, whose refulgent ray
Foretells the fervour of ensuing day,
And warns the shepherd with his flocks retreat
To leafy shadows from the threaten'd heat.

From Cupid's string, of many shafts that fled
Wing'd with those plumes which noble Fame had shed,
As through the wond'ring world she flew, and told
Of his adventures, haughty, brave, and bold,
Some had already touch'd the royal maid,
But Love's first summons seldom are obey'd; 130
Light was the wound, the Prince's care unknown,
She might not, would not, yet reveal her own.
His glorious name had so possess'd her ears,
That with delight those antique tales she hears
Of Jason, Theseus, and such worthies old,
As with his story best resemblance hold.
And now she views, as on the wall it hung,
What old Musæus so divinely sung;
Which art with life and love did so inspire,
That she discerns and favours that desire, 140
Which there provokes th'advent'rous youth to swim,
And in Leander's danger pities him;
Whose not new love alone, but fortune, seeks
To frame his story like that amorous Greek's.

For from the stern of some good ship appears
A friendly light, which moderates their fears;
New courage from reviving hope they take,
And climbing o'er the waves that taper make,
On which the hope of all their lives depends,
As his on that fair Hero's hand extends. 150
The ship at anchor, like a fixed rock,
Breaks the proud billows which her large sides knock;
Whose rage restrainèd, foaming higher swells,
And from her port the weary barge repels,
Threat'ning to make her, forcèd out again,
Repeat the dangers of the troubled main.
Twice was the cable hurl'd in vain; the Fates
Would not be movèd for our sister states;
For England is the third successful throw,
And then the genius of that land they know, 160
Whose prince must be (as their own books devise)
Lord of the scene where now his danger lies.

Well sung the Roman bard, 'All human things
Of dearest value hang on slender strings.'
Oh, see the then sole hope, and, in design
Of Heaven, our joy, supported by a line!
Which for that instant was Heaven's care above
The chain that's fixèd to the throne of Jove,
On which the fabric of our world depends;
One link dissolved, the whole creation ends. 170

[1] 'St. Andero': St. Andrews. He had newly abandoned his suit for the Infanta.— [2] 'Arion sings': Alluding to the deliverance of Charles I., on his return from Spain, from a violent storm in the Bay of Biscay, October 1623. [3] 'Sort': a company. [4] 'Adventurous son': Phaeton. [5] Henrietta, afterwards Queen. [6] Venus.


So earnest with thy God! can no new care,
No sense of danger, interrupt thy prayer?
The sacred wrestler, till a blessing given,
Quits not his hold, but halting conquers Heaven;
Nor was the stream of thy devotion stopp'd,
When from the body such a limb was lopp'd,
As to thy present state was no less maim,
Though thy wise choice has since repair'd the same.
Bold Homer durst not so great virtue feign
In his best pattern:[2] of Patroclus slain, 10
With such amazement as weak mothers use,
And frantic gesture, he receives the news.
Yet fell his darling by th'impartial chance
Of war, imposed by royal Hector's lance;
Thine, in full peace, and by a vulgar hand
Torn from thy bosom, left his high command.

The famous painter[3] could allow no place
For private sorrow in a prince's face:
Yet, that his piece might not exceed belief,
He cast a veil upon supposed grief. 20
'Twas want of such a precedent as this
Made the old heathen frame their gods amiss.
Their Phoebus should not act a fonder part
For the fair boy,[4] than he did for his heart;
Nor blame for Hyacinthus' fate his own,
That kept from him wish'd death, hadst thou been known.

He that with thine shall weigh good David's deeds,
Shall find his passion, nor his love, exceeds: 28
He cursed the mountains where his brave friend died,
But let false Ziba with his heir divide;
Where thy immortal love to thy bless'd friends,
Like that of Heaven, upon their seed descends.
Such huge extremes inhabit thy great mind,
Godlike, unmoved, and yet, like woman, kind!
Which of the ancient poets had not brought
Our Charles's pedigree from Heaven, and taught
How some bright dame, compress'd by mighty Jove,
Produced this mix'd Divinity and Love?

[1] 'Buckingham's death': Buckingham was murdered by Felton at
    Portsmouth, on the 23d of August 1628, while equipping a fleet for
    the relief of Rochelle. Lord Lindsey succeeded him. The king was at
    prayers when the news arrived, and had the resolution to disguise
    his emotion till they were over.
[2] 'Pattern': Achilles.
[3] 'Painter': Timanthes in his picture of Iphigenia.
[4] 'Fair boy': Cyparissus.


Of Jason, Theseus, and such worthies old,
Light seem the tales antiquity has told;
Such beasts and monsters as their force oppress'd,
Some places only, and some times, infest.
Sallè, that scorn'd all power and laws of men,
Goods with their owners hurrying to their den,
And future ages threat'ning with a rude
And savage race, successively renew'd;
Their king despising with rebellious pride,
And foes profess'd to all the world beside; 10
This pest of mankind gives our hero fame,
And through the obliged world dilates his name.
  The prophet once to cruel Agag said,
'As thy fierce sword has mothers childless made,
So shall the sword make thine;' and with that word
He hew'd the man in pieces with his sword.

Just Charles like measure has return'd to these 17
Whose Pagan hands had stain'd the troubled seas;
With ships they made the spoiled merchant mourn;
With ships their city and themselves are torn.
One squadron of our winged castles sent,
O'erthrew their fort, and all their navy rent;
For, not content the dangers to increase,
And act the part of tempests in the seas,
Like hungry wolves, those pirates from our shore
Whole flocks of sheep, and ravish'd cattle bore.
Safely they might on other nations prey—
Fools to provoke the sovereign of the sea!
Mad Cacus so, whom like ill fate persuades,
The herd of fair Alcmena's seed invades, 30
Who for revenge, and mortals' glad relief,
Sack'd the dark cave and crush'd that horrid thief.

Morocco's monarch, wond'ring at this fact,
Save that his presence his affairs exact,
Had come in person to have seen and known
The injured world's revenger and his own.
Hither he sends the chief among his peers,
Who in his bark proportion'd presents bears,
To the renown'd for piety and force,
Poor captives manumised, and matchless horse.[2] 40

[1] 'Sallè': Sallè, a town of Fez, given to piracy, was taken and
    destroyed in 1632 by the army of the Emperor of Morocco, assisted by
    some English vessels.
[2] 'Horse': the Emperor of Morocco, in gratitude to Charles, sent him a
    present of Barbary horses, and three hundred manumitted Christian


That shipwreck'd vessel which th'Apostle bore,
Scarce suffer'd more upon Melita's shore,
Than did his temple in the sea of time,
Our nation's glory, and our nation's crime.
When the first monarch[2] of this happy isle,
Moved with the ruin of so brave a pile,
This work of cost and piety begun,
To be accomplish'd by his glorious son,
Who all that came within the ample thought
Of his wise sire has to perfection brought; 10
He, like Amphion, makes those quarries leap
Into fair figures from a confused heap;
For in his art of regiment is found
A power like that of harmony in sound.

Those antique minstrels, sure, were Charles-like kings,
Cities their lutes, and subjects' hearts their strings,
On which with so divine a hand they strook,
Consent of motion from their breath they took:
So all our minds with his conspire to grace
The Gentiles' great Apostle, and deface 20
Those state-obscuring sheds, that like a chain
Seem'd to confine and fetter him again;
Which the glad saint shakes off at his command,
As once the viper from his sacred hand:
So joys the aged oak, when we divide
The creeping ivy from his injured side.

Ambition rather would affect the fame
Of some new structure, to have borne her name.
Two distant virtues in one act we find,
The modesty and greatness of his mind; 30
Which, not content to be above the rage,
And injury of all-impairing age,
In its own worth secure, doth higher climb,
And things half swallow'd from the jaws of Time

Reduce; an earnest of his grand design,
To frame no new church, but the old refine;
Which, spouse-like, may with comely grace command,
More than by force of argument or hand.
For doubtful reason few can apprehend,
And war brings ruin where it should amend; 40
But beauty, with a bloodless conquest finds
A welcome sovereignty in rudest minds.

Not aught which Sheba's wond'ring queen beheld
Amongst the works of Solomon, excell'd
His ships and building; emblems of a heart
Large both in magnanimity and art.

While the propitious heavens this work attend,
Long-wanted showers they forget to send;
As if they meant to make it understood
Of more importance than our vital food. 50

The sun, which riseth to salute the quire
Already finished, setting shall admire
How private bounty could so far extend:
The King built all, but Charles the western end.[3]
So proud a fabric to devotion given,
At once it threatens and obliges Heaven!

Laomedon, that had the gods in pay,
Neptune, with him that rules the sacred day,[4]
Could no such structure raise: Troy wall'd so high,
Th' Atrides might as well have forced the sky. 60

Glad, though amazed, are our neighbour kings,
To see such power employ'd in peaceful things;
They list not urge it to the dreadful field;
The task is easier to destroy than build.

 … Sic gratia regum
  Pieriis tentam modis…—HORACE.

[1] 'St. Paul's': these repairs commenced in the spring of 1633. [2] 'Monarch': King James I. [3] 'Western end': the western end, built at Charles' own expense, consisted of a splendid portico, built by Inigo Jones. [4] 'Sacred day': Apollo.


When from black clouds no part of sky is clear,
But just so much as lets the sun appear,
Heaven then would seem thy image, and reflect
Those sable vestments, and that bright aspect.
A spark of virtue by the deepest shade
Of sad adversity is fairer made;
Nor less advantage doth thy beauty get,
A Venus rising from a sea of jet!
Such was th'appearance of new-formed light,
While yet it struggled with eternal night. 10
Then mourn no more, lest thou admit increase
Of glory by thy noble lord's decease.
We find not that the laughter-loving dame[2]
Mourn'd for Anchises; 'twas enough she came
To grace the mortal with her deathless bed,
And that his living eyes such beauty fed;
Had she been there, untimely joy, through all
Men's hearts diffused, had marr'd the funeral.
Those eyes were made to banish grief: as well
Bright Phoebus might affect in shades to dwell, 20
As they to put on sorrow: nothing stands,
But power to grieve, exempt from thy commands.
If thou lament, thou must do so alone;
Grief in thy presence can lay hold on none.
Yet still persist the memory to love
Of that great Mercury of our mighty Jove,
Who, by the power of his enchanting tongue,
Swords from the hands of threat'ning monarchs wrung.
War he prevented, or soon made it cease, 29
Instructing princes in the arts of peace;
Such as made Sheba's curious queen resort
To the large-hearted Hebrew's famous court.
Had Homer sat amongst his wond'ring guests,
He might have learn'd at those stupendous feasts,
With greater bounty, and more sacred state,
The banquets of the gods to celebrate.
But oh! what elocution might he use,
What potent charms, that could so soon infuse
His absent master's love into the heart
Of Henrietta! forcing her to part 40
From her loved brother, country, and the sun,
And, like Camilla, o'er the waves to run
Into his arms! while the Parisian dames
Mourn for the ravish'd glory; at her flames
No less amazed than the amazèd stars,
When the bold charmer of Thessalia wars
With Heaven itself, and numbers does repeat,
Which call descending Cynthia from her seat.

[1] 'Mourning': Carlisle was a luxurious liver, and died in 1636, poor,
    but, like many spendthrifts, popular. He had represented Prince
    Charles at his marriage with Princess Henrietta at Paris.
[2] 'Dame': Venus.


1 What fury has provoked thy wit to dare,
    With Diomede, to wound the Queen of Love?
  Thy mistress' envy, or thine own despair?
    Not the just Pallas in thy breast did move
  So blind a rage, with such a diff'rent fate;
  He honour won, where thou hast purchased hate.

2 She gave assistance to his Trojan foe;
    Thou, that without a rival thou may'st love,
  Dost to the beauty of this lady owe,
    While after her the gazing world does move.
  Canst thou not be content to love alone?
  Or is thy mistress not content with one?

3 Hast thou not read of Fairy Arthur's shield,
    Which, but disclosed, amazed the weaker eyes
  Of proudest foes, and won the doubtful field?
    So shall thy rebel wit become her prize.
  Should thy iambics swell into a book,
  All were confuted with one radiant look.

4 Heaven he obliged that placed her in the skies;
    Rewarding Phoebus, for inspiring so
  His noble brain, by likening to those eyes
    His joyful beams; but Phoebus is thy foe,
  And neither aids thy fancy nor thy sight,
  So ill thou rhym'st against so fair a light.


They taste of death that do at heaven arrive;
But we this paradise approach alive.
Instead of death, the dart of love does strike,
And renders all within these walls alike.
The high in titles, and the shepherd, here
Forgets his greatness, and forgets his fear.
All stand amazed, and gazing on the fair,
Lose thought of what themselves or others are;
Ambition lose, and have no other scope, 9
Save Carlisle's favour, to employ their hope.
The Thracian[1] could (though all those tales were true
The bold Greeks tell) no greater wonders do;
Before his feet so sheep and lions lay,
Fearless and wrathless while they heard him play.
The gay, the wise, the gallant, and the grave,
Subdued alike, all but one passion have;
No worthy mind but finds in hers there is
Something proportion'd to the rule of his;
While she with cheerful, but impartial grace,
(Born for no one, but to delight the race 20
Of men) like Phoebus so divides her light,
And warms us, that she stoops not from her height.

[1] 'Thracian': Orpheus.—



As lately I on silver Thames did ride,
Sad Galatea on the bank I spied;
Such was her look as sorrow taught to shine,
And thus she graced me with a voice divine.


  You that can tune your sounding strings so well,
Of ladies' beauties, and of love to tell,
Once change your note, and let your lute report
The justest grief that ever touch'd the Court.


  Fair nymph! I have in your delights no share, 9
Nor ought to be concerned in your care;
Yet would I sing if I your sorrows knew,
And to my aid invoke no Muse but you.


  Hear then, and let your song augment our grief,
Which is so great as not to wish relief.
She that had all which Nature gives, or Chance,
Whom Fortune join'd with Virtue to advance
To all the joys this island could afford,
The greatest mistress, and the kindest lord;
Who with the royal mix'd her noble blood,
And in high grace with Gloriana[2] stood; 20
Her bounty, sweetness, beauty, goodness, such,
That none e'er thought her happiness too much;
So well-inclined her favours to confer,
And kind to all, as Heaven had been to her!
The virgin's part, the mother, and the wife,
So well she acted in this span of life,
That though few years (too flew, alas!) she told,
She seem'd in all things, but in beauty, old.
As unripe fruit, whose verdant stalks do cleave
Close to the tree, which grieves no less to leave 30
The smiling pendant which adorns her so,
And until autumn on the bough should grow;
So seem'd her youthful soul not eas'ly forced,
Or from so fair, so sweet a seat divorced.
Her fate at once did hasty seem and slow;
At once too cruel, and unwilling too.


  Under how hard a law are mortals born! 37
Whom now we envy, we anon must mourn;
What Heaven sets highest, and seems most to prize,
Is soon removed from our wond'ring eyes!
But since the Sisters[3] did so soon untwine
So fair a thread, I'll strive to piece the line.
Vouchsafe, sad nymph! to let me know the dame,
And to the Muses I'll commend her name;
Make the wide country echo to your moan,
The list'ning trees and savage mountains groan.
What rock's not movèd when the death is sung
Of one so good, so lovely, and so young?


  'Twas Hamilton!—whom I had named before,
But naming her, grief lets me say no more. 50

[1] 'Galatea': the lady here mourned was the Duchess of Hamilton, a niece of Buckingham; she died in 1638. [2] 'Gloriana': Queen Henrietta. [3] 'Sisters': Parcæ—


Such was Philoclea, and such Dorus' flame!
The matchless Sidney, that immortal frame
Of perfect beauty on two pillars placed,
Not his high fancy could one pattern, graced
With such extremes of excellence, compose;
Wonders so distant in one face disclose!
Such cheerful modesty, such humble state,
Moves certain love, but with as doubtful fate
As when, beyond our greedy reach, we see 9
Inviting fruit on too sublime a tree.
All the rich flowers through his Arcadia found,
Amazed we see in this one garland bound.
Had but this copy (which the artist took
From the fair picture of that noble book)
Stood at Kalander's, the brave friends had jarr'd,
And, rivals made, th'ensuing story marr'd.
Just nature, first instructed by his thought,
In his own house thus practised what he taught;
This glorious piece transcends what he could think,
So much his blood is nobler than his ink![2] 20

[1] 'Dorothy Sidney': see Life for an account of 'Saccharissa.'
[2] 'Philoclea and Dorus': the reader may turn for these names and their
    histories, to the glorious, flowery wilderness of the 'Arcadia.'
    Sidney was granduncle to Dorothy.


Had Dorothea lived when mortals made
Choice of their deities, this sacred shade
Had held an altar to her power, that gave
The peace and glory which these alleys have;
Embroider'd so with flowers where she stood,
That it became a garden of a wood.
Her presence has such more than human grace,
That it can civilise the rudest place;
And beauty too, and order, can impart,
Where nature ne'er intended it, nor art. 10
The plants acknowledge this, and her admire,
No less than those of old did Orpheus' lyre;
If she sit down, with tops all tow'rds her bow'd,
They round about her into arbours crowd;
Or if she walk, in even ranks they stand,
Like some well-marshall'd and obsequious band.
Amphion so made stones and timber leap
Into fair figures from a confused heap;
And in the symmetry of her parts is found
A power like that of harmony in sound. 20
  Ye lofty beeches, tell this matchless dame,
That if together ye fed all one flame,
It could not equalise the hundredth part
Of what her eyes have kindled in my heart!
Go, boy, and carve this passion on the bark
Of yonder tree, which stands the sacred mark
Of noble Sidney's birth; when such benign,
Such more than mortal-making stars did shine,
That there they cannot but for ever prove
The monument and pledge of humble love; 30
His humble love whose hope shall ne'er rise higher,
Than for a pardon that he dares admire.


No wonder sleep from careful lovers flies,
To bathe himself in Saccharissa's eyes.
As fair Astraæ once from earth to heaven,
By strife and loud impiety was driven;
So with our plaints offended, and our tears,
Wise Somnus to that paradise repairs;
Waits on her will, and wretches does forsake,
To court the nymph for whom those wretches wake.
More proud than Phoebus of his throne of gold 9
Is the soft god those softer limbs to hold;
Nor would exchange with Jove, to hide the skies
In dark'ning clouds, the power to close her eyes;
Eyes which so far all other lights control,
They warm our mortal parts, but these our soul!
  Let her free spirit, whose unconquer'd breast
Holds such deep quiet and untroubled rest,
Know that though Venus and her son should spare
Her rebel heart, and never teach her care,
Yet Hymen may in force his vigils keep,
And for another's joy suspend her sleep. 20

[1] She is said to have been like Dudu—

  'Large, and languishing, and lazy,
  Yet of a beauty that might drive you crazy.'


As when a sort of wolves infest the night
With their wild howlings at fair Cynthia's light,
The noise may chase sweet slumber from our eyes,
But never reach the mistress of the skies;
So with the news of Saccharissa's wrongs,
Her vexed servants blame those envious tongues;
Call Love to witness that no painted fire
Can scorch men so, or kindle such desire;
While, unconcern'd, she seems moved no more
With this new malice than our loves before; 10
But from the height of her great mind looks down
On both our passions without smile or frown.
So little care of what is done below
Hath the bright dame whom Heaven affecteth so!
Paints her, 'tis true, with the same hand which spreads
Like glorious colours through the flow'ry meads,
When lavish Nature, with her best attire, 17
Clothes the gay spring, the season of desire;
Paints her, 'tis true, and does her cheek adorn
With the same art wherewith she paints the morn;
With the same art wherewith she gildeth so
Those painted clouds which form Thaumantias' bow.


As in old chaos (heaven with earth confused,
And stars with rocks together crush'd and bruised)
The sun his light no further could extend
Than the next hill, which on his shoulders lean'd;
So in this throng bright Saccharissa fared,
Oppress'd by those who strove to be her guard;
As ships, though never so obsequious, fall
Foul in a tempest on their admiral.
A greater favour this disorder brought
Unto her servants than their awful thought 10
Durst entertain, when thus compell'd they press'd
The yielding marble of her snowy breast.
While love insults,[1] disguised in the cloud,
And welcome force, of that unruly crowd.
So th'am'rous tree, while yet the air is calm,
Just distance keeps from his desired palm;[2]
But when the wind her ravish'd branches throws
Into his arms, and mingles all their boughs,
Though loth he seems her tender leaves to press, 19
More loth he is that friendly storm should cease,
From whose rude bounty he the double use
At once receives, of pleasure and excuse.

[1] 'Insults': exults.
[2] 'Palm': Ovalle informs us that the palm-trees in Chili have this
    wonderful property, that they never will bear any fruit but when
    they are planted near each other; and when they find one standing
    barren by itself, if they plant another, be it never so small (which
    they call the female), it will become prolific.—FENTON.


Thyrsis, a youth of the inspirèd train,
Fair Saccharissa loved, but loved in vain;
Like Phoebus sung the no less am'rous boy;
Like Daphne she, as lovely, and as coy!
With numbers he the flying nymph pursues,
With numbers such as Phoebus' self might use!
Such is the chase when Love and Fancy leads,
O'er craggy mountains, and through flow'ry meads;
Invoked to testify the lover's care,
Or form some image of his cruel fair. 10
Urged with his fury, like a wounded deer,
O'er these he fled; and now approaching near,
Had reach'd the nymph with his harmonious lay,
Whom all his charms could not incline to stay.
Yet what he sung in his immortal strain,
Though unsuccessful, was not sung in vain;
All, but the nymph that should redress his wrong,
Attend his passion, and approve his song.
Like Phoebus thus, acquiring unsought praise,
He catch'd at love, and fill'd his arms with bays.[1] 20

[1] 'Daphne': Ovid's Metamorphoses, b. i.


1 Tell me, lovely, loving pair!
    Why so kind, and so severe?
  Why so careless of our care,
    Only to yourselves so dear?

2 By this cunning change of hearts,
    You the power of Love control;
  While the boy's deluded darts
    Can arrive at neither soul.

3 For in vain to either breast
    Still beguilèd Love does come,
  Where he finds a foreign guest,
    Neither of your hearts at home.

4 Debtors thus with like design,
    When they never mean to pay,
  That they may the law decline,
    To some friend make all away.

5 Not the silver doves that fly,
    Yoked in Cytherea's car;
  Not the wings that lift so high,
    And convey her son so far;

6 Are so lovely, sweet, and fair,
    Or do more ennoble love;
  Are so choicely match'd a pair,
    Or with more consent do move.


While in this park I sing, the list'ning deer
Attend my passion, and forget to fear;
When to the beeches I report my flame,
They bow their heads, as if they felt the same.
To gods appealing, when I reach their bowers
With loud complaints, they answer me in showers.
To thee a wild and cruel soul is given,
More deaf than trees, and prouder than the heaven!
Love's foe profess'd! why dost thou falsely feign
Thyself a Sidney? from which noble strain 10
He sprung,[2] that could so far exalt the name
Of love, and warm our nation with his flame;
That all we can of love, or high desire,
Seems but the smoke of am'rous Sidney's fire.
Nor call her mother, who so well does prove
One breast may hold both chastity and love.
Never can she, that so exceeds the spring
In joy and bounty, be supposed to bring
One so destructive. To no human stock
We owe this fierce unkindness, but the rock, 20
That cloven rock produced thee, by whose side
Nature, to recompense the fatal pride
Of such stern beauty, placed those healing springs,[3]
Which not more help, than that destruction, brings.
Thy heart no ruder than the rugged stone,
I might, like Orpheus, with my num'rous moan
Melt to compassion; now, my trait'rous song
With thee conspires to do the singer wrong;
While thus I suffer not myself to lose 29
The memory of what augments my woes;
But with my own breath still foment the fire,
Which flames as high as fancy can aspire!

This last complaint th'indulgent ears did pierce
Of just Apollo, president of verse;
Highly concerned that the Muse should bring
Damage to one whom he had taught to sing,
Thus he advised me: 'On yon aged tree
Hang up thy lute, and hie thee to the sea,
That there with wonders thy diverted mind
Some truce, at least, may with this passion find.' 40
Ah, cruel nymph! from whom her humble swain
Flies for relief unto the raging main,
And from the winds and tempests does expect
A milder fate than from her cold neglect!
Yet there he'll pray that the unkind may prove
Bless'd in her choice; and vows this endless love
Springs from no hope of what she can confer,
But from those gifts which Heaven has heap'd on her.

[1] 'Penshurst': his farewell verses to Dorothy. [2] 'Sprung': Sir Philip Sidney. [3] 'Springs': Tunbridge Wells.



  What fruits they have, and how Heaven smiles
  Upon these late-discovered isles.

Aid me, Bellona! while the dreadful fight
Betwixt a nation and two whales I write.
Seas stain'd with gore I sing, advent'rous toil!
And how these monsters did disarm an isle.

Bermuda, wall'd with rocks, who does not know?
That happy island where huge lemons grow,
And orange-trees, which golden fruit do bear,
Th' Hesperian garden boasts of none so fair;
Where shining pearl, coral, and many a pound,
On the rich shore, of ambergris is found. 10
The lofty cedar, which to heaven aspires,
The prince of trees! is fuel to their fires;
The smoke by which their loaded spits do turn,
For incense might on sacred altars burn;
Their private roofs on od'rous timber borne,
Such as might palaces for kings adorn.
The sweet palmettos a new Bacchus yield,[2]
With leaves as ample as the broadest shield,
Under the shadow of whose friendly boughs
They sit, carousing where their liquor grows. 20
Figs there unplanted through the fields do grow,
Such as fierce Cato did the Romans show,
With the rare fruit inviting them to spoil
Carthage, the mistress of so rich a soil.
The naked rocks are not unfruitful there,
But, at some constant seasons, every year,
Their barren tops with luscious food abound,
And with the eggs of various fowls are crown'd.
Tobacco is the worst of things, which they
To English landlords, as their tribute, pay. 30
Such is the mould, that the bless'd tenant feeds
On precious fruits, and pays his rent in weeds.
With candied plantains, and the juicy pine,
On choicest melons, and sweet grapes, they dine,
And with potatoes fat their wanton swine.
Nature these cates with such a lavish hand
Pours out among them, that our coarser land
Tastes of that bounty, and does cloth return,
Which not for warmth, but ornament, is worn;
For the kind spring, which but salutes us here, 40
Inhabits there, and courts them all the year.
Ripe fruits and blossoms on the same trees live;
At once they promise what at once they give.
So sweet the air, so moderate the clime,
None sickly lives, or dies before his time.
Heaven sure has kept this spot of earth uncursed,
To show how all things were created first.
The tardy plants in our cold orchards placed,
Reserve their fruit for the next age's taste;
There a small grain in some few months will be 50
A firm, a lofty, and a spacious tree.
The palma-christi, and the fair papà,
Now but a seed (preventing nature's law),
In half the circle of the hasty year
Project a shade, and lovely fruits do wear.
And as their trees in our dull region set,
But faintly grow, and no perfection get,
So, in this northern tract, our hoarser throats
Utter unripe and ill-constrained notes,
While the supporter of the poets' style, 60
Phoebus, on them eternally does smile.
Oh! how I long my careless limbs to lay
Under the plantain's shade, and all the day
With am'rous airs my fancy entertain,
Invoke the Muses, and improve my vein!
No passion there in my free breast should move,
None but the sweet and best of passions, love.

There while I sing, if gentle love be by, 68
That tunes my lute, and winds the string so high,
With the sweet sound of Saccharissa's name
I'll make the list'ning savages grow tame.—
But while I do these pleasing dreams indite,
I am diverted from the promised fight.

[1] 'Summer Islands': the Bermudas, which received the name of the Summer Islands, or more properly, Somers' Islands, from Sir George Somers, who was cast away on the coast early in the seventeenth century, and established a colony there.

[2] 'Bacchus yield': from the palmetto, a species of palm in the West Indies, is extracted an intoxicating drink.


  Of their alarm, and how their foes
  Discover'd were, this Canto shows.

Though rocks so high about this island rise,
That well they may the num'rous Turk despise,
Yet is no human fate exempt from fear,
Which shakes their hearts, while through the isle they hear
A lasting noise, as horrid and as loud
As thunder makes before it breaks the cloud.
Three days they dread this murmur, ere they know 80
From what blind cause th'unwonted sound may grow.
At length two monsters of unequal size,
Hard by the shore, a fisherman espies;
Two mighty whales! which swelling seas had toss'd,
And left them pris'ners on the rocky coast.
One as a mountain vast, and with her came
A cub, not much inferior to his dam.
Here in a pool, among the rocks engaged,
They roar'd like lions caught in toils, and raged.
The man knew what they were, who heretofore 90
Had seen the like lie murder'd on the shore;
By the wild fury of some tempest cast,
The fate of ships, and shipwreck'd men, to taste.
As careless dames, whom wine and sleep betray
To frantic dreams, their infants overlay:
So there, sometimes, the raging ocean fails,
And her own brood exposes; when the whales
Against sharp rocks, like reeling vessels quash'd,
Though huge as mountains, are in pieces dash'd;
Along the shore their dreadful limbs lie scatter'd, 100
Like hills with earthquakes shaken, torn, and shatter'd.
Hearts, sure, of brass they had, who tempted first
Rude seas that spare not what themselves have nursed.
The welcome news through all the nation spread,
To sudden joy and hope converts their dread;
What lately was their public terror, they
Behold with glad eyes as a certain prey;
Dispose already of th'untaken spoil,
And as the purchase of their future toil,
These share the bones, and they divide the oil. 110
So was the huntsman by the bear oppress'd,
Whose hide he sold—before he caught the beast!

They man their boats, and all their young men arm
With whatsoever may the monsters harm;
Pikes, halberts, spits, and darts that wound so far,
The tools of peace, and instruments of war.
Now was the time for vig'rous lads to show
What love, or honour, could incite them to;
A goodly theatre! where rocks are round
With rev'rend age, and lovely lasses, crown'd. 120
Such was the lake which held this dreadful pair,
Within the bounds of noble Warwick's share:[1]
Warwick's bold Earl! than which no title bears
A greater sound among our British peers;
And worthy he the memory to renew,
The fate and honour to that title due,
Whose brave adventures have transferr'd his name, 127
And through the new world spread his growing fame.—

But how they fought, and what their valour gain'd,
Shall in another Canto be contain'd.

[1] 'Warwick's share': Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, possessed a portion of the Bermudas, which bore his name. He was a jolly sailor in his habits, although a Puritan in his profession.


  The bloody fight, successless toil,
  And how the fishes sack'd the isle.

The boat which, on the first assault did go,
Struck with a harping-iron the younger foe;
Who, when he felt his side so rudely gored,
Loud as the sea that nourished him he roar'd.
As a broad bream, to please some curious taste,
While yet alive, in boiling water cast,
Vex'd with unwonted heat he flings about
The scorching brass, and hurls the liquor out;
So with the barbed jav'lin stung, he raves,
And scourges with his tail the suffering waves. 140
Like Spenser's Talus with his iron flail,
He threatens ruin with his pond'rous tail;
Dissolving at one stroke the batter'd boat,
And down the men fall drenched in the moat;
With every fierce encounter they are forced
To quit their boats, and fare like men unhorsed.

The bigger whale like some huge carrack lay,
Which wanteth sea-room with her foes to play;
Slowly she swims; and when, provoked, she would
Advance her tail, her head salutes the mud; 150
The shallow water doth her force infringe,
And renders vain her tail's impetuous swinge;
The shining steel her tender sides receive,
And there, like bees, they all their weapons leave.

  This sees the cub, and does himself oppose
Betwixt his cumber'd mother and her foes;
With desp'rate courage he receives her wounds,
And men and boats his active tail confounds.
Their forces join'd, the seas with billows fill,
And make a tempest, though the winds be still. 160
  Now would the men with half their hopèd prey
Be well content, and wish this cub away;
Their wish they have: he (to direct his dam
Unto the gap through which they thither came)
Before her swims, and quits the hostile lake,
A pris'ner there but for his mother's sake.
She, by the rocks compell'd to stay behind,
Is by the vastness of her bulk confined.
They shout for joy! and now on her alone
Their fury falls, and all their darts are thrown. 170
Their lances spent, one, bolder than the rest,
With his broad sword provoked the sluggish beast;
Her oily side devours both blade and haft,
And there his steel the bold Bermudan left.
Courage the rest from his example take,
And now they change the colour of the lake;
Blood flows in rivers from her wounded side,
As if they would prevent the tardy tide,
And raise the flood to that propitious height,
As might convey her from this fatal strait. 180
She swims in blood, and blood does spouting throw
To heaven, that heaven men's cruelties might know.
Their fixed jav'lins in her side she wears,
And on her back a grove of pikes appears;
You would have thought, had you the monster seen
Thus dress'd, she had another island been:
Roaring she tears the air with such a noise,
As well resembled the conspiring voice
Of routed armies, when the field is won, 189
To reach the ears of her escapèd son.
He, though a league removèd from the foe,
Hastes to her aid; the pious Trojan[1] so,
Neglecting for Creusa's life his own,
Repeats the danger of the burning town.
The men, amazèd, blush to see the seed
Of monsters human piety exceed.
Well proves this kindness, what the Grecian sung,
That love's bright mother from the ocean sprung.
Their courage droops, and hopeless now, they wish
For composition with th'unconquered fish; 200
So she their weapons would restore again,
Through rocks they'd hew her passage to the main.
But how instructed in each other's mind?
Or what commerce can men with monsters find?
Not daring to approach their wounded foe,
Whom her courageous son protected so,
They charge their muskets, and, with hot desire
Of fell revenge, renew the fight with fire;
Standing aloof, with lead they bruise the scales,
And tear the flesh of the incensèd whales. 210
But no success their fierce endeavours found,
Nor this way could they give one fatal wound.
Now to their fort they are about to send
For the loud engines which their isle defend;
But what those pieces framed to batter walls,
Would have effected on those mighty whales,
Great Neptune will not have us know, who sends
A tide so high that it relieves his friends.
And thus they parted with exchange of harms;
Much blood the monsters lost, and they their arms. 220

[1] 'Trojan': Aeneas.


The lark, that shuns on lofty boughs to build
Her humble nest, lies silent in the field;
But if (the promise of a cloudless day)
Aurora smiling bids her rise and play,
Then straight she shows 'twas not for want of voice,
Or power to climb, she made so low a choice;
Singing she mounts; her airy wings are stretch'd
T'wards heaven, as if from heaven her note she fetch'd.

So we, retiring from the busy throng,
Use to restrain the ambition of our song; 10
But since the light which now informs our age
Breaks from the Court, indulgent to her rage,
Thither my Muse, like bold Prometheus, flies,
To light her torch at Gloriana's eyes;
Those sov'reign beams which heal the wounded soul,
And all our cares, but once beheld, control!
There the poor lover that has long endured
Some proud nymph's scorn, of his fond passion cured,
Fares like the man who first upon the ground
A glow-worm spied, supposing he had found 20
A moving diamond, a breathing stone;
For life it had, and like those jewels shone;
He held it dear, till by the springing day
Inform'd, he threw the worthless worm away.

She saves the lover as we gangrenes stay,
By cutting hope, like a lopp'd limb, away;
This makes her bleeding patients to accuse
High Heaven, and these expostulations use:
'Could Nature then no private woman grace,
Whom we might dare to love, with such a face, 30
Such a complexion, and so radiant eyes,
Such lovely motion, and such sharp replies?
Beyond our reach, and yet within our sight,
What envious power has placed this glorious light?'

Thus, in a starry night, fond children cry
For the rich spangles that adorn the sky,
Which, though they shine for ever fixed there,
With light and influence relieve us here.
All her affections are to one inclined;
Her bounty and compassion to mankind; 40
To whom, while she so far extends her grace,
She makes but good the promise of her face;
For Mercy has, could Mercy's self be seen,
No sweeter look than this propitious queen.
Such guard, and comfort, the distressed find
From her large power, and from her larger mind,
That whom ill Fate would ruin, it prefers,
For all the miserable are made hers.
So the fair tree whereon the eagle builds,
Poor sheep from tempests, and their shepherds, shields; 50
The royal bird possesses all the boughs,
But shade and shelter to the flock allows.

Joy of our age, and safety of the next!
For which so oft thy fertile womb is vex'd;
Nobly contented, for the public good,
To waste thy spirits and diffuse thy blood,
What vast hopes may these islands entertain,
Where monarchs, thus descended, are to reign?
Led by commanders of so fair a line,
Our seas no longer shall our power confine. 60

A brave romance who would exactly frame,
First brings his knight from some immortal dame,
And then a weapon, and a flaming shield,
Bright as his mother's eyes, he makes him wield.
None might the mother of Achilles be,
But the fair pearl and glory of the sea;[1]
The man to whom great Maro gives such fame,[2]
From the high bed of heavenly Venus came;
And our next Charles, whom all the stars design
Like wonders to accomplish, springs from thine. 70

[1] 'Sea': Thetis [2] 'Maro': Aeneas


My charge it is those breaches to repair
Which Nature takes from sorrow, toil, and care;
Rest to the limbs, and quiet I confer
On troubled minds; but nought can add to her
Whom Heaven, and her transcendent thoughts have placed
Above those ills which wretched mortals taste.

Bright as the deathless gods, and happy, she
From all that may infringe delight is free;
Love at her royal feet his quiver lays,
And not his mother with more haste obeys. 10
Such real pleasures, such true joys' suspense,
What dream can I present to recompense?

Should I with lightning fill her awful hand,
And make the clouds seem all at her command;
Or place her in Olympus' top, a guest
Among the immortals, who with nectar feast;
That power would seem, that entertainment, short
Of the true splendour of her present Court,

Where all the joys, and all the glories, are 19
Of three great kingdoms, sever'd from the care.
I, that of fumes and humid vapours made,
Ascending, do the seat of sense invade,
No cloud in so serene a mansion find,
To overcast her ever-shining mind,

Which holds resemblance with those spotless skies,
Where flowing Nilus want of rain supplies;
That crystal heaven, where Phoebus never shrouds
His golden beams, nor wraps his face in clouds.
But what so hard which numbers cannot force?
So stoops the moon, and rivers change their course. 30

The bold Mæonian[1] made me dare to steep
Jove's dreadful temples in the dew of sleep;
And since the Muses do invoke my power,
I shall no more decline that sacred bower
Where Gloriana their great mistress lies;
But, gently taming those victorious eyes,

Charm all her senses, till the joyful sun
Without a rival half his course has run;
Who, while my hand that fairer light confines,
May boast himself the brightest thing that shines. 40

[1] 'Mæonian': Homer.


1 You gods that have the power
  To trouble and compose
  All that's beneath your bower,
  Calm silence on the seas, on earth impose.

2 Fair Venus! in thy soft arms
   The God of Rage confine;
   For thy whispers are the charms
   Which only can divert his fierce design.

3 What though he frown, and to tumult do incline?
   Thou the flame
   Kindled in his breast canst tame,
   With that snow which unmelted lies on thine.

4 Great goddess! give this thy sacred island rest;
   Make heaven smile,
   That no storm disturb us while
   Thy chief care, our halcyon, builds her nest.

5 Great Gloriana! fair Gloriana!
   Bright as high heaven is, and fertile as earth,
   Whose beauty relieves us,
   Whose royal bed gives us
   Both glory and peace,
   Our present joy, and all our hopes' increase.

[1] 'Puerperium ': Fenton conjectures that this poem was written in 1640, when the Queen was delivered of her fourth son, the Duke of Gloucester.


Ah, lovely Amoret! the care
Of all that know what's good or fair!
Is heaven become our rival too?
Had the rich gifts conferr'd on you
So amply thence, the common end
Of giving lovers—to pretend?
  Hence, to this pining sickness (meant
To weary thee to a consent
Of leaving us) no power is given 9
Thy beauties to impair; for heaven
Solicits thee with such a care,
As roses from their stalks we tear,
When we would still preserve them new
And fresh, as on the bush they grew.

With such a grace you entertain,
And look with such contempt on pain,
That languishing you conquer more,
And wound us deeper than before.
So lightnings which in storms appear,
Scorch more than when the skies are clear. 20

And as pale sickness does invade
Your frailer part, the breaches made
In that fair lodging, still more clear
Make the bright guest, your soul, appear.
So nymphs o'er pathless mountains borne,
Their light robes by the brambles torn
From their fair limbs, exposing new
And unknown beauties to the view
Of following gods, increase their flame
And haste to catch the flying game. 30


May those already cursed Essexian plains,
Where hasty death and pining sickness reigns,
Prove all a desert! and none there make stay,
But savage beasts, or men as wild as they!
There the fair light which all our island graced,
Like Hero's taper in the window placed,
Such fate from the malignant air did find, 7
As that exposed to the boist'rous wind.

Ah, cruel Heaven! to snatch so soon away
Her for whose life, had we had time to pray,
With thousand vows and tears we should have sought
That sad decree's suspension to have wrought.
But we, alas! no whisper of her pain
Heard, till 'twas sin to wish her here again.
That horrid word, at once, like lightning spread,
Struck all our ears—The Lady Rich is dead!
Heart-rending news! and dreadful to those few
Who her resemble, and her steps pursue;
That death should license have to rage among
The fair, the wise, the virtuous, and the young! 20

The Paphian queen from that fierce battle borne,
With gored hand, and veil so rudely torn,
Like terror did among th'immortals breed,
Taught by her wound that goddesses may bleed.

All stand amazed! but beyond the rest
th'heroic dame whose happy womb she bless'd,[2]
Moved with just grief, expostulates with Heaven,
Urging the promise to th'obsequious given,
Of longer life; for ne'er was pious soul
More apt t'obey, more worthy to control. 30
A skilful eye at once might read the race
Of Caledonian monarchs in her face,
And sweet humility; her look and mind
At once were lofty, and at once were kind.
There dwelt the scorn of vice, and pity too,
For those that did what she disdain'd to do;
So gentle and severe, that what was bad,
At once her hatred and her pardon had.

Gracious to all; but where her love was due, 39
So fast, so faithful, loyal, and so true,
That a bold hand as soon might hope to force
The rolling lights of heaven, as change her course.

Some happy angel, that beholds her there,
Instruct us to record what she was here!
And when this cloud of sorrow's overblown,
Through the wide world we'll make her graces known.
So fresh the wound is, and the grief so vast,
That all our art and power of speech is waste.
Here passion sways, but there the Muse shall raise
Eternal monuments of louder praise. 50

There our delight, complying with her fame,
Shall have occasion to recite thy name,
Fair Saccharissa!—and now only fair!
To sacred friendship we'll an altar rear
(Such as the Romans did erect of old),
Where, on a marble pillar, shall be told
The lovely passion each to other bare,
With the resemblance of that matchless pair.
Narcissus to the thing for which he pined
Was not more like than yours to her fair mind, 60
Save that she graced the several parts of life,
A spotless virgin, and a faultless wife.
Such was the sweet converse 'twixt her and you,
As that she holds with her associates now.

How false is hope, and how regardless fate,
That such a love should have so short a date!
Lately I saw her, sighing, part from thee;
(Alas that that the last farewell should be!)
So looked Astræa, her remove design'd,
On those distressed friends she left behind. 70
Consent in virtue knit your hearts so fast,
That still the knot, in spite of death, does last;
For as your tears, and sorrow-wounded soul,
Prove well that on your part this bond is whole,
So all we know of what they do above,
Is that they happy are, and that they love.
Let dark oblivion, and the hollow grave,
Content themselves our frailer thoughts to have;
Well-chosen love is never taught to die,
But with our nobler part invades the sky. 80
Then grieve no more that one so heavenly shaped
The crooked hand of trembling age escaped;
Rather, since we beheld her not decay,
But that she vanish'd so entire away,
Her wondrous beauty, and her goodness, merit
We should suppose that some propitious spirit
In that celestial form frequented here,
And is not dead, but ceases to appear.

[1] 'Lady Rich': she was the daughter of the Earl of Devonshire, and
    married to the heir of the Earl of Warwick.
[2] 'Womb she blessed': the Countess of Devonshire, a very old woman,
    the only daughter of Lord Bruce, descended from Robert the Bruce.


Anger, in hasty words or blows,
Itself discharges on our foes;
And sorrow, too, finds some relief
In tears, which wait upon our grief;
So every passion, but fond love,
Unto its own redress does move;
But that alone the wretch inclines
To what prevents his own designs;
Makes him lament, and sigh, and weep,
Disorder'd, tremble, fawn, and creep; 10
Postures which render him despised,
Where he endeavours to be prized.

For women (born to be controll'd)
Stoop to the forward and the bold;
Affect the haughty and the proud,
The gay, the frolic, and the loud.
Who first the gen'rous steed oppress'd,
Not kneeling did salute the beast;
But with high courage, life, and force,
Approaching, tamed th'unruly horse. 20

Unwisely we the wiser East
Pity, supposing them oppress'd
With tyrants' force, whose law is will,
By which they govern, spoil and kill:
Each nymph, but moderately fair,
Commands with no less rigour here.
Should some brave Turk, that walks among
His twenty lasses, bright and young,
And beckons to the willing dame,
Preferr'd to quench his present flame, 30
Behold as many gallants here,
With modest guise and silent fear,
All to one female idol bend,
While her high pride does scarce descend
To mark their follies, he would swear
That these her guard of eunuchs were,
And that a more majestic queen,
Or humbler slaves, he had not seen.

All this with indignation spoke,
In vain I struggled with the yoke 40
Of mighty Love; that conqu'ring look,
When next beheld, like lightning strook
My blasted soul, and made me bow
Lower than those I pitied now.

So the tall stag, upon the brink
Of some smooth stream about to drink,
Surveying there his armed head, 47
With shame remembers that he fled
The scorned dogs, resolves to try
The combat next; but if their cry
Invades again his trembling ear,
He straight resumes his wonted care,
Leaves the untasted spring behind,
And, wing'd with fear, outflies the wind.


Let brutes and vegetals, that cannot think,
So far as drought and nature urges, drink;
A more indulgent mistress guides our sp'rits,
Reason, that dares beyond our appetites;
(She would our care, as well as thirst, redress),
And with divinity rewards excess.
Deserted Ariadne, thus supplied,
Did perjured Theseus' cruelty deride;
Bacchus embraced, from her exalted thought
Banish'd the man, her passion, and his fault. 10
Bacchus and Phoebus are by Jove allied,
And each by other's timely heat supplied;
All that the grapes owe to his rip'ning fires
Is paid in numbers which their juice inspires.
Wine fills the veins, and healths are understood
To give our friends a title to our blood;
Who, naming me, doth warm his courage so,
Shows for my sake what his bold hand would do.


Such moving sounds from such a careless touch!
So unconcern'd herself, and we so much!
What art is this, that with so little pains
Transports us thus, and o'er our spirits reigns?
The trembling strings about her fingers crowd,
And tell their joy for every kiss aloud.
Small force there needs to make them tremble so;
Touch'd by that hand, who would not tremble too?
Here Love takes stand, and while she charms the ear,
Empties his quiver on the list'ning deer. 10
Music so softens and disarms the mind,
That not an arrow does resistance find.
Thus the fair tyrant celebrates the prize,
And acts herself the triumph of her eyes:
So Nero once, with harp in hand, survey'd
His flaming Rome, and as it burn'd he play'd.


Behold, and listen, while the fair
Breaks in sweet sounds the willing air,
And with her own breath fans the fire
Which her bright eyes do first inspire.
What reason can that love control,
Which more than one way courts the soul?

So when a flash of lightning falls
On our abodes, the danger calls
For human aid, which hopes the flame 9
To conquer, though from heaven it came;
But if the winds with that conspire,
Men strive not, but deplore the fire.

[1] 'Mrs. Arden': some suggest that this lady was probably either a maid of honour, or a gentlewoman of the bed-chamber to King Charles the First's Queen.


Design, or chance, makes others wive;
But Nature did this match contrive;
Eve might as well have Adam fled,
As she denied her little bed
To him, for whom Heaven seemed to frame,
And measure out, this only dame.

Thrice happy is that humble pair,
Beneath the level of all care!
Over whose heads those arrows fly
Of sad distrust and jealousy; 10
Secured in as high extreme,
As if the world held none but them.

To him the fairest nymphs do show
Like moving mountains, topp'd with snow;
And every man a Polypheme
Does to his Galatea seem;
None may presume her faith to prove;
He proffers death that proffers love.

Ah, Chloris! that kind Nature thus
From all the world had severed us; 20
Creating for ourselves us two,
As love has me for only you!

[1] 'Dwarfs': Gibson and Shepherd, each three feet ten inches in height. They were pages at Court, and Charles I. gave away the female infinitesimal.


1 Treading the path to nobler ends,
  A long farewell to love I gave,
  Resolved my country, and my friends,
  All that remain'd of me should have.

2 And this resolve no mortal dame,
  None but those eyes could have o'erthrown;
  The nymph I dare not, need not name,
  So high, so like herself alone.

3 Thus the tall oak, which now aspires
  Above the fear of private fires,
  Grown and design'd for nobler use,
  Not to make warm, but build the house,
  Though from our meaner flames secure,
  Must that which falls from heaven endure.


Madam, as in some climes the warmer sun
Makes it full summer ere the spring's begun,
And with ripe fruit the bending boughs can load,
Before our violets dare look abroad;
So measure not by any common use
The early love your brighter eyes produce.
When lately your fair hand in woman's weed
Wrapp'd my glad head, I wish'd me so indeed,
That hasty time might never make me grow
Out of those favours you afford me now; 10
That I might ever such indulgence find,
And you not blush, nor think yourself too kind;
Who now, I fear, while I these joys express,
Begin to think how you may make them less.
The sound of love makes your soft heart afraid,
And guard itself, though but a child invade,
And innocently at your white breast throw
A dart as white-a ball of new fallen snow.


  That which her slender waist confined,
Shall now my joyful temples bind;
No monarch but would give his crown,
His arms might do what this has done.

  It was my heaven's extremest sphere,
The pale which held that lovely deer.
My joy, my grief, my hope, my love,
Did all within this circle move!

  A narrow compass! and yet there
Dwelt all that's good, and all that's fair;
Give me but what this ribband bound,
Take all the rest the sun goes round.


See! how the willing earth gave way,
To take th'impression where she lay.
See! how the mould, as both to leave
So sweet a burden, still doth cleave
Close to the nymph's stain'd garment. Here
The coming spring would first appear,
And all this place with roses strow,
If busy feet would let them grow.
  Here Venus smiled to see blind chance
Itself before her son advance, 10
And a fair image to present,
Of what the boy so long had meant.
'Twas such a chance as this, made all
The world into this order fall;
Thus the first lovers, on the clay,
Of which they were composéd, lay;
So in their prime, with equal grace,
Met the first patterns of our race.
  Then blush not, fair! or on him frown,
Or wonder how you both came down; 20
But touch him, and he'll tremble straight,
How could he then support your weight?
How could the youth, alas! but bend,
When his whole heaven upon him lean'd?
If aught by him amiss were done,
'Twas that he let you rise so soon.


1 Our sighs are heard; just Heaven declares
  The sense it has of lovers' cares;
  She that so far the rest outshined,
  Sylvia the fair, while she was kind,
  As if her frowns impair'd her brow,
  Seems only not unhandsome now.
  So, when the sky makes us endure
  A storm, itself becomes obscure.

2 Hence 'tis that I conceal my flame,
  Hiding from Flavia's self her name,
  Lest she, provoking Heaven, should prove
  How it rewards neglected love.
  Better a thousand such as I,
  Their grief untold, should pine and die;
  Than her bright morning, overcast
  With sullen clouds, should be defaced.


1 Lately on yonder swelling bush,
  Big with many a coming rose,
  This early bud began to blush,
  And did but half itself disclose;
  I pluck'd it, though no better grown,
  And now you see how full 'tis blown.

2 Still as I did the leaves inspire,
  With such a purple light they shone,
  As if they had been made of fire,
  And spreading so, would flame anon.
  All that was meant by air or sun,
  To the young flower, my breath has done.

3 If our loose breath so much can do,
  What may the same in forms of love,
  Of purest love, and music too,
  When Flavia it aspires to move?
  When that, which lifeless buds persuades
  To wax more soft, her youth invades?


1 Pygmalion's fate reversed is mine;[1]
  His marble love took flesh and blood;
  All that I worshipp'd as divine,
  That beauty! now 'tis understood,
  Appears to have no more of life
  Than that whereof he framed his wife.

2 As women yet, who apprehend
  Some sudden cause of causeless fear,
  Although that seeming cause take end,
  And they behold no danger near,
  A shaking through their limbs they find,
  Like leaves saluted by the wind:

3 So though the beauty do appear
  No beauty, which amazed me so;
  Yet from my breast I cannot tear
  The passion which from thence did grow;
  Nor yet out of my fancy raze
  The print of that supposèd face.

4 A real beauty, though too near,
  The fond Narcissus did admire:
  I dote on that which is nowhere;
  The sign of beauty feeds my fire.
  No mortal flame was e'er so cruel
  As this, which thus survives the fuel!

[1] 'Mine': Ovid, Met. x.


1 Not caring to observe the wind,
  Or the new sea explore,
  Snatch'd from myself, how far behind
  Already I behold the shore!

2 May not a thousand dangers sleep
  In the smooth bosom of this deep?
  No; 'tis so reckless and so clear,
  That the rich bottom does appear
  Paved all with precious things; not torn
  From shipwreck'd vessels, but there born.

3 Sweetness, truth, and every grace
  Which time and use are wont to teach,
  The eye may in a moment reach,
  And read distinctly in her face.

4 Some other nymphs, with colours faint,
  And pencil slow, may Cupid paint,
  And a weak heart in time destroy;
  She has a stamp, and prints the boy:
  Can, with a single look, inflame
  The coldest breast, the rudest tame.


1 It is not that I love you less,
  Than when before your feet I lay;
  But to prevent the sad increase
  Of hopeless love, I keep away.

2 In vain, alas! for everything
  Which I have known belong to you,
  Your form does to my fancy bring,
  And makes my old wounds bleed anew.

3 Who in the spring, from the new sun,
  Already has a fever got,
  Too late begins those shafts to shun,
  Which Phoebus through his veins has shot;

4 Too late he would the pain assuage,
  And to thick shadows does retire;
  About with him he bears the rage,
  And in his tainted blood the fire.

5 But vow'd I have, and never must
  Your banish'd servant trouble you;
  For if I break, you may mistrust
  The vow I made—to love you too.


1 While with a strong and yet a gentle hand,
  You bridle faction, and our hearts command,
  Protect us from ourselves, and from the foe,
  Make us unite, and make us conquer too;

2 Let partial spirits still aloud complain,
  Think themselves injured that they cannot reign,
  And own no liberty but where they may
  Without control upon their fellows prey.

3 Above the waves as Neptune show'd his face,
  To chide the winds, and save the Trojan race,
  So has your Highness, raised above the rest,
  Storms of ambition, tossing us, repress'd.

4 Your drooping country, torn with civil hate,
  Restored by you, is made a glorious state;
  The seat of empire, where the Irish come,
  And the unwilling Scots, to fetch their doom.

5 The sea's our own; and now all nations greet,
  With bending sails, each vessel of our fleet;
  Your power extends as far as winds can blow,
  Or swelling sails upon the globe may go.

6 Heaven (that hath placed this island to give law,
  To balance Europe, and her states to awe),
  In this conjunction doth on Britain smile;
  The greatest leader, and the greatest isle!

7 Whether this portion of the world were rent,
  By the rude ocean, from the continent,
  Or thus created, it was sure design'd
  To be the sacred refuge of mankind.

8 Hither th'oppressed shall henceforth resort,
  Justice to crave, and succour, at your court;
  And then your Highness, not for ours alone,
  But for the world's Protector shall be known.

9 Fame, swifter than your winged navy, flies
  Through every land that near the ocean lies,
  Sounding your name, and telling dreadful news
  To all that piracy and rapine use.

10 With such a chief the meanest nation bless'd,
  Might hope to lift her head above the rest;
  What may be thought impossible to do
  By us, embraced by the sea and you?

11 Lords of the world's great waste, the ocean, we
  Whole forests send to reign upon the sea,
  And every coast may trouble, or relieve;
  But none can visit us without your leave.

12 Angels and we have this prerogative,
  That none can at our happy seats arrive;
  While we descend at pleasure, to invade
  The bad with vengeance, and the good to aid.

13 Our little world, the image of the great,
  Like that, amidst the boundless ocean set,
  Of her own growth hath all that Nature craves,
  And all that's rare, as tribute from the waves.

14 As Egypt does not on the clouds rely,
  But to the Nile owes more than to the sky;
  So what our earth, and what our heaven denies,
  Our ever constant friend, the sea, supplies.

15 The taste of hot Arabia's spice we know,
  Free from the scorching sun that makes it grow;
  Without the worm, in Persian silks we shine;
  And, without planting, drink of every vine.

16 To dig for wealth we weary not our limbs;
  Gold, though the heaviest metal, hither swims;
  Ours is the harvest where the Indians mow;
  We plough the deep, and reap what others sow.

17 Things of the noblest kind our own soil breeds;
  Stout are our men, and warlike are our steeds;
  Rome, though her eagle through the world had flown,
  Could never make this island all her own.

18 Here the Third Edward, and the Black Prince, too,
  France-conqu'ring Henry flourish'd, and now you;
  For whom we stay'd, as did the Grecian state,
  Till Alexander came to urge their fate.

19 When for more worlds the Macedonian cried,
  He wist not Thetis in her lap did hide
  Another yet; a world reserved for you,
  To make more great than that he did subdue.

20 He safely might old troops to battle lead,
  Against th'unwarlike Persian and the Mede,
  Whose hasty flight did, from a bloodless field,
  More spoils than honour to the victor yield.

21 A race unconquer'd, by their clime made bold,
  The Caledonians, arm'd with want and cold,
  Have, by a fate indulgent to your fame,
  Been from all ages kept for you to tame.

22 Whom the old Roman wall so ill confined,
  With a new chain of garrisons you bind;
  Here foreign gold no more shall make them come;
  Our English iron holds them fast at home.

23 They, that henceforth must be content to know
  No warmer regions than their hills of snow,
  May blame the sun, but must extol your grace,
  Which in our senate hath allowed them place.

24 Preferr'd by conquest, happily o'erthrown,
  Falling they rise, to be with us made one;
  So kind Dictators made, when they came home,
  Their vanquish'd foes free citizens of Rome.

25 Like favour find the Irish, with like fate,
  Advanced to be a portion of our state;
  While by your valour and your bounteous mind,
  Nations, divided by the sea, are join'd.

26 Holland, to gain your friendship, is content
  To be our outguard on the Continent;
  She from her fellow-provinces would go,
  Rather than hazard to have you her foe.

27 In our late fight, when cannons did diffuse,
  Preventing posts, the terror and the news,
  Our neighbour princes trembled at their roar;
  But our conjunction makes them tremble more.

28 Your never-failing sword made war to cease;
  And now you heal us with the acts of peace;
  Our minds with bounty and with awe engage,
  Invite affection, and restrain our rage.

29 Less pleasure take brave minds in battles won,
  Than in restoring such as are undone;
  Tigers have courage, and the rugged bear,
  But man alone can, whom he conquers, spare.

30 To pardon willing, and to punish loth,
  You strike with one hand, but you heal with both;
  Lifting up all that prostrate lie, you grieve
  You cannot make the dead again to live.

31 When fate, or error, had our age misled,
  And o'er this nation such confusion spread,
  The only cure, which could from Heaven come down,
  Was so much power and piety in one!

32 One! whose extraction from an ancient line
  Gives hope again that well-born men may shine;
  The meanest in your nature, mild and good,
  The noblest rest secured in your blood.

33 Oft have we wonder'd how you hid in peace
  A mind proportion'd to such things as these;
  How such a ruling sp'rit you could restrain,
  And practise first over yourself to reign.

34 Your private life did a just pattern give,
  How fathers, husbands, pious sons should live;
  Born to command, your princely virtues slept,
  Like humble David's, while the flock he kept.

35 But when your troubled country called you forth,
  Your flaming courage, and your matchless worth,
  Dazzling the eyes of all that did pretend,
  To fierce contention gave a prosp'rous end.

36 Still as you rise, the state, exalted too,
  Finds no distemper while 'tis changed by you;
  Changed like the world's great scene! when, without noise,
  The rising sun night's vulgar light destroys.

37 Had you, some ages past, this race of glory
  Run, with amazement we should read your story;
  But living virtue, all achievements past,
  Meets envy still, to grapple with at last.

38 This Cæsar found; and that ungrateful age,
  With losing him went back to blood and rage;
  Mistaken Brutus thought to break their yoke,
  But cut the bond of union with that stroke.

39 That sun once set, a thousand meaner stars
  Gave a dim light to violence and wars,
  To such a tempest as now threatens all,
  Did not your mighty arm prevent the fall.

40 If Rome's great senate could not wield that sword,
  Which of the conquer'd world had made them lord;
  What hope had ours, while yet their power was new,
  To rule victorious armies, but by you?

41 You! that had taught them to subdue their foes,
  Could order teach, and their high sp'rits compose;
  To every duty could their minds engage,
  Provoke their courage, and command their rage.

42 So when a lion shakes his dreadful mane,
  And angry grows, if he that first took pain
  To tame his youth approach the haughty beast,
  He bends to him, but frights away the rest.

43 As the vex'd world, to find repose, at last
  Itself into Augustus' arms did cast;
  So England now does, with like toil oppress'd,
  Her weary head upon your bosom rest.

44 Then let the Muses, with such notes as these,
  Instruct us what belongs unto our peace;
  Your battles they hereafter shall indite,
  And draw the image of our Mars in fight;

45 Tell of towns storm'd, of armies overrun,
  And mighty kingdoms by your conduct won;
  How, while you thunder'd, clouds of dust did choke
  Contending troops, and seas lay hid in smoke.

46 Illustrious acts high raptures do infuse,
  And every conqueror creates a Muse.
  Here, in low strains, your milder deeds we sing;
  But there, my lord! we'll bays and olive bring,

47 To crown your head; while you in triumph ride
  O'er vanquish'd nations, and the sea beside;
  While all your neighbour princes unto you,
  Like Joseph's sheaves,[2] pay reverence, and bow.

[1] Written about 1654. [2] 'Joseph's sheaves': Gen. xxxvii.


So we some antique hero's strength
Learn by his lance's weight and length,
As these vast beams express the beast
Whose shady brows alive they dress'd.
Such game, while yet the world was new,
The mighty Nimrod did pursue.
What huntsman of our feeble race,
Or dogs, dare such a monster chase,
Resembling, with each blow he strikes, 9
The charge of a whole troop of pikes?
O fertile head! which every year
Could such a crop of wonder bear!
The teeming earth did never bring
So soon, so hard, so huge a thing;
Which might it never have been cast
(Each year's growth added to the last),
These lofty branches had supplied
The earth's bold sons' prodigious pride;
Heaven with these engines had been scaled,
When mountains heap'd on mountains fail'd. 20


Balls of this metal slack'd At'lanta's pace,
And on the am'rous youth[1] bestow'd the race;
Venus (the nymph's mind measuring by her own),
Whom the rich spoils of cities overthrown
Had prostrated to Mars, could well advise
Th' advent'rous lover how to gain the prize.
Nor less may Jupiter to gold ascribe;
For, when he turn'd himself into a bribe,
Who can blame Danaë[2], or the brazen tower,
That they withstood not that almighty shower 10
Never till then did love make Jove put on
A form more bright, and nobler than his own;
Nor were it just, would he resume that shape,
That slack devotion should his thunder 'scape.
'Twas not revenge for griev'd Apollo's wrong, 15
Those ass's ears on Midas' temples hung,
But fond repentance of his happy wish,
Because his meat grew metal like his dish.
Would Bacchus bless me so, I'd constant hold
Unto my wish, and die creating gold.

[1] 'Am'rous youth': Hippomenes.
[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.



Hylas, O Hylas! why sit we mute,
Now that each bird saluteth the spring?
Wind up the slacken'd strings of thy lute,
Never canst thou want matter to sing;
For love thy breast does fill with such a fire,
That whatsoe'er is fair moves thy desire.


Sweetest! you know, the sweetest of things
Of various flowers the bees do compose;
Yet no particular taste it brings
Of violet, woodbine, pink, or rose; 10
So love the result is of all the graces
Which flow from a thousand sev'ral faces.


Hylas! the birds which chant in this grove,
Could we but know the language they use,
They would instruct us better in love,
And reprehend thy inconstant Muse;
For love their breasts does fill with such a fire, 17
That what they once do choose, bounds their desire.


Chloris! this change the birds do approve,
Which the warm season hither does bring; 20
Time from yourself does further remove
You, than the winter from the gay spring;
She that like lightning shined while her face lasted,
The oak now resembles which lightning hath blasted.



Stay here, fond youth! and ask no more; be wise;
Knowing too much long since lost Paradise.


And, by your knowledge, we should be bereft
Of all that Paradise which yet is left.


The virtuous joys thou hast, thou wouldst should still
Last in their pride; and wouldst not take it ill
If rudely from sweet dreams, and for a toy,
Thou waked; he wakes himself that does enjoy.


How can the joy, or hope, which you allow
Be styled virtuous, and the end not so? 10
Talk in your sleep, and shadows still admire!
'Tis true, he wakes that feels this real fire;
But—to sleep better; for whoe'er drinks deep
Of this Nepenthe, rocks himself asleep.


Fruition adds no new wealth, but destroys,
And while it pleaseth much, yet still it cloys.
Who thinks he should be happier made for that,
As reasonably might hope he might grow fat
By eating to a surfeit; this once past,
What relishes? even kisses lose their taste. 20


Blessings may be repeated while they cloy;
But shall we starve, 'cause surfeitings destroy?
And if fruition did the taste impair
Of kisses, why should yonder happy pair,
Whose joys just Hymen warrants all the night,
Consume the day, too, in this less delight?


Urge not 'tis necessary; alas! we know
The homeliest thing that mankind does is so.
The world is of a large extent we see,
And must be peopled; children there must be: 30
So must bread too; but since there are enow
Born to that drudgery, what need we plough?


I need not plough, since what the stooping hine[1]
Gets of my pregnant land must all be mine;
But in this nobler tillage 'tis not so;
For when Anchises did fair Venus know,
What interest had poor Vulcan in the boy,
Famous Aeneas, or the present joy?


Women enjoy'd, whate'er before they've been, 39
Are like romances read, or scenes once seen;
Fruition dulls or spoils the play much more
Than if one read, or knew the plot before.


Plays and romances read and seen, do fall
In our opinions; yet not seen at all,
Whom would they please? To an heroic tale
Would you not listen, lest it should grow stale?


'Tis expectation makes a blessing dear;
Heaven were not heaven, if we knew what it were.


If 'twere not heaven if we knew what it were,
'Twould not be heaven to those that now are there. 50


And as in prospects we are there pleased most,
Where something keeps the eye from being lost,
And leaves us room to guess; so here, restraint
Holds up delight, that with excess would faint.


Restraint preserves the pleasure we have got,
But he ne'er has it that enjoys it not.
In goodly prospects, who contracts the space,
Or takes not all the bounty of the place?
We wish remov'd what standeth in our light,
And nature blame for limiting our sight; 60
Where you stand wisely winking, that the view
Of the fair prospect may be always new.


They, who know all the wealth they have, are poor;
He's only rich that cannot tell his store.


Not he that knows the wealth he has is poor,
But he that dares not touch, nor use, his store.

[1] 'Hine': hind.


1 They that never had the use
  Of the grape's surprising juice,
  To the first delicious cup
  All their reason render up;
  Neither do, nor care to know,
  Whether it be best or no.

2 So they that are to love inclined,
  Sway'd by chance, not choice or art,
  To the first that's fair, or kind,
  Make a present of their heart;
  'Tis not she that first we love,
  But whom dying we approve.

3 To man, that was in th'ev'ning made,
  Stars gave the first delight,
  Admiring, in the gloomy shade,
  Those little drops of light;
  Then at Aurora, whose fair hand
  Removed them from the skies,
  He gazing t'ward the east did stand,
  She entertain'd his eyes.

4 But when the bright sun did appear,
  All those he 'gan despise;
  His wonder was determined there,
  And could no higher rise;
  He neither might, nor wished to know
  A more refulgent light;
  For that (as mine your beauties now)
  Employ'd his utmost sight.


Darkness, which fairest nymphs disarms,
Defends us ill from Mira's charms;
Mira can lay her beauty by,
Take no advantage of the eye,
Quit all that Lely's art can take,
And yet a thousand captives make.
  Her speech is graced with sweeter sound
Than in another's song is found!
And all her well-placed words are darts,
Which need no light to reach our hearts. 10
  As the bright stars and Milky Way,
Show'd by the night, are hid by day;
So we, in that accomplish'd mind,
Help'd by the night, new graces find,
Which, by the splendour of her view,
Dazzled before, we never knew.
  While we converse with her, we mark
No want of day, nor think it dark;
Her shining image is a light
Fix'd in our hearts, and conquers night. 20
  Like jewels to advantage set,
Her beauty by the shade does get;
There blushes, frowns, and cold disdain,
All that our passion might restrain,
Is hid, and our indulgent mind
Presents the fair idea kind.
  Yet, friended by the night, we dare
Only in whispers tell our care;
He that on her his bold hand lays,
With Cupid's pointed arrows plays; 30
They with a touch (they are so keen!)
Wound us unshot, and she unseen.
  All near approaches threaten death;
We may be shipwreck'd by her breath;
Love, favour'd once with that sweet gale,
Doubles his haste, and fills his sail,
Till he arrive where she must prove
The haven, or the rock, of love.
  So we th'Arabian coast do know
At distance, when the spices blow; 40
By the rich odour taught to steer,
Though neither day nor stars appear.


As gather'd flowers, while their wounds are new,
Look gay and fresh, as on the stalk they grew;
Torn from the root that nourish'd them, awhile
(Not taking notice of their fate) they smile,
And, in the hand which rudely pluck'd them, show
Fairer than those that to their autumn grow;
So love and beauty still that visage grace;
Death cannot fright them from their wonted place.
Alive, the hand of crooked Age had marr'd,
Those lovely features which cold Death has spared.

No wonder then he sped in love so well,
When his high passion he had breath to tell;
When that accomplish'd soul, in this fair frame,
No business had but to persuade that dame,
Whose mutual love advanced the youth so high,
That, but to heaven, he could no higher fly.


Twice twenty slender virgin-fingers twine
This curious web, where all their fancies shine.
As Nature them, so they this shade have wrought,
Soft as their hands, and various as their thought;
Not Juno's bird when, his fair train dispread,
He woos the female to his painted bed,
No, not the bow, which so adorns the skies,
So glorious is, or boasts so many dyes.


Now, for some ages, had the pride of Spain
Made the sun shine on half the world in vain;
While she bid war to all that durst supply
The place of those her cruelty made die.
Of Nature's bounty men forebore to taste,
And the best portion of the earth lay waste.
From the new world, her silver and her gold
Came, like a tempest, to confound the old;
Feeding with these the bribed electors' hopes,
Alone she gives us emperors and popes; 10
With these accomplishing her vast designs,
Europe was shaken with her Indian mines.

When Britain, looking with a just disdain
Upon this gilded majesty of Spain,
And knowing well that empire must decline,
Whose chief support and sinews are of coin,
Our nation's solid virtue did oppose
To the rich troublers of the world's repose.

And now some months, encamping on the main,
Our naval army had besiegèd Spain; 20
They that the whole world's monarchy design'd,
Are to their ports by our bold fleet confined;
From whence our Red Cross they triumphant see,
Riding without a rival on the sea.

Others may use the ocean as their road,
Only the English make it their abode,
Whose ready sails with every wind can fly,
And make a cov'nant with th'inconstant sky;
Our oaks secure, as if they there took root, 29
We tread on billows with a steady foot.

Meanwhile the Spaniards in America,
Near to the line the sun approaching saw,
And hoped their European coasts to find
Clear'd from our ships by the autumnal wind;
Their huge capacious galleons stuff'd with plate,
The lab'ring winds drive slowly t'wards their fate.
Before St. Lucar they their guns discharge
To tell their joy, or to invite a barge;
This heard some ships of ours (though out of view),
And, swift as eagles, to the quarry flew; 40
So heedless lambs, which for their mothers bleat,
Wake hungry lions, and become their meat.

Arrived, they soon begin that tragic play,
And with their smoky cannons banish day;
Night, horror, slaughter, with confusion meets,
And in their sable arms embrace the fleets.
Through yielding planks the angry bullets fly,
And, of one wound, hundreds together die;
Born under diff'rent stars, one fate they have,
The ship their coffin, and the sea their grave! 50
Bold were the men which on the ocean first
Spread their new sails, when shipwreck was the worst;
More danger now from man alone we find
Than from the rocks, the billows, or the wind.
They that had sail'd from near th'Antarctic Pole,
Their treasure safe, and all their vessels whole,
In sight of their dear country ruin'd be,
Without the guilt of either rock or sea!
What they would spare, our fiercer art destroys,
Surpassing storms in terror and in noise. 60
Once Jove from Ida did both hosts survey,
And, when he pleased to thunder, part the fray;

Here, heaven in vain that kind retreat should sound,
The louder cannon had the thunder drown'd.
Some we made prize; while others, burn'd and rent,
With their rich lading to the bottom went;
Down sinks at once (so Fortune with us sports:)
The pay of armies, and the pride of courts.
Vain man! whose rage buries as low that store,
As avarice had digg'd for it before; 70
What earth, in her dark bowels, could not keep
From greedy hands, lies safer in the deep,
Where Thetis kindly does from mortals hide
Those seeds of luxury, debate, and pride.

And now, into her lap the richest prize
Fell, with the noblest of our enemies;
The Marquis[2](glad to see the fire destroy
Wealth that prevailing foes were to enjoy)
Out from his flaming ship his children sent,
To perish in a milder element; 80
Then laid him by his burning lady's side,
And, since he could not save her, with her died.
Spices and gums about them melting fry,
And, phoenix-like, in that rich nest they die;
Alive, in flames of equal love they burn'd,
And now together are to ashes turn'd;
Ashes! more worth than all their fun'ral cost,
Than the huge treasure which was with them lost.
These dying lovers, and their floating sons,
Suspend the fight, and silence all our guns; 90
Beauty and youth about to perish, finds
Such noble pity in brave English minds,
That (the rich spoil forgot, their valour's prize,)
All labour now to save their enemies.

How frail our passions! how soon changèd are 95
Our wrath and fury to a friendly care!
They that but now for honour, and for plate,
Made the sea blush with blood, resign their hate;
And, their young foes endeav'ring to retrieve,
With greater hazard than they fought, they dive. 100

With these, returns victorious Montague,
With laurels in his hand, and half Peru.
Let the brave generals divide that bough,
Our great Protector hath such wreaths enow;
His conqu'ring head has no more room for bays;
Then let it be as the glad nation prays;
Let the rich ore forthwith be melted down,
And the state fix'd by making him a crown;
With ermine clad, and purple, let him hold
A royal sceptre, made of Spanish gold. 110

[1] 'Fight at sea': see any good English History, under date 1656. [2] 'Marquis': of Badajos, viceroy of Mexico.


We must resign! Heaven his great soul does claim
In storms, as loud as his immortal fame;
His dying groans, his last breath, shakes our isle,
And trees uncut fall for his funeral pile;
About his palace their broad roots are toss'd
Into the air.[1]—So Romulus was lost!
New Rome in such a tempest miss'd her king,
And from obeying fell to worshipping.
On Oeta's top thus Hercules lay dead, 9
With ruin'd oaks and pines about him spread;
The poplar, too, whose bough he wont to wear
On his victorious head, lay prostrate there;
Those his last fury from the mountain rent:
Our dying hero from the Continent
Ravish'd whole towns: and forts from Spaniards reft
As his last legacy to Britain left.
The ocean, which so long our hopes confined,
Could give no limits to his vaster mind;
Our bounds' enlargement was his latest toil,
Nor hath he left us pris'ners to our isle; 20
Under the tropic is our language spoke,
And part of Flanders hath received our yoke.
From civil broils he did us disengage,
Found nobler objects for our martial rage;
And, with wise conduct, to his country show'd
The ancient way of conquering abroad.
Ungrateful then! if we no tears allow
To him, that gave us peace and empire too.
Princes, that fear'd him, grieve, concern'd to see
No pitch of glory from the grave is free. 30
Nature herself took notice of his death,
And, sighing, swell'd the sea with such a breath,
That, to remotest shores her billows roll'd,
The approaching fate of their great ruler told.

[1] 'The air': a tremendous tempest blew over England (not on the day), but a day or two before Cromwell's death. It was said that something of the same sort, along with an eclipse of the sun, took place on the removal of Romulus.


Of the first Paradise there's nothing found;
Plants set by Heaven are vanish'd, and the ground;
Yet the description lasts; who knows the fate
Of lines that shall this paradise relate?

Instead of rivers rolling by the side
Of Eden's garden, here flows in the tide;
The sea, which always served his empire, now
Pays tribute to our Prince's pleasure too.
Of famous cities we the founders know;
But rivers, old as seas, to which they go, 10
Are Nature's bounty; 'tis of more renown
To make a river, than to build a town.

For future shade, young trees upon the banks
Of the new stream appear in even ranks;
The voice of Orpheus, or Amphion's hand,
In better order could not make them stand;
May they increase as fast, and spread their boughs,
As the high fame of their great owner grows!
May he live long enough to see them all
Dark shadows cast, and as his palace tall! 20
Methinks I see the love that shall be made,
The lovers walking in that am'rous shade;
The gallants dancing by the river side;
They bathe in summer, and in winter slide.
Methinks I hear the music in the boats,
And the loud echo which returns the notes;
While overhead a flock of new-sprung fowl
Hangs in the air, and does the sun control,
Dark'ning the sky; they hover o'er, and shroud 29
The wanton sailors with a feather'd cloud.
Beneath, a shoal of silver fishes glides,
And plays about the gilded barges' sides;
The ladies, angling in the crystal lake,
Feast on the waters with the prey they take;
At once victorious with their lines, and eyes,
They make the fishes, and the men, their prize.
A thousand Cupids on the billows ride,
And sea-nymphs enter with the swelling tide,
From Thetis sent as spies, to make report,
And tell the wonders of her sovereign's court. 40
All that can, living, feed the greedy eye,
Or dead, the palate, here you may descry;
The choicest things that furnish'd Noah's ark,
Or Peter's sheet, inhabiting this park;
All with a border of rich fruit-trees crown'd,
Whose loaded branches hide the lofty mound,
Such various ways the spacious alleys lead,
My doubtful Muse knows not what path to tread.
Yonder, the harvest of cold months laid up,
Gives a fresh coolness to the royal cup; 50
There ice, like crystal firm, and never lost,
Tempers hot July with December's frost;
Winter's dark prison, whence he cannot fly,
Though the warm spring, his enemy, draws nigh.
Strange! that extremes should thus preserve the snow,
High on the Alps, or in deep caves below.

Here, a well-polished Mall gives us the joy
To see our Prince his matchless force employ;
His manly posture, and his graceful mien,
Vigour and youth in all his motions seen; 60
His shape so lovely and his limbs so strong,
Confirm our hopes we shall obey him long.

No sooner has he touch'd the flying ball, 63
But 'tis already more than half the Mall;
And such a fury from his arm has got,
As from a smoking culv'rin it were shot.[2]

Near this my Muse, what most delights her, sees
A living gallery of aged trees;
Bold sons of earth, that thrust their arms so high,
As if once more they would invade the sky. 70
In such green palaces the first kings reign'd,
Slept in their shades, and angels entertain'd;
With such old counsellors they did advise,
And, by frequenting sacred groves, grew wise.
Free from th'impediments of light and noise,
Man, thus retired, his nobler thoughts employs.
Here Charles contrives th'ordering of his states,
Here he resolves his neighb'ring princes' fates;
What nation shall have peace, where war be made,
Determined is in this oraculous shade; 80
The world, from India to the frozen north,
Concern'd in what this solitude brings forth.
His fancy objects from his view receives;
The prospect thought and contemplation gives.
That seat of empire here salutes his eye,
To which three kingdoms do themselves apply;
The structure by a prelate[3] raised, Whitehall,
Built with the fortune of Rome's capitol;
Both, disproportion'd to the present state
Of their proud founders, were approved by Fate. 90
From hence he does that antique pile[4] behold,
Where royal heads receive the sacred gold;
It gives them crowns, and does their ashes keep;
There made like gods, like mortals there they sleep;
Making the circle of their reign complete,
Those suns of empire! where they rise, they set.
When others fell, this, standing, did presage
The crown should triumph over popular rage;
Hard by that House,[5] where all our ills were shaped,
Th' auspicious temple stood, and yet escaped. 100
So snow on Aetna does unmelted lie,
Whence rolling flames and scatter'd cinders fly;
The distant country in the ruin shares;
What falls from heaven the burning mountain spares.
Next, that capacious Hall[6] he sees, the room
Where the whole nation does for justice come;
Under whose large roof flourishes the gown,
And judges grave, on high tribunals, frown.
Here, like the people's pastor he does go,
His flock subjected to his view below; 110
On which reflecting in his mighty mind,
No private passion does indulgence find;
The pleasures of his youth suspended are,
And made a sacrifice to public care.
Here, free from court compliances, he walks,
And with himself, his best adviser, talks;
How peaceful olives may his temples shade,
For mending laws, and for restoring trade;
Or, how his brows may be with laurel charged,
For nations conquer'd and our bounds enlarged. 120
Of ancient prudence here he ruminates,
Of rising kingdoms, and of falling states;
What ruling arts gave great Augustus fame,
And how Alcides purchased such a name.

His eyes, upon his native palace[7] bent,
Close by, suggest a greater argument.
His thoughts rise higher, when he does reflect
On what the world may from that star expect
Which at his birth appear'd,[8] to let us see
Day, for his sake, could with the night agree; 130
A prince, on whom such diff'rent lights did smile,
Born the divided world to reconcile!
Whatever Heaven, or high extracted blood
Could promise, or foretell, he will make good;
Reform these nations, and improve them more,
Than this fair park, from what it was before.

[1] See 'Macaulay.' [2] Pall Mall derived its name from a particular game at bowls, in which Charles II. excelled. [3] 'Prelate': Cardinal Wolsey. [4] 'Antique pile': Westminster Abbey. [5] 'House': House of Commons. [6] 'Hall': Westminster Hall. [7] 'Palace': St. James's Palace, where Charles II. was born. [8] 'Birth appeared ': it seems a new star appeared in the heavens at the birth of the king.


Heroic nymph! in tempests the support,
In peace the glory of the British Court!
Into whose arms the church, the state, and all
That precious is, or sacred here, did fall.
Ages to come, that shall your bounty hear,
Will think you mistress of the Indies were;
Though straiter bounds your fortunes did confine,
In your large heart was found a wealthy mine;
Like the bless'd oil, the widow's lasting feast,
Your treasure, as you pour'd it out, increased. 10

While some your beauty, some your bounty sing,
Your native isle does with your praises ring;
But, above all, a nymph of your own train[2]
Gives us your character in such a strain,
As none but she, who in that Court did dwell,
Could know such worth, or worth describe so well.
So while we mortals here at heaven do guess,
And more our weakness, than the place, express,
Some angel, a domestic there, comes down,
And tells the wonders he hath seen and known. 20

[1] 'Prince of Orange': Mary, Princess of Orange, and sister to Charles
[2] 'Train': Lady Anne Hyde, daughter of the Earl of Clarendon, and
    afterwards Duchess of York, and mother of Queen Mary and Queen Anne.


Great Queen! that does our island bless
With princes and with palaces;
Treated so ill, chased from your throne,
Returning you adorn the Town;
And, with a brave revenge, do show
Their glory went and came with you.

While peace from hence and you were gone,
Your houses in that storm o'erthrown,
Those wounds which civil rage did give,
At once you pardon, and relieve. 10

Constant to England in your love,
As birds are to their wonted grove,
Though by rude hands their nests are spoil'd,
There the next spring again they build.

Accusing some malignant star,
Not Britain, for that fatal war,
Your kindness banishes your fear,
Resolved to fix for ever here.[2]
But what new mine this work supplies?
Can such a pile from ruin rise? 20
This, like the first creation, shows
As if at your command it rose.

Frugality and bounty too
(Those diff'ring virtues), meet in you;
From a confined, well-managed store,
You both employ and feed the poor.

Let foreign princes vainly boast
The rude effects of pride, and cost
Of vaster fabrics, to which they
Contribute nothing but the pay; 30
This, by the Queen herself design'd,
Gives us a pattern of her mind;
The state and order does proclaim
The genius of that Royal Dame.
Each part with just proportion graced,
And all to such advantage placed,
That the fair view her window yields,
The town, the river, and the fields,
Ent'ring, beneath us we descry,
And wonder how we came so high. 40

She needs no weary steps ascend;
All seems before her feet to bend;
And here, as she was born, she lies;
High, without taking pains to rise.

[1] 'Somerset House': Henrietta, Queen-mother, who returned to England in 1660, and lived in Somerset House, which she greatly improved. [2] 'Ever here': she left, however, in 1665.


Fair hand! that can on virgin paper write,
Yet from the stain of ink preserve it white;
Whose travel o'er that silver field does show
Like track of leverets in morning snow.
Love's image thus in purest minds is wrought,
Without a spot or blemish to the thought.
Strange, that your fingers should the pencil foil,
Without the help of colours or of oil!
For though a painter boughs and leaves can make,
'Tis you alone can make them bend and shake;
Whose breath salutes your new-created grove,
Like southern winds, and makes it gently move.
Orpheus could make the forest dance; but you
Can make the motion and the forest too.


When as of old the earth's bold children strove,
With hills on hills, to scale the throne of Jove,
Pallas and Mars stood by their sovereign's side,
And their bright arms in his defence employ'd;
While the wise Phoebus, Hermes, and the rest,
Who joy in peace, and love the Muses best,
Descending from their so distemper'd seat,
Our groves and meadows chose for their retreat.
There first Apollo tried the various use 9
Of herbs, and learn'd the virtues of their juice,
And framed that art, to which who can pretend
A juster title than our noble friend,
Whom the like tempest drives from his abode,
And like employment entertains abroad?
This crowns him here, and in the bays so earn'd,
His country's honour is no less concern'd,
Since it appears not all the English rave,
To ruin bent; some study how to save;
And as Hippocrates did once extend
His sacred art, whole cities to amend; 20
So we, great friend! suppose that thy great skill,
Thy gentle mind, and fair example will,
At thy return, reclaim our frantic isle,
Their spirits calm, and peace again shall smile.


First draw the sea, that portion which between
The greater world and this of ours is seen;
Here place the British, there the Holland fleet,
Vast floating armies! both prepared to meet.
Draw the whole world, expecting who should reign,
After this combat, o'er the conquer'd main.

Make Heaven concern'd, and an unusual star 7
Declare th'importance of th'approaching war.
Make the sea shine with gallantry, and all
The English youth flock to their Admiral,
The valiant Duke! whose early deeds abroad,
Such rage in fight, and art in conduct show'd.
His bright sword now a dearer int'rest draws,
His brother's glory, and his country's cause.

Let thy bold pencil hope and courage spread,
Through the whole navy, by that hero led;
Make all appear, where such a Prince is by,
Resolved to conquer, or resolved to die.
With his extraction, and his glorious mind,
Make the proud sails swell more than with the wind; 20
Preventing cannon, make his louder fame
Check the Batavians, and their fury tame.
So hungry wolves, though greedy of their prey,
Stop when they find a lion in their way.
Make him bestride the ocean, and mankind
Ask his consent to use the sea and wind;
While his tall ships in the barr'd channel stand,
He grasps the Indies in his armed hand.

Paint an east wind, and make it blow away
Th' excuse of Holland for their navy's stay; 30
Make them look pale, and, the bold Prince to shun,
Through the cold north and rocky regions run.
To find the coast where morning first appears,
By the dark pole the wary Belgian steers;
Confessing now he dreads the English more
Than all the dangers of a frozen shore;
While from our arms security to find,
They fly so far, they leave the day behind.
Describe their fleet abandoning the sea,
And all their merchants left a wealthy prey; 40

Our first success in war make Bacchus crown,
And half the vintage of the year our own.
The Dutch their wine, and all their brandy lose,
Disarm'd of that from which their courage grows;
While the glad English, to relieve their toil,
In healths to their great leader drink the spoil.

His high command to Afric's coast extend,
And make the Moors before the English bend;
Those barb'rous pirates willingly receive
Conditions, such as we are pleased to give. 50
Deserted by the Dutch, let nations know
We can our own and their great business do;
False friends chastise, and common foes restrain,
Which, worse than tempests, did infest the main.
Within those Straits, make Holland's Smyrna fleet
With a small squadron of the English meet;
Like falcons these, those like a numerous flock
Of fowl, which scatter to avoid the shock.
There paint confusion in a various shape;
Some sink, some yield; and, flying, some escape. 60
Europe and Africa, from either shore,
Spectators are, and hear our cannon roar;
While the divided world in this agree,
Men that fight so, deserve to rule the sea.

But, nearer home, thy pencil use once more,
And place our navy by the Holland shore;
The world they compass'd, while they fought with Spain,
But here already they resign the main;
Those greedy mariners, out of whose way
Diffusive Nature could no region lay, 70
At home, preserved from rocks and tempests, lie,
Compell'd, like others, in their beds to die.
Their single towns th'Iberian armies press'd;
We all their provinces at once invest;
And, in a month, ruin their traffic more
Than that long war could in an age before.

But who can always on the billows lie?
The wat'ry wilderness yields no supply.
Spreading our sails, to Harwich we resort,
And meet the beauties of the British Court. 80
Th' illustrious Duchess, and her glorious train
(Like Thetis with her nymphs), adorn the main.
The gazing sea-gods, since the Paphian Queen
Sprung from among them, no such sight had seen.
Charm'd with the graces of a troop so fair,
Those deathless powers for us themselves declare,
Resolved the aid of Neptune's court to bring,
And help the nation where such beauties spring;
The soldier here his wasted store supplies,
And takes new valour from the ladies' eyes. 90

Meanwhile, like bees, when stormy winter's gone,
The Dutch (as if the sea were all their own)
Desert their ports, and, falling in their way,
Our Hamburg merchants are become their prey.
Thus flourish they, before th'approaching fight;
As dying tapers give a blazing light.

To check their pride, our fleet half-victuall'd goes,
Enough to serve us till we reach our foes;
Who now appear so numerous and bold,
The action worthy of our arms we hold. 100
A greater force than that which here we find,
Ne'er press'd the ocean, nor employ'd the wind.
Restrain'd a while by the unwelcome night,
Th' impatient English scarce attend the light.
But now the morning (heaven severely clear!)
To the fierce work indulgent does appear;
And Phoebus lifts above the waves his light,
That he might see, and thus record, the fight.

As when loud winds from diff'rent quarters rush, 109
Vast clouds encount'ring one another crush;
With swelling sails so, from their sev'ral coasts,
Join the Batavian and the British hosts.
For a less prize, with less concern and rage,
The Roman fleets at Actium did engage;
They, for the empire of the world they knew,
These, for the Old contend, and for the New.
At the first shock, with blood and powder stain'd,
Nor heaven, nor sea, their former face retain'd;
Fury and art produce effects so strange,
They trouble Nature, and her visage change. 120
Where burning ships the banish'd sun supply,
And no light shines, but that by which men die,
There York appears! so prodigal is he
Of royal blood, as ancient as the sea,
Which down to him, so many ages told,
Has through the veins of mighty monarchs roll'd!
The great Achilles march'd not to the field
Till Vulcan that impenetrable shield,
And arms, had wrought; yet there no bullets flew,
But shafts and darts which the weak Phrygians threw, 130
Our bolder hero on the deck does stand
Exposed, the bulwark of his native land;
Defensive arms laid by as useless here,
Where massy balls the neighb'ring rocks do tear.
Some power unseen those princes does protect,
Who for their country thus themselves neglect.

Against him first Opdam his squadron leads,
Proud of his late success against the Swedes;
Made by that action, and his high command,
Worthy to perish by a prince's hand. 140
The tall Batavian in a vast ship rides,
Bearing an army in her hollow sides;

Yet, not inclined the English ship to board,
More on his guns relies than on his sword;
From whence a fatal volley we received;
It miss'd the Duke, but his great heart it grieved;
Three worthy persons from his side it tore,
And dyed his garment with their scatter'd gore.
Happy! to whom this glorious death arrives,
More to be valued than a thousand lives! 150
On such a theatre as this to die,
For such a cause, and such a witness by!
Who would not thus a sacrifice be made,
To have his blood on such an altar laid?
The rest about him struck with horror stood,
To see their leader cover'd o'er with blood.
So trembled Jacob, when he thought the stains
Of his son's coat had issued from his veins.
He feels no wound but in his troubled thought;
Before, for honour, now, revenge he fought; 160
His friends in pieces torn (the bitter news
Not brought by Fame), with his own eyes he views.
His mind at once reflecting on their youth,
Their worth, their love, their valour, and their truth,
The joys of court, their mothers, and their wives,
To follow him abandon'd—and their lives!
He storms and shoots, but flying bullets now,
To execute his rage, appear too slow;
They miss, or sweep but common souls away;
For such a loss Opdam his life must pay. 170
Encouraging his men, he gives the word,
With fierce intent that hated ship to board,
And make the guilty Dutch, with his own arm,
Wait on his friends, while yet their blood is warm.
His winged vessel like an eagle shows,
When through the clouds to truss a swan she goes;

The Belgian ship unmoved, like some huge rock 177
Inhabiting the sea, expects the shock.
From both the fleets men's eyes are bent this way,
Neglecting all the business of the day;
Bullets their flight, and guns their noise suspend;
The silent ocean does th'event attend,
Which leader shall the doubtful victory bless,
And give an earnest of the war's success;
When Heaven itself, for England to declare,
Turns ship, and men, and tackle, into air.

Their new commander from his charge is toss'd,
Which that young prince[2] had so unjustly lost,
Whose great progenitors, with better fate,
And better conduct, sway'd their infant state. 190
His flight t'wards heaven th'aspiring Belgian took,
But fell, like Phaëton, with thunder strook;
From vaster hopes than his he seemed to fall,
That durst attempt the British Admiral;
From her broad sides a ruder flame is thrown
Than from the fiery chariot of the sun;
That bears the radiant ensign of the day,
And she the flag that governs in the sea.

The Duke (ill pleased that fire should thus prevent
The work which for his brighter sword he meant), 200
Anger still burning in his valiant breast,
Goes to complete revenge upon the rest.
So on the guardless herd, their keeper slain,
Rushes a tiger in the Libyan plain.
The Dutch, accustom'd to the raging sea,
And in black storms the frowns of heaven to see,
Never met tempest which more urged' their fears.
Than that which in the Prince's look appears.

Fierce, goodly, young! Mars he resembles, when 209
Jove sends him down to scourge perfidious men;
Such as with foul ingratitude have paid
Both those that led, and those that gave them aid.
Where he gives on, disposing of their fates,
Terror and death on his loud cannon waits,
With which he pleads his brother's cause so well,
He shakes the throne to which he does appeal.
The sea with spoils his angry bullets strow,
Widows and orphans making as they go;
Before his ship fragments of vessels torn,
Flags, arms, and Belgian carcasses are borne; 220
And his despairing foes, to flight inclined,
Spread all their canvas to invite the wind.
So the rude Boreas, where he lists to blow,
Makes clouds above, and billows fly below,
Beating the shore; and, with a boist'rous rage,
Does heaven at once, and earth, and sea engage.

The Dutch, elsewhere, did through the wat'ry field
Perform enough to have made others yield;
But English courage, growing as they fight,
In danger, noise, and slaughter, takes delight; 230
Their bloody task, unwearied still, they ply,
Only restrain'd by death, or victory.
Iron and lead, from earth's dark entrails torn,
Like showers of hail from either side are borne;
So high the rage of wretched mortals goes,
Hurling their mother's bowels at their foes!
Ingenious to their ruin, every age
Improves the arts and instruments of rage.
Death-hast'ning ills Nature enough has sent,
And yet men still a thousand more invent! 240

But Bacchus now, which led the Belgians on,
So fierce at first, to favour us begun;
Brandy and wine (their wonted friends) at length
Render them useless, and betray their strength.
So corn in fields, and in the garden flowers,
Revive and raise themselves with mod'rate showers;
But overcharged with never-ceasing rain,
Become too moist, and bend their heads again.
Their reeling ships on one another fall,
Without a foe, enough to ruin all. 250
Of this disorder, and the favouring wind,
The watchful English such advantage find,
Ships fraught with fire among the heap they throw,
And up the so-entangled Belgians blow.
The flame invades the powder-rooms, and then,
Their guns shoot bullets, and their vessels men.
The scorch'd Batavians on the billows float,
Sent from their own, to pass in Charon's boat.

And now, our royal Admiral success
(With all the marks of victory) does bless; 260
The burning ships, the taken, and the slain,
Proclaim his triumph o'er the conquer'd main.
Nearer to Holland, as their hasty flight
Carries the noise and tumult of the fight,
His cannons' roar, forerunner of his fame,
Makes their Hague tremble, and their Amsterdam;
The British thunder does their houses rock,
And the Duke seems at every door to knock.
His dreadful streamer (like a comet's hair,
Threatening destruction) hastens their despair; 270
Makes them deplore their scatter'd fleet as lost,
And fear our present landing on their coast.
The trembling Dutch th'approaching Prince behold,
As sheep a lion leaping tow'rds their fold;
Those piles, which serve them to repel the main,
They think too weak his fury to restrain.

'What wonders may not English valour work, 277
Led by th'example of victorious York?
Or what defence against him can they make,
Who, at such distance, does their country shake?
His fatal hand their bulwarks will o'erthrow,
And let in both the ocean, and the foe;'
Thus cry the people;—and, their land to keep,
Allow our title to command the deep;
Blaming their States' ill conduct, to provoke
Those arms, which freed them from the Spanish yoke.

Painter! excuse me, if I have a while
Forgot thy art, and used another style;
For, though you draw arm'd heroes as they sit,
The task in battle does the Muses fit; 290
They, in the dark confusion of a fight,
Discover all, instruct us how to write;
And light and honour to brave actions yield,
Hid in the smoke and tumult of the field,
Ages to come shall know that leader's toil,
And his great name, on whom the Muses smile;
Their dictates here let thy famed pencil trace,
And this relation with thy colours grace.

Then draw the Parliament, the nobles met,
And our great Monarch high above them set; 300
Like young Augustus let his image be,
Triumphing for that victory at sea,
Where Egypt's Queen,[3] and Eastern kings o'erthrown,
Made the possession of the world his own.
Last draw the Commons at his royal feet,
Pouring out treasure to supply his fleet;
They vow with lives and fortunes to maintain
Their King's eternal title to the main;
And with a present to the Duke, approve 309
His valour, conduct, and his country's love.

[1] See History of England. [2] 'Young prince': Prince of Orange. [3] 'Egypt's Queen': Cleopatra.


1 Poets may boast, as safely vain,
  Their works shall with the world remain:
  Both, bound together, live or die,
  The verses and the prophecy.

2 But who can hope his line should long
  Last in a daily changing tongue?
  While they are new, envy prevails;
  And as that dies, our language fails.

3 When architects have done their part,
  The matter may betray their art;
  Time, if we use ill-chosen stone,
  Soon brings a well-built palace down.

4 Poets that lasting marble seek,
  Must carve in Latin, or in Greek;
  We write in sand, our language grows,
  And like the tide, our work o'erflows.

5 Chaucer his sense can only boast;
  The glory of his numbers lost!
  Years have defaced his matchless strain;
  And yet he did not sing in vain.

6 The beauties which adorn'd that age,
  The shining subjects of his rage,
  Hoping they should immortal prove,
  Rewarded with success his love.

7 This was the gen'rous poet's scope;
  And all an English pen can hope,
  To make the fair approve his flame,
  That can so far extend their fame.

8 Verse, thus design'd, has no ill fate,
  If it arrive but at the date
  Of fading beauty; if it prove
  But as long-lived as present love.


Tasso knew how the fairer sex to grace,
But in no one durst all perfection place.
In her alone that owns this book is seen
Clorinda's spirit, and her lofty mien,
Sophronia's piety, Erminia's truth,
Armida's charms, her beauty, and her youth.

Our Princess here, as in a glass, does dress
Her well-taught mind, and every grace express.
More to our wonder than Rinaldo fought,
The hero's race excels the poet's thought.


When through the world fair Mazarin had run,
Bright as her fellow-traveller, the sun,
Hither at length the Roman eagle flies,
As the last triumph of her conqu'ring eyes.
As heir to Julius, she may pretend
A second time to make this island bend;
But Portsmouth, springing from the ancient race
Of Britons, which the Saxon here did chase,
As they great Cæsar did oppose, makes head,
And does against this new invader lead. 10
That goodly nymph, the taller of the two,
Careless and fearless to the field does go.
Becoming blushes on the other wait,
And her young look excuses want of height.
Beauty gives courage; for she knows the day
Must not be won the Amazonian way.
Legions of Cupids to the battle come,
For Little Britain these, and those for Rome.
Dress'd to advantage, this illustrious pair
Arrived, for combat in the list appear. 20
What may the Fates design! for never yet
From distant regions two such beauties met.
Venus had been an equal friend to both,
And vict'ry to declare herself seems loth;
Over the camp, with doubtful wings, she flies,
Till Chloris shining in the fields she spies.
The lovely Chloris well-attended came,
A thousand Graces waited on the dame;
Her matchless form made all the English glad, 29
And foreign beauties less assurance had;
Yet, like the Three on Ida's top, they all
Pretend alike, contesting for the ball;
Which to determine, Love himself declined,
Lest the neglected should become less kind.
Such killing looks! so thick the arrows fly!
That 'tis unsafe to be a stander-by.
Poets, approaching to describe the fight,
Are by their wounds instructed how to write.
They with less hazard might look on, and draw
The ruder combats in Alsatia; 40
And, with that foil of violence and rage,
Set off the splendour of our golden age;
Where Love gives law, Beauty the sceptre sways,
And, uncompell'd, the happy world obeys.

[1] 'Triple combat': the Duchess of Mazarin was a divorced demirep, who came to England with some designs on Charles II., in which she was counteracted by the Duchess of Portsmouth.


The failing blossoms which a young plant bears,
Engage our hope for the succeeding years;
And hope is all which art or nature brings,
At the first trial, to accomplish things.
Mankind was first created an essay;
That ruder draught the Deluge wash'd away.
How many ages pass'd, what blood and toil,
Before we made one kingdom of this isle!
How long in vain had nature striven to frame
A perfect princess, ere her Highness came!
For joys so great we must with patience wait;
'Tis the set price of happiness complete.
As a first fruit, Heaven claim'd that lovely boy;
The next shall live, and be the nation's joy.

[1] 'Duke of Cambridge': The Duke of York's second son by Mary d'Este.
    He died when he was only a month old, November 1677.


1 As once the lion honey gave,
    Out of the strong such sweetness came;
  A royal hero, no less brave,
    Produced this sweet, this lovely dame.

2 To her the prince, that did oppose
    Such mighty armies in the field,
  And Holland from prevailing foes
    Could so well free, himself does yield.

3 Not Belgia's fleet (his high command)
    Which triumphs where the sun does rise,
  Nor all the force he leads by land,
   Could guard him from her conqu'ring eyes.

4 Orange, with youth, experience has;
    In action young, in council old;
  Orange is, what Augustus was,
    Brave, wary, provident, and bold.

5 On that fair tree which bears his name,
    Blossoms and fruit at once are found;
  In him we all admire the same,
    His flow'ry youth with wisdom crown'd!

6 Empire and freedom reconciled
    In Holland are by great Nassau;
  Like those he sprung from, just and mild,
    To willing people he gives law.

7 Thrice happy pair! so near allied
    In royal blood, and virtue too!
  Now love has you together tied,
    May none this triple knot undo!

8 The church shall be the happy place
    Where streams, which from the same source run,
  Though divers lands a while they grace,
    Unite again, and are made one.

9 A thousand thanks the nation owes
    To him that does protect us all;
  For while he thus his niece bestows,
    About our isle he builds a wall;

10 A wall! like that which Athens had,
     By th'oracle's advice, of wood;
   Had theirs been such as Charles has made,
     That mighty state till now had stood.

[1] 'Princess of Orange': The Princess Mary was married to the Prince of
    Orange at St. James's, in November 1677.


Mirror of poets! mirror of our age!
Which her whole face beholding on thy stage,
Pleased and displeased with her own faults, endures
A remedy like those whom music cures.
Thou hast alone those various inclinations
Which Nature gives to ages, sexes, nations;
So tracèd with thy all-resembling pen,
That whate'er custom has imposed on men,
Or ill-got habit (which deforms them so,
That scarce a brother can his brother know) 10
Is represented to the wond'ring eyes
Of all that see, or read, thy comedies.
Whoever in those glasses looks, may find
The spots return'd, or graces, of his mind;
And by the help of so divine an art,
At leisure view, and dress, his nobler part.
Narcissus, cozen'd by that flatt'ring well,
Which nothing could but of his beauty tell,
Had here, discov'ring the deformed estate
Of his fond mind, preserved himself with hate. 20
But virtue too, as well as vice, is clad
In flesh and blood so well, that Plato had
Beheld, what his high fancy once embraced,
Virtue with colours, speech, and motion graced.
The sundry postures of thy copious Muse
Who would express, a thousand tongues must use;
Whose fate's no less peculiar than thy art;
For as thou couldst all characters impart,
So none could render thine, which still escapes,
Like Proteus, in variety of shapes; 30
Who was nor this nor that; but all we find,
And all we can imagine, in mankind.


Fletcher! to thee we do not only owe
All these good plays, but those of others too;
Thy wit repeated does support the stage,
Credits the last, and entertains this age.
No worthies, form'd by any Muse but thine,
Could purchase robes to make themselves so fine.

What brave commander is not proud to see
Thy brave Melantius in his gallantry?
Our greatest ladies love to see their scorn
Outdone by thine, in what themselves have worn; 10
Th' impatient widow, ere the year be done,
Sees thy Aspasia weeping in her gown.

I never yet the tragic strain essay'd,
Deterr'd by that inimitable Maid;[1]
And when I venture at the comic style,
Thy Scornful Lady seems to mock my toil.

Thus has thy Muse at once improved and marr'd
Our sport in plays, by rend'ring it too hard!
So when a sort of lusty shepherds throw
The bar by turns, and none the rest outgo 20
So far, but that the best are measuring casts,
Their emulation and their pastime lasts;
But if some brawny yeoman of the guard
Step in, and toss the axletree a yard,
Or more, beyond the furthest mark, the rest
Despairing stand; their sport is at the best.

[1] 'Inimitable Maid': the Maid's Tragedy, the joint production
    of Beaumont and Fletcher.


Rome was not better by her Horace taught,
Than we are here to comprehend his thought;
The poet writ to noble Piso there;
A noble Piso does instruct us here,
Gives us a pattern in his flowing style,
And with rich precepts does oblige our isle:
Britain! whose genius is in verse express'd,
Bold and sublime, but negligently dress'd.

Horace will our superfluous branches prune, 10
Give us new rules, and set our harp in tune;
Direct us how to back the winged horse,
Favour his flight, and moderate his force.

Though poets may of inspiration boast,
Their rage, ill-govern'd, in the clouds is lost.
He that proportion'd wonders can disclose,
At once his fancy and his judgment shows.
Chaste moral writing we may learn from hence,
Neglect of which no wit can recompense.
The fountain which from Helicon proceeds,
That sacred stream! should never water weeds, 20
Nor make the crop of thorns and thistles grow,
Which envy or perverted nature sow.

Well-sounding verses are the charm we use,
Heroic thoughts and virtue to infuse;
Things of deep sense we may in prose unfold,
But they move more in lofty numbers told.
By the loud trumpet, which our courage aids,
We learn that sound, as well as sense, persuades.

The Muses' friend, unto himself severe,
With silent pity looks on all that err; 30
But where a brave, a public action shines,
That he rewards with his immortal lines.
Whether it be in council or in fight,
His country's honour is his chief delight;
Praise of great acts he scatters as a seed,
Which may the like in coming ages breed.

Here taught the fate of verses (always prized
With admiration, or as much despised),
Men will be less indulgent to their faults,
And patience have to cultivate their thoughts. 40
Poets lose half the praise they should have got,
Could it be known what they discreetly blot;
Finding new words, that to the ravish'd ear
May like the language of the gods appear,
Such as, of old, wise bards employ'd, to make
Unpolish'd men their wild retreats forsake;
Law-giving heroes, famed for taming brutes,
And raising cities with their charming lutes;
For rudest minds with harmony were caught,
And civil life was by the Muses taught. 50
So wand'ring bees would perish in the air,
Did not a sound, proportion'd to their ear,
Appease their rage, invite them to the hive,
Unite their force, and teach them how to thrive,
To rob the flowers, and to forbear the spoil,
Preserved in winter by their summer's toil;
They give us food, which may with nectar vie,
And wax, that does the absent sun supply.


Swift as Jove's messenger (the winged god),
With sword as potent as his charmed rod,
He flew to execute the King's command,
And in a moment reach'd that northern land,
Where day contending with approaching night,
Assists the hero with continued light.

On foes surprised, and by no night conceal'd,
He might have rush'd; but noble pity held
His hand a while, and to their choice gave space,
Which they would prove, his valour or his grace. 10
This not well heard, his cannon louder spoke,
And then, like lightning, through that cloud he broke.
His fame, his conduct, and that martial look,
The guilty Scots with such a terror strook,
That to his courage they resign the field,
Who to his bounty had refused to yield.
Glad that so little loyal blood it cost,
He grieves so many Britons should be lost;
Taking more pains, when he beheld them yield,
To save the flyers, than to win the field; 20
And at the Court his int'rest does employ,
That none, who 'scaped his fatal sword, should die.

And now, these rash bold men their error find,
Not trusting one beyond his promise kind;
One! whose great mind, so bountiful and brave,
Had learn'd the art to conquer and to save.

In vulgar breasts no royal virtues dwell;
Such deeds as these his high extraction tell,
And give a secret joy to him that reigns,
To see his blood triumph in Monmouth's veins; 30
To see a leader whom he got and chose,
Firm to his friends, and fatal to his foes.

But seeing envy, like the sun, does beat,
With scorching rays, on all that's high and great,
This, ill-requited Monmouth! is the bough
The Muses send to shade thy conqu'ring brow.
Lampoons, like squibs, may make a present blaze;
But time and thunder pay respect to bays.
Achilles' arms dazzle our present view,
Kept by the Muse as radiant and as new 40
As from the forge of Vulcan first they came;
Thousands of years are past, and they the same;
Such care she takes to pay desert with fame!
Than which no monarch, for his crown's defence,
Knows how to give a nobler recompence.


Thus mourn the Muses! on the hearse
Not strewing tears, but lasting verse,
Which so preserve the hero's name,
They make him live again in fame.

Chloris, in lines so like his own,
Gives him so just and high renown,
That she th'afflicted world relieves,
And shows that still in her he lives;
Her wit as graceful, great, and good;
Allied in genius, as in blood.[2]

His loss supplied, now all our fears Are, that the nymph should melt in tears. Then, fairest Chloris! comfort take, For his, your own, and for our sake, Lest his fair soul, that lives in you, Should from the world for ever go. [1] 'Mrs. Wharton': the daughter, and co-heiress with the Countess of Abingdon, of Sir Henry Lee, of Ditchley, in Oxfordshire. [2] 'In blood': the Earl of Rochester's mother was Mrs. Wharton's grand aunt.


What revolutions in the world have been,
How are we changed since we first saw the Queen!
She, like the sun, does still the same appear,
Bright as she was at her arrival here!
Time has commission mortals to impair,
But things celestial is obliged to spare.

May every new year find her still the same
In health and beauty as she hither came!
When Lords and Commons, with united voice,
Th' Infanta named, approved the royal choice;[1]
First of our Queens whom not the King alone,
But the whole nation, lifted to the throne.

With like consent, and like desert, was crown'd
The glorious Prince[2] that does the Turk confound.
Victorious both! his conduct wins the day,
And her example chases vice away;
Though louder fame attend the martial rage,
'Tis greater glory to reform the age.

[1] 'Royal choice': a royal message, announcing the king's intention to
    marry the Infanta of Portugal, was delivered in Parliament in May
[2] 'Prince': John Sobieski, king of Poland.


Venus her myrtle, Phoebus has his bays;
Tea both excels, which she vouchsafes to praise.
The best of Queens, and best of herbs, we owe
To that bold nation which the way did show
To the fair region where the sun does rise,
Whose rich productions we so justly prize.
The Muse's friend, tea does our fancy aid,
Repress those vapours which the head invade,
And keeps that palace of the soul serene,
Fit on her birth-day to salute the Queen.


The modern Nimrod, with a safe delight
Pursuing beasts, that save themselves by flight,
Grown proud, and weary of his wonted game,
Would Christians chase, and sacrifice to fame.

A prince, with eunuchs and the softer sex
Shut up so long, would warlike nations vex,
Provoke the German, and, neglecting heaven,
Forget the truce for which his oath was given.

His Grand Vizier, presuming to invest
The chief imperial city of the west, 10
With the first charge compell'd in haste to rise,
His treasure, tents, and cannon, left a prize;
The standard lost, and janizaries slain,
Render the hopes he gave his master vain.
The flying Turks, that bring the tidings home,
Renew the memory of his father's doom;
And his guard murmurs, that so often brings
Down from the throne their unsuccessful kings.

The trembling Sultan's forced to expiate
His own ill-conduct by another's fate. 20
The Grand Vizier, a tyrant, though a slave,
A fair example to his master gave;
He Bassa's head, to save his own, made fly,
And now, the Sultan to preserve, must die.

The fatal bowstring was not in his thought,
When, breaking truce, he so unjustly fought;
Made the world tremble with a numerous host,
And of undoubted victory did boast.

Strangled he lies! yet seems to cry aloud, 29
To warn the mighty, and instruct the proud,
That of the great, neglecting to be just,
Heaven in a moment makes a heap of dust.

The Turks so low, why should the Christians lose
Such an advantage of their barb'rous foes?
Neglect their present ruin to complete,
Before another Solyman they get?
Too late they would with shame, repenting, dread
That numerous herd, by such a lion led;
He Rhodes and Buda from the Christians tore,
Which timely union might again restore. 40

But, sparing Turks, as if with rage possess'd,
The Christians perish, by themselves oppress'd;
Cities and provinces so dearly won,
That the victorious people are undone!

What angel shall descend to reconcile
The Christian states, and end their guilty toil?
A prince more fit from heaven we cannot ask
Than Britain's king, for such a glorious task;
His dreadful navy, and his lovely mind,
Give him the fear and favour of mankind; 50
His warrant does the Christian faith defend;
On that relying, all their quarrels end.
The peace is sign'd,[2] and Britain does obtain
What Rome had sought from her fierce sons in vain.

In battles won Fortune a part doth claim,
And soldiers have their portion in the same;
In this successful union we find
Only the triumph of a worthy mind.
'Tis all accomplish'd by his royal word,
Without unsheathing the destructive sword; 60

Without a tax upon his subjects laid,
Their peace disturb'd, their plenty, or their trade.
And what can they to such a prince deny,
With whose desires the greatest kings comply?

The arts of peace are not to him unknown;
This happy way he march'd into the throne;
And we owe more to Heaven than to the sword,
The wish'd return of so benign a lord.

Charles! by old Greece with a new freedom graced,
Above her antique heroes shall be placed. 70
What Theseus did, or Theban Hercules,
Holds no compare with this victorious peace,
Which on the Turks shall greater honour gain,
Than all their giants and their monsters slain:
Those are bold tales, in fabulous ages told;
This glorious act the living do behold.

[1] 'Year 1683': see History. [2] 'Peace is signed': the Peace of Nimeguen.


Since James the Second graced the British throne,
Truce, well observed, has been infring'd by none;
Christians to him their present union owe,
And late success against the common foe;
While neighb'ring princes, both to urge their fate,
Court his assistance, and suspend their hate.
So angry bulls the combat do forbear,
When from the wood a lion does appear.

This happy day peace to our island sent,
As now he gives it to the Continent. 10
A prince more fit for such a glorious task,
Than England's king, from Heaven we cannot ask;
He, great and good! proportion'd to the work,
Their ill-drawn swords shall turn against the Turk.

Such kings, like stars with influence unconfined,
Shine with aspect propitious to mankind;
Favour the innocent, repress the bold,
And, while they flourish, make an age of gold.

Bred in the camp, famed for his valour, young;
At sea successful, vigorous, and strong; 20
His fleet, his array, and his mighty mind,
Esteem and rev'rence through the world do find.
A prince with such advantages as these,
Where he persuades not, may command a peace.
Britain declaring for the juster side,
The most ambitious will forget their pride;
They that complain will their endeavours cease,
Advised by him, inclined to present peace,
Join to the Turk's destruction, and then bring
All their pretences to so just a king. 30

If the successful troublers of mankind,
With laurel crown'd, so great applause do find,
Shall the vex'd world less honour yield to those
That stop their progress, and their rage oppose?
Next to that power which does the ocean awe,
Is to set bounds, and give ambition law.

The British monarch shall the glory have,
That famous Greece remains no longer slave;
That source of art and cultivated thought!
Which they to Rome, and Romans hither brought. 40

The banish'd Muses shall no longer mourn,
But may with liberty to Greece return;
Though slaves (like birds that sing not in a cage),
They lost their genius, and poetic rage;
Homers again, and Pindars, may be found,
And his great actions with their numbers crown'd.

The Turk's vast empire does united stand;
Christians, divided under the command
Of jarring princes, would be soon undone,
Did not this hero make their int'rest one; 50
Peace to embrace, ruin the common foe,
Exalt the Cross, and lay the Crescent low.

Thus may the Gospel to the rising sun
Be spread, and flourish where it first began;
And this great day, (so justly honour'd here!)
Known to the East, and celebrated there.

    Hæc ego longævus cecini tibi, maxime regum!
    Ausus et ipse manu juvenum tentare laborem.—VIRG.



Where'er thy navy spreads her canvas wings,
Homage to thee, and peace to all she brings;
The French and Spaniard, when thy flags appear,
Forget their hatred, and consent to fear.
So Jove from Ida did both hosts survey,
And when he pleased to thunder, part the fray.
Ships heretofore in seas like fishes sped,
The mightiest still upon the smallest fed;
Thou on the deep imposest nobler laws,
And by that justice hast removed the cause 10
Of those rude tempests, which for rapine sent,
Too oft, alas! involved the innocent.
Now shall the ocean, as thy Thames, be free
From both those fates, of storms and piracy.

But we most happy, who can fear no force
But winged troops, or Pegasean horse.
'Tis not so hard for greedy foes to spoil
Another nation, as to touch our soil.
Should Nature's self invade the world again,
And o'er the centre spread the liquid main, 20
Thy power were safe, and her destructive hand
Would but enlarge the bounds of thy command;
Thy dreadful fleet would style thee lord of all,
And ride in triumph o'er the drowned ball;
Those towers of oak o'er fertile plains might go,
And visit mountains where they once did grow.

The world's Restorer once could not endure
That finish'd Babel should those men secure,
Whose pride design'd that fabric to have stood
Above the reach of any second flood; 30
To thee, his chosen, more indulgent, he
Dares trust such power with so much piety.


Verse makes heroic virtue live;
But you can life to verses give.
As when in open air we blow,
The breath, though strain'd, sounds flat and low;
But if a trumpet take the blast,
It lifts it high, and makes it last:
So in your airs our numbers dress'd,
Make a shrill sally from the breast
Of nymphs, who, singing what we penn'd,
Our passions to themselves commend; 10
While love, victorious with thy art,
Governs at once their voice and heart.

You by the help of tune and time,
Can make that song that was but rhyme.
Noy[2] pleading, no man doubts the cause;
Or questions verses set by Lawes.

As a church window, thick with paint,
Lets in a light but dim and faint;
So others, with division, hide
The light of sense, the poet's pride: 20
But you alone may proudly boast
That not a syllable is lost;
The writer's and the setter's skill
At once the ravish'd ears do fill.
Let those which only warble long,
And gargle in their throats a song,
Content themselves with Ut, Re, Mi:[3]
Let words, and sense, be set by thee.
[1] 'Lawes': an eminent musical composer, who composed the music for
    Milton's Comus.
[2] 'Noy': Attorney-General to Charles I., had died in 1635. By a
    poetical licence Waller represents him still pleading.
[3] 'Ut, Re, Mi': Lawes opposed the Italian music.


1 Madam, of all the sacred Muse inspired,
    Orpheus alone could with the woods comply;
  Their rude inhabitants his song admired,
    And Nature's self, in those that could not lie:
  Your beauty next our solitude invades,
  And warms us, shining through the thickest shades.

2 Nor ought the tribute, which the wond'ring Court
    Pays your fair eyes, prevail with you to scorn
  The answer and consent to that report
    Which, echo-like, the country does return:
  Mirrors are taught to flatter, but our springs
  Present th'impartial images of things.

3 A rural judge disposed of beauty's prize;
    A simple shepherd was preferr'd to Jove;
  Down to the mountains from the partial skies,
    Came Juno, Pallas, and the Queen of Love,
  To plead for that which was so justly given
  To the bright Carlisle of the court of heaven.

4 Carlisle! a name which all our woods are taught,
    Loud as their Amaryllis, to resound;
  Carlisle! a name which on the bark is wrought
    Of every tree that's worthy of the wound.
  From Phoebus' rage our shadows and our streams
  May guard us better than from Carlisle's beams.

[1] 'Lady Carlisle': the Lady Lucy Percy, daughter of the Earl of
    Northumberland, married against her father's wishes to the Earl of
    Carlisle. She was a wit and intriguante.


Phyllis! 'twas love that injured you,
And on that rock your Thrysis threw;
Who for proud Celia could have died,
While you no less accused his pride.

Fond Love his darts at random throws,
And nothing springs from what he sows;
From foes discharged, as often meet
The shining points of arrows fleet,
In the wide air creating fire,
As souls that join in one desire. 10

Love made the lovely Venus burn
In vain, and for the cold youth[1] mourn,
Who the pursuit of churlish beasts
Preferr'd to sleeping on her breasts.

Love makes so many hearts the prize
Of the bright Carlisle's conqu'ring eyes,
Which she regards no more than they
The tears of lesser beauties weigh.
So have I seen the lost clouds pour
Into the sea an useless shower; 20
And the vex'd sailors curse the rain
For which poor shepherds pray'd in vain.

Then, Phyllis, since our passions are
Govern'd by chance, and not the care,
But sport of heaven, which takes delight
To look upon this Parthian fight
Of love, still flying, or in chase,
Never encount'ring face to face;
No more to Love we'll sacrifice,
But to the best of deities; 30
And let our hearts, which Love disjoin'd,
By his kind mother be combin'd.

[1] 'Cold youth ': Adonis.


Great Queen of Europe! where thy offspring wears
All the chief crowns; where princes are thy heirs;
As welcome thou to sea-girt Britain's shore,
As erst Latona (who fair Cynthia bore)
To Delos was; here shines a nymph as bright,
By thee disclosed, with like increase of light.
Why was her joy in Belgia confined?
Or why did you so much regard the wind?
Scarce could the ocean, though enraged, have toss'd
Thy sov'reign bark, but where th'obsequious coast 10
Pays tribute to thy bed. Rome's conqu'ring hand
More vanquished nations under her command
Never reduced. Glad Berecynthia so
Among her deathless progeny did go;
A wreath of towers adorn'd her rev'rend head,
Mother of all that on ambrosia fed.
Thy godlike race must sway the age to come,
As she Olympus peopled with her womb.

Would those commanders of mankind obey
Their honour'd parent, all pretences lay 20
Down at your royal feet, compose their jars,
And on the growing Turk discharge these wars;
The Christian knights that sacred tomb should wrest
From Pagan hands, and triumph o'er the East;
Our England's Prince, and Gallia's Dolphin, might
Like young Rinaldo and Tancredi fight;
In single combat by their swords again
The proud Argantes and fierce Soldan slain;
Again might we their valiant deeds recite,
And with your Tuscan Muse[2] exalt the fight. 30

[2] 'Her landing': Mary de Medicis, widow of Henry IV., and mother of
    the King of France, and of the Queens of England and Spain, coming
    to England in 1638, was very ill received by the people, and forced
    ultimately to leave the country.
[2] 'Tuscan Muse': Tasso.


Rare Artisan, whose pencil moves
Not our delights alone, but loves!
From thy shop of beauty we
Slaves return, that enter'd free.
The heedless lover does not know
Whose eyes they are that wound him so;
But, confounded with thy art,
Inquires her name that has his heart.
Another, who did long refrain,
Feels his old wound bleed fresh again 10
With dear remembrance of that face,
Where now he reads new hope of grace:
Nor scorn nor cruelty does find,
But gladly suffers a false wind
To blow the ashes of despair
From the reviving brand of care.
Fool! that forgets her stubborn look
This softness from thy finger took.
Strange! that thy hand should not inspire
The beauty only, but the fire; 20
Not the form alone, and grace,
But act and power of a face.
Mayst thou yet thyself as well,
As all the world besides, excel!
So you th'unfeigned truth rehearse
(That I may make it live in verse),
Why thou couldst not at one assay,[2]
The face to aftertimes convey,
Which this admires. Was it thy wit
To make her oft before thee sit? 30
Confess, and we'll forgive thee this;
For who would not repeat that bliss,
And frequent sight of such a dame
Buy with the hazard of his fame?
Yet who can tax thy blameless skill,
Though thy good hand had failed still,
When Nature's self so often errs?
She for this many thousand years 38
Seems to have practised with much care,
To frame the race of women fair;
Yet never could a perfect birth
Produce before to grace the earth,
Which waxèd old ere it could see
Her that amazed thy art and thee.
But now 'tis done, oh, let me know
Where those immortal colours grow,
That could this deathless piece compose!
In lilies? or the fading rose?
No; for this theft thou hast climb'd higher
Than did Prometheus for his fire. 50

[1] 'Vandyck': some think this refers to a picture of Saccharissa, by Vandyck, in Hall-Barn. [2] 'Assay': attempt.


1 Not that thy trees at Penshurst groan,
    Oppressed with their timely load,
  And seem to make their silent moan,
    That their great lord is now abroad:
  They to delight his taste, or eye,
  Would spend themselves in fruit, and die.

2 Not that thy harmless deer repine,
    And think themselves unjustly slain
  By any other hand than thine,
    Whose arrows they would gladly stain;
  No, nor thy friends, which hold too dear
  That peace with France which keeps thee there.

3 All these are less than that great cause
    Which now exacts your presence here,
  Wherein there meet the divers laws
    Of public and domestic care.
  For one bright nymph our youth contends,
  And on your prudent choice depends.

4 Not the bright shield of Thetis' son[2]
    (For which such stern debate did rise,
  That the great Ajax Telamon
    Refused to live without the prize),
  Those Achive peers did more engage
  Than she the gallants of our age.

5 That beam of beauty, which begun
    To warm us so when thou wert here,
  Now scorches like the raging sun,
    When Sirius does first appear.
  Oh, fix this flame! and let despair
  Redeem the rest from endless care.

[1] 'Lord of Leicester': Saccharissa's father. He was employed at this time in foreign service. [2] 'Thetis' son': Achilles.


Fair fellow-servant! may your gentle ear
Prove more propitious to my slighted care
Than the bright dame's we serve: for her relief
(Vex'd with the long expressions of my grief)
Receive these plaints; nor will her high disdain
Forbid my humble Muse to court her train.

So, in those nations which the sun adore,
Some modest Persian, or some weak-eyed Moor,
No higher dares advance his dazzled sight,
Than to some gilded cloud, which near the light 10
Of their ascending god adorns the east,
And, gracèd with his beams, outshines the rest.

Thy skilful hand contributes to our woe,
And whets those arrows which confound us so.
A thousand Cupids in those curls do sit
(Those curious nets!) thy slender fingers knit.
The Graces put not more exactly on
Th' attire of Venus, when the ball she won,
Than Saccharissa by thy care is dress'd,
When all our youth prefers her to the rest. 20

You the soft season know when best her mind
May be to pity, or to love, inclined:
In some well-chosen hour supply his fear,
Whose hopeless love durst never tempt the ear
Of that stern goddess. You, her priest, declare
What offerings may propitiate the fair;
Rich orient pearl, bright stones that ne'er decay,
Or polish'd lines, which longer last than they;
For if I thought she took delight in those,
To where the cheerful morn does first disclose, 30
(The shady night removing with her beams),
Wing'd with bold love, I'd fly to fetch such gems.
But since her eyes, her teeth, her lip excels
All that is found in mines or fishes' shells,
Her nobler part as far exceeding these,
None but immortal gifts her mind should please.
The shining jewels Greece and Troy bestow'd
On Sparta's queen,[1] her lovely neck did load,
And snowy wrists; but when the town was burn'd,
Those fading glories were to ashes turn'd; 40
Her beauty, too, had perished, and her fame,
Had not the Muse redeemed them from the flame.

[1] 'Sparta's queen': Helen.


1 Why came I so untimely forth
    Into a world which, wanting thee,
  Could entertain us with no worth
    Or shadow of felicity?
  That time should me so far remove
  From that which I was born to love!

2 Yet, fairest blossom! do not slight
    That age which you may know so soon;
  The rosy morn resigns her light
    And milder glory to the noon;
  And then what wonders shall you do,
  Whose dawning beauty warms us so?

3 Hope waits upon the flow'ry prime;
    And summer, though it be less gay,
  Yet is not look'd on as a time
    Of declination or decay;
  For with a full hand that does bring
  All that was promised by the spring.

[1] 'Lady Lucy Sidney': the younger sister of Lady Dorothea; afterwards married to Sir John Pelham.


Fair! that you may truly know
What you unto Thyrsis owe,
I will tell you how I do
Saccharissa love and you.

Joy salutes me, when I set
My bless'd eyes on Amoret;
But with wonder I am strook, 7
While I on the other look.

If sweet Amoret complains,
I have sense of all her pains;
But for Saccharissa I
Do not only grieve, but die.

All that of myself is mine,
Lovely Amoret! is thine;
Saccharissa's captive fain
Would untie his iron chain,
And, those scorching beams to shun,
To thy gentle shadow run.

If the soul had free election
To dispose of her affection, 20
I would not thus long have borne
Haughty Saccharissa's scorn;
But 'tis sure some power above,
Which controls our wills in love!

If not love, a strong desire
To create and spread that fire
In my breast, solicits me,
Beauteous Amoret! for thee.

'Tis amazement more than love,
Which her radiant eyes do move; 30
If less splendour wait on thine,
Yet they so benignly shine,
I would turn my dazzled sight
To behold their milder light;
But as hard 'tis to destroy
That high flame, as to enjoy;
Which how eas'ly I may do,
Heaven (as eas'ly scaled) does know!

Amoret! as sweet and good
As the most delicious food, 40
Which, but tested, does impart
Life and gladness to the heart.

Saccharissa's beauty's wine,
Which to madness doth incline;
Such a liquor as no brain
That is mortal can sustain.

Scarce can I to heaven excuse
The devotion which I use
Unto that adorèd dame;
For 'tis not unlike the same 50
Which I thither ought to send;
So that if it could take end,
'Twould to heaven itself be due
To succeed her, and not you,
Who already have of me
All that's not idolatry;
Which, though not so fierce a flame,
Is longer like to be the same.

Then smile on me, and I will prove
Wonder is shorter-liv'd than love. 60

[1] 'Amoret': see 'Life.'


Brave Holland leads, and with him Falkland goes:
Who hears this told, and does not straight suppose
We send the Graces and the Muses forth
To civilise and to instruct the north?
Not that these ornaments make swords less sharp;
Apollo bears as well his bow as harp;[2]
And though he be the patron of that spring,
Where, in calm peace, the sacred virgins sing,
He courage had to guard th'invaded throne 9
Of Jove, and cast th'ambitious giants down.

Ah, noble friend! with what impatience all
That know thy worth, and know how prodigal
Of thy great soul thou art (longing to twist
Bays with that ivy which so early kiss'd
Thy youthful temples), with what horror we
Think on the blind events of war and thee!
To fate exposing that all-knowing breast
Among the throng, as cheaply as the rest;
Where oaks and brambles (if the copse be burn'd)
Confounded lie, to the same ashes turn'd. 20

Some happy wind over the ocean blow
This tempest yet, which frights our island so!
Guarded with ships, and all the sea our own,
From heaven this mischief on our heads is thrown.

In a late dream, the genius of this land,
Amazed, I saw, like the fair Hebrew, stand,
When first she felt the twins begin to jar,[3]
And found her womb the seat of civil war.
Inclined to whose relief, and with presage
Of better fortune for the present age, 30
Heaven sends, quoth I, this discord for our good,
To warm, perhaps, but not to waste our blood;
To raise our drooping spirits, grown the scorn
Of our proud neighbours, who ere long shall mourn
(Though now they joy in our expected harms)
We had occasion to resume our arms.

A lion so with self-provoking smart
(His rebel tail scourging his nobler part)
Calls up his courage; then begins to roar,
And charge his foes, who thought him mad before. 40

[1] 'Lord of Falkland': referring to the unsuccessful expedition of Charles I. against Scotland in 1639, frustrated by the cowardice or treachery of Lord Holland. [2] 'Bow as harp': Horace, Ode iv., lib. 3. [3] 'Twins begin to jar': Gen. xxv. 22.


To this great loss a sea of tears is due;
But the whole debt not to be paid by you.
Charge not yourself with all, nor render vain
Those show'rs the eyes of us your servants rain.
Shall grief contract the largeness of that heart,
In which nor fear, nor anger, has a part?
Virtue would blush if time should boast (which dries,
Her sole child dead, the tender mother's eyes)
Your mind's relief, where reason triumphs so
Over all passions, that they ne'er could grow 10
Beyond their limits in your noble breast,
To harm another, or impeach your rest.
This we observed, delighting to obey
One who did never from his great self stray;
Whose mild example seemed to engage
Th' obsequious seas, and teach them not to rage.

The brave Aemilius, his great charge laid down
(The force of Rome, and fate of Macedon),
In his lost sons did feel the cruel stroke
Of changing fortune, and thus highly spoke 20
Before Rome's people: 'We did oft implore,
That if the heavens had any bad in store
For your Aemilius, they would pour that ill
On his own house, and let you flourish still.'
You on the barren seas, my lord, have spent
Whole springs and summers to the public lent;
Suspended all the pleasures of your life,
And shorten'd the short joy of such a wife;
For which your country's more obligèd than 29
For many lives of old less happy men.
You, that have sacrificed so great a part
Of youth, and private bliss, ought to impart
Your sorrow too, and give your friends a right
As well in your affliction as delight.
Then with Aemilian courage bear this cross,
Since public persons only public loss
Ought to affect. And though her form and youth,
Her application to your will, and truth,
That noble sweetness, and that humble state
(All snatch'd away by such a hasty fate!) 40
Might give excuse to any common breast,
With the huge weight of so just grief oppress'd;
Yet let no portion of your life be stain'd
With passion, but your character maintain'd
To the last act. It is enough her stone
May honour'd be with superscription
Of the sole lady who had power to move
The great Northumberland to grieve, and love.

[1] 'His lady': the Lady Anne Cecil, daughter of the Earl of Salisbury.
    See a previous note.


With joy like ours the Thracian youth invades
Orpheus, returning from th'Elysian shades;
Embrace the hero, and his stay implore;
Make it their public suit he would no more
Desert them so, and for his spouse's sake,
His vanish'd love, tempt the Lethean lake.
The ladies, too, the brightest of that time
(Ambitious all his lofty bed to climb),
Their doubtful hopes with expectation feed, 9
Who shall the fair Eurydice succeed:
Eurydice! for whom his numerous moan
Makes list'ning trees and savage mountains groan;
Through all the air his sounding strings dilate
Sorrow, like that which touch'd our hearts of late.
Your pining sickness, and your restless pain,
At once the land affecting, and the main,
When the glad news that you were admiral
Scarce through the nation spread,[1] 'twas feared by all
That our great Charles, whose wisdom shines in you,
Would be perplexed how to choose anew. 20
So more than private was the joy and grief,
That at the worst it gave our souls relief,
That in our age such sense of virtue lived,
They joy'd so justly, and so justly grieved.
Nature (her fairest light eclipsèd) seems
Herself to suffer in those sharp extremes;
While not from thine alone thy blood retires,
But from those cheeks which all the world admires.
The stem thus threaten'd, and the sap in thee,
Droop all the branches of that noble tree! 30
Their beauty they, and we our love suspend;
Nought can our wishes, save thy health, intend.
As lilies overcharged with rain, they bend
Their beauteous heads, and with high heaven contend;
Fold thee within their snowy arms, and cry—
'He is too faultless, and too young, to die!'
So like immortals round about thee they
Sit, that they fright approaching death away.
Who would not languish, by so fair a train
To be lamented, and restored again? 40

Or, thus withheld, what hasty soul would go,
Though to the blest? O'er young Adonis so
Fair Venus mourn'd, and with the precious shower
Of her warm tears cherish'd the springing flower.

The next support, fair hope of your great name,
And second pillar of that noble frame,
By loss of thee would no advantage have,
But step by step pursue thee to the grave.

And now relentless Fate, about to end
The line which backward does so far extend 50
That antique stock, which still the world supplies
With bravest spirits, and with brightest eyes,
Kind Phoebus, interposing, bid me say,
Such storms no more shall shake that house; but they,
Like Neptune, and his sea-born niece,[1] shall be
The shining glories of the land and sea;
With courage guard, and beauty warm, our age,
And lovers fill with like poetic rage.

[1] 'Nation spread': the Earl of Northumberland, appointed Lord High
    Admiral in the year 1638.


Well fare the hand, which to our humble sight
Presents that beauty, which the dazzling light
Of royal splendour hides from weaker eyes,
And all access, save by this art, denies.
Here only we have courage to behold
This beam of glory; here we dare unfold
In numbers thus the wonders we conceive; 7
The gracious image, seeming to give leave,
Propitious stands, vouchsafing to be seen;
And by our Muse saluted Mighty Queen,
In whom th'extremes of power and beauty move,
The Queen of Britain and the Queen of Love!

As the bright sun (to which we owe no sight
Of equal glory to your beauty's light)
Is wisely placed in so sublime a seat,
T' extend his light, and moderate his heat;
So, happy 'tis you move in such a sphere,
As your high Majesty with awful fear
In human breasts might qualify that fire,
Which, kindled by those eyes, had flamèd higher 20
Than when the scorched world like hazard run,
By the approach of the ill-guided sun.

No other nymphs have title to men's hearts,
But as their meanness larger hope imparts;
Your beauty more the fondest lover moves
With admiration than his private loves;
With admiration! for a pitch so high
(Save sacred Charles his) never love durst fly.
Heaven, that preferr'd a sceptre to your hand,
Favour'd our freedom more than your command; 30
Beauty had crown'd you, and you must have been
The whole world's mistress, other than a Queen.
All had been rivals, and you might have spared,
Or kill'd, and tyrannised, without a guard;
No power achieved, either by arms or birth,
Equals love's empire both in heaven and earth.
Such eyes as yours on Jove himself have thrown
As bright and fierce a lightning as his own;
Witness our Jove, prevented by their flame
In his swift passage to th'Hesperian dame; 40

When, like a lion, finding, in his way
To some intended spoil, a fairer prey,
The royal youth pursuing the report
Of beauty, found it in the Gallic court;
There public care with private passion fought
A doubtful combat in his noble thought:
Should he confess his greatness, and his love,
And the free faith of your great brother[3] prove;
With his Achates breaking through the cloud
Of that disguise which did their graces shroud;[4] 50
And mixing with those gallants at the ball,
Dance with the ladies, and outshine them all;
Or on his journey o'er the mountains ride?—
So when the fair Leucothoë he espied,
To check his steeds impatient Phoebus yearn'd,
Though all the world was in his course concern'd.
What may hereafter her meridian do,
Whose dawning beauty warm'd his bosom so?
Not so divine a flame, since deathless gods
Forbore to visit the defiled abodes 60
Of men, in any mortal breast did burn;
Nor shall, till piety and they return.

[1] 'Sea-born niece': Venus. [2] 'Majesty's picture': Henrietta, daughter of Henry IV., married by proxy to Charles I. in Paris, 1st May 1625. Marriages made in May are said to be unlucky—this certainly was. [3] 'Great brother': Louis XIII., King of France. [4] 'Graces shroud': 'Achates,' the Duke of Buckingham.


1 Amoret! the Milky Way
    Framed of many nameless stars!
  The smooth stream where none can say
    He this drop to that prefers!

2 Amoret! my lovely foe!
    Tell me where thy strength does lie?
  Where the pow'r that charms us so?
    In thy soul, or in thy eye?

3 By that snowy neck alone,
    Or thy grace in motion seen,
  No such wonders could he done;
    Yet thy waist is straight and clean
  As Cupid's shaft, or Hermes' rod,
  And pow'rful, too, as either god.


Phyllis! why should we delay
Pleasures shorter than the day?
Could we (which we never can!)
Stretch our lives beyond their span,
Beauty like a shadow flies,
And our youth before us dies.
Or would youth and beauty stay,
Love hath wings, and will away.
Love hath swifter wings than Time,
Change in love to heaven does climb. 10
Gods, that never change their state,
Vary oft their love and hate.

Phyllis! to this truth we owe
All the love betwixt us two.
Let not you and I inquire
What has been our past desire;
On what shepherds you have smiled,
Or what nymphs I have beguiled;
Leave it to the planets too, 19
What we shall hereafter do;
For the joys we now may prove,
Take advice of present love.


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 Cæsar'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 namèd 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 practisèd at first,
And where th'experienced still prosper worst!
I, with a different fate, pursued in vain
The haughty Cælia, 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, Cælia! 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 Cælia 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, Cælia, if you apprehend
The Muse of your incensèd 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 deservèd 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 forcèd 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 retirèd 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 inspirèd souls
    Were urgèd 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 disguisèd 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-inspirèd 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 mission.


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 admirèd 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 Cæsar, 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 hurlèd 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. Catherine.


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 closèd 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 surprisèd 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 Danaë[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.
Inspirèd verse may on this marble live,
But can no honour to thy ashes give—



Floriferis ut apes in saltibus omnia libant,
Sic nos Scripturæ 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
Which first from heaven, to make us happy, came.

[1] 'Late philosophy': that of Copernicus.


The fear of hell, or aiming to be bless'd,
Savours too much of private interest.
This moved not Moses, nor the zealous Paul, 57
Who for their friends abandon'd soul and all;[1]
A greater yet from heaven to hell descends,
To save, and make his enemies his friends.
What line of praise can fathom such a love,
Which reach'd the lowest bottom from above?
The royal prophet,[2] that extended grace
From heaven to earth, measured but half that space.
The law was regnant, and confined his thought;
Hell was not conquer'd when that poet wrote;
Heaven was scarce heard of until He came down,
To make the region where love triumphs known.

That early love of creatures yet unmade,
To frame the world the Almighty did persuade; 70
For love it was that first created light,
Moved on the waters, chased away the night
From the rude Chaos, and bestow'd new grace
On things disposed of to their proper place;
Some to rest here, and some to shine above;
Earth, sea, and heaven, were all th'effects of love.
And love would be return'd; but there was none
That to themselves or others yet were known;
The world a palace was without a guest,
Till one appears that must excel the rest; 80
One! like the Author, whose capacious mind
Might, by the glorious work, the Maker find;
Might measure heaven, and give each star a name;
With art and courage the rough ocean tame;
Over the globe with swelling sails might go,
And that 'tis round by his experience know;
Make strongest beasts obedient to his will,
And serve his use the fertile earth to till.

When, by His Word, God had accomplish'd all, 89
Man to create He did a council call;
Employed His hand, to give the dust He took
A graceful figure, and majestic look;
With His own breath convey'd into his breast
Life, and a soul fit to command the rest;
Worthy alone to celebrate His name
For such a gift, and tell from whence it came.
Birds sing His praises in a wilder note,
But not with lasting numbers and with thought,
Man's great prerogative! but above all
His grace abounds in His new fav'rite's fall. 100

If He create, it is a world He makes;
If He be angry, the creation shakes;
From His just wrath our guilty parents fled;
He cursed the earth, but bruised the serpent's head.
Amidst the storm His bounty did exceed,
In the rich promise of the Virgin's seed;
Though justice death, as satisfaction, craves,
Love finds a way to pluck us from our graves.

[1] 'Abandoned soul and all': Exodus xxxii. 32. Ep. to the Romans ix. 3. [2]: 'Royal prophet': David.


Not willing terror should His image move;
He gives a pattern of eternal love; 110
His Son descends to treat a peace with those
Which were, and must have ever been, His foes.
Poor He became, and left His glorious seat
To make us humble, and to make us great;
His business here was happiness to give
To those whose malice could not let Him live.

Legions of angels, which He might have used,
(For us resolved to perish) He refused;
While they stood ready to prevent His loss,
Love took Him up, and nail'd Him to the cross. 120

Immortal love! which in His bowels reign'd,
That we might be by such great love constrain'd
To make return of love. Upon this pole
Our duty does, and our religion, roll.
To love is to believe, to hope, to know;
'Tis an essay, a taste of heaven below!

He to proud potentates would not be known;
Of those that loved Him He was hid from none.
Till love appear we live in anxious doubt;
But smoke will vanish when the flame breaks out; 130
This is the fire that would consume our dross,
Refine, and make us richer by the loss.

Could we forbear dispute, and practise love,
We should agree as angels do above.
Where love presides, not vice alone does find
No entrance there, but virtues stay behind;
Both faith, and hope, and all the meaner train
Of mortal virtues, at the door remain.
Love only enters as a native there,
For, born in heaven, it does but sojourn here. 140

He that alone would wise and mighty be,
Commands that others love as well as He.
Love as He loved!—How can we soar so high?—
He can add wings, when He commands to fly.
Nor should we be with this command dismay'd;
He that examples gives, will give His aid;
For He took flesh, that where His precepts fail,
His practice as a pattern may prevail.
His love, at once, and dread, instruct our thought;
As man He suffer'd, and as God He taught. 150
Will for the deed He takes; we may with ease
Obedient be, for if we love we please.
Weak though we are, to love is no hard task,
And love for love is all that Heaven does ask.
Love! that would all men just and temp'rate make, 155
Kind to themselves, and others, for His sake.

'Tis with our minds as with a fertile ground,
Wanting this love they must with weeds abound,
(Unruly passions), whose effects are worse
Than thorns and thistles springing from the curse. 160


To glory man, or misery, is born,
Of his proud foe the envy, or the scorn;
Wretched he is, or happy, in extreme;
Base in himself, but great in Heaven's esteem;
With love, of all created things the best;
Without it, more pernicious than the rest;
For greedy wolves unguarded sheep devour
But while their hunger lasts, and then give o'er;
Man's boundless avarice his wants exceeds,
And on his neighbours round about him feeds. 170

His pride and vain ambition are so vast,
That, deluge-like, they lay whole nations waste.
Debauches and excess (though with less noise)
As great a portion of mankind destroys.
The beasts and monsters Hercules oppress'd,
Might in that age some provinces infest;
These more destructive monsters are the bane
Of every age, and in all nations reign;
But soon would vanish, if the world were bless'd
With sacred love, by which they are repress'd. 180

Impendent death, and guilt that threatens hell,
Are dreadful guests, which here with mortals dwell;
And a vex'd conscience, mingling with their joy
Thoughts of despair, does their whole life annoy;
But love appearing, all those terrors fly;
We live contented, and contented die.
They in whose breast this sacred love has place, 187
Death, as a passage to their joy, embrace.
Clouds and thick vapours, which obscure the day,
The sun's victorious beams may chase away;
Those which our life corrupt and darken, love
(The nobler star!) must from the soul remove.
Spots are observed in that which bounds the year;
This brighter sun moves in a boundless sphere;
Of heaven the joy, the glory, and the light,
Shines among angels, and admits no night.


This Iron Age (so fraudulent and bold!)
Touch'd with this love, would be an Age of Gold;
Not, as they feign'd, that oaks should honey drop,
Or land neglected bear an unsown crop; 200
Love would make all things easy, safe, and cheap;
None for himself would either sow or reap;
Our ready help, and mutual love, would yield
A nobler harvest than the richest field.
Famine and death, confined to certain parts,
Extended are by barrenness of hearts.
Some pine for want where others surfeit now;
But then we should the use of plenty know.
Love would betwixt the rich and needy stand,
And spread heaven's bounty with an equal hand; 210
At once the givers and receivers bless,
Increase their joy, and make their suff'ring less.
Who for Himself no miracle would make,
Dispensed with sev'ral for the people's sake;
He that, long fasting, would no wonder show,
Made loaves and fishes, as they ate them, grow.
Of all His power, which boundless was above,
Here He used none but to express His love;
And such a love would make our joy exceed, 219
Not when our own, but other mouths we feed.

Laws would be useless which rude nature awe;
Love, changing nature, would prevent the law;
Tigers and lions into dens we thrust,
But milder creatures with their freedom trust.
Devils are chain'd, and tremble; but the Spouse
No force but love, nor bond but bounty, knows.
Men (whom we now so fierce and dangerous see)
Would guardian angels to each other be;
Such wonders can this mighty love perform,
Vultures to doves, wolves into lambs transform! 230
Love what Isaiah prophesied can do,[1]
Exalt the valleys, lay the mountains low,
Humble the lofty, the dejected raise,
Smooth and make straight our rough and crooked ways.
Love, strong as death, and like it, levels all;
With that possess'd, the great in title fall;
Themselves esteem but equal to the least,
Whom Heaven with that high character has bless'd.
This love, the centre of our union, can
Alone bestow complete repose on man; 240
Tame his wild appetite, make inward peace,
And foreign strife among the nations cease.
No martial trumpet should disturb our rest,
Nor princes arm, though to subdue the East,
Where for the tomb so many heroes (taught
By those that guided their devotion) fought.
Thrice happy we, could we like ardour have
To gain His love, as they to win His grave!
Love as He loved! A love so unconfined,
With arms extended, would embrace mankind. 250
Self-love would cease, or be dilated, when
We should behold as many selfs as men;
All of one family, in blood allied,
His precious blood, that for our ransom died.

[1] 'Prophesied can do': Isaiah xl. 4.


Though the creation (so divinely taught!)
Prints such a lively image on our thought,
That the first spark of new-created light,
From Chaos struck, affects our present sight:
Yet the first Christians did esteem more bless'd
The day of rising, than the day of rest, 260
That every week might new occasion give,
To make His triumph in their mem'ry live.
Then let our Muse compose a sacred charm,
To keep His blood among us ever warm,
And singing as the blessed do above,
With our last breath dilate this flame of love.
But on so vast a subject who can find
Words that may reach th'idea of his mind?
Our language fails; or, if it could supply,
What mortal thought can raise itself so high? 270
Despairing here, we might abandon art,
And only hope to have it in our heart.
But though we find this sacred task too hard,
Yet the design, th'endeavour, brings reward.
The contemplation does suspend our woe,
And makes a truce with all the ills we know.
As Saul's afflicted spirit from the sound
Of David's harp, a present solace found;[1]
So, on this theme while we our Muse engage,
No wounds are felt, of fortune or of age. 280
On divine love to meditate is peace,
And makes all care of meaner things to cease.

Amazed at once, and comforted, to find
A boundless power so infinitely kind,
The soul contending to that light to flee
From her dark cell, we practise how to die;
Employing thus the poet's winged art,
To reach this love, and grave it in our heart.
Joy so complete, so solid, and severe,
Would leave no place for meaner pleasures there; 290
Pale they would look, as stars that must be gone,
When from the East the rising sun comes on.

[1] 'Solace found': 1 Sam. xvi. 23.



The fear of God is freedom, joy, and peace,
And makes all ills that vex us here to cease.
Though the word fear some men may ill endure,
'Tis such a fear as only makes secure.
Ask of no angel to reveal thy fate;
Look in thy heart, the mirror of thy state.
He that invites will not th'invited mock,
Opening to all that do in earnest knock.
Our hopes are all well-grounded on this fear;
All our assurance rolls upon that sphere. 10
This fear, that drives all other fears away,
Shall be my song, the morning of our day;
Where that fear is, there's nothing to be fear'd;
It brings from heaven an angel for a guard.
Tranquillity and peace this fear does give;
Hell gapes for those that do without it live.
It is a beam, which He on man lets fall,
Of light, by which He made and governs all.
'Tis God alone should not offended be;
But we please others, as more great than He. 20
For a good cause, the sufferings of man
May well be borne; 'tis more than angels can.
Man, since his fall, in no mean station rests,
Above the angels, or below the beasts.
He with true joy their hearts does only fill,
That thirst and hunger to perform His will.
Others, though rich, shall in this world be vex'd,
And sadly live in terror of the next.
The world's great conqu'ror[1] would his point pursue,
And wept because he could not find a new; 30
Which had he done, yet still he would have cried,
To make him work until a third he spied.
Ambition, avarice, will nothing owe
To Heaven itself, unless it make them grow.
Though richly fed, man's care does still exceed;
Has but one mouth, yet would a thousand feed.
In wealth and honour, by such men possess'd,
If it increase not, there is found no rest.
All their delight is while their wish comes in;
Sad when it stops, as there had nothing been. 40
'Tis strange men should neglect their present store,
And take no joy but in pursuing more;
No! though arrived at all the world can aim;
This is the mark and glory of our frame,
A soul capacious of the Deity,
Nothing but He that made can satisfy.
A thousand worlds, if we with Him compare, 47
Less than so many drops of water are.
Men take no pleasure but in new designs;
And what they hope for, what they have outshines.
Our sheep and oxen seem no more to crave,
With full content feeding on what they have;
Vex not themselves for an increase of store,
But think to-morrow we shall give them more.
What we from day to day receive from Heaven,
They do from us expect it should be given.
We made them not, yet they on us rely,
More than vain men upon the Deity;
More beasts than they! that will not understand
That we are fed from His immediate hand. 60
Man, that in Him has being, moves, and lives,
What can he have, or use, but what He gives?
So that no bread can nourishment afford,
Or useful be, without His sacred Word.

[1] 'Great conqueror': Alexander.


Earth praises conquerors for shedding blood,
Heaven those that love their foes, and do them good.
It is terrestrial honour to be crown'd
For strewing men, like rushes, on the ground.
True glory 'tis to rise above them all,
Without th'advantage taken by their fall. 70
He that in sight diminishes mankind,
Does no addition to his stature find;
But he that does a noble nature show,
Obliging others, still does higher grow;
For virtue practised such a habit gives,
That among men he like an angel lives;
Humbly he doth, and without envy, dwell,
Loved and admired by those he does excel.
Fools anger show, which politicians hide; 79
Bless'd with this fear, men let it not abide.
The humble man, when he receives a wrong,
Refers revenge to whom it doth belong;
Nor sees he reason why he should engage,
Or vex his spirit for another's rage.
Placed on a rock, vain men he pities, toss'd
On raging waves, and in the tempest lost.
The rolling planets, and the glorious sun,
Still keep that order which they first begun;
They their first lesson constantly repeat,
Which their Creator as a law did set. 90
Above, below, exactly all obey;
But wretched men have found another way;
Knowledge of good and evil, as at first,
(That vain persuasion!) keeps them still accursed!
The Sacred Word refusing as a guide,
Slaves they become to luxury and pride.
As clocks, remaining in the skilful hand
Of some great master, at the figure stand,
But when abroad, neglected they do go,
At random strike, and the false hour do show; 100
So from our Maker wandering, we stray,
Like birds that know not to their nests the way.
In Him we dwelt before our exile here,
And may, returning, find contentment there:
True joy may find, perfection of delight,
Behold his face, and shun eternal night.

Silence, my Muse! make not these jewels cheap,
Exposing to the world too large a heap.
Of all we read, the Sacred Writ is best,
Where great truths are in fewest words express'd. 110

Wrestling with death, these lines I did indite;
No other theme could give my soul delight.
Oh that my youth had thus employ'd my pen! 113
Or that I now could write as well as then!
But 'tis of grace, if sickness, age, and pain,
Are felt as throes, when we are born again;
Timely they come to wean us from this earth,
As pangs that wait upon a second birth.


Occasioned upon sight of the 53d chapter of Isaiah turned into verse by
Mrs. Wharton


Poets we prize, when in their verse we find
Some great employment of a worthy mind.
Angels have been inquisitive to know
The secret which this oracle does show.
What was to come, Isaiah did declare,
Which she describes as if she had been there;
Had seen the wounds, which, to the reader's view,
She draws so lively that they bleed anew.
As ivy thrives which on the oak takes hold,
So, with the prophet's, may her lines grow old! 10
If they should die, who can the world forgive,
(Such pious lines!) when wanton Sappho's live?
Who with His breath His image did inspire,
Expects it should foment a nobler fire;
Not love which brutes as well as men may know,
But love like His, to whom that breath we owe.
Verse so design'd, on that high subject wrote,
Is the perfection of an ardent thought;
The smoke which we from burning incense raise, 19
When we complete the sacrifice of praise.
In boundless verse the fancy soars too high
For any object but the Deity.
What mortal can with Heaven pretend to share
In the superlatives of wise and fair?
A meaner subject when with these we grace,
A giant's habit on a dwarf we place.
Sacred should be the product of our Muse,
Like that sweet oil, above all private use,
On pain of death forbidden to be made,
But when it should be on the altar laid. 30
Verse shows a rich inestimable vein
When, dropp'd from heaven, 'tis thither sent again.

Of bounty 'tis that He admits our praise,
Which does not Him, but us that yield it, raise;
For as that angel up to heaven did rise,
Borne on the flame of Manoah's sacrifice,
So, wing'd with praise, we penetrate the sky;
Teach clouds and stars to praise Him as we fly;
The whole creation, (by our fall made groan!)
His praise to echo, and suspend their moan. 40
For that He reigns, all creatures should rejoice,
And we with songs supply their want of voice.
The church triumphant, and the church below,
In songs of praise their present union show;
Their joys are full; our expectation long;
In life we differ, but we join in song.
Angels and we, assisted by this art,
May sing together, though we dwell apart.
Thus we reach heaven, while vainer poems must
No higher rise than winds may lift the dust. 50
From that they spring; this from His breath that gave,
To the first dust, th'immortal soul we have;
His praise well sung (our great endeavour here),
Shakes off the dust, and makes that breath appear.


He that did first this way of writing grace,[1]
Conversed with the Almighty face to face;
Wonders he did in sacred verse unfold,
When he had more than eighty winters told.
The writer feels no dire effect of age,
Nor verse, that flows from so divine a rage. 60
Eldest of Poets, he beheld the light,
When first it triumph'd o'er eternal night;
Chaos he saw, and could distinctly tell
How that confusion into order fell.
As if consulted with, he has express'd
The work of the Creator, and His rest;
How the flood drown'd the first offending race,
Which might the figure of our globe deface.
For new-made earth, so even and so fair,
Less equal now, uncertain makes the air; 70
Surprised with heat, and unexpected cold,
Early distempers make our youth look old;
Our days so evil, and so few, may tell
That on the ruins of that world we dwell.
Strong as the oaks that nourish'd them, and high,
That long-lived race did on their force rely,
Neglecting Heaven; but we, of shorter date!
Should be more mindful of impendent fate.
To worms, that crawl upon this rubbish here,
This span of life may yet too long appear; 80
Enough to humble, and to make us great,
If it prepare us for a nobler seat.

Which well observing, he, in numerous lines,
Taught wretched man how fast his life declines;
In whom he dwelt before the world was made,
And may again retire when that shall fade.
The lasting Iliads have not lived so long
As his and Deborah's triumphant song.
Delphos unknown, no Muse could them inspire,
But that which governs the celestial choir. 90
Heaven to the pious did this art reveal,
And from their store succeeding poets steal.
Homer's Scamander for the Trojans fought,
And swell'd so high, by her old Kishon taught.
His river scarce could fierce Achilles stay;
Hers, more successful, swept her foes away.
The host of heaven, his Phoebus and his Mars,
He arms, instructed by her fighting stars.
She led them all against the common foe;
But he (misled by what he saw below!) 100
The powers above, like wretched men, divides,
And breaks their union into different sides.
The noblest parts which in his heroes shine,
May be but copies of that heroine.
Homer himself, and Agamemnon, she
The writer could, and the commander, be.
Truth she relates in a sublimer strain,
Than all the tales the boldest Greeks could feign;
For what she sung that Spirit did indite,
Which gave her courage and success in fight. 110
A double garland crowns the matchless dame;
From heaven her poem and her conquest came.

Though of the Jews she merit most esteem,
Yet here the Christian has the greater theme;
Her martial song describes how Sis'ra fell;
This sings our triumph over death and hell.
The rising light employ'd the sacred breath 117
Of the blest Virgin and Elizabeth.
In songs of joy the angels sung His birth;
Here how He treated was upon the earth
Trembling we read! th'affliction and the scorn,
Which for our guilt so patiently was borne!
Conception, birth, and suff'ring, all belong
(Though various parts) to one celestial song;
And she, well using so divine an art,
Has in this concert sung the tragic part.

As Hannah's seed was vow'd to sacred use,
So here this lady consecrates her Muse.
With like reward may Heaven her bed adorn,
With fruit as fair as by her Muse is born! 130

[1] 'Writing grace': Moses.


Silence, you winds! listen, ethereal lights!
While our Urania sings what Heaven indites;
The numbers are the nymph's; but from above
Descends the pledge of that eternal love.
Here wretched mortals have not leave alone,
But are instructed to approach His throne;
And how can He to miserable men
Deny requests which His own hand did pen?

In the Evangelists we find the prose
Which, paraphrased by her, a poem grows;
A devout rapture! so divine a hymn,
It may become the highest seraphim!
For they, like her, in that celestial choir,
Sing only what the Spirit does inspire.
Taught by our Lord, and theirs, with us they may
For all but pardon for offences pray.


1 His sacred name with reverence profound
  Should mention'd be, and trembling at the sound!
  It was Jehovah; 'tis Our Father now;
  So low to us does Heaven vouchsafe to bow![1]
  He brought it down that taught us how to pray,
  And did so dearly for our ransom pay.

2 His kingdom come. For this we pray in vain
  Unless he does in our affections reign.
  Absurd it were to wish for such a King,
  And not obedience to His sceptre bring,
  Whose yoke is easy, and His burthen light,
  His service freedom, and his judgments right.

3 His will be done. In fact 'tis always done;
  But, as in heaven, it must be made our own.
  His will should all our inclinations sway,
  Whom Nature, and the universe, obey.
  Happy the man! whose wishes are confined
  To what has been eternally designed;
  Referring all to His paternal care,
  To whom more dear than to ourselves we are.

4 It is not what our avarice hoards up;
  'Tis He that feeds us, and that fills our cup;
  Like new-born babes depending on the breast,
  From day to day we on His bounty feast;
  Nor should the soul expect above a day,
  To dwell in her frail tenement of clay;
  The setting sun should seem to bound our race,
  And the new day a gift of special grace.

5 That he should all our trespasses forgive,
  While we in hatred with our neighbours live;
  Though so to pray may seem an easy task,
  We curse ourselves when thus inclined we ask,
  This prayer to use, we ought with equal care
  Our souls, as to the sacrament, prepare.
  The noblest worship of the Power above,
  Is to extol, and imitate his love;
  Not to forgive our enemies alone,
  But use our bounty that they may be won.

6 Guard us from all temptations of the foe;
  And those we may in several stations know;
  The rich and poor in slipp'ry places stand.
  Give us enough, but with a sparing hand!
  Not ill-persuading want, nor wanton wealth,
  But what proportion'd is to life and health.
  For not the dead, but living, sing thy praise,
  Exalt thy kingdom, and thy glory raise.

            Favete linguis!…
            Virginibus puerisque canto.—HOR.

[1] 'Vouchsafe to bow': Psalm xviii. 9.


When we for age could neither read nor write,
The subject made us able to indite;
The soul, with nobler resolutions deck'd,
The body stooping, does herself erect.
No mortal parts are requisite to raise
Her that, unbodied, can her Maker praise.

The seas are quiet when the winds give o'er;
So, calm are we when passions are no more!
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting things, so certain to be lost.
Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries.

The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
Lets in new light through chinks that time has made;
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become,
As they draw near to their eternal home.
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,
That stand upon the threshold of the new.

….Miratur limen Olympi.—VIRG.


* * * * *




Next to those poets who have exerted an influence on the matter, should be ranked those who have improved the manner, of our song. So that thus the same list may include the names of a Chaucer and a Waller, of a Milton and a Denham—the more as we suspect none but a true poet can materially improve even a poetical mode, can contrive even a new stirrup to Pegasus, or even to retune the awful organ of Pythia. Neither Denham nor Waller were great poets; but they have produced lines and verses so good, and have, besides, exerted an influence so considerable on modern versification, and the style of poetical utterance, that they are entitled to a highly respectable place amidst the sons of British song.

Sir John Denham, although thoroughly English both in descent and in complexion of mind, was born in Dublin in 1615. His father, whose name also was Sir John (of Little Horseley, in Essex), was, at the time of our poet's birth, the Chief Baron of Exchequer in Ireland. His mother was Eleanor More, daughter of Sir Garret More, Baron of Mellefont. Two years after the son's birth, the father, being made an English Baron of Exchequer, returned to his native country, and educated young John in London. Thence, at the age of sixteen, he went to study at Oxford, where he became celebrated rather for dissipation than diligence. He was, although a youth of imaginative temperament, excessively fond of gambling; and it was said of him, that he was more given to "dreams and dice than to study." His future eminence might be foreseen by some of his friends; but, in general, men looked on him rather as an idle and misled youth of fortune, than as a genius. Three years after, he removed to Lincoln's Inn, where he continued occasionally to gamble, and was sometimes punished for his pains, being plundered by more skilful or unscrupulous gamesters, but did not forget his studies. His conscience, on one occasion, aroused by a rebuke from a friend, awoke; and, to confirm the resolutions which it forced upon him, he wrote and published an "Essay on Gaming." In this respect he resembles Sir Richard Steele when a young soldier, who, in order to cure himself of his dissipations, wrote and published "The Christian Hero"—his object being, by drawing the picture of a character exactly opposite to his own, to commit himself irrevocably to virtue, and to break down all the bridges between him and a return to vice. It is, alas! notorious, that Steele's holiness turned out only to be a FIT, of not much longer duration than a morning headache, and that the "Christian Hero" remains not as a model to which its author's conduct was ever conformed, but as a severe, self-written satire on his whole career. And so with Denham. For some time he forsook the gambling-table, and applied his attention partly to law, and partly to poetry, translating, in 1636, the "Second Book of the Aeneid;" but when his father died, two years afterwards, and left him some thousands, he rushed again to the dice-box, and melted them as rapidly as the wind melts the snow of spring.

"In 1642 he broke out," as Waller remarks of him, "like the Irish Rebellion, threescore thousand strong, when nobody was aware, or in the least suspected it," in the play of "Sophy;" and, sooth to say, like that rebellion, his outbreak is lawless and irregular, as well as strong; as in that rebellion, too, there is a rather needless expenditure of blood. What Byron says of Dr. Polidori's tragedy, is nearly true of "Sophy"—

"All stab, and everybody dies."

Nothing can be more horrible and disgusting than many of the incidents. A father suspecting and plotting against a dear and noble son; a son deprived of sight by the command of a father, and meditating in his rage and revenge the murder of his own favourite daughter, because she is beloved by his father; and the deaths of both son and father by poison, administered through means of a courtier who has betrayed both. Such are the main hinges on which the plot of the piece turns. The versification, too, is exceedingly unequal; sometimes swelling into rather full and splendid blank verse, and anon shrinking up into lines stunted and shrivelled, like boughs either touched by frost, or lopped by the axe of the woodman. Still there are in "Sophy" a force of style, a maturity of mind, an energy of declamation, and, here and there, an appreciation of Shakspeare—shewn in a generous though hopeless rivalry of his manner— which account for the reception it at first met with, and seem to have excited in Denham's contemporaries expectations which were never fulfilled. This uprise, as well as that of the Irish (which took place the year before it), turned out, on the whole, abortive. And yet what fine lines and sentiments are the following, culled from "Sophy" almost ad aperturam libri:—

        "Fear and guilt
  Are the same thing, and when our actions are not,
  Our fears are crimes.
      The east and west
  Upon the globe, a mathematic point
  Only divides
; thus happiness and misery,
  And all extremes, are still contiguous.

  More gallant actions have been lost, for want of being
  Completely wicked, than have been performed
  By being exactly virtuous. 'Tis hard to be
  Exact in good, or excellent in ill;
  Our will wants power, or else our power wants skill.

When in the midst of fears we are surprised With unexpected happiness, the first Degrees of joy are mere astonishment. Fear, the shadow Of danger, like the shadow of our bodies, Is greater, then, when that which is the cause Is farthest off."

The blinded prince's soliloquy, in the first scene of the fifth act, is worthy of Shakspeare. We must quote the following lines:—

    "Reason, my soul's eye, still sees
  Clearly, and clearer for the want of eyes,
  For gazing through the windows of the body
  It met such several, such distracting objects;
  But now confined within itself it sees
  A strange and unknown world, and there discovers
  Torrents of anger, mountains of ambition,
  Gulfs of desire, and towers of hope, large giants
  Monsters and savage beasts; to vanquish these
  Will be a braver conquest, than the old
  Or the new world."

Shortly after the appearance of "Sophy," he was admitted, by the form then usual, Sheriff of Surrey, and appointed governor of Farnham Castle for the king; this important post, however, he soon resigned, and retreated to Oxford, where, in 1643, he published his poem entitled "Cooper's Hill." This instantly became popular, and many who might have seen in "Sophy" greater powers than were disclosed in this new effort, envied its fame, and gave out that he had bought it of a vicar for forty pounds. For this there was, of course, no proof, and it is only worth mentioning because it is one of a large class of cases, in which envious mediocrity, or crushed dulness, or jealous rivalry, has sought to snatch hard-won laurels from the brow of genius. As if these laurels were so smooth, and so soothing, as always to invite ambition, or as if they were so flexible as to suit every brow! As if FIRE lurked not sometimes in their leaves, and as if there were not, besides, a nobler jealousy in the public mind ready to watch and to avenge their misappropriation. Certain it is that not only, as Johnson remarks, was the attempt made to rob Addison of "Cato," and Pope of the "Essay of Criticism," but it has a hundred times taken place in the history of poetry. Rolt, as we saw in our late life of Akenside, tried to snatch the honour of writing "The Pleasures of Imagination" from its author. Lauder accused Milton of plundering the Italians wholesale. Scott's early novels have only the other day been most absurdly claimed for his brother Thomas. And notwithstanding Shakspeare's well-known lines over his sepulchre at Stratford—

  "Bless'd be the man who spares these stones,
    But curs'd be he who moves my bones"—

a worse outrage has been recently committed on his memory, than were his dust, like Wickliffe's, tossed out of his tomb into the Avon—his plays have been, with as much stupidity as malice, attributed to Lord Bacon! Homer, too, has been found out to be a myth; and we know not if even Dante's originality has altogether passed unquestioned in this age of disbelief and downpulling; although what brow, save that thunder-scathed pile, could wear those scorched laurels, and who but the "man who had been in hell" could have written the "Inferno?" Worst of all, a class of writers have of late sought to prove that there is no such thing as originality—that genius means just dexterous borrowing-that the "Appropriation Clause" is of divine right—and have certainly proved themselves true to their own principles.

In 1647, circumstances brought our poet more closely in connexion with the royal family, and on one occasion he carried a message from the Queen to King Charles, then in prison. He subsequently conducted, with great success, the King's correspondence; and in April 1648 he conveyed the young Duke of York (afterwards James II.) from London to France, and delivered him to the charge of the Queen and the Prince of Wales. He had, ere leaving Britain, written a translation of Cato-Major on Old Age. While in France, attending on the exiled prince, he wrote a number of poetical pieces at his master's desire; among others, a song in honour of an embassy to Poland, which he and Lord Crofts undertook for Charles II., and during which they are said to have collected £10,000 for the royal cause from the Scotchmen who then abounded in that country as travelling merchants or pedlars. Meanwhile his political misdemeanours were punished by the Parliament confiscating the remnant of his estate. In 1652, he returned to England penniless, and was supported by the Earl of Pembroke. After the Restoration, Charles, more mindful of him than of many of his friends and the partners of his exile, bestowed on Denham the Surveyorship of the King's Buildings and the Order of the Bath. The situation of Surveyor, even in his careless and improvident hands, turned out a lucrative one; for it is said that he cleared by it no less than £7000. Of his first wife, we hear little or nothing; but about this time, flushed as he was with prosperity, and the popularity of the writings he continued to produce, he contracted a second marriage, which was so far from happy that its consequences led to a fit of temporary derangement. Butler, then a disappointed and exacerbated man, was malignant enough to lampoon him for lunacy—an act which, Dr. Johnson well remarks, "no provocation could excuse." It was, in Fuller's fine old quaint language, "breaking one whom God had bowed before." Our readers will find Butler's squib in our edition of that poet, vol. ii. p. 200, under the title of "A Panegyrick on Sir John Denham's Recovery from his Madness." It is a piece quite unworthy of Butler's powers, and its sting lies principally in charging Denham with plagiarising "Cooper's Hill" and "Sophy," with gambling, and with overreaching the King as Surveyor of the Public Buildings, and with an overbearing and quarrelsome temper—but it contains no allusion to his domestic infelicity. Some have hinted that the cause of his insanity lay in jealousy—that Denham suspected his wife to be too intimate with the Duke of York—that he poisoned her, and maddened in remorse. Whatever the cause, the distemper was not of long continuance. He recovered in time to write some verses on the death of Cowley, which took place in 1667; but in the next year he himself expired, and was buried by the side of his friend in Westminster Abbey, not very far from Chaucer and Spencer. His funeral took place on the 19th of March 1668. He had attained the age of fifty-three.

This is all we can definitely state of the history of Sir John Denham, and certainly the light it casts on his character is neither very plentiful nor very pleasing. A gambler in his early days, he became a political intriguer, an unhappy husband, a maniac, and died in the prime of life. It need only further be recorded of him, that, according to some accounts, he first discovered the merits of Milton's "Paradise Lost," and went about with the book new from the press in his hands, shewing it to everybody, and exclaiming, "This beats us all, and the ancients too!" If this story be true, it says as much for his heart as his head for the generous disposition which made him praise a political adversary, as for the critical taste which discerned at a glance the value of the world's greatest poem. On the whole, however, Denham as a man stands on the same general level with the Cavalier wits in the days of Charles. If he did not rise so high as Cowley, he did not sink so low as Rochester, or even as Butler.

We may now regret, both that he did not live better, and that he did not write more. He had unquestionably in him greater powers than he ever expressed in his works. These are few, fragmentary, and unequal; but, nevertheless, must be reckoned productions of no ordinary merit. They discover a great deal of the body, and not a little of the soul, of poetry. In the passages we cited from "Sophy," and throughout the whole of that play, there is a vigorous and profound vein of reflection, as well as of imagination. Like Shakspeare, although on a scale very much inferior, he carries on a constant stream of subtle reflection amidst all the windings of his story; and even the most critical points of the drama are studded with pearls. Coleridge speaks of himself, or some one else, as wishing to live "collaterally, or aside, to the onward progress of society;" and thus, in the drama, there should ever be, as it were, a projection, or alias, of the author standing collaterally, or aside, to the bustling incidents and whirling passions, and calmly adding the commentary of wisdom, as they rush impetuously on. Such essentially was the chorus of the ancient Greek play; and a similar end is answered in Shakspeare by the subtle asides, the glancing bye-lights, which his wondrous intellect interposes amidst the rapid play of his fancy, the exuberance of his wit, and the crowded incident and interchange of passion created by his genius. Some have maintained that the philosophy of a drama should be chiefly confined to the conceptions of the characters, the development of the plot, and the management of the dialogue—that all the reflection should be molten into the mass of the play, and none of it embossed on the surface; but certainly neither Shakspeare's, nor Schiller's, nor Goethe's dramas answer to this ideal— all of them, besides the philosophy, so to speak, afoot in the progress of the story, contain a great deal standing still, quietly lurking in nooks and corners, and yet exerting a powerful influence on the ultimate effect and explanation of the whole. And so, according to its own proportions, it is with Denham's "Sophy." Indeed, as we have above hinted, its power lies more in these interesting individual beauties than in its general structure.

"Cooper's Hill," next to "Sophy," is undoubtedly his best production. Dr. Johnson calls it the first English specimen of local poetry—i.e., of poetry in which a special scene is, through the embellishments of traditionary recollection, moral reflections, and the power of association generally, uplifted into a poetical light. This has been done afterwards by Garth, in his "Claremont;" Pope, in his "Windsor Forest;" Dyer, in his "Gronger-hill," and a hundred other instances. The great danger in this class of poems, is lest imported sentiment and historical reminiscence should overpower the living lineaments, and all but blot out the memory of the actual landscape. And so it is to some extent in "Cooper's Hill," the scene beheld from which is speedily lost in a torrent of political reflection and moralising. The well-known lines on the Thames are rhetorical and forcible, but not, we think, highly poetical:—

  "Oh, could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
  My great example, as it is my theme!
  Though deep, yet clear, though gentle, yet not dull,
  Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full."

The poem closes with another river-picture, which some will admire:—

  "When a calm river, raised with sudden rains
  Or snows dissolved, o'erflows the adjoining plains,
  The husbandmen, with high-raised banks, secure
  Their greedy hopes, and this he can endure;
  But, if with bays and dams they strive to force
  His channel to a new or narrow course,
  No longer then—within his banks he dwells,
  First to a torrent, then a deluge swells,
  Stronger and fiercer by restraint he roars,
  And knows no bound, but makes his power his shores."

Again, he says of Thames:—

  "Thames, the most loved of all the ocean's sons
  By his old sire, to his embraces runs,
  Hasting to pay his tribute to the sea,
  Like mortal life to meet eternity.
  Though with those streams he no resemblance hold
  Whose foam is amber and their gravel gold.
  His genuine and less guilty wealth t'explore,
  Search not his bottom, but survey his shore."

Yet, though fond of, and great in, describing rivers, he is not, after all, the "river-god" of poetry. Professor Wilson speaks with a far deeper voice:—

  "Down falls the drawbridge with a thund'ring shock,
  And, in an instant, ere the eye can know,
  Binds the stern castle to the opposing rock,
  And hangs in calmness o'er the flood below;
  A raging flood, that, born among the hills,
  Flows dancing on through many a nameless glen,
  Till, join'd by all his tributary rills
  From lake and tarn, from marsh and from fen,
  He leaves his empire with a kingly glee,
  And fiercely bids retire the billows of the sea!"

Different poets are made to write on different rivers as well as on different mountains. Denham paints well the calm majestic Thames; Wilson, the rapid Spey; Scott, the immemorial and historic Forth; Burns, the wild lonely Lugar and the Doon; and Thomas Aird (see his exquisitely beautiful "River"), the pastoral Cluden. But the poet of the St. Lawrence, with Niagara flinging itself over its crag like a mad ocean—of the Ganges or the Orellana—has yet to be born, or at least has yet to bring forth his conceptions of such a stupendous object in poetry.

In "Cooper's Hill" we find well, if not fully exhibited, what were Denham's leading qualities—not high imagination or a fertile fancy, although in neither of these was he conspicuously deficient, but manly strength of thought and clearness of language. There are in him no quaintnesses, no crotchets, no conceits, and no involutions or affectations—all is transparent, masculine, and energetic. It is in these respects that he became a model to Dryden and Pope, and may even still be read with advantage for at least his style, which is

"Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full."

His translations we have included, not for their surpassing merit, but because, in the first place, there is little of our author extant, and we are happy to reprint every scrap of him we can find, and because again he, according to Dr. Johnson, was "one of the first that understood the necessity of emancipating translation from the drudgery of counting lines and interpreting single words." There has, indeed, been recently a reaction, attended in some cases with brilliant success—as in Bulwer's "Ballads of Schiller"—in favour of the literal and lineal method; but since such popular pieces as Dryden's "Virgil" and Pope's "Homer" have been written on Denham's plan, it is interesting to preserve the model, however rude, which they avowedly had in their eye.

His smaller pieces are not remarkable, unless we except his vigorous lines "On the Earl of Stafford's Trial and Death," containing such noble sentiments as these—

"Such was his force of eloquence, to make The hearers more concern'd than he that spake, Each seem'd to act that part he came to see, And none was more a looker-on than he; So did he move our passions, some were known To wish for the defence, the crime their own. Now private pity strove with public hate, Reason with rage, and eloquence with fate."

Nor let us forget his verses on "Cowley's Death," which, although unequal, and in their praise exaggerated, yet are in parts exceedingly felicitous, as for instance, in the lines to which Macaulay, in his "Milton," refers:—

  "To him no author was unknown,
  Yet what he wrote was all his own;
  He melted not the ancient gold,
  Nor with Ben Jonson did make bold
  To plunder all the Roman stores
  Of poets and of orators;
  Horace's wit and Virgil's state
  He did not steal, but emulate!
  And when he would like them appear,
  Their garb, but not their clothes, did wear."

Such is true criticism, which, in our judgment, means clear, sharp, discriminating judgment expressed in the language and with the feelings of poetry.




Sure there are poets which did never dream
Upon Parnassus, nor did taste the stream
Of Helicon; we therefore may suppose
Those made not poets, but the poets those,
And as courts make not kings, but kings the court,
So where the Muses and their train resort,
Parnassus stands; if I can be to thee
A poet, thou Parnassus art to me.
Nor wonder, if (advantaged in my flight,
By taking wing from thy auspicious height) 10
Through untraced ways and airy paths I fly,
More boundless in my fancy than my eye:
My eye which, swift as thought, contracts the space
That lies between, and first salutes the place
Crown'd with that sacred pile, so vast, so high,
That, whether 'tis a part of earth or sky,
Uncertain seems, and may be thought a proud
Aspiring mountain, or descending cloud.
Paul's, the late theme of such a Muse,[1] whose flight 19
Has bravely reach'd and soar'd above thy height:
Now shalt thou stand, though sword, or time, or fire,
Or zeal more fierce than they, thy fall conspire,
Secure, whilst thee the best of poets sings,
Preserved from ruin by the best of kings.
Under his proud survey the city lies,
And like a mist beneath a hill doth rise;
Whose state and wealth, the business and the crowd,
Seems at this distance but a darker cloud:
And is, to him who rightly things esteems,
No other in effect than what it seems: 30
Where, with like haste, though sev'ral ways, they run,
Some to undo, and some to be undone;
While luxury and wealth, like war and peace,
Are each the other's ruin and increase;
As rivers lost in seas some secret vein
Thence reconveys, there to be lost again.
O happiness of sweet retired content!
To be at once secure and innocent.
Windsor the next (where Mars with Venus dwells,
Beauty with strength) above the valley swells 40
Into my eye, and doth itself present
With such an easy and unforced ascent,
That no stupendous precipice denies
Access, no horror turns away our eyes:
But such a rise as doth at once invite
A pleasure and a rev'rence from the sight:
Thy mighty master's emblem, in whose face
Sate meekness, heighten'd with majestic grace;
Such seems thy gentle height, made only proud
To be the basis of that pompous load, 50
Than which, a nobler weight no mountain bears,
But Atlas only, which supports the spheres.
When Nature's hand this ground did thus advance,
'Twas guided by a wiser power than Chance;
Mark'd out for such an use, as if 'twere meant
T' invite the builder, and his choice prevent.
Nor can we call it choice, when what we choose,
Folly or blindness only could refuse.
A crown of such majestic towers doth grace
The gods' great mother, when her heavenly race 60
Do homage to her, yet she cannot boast,
Among that num'rous and celestial host.
More heroes than can Windsor; nor doth Fame's
Immortal book record more noble names.
Not to look back so far, to whom this isle
Owes the first glory of so brave a pile,
Whether to Cæsar, Albanact, or Brute,
The British Arthur, or the Danish Knute,
(Though this of old no less contest did move
Than when for Homer's birth seven cities strove) 70
(Like him in birth, thou shouldst be like in fame,
As thine his fate, if mine had been his flame),
But whosoe'er it was, Nature design'd
First a brave place, and then as brave a mind;
Not to recount those sev'ral kings, to whom
It gave a cradle, or to whom a tomb;
But thee, great Edward, and thy greater son[2]
(The lilies which his father wore, he won),
And thy Bellona,[3] who the consort came
Not only to thy bed, but to thy fame, so
She to thy triumph led one captive king,[4]
And brought that son, which did the second bring.
Then didst thou found that Order (whether love 83
Or victory thy royal thoughts did move),
Each was a noble cause, and nothing less
Than the design, has been the great success:
Which foreign kings, and emperors esteem
The second honour to their diadem.
Had thy great destiny but given thee skill
To know, as well as power to act her will, 90
That from those kings, who then thy captives were,
In after times should spring a royal pair
Who should possess all that thy mighty power,
Or thy desires more mighty, did devour:
To whom their better fate reserves whate'er
The victor hopes for, or the vanquish'd fear;
That blood, which thou and thy great grandsire shed,
And all that since these sister nations bled,
Had been unspilt, had happy Edward known.
That all the blood he spilt had been his own. 100
When he that patron chose, in whom are join'd
Soldier and martyr, and his arms confin'd
Within the azure circle, he did seem
But to foretell, and prophesy of him,
Who to his realms that azure round hath join'd,
Which Nature for their bound at first design'd;
That bound, which to the world's extremest ends,
Endless itself, its liquid arms extends.
Nor doth he need those emblems which we paint,
But is himself the soldier and the saint. 110
Here should my wonder dwell, and here my praise;
But my fix'd thoughts my wand'ring eye betrays,
Viewing a neighb'ring hill, whose top of late
A chapel crown'd, 'till in the common fate
Th' adjoining abbey fell. (May no such storm
Fall on our times, when ruin must reform!)
Tell me, my Muse! what monstrous dire offence, 117
What crime could any Christian king incense
To such a rage? Was't luxury, or lust?
Was he so temperate, so chaste, so just?
Were these their crimes? They were his own much more;
But wealth is crime enough to him that's poor,
Who having spent the treasures of his crown,
Condemns their luxury to feed his own.
And yet this act, to varnish o'er the shame
Of sacrilege, must bear devotion's name.
No crime so bold, but would be understood
A real, or at least a seeming good:
Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the name,
And, free from conscience, is a slave to fame. 130
Thus he the church at once protects, and spoils:
But princes' swords are sharper than their styles;
And thus to th'ages past he makes amends,
Their charity destroys, their faith defends.
Then did Religion in a lazy cell,
In empty, airy contemplations dwell;
And like the block, unmovèd lay; but ours,
As much too active, like the stork devours.
Is there no temp'rate region can be known,
Betwixt their frigid, and our torrid zone? 140
Could we not wake from that lethargic dream,
But to be restless in a worse extreme?
And for that lethargy was there no cure,
But to be cast into a calenture?
Can knowledge have no bound, but must advance
So far, to make us wish for ignorance,
And rather in the dark to grope our way,
Than, led by a false guide, to err by day?
Who sees these dismal heaps, but would demand
What barbarous invader sack'd the land? 150
But when he hears no Goth, no Turk did bring
This desolation, but a Christian king;
When nothing but the name of zeal appears
'Twixt our best actions and the worst of theirs,
What does he think our sacrilege would spare,
When such th'effects of our devotions are?
Parting from thence 'twixt anger, shame and fear,
Those for what's past, and this for what's too near,
My eye descending from the hill, surveys
Where Thames among the wanton valleys strays. 160
Thames, the most loved of all the Ocean's sons
By his old sire, to his embraces runs;
Hasting to pay his tribute to the sea,
Like mortal life to meet eternity.
Though with those streams he no resemblance hold,
Whose foam is amber, and their gravel gold,
His genuine and less guilty wealth t'explore,
Search not his bottom, but survey his shore,
O'er which he kindly spreads his spacious wing,
And hatches plenty for th'ensuing spring; 170
Nor then destroys it with too fond a stay,
Like mothers which their infants overlay;
Nor with a sudden and impetuous wave,
Like profuse kings, resumes the wealth he gave.
No unexpected inundations spoil
The mower's hopes, nor mock the ploughman's toil:
But godlike his unwearied bounty flows;
First loves to do, then loves the good he does.
Nor are his blessings to his banks confined,
But free and common as the sea or wind; 180
When he, to boast or to disperse his stores,
Full of the tributes of his grateful shores,
Visits the world, and in his flying towers
Brings home to us, and makes both Indies ours;
Finds wealth where 'tis, bestows it where it wants,
Cities in deserts, woods in cities plants;
So that to us no thing, no place is strange,
While his fair bosom is the world's exchange.
Oh, could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme! 190
Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull;
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.
Heaven her Eridanus no more shall boast,
Whose fame in thine, like lesser current, 's lost;
Thy nobler streams shall visit Jove's abodes,
To shine among the stars,[5] and bathe the gods.
Here Nature, whether more intent to please
Us or herself with strange varieties,
(For things of wonder give no less delight
To the wise maker's, than beholder's sight; 200
Though these delights from sev'ral causes move;
For so our children, thus our friends, we love),
Wisely she knew the harmony of things,
As well as that of sounds, from discord springs.
Such was the discord, which did first disperse
Form, order, beauty, through the universe;
While dryness moisture, coldness heat resists,
All that we have, and that we are, subsists;
While the steep, horrid roughness of the wood
Strives with the gentle calmness of the flood, 210
Such huge extremes when Nature doth unite,
Wonder from thence results, from thence delight.
The stream is so transparent, pure, and clear,
That had the self-enamour'd youth[6] gazed here,
So fatally deceived he had not been,
While he the bottom, not his face had seen.
But his proud head the airy mountain hides 217
Among the clouds; his shoulders and his sides
A shady mantle clothes; his curlèd brows
Frown on the gentle stream, which calmly flows,
While winds and storms his lofty forehead beat:
The common fate of all that's high or great.
Low at his foot a spacious plain is placed,
Between the mountain and the stream embraced,
Which shade and shelter from the hill derives,
While the kind river wealth and beauty gives,
And in the mixture of all these appears
Variety, which all the rest endears.
This scene had some bold Greek or British bard
Beheld of old, what stories had we heard 230
Of fairies, satyrs, and the nymphs their dames,
Their feasts, their revels, and their am'rous flames?
'Tis still the same, although their airy shape
All but a quick poetic sight escape.
There Faunus and Sylvanus keep their courts,
And thither all the horned host resorts
To graze the ranker mead; that noble herd
On whose sublime and shady fronts is rear'd
Nature's great masterpiece; to show how soon,
Great things are made, but sooner are undone. 240
Here have I seen the King, when great affairs
Gave leave to slacken, and unbend his cares,
Attended to the chase by all the flower
Of youth whose hopes a nobler prey devour:
Pleasure with praise and danger they would buy,
And wish a foe that would not only fly.
The stag now conscious of his fatal growth,
At once indulgent to his fear and sloth,
To some dark covert his retreat had made,
Where nor man's eye, nor heaven's should invade 250
His soft repose; when th'unexpected sound
Of dogs, and men, his wakeful ears does wound.
Roused with the noise, he scarce believes his ear,
Willing to think th'illusions of his fear
Had given this false alarm, but straight his view
Confirms that more than all he fears is true.
Betray'd in all his strengths, the wood beset;
All instruments, all arts of ruin met;
He calls to mind his strength and then his speed,
His winged heels, and then his armed head; 260
With these t'avoid, with that his fate to meet:
But fear prevails, and bids him trust his feet.
So fast he flies, that his reviewing eye
Has lost the chasers, and his ear the cry;
Exulting, till he finds their nobler sense
Their disproportion'd speed doth recompense;
Then curses his conspiring feet, whose scent
Betrays that safety which their swiftness lent;
Then tries his friends; among the baser herd,
Where he so lately was obey'd and fear'd, 270
His safety seeks; the herd, unkindly wise,
Or chases him from thence, or from him flies;
Like a declining statesman, left forlorn
To his friends' pity, and pursuers' scorn,
With shame remembers, while himself was one
Of the same herd, himself the same had done.
Thence to the coverts and the conscious groves,
The scenes of his past triumphs and his loves;
Sadly surveying where he ranged alone
Prince of the soil, and all the herd his own, 280
And like a bold knight-errant did proclaim.
Combat to all, and bore away the dame,
And taught the woods to echo to the stream
His dreadful challenge, and his clashing beam;
Yet faintly now declines the fatal strife;
So much his love was dearer than his life.
Now every leaf, and every moving breath
Presents a foe, and every foe a death.
Wearied, forsaken, and pursued, at last
All safety in despair of safety placed, 290
Courage he thence resumes, resolved to bear
All their assaults, since 'tis in vain to fear.
And now, too late, he wishes for the fight
That strength he wasted in ignoble flight:
But when he sees the eager chase renew'd,
Himself by dogs, the dogs by men pursued,
He straight revokes his bold resolve, and more
Repents his courage than his fear before;
Finds that uncertain ways unsafest are,
And doubt a greater mischief than despair. 300
Then to the stream, when neither friends, nor force,
Nor speed, nor art, avail, he shapes his course;
Thinks not their rage so desperate to assay
An element more merciless than they.
But fearless they pursue, nor can the flood
Quench their dire thirst; alas! they thirst for blood.
So t'wards a ship the oar-finn'd galleys ply,
Which, wanting sea to ride, or wind to fly,
Stands but to fall revenged on those that dare
Tempt the last fury of extreme despair. 310
So fares the stag, among th'enraged hounds,
Repels their force, and wounds returns for wounds;
And as a hero, whom his baser foes
In troops surround, now these assails, now those,
Though prodigal of life, disdains to die
By common hands; but if he can descry
Some nobler foe approach, to him he calls,
And begs his fate, and then contented falls.
So when the king a mortal shaft lets fly 319
From his unerring hand, then glad to die,
Proud of the wound, to it resigns his blood,
And stains the crystal with a purple flood.
This a more innocent, and happy chase,
Than when of old, but in the selfsame place,
Fair Liberty pursued,[7] and meant a prey
To lawless power, here turn'd, and stood at bay;
When in that remedy all hope was placed
Which was, or should have been at least, the last.
Here was that charter seal'd, wherein the crown
All marks of arbitrary power lays down: 330
Tyrant and slave, those names of hate and fear,
The happier style of king and subject bear:
Happy, when both to the same centre move,
When kings give liberty, and subjects love.
Therefore not long in force this charter stood;
Wanting that seal, it must be seal'd in blood.
The subjects arm'd, the more their princes gave,
Th' advantage only took the more to crave;
Till kings by giving, give themselves away,
And e'en that power, that should deny, betray. 340
'Who gives constrain'd, but his own fear reviles,
Not thank'd, but scorn'd; nor are they gifts, but spoils.'
Thus kings, by grasping more than they could hold,
First made their subjects, by oppression, bold:
And popular sway, by forcing kings to give
More than was fit for subjects to receive,
Ran to the same extremes; and one excess
Made both, by striving to be greater, less.
When a calm river, raised with sudden rains,
Or snows dissolved, o'erflows th'adjoining plains, 350
The husbandmen with high raised banks secure
Their greedy hopes, and this he can endure;
But if with bays and dams they strive to force
His channel to a new, or narrow course;
No longer then within his banks he dwells,
First to a torrent, then a deluge, swells;
Stronger and fiercer by restraint he roars,
And knows no bound, but makes his power his shores.

[1] 'Such a Muse': Mr. Waller. [2] 'Great Edward, and thy greater son': Edward III. and the Black Prince. [3] 'Thy Bellona': Queen Phillippa. [4] 'Captive king': the kings of France and Scotland. [5] 'The stars': the Forest. [6] 'Self-enamour'd youth': Narcissus. [7] 'Liberty pursued': Runimede, where Magna Charta was first sealed.




The first book speaks of Aeneas's voyage by sea, and how, being cast by tempest upon the coast of Carthage, he was received by Queen Dido, who, after the feast, desires him to make the relation of the destruction of Troy; which is the argument of this book.

While all with silence and attention wait,
Thus speaks Aeneas from the bed of state:—
Madam, when you command us to review
Our fate, you make our old wounds bleed anew,
And all those sorrows to my sense restore,
Whereof none saw so much, none suffer'd more.
Not the most cruel of our conqu'ring foes
So unconcern'dly can relate our woes,
As not to lend a tear; then how can I
Repress the horror of my thoughts, which fly 10
The sad remembrance? Now th'expiring night
And the declining stars to rest invite;
Yet since 'tis your command, what you so well
Are pleased to hear, I cannot grieve to tell.
By fate repell'd and with repulses tired,
The Greeks, so many lives and years expired,
A fabric like a moving mountain frame, 17
Pretending vows for their return; this Fame
Divulges; then within the beast's vast womb
The choice and flower of all their troops entomb;
In view the isle of Tenedos, once high,
In fame and wealth, while Troy remain'd, doth lie;
(Now but an unsecure and open bay)
Thither by stealth the Greeks their fleet convey.
We gave them gone,[1] and to Mycenæ sail'd,
And Troy reviv'd, her mourning face unveil'd;
All through th'unguarded gates with joy resort
To see the slighted camp, the vacant port;
Here lay Ulysses, there Achilles; here
The battles join'd; the Grecian fleet rode there; 30
But the vast pile th'amazèd vulgar views,
Till they their reason in their wonder lose.
And first Thymoetes moves (urged by the power
Of fate, or fraud) to place it in the tower;
But Capys and the graver sort thought fit
The Greeks' suspected present to commit
To seas or flames, at least to search and bore
The sides, and what that space contains, t'explore.
Th' uncertain multitude with both engaged,
Divided stands, till from the tower, enraged 40
Laocoon ran, whom all the crowd attends,
Crying, 'What desp'rate frenzy's this, O friends!
To think them gone? Judge rather their retreat
But a design; their gifts but a deceit;
For our destruction 'twas contrived no doubt,
Or from within by fraud, or from without
By force. Yet know ye not Ulysses' shifts?
Their swords less danger carry than their gifts.'
(This said) against the horse's side his spear 49
He throws, which trembles with enclosèd fear,
Whilst from the hollows of his womb proceed
Groans, not his own; and had not Fate decreed
Our ruin, we had fill'd with Grecian blood
The place; then Troy and Priam's throne had stood.
Meanwhile a fetter'd pris'ner to the king
With joyful shouts the Dardan shepherds bring,
Who to betray us did himself betray,
At once the taker, and at once the prey;
Firmly prepared, of one event secured,
Or of his death or his design assured. 60
The Trojan youth about the captive flock,
To wonder, or to pity, or to mock.
Now hear the Grecian fraud, and from this one
Conjecture all the rest.
Disarm'd, disorder'd, casting round his eyes
On all the troops that guarded him, he cries,
'What land, what sea, for me what fate attends?
Caught by my foes, condemned by my friends,
Incensèd Troy a wretched captive seeks
To sacrifice; a fugitive the Greeks.'— 70
To pity this complaint our former rage
Converts; we now inquire his parentage;
What of their counsels or affairs he knew
Then fearless he replies, 'Great king! to you
All truth I shall relate: nor first can I
Myself to be of Grecian birth deny;
And though my outward state misfortune hath
Depress'd thus low, it cannot reach my faith.
You may by chance have heard the famous name
Of Palamede, who from old Belus came, 80
Whom, but for voting peace, the Greeks pursue,
Accus'd unjustly, then unjustly slew,
Yet mourn'd his death. My father was his friend,
And me to his commands did recommend,
While laws and councils did his throne support;
I but a youth, yet some esteem and port
We then did bear, till by Ulysses' craft
(Things known I speak) he was of life bereft:
Since, in dark sorrow I my days did spend, 90
Till now, disdaining his unworthy end,
I could not silence my complaints, but vow'd
Revenge, if ever fate or chance allow'd
My wish'd return to Greece; from hence his hate,
From thence my crimes, and all my ills bear date:
Old guilt fresh malice gives; the people's ears
He fills with rumours, and their hearts with fears,
And then the prophet to his party drew.
But why do I those thankless truths pursue,
Or why defer your rage? on me, for all
The Greeks, let your revenging fury fall. 100
Ulysses this, th'Atridæ this desire
At any rate.'—We straight are set on fire
(Unpractised in such myst'ries) to inquire
The manner and the cause: which thus he told,
With gestures humble, as his tale was bold.
'Oft have the Greeks (the siege detesting) tired
With tedious war, a stolen retreat desired,
And would to Heaven they'd gone! but still dismay'd
By seas or skies, unwillingly they stay'd.
Chiefly when this stupendous pile was raised, 110
Strange noises filled the air; we, all amazed,
Despatch Eurypylus t'inquire our fates,
Who thus the sentence of the gods relates:
"A virgin's slaughter did the storm appease,
When first t'wards Troy the Grecians took the seas;
Their safe retreat another Grecian's blood 116
Must purchase." All at this confounded stood;
Each thinks himself the man, the fear on all
Of what the mischief but on one can fall.
Then Calchas (by Ulysses first inspired)
Was urged to name whom th'angry god required;
Yet was I warn'd (for many were as well
Inspired as he) and did my fate foretell.
Ten days the prophet in suspense remain'd,
Would no man's fate pronounce; at last constrain'd
By Ithacus, he solemnly design'd
Me for the sacrifice; the people join'd
In glad consent, and all their common fear
Determine in my fate. The day drew near,
The sacred rites prepared, my temples crown'd 130
With holy wreaths; then I confess I found
The means to my escape; my bonds I brake,
Fled from my guards, and in a muddy lake
Amongst the sedges all the night lay hid,
Till they their sails had hoist (if so they did).
And now, alas! no hope remains for me
My home, my father, and my sons to see,
Whom they, enraged, will kill for my offence,
And punish, for my guilt, their innocence.
Those gods who know the truths I now relate, 140
That faith which yet remains inviolate
By mortal men, by these I beg; redress
My causeless wrongs, and pity such distress.'—
And now true pity in exchange he finds
For his false tears, his tongue his hands unbinds.
Then spake the king, 'Be ours, whoe'er thou art;
Forget the Greeks. But first the truth impart,
Why did they raise, or to what use intend
This pile? to a warlike or religious end?'
Skilful in fraud (his native art) his hands 150
T'ward heaven he raised, deliver'd now from bands.
'Ye pure ethereal flames! ye powers adored
By mortal men! ye altars, and the sword
I 'scaped! ye sacred fillets that involved
My destined head! grant I may stand absolved
From all their laws and rights, renounce all name
Of faith or love, their secret thoughts proclaim;
Only, O Troy! preserve thy faith to me,
If what I shall relate preserveth thee.
From Pallas' favour all our hopes, and all 160
Counsels and actions took original,
Till Diomed (for such attempts made fit
By dire conjunction with Ulysses' wit)
Assails the sacred tower, the guards they slay,
Defile with bloody hands, and thence convey
The fatal image; straight with our success
Our hopes fell back, whilst prodigies express
Her just disdain, her flaming eyes did throw
Flashes of lightning, from each part did flow
A briny sweat; thrice brandishing her spear, 170
Her statue from the ground itself did rear;
Then, that we should our sacrilege restore,
And re-convey their gods from Argos' shore,
Calchas persuades, till then we urge in vain
The fate of Troy. To measure back the main
They all consent, but to return again,
When reinforced with aids of gods and men.
Thus Calchas; then instead of that, this pile
To Pallas was design'd; to reconcile
Th' offended power, and expiate our guilt; 180
To this vast height and monstrous stature built,
Lest through your gates received, it might renew
Your vows to her, and her defence to you.
But if this sacred gift you disesteem,
Then cruel plagues (which Heaven divert on them!)
Shall fall on Priam's state: but if the horse
Your walls ascend, assisted by your force,
A league 'gainst Greece all Asia shall contract;
Our sons then suff'ring what their sires would act.'

Thus by his fraud and our own faith o'ercome, 190
A feigned tear destroys us, against whom
Tydides nor Achilles could prevail,
Nor ten years' conflict, nor a thousand sail.
This seconded by a most sad portent,
Which credit to the first imposture lent;
Laocoon, Neptune's priest, upon the day
Devoted to that god, a bull did slay;
When two prodigious serpents were descried,
Whose circling strokes the sea's smooth face divide;
Above the deep they raise their scaly crests, 200
And stem the flood with their erected breasts,
Their winding tails advance and steer their course,
And 'gainst the shore the breaking billows force.
Now landing, from their brandish'd tongues there came
A dreadful hiss, and from their eyes a flame.
Amazed we fly, directly in a line
Laocoon they pursue, and first entwine
(Each preying upon one) his tender sons;
Then him, who armed to their rescue runs,
They seized, and with entangling folds embraced, 210
His neck twice compassing, and twice his waist:
Their pois'nous knots he strives to break and tear,
While slime and blood his sacred wreaths besmear;
Then loudly roars, as when th'enraged bull
From th'altar flies, and from his wounded skull
Shakes the huge axe; the conqu'ring serpents fly
To cruel Pallas' altar, and there lie
Under her feet, within her shield's extent. 218
We, in our fears, conclude this fate was sent
Justly on him, who struck the sacred oak
With his accursed lance. Then to invoke
The goddess, and let in the fatal horse,
We all consent.

A spacious breach we make, and Troy's proud wall
Built by the gods, by our own hands doth fall;
Thus, all their help to their own ruin give,
Some draw with cords, and some the monster drive
With rolls and levers: thus our works it climbs
Big with our fate; the youth with songs and rhymes,
Some dance, some hale the rope; at last let down 230
It enters with a thund'ring noise the town.
Oh Troy! the seat of gods, in war renown'd!
Three times it struck; as oft the clashing sound
Of arms was heard; yet blinded by the power
Of Fate, we place it in the sacred tower.
Cassandra then foretells th'event, but she
Finds no belief (such was the gods' decree).
The altars with fresh flowers we crown, and waste
In feasts that day, which was (alas!) our last.
Now by the revolution of the skies 240
Night's sable shadows from the ocean rise,
Which heaven and earth, and the Greek frauds involved,
The city in secure repose dissolved,
When from the admiral's high poop appears
A light, by which the Argive squadron steers
Their silent course to Ilium's well-known shore,
When Sinon (saved by the gods' partial power)
Opens the horse, and through the unlock'd doors
To the free air the armed freight restores:
Ulysses, Stheneleus, Tisander slide 250
Down by a rope, Machaon was their guide;
Atrides, Pyrrhus, Thoas, Athamas,
And Epeus who the fraud's contriver was.
The gates they seize; the guards, with sleep and wine
Oppress'd, surprise, and then their forces join.
'Twas then, when the first sweets of sleep repair
Our bodies spent with toil, our minds with care,
(The gods' best gift), when, bathed in tears and blood,
Before my face lamenting Hector stood,
His aspect such when, soil'd with bloody dust, 260
Dragg'd by the cords which through his feet were thrust
By his insulting foe; oh, how transform'd,
How much unlike that Hector, who return'd
Clad in Achilles' spoils! when he, among
A thousand ships (like Jove) his lightning flung!
His horrid beard and knotted tresses stood
Stiff with his gore, and all his wounds ran blood:
Entranced I lay, then (weeping) said, 'The joy,
The hope and stay of thy declining Troy!
What region held thee? whence, so much desired, 270
Art thou restored to us, consumed and tired
With toils and deaths? But what sad cause confounds
Thy once fair looks, or why appear those wounds?'
Regardless of my words, he no reply
Returns, but with a dreadful groan doth cry,
'Fly from the flame, O goddess-born! our walls
The Greeks possess, and Troy confounded falls
From all her glories; if it might have stood
By any power, by this right hand it should.
What man could do, by me for Troy was done. 280
Take here her relics and her gods, to run
With them thy fate, with them new walls expect,
Which, toss'd on seas, thou shalt at last erect;'—
Then brings old Vesta from her sacred choir,
Her holy wreaths, and her eternal fire.
Meanwhile the walls with doubtful cries resound
From far (for shady coverts did surround
My father's house); approaching still more near,
The clash of arms, and voice of men we hear:
Roused from my bed, I speedily ascend 290
The houses' tops, and listening there attend.
As flames roll'd by the winds' conspiring force,
O'er full-ear'd corn, or torrent's raging course
Bears down th'opposing oaks, the fields destroys,
And mocks the ploughman's toil, th'unlook'd for noise
From neighb'ring hills th'amazed shepherd hears;
Such my surprise, and such their rage appears.
First fell thy house, Ucalegon! then thine
Deïphobus! Sigæan seas did shine
Bright with Troy's flames; the trumpets' dreadful sound
The louder groans of dying men confound. 301
Give me my arms, I cried, resolved to throw
Myself 'mong any that opposed the foe:
Rage, anger, and despair at once suggest,
That of all deaths, to die in arms was best.
The first I met was Pantheus, Phoebus' priest,
Who, 'scaping with his gods and relics, fled,
And t'wards the shore his little grandchild led;
'Pantheus, what hope remains? what force, what place
Made good? But, sighing, he replies, 'Alas! 310
Trojans we were, and mighty Ilium was;
But the last period and the fatal hour
Of Troy is come: our glory and our power
Incensèd Jove transfers to Grecian hands;
The foe within the burning town commands;
And (like a smother'd fire) an unseen force
Breaks from the bowels of the fatal horse:
Insulting Sinon flings about the flame,
And thousands more than e'er from Argos came
Possess the gates, the passes, and the streets, 320
And these the sword o'ertakes, and those it meets.
The guard nor fights nor flies; their fate so near
At once suspends their courage and their fear.'—
Thus by the gods, and by Atrides' words
Inspir'd, I make my way through fire, through swords,
Where noises, tumults, outcries, and alarms
I heard; first Iphitus, renown'd for arms,
We meet, who knew us (for the moon did shine)
Then Ripheus, Hypanis, and Dymas join
Their force, and young Choroebus, Mygdon's son, 330
Who, by the love of fair Cassandra won,
Arrived but lately in her father's aid;
Unhappy, whom the threats could not dissuade
Of his prophetic spouse;
Whom when I saw, yet daring to maintain
The fight, I said, 'Brave spirits! (but in vain)
Are you resolv'd to follow one who dares
Tempt all extremes? The state of our affairs
You see: the gods have left us, by whose aid
Our empire stood; nor can the flame be stay'd: 340
Then let us fall amidst our foes; this one
Relief the vanquish'd have, to hope for none.'
Then reinforced, as in a stormy night
Wolves urgèd by their raging appetite
Forage for prey, which their neglected young
With greedy jaws expect, even so among
Foes, fire, and swords, t'assured death we pass;
Darkness our guide, Despair our leader was.
Who can relate that evening's woes and spoils,
Or can his tears proportion to our toils? 350
The city, which so long had flourish'd, falls;
Death triumphs o'er the houses, temples, walls.
Nor only on the Trojans fell this doom,
Their hearts at last the vanquish'd reassume;
And now the victors fall: on all sides fears,
Groans, and pale Death in all her shapes appears!
Androgeus first with his whole troop was cast
Upon us, with civility misplaced
Thus greeting us, 'You lose, by your delay,
Your share, both of the honour and the prey; 360
Others the spoils of burning Troy convey
Back to those ships which you but now forsake.'
We making no return, his sad mistake
Too late he finds; as when an unseen snake
A traveller's unwary foot hath press'd,
Who trembling starts, when the snake's azure crest,
Swoll'n with his rising anger, he espies,
So from our view surprised Androgeus flies.
But here an easy victory we meet:
Fear binds their hands and ignorance their feet. 370
Whilst fortune our first enterprise did aid,
Encouraged with success, Choroebus said,
'O friends! we now by better fates are led,
And the fair path they lead us, let us tread.
First change your arms, and their distinctions bear;
The same, in foes, deceit and virtue are.'
Then of his arms Androgeus he divests,
His sword, his shield he takes, and plumèd crests;
Then Ripheus, Dymas, and the rest, all glad
Of the occasion, in fresh spoils are clad. 380
Thus mix'd with Greeks, as if their fortune still
Follow'd their swords, we fight, pursue, and kill.
Some re-ascend the horse, and he whose sides
Let forth the valiant, now the coward hides.
Some to their safer guard, their ships, retire;
But vain's that hope 'gainst which the gods conspire;
Behold the royal virgin, the divine
Cassandra, from Minerva's fatal shrine
Dragg'd by the hair, casting t'wards heaven, in vain,
Her eyes; for cords her tender hands did strain; 390
Choroebus at the spectacle enraged,
Flies in amidst the foes: we thus engaged,
To second him, among the thickest ran;
Here first our ruin from our friends began,
Who from the temple's battlements a shower
Of darts and arrows on our heads did pour:
They us for Greeks, and now the Greeks (who knew
Cassandra's rescue) us for Trojans slew.
Then from all parts Ulysses, Ajax then,
And then th'Atridæ rally all their men; 400
As winds, that meet from sev'ral coasts, contest,
Their prisons being broke, the south and west,
And Eurus on his winged coursers borne,
Triumphing in their speed, the woods are torn,
And chasing Nereus with his trident throws
The billows from their bottom; then all those
Who in the dark our fury did escape,
Returning, know our borrow'd arms and shape,
And diff'ring dialect: then their numbers swell
And grow upon us; first Choroebus fell 410
Before Minerva's altar, next did bleed
Just Ripheus, whom no Trojan did exceed
In virtue, yet the gods his fate decreed.
Then Hypanis and Dymas, wounded by
Their friends; nor thee, Pantheus! thy piety,
Nor consecrated mitre, from the same
Ill fate could save. My country's fun'ral flame
And Troy's cold ashes I attest, and call
To witness for myself, that in their fall
No foes, no death, nor danger I declin'd, 420
Did, and deserv'd no less, my fate to find.
Now Iphitus with me, and Pelias
Slowly retire; the one retarded was
By feeble age, the other by a wound;
To court the cry directs us, where we found
Th' assault so hot, as if 'twere only there,
And all the rest secure from foes or fear:
The Greeks the gates approach'd, their targets cast
Over their heads; some scaling ladders placed
Against the walls, the rest the steps ascend, 430
And with their shields on their left arms defend
Arrows and darts, and with their right hold fast
The battlement; on them the Trojans cast
Stones, rafters, pillars, beams; such arms as these,
Now hopeless, for their last defence they seize.
The gilded roofs, the marks of ancient state,
They tumble down; and now against the gate
Of th'inner court their growing force they bring;
Now was our last effort to save the king,
Relieve the fainting, and succeed the dead. 440
A private gallery 'twixt th'apartments led,
Not to the foe yet known, or not observed,
(The way for Hector's hapless wife reserved,
When to the aged king her little son
She would present); through this we pass, and run
Up to the highest battlement, from whence
The Trojans threw their darts without offence,
A tower so high, it seem'd to reach the sky,
Stood on the roof, from whence we could descry,
All Ilium—both the camps, the Grecian fleet; 450
This, where the beams upon the columns meet,
We loosen, which like thunder from the cloud
Breaks on their heads, as sudden and as loud.
But others still succeed: meantime, nor stones
Nor any kind of weapons cease.
Before the gate in gilded armour shone
Young Pyrrhus, like a snake, his skin new grown,
Who, fed on pois'nous herbs, all winter lay
Under the ground, and now reviews the day,
Fresh in his new apparel, proud and young, 460
Rolls up his back, and brandishes his tongue,
And lifts his scaly breast against the sun;
With him his father's squire, Automedon,
And Peripas who drove his winged steeds,
Enter the court; whom all the youth succeeds
Of Scyros' isle, who naming firebrands flung
Up to the roof; Pyrrhus himself among
The foremost with an axe an entrance hews
Through beams of solid oak, then freely views
The chambers, galleries, and rooms of state, 470
Where Priam and the ancient monarchs sate.
At the first gate an armed guard appears;
But th'inner court with horror, noise and tears,
Confus'dly fill'd, the women's shrieks and cries
The arched vaults re-echo to the skies;
Sad matrons wand'ring through the spacious rooms
Embrace and kiss the posts; then Pyrrhus comes;
Full of his father, neither men nor walls
His force sustain; the torn portcullis falls;
Then from the hinge their strokes the gates divorce, 480
And where the way they cannot find, they force.
Not with such rage a swelling torrent flows
Above his banks, th'opposing dams o'erthrows,
Depopulates the fields, the cattle, sheep,
Shepherds and folds, the foaming surges sweep.
And now between two sad extremes I stood,
Here Pyrrhus and th'Atridæ drunk with blood,
There th'hapless queen amongst an hundred dames, 488
And Priam quenching from his wounds those flames
Which his own hands had on the altar laid;
Then they the secret cabinets invade,
Where stood the fifty nuptial beds, the hopes
Of that great race; the golden posts, whose tops
Old hostile spoils adorn'd, demolished lay,
Or to the foe, or to the fire a prey.
Now Priam's fate perhaps you may inquire:
Seeing his empire lost, his Troy on fire,
And his own palace by the Greeks possess'd,
Arms long disused his trembling limbs invest;
Thus on his foes he throws himself alone, 500
Not for their fate, but to provoke his own:
There stood an altar open to the view
Of heaven, near which an aged laurel grew,
Whose shady arms the household gods embraced,
Before whose feet the queen herself had cast
With all her daughters, and the Trojan wives,
As doves whom an approaching tempest drives
And frights into one flock; but having spied
Old Priam clad in youthful arms, she cried,
'Alas! my wretched husband! what pretence 510
To bear those arms? and in them what defence?
Such aid such times require not, when again
If Hector were alive, he lived in vain;
Or here we shall a sanctuary find,
Or as in life, we shall in death be join'd.'
Then, weeping, with kind force held and embraced,
And on the secret seat the king she placed.
Meanwhile Polites, one of Priam's sons,
Flying the rage of bloody Pyrrhus, runs
Through foes and swords, and ranges all the court 520
And empty galleries, amazed and hurt;
Pyrrhus pursues him, now o'ertakes, now kills,
And his last blood in Priam's presence spills.
The king (though him so many deaths enclose)
Nor fear, nor grief, but indignation shows;
'The gods requite thee (if within the care
Of those above th'affairs of mortals are),
Whose fury on the son but lost had been,
Had not his parents' eyes his murder seen:
Not that Achilles (whom thou feign'st to be 530
Thy father) so inhuman was to me;
He blush'd, when I the rights of arms implored;
To me my Hector, me to Troy, restored.'
This said, his feeble arm a jav'lin flung,
Which on the sounding shield, scarce ent'ring, rung.
Then Pyrrhus; 'Go a messenger to hell
Of my black deeds, and to my father tell
The acts of his degen'rate race.' So through
His son's warm blood the trembling king he drew
To th'altar; in his hair one hand he wreathes; 540
His sword the other in his bosom sheaths.
Thus fell the king, who yet surviv'd the state,
With such a signal and peculiar fate,
Under so vast a ruin, not a grave,
Nor in such flames a fun'ral fire to have:
He whom such titles swell'd, such power made proud,
To whom the sceptres of all Asia bow'd,
On the cold earth lies th'unregarded king,
A headless carcase, and a nameless thing.

[1] 'Gave them gone': i.e., gave them up for gone.


Great Strafford! worthy of that name, though all
Of thee could be forgotten, but thy fall,
Crush'd by imaginary treason's weight,
Which too much merit did accumulate.
As chemists gold from brass by fire would draw,
Pretexts are into treason forged by law.
His wisdom such, at once it did appear
Three kingdoms' wonder, and three kingdoms' fear;
Whilst single he stood forth, and seem'd, although
Each had an army, as an equal foe. 10
Such was his force of eloquence, to make
The hearers more concern'd than he that spake;
Each seem'd to act that part he came to see,
And none was more a looker-on than he;
So did he move our passions, some were known
To wish, for the defence, the crime their own.
Now private pity strove with public hate,
Reason with rage, and eloquence with fate:
Now they could him, if he could them, forgive;
He's not too guilty, but too wise, to live: 20
Less seem those facts which treason's nickname bore,
Than such a fear'd ability for more.
They after death their fears of him express,
His innocence and their own guilt confess.
Their legislative frenzy they repent,
Enacting it should make no precedent.
This fate he could have 'scaped, but would not lose
Honour for life, but rather nobly chose
Death from their fears, than safety from his own,
That his last action all the rest might crown. 30



1 Toll, toll,
  Gentle bell, for the soul
  Of the pure ones in Pole,
  Which are damn'd in our scroll.

2 Who having felt a touch
  Of Cockram's greedy clutch,
  Which though it was not much,
  Yet their stubbornness was such,

3 That when we did arrive,
  'Gainst the stream we did strive;
  They would neither lead nor drive;

4 Nor lend
  An ear to a friend,
  Nor an answer would send
  To our letter so well penn'd;

5 Nor assist our affairs
  With their moneys nor their wares,
  As their answer now declares,
  But only with their prayers.

6 Thus they did persist
  Did and said what they list,
  'Till the Diet was dismiss'd;
  But then our breech they kiss'd.

 7 For when
   It was moved there and then,
   They should pay one in ten,
   The Diet said, Amen.

 8 And because they are both
   To discover the troth,
   They must give word and oath,
   Though they will forfeit both.

 9 Thus the constitution
   Condemns them every one,
   From the father to the son.

10 But John
   (Our friend) Mollesson
   Thought us to have outgone
   With a quaint invention.

11 Like the prophets of yore,
   He complain'd long before,
   Of the mischiefs in store,
   Ay, and thrice as much more;

12 And with that wicked lie,
   A letter they came by
   From our King's majesty.

13 But fate
   Brought the letter too late,
   'Twas of too old a date
   To relieve their damn'd state.

14 The letter's to be seen,
   With seal of wax so green,
   At Dantzig, where 't has been
   Turn'd into good Latin.

15 But he that gave the hint,
   This letter for to print,
   Must also pay his stint.

16 That trick,
   Had it come in the nick,
   Had touch'd us to the quick;
   But the messenger fell sick.

17 Had it later been wrote,
   And sooner been brought,
   They had got what they sought;
   But now it serves for nought.

18 On Sandys they ran aground,
  And our return was crown'd
  With full ten thousand pound.


1 Our resident Tom,
    From Venice is come,
And hath left the statesman behind him;
    Talks at the same pitch,
    Is as wise, is as rich;
And just where you left him, you find him.

2 But who says he was not
    A man of much plot,
May repent that false accusation;
    Having plotted and penn'd
    Six plays, to attend
The farce of his negotiation.

3 Before you were told
    How Satan[1] the old
Came here with a beard to his middle;
    Though he changed face and name,
    Old Will was the same,
At the noise of a can and a fiddle.

4 These statesmen, you believe,
    Send straight for the shrieve,
For he is one too, or would be;
    But he drinks no wine,
    Which is a shrewd sign
That all's not so well as it should be.

5 These three, when they drink,
    How little do they think
Of banishment, debts, or dying?
    Not old with their years,
    Nor cold with their fears;
But their angry stars still defying.

6 Mirth makes them not mad,
    Nor sobriety sad;
But of that they are seldom in danger;
    At Paris, at Rome,
    At the Hague, they're at home;
The good fellow is no where a stranger.

[1] 'Satan': Mr. W. Murrey.



1 All on a weeping Monday,
  With a fat vulgarian sloven,
    Little admiral John
    To Boulogne is gone,
  Whom I think they call old Loven.

2 Hadst thou not thy fill of carting,[1]
  Will Aubrey, Count of Oxon,
    When nose lay in breech,
    And breech made a speech,
  So often cried, A pox on?

3 A knight by land and water
  Esteem'd at such a high rate,
    When 'tis told in Kent,
    In a cart that he went,
  They'll say now, Hang him, pirate.

4 Thou might'st have ta'en example
  From what thou read'st in story;
    Being as worthy to sit
    On an ambling tit
  As thy predecessor Dory.

5 But, oh, the roof of linen,
  Intended for a shelter!
    But the rain made an ass
    Of tilt and canvas,
  And the snow, which you know is a melter.

6 But with thee to inveigle
  That tender stripling Astcot,
    Who was soak'd to the skin,
    Through drugget so thin,
  Having neither coat nor waistcoat.

7 He being proudly mounted,
  Clad in cloak of Plymouth,
    Defied cart so base,
    For thief without grace,
  That goes to make a wry mouth.

8 Nor did he like the omen,
  For fear it might be his doom
    One day for to sing,
    With gullet in string,
  A hymn of Robert Wisdom.

9 But what was all this business?
  For sure it was important;
    For who rides i' th'wet
    When affairs are not great,
  The neighbours make but a sport on't.

10 To a goodly fat sow's baby,
   O John! thou hadst a malice;
     The old driver of swine
     That day sure was thine,
   Or thou hadst not quitted Calais.

[1] 'Fill of carting': we three riding in a cart from Dunkirk to Calais, with a fat Dutch woman.


1 What gives us that fantastic fit,
  That all our judgment and our wit
  To vulgar custom we submit?

2 Treason, theft, murder, and all the rest
  Of that foul legion we so detest,
  Are in their proper names express'd.

3 Why is it then thought sin or shame
  Those necessary parts to name,
  From whence we went, and whence we came?

4 Nature, whate'er she wants, requires;
  With love inflaming our desires,
  Finds engines fit to quench those fires.

5 Death she abhors; yet when men die
  We are present; but no stander by
  Looks on when we that loss supply.

6 Forbidden wares sell twice as dear;
  Even sack, prohibited last year,
  A most abominable rate did bear.

7 'Tis plain our eyes and ears are nice,
  Only to raise, by that device,
  Of those commodities the price.

8 Thus reason's shadows us betray,
  By tropes and figures led astray,
  From Nature, both her guide and way.


                    Thus to Glaucus spake
Divine Sarpedon, since he did not find
Others, as great in place, as great in mind:—
Above the rest why is our pomp, our power?
Our flocks, our herds, and our possessions more?
Why all the tributes land and sea affords
Heap'd in great chargers, load our sumptuous boards?
Our cheerful guests carouse the sparkling tears
Of the rich grape, while music charms their ears?
Why, as we pass, do those on Xanthus' shore, 10
As gods behold us, and as gods adore?
But that, as well in danger as degree,
We stand the first; that when our Licians see
Our brave examples, they admiring say,
Behold our gallant leaders! These are they
Deserve the greatness, and unenvied stand,
Since what they act transcends what they command.
Could the declining of this fate (O friend!)
Our date to immortality extend?
Or if death sought not them who seek not death, 20
Would I advance? or should my vainer breath
With such a glorious folly thee inspire?
But since with Fortune Nature doth conspire,
Since age, disease, or some less noble end,
Though not less certain, does our days attend;
Since 'tis decreed, and to this period lead
A thousand ways, the noblest path we'll tread,
And bravely on, till they, or we, or all,
A common sacrifice to honour fall.


1 Love! in what poison is thy dart
  Dipp'd, when it makes a bleeding heart?
  None know but they who feel the smart.

2 It is not thou, but we are blind,
  And our corporeal eyes (we find)
  Dazzle the optics of our mind.

3 Love to our citadel resorts;
  Through those deceitful sally-ports,
  Our sentinels betrays our forts.

4 What subtle witchcraft man constrains,
  To change his pleasure into pains,
  And all his freedom into chains?

5 May not a prison, or a grave,
  Like wedlock, honour's title have
  That word makes freeborn man a slave.

6 How happy he that loves not, lives!
  Him neither hope nor fear deceives,
  To Fortune who no hostage gives.

7 How unconcern'd in things to come!
  If here uneasy, finds at Rome,
  At Paris, or Madrid, his home.

8 Secure from low and private ends,
  His life, his zeal, his wealth attends
  His prince, his country, and his friends.

9 Danger and honour are his joy;
  But a fond wife, or wanton boy,
  May all those gen'rous thoughts destroy.

10 Then he lays by the public care;
   Thinks of providing for an heir;
   Learns how to get, and how to spare.

11 Nor fire, nor foe, nor fate, nor night,
   The Trojan hero did affright,
   Who bravely twice renew'd the fight.

12 Though still his foes in number grew,
   Thicker their darts and arrows flew,
   Yet, left alone, no fear he knew.

13 But Death in all her forms appears,
   From every thing he sees and hears,
   For whom he leads, and whom he bears.[1]

14 Love, making all things else his foes,
   Like a fierce torrent, overflows
   Whatever doth his course oppose.

15 This was the cause, the poets sung,
   Thy mother from the sea was sprung;
   But they were mad to make thee young.

16 Her father, not her son, art thou:
   From our desires our actions grow;
   And from the cause th'effect must flow.

17 Love is as old as place or time;
   'Twas he the fatal tree did climb,
   Grandsire of father Adam's crime.

18 Well may'st thou keep this world in awe;
   Religion, wisdom, honour, law,
   The tyrant in his triumph draw.

19 'Tis he commands the powers above;
   Phoebus resigns his darts, and Jove
   His thunder to the god of Love.

20 To him doth his feign'd mother yield;
   Nor Mars (her champion's) flaming shield
   Guards him, when Cupid takes the field.

21 He clips Hope's wings, whose airy bliss
   Much higher than fruition is,
   But less than nothing if it miss.

22 When matches Love alone projects,
   The cause transcending the effects,
   That wild fire's quench'd in cold neglects;

23 Whilst those conjunctions prove the best,
   Where Love's of blindness dispossess'd
   By perspectives of interest.

24 Though Sol'mon with a thousand wives,
   To get a wise successor strives,
   But one (and he a fool) survives.

25 Old Rome of children took no care;
   They with their friends their beds did share,
   Secure t'adopt a hopeful heir.

26 Love drowsy days and stormy nights
   Makes; and breaks friendship, whose delights
   Feed, but not glut our appetites.

27 Well-chosen friendship, the most noble
   Of virtues, all our joys makes double,
   And into halves divides our trouble.

28 But when th'unlucky knot we tie,
   Care, av'rice, fear, and jealousy
   Make friendship languish till it die.

29 The wolf, the lion, and the bear,
   When they their prey in pieces tear,
   To quarrel with themselves forbear;

30 Yet tim'rous deer, and harmless sheep,
   When love into their veins doth creep,
   That law of Nature cease to keep.

31 Who, then, can blame the am'rous boy,
   Who, the fair Helen to enjoy,
   To quench his own, set fire on Troy?

32 Such is the world's prepost'rous fate,
   Amongst all creatures, mortal hate
   Love (though immortal) doth create.

33 But love may beasts excuse, for they
   Their actions not by reason sway,
   But their brute appetites obey.

34 But man's that savage beast, whose mind
   From reason to self-love declined,
   Delights to prey upon his kind.

[1] 'Whom he bears': his father and son.


Old Chaucer, like the morning star,
To us discovers day from far;
His light those mists and clouds dissolved,
Which our dark nation long involved:
But he descending to the shades,
Darkness again the age invades.
Next (like Aurora) Spenser rose, 7
Whose purple blush the day foreshows;
The other three with his own fires
Phoebus, the poet's god, inspires;
By Shakespeare's, Jonson's, Fletcher's lines,
Our stage's lustre Rome's outshines:
These poets near our princes sleep,
And in one grave their mansion keep.
They lived to see so many days,
Till time had blasted all their bays:
But cursèd be the fatal hour,
That pluck'd the fairest, sweetest flower
That in the Muses' garden grew,
And amongst wither'd laurels threw! 20
Time, which made them their fame outlive,
To Cowley scarce did ripeness give.
Old mother Wit, and Nature, gave
Shakespeare and Fletcher all they have;
In Spenser, and in Jonson, Art
Of slower Nature got the start;
But both in him so equal are,
None knows which bears the happiest share;
To him no author was unknown,
Yet what he wrote was all his own; 30
He melted not the ancient gold,
Nor, with Ben Jonson, did make bold
To plunder all the Roman stores
Of poets, and of orators:
Horace's wit, and Virgil's state,
He did not steal, but emulate!
And when he would like them appear,
Their garb, but not their clothes, did wear;
He not from Rome alone, but Greece,
Like Jason, brought the golden fleece; 40
To him that language (though to none
Of th'others) as his own was known.
On a stiff gale (as Flaccus[1] sings)
The Theban swan extends his wings,
When through th'ethereal clouds he flies;
To the same pitch our swan doth rise;
Old Pindar's flights by him are reach'd,
When on that gale his wings are stretch'd;
His fancy and his judgment such,
Each to the others seem'd too much, 50
His severe judgment (giving law)
His modest fancy kept in awe:
As rigid husbands jealous are,
When they believe their wives too fair.
His English streams so pure did flow
As all that saw and tasted know;
But for his Latin vein, so clear,
Strong,[2] full, and high it doth appear,
That were immortal Virgil here,
Him, for his judge, he would not fear; 60
Of that great portraiture so true
A copy pencil never drew.
My Muse her song had ended here,
But both their Genii straight appear,
Joy and amazement her did strike:
Two twins she never saw so like.
'Twas taught by wise Pythagoras,
One soul might through more bodies pass.
Seeing such transmigration there,
She thought it not a fable here. 70
Such a resemblance of all parts,
Life, death, age, fortune, nature, arts;
Then lights her torch at theirs, to tell,
And show the world this parallel:
Fix'd and contemplative their looks,
Still turning over Nature's books;
Their works chaste, moral and divine,
Where profit and delight combine;
They, gilding dirt, in noble verse
Rustic philosophy rehearse. 80
When heroes, gods, or god-like kings
They praise, on their exalted wings
To the celestial orbs they climb,
And with th'harmonious spheres keep time.
Nor did their actions fall behind
Their words, but with like candour sinned;
Each drew fair characters, yet none
Of these they feign'd, excels their own.
Both by two gen'rous princes loved,
Who knew, and judged what they approved; 90
Yet having each the same desire,
Both from the busy throng retire.
Their bodies, to their minds resign'd,
Cared not to propagate their kind:
Yet though both fell before their hour,
Time on their offspring hath no power,
Nor fire nor fate their bays shall blast,
Nor death's dark veil their day o'ercast.

[1] 'Flaccus Horace': his Pindarics. [2] 'Strong': his last works.


To the tune of, 'I went from England.'

1 But will you now to peace incline,
   And languish in the main design,
       And leave us in the lurch?
   I would not monarchy destroy,
   But as the only way t'enjoy
       The ruin of the church.

2 Is not the Bishops' bill denied,
   And we still threaten'd to be tried?
       You see the King embraces
   Those counsels he approved before:
   Nor doth he promise, which is more,
       That we shall have their places.

3 Did I for this bring in the Scot?
   (For 'tis no secret now) the plot
       Was Saye's and mine together;
   Did I for this return again,
   And spend a winter there in vain,
       Once more t'invite them hither?

4 Though more our money than our cause
   Their brotherly assistance draws,
       My labour was not lost.
   At my return I brought you thence
   Necessity, their strong pretence,
       And these shall quit the cost.

5 Did I for this my country bring
   To help their knight against their King,
       And raise the first sedition?
   Though I the business did decline,
   Yet I contrived the whole design,
       And sent them their petition.

6 So many nights spent in the City
   In that invisible Committee,
       The wheel that governs all;
   From thence the change in church and state,
   And all the mischief bears the date
       From Haberdashers' Hall.

7 Did we force Ireland to despair,
   Upon the King to cast the war,
       To make the world abhor him,
   Because the rebels used his name?
   Though we ourselves can do the same,
       While both alike were for him.

8 Then the same fire we kindled here
   With what was given to quench it there,
       And wisely lost that nation:
   To do as crafty beggars use,
   To maim themselves, thereby t'abuse
       The simple man's compassion.

9 Have I so often pass'd between
   Windsor and Westminster, unseen,
       And did myself divide:
   To keep his Excellence in awe,
   And give the Parliament the law?
       For they knew none beside.

10 Did I for this take pains to teach
   Our zealous ignorants to preach,
       And did their lungs inspire;
   Gave them their texts, show'd them their parts,
   And taught them all their little arts,
       To fling abroad the fire?

11 Sometimes to beg, sometimes to threaten,
   And say the Cavaliers are beaten,
       To stroke the people's ears;
   Then straight, when victory grows cheap,
   And will no more advance the heap,
       To raise the price of fears.

12 And now the books, and now the bells,
   And now our act, the preacher tells,
       To edify the people;
   All our divinity is news,
   And we have made of equal use
       The pulpit and the steeple.

13 And shall we kindle all this flame
   Only to put it out again,
       And must we now give o'er,
   And only end where we begun?
   In vain this mischief we have done,
       If we can do no more.

14 If men in peace can have their right,
   Where's the necessity to fight,
       That breaks both law and oath?
   They'll say they fight not for the cause,
   Nor to defend the King and laws,
       But us against them both.

15 Either the cause at first was ill,
   Or, being good, it is so still;
       And thence they will infer,
   That either now or at the first
   They were deceived; or, which is worst,
       That we ourselves may err.

16 But plague and famine will come in,
   For they and we are near of kin,
        And cannot go asunder:
   But while the wicked starve, indeed
   The saints have ready at their need
       God's providence, and plunder.

17 Princes we are if we prevail,
   And gallant villains if we fail.
       When to our fame 'tis told,
   It will not be our least of praise,
   Since a new state we could not raise,
       To have destroy'd the old.

18 Then let us stay and fight, and vote,
   Till London is not worth a groat;
       Oh! 'tis a patient beast!
   When we have gall'd and tired the mule,
   And can no longer have the rule,
       We'll have the spoil at least.


After so many concurring petitions
From all ages and sexes, and all conditions,
We come in the rear to present our follies
To Pym, Stroud, Haslerig, Hampden, and Hollis.
Though set form of prayer be an abomination,
Set forms of petitions find great approbation;
Therefore, as others from th'bottom of their souls,
So we from the depth and bottom of our bowels,
According unto the bless'd form you have taught us,
We thank you first for the ills you have brought us: 10
For the good we receive we thank him that gave it,
And you for the confidence only to crave it.
Next in course, we complain of the great violation
Of privilege (like the rest of our nation),
But 'tis none of yours of which we have spoken,
Which never had being until they were broken;
But ours is a privilege ancient and native,
Hangs not on an ord'nance, or power legislative.
And, first, 'tis to speak whatever we please,
Without fear of a prison or pursuivants' fees. 20
Next, that we only may lie by authority;
But in that also you have got the priority.
Next, an old custom, our fathers did name it
Poetical license, and always did claim it.
By this we have power to change age into youth,
Turn nonsense to sense, and falsehood to truth;
In brief, to make good whatsoever is faulty;
This art some poet, or the devil, has taught ye:
And this our property you have invaded,
And a privilege of both Houses have made it. 30
But that trust above all in poets reposed,
That kings by them only are made and deposed,
This though you cannot do, yet you are willing:
But when we undertake deposing or killing,
They're tyrants and monsters; and yet then the poet
Takes full revenge on the villains that do it:
And when we resume a sceptre or crown,
We are modest, and seek not to make it our own.
But is't not presumption to write verses to you,
Who make better poems by far of the two? 40
For all those pretty knacks you compose,
Alas! what are they but poems in prose?
And between those and ours there's no difference,
But that yours want the rhyme, the wit, and the sense:
But for lying (the most noble part of a poet)
You have it abundantly, and yourselves know it;
And though you are modest and seem to abhor it,
'T has done you good service, and thank Hell for it:
Although the old maxim remains still in force,
That a sanctified cause must have a sanctified course, 50
If poverty be a part of our trade,
So far the whole kingdom poets you have made,
Nay, even so far as undoing will do it,
You have made King Charles himself a poet:
But provoke not his Muse, for all the world knows,
Already you have had too much of his prose.


1 Do you not know, not a fortnight ago,
    How they bragg'd of a Western Wonder?
  When a hundred and ten slew five thousand men,
    With the help of lightning and thunder?

2 There Hopton was slain, again and again,
    Or else my author did lie;
  With a new thanksgiving, for the dead who are living,
    To God, and his servant Chidleigh.

3 But now on which side was the miracle tried?
    I hope we at last are even;
  For Sir Ralph and his knaves are risen from their graves,
    To cudgel the clowns of Devon.

4 And there Stamford came, for his honour was lame
    Of the gout three months together;
  But it proved, when they fought, but a running gout,
    For his heels were lighter than ever.

5 For now he outruns his arms and his guns,
    And leaves all his money behind him;
  But they follow after; unless he take water,
    At Plymouth again they will find him.

6 What Reading hath cost, and Stamford hath lost,
    Goes deep in the sequestrations;
  These wounds will not heal, with your new great seal,
    Nor Jephson's declarations.

7 Now, Peters and Case, in your prayer and grace,
    Remember the new thanksgiving;
  Isaac and his wife, now dig for your life,
   Or shortly you'll dig for your living.


1 You heard of that wonder, of the lightning and thunder,
    Which made the lie so much the louder:
  Now list to another, that miracle's brother,
    Which was done with a firkin of powder.

2 Oh, what a damp it struck through the camp!
    But as for honest Sir Ralph,
  It blew him to the Vies without beard or eyes,
    But at least three heads and a half.

3 When out came the book, which the newsmonger took,
    From the preaching lady's letter,
  Where in the first place, stood the conqueror's face,
    Which made it show much the better.

4 But now, without lying, you may paint him flying,
    At Bristol they say you may find him,
  Great William the Con, so fast did he run,
    That he left half his name behind him.

5 And now came the post, save all that was lost,
    But, alas! we are past deceiving
  By a trick so stale, or else such a tale
    Might amount to a new thanksgiving.

6 This made Mr. Case, with a pitiful face,
    In the pulpit to fall a weeping,
  Though his mouth utter'd lies, truth fell from his eyes,
    Which kept the Lord Mayor from sleeping.

7 Now shut up shops, and spend your last drops,
    For the laws, not your cause, you that loathe 'em,
  Lest Essex should start, and play the second part
    Of worshipful Sir John Hotham.


1 Morpheus! the humble god, that dwells
  In cottages and smoky cells,
  Hates gilded roofs and beds of down;
  And though he fears no prince's frown,
  Flies from the circle of a crown:

2 Come, I say, thou powerful god,
  And thy leaden charming rod,
  Dipp'd in the Lethean lake,
  O'er his wakeful temples shake,
  Lest he should sleep, and never wake.

3 Nature, (alas!) why art thou so
  Obligèd to thy greatest foe?
  Sleep that is thy best repast,
  Yet of death it bears a taste,
  And both are the same thing at last.


So shall we joy, when all whom beasts and worms
Have turn'd to their own substances and forms:
Whom earth to earth, or fire hath changed to fire,
We shall behold more than at first entire;
As now we do to see all thine thy own
In this my Muse's resurrection,
Whose scatter'd parts from thy own race more wounds
Hath suffer'd than Actæon from his hounds;
Which first their brains, and then their belly fed,
And from their excrements new poets bred. 10
But now thy Muse enragèd, from her urn,
Like ghosts of murder'd bodies, does return
T' accuse the murderers, to right the stage,
And undeceive the long-abusèd age,
Which casts thy praise on them, to whom thy wit
Gives not more gold than they give dross to it;
Who not content, like felons, to purloin,
Add treason to it, and debase the coin.
But whither am I stray'd? I need not raise
Trophies to thee from other men's dispraise; 20
Nor is thy fame on lesser ruins built,
Nor needs thy juster title the foul guilt
Of eastern kings, who, to secure their reign,
Must have their brothers, sons, and kindred slain.
Then was wit's empire at the fatal height,
When labouring and sinking with its weight,
From thence a thousand lesser poets sprung,
Like petty princes from the fall of Rome;
When Jonson, Shakespeare, and thyself, did sit,
And sway'd in the triumvirate of wit. 30
Yet what from Jonson's oil and sweat did flow,
Or what more easy Nature did bestow
On Shakespeare's gentler Muse, in thee full grown
Their graces both appear, yet so that none
Can say, Here nature ends, and art begins;
But mix'd like th'elements, and born like twins,
So interwove, so like, so much the same,
None this mere nature, that mere art can name:
'Twas this the ancients meant; nature and skill
Are the two tops of their Parnassus' hill. 40


Such is our pride, our folly, or our fate,
That few but such as cannot write, translate.
But what in them is want of art or voice,
In thee is either modesty or choice.
While this great piece, restored by thee, doth stand
Free from the blemish of an artless hand,
Secure of fame, thou justly dost esteem
Less honour to create than to redeem.
Nor ought a genius less than his that writ 9
Attempt translation; for transplanted wit
All the defects of air and soil doth share,
And colder brains like colder climates are:
In vain they toil, since nothing can beget
A vital spirit but a vital heat.
That servile path thou nobly dost decline
Of tracing word by word, and line by line.
Those are the labour'd births of slavish brains,
Not the effect of poetry, but pains;
Cheap vulgar arts, whose narrowness affords
No flight for thoughts, but poorly sticks at words. 20
A new and nobler way thou dost pursue
To make translations and translators too.
They but preserve the ashes, thou the flame,
True to his sense, but truer to his fame:
Fording his current, where thou find'st it low,
Let'st in thine own to make it rise and flow;
Wisely restoring whatsoever grace
It lost by change of times, or tongues, or place.
Nor fetter'd to his numbers and his times,
Betray'st his music to unhappy rhymes. 30
Nor are the nerves of his compacted strength
Stretch'd and dissolved into unsinew'd length:
Yet, after all, (lest we should think it thine)
Thy spirit to his circle dost confine.
New names, new dressings, and the modern cast,
Some scenes, some persons alter'd, and outfaced
The world, it were thy work; for we have known
Some thank'd and praised for what was less their own.
That master's hand which to the life can trace
The airs, the lines, and features of the face, 40
May with a free and bolder stroke express
A varied posture, or a flatt'ring dress;
He could have made those like, who made the rest,
But that he knew his own design was best.


What mighty gale hath raised a flight so strong,
So high above all vulgar eyes, so long?
One single rapture scarce itself confines
Within the limits of four thousand lines:
And yet I hope to see this noble heat
Continue till it makes the piece complete,
That to the latter age it may descend,
And to the end of time its beams extend.
When poesy joins profit with delight,
Her images should be most exquisite; 10
Since man to that perfection cannot rise,
Of always virtuous, fortunate, and wise;
Therefore the patterns man should imitate
Above the life our masters should create.
Herein if we consult with Greece and Rome,
Greece (as in war) by Rome was overcome;
Though mighty raptures we in Homer find,
Yet, like himself, his characters were blind:
Virgil's sublimèd eyes not only gazed,
But his sublimèd thoughts to heaven were raised. 20
Who reads the honours which he paid the gods
Would think he had beheld their bless'd abodes;
And that his hero might accomplish'd be,
From divine blood he draws his pedigree.
From that great judge your judgment takes its law,
And by the best original does draw
Bonduca's honour, with those heroes Time 27
Had in oblivion wrapp'd, his saucy crime:
To them and to your nation you are just,
In raising up their glories from the dust;
And to Old England you that right have done,
To show no story nobler than her own.


A tablet stood of that abstersive tree,
  Where Aethiop's swarthy bird did build her nest;
Inlaid it was with Libyan ivory,
  Drawn from the jaws of Afric's prudent beast.
Two kings like Saul, much taller than the rest,
  Their equal armies draw into the field;
Till one take th'other pris'ner they contest;
  Courage and fortune must to conduct yield.
This game the Persian Magi did invent,
  The force of Eastern wisdom to express; 10
From thence to busy Europeans sent,
  And styled by modern Lombards pensive Chess.
Yet some that fled from Troy to Rome report,
  Penthesilea Priam did oblige;
Her Amazons his Trojans taught this sport,
  To pass the tedious hours of ten years' siege.
There she presents herself, whilst kings and peers
  Look gravely on whilst fierce Bellona fights;
Yet maiden modesty her motions steers,
  Nor rudely skips o'er bishops' heads like knights. 20


Having at large declared Jove's embassy,
Cyllenius[1] from Aeneas straight doth fly;
He, loth to disobey the god's command,
Nor willing to forsake this pleasant land,
Ashamed the kind Eliza to deceive,
But more afraid to take a solemn leave,
He many ways his lab'ring thoughts revolves;
But fear o'ercoming shame, at last resolves
(Instructed by the god of thieves)[1] to steal
Himself away, and his escape conceal. 10
He calls his captains, bids them rig the fleet,
That at the port they privately should meet;
And some dissembled colour to project,
That Dido should not their design suspect;
But all in vain he did his plot disguise;
No art a watchful lover can surprise.
She the first motion finds; love though most sure,
Yet always to itself seems unsecure.
That wicked fame which their first love proclaim'd,
Foretells the end: the queen with rage inflamed, 20
Thus greets him: 'Thou dissembler! would'st thou fly
Out of my arms by stealth perfidiously?
Could not the hand I plighted, nor the love,
Nor thee the fate of dying Dido move?
And in the depth of winter, in the night,
Dark as thy black designs to take thy flight,
To plough the raging seas to coasts unknown,
The kingdom thou pretend'st to not thine own!
Were Troy restored, thou shouldst mistrust a wind
False as thy vows, and as thy heart unkind. 30
Fly'st thou from me? By these dear drops of brine
I thee adjure, by that right hand of thine,
By our espousals, by our marriage-bed,
If all my kindness ought have merited;
If ever I stood fair in thy esteem,
From ruin me and my lost house redeem.
Cannot my prayers a free acceptance find?
Nor my tears soften an obdurate mind?
My fame of chastity, by which the skies
I reached before, by thee extinguish'd dies. 40
Into my borders now Iarbas falls,
And my revengeful brother scales my walls;
The wild Numidians will advantage take;
For thee both Tyre and Carthage me forsake.
Hadst thou before thy flight but left with me
A young Aeneas who, resembling thee,
Might in my sight have sported, I had then
Not wholly lost, nor quite deserted been;
By thee, no more my husband, but my guest,
Betray'd to mischiefs, of which death's the least.' 50

With fixèd looks he stands, and in his breast
By Jove's command his struggling care suppress'd.
'Great queen! your favours and deserts so great,
Though numberless, I never shall forget;
No time, until myself I have forgot,
Out of my heart Eliza's name shall blot:
But my unwilling flight the gods enforce,
And that must justify our sad divorce.
Since I must you forsake, would Fate permit,
To my desires I might my fortune fit; 60
Troy to her ancient splendour I would raise,
And where I first began, would end my days.
But since the Lycian lots, and Delphic god
Have destined Italy for our abode;
Since you proud Carthage (fled from Tyre) enjoy,
Why should not Latium us receive from Troy?
As for my son, my father's angry ghost
Tells me his hopes by my delays are cross'd,
And mighty Jove's ambassador appear'd
With the same message, whom I saw and heard; 70
We both are grieved when you or I complain,
But much the more when all complaints are vain;
I call to witness all the gods, and thy
Beloved head, the coast of Italy
Against my will I seek.'

Whilst thus he speaks, she rolls her sparkling eyes,
Surveys him round, and thus incensed replies;
'Thy mother was no goddess, nor thy stock
From Dardanus, but in some horrid rock,
Perfidious wretch! rough Caucasus thee bred, 80
And with their milk Hyrcanian tigers fed.
Dissimulation I shall now forget,
And my reserves of rage in order set,
Could all my prayers and soft entreaties force
Sighs from his breast, or from his look remorse.
Where shall I first complain? can mighty Jove
Or Juno such impieties approve?
The just Astræa sure is fled to hell;
Nor more in earth, nor heaven itself will dwell.
Oh, Faith! him on my coasts by tempest cast, 90
Receiving madly, on my throne I placed;
His men from famine, and his fleet from fire
I rescued: now the Lycian lots conspire
With Phoebus; now Jove's envoy through the air
Brings dismal tidings; as if such low care
Could reach their thoughts, or their repose disturb!
Thou art a false impostor, and a fourbe;
Go, go, pursue thy kingdom through the main; 98
I hope, if Heaven her justice still retain,
Thou shalt be wreck'd, or cast upon some rock,
Where thou the name of Dido shalt invoke;
I'll follow thee in fun'ral flames; when dead
My ghost shall thee attend at board and bed,
And when the gods on thee their vengeance show,
That welcome news shall comfort me below.'

This saying, from his hated sight she fled;
Conducted by her damsels to her bed;
Yet restless she arose, and looking out,
Beholds the fleet, and hears the seamen shout
When great Aeneas pass'd before the guard, 110
To make a view how all things were prepared.
Ah, cruel Love! to what dost thou enforce
Poor mortal breasts! Again she hath recourse
To tears and prayers, again she feels the smart
Of a fresh wound from his tyrannic dart.
That she no ways nor means may leave untried,
Thus to her sister she herself applied:
'Dear sister, my resentment had not been
So moving, if this fate I had foreseen:
Therefore to me this last kind office do, 120
Thou hast some int'rest in our scornful foe;
He trusts to thee the counsels of his mind,
Thou his soft hours, and free access canst find;
Tell him I sent not to the Ilian coast
My fleet to aid the Greeks; his father's ghost
I never did disturb; ask him to lend
To this, the last request that I shall send,
A gentle ear; I wish that he may find
A happy passage, and a prosp'rous wind.
The contract I don't plead, which he betray'd, 130
Nor that his promised conquest be delay'd;
All that I ask is but a short reprieve,
Till I forget to love, and learn to grieve;
Some pause and respite only I require,
Till with my tears I shall have quench'd my fire.
If thy address can but obtain one day
Or two, my death that service shall repay.'
Thus she entreats; such messages with tears
Condoling Anne to him, and from him bears:
But him no prayers, no arguments can move; 140
The Fates resist, his ears are stopp'd by Jove.
As when fierce northern blasts from th'Alps descend,
From his firm roots with struggling gusts to rend
An aged sturdy oak, the rattling sound
Grows loud, with leaves and scatter'd arms the ground
Is overlaid; yet he stands fixed; as high
As his proud head is raised towards the sky,
So low t'wards hell his roots descend. With prayers
And tears the hero thus assail'd, great cares
He smothers in his breast, yet keeps his post, 150
All their addresses and their labour lost.
Then she deceives her sister with a smile:
'Anne, in the inner court erect a pile;
Thereon his arms and once-loved portrait lay,
Thither our fatal marriage-bed convey;
All cursèd monuments of him with fire
We must abolish (so the gods require).'
She gives her credit for no worse effect
Than from Sichæus' death she did suspect,
And her commands obeys. 160
Aurora now had left Tithonus' bed,
And o'er the world her blushing rays did spread;
The Queen beheld, as soon as day appear'd,
The navy under sail, the haven clear'd;
Thrice with her hand her naked breast she knocks,
And from her forehead tears her golden locks;
'O Jove!' she cried, 'and shall he thus delude
Me and my realm? why is he not pursued?
Arm, arm,' she cried, 'and let our Tyrians board
With ours his fleet, and carry fire and sword; 170
Leave nothing unattempted to destroy
That perjured race, then let us die with joy.
What if th'event of war uncertain were?
Nor death, nor danger, can the desp'rate fear.
But oh, too late! this thing I should have done,
When first I placed the traitor on my throne.
Behold the faith of him who saved from fire
His honour'd household gods, his aged sire
His pious shoulders from Troy's flames did bear;
Why did I not his carcase piecemeal tear, 180
And cast it in the sea? why not destroy
All his companions, and belovèd boy
Ascanius? and his tender limbs have dress'd,
And made the father on the son to feast?
Thou Sun! whose lustre all things here below
Surveys; and Juno! conscious of my woe;
Revengeful Furies! and Queen Hecate!
Receive and grant my prayer! If he the sea
Must needs escape, and reach th'Ausonian land,
If Jove decree it, Jove's decree must stand; 190
When landed, may he be with arms oppress'd
By his rebelling people, be distress'd
By exile from his country, be divorced
From young Ascanius' sight, and be enforced
To implore foreign aids, and lose his friends
By violent and undeservèd ends!
When to conditions of unequal peace
He shall submit, then may he not possess
Kingdom nor life, and find his funeral 199
I' th'sands, when he before his day shall fall!
And ye, O Tyrians! with immortal hate
Pursue this race, this service dedicate
To my deplorèd ashes; let there be
'Twixt us and them no league nor amity.
May from my bones a new Achilles rise,
That shall infest the Trojan colonies
With fire, and sword, and famine, when at length
Time to our great attempts contributes strength;
Our seas, our shores, our armies theirs oppose,
And may our children be for ever foes!' 210
A ghastly paleness death's approach portends,
Then trembling she the fatal pile ascends;
Viewing the Trojan relics, she unsheath'd
Aeneas' sword, not for that use bequeath'd:
Then on the guilty bed she gently lays
Herself, and softly thus lamenting prays;
'Dear relics! whilst that Gods and Fates give leave,
Free me from cares and my glad soul receive.
That date which Fortune gave, I now must end,
And to the shades a noble ghost descend. 220
Sichæus' blood, by his false brother spilt,
I have revenged, and a proud city built;
Happy, alas! too happy, I had lived,
Had not the Trojan on my coast arrived.
But shall I die without revenge? yet die
Thus, thus with joy to thy Sichæus fly.
My conscious foe my funeral fire shall view
From sea, and may that omen him pursue!'
Her fainting hand let fall the sword besmear'd
With blood, and then the mortal wound appear'd; 230
Through all the court the fright and clamours rise,
Which the whole city fills with fears and cries,
As loud as if her Carthage, or old Tyre
The foe had enter'd, and had set on fire.
Amazèd Anne with speed ascends the stairs,
And in her arms her dying sister rears;
'Did you for this yourself and me beguile?
For such an end did I erect this pile?
Did you so much despise me, in this fate
Myself with you not to associate? 240
Yourself and me, alas! this fatal wound,
The senate, and the people, doth confound.
I'll wash her wound with tears, and at her death,
My lips from hers shall draw her parting breath.'
Then with her vest the wound she wipes and dries;
Thrice with her arm the Queen attempts to rise,
But her strength failing, falls into a swound,
Life's last efforts yet striving with her wound;
Thrice on her bed she turns, with wand'ring sight
Seeking, she groans when she beholds the light. 250
Then Juno, pitying her disastrous fate,
Sends Iris down, her pangs to mitigate.
(Since if we fall before th'appointed day,
Nature and death continue long their fray.)
Iris descends; 'This fatal lock' (says she)
'To Pluto I bequeath, and set thee free;'
Then clips her hair: cold numbness strait bereaves
Her corpse of sense, and th'air her soul receives.

[1] 'Cyllenius'—'God of thieves': Mercury.

[The following two pieces are translated from the Latin of Mancini, an Italian, contemporary with Petrarch.]


Wisdom's first progress is to take a view
What's decent or indecent, false or true.
He's truly prudent who can separate
Honest from vile, and still adhere to that;
Their difference to measure, and to reach
Reason well rectified must Nature teach.
And these high scrutinies are subjects fit
For man's all-searching and inquiring wit;
That search of knowledge did from Adam flow;
Who wants it yet abhors his wants to show. 10
Wisdom of what herself approves makes choice,
Nor is led captive by the common voice.
Clear-sighted Reason Wisdom's judgment leads,
And Sense, her vassal, in her footsteps treads.
That thou to Truth the perfect way may'st know,
To thee all her specific forms I'll show:
He that the way to honesty will learn,
First what's to be avoided must discern.
Thyself from flatt'ring self-conceit defend,
Nor what thou dost not know to know pretend. 20
Some secrets deep in abstruse darkness lie:
To search them thou wilt need a piercing eye.
Not rashly therefore to such things assent,
Which, undeceived, thou after may'st repent;
Study and time in these must thee instruct,
And others' old experience may conduct.
Wisdom herself her ear doth often lend
To counsel offer'd by a faithful friend.
In equal scales two doubtful matters lay,
Thou may'st choose safely that which most doth weigh;
'Tis not secure this place or that to guard, 31
If any other entrance stand unbarr'd:
He that escapes the serpent's teeth may fail,
If he himself secures not from his tail.
Who saith, who could such ill events expect?
With shame on his own counsels doth reflect.
Most in the world doth self-conceit deceive, 37
Who just and good whate'er they act believe;
To their wills wedded, to their errors slaves,
No man (like them) they think himself behaves.
This stiff-neck'd pride nor art nor force can bend,
Nor high-flown hopes to Reason's lure descend.
Fathers sometimes their children's faults regard
With pleasure, and their crimes with gifts reward.
Ill painters, when they draw, and poets write,
Virgil and Titian (self admiring) slight;
Then all they do like gold and pearl appears,
And others' actions are but dirt to theirs.
They that so highly think themselves above
All other men, themselves can only love; 50
Reason and virtue, all that man can boast
O'er other creatures, in those brutes are lost.
Observe (if thee this fatal error touch,
Thou to thyself contributing too much)
Those who are gen'rous, humble, just and wise,
Who not their gold, nor themselves idolise;
To form thyself by their example learn,
(For many eyes can more than one discern),
But yet beware of councils when too full,
Number makes long disputes, and graveness dull; 60
Though their advice be good, their counsel wise,
Yet length still loses opportunities:
Debate destroys despatch, as fruits we see
Rot when they hang too long upon the tree;
In vain that husbandman his seed doth sow,
If he his crop not in due season mow.
A gen'ral sets his army in array
In vain, unless he fight and win the day.
'Tis virtuous action that must praise bring forth,
Without which, slow advice is little worth. 70
Yet they who give good counsel praise deserve,
Though in the active part they cannot serve.
In action, learned counsellors their age,
Profession, or disease, forbids t'engage.
Nor to philosophers is praise denied,
Whose wise instructions after ages guide;
Yet vainly most their age in study spend;
No end of writing books, and to no end:
Beating their brains for strange and hidden things,
Whose knowledge, nor delight, nor profit brings; 80
Themselves with doubts both day and night perplex,
Nor gentle reader please, or teach, but vex.
Books should to one of these four ends conduce—
For wisdom, piety, delight, or use.
What need we gaze upon the spangled sky?
Or into matter's hidden causes pry?
To describe every city, stream, or hill
I' th'world, our fancy with vain arts to fill?
What is't to hear a sophister, that pleads,
Who by the ears the deceived audience leads? 90
If we were wise, these things we should not mind,
But more delight in easy matters find.
Learn to live well, that thou may'st die so too;
To live and die is all we have to do:
The way (if no digression's made) is even,
And free access, if we but ask, is given.
Then seek to know those things which make us bless'd,
And having found them, lock them in thy breast;
Inquiring then the way, go on, nor slack,
But mend thy pace, nor think of going back. 100
Some their whole age in these inquiries waste,
And die like fools before one step they've pass'd;
'Tis strange to know the way, and not t'advance;
That knowledge is far worse than ignorance.
The learned teach, but what they teach, not do,
And standing still themselves, make others go.
In vain on study time away we throw,
When we forbear to act the things we know.
The soldier that philosopher well blamed,
Who long and loudly in the schools declaim'd; 110
'Tell' (said the soldier) 'venerable Sir,
Why all these words, this clamour, and this stir?
Why do disputes in wrangling spend the day,
Whilst one says only yea, and t'other nay?'
'Oh,' said the doctor, 'we for wisdom toil'd,
For which none toils too much.' The soldier smiled;
'You're gray and old, and to some pious use
This mass of treasure you should now reduce:
But you your store have hoarded in some bank,
For which th'infernal spirits shall you thank.' 120
Let what thou learnest be by practice shown;
'Tis said that wisdom's children make her known.
What's good doth open to th'inquirer stand,
And itself offers to th'accepting hand;
All things by order and true measures done,
Wisdom will end, as well as she begun.
Let early care thy main concerns secure,
Things of less moment may delays endure:
Men do not for their servants first prepare,
And of their wives and children quit the care; 130
Yet when we're sick, the doctor's fetch'd in haste,
Leaving our great concernment to the last.
When we are well, our hearts are only set
(Which way we care not) to be rich, or great;
What shall become of all that we have got?
We only know that us it follows not;
And what a trifle is a moment's breath,
Laid in the scale with everlasting death!
What's time when on eternity we think! 139
A thousand ages in that sea must sink.
Time's nothing but a word; a million
Is full as far from infinite as one.
To whom thou much dost owe, thou much must pay,
Think on the debt against th'accounting day.
God, who to thee reason and knowledge lent,
Will ask how these two talents have been spent.
Let not low pleasures thy high reason blind,
He's mad, that seeks what no man e'er could find.
Why should we fondly please our sense, wherein
Beasts us exceed, nor feel the stings of sin? 150
What thoughts man's reason better can become,
Than th'expectation of his welcome home?
Lords of the world have but for life their lease,
And that too (if the lessor please) must cease.
Death cancels nature's bonds, but for our deeds
(That debt first paid) a strict account succeeds;
If here not clear'd, no suretyship can bail
Condemned debtors from th'eternal jail;
Christ's blood's our balsam; if that cure us here,
Him, when our judge, we shall not find severe; 160
His yoke is easy when by us embraced,
But loads and galls, if on our necks 'tis cast.
Be just in all thy actions, and if join'd
With those that are not, never change thy mind.
If ought obstruct thy course, yet stand not still,
But wind about, till you have topp'd the hill;
To the same end men sev'ral paths may tread,
As many doors into one temple lead;
And the same hand into a fist may close,
Which, instantly a palm expanded shows. 170
Justice and faith never forsake the wise,
Yet may occasion put him in disguise;
Not turning like the wind; but if the state
Of things must change, he is not obstinate;
Things past and future with the present weighs,
Nor credulous of what vain rumour says.
Few things by wisdom are at first believed;
An easy ear deceives, and is deceived:
For many truths have often pass'd for lies,
And lies as often put on truth's disguise; 180
As flattery too oft like friendship shows,
So them who speak plain truth we think our foes.
No quick reply to dubious questions make,
Suspense and caution still prevent mistake.
When any great design thou dost intend,
Think on the means, the manner, and the end:
All great concernments must delays endure;
Rashness and haste make all things unsecure;
And if uncertain thy pretensions be,
Stay till fit time wear out uncertainty; 190
But if to unjust things thou dost pretend,
Ere they begin let thy pretensions end.
Let thy discourse be such that thou may'st give
Profit to others, or from them receive:
Instruct the ignorant; to those that live
Under thy care, good rules and patterns give;
Nor is't the least of virtues, to relieve
Those whom afflictions or oppressions grieve.
Commend but sparingly whom thou dost love:
But less condemn whom thou dost not approve; 200
Thy friend, like flatt'ry, too much praise doth wrong,
And too sharp censure shows an evil tongue:
But let inviolate truth be always dear
To thee; e'en before friendship, truth prefer.
Than what thou mean'st to give, still promise less:
Hold fast thy power thy promise to increase.
Look forward what's to come, and back what's past,
Thy life will be with praise and prudence graced: 208
What loss or gain may follow, thou may'st guess,
Thou then wilt be secure of the success;
Yet be not always on affairs intent,
But let thy thoughts be easy, and unbent:
When our minds' eyes are disengaged and free,
They clearer, farther, and distinctly see;
They quicken sloth, perplexities untie,
Make roughness smooth, and hardness mollify;
And though our hands from labour are released,
Yet our minds find (even when we sleep) no rest.
Search not to find how other men offend,
But by that glass thy own offences mend; 220
Still seek to learn, yet care not much from whom,
(So it be learning) or from whence it come.
Of thy own actions, others' judgments learn;
Often by small, great matters we discern:
Youth what man's age is like to be doth show;
We may our ends by our beginnings know.
Let none direct thee what to do or say,
Till thee thy judgment of the matter sway;
Let not the pleasing many thee delight,
First judge if those whom thou dost please judge right. 230
Search not to find what lies too deeply hid,
Nor to know things whose knowledge is forbid;
Nor climb on pyramids, which thy head turn round
Standing, and whence no safe descent is found.
In vain his nerves and faculties he strains
To rise, whose raising unsecure remains:
They whom desert and favour forwards thrust,
Are wise, when they their measures can adjust.
When well at ease, and happy, live content,
And then consider why that life was lent. 240
When wealthy, show thy wisdom not to be
To wealth a servant, but make wealth serve thee.
Though all alone, yet nothing think or do,
Which nor a witness, nor a judge might know.
The highest hill is the most slipp'ry place,
And Fortune mocks us with a smiling face;
And her unsteady hand hath often placed
Men in high power, but seldom holds them fast;
Against her then her forces Prudence joins,
And to the golden mien herself confines. 250
More in prosperity is reason toss'd,
Than ships in storms, their helms and anchors lost:
Before fair gales not all our sails we bear,
But with side winds into safe harbours steer;
More ships in calms, on a deceitful coast,
Or unseen rocks, than in high storms are lost.
Who casts out threats and frowns no man deceives,
Time for resistance and defence he gives;
But flatt'ry still in sugar'd words betrays,
And poison in high-tasted meats conveys; 260
So Fortune's smiles unguarded man surprise,
But when she frowns, he arms, and her defies.


'Tis the first sanction Nature gave to man,
Each other to assist in what they can;
Just or unjust, this law for ever stands;
All things are good by law which she commands;
The first step, man t'wards Christ must justly live,
Who t'us himself, and all we have, did give;
In vain doth man the name of just expect,
If his devotions he to God neglect;
So must we rev'rence God, as first to know 9
Justice from Him, not from ourselves, doth flow;
God those accepts who to mankind are friends,
Whose justice far as their own power extends;
In that they imitate the power Divine;
The sun alike on good and bad doth shine;
And he that doth no good, although no ill,
Does not the office of the just fulfil.
Virtue doth man to virtuous actions steer,
'Tis not enough that he should vice forbear;
We live not only for ourselves to care,
Whilst they that want it are denied their share. 20
Wise Plato said, the world with men was stored,
That succour each to other might afford;
Nor are those succours to one sort confined,
But sev'ral parts to sev'ral men consign'd;
He that of his own stores no part can give,
May with his counsel or his hands relieve.
If Fortune make thee powerful, give defence
'Gainst fraud and force, to naked innocence:
And when our Justice doth her tributes pay,
Method and order must direct the way. 30
First to our God we must with rev'rence bow;
The second honour to our prince we owe;
Next to wives, parents, children, fit respect,
And to our friends and kindred, we direct;
Then we must those who groan beneath the weight
Of age, disease, or want, commiserate.
'Mongst those whom honest lives can recommend,
Our Justice more compassion should extend;
To such, who thee in some distress did aid,
Thy debt of thanks with int'rest should be paid: 40
As Hesiod sings, spread waters o'er thy field,
And a most just and glad increase 'twill yield.
But yet take heed, lest doing good to one,
Mischief and wrong be to another done;
Such moderation with thy bounty join,
That thou may'st nothing give that is not thine;
That liberality's but cast away,
Which makes us borrow what we cannot pay.
And no access to wealth let rapine bring;
Do nothing that's unjust to be a king. 50
Justice must be from violence exempt,
But fraud's her only object of contempt.
Fraud in the fox, force in the lion dwells;
But Justice both from human hearts expels;
But he's the greatest monster (without doubt)
Who is a wolf within, a sheep without.
Nor only ill injurious actions are,
But evil words and slanders bear their share.
Truth Justice loves, and truth injustice fears,
Truth above all things a just man reveres. 60
Though not by oaths we God to witness call,
He sees and hears, and still remembers all;
And yet our attestations we may wrest
Sometimes to make the truth more manifest;
If by a lie a man preserve his faith,
He pardon, leave, and absolution hath;
Or if I break my promise, which to thee
Would bring no good, but prejudice to me.
All things committed to thy trust conceal,
Nor what's forbid by any means reveal. 70
Express thyself in plain, not doubtful words,
That ground for quarrels or disputes affords:
Unless thou find occasion, hold thy tongue;
Thyself or others careless talk may wrong.
When thou art called into public power,
And when a crowd of suitors throng thy door,
Be sure no great offenders 'scape their dooms; 77
Small praise from lenity and remissness comes;
Crimes pardon'd, others to those crimes invite,
Whilst lookers-on severe examples fright.
When by a pardon'd murd'rer blood is spilt,
The judge that pardon'd hath the greatest guilt;
Who accuse rigour, make a gross mistake;
One criminal pardon'd may an hundred make;
When justice on offenders is not done,
Law, government, and commerce, are o'erthrown;
As besieged traitors with the foe conspire,
T' unlock the gates, and set the town on fire.
Yet lest the punishment th'offence exceed,
Justice with weight and measure must proceed: 90
Yet when pronouncing sentence, seem not glad,
Such spectacles, though they are just, are sad;
Though what thou dost thou ought'st not to repent,
Yet human bowels cannot but relent:
Rather than all must suffer, some must die;
Yet Nature must condole their misery.
And yet, if many equal guilt involve,
Thou may'st not these condemn, and those absolve.
Justice, when equal scales she holds, is blind;
Nor cruelty, nor mercy, change her mind. 100
When some escape for that which others die,
Mercy to those, to these is cruelty.
A fine and slender net the spider weaves,
Which little and light animals receives;
And if she catch a common bee or fly,
They with a piteous groan and murmur die;
But if a wasp or hornet she entrap,
They tear her cords like Samson, and escape;
So like a fly the poor offender dies,
But like the wasp, the rich escapes and flies. 110
Do not, if one but lightly thee offend,
The punishment beyond the crime extend;
Or after warning the offence forget;
So God himself our failings doth remit.
Expect not more from servants than is just,
Reward them well, if they observe their trust;
Nor them with cruelty or pride invade,
Since God and Nature them our brothers made;
If his offence be great, let that suffice;
If light, forgive, for no man's always wise. 120



My early mistress, now my ancient Muse,
That strong Circæan liquor cease t'infuse,
Wherewith thou didst intoxicate my youth,
Now stoop with disenchanted wings to truth;
As the dove's flight did guide Aeneas, now
May thine conduct me to the golden bough:
Tell (like a tall old oak) how learning shoots
To heaven her branches, and to hell her roots.

When God from earth form'd Adam in the East,
He his own image on the clay impress'd;
As subjects then the whole creation came,
And from their natures Adam them did name,
Not from experience (for the world was new),
He only from their cause their natures knew.
Had memory been lost with innocence,
We had not known the sentence nor th'offence;
'Twas his chief punishment to keep in store
The sad remembrance what he was before; 10
And though th'offending part felt mortal pain,
Th' immortal part its knowledge did retain.
After the flood, arts to Chaldea fell;
The father of the faithful there did dwell,
Who both their parent and instructor was;
From thence did learning into Egypt pass:
Moses in all the Egyptian arts was skill'd,
When heavenly power that chosen vessel fill'd;
And we to his high inspiration owe,
That what was done before the flood we know. 20
Prom Egypt, arts their progress made to Greece,
Wrapp'd in the fable of the golden fleece.
Musæus first, then Orpheus, civilise
Mankind, and gave the world their deities;
To many gods they taught devotion,
Which were the distinct faculties of one;
Th' Eternal Cause, in their immortal lines
Was taught, and poets were the first divines:
God Moses first, then David, did inspire,
To compose anthems, for his heavenly choir; 30
To th'one the style of friend he did impart,
On th'other stamp the likeness of his heart:
And Moses, in the old original,
Even God the poet of the world doth call.
Next those old Greeks Pythagoras did rise,
Then Socrates, whom th'oracle call'd Wise;
The divine Plato moral virtue shows,
Then his disciple Aristotle rose,
Who Nature's secrets to the world did teach,
Yet that great soul our novelists impeach; 40
Too much manuring fill'd that field with weeds,
While sects, like locusts, did destroy the seeds;
The tree of knowledge, blasted by disputes,
Produces sapless leaves instead of fruits;
Proud Greece all nations else barbarians held,
Boasting her learning all the world excell'd.
Flying from thence[1] to Italy it came, 47
And to the realm of Naples gave the name,
Till both their nation and their arts did come
A welcome trophy to triumphant Rome;
Then whereso'er her conqu'ring eagles fled,
Arts, learning, and civility were spread;
And as in this our microcosm, the heart
Heat, spirit, motion gives to every part,
So Rome's victorious influence did disperse
All her own virtues through the universe.
Here some digression I must make, t'accuse
Thee, my forgetful, and ingrateful Muse:
Couldst thou from Greece to Latium take thy flight,
And not to thy great ancestor do right? 60
I can no more believe old Homer blind,
Than those who say the sun hath never shined;
The age wherein he lived was dark, but he
Could not want sight who taught the world to see:
They who Minerva from Jove's head derive,
Might make old Homer's skull the Muses' hive;
And from his brain that Helicon distil
Whose racy liquor did his offspring fill.
Nor old Anacreon, Hesiod, Theocrite,
Must we forget, nor Pindar's lofty flight. 70
Old Homer's soul, at last from Greece retired,
In Italy the Mantuan swain inspired.
When great Augustus made war's tempest cease,
His halcyon days brought forth the arts of peace;
He still in his triumphant chariot shines,
By Horace drawn, and Virgil's mighty lines.
'Twas certainly mysterious that the name [2]
Of prophets and of poets is the same;
What the tragedian[3]—wrote, the late success 79
Declares was inspiration, and not guess:
As dark a truth that author did unfold,
As oracles or prophets e'er foretold:
'At last the ocean shall unlock the bound
Of things, and a new world by Tiphys found,
Then ages far remote shall understand
The Isle of Thule is not the farthest land.'
Sure God, by these discov'ries, did design
That his clear light through all the world should shine,
But the obstruction from that discord springs
The prince of darkness made 'twixt Christian kings; 90
That peaceful age with happiness to crown,
From heaven the Prince of Peace himself came down,
Then the true sun of knowledge first appear'd,
And the old dark mysterious clouds were clear'd,
The heavy cause of th'old accursèd flood
Sunk in the sacred deluge of his blood.
His passion man from his first fall redeem'd;
Once more to paradise restored we seem'd;
Satan himself was bound, till th'iron chain
Our pride did break, and let him loose again. 100
Still the old sting remain'd, and man began
To tempt the serpent, as he tempted man;
Then Hell sends forth her furies, Av'rice, Pride,
Fraud, Discord, Force, Hypocrisy their guide;
Though the foundation on a rock were laid,
The church was undermined, and then betray'd:
Though the Apostles these events foretold,
Yet even the shepherd did devour the fold:
The fisher to convert the world began,
The pride convincing of vain-glorious man; 110
But soon his followers grew a sovereign lord,
And Peter's keys exchanged for Peter's sword,
Which still maintains for his adopted son
Vast patrimonies, though himself had none;
Wresting the text to the old giant's sense,
That heaven, once more, must suffer violence.
Then subtle doctors Scriptures made their prize;
Casuists, like cocks, struck out each others eyes;
Then dark distinctions reason's light disguised,
And into atoms truth anatomised. 120
Then Mah'met's crescent, by our feuds increased,
Blasted the learn'd remainders of the East;
That project, when from Greece to Rome it came,
Made Mother Ignorance Devotion's dame;
Then he whom Lucifer's own pride did swell,
His faithful emissary, rose from hell
To possess Peter's chair, that Hildebrand
Whose foot on mitres, then on crowns, did stand;
And before that exalted idol all
(Whom we call gods on earth) did prostrate fall. 130
Then darkness Europe's face did overspread
From lazy cells where superstition bred,
Which, link'd with blind obedience, so increased,
That the whole world some ages they oppress'd;
Till through these clouds the sun of knowledge brake,
And Europe from her lethargy did wake:
Then first our monarchs were acknowledged here,
That they their churches' nursing fathers were.
When Lucifer no longer could advance
His works on the false grounds of ignorance, 140
New arts he tries, and new designs he lays,
Then his well-studied masterpiece he plays;
Loyola, Luther, Calvin he inspires,
And kindles with infernal flames their fires,
Sends their forerunner (conscious of th'event)
Printing, his most pernicious instrument!
Wild controversy then, which long had slept,
Into the press from ruin'd cloisters leap'd;
No longer by implicit faith we err,
Whilst every man's his own interpreter; 150
No more conducted now by Aaron's rod,
Lay-elders from their ends create their god.
But seven wise men the ancient world did know,
We scarce know seven who think themselves not so.
When man learn'd undefiled religion,
We were commanded to be all as one;
Fiery disputes that union have calcined;
Almost as many minds as men we find,
And when that flame finds combustible earth,
Thence fatuus fires, and meteors take their birth; 160
Legions of sects and insects come in throngs;
To name them all would tire a hundred tongues.
So were the Centaurs of Ixion's race,
Who a bright cloud for Juno did embrace;
And such the monsters of Chimæra's kind,
Lions before, and dragons were behind.
Then from the clashes between popes and kings,
Debate, like sparks from flints' collision, springs:
As Jove's loud thunderbolts were forged by heat,
The like our Cyclops on their anvils beat; 170
All the rich mines of learning ransack'd are,
To furnish ammunition for this war:
Uncharitable zeal our reason whets,
And double edges on our passion sets;
'Tis the most certain sign the world's accursed,
That the best things corrupted are the worst;
'Twas the corrupted light of knowledge hurl'd
Sin, death, and ignorance o'er all the world;
That sun like this (from which our sight we have), 179
Gazed on too long, resumes the light he gave;
And when thick mists of doubts obscure his beams,
Our guide is error, and our visions, dreams;
'Twas no false heraldry when madness drew
Her pedigree from those who too much knew;
Who in deep mines for hidden knowledge toils,
Like guns o'ercharged, breaks, misses, or recoils;
When subtle wits have spun their thread too fine,
'Tis weak and fragile, like Arachne's line:
True piety, without cessation toss'd
By theories, the practic part is lost, 190
And like a ball bandied 'twixt pride and wit,
Rather than yield, both sides the prize will quit:
Then whilst his foe each gladiator foils,
The atheist looking on enjoys the spoils.
Through seas of knowledge we our course advance,
Discov'ring still new worlds of ignorance;
And these discov'ries make us all confess
That sublunary science is but guess;
Matters of fact to man are only known,
And what seems more is mere opinion; 200
The standers-by see clearly this event;
All parties say they're sure, yet all dissent;
With their new light our bold inspectors press,
Like Cham, to show their fathers' nakedness,
By whose example after ages may
Discover we more naked are than they;
All human wisdom to divine is folly;
This truth the wisest man made melancholy;
Hope, or belief, or guess, gives some relief,
But to be sure we are deceived brings grief: 210
Who thinks his wife is virtuous, though not so,
Is pleased and patient till the truth he know.
Our God, when heaven and earth he did create,
Form'd man who should of both participate;
If our lives' motions theirs must imitate,
Our knowledge, like our blood, must circulate.
When like a bridegroom from the east, the sun
Sets forth, he thither, whence he came, doth run;
Into earth's spongy veins the ocean sinks,
Those rivers to replenish which he drinks; 220
So learning, which from reason's fountain springs,
Back to the source some secret channel brings.
'Tis happy when our streams of knowledge flow
To fill their banks, but not to overthrow.

  Ut metit Autumnus fruges quas parturit Aestas,
  Sic ortum Natura, dedit Deus his quoque finem.

[1]'From thence': Gracia Major. [2] 'The name': Vates. [3] 'The tragedian': Seneca.


Reader, preserve thy peace: those busy eyes
Will weep at their own sad discoveries,
When every line they add improves thy loss,
Till, having view'd the whole, they seem a cross,
Such as derides thy passions' best relief,
And scorns the succours of thy easy grief;
Yet lest thy ignorance betray thy name
Of man and pious, read and mourn; the shame
Of an exemption from just sense doth show
Irrational, beyond excess of woe. 10
Since reason, then, can privilege a tear,
Manhood, uncensured, pay that tribute here
Upon this noble urn. Here, here remains
Dust far more precious than in India's veins;
Within those cold embraces, ravish'd, lies
That which completes the age's tyrannies;
Who weak to such another ill appear,
For what destroys our hope secures our fear.
What sin, unexpiated in this land
Of groans, hath guided so severe a hand? 20
The late great victim[1] that your altars knew,
Ye angry gods! might have excused this new
Oblation, and have spared one lofty light
Of virtue, to inform our steps aright;
By whose example good, condemnèd, we
Might have run on to kinder destiny.
But as the leader of the herd fell first
A sacrifice, to quench the raging thirst
Of inflamed vengeance for past crimes, so none
But this white, fatted youngling could atone, 30
By his untimely fate, that impious smoke,
That sullied earth, and did Heaven's pity choke.
Let it suffice for us that we have lost
In him more than the widow'd world can boast
In any lump of her remaining clay.
Fair as the gray-eyed morn he was; the day,
Youthful, and climbing upwards still, imparts
No haste like that of his increasing parts.
Like the meridian beam, his virtue's light
Was seen as full of comfort, and as bright. 40
Had his noon been as fixed, as clear—but he,
That only wanted immortality
To make him perfect, now submits to night,
In the black bosom of whose sable spite
He leaves a cloud of flesh behind, and flies,
Refined, all ray and glory, to the skies.
Great saint! shine there in an eternal sphere, 47
And tell those powers to whom thou now draw'st near,
That by our trembling sense, in Hastings dead,
Their anger and our ugly faults are read,
The short lines of whose life did to our eyes
Their love and majesty epitomise;
Tell them, whose stern decrees impose our laws;
The feasted grave may close her hollow jaws.
Though Sin search Nature, to provide her here
A second entertainment half so dear,
She'll never meet a plenty like this hearse,
Till Time present her with the universe!

[1] 'Great victim': Charles I.



Though all the actions of your life are crown'd
With wisdom, nothing makes them more renown'd,
Than that those years, which others think extreme,
Nor to yourself nor us uneasy seem;
Under which weight most, like th'old giants, groan.
When Aetna on their backs by Jove was thrown.

CATO. What you urge, Scipio, from right reason flows:
All parts of age seem burthensome to those
Who virtue's and true wisdom's happiness
Cannot discern; but they who those possess, 10
In what's impos'd by Nature find no grief,
Of which our age is (next our death) the chief,
Which though all equally desire t'obtain,
Yet when they have obtain'd it, they complain;
Such our inconstancies and follies are,
We say it steals upon us unaware:
Our want of reas'ning these false measures makes,
Youth runs to age, as childhood youth o'ertakes.
How much more grievous would our lives appear,
To reach th'eighth hundred, than the eightieth year? 20
Of what in that long space of time hath pass'd,
To foolish age will no remembrance last.
My age's conduct when you seem t'admire
(Which that it may deserve, I much desire),
'Tis my first rule, on Nature, as my guide
Appointed by the gods, I have relied;
And Nature (which all acts of life designs),
Not, like ill poets, in the last declines:
But some one part must be the last of all,
Which like ripe fruits, must either rot or fall. 30
And this from Nature must be gently borne,
Else her (as giants did the gods) we scorn.

LÆLIUS. But, Sir, 'tis Scipio's and my desire,
Since to long life we gladly would aspire,
That from your grave instructions we might hear,
How we, like you, may this great burthen bear.

CAT. This I resolved before, but now shall do
With great delight, since 'tis required by you.

LÆL. If to yourself it will not tedious prove,
Nothing in us a greater joy can move, 40
That as old travellers the young instruct,
Your long, our short experience may conduct.

CAT. 'Tis true (as the old proverb doth relate),
Equals with equals often congregate.
Two consuls[2] (who in years my equals were)
When senators, lamenting I did hear
That age from them had all their pleasures torn, 47
And them their former suppliants now scorn:
They what is not to be accused accuse,
Not others, but themselves their age abuse;
Else this might me concern, and all my friends,
Whose cheerful age with honour youth attends,
Joy'd that from pleasure's slav'ry they are free,
And all respects due to their age they see.
In its true colours, this complaint appears
The ill effect of manners, not of years;
For on their life no grievous burthen lies,
Who are well natured, temperate, and wise;
But an inhuman and ill-temper'd mind,
Not any easy part in life can find. 60

LÆL. This I believe; yet others may dispute,
Their age (as yours) can never bear such fruit
Of honour, wealth, and power to make them sweet;
Not every one such happiness can meet.

CAT. Some weight your argument, my Lælius, bears,
But not so much as at first sight appears.
This answer by Themistocles was made,
(When a Seriphian thus did him upbraid,
'You those great honours to your country owe,
Not to yourself')-'Had I at Seripho[3] 70
Been born, such honour I had never seen,
Nor you, if an Athenian you had been;'
So age, clothed in indecent poverty,
To the most prudent cannot easy be;
But to a fool, the greater his estate,
The more uneasy is his age's weight.
Age's chief arts and arms are to grow wise,
Virtue to know, and known, to exercise;
All just returns to age then virtue makes, 79
Nor her in her extremity forsakes;
The sweetest cordial we receive at last,
Is conscience of our virtuous actions past.
I (when a youth) with reverence did look
On Quintus Fabius, who Tarentum took;
Yet in his age such cheerfulness was seen,
As if his years and mine had equal been;
His gravity was mix'd with gentleness,
Nor had his age made his good humour less;
Then was he well in years (the same that he
Was Consul that of my nativity), 90
(A stripling then), in his fourth consulate
On him at Capua I in arms did wait.
I five years after at Tarentum wan
The quæstorship, and then our love began;
And four years after, when I prætor was,
He pleaded, and the Cincian law[4] did pass.
With useful diligence he used t'engage,
Yet with the temperate arts of patient age
He breaks fierce Hannibal's insulting heats;
Of which exploit thus our friend Ennius treats: 100
He by delay restored the commonwealth,
Nor preferr'd rumour before public health.

[1] This piece is adapted from Cicero, 'De Seucctute.' [2] 'Two consuls': Caius Salinator, Spurius Albinus. [3] 'Seripho': an isle to which condemned men were banished. [4] 'Cincian law': against bribes.


When I reflect on age, I find there are Four causes, which its misery declare. 1. Because our body's strength it much impairs: 2. That it takes off our minds from great affairs: 3. Next, that our sense of pleasure it deprives: 4. Last, that approaching death attends our lives.

Of all these sev'ral causes I'll discourse, 109
And then of each, in order, weigh the force.


The old from such affairs is only freed,
Which vig'rous youth and strength of body need;
But to more high affairs our age is lent,
Most properly when heats of youth are spent.
Did Fabius and your father Scipio
(Whose daughter my son married) nothing do?
Fabricii, Coruncani, Curii;
Whose courage, counsel, and authority,
The Roman commonwealth restored did boast,
Nor Appius, with whose strength his sight was lost, 120
Who when the Senate was to peace inclined
With Pyrrhus, shew'd his reason was not blind,
Whither's our courage and our wisdom come
When Rome itself conspires the fate of Rome?
The rest with ancient gravity and skill
He spake (for his oration's extant still).
'Tis seventeen years since he had Consul been
The second time, and there were ten between;
Therefore their argument's of little force,
Who age from great employments would divorce. 130
As in a ship some climb the shrouds, t'unfold
The sail, some sweep the deck, some pump the hold;
Whilst he that guides the helm employs his skill,
And gives the law to them by sitting still.
Great actions less from courage, strength, and speed,
Than from wise counsels and commands proceed;
Those arts age wants not, which to age belong,
Not heat but cold experience make us strong.
A Consul, Tribune, General, I have been,
All sorts of war I have pass'd through and seen; 140
And now grown old, I seem t'abandon it,
Yet to the Senate I prescribe what's fit.
I every day 'gainst Carthage war proclaim,
(For Rome's destruction hath been long her aim)
Nor shall I cease till I her ruin see,
Which triumph may the gods design for thee;
That Scipio may revenge his grandsire's ghost,
Whose life at Cannæ with great honour lost
Is on record; nor had he wearied been
With age, if he an hundred years had seen; 150
He had not used excursions, spears, or darts,
But counsel, order, and such aged arts,
Which, if our ancestors had not retain'd,
The Senate's name our council had not gain'd.
The Spartans to their highest magistrate
The name of Elder did appropriate:
Therefore his fame for ever shall remain,
How gallantly Tarentum he did gain,
With vig'lant conduct; when that sharp reply
He gave to Salinator, I stood by, 160
Who to the castle fled, the town being lost,
Yet he to Maximus did vainly boast,
'Twas by my means Tarentum you obtain'd;—
'Tis true, had you not lost, I had not gain'd.
And as much honour on his gown did wait,
As on his arms, in his fifth consulate.
When his colleague Carvilius stepp'd aside,
The Tribune of the people would divide
To them the Gallic and the Picene field;
Against the Senate's will he will not yield; 170
When, being angry, boldly he declares
Those things were acted under happy stars,
From which the commonwealth found good effects,
But otherwise they came from bad aspects.
Many great things of Fabius I could tell,
But his son's death did all the rest excel;
(His gallant son, though young, had Consul been)
His funeral oration I have seen
Often; and when on that I turn my eyes,
I all the old philosophers despise. 180
Though he in all the people's eyes seem'd great,
Yet greater he appear'd in his retreat;
When feasting with his private friends at home,
Such counsel, such discourse from him did come,
Such science in his art of augury,
No Roman ever was more learn'd than he;
Knowledge of all things present and to come,
Rememb'ring all the wars of ancient Rome,
Nor only there, but all the world's beside;
Dying in extreme age, I prophesied 190
That which is come to pass, and did discern
From his survivors I could nothing learn.
This long discourse was but to let you see
That his long life could not uneasy be.
Few like the Fabii or the Scipios are
Takers of cities, conquerors in war.
Yet others to like happy age arrive,
Who modest, quiet, and with virtue live:
Thus Plato writing his philosophy,
With honour after ninety years did die. 200
Th' Athenian story writ at ninety-four
By Isocrates, who yet lived five years more;
His master Gorgias at the hundredth year
And seventh, not his studies did forbear:
And, ask'd why he no sooner left the stage?
Said he saw nothing to accuse old age.
None but the foolish, who their lives abuse,
Age of their own mistakes and crimes accuse.
All commonwealths (as by records is seen) 209
As by age preserved, by youth destroy'd have been.
When the tragedian Nævius did demand,
Why did your commonwealth no longer stand?
'Twas answer'd, that their senators were new,
Foolish, and young, and such as nothing knew;
Nature to youth hot rashness doth dispense,
But with cold prudence age doth recompense.
But age, 'tis said, will memory decay,
So (if it be not exercised) it may;
Or, if by nature it be dull and slow.
Themistocles (when aged) the names did know 220
Of all th'Athenians; and none grow so old,
Not to remember where they hid their gold.
From age such art of memory we learn,
To forget nothing which is our concern;
Their interest no priest nor sorcerer
Forgets, nor lawyer, nor philosopher;
No understanding memory can want,
Where wisdom studious industry doth plant.
Nor does it only in the active live,
But in the quiet and contemplative; 230
When Sophocles (who plays when aged wrote)
Was by his sons before the judges brought,
Because he paid the Muses such respect,
His fortune, wife, and children to neglect;
Almost condemn'd, he moved the judges thus,
'Hear, but instead of me, my Oedipus.'
The judges hearing with applause, at th'end
Freed him, and said, 'No fool such lines had penn'd'.
What poets and what orators can I
Recount, what princes in philosophy, 240
Whose constant studies with their age did strive?
Nor did they those, though those did them survive.
Old husbandmen I at Sabinum know,
Who for another year dig, plough, and sow.
For never any man was yet so old,
But hoped his life one winter more might hold.
Cæcilius vainly said, 'Each day we spend
Discovers something, which must needs offend;'
But sometimes age may pleasant things behold,
And nothing that offends. He should have told 250
This not to age, but youth, who oft'ner see
What not alone offends, but hurts, than we.
That, I in him, which he in age condemn'd,
That us it renders odious, and contemn'd.
He knew not virtue, if he thought this truth;
For youth delights in age, and age in youth.
What to the old can greater pleasure be,
Than hopeful and ingenious youth to see,
When they with rev'rence follow where we lead,
And in straight paths by our directions tread? 260
And e'en my conversation here I see,
As well received by you, as yours by me.
'Tis disingenuous to accuse our age
Of idleness, who all our powers engage
In the same studies, the same course to hold;
Nor think our reason for new arts too old.
Solon the sage his progress never ceased,
But still his learning with his days increased;
And I with the same greediness did seek,
As water when I thirst, to swallow Greek; 270
Which I did only learn, that I might know
Those great examples which I follow now:
And I have heard that Socrates the wise,
Learn'd on the lute for his last exercise.
Though many of the ancients did the same,
To improve knowledge was my only aim.


Now int' our second grievance I must break, 277
'That loss of strength makes understanding weak.'
I grieve no more my youthful strength to want,
Than, young, that of a bull, or elephant;
Then with that force content, which Nature gave,
Nor am I now displeased with what I have.
When the young wrestlers at their sport grew warm,
Old Milo wept, to see his naked arm;
And cried, 'twas dead. Trifler! thine heart and head,
And all that's in them (not thy arm) are dead;
This folly every looker on derides,
To glory only in thy arms and sides.
Our gallant ancestors let fall no tears,
Their strength decreasing by increasing years; 290
But they advanced in wisdom every hour,
And made the commonwealth advance in power.
But orators may grieve, for in their sides,
Rather than heads, their faculty abides;
Yet I have heard old voices loud and clear,
And still my own sometimes the Senate hear.
When th'old with smooth and gentle voices plead,
They by the ear their well-pleased audience lead:
Which, if I had not strength enough to do,
I could (my Lælius, and my Scipio) 300
What's to be done, or not be done, instruct,
And to the maxims of good life conduct.
Cneius and Publius Scipio, and (that man
Of men) your grandsire, the great African,
Were joyful when the flower of noble blood
Crowded their dwellings, and attending stood,
Like oracles their counsels to receive,
How in their progress they should act and live.
And they whose high examples youth obeys, 309
Are not despisèd, though their strength decays;
And those decays (to speak the naked truth,
Though the defects of age) were crimes of youth.
Intemp'rate youth (by sad experience found)
Ends in an age imperfect and unsound.
Cyrus, though aged (if Xenophon say true),
Lucius Metellus (whom when young I knew),
Who held (after his second consulate)
Twenty-two years the high pontificate;
Neither of these in body, or in mind,
Before their death the least decay did find. 320
I speak not of myself, though none deny
To age, to praise their youth the liberty:
Such an unwasted strength I cannot boast,
Yet now my years are eighty-four almost:
And though from what it was my strength is far,
Both in the first and second Punic war,
Nor at Thermopylæ, under Glabrio,
Nor when I Consul into Spain did go;
But yet I feel no weakness, nor hath length
Of winters quite enervated my strength; 330
And I, my guest, my client, or my friend,
Still in the courts of justice can defend:
Neither must I that proverb's truth allow,
'Who would be ancient, must be early so.'
I would be youthful still, and find no need
To appear old, till I was so indeed.
And yet you see my hours not idle are,
Though with your strength I cannot mine compare;
Yet this centurion's doth your's surmount,
Not therefore him the better man I count. 340
Milo when ent'ring the Olympic game,
With a huge ox upon his shoulder came.
Would you the force of Milo's body find,
Rather than of Pythagoras's mind?
The force which Nature gives with care retain,
But when decay'd, 'tis folly to complain.
In age to wish for youth is full as vain,
As for a youth to turn a child again.
Simple and certain Nature's ways appear,
As she sets forth the seasons of the year. 350
So in all parts of life we find her truth,
Weakness to childhood, rashness to our youth;
To elder years to be discreet and grave,
Then to old age maturity she gave.
(Scipio) you know, how Massinissa bears
His kingly port at more than ninety years;
When marching with his foot, he walks till night;
When with his horse, he never will alight;
Though cold or wet, his head is always bare;
So hot, so dry, his aged members are. 360
You see how exercise and temperance
Even to old years a youthful strength advance.
Our law (because from age our strength retires)
No duty which belongs to strength requires.
But age doth many men so feeble make,
That they no great design can undertake;
Yet that to age not singly is applied,
But to all man's infirmities beside.
That Scipio, who adopted you, did fall
Into such pains, he had no health at all; 370
Who else had equall'd Africanus' parts,
Exceeding him in all the lib'ral arts:
Why should those errors then imputed be
To age alone, from which our youth's not free?
Every disease of age we may prevent,
Like those of youth, by being diligent.
When sick, such mod'rate exercise we use, 377
And diet, as our vital heat renews;
And if our body thence refreshment finds,
Then must we also exercise our minds.
If with continual oil we not supply
Our lamp, the light for want of it will die;
Though bodies may be tired with exercise,
No weariness the mind could e'er surprise.
Cæcilius the comedian, when of age
He represents the follies on the stage,
They're credulous, forgetful, dissolute;
Neither those crimes to age he doth impute,
But to old men, to whom those crimes belong.
Lust, petulance, rashness, are in youth more strong 390
Than ago, and yet young men those vices hate,
Who virtuous are, discreet, and temperate:
And so, what we call dotage seldom breeds
In bodies, but where nature sow'd the seeds.
There are five daughters, and four gallant sons,
In whom the blood of noble Appius runs,
With a most num'rous family beside,
Whom he alone, though old and blind, did guide.
Yet his clear-sighted mind was still intent,
And to his business like a bow stood bent: 400
By children, servants, neighbours so esteem'd,
He not a master, but a monarch seem'd.
All his relations his admirers were,
His sons paid rev'rence, and his servants fear:
The order and the ancient discipline
Of Romans, did in all his actions shine.
Authority kept up old age secures,
Whose dignity as long as life endures.
Something of youth I in old age approve,
But more the marks of age in youth I love. 410
Who this observes may in his body find
Decrepit age, but never in his mind.
The seven volumes of my own reports,
Wherein are all the pleadings of our courts;
All noble monuments of Greece are come
Unto my hands, with those of ancient Rome.
The pontificial, and the civil law,
I study still, and thence orations draw;
And to confirm my memory, at night,
What I hear, see, or do, by day, recite. 420
These exercises for my thoughts I find;
These labours are the chariots of my mind.
To serve my friends, the Senate I frequent,
And there what I before digested vent;
Which only from my strength of mind proceeds,
Not any outward force of body needs;
Which, if I could not do, I should delight
On what I would to ruminate at night.
Who in such practices their minds engage,
Nor fear nor think of their approaching age, 430
Which by degrees invisibly doth creep:
Nor do we seem to die, but fall asleep.


Now must I draw my forces 'gainst that host
Of pleasures, which i' th'sea of age are lost.
O thou most high transcendant gift of age!
Youth from its folly thus to disengage.
And now receive from me that most divine
Oration of that noble Tarentine,[1]
Which at Tarentum I long since did hear,
When I attended the great Fabius there. 440
Ye gods, was it man's nature, or his fate,
Betray'd him with sweet pleasure's poison'd bait?
Which he, with all designs of art or power,
Doth with unbridled appetite devour:
And as all poisons seek the noblest part,
Pleasure possesses first the head and heart;
Intoxicating both by them, she finds,
And burns the sacred temples of our minds.
Furies, which reason's divine chains had bound,
(That being broken) all the world confound. 450
Lust, murder, treason, avarice, and hell
Itself broke loose, in reason's palace dwell:
Truth, honour, justice, temperance, are fled,
All her attendants into darkness led.
But why all this discourse? when pleasure's rage
Hath conquer'd reason, we must treat with age.
Age undermines, and will in time surprise
Her strongest forts, and cut off all supplies;
And join'd in league with strong necessity,
Pleasure must fly, or else by famine die. 460
Flaminius, whom a consulship had graced,
(Then Censor) from the Senate I displaced;
When he in Gaul, a Consul, made a feast,
A beauteous courtesan did him request
To see the cutting off a pris'ner's head;
This crime I could not leave unpunished,
Since by a private villany he stain'd
That public honour which at Rome he gain'd.
Then to our age (when not to pleasures bent)
This seems an honour, not disparagement. 470
We not all pleasures like the Stoics hate,
But love and seek those which are moderate.
(Though divine Plato thus of pleasures thought,
They us, with hooks and baits, like fishes caught.)
When Questor, to the gods in public halls
I was the first who set up festivals.
Not with high tastes our appetites did force,
But fill'd with conversation and discourse;
Which feasts, Convivial Meetings we did name:
Not like the ancient Greeks, who to their shame, 480
Call'd it a Compotation, not a feast;
Declaring the worst part of it the best.
Those entertainments I did then frequent
Sometimes with youthful heat and merriment:
But now I thank my age, which gives me ease
From those excesses; yet myself I please
With cheerful talk to entertain my guests
(Discourses are to age continual feasts),
The love of meat and wine they recompense,
And cheer the mind, as much as those the sense. 490
I'm not more pleased with gravity among
The aged, than to be youthful with the young;
Nor 'gainst all pleasures proclaim open war,
To which, in age, some nat'ral motions are.
And still at my Sabinum I delight
To treat my neighbours till the depth of night.
But we the sense of gust and pleasure want,
Which youth at full possesses; this I grant;
But age seeks not the things which youth requires,
And no man needs that which he not desires. 500
When Sophocles was asked if he denied
Himself the use of pleasures, he replied,
'I humbly thank th'immortal gods, who me
From that fierce tyrant's insolence set free.'
But they whom pressing appetites constrain,
Grieve when they cannot their desires obtain.
Young men the use of pleasure understand,
As of an object new, and near at hand:
Though this stands more remote from age's sight, 509
Yet they behold it not without delight:
As ancient soldiers, from their duties eased,
With sense of honour and rewards are pleased;
So from ambitious hopes and lusts released,
Delighted with itself our age doth rest.
No part of life's more happy, when with bread
Of ancient knowledge and new learning fed;
All youthful pleasures by degrees must cease,
But those of age even with our years increase.
We love not loaded boards and goblets crown'd,
But free from surfeits our repose is sound. 520
When old Fabricius to the Samnites went
Ambassador, from Rome to Pyrrhus sent,
He heard a grave philosopher maintain,
That all the actions of our life were vain
Which with our sense of pleasure not conspired;
Fabricius the philosopher desired,
That he to Pyrrhus would that maxim teach,
And to the Samnites the same doctrine preach;
Then of their conquest he should doubt no more,
Whom their own pleasures overcame before. 530
Now into rustic matters I must fall,
Which pleasure seems to me the chief of all.
Age no impediment to those can give,
Who wisely by the rules of Nature live.
Earth (though our mother) cheerfully obeys
All the commands her race upon her lays.
For whatsoever from our hand she takes,
Greater or less, a vast return she makes.
Nor am I only pleased with that resource,
But with her ways, her method, and her force. 540
The seed her bosom (by the plough made fit)
Receives, where kindly she embraces it,
Which with her genuine warmth diffused and spread,
Sends forth betimes a green and tender head,
Then gives it motion, life, and nourishment,
Which from the root through nerves and veins are sent;
Straight in a hollow sheath upright it grows,
And, form receiving, doth itself disclose:
Drawn up in ranks and files, the bearded spikes
Guard it from birds as with a stand of pikes. 550
When of the vine I speak, I seem inspired,
And with delight, as with her juice, am fired;
At Nature's godlike power I stand amazed,
Which such vast bodies hath from atoms raised.
The kernel of a grape, the fig's small grain,
Can clothe a mountain and o'ershade a plain:
But thou, (dear Vine!) forbid'st me to be long;
Although thy trunk be neither large nor strong,
Nor can thy head (not help'd) itself sublime,
Yet, like a serpent, a tall tree can climb; 560
Whate'er thy many fingers can entwine,
Proves thy support, and all its strength is thine.
Though Nature gave not legs, it gave the hands,
By which thy prop the proudest cedar stands:
As thou hast hands, so hath thy offspring wings,
And to the highest part of mortals springs.
But lest thou should'st consume thy wealth in vain,
And starve thyself to feed a num'rous train,
Or like the bee (sweet as thy blood) design'd
To be destroy'd to propagate his kind, 570
Lest thy redundant and superfluous juice,
Should fading leaves instead of fruits produce,
The pruner's hand, with letting blood, must quench
Thy heat, and thy exub'rant parts retrench:
Then from the joints of thy prolific stem
A swelling knot is raisèd (call'd a gem),
Whence, in short space, itself the cluster shows, 577
And from earth's moisture mixed with sunbeams grows.
I' th'spring, like youth, it yields an acid taste,
But summer doth, like age, the sourness waste;
Then clothed with leaves, from heat and cold secure,
Like virgins, sweet and beauteous, when mature.
On fruits, flowers, herbs, and plants, I long could dwell,
At once to please my eye, my taste, my smell;
My walks of trees, all planted by my hand,
Like children of my own begetting stand.
To tell the sev'ral natures of each earth,
What fruits from each most properly take birth:
And with what arts to enrich every mould,
The dry to moisten, and to warm the cold. 590
But when we graft, or buds inoculate,
Nature by art we nobly meliorate;
As Orpheus' music wildest beasts did tame,
From the sour crab the sweetest apple came:
The mother to the daughter goes to school,
The species changed, doth her law overrule;
Nature herself doth from herself depart,
(Strange transmigration!) by the power of art.
How little things give law to great! we see
The small bud captivates the greatest tree. 600
Here even the power divine we imitate,
And seem not to beget, but to create.
Much was I pleased with fowls and beasts, the tame
For food and profit, and the wild for game.
Excuse me when this pleasant string I touch
(For age, of what delights it, speaks too much).
Who twice victorious Pyrrhus conquered,
The Sabines and the Samnites captive led,
Great Curius, his remaining days did spend,
And in this happy life his triumphs end. 610
My farm stands near, and when I there retire,
His, and that age's temper I admire:
The Samnites' chief, as by his fire he sate,
With a vast sum of gold on him did wait;
'Return,' said he, 'your gold I nothing weigh,
When those who can command it me obey.'
This my assertion proves, he may be old,
And yet not sordid, who refuses gold.
In summer to sit still, or walk, I love,
Near a cool fountain, or a shady grove. 620
What can in winter render more delight,
Than the high sun at noon, and fire at night?
While our old friends and neighbours feast and play,
And with their harmless mirth turn night to day,
Unpurchased plenty our full tables loads,
And part of what they lent, return t'our gods.
That honour and authority which dwells
With age, all pleasures of our youth excels.
Observe, that I that age have only praised
Whose pillars were on youth's foundations raised, 630
And that (for which I great applause received)
As a true maxim hath been since believed.
That most unhappy age great pity needs,
Which to defend itself, new matter pleads;
Not from gray hairs authority doth flow,
Nor from bald heads, nor from a wrinkled brow,
But our past life, when virtuously spent,
Must to our age those happy fruits present.
Those things to age most honourable are,
Which easy, common, and but light appear, 640
Salutes, consulting, compliment, resort,
Crowding attendance to and from the court:
And not on Rome alone this honour waits,
But on all civil and well-govern'd states.
Lysander, pleading in his city's praise,
From thence his strongest argument did raise,
That Sparta did with honour age support,
Paying them just respect at stage and court.
But at proud Athens youth did age outface,
Nor at the plays would rise, or give them place. 650
When an Athenian stranger of great age
Arrived at Sparta, climbing up the stage,
To him the whole assembly rose, and ran
To place and ease this old and rev'rend man,
Who thus his thanks returns, 'Th' Athenians know
What's to be done, but what they know not do.'
Here our great Senate's orders I may quote,
The first in age is still the first in vote.
Nor honour, nor high birth, nor great command,
In competition with great years may stand. 660
Why should our youth's short, transient, pleasures dare
With age's lasting honours to compare?
On the world's stage, when our applause grows high,
For acting here life's tragic-comedy,
The lookers-on will say we act not well,
Unless the last the former scenes excel:
But age is froward, uneasy, scrutinous,
Hard to be pleased, and parsimonious;
But all those errors from our manners rise,
Not from our years; yet some morosities 670
We must expect, since jealousy belongs
To age, of scorn, and tender sense of wrongs:
Yet these are mollified, or not discern'd,
Where civil arts and manners have been learn'd:
So the Twins' humours,[2] in our Terence, are
Unlike-this harsh and rude, that smooth and fair.
Our nature here is not unlike our wine, 677
Some sorts, when old, continue brisk and fine;
So age's gravity may seem severe,
But nothing harsh or bitter ought t'appear.
Of age's avarice I cannot see
What colour, ground, or reason there should be:
Is it not folly, when the way we ride
Is short, for a long voyage to provide?
To avarice some title youth may own,
To reap in autumn what the spring had sown;
And, with the providence of bees, or ants,
Prevent with summer's plenty winter's wants.
But age scarce sows till death stands by to reap,
And to a stranger's hand transfers the heap; 690
Afraid to be so once, she's always poor,
And to avoid a mischief makes it sure.
Such madness, as for fear of death to die,
Is to be poor for fear of poverty.

[1] 'Tarentine': Archytas, much praised by Horace. [2] 'Twins' humours': in his comedy called 'Adelphi.'


Now against (that which terrifies our age)
The last, and greatest grievance, we engage;
To her grim Death appears in all her shapes,
The hungry grave for her due tribute gapes.
Fond, foolish man! with fear of death surprised,
Which either should be wish'd for, or despised; 700
This, if our souls with bodies death destroy;
That, if our souls a second life enjoy.
What else is to be fear'd, when we shall gain
Eternal life, or have no sense of pain?
The youngest in the morning are not sure
That till the night their life they can secure;
Their age stands more exposed to accidents
Than ours, nor common care their fate prevents:
Death's force (with terror) against Nature strives, 709
Nor one of many to ripe age arrives.
From this ill fate the world's disorders rise,
For if all men were old, they would be wise;
Years and experience our forefathers taught,
Them under laws and into cities brought:
Why only should the fear of death belong
To age, which is as common to the young?
Your hopeful brothers, and my son, to you
(Scipio) and me, this maxim makes too true:
But vig'rous youth may his gay thoughts erect
To many years, which age must not expect. 720
But when he sees his airy hopes deceived,
With grief he says, Who this would have believed?
We happier are than they, who but desired
To possess that which we long since acquired.
What if our age to Nestor's could extend?
'Tis vain to think that lasting which must end;
And when 'tis past, not any part remains
Thereof, but the reward which virtue gains.
Days, months, and years, like running waters flow,
Nor what is past, nor what's to come, we know: 730
Our date, how short soe'er, must us content.
When a good actor doth his part present,
In every act he our attention draws,
That at the last he may find just applause;
So (though but short) yet we must learn the art
Of virtue, on the stage to act our part;
True wisdom must our actions so direct,
Not only the last plaudit to expect;
Yet grieve no more, though long that part should last,
Than husbandmen, because the spring is past. 740
The spring, like youth, fresh blossoms doth produce,
But autumn makes them ripe and fit for use:
So age a mature mellowness doth set
On the green promises of youthful heat.
All things which Nature did ordain, are good,
And so must be received and understood.
Age, like ripe apples, on earth's bosom drops,
While force our youth, like fruits untimely, crops;
The sparkling flame of our warm blood expires,
As when huge streams are pour'd on raging fires; 750
But age unforced falls by her own consent,
As coals to ashes, when the spirit's spent;
Therefore to death I with such joy resort,
As seamen from a tempest to their port.
Yet to that port ourselves we must not force,
Before our pilot, Nature, steers our course.
Let us the causes of our fear condemn,
Then Death at his approach we shall contemn.
Though to our heat of youth our age seems cold,
Yet when resolved, it is more brave and bold. 760
Thus Solon to Pisistratus replied,
Demanded, on what succour he relied,
When with so few he boldly did engage?
He said, he took his courage from his age.
Then death seems welcome, and our nature kind,
When, leaving us a perfect sense and mind,
She (like a workman in his science skill'd)
Pulls down with ease what her own hand did build.
That art which knew to join all parts in one,
Makes the least vi'lent separation. 770
Yet though our ligaments betimes grow weak,
We must not force them till themselves they break.
Pythagoras bids us in our station stand,
Till God, our general, shall us disband.
Wise Solon dying, wish'd his friends might grieve,
That in their memories he still might live.
Yet wiser Ennius gave command to all 777
His friends not to bewail his funeral;
Your tears for such a death in vain you spend,
Which straight in immortality shall end.
In death, if there be any sense of pain,
But a short space to age it will remain;
On which, without my fears, my wishes wait,
But tim'rous youth on this should meditate:
Who for light pleasure this advice rejects,
Finds little, when his thoughts he recollects.
Our death (though not its certain date) we know;
Nor whether it may be this night, or no:
How then can they contented live, who fear
A danger certain, and none knows how near? 790
They err, who for the fear of death dispute,
Our gallant actions this mistake confute.
Thee, Brutus! Rome's first martyr I must name;
The Curtii bravely dived the gulf of flame:
Attilius sacrificed himself, to save
That faith, which to his barb'rous foes he gave;
With the two Scipios did thy uncle fall,
Rather than fly from conqu'ring Hannibal.
The great Marcellus (who restorèd Rome)
His greatest foes with honour did entomb. 800
Their lives how many of our legions threw
Into the breach, whence no return they knew?
Must then the wise, the old, the learned fear,
What not the rude, the young, th'unlearn'd forbear?
Satiety from all things else doth come,
Then life must to itself grow wearisome.
Those trifles wherein children take delight,
Grow nauseous to the young man's appetite;
And from those gaieties our youth requires
To exercise their minds, our age retires. 810
And when the last delights of age shall die,
Life in itself will find satiety.
Now you (my friends) my sense of death shall hear,
Which I can well describe, for he stands near.
Your father, Lælius, and your's, Scipio,
My friends, and men of honour, I did know;
As certainly as we must die, they live
That life which justly may that name receive:
Till from these prisons of our flesh released,
Our souls with heavy burdens lie oppress'd; 820
Which part of man from heaven falling down,
Earth, in her low abyss, doth hide and drown,
A place so dark to the celestial light,
And pure, eternal fire's quite opposite,
The gods through human bodies did disperse
An heavenly soul, to guide this universe,
That man, when he of heavenly bodies saw
The order, might from thence a pattern draw:
Nor this to me did my own dictates show,
But to the old philosophers I owe. 830
I heard Pythagoras, and those who came
With him, and from our country took their name;
Who never doubted but the beams divine,
Derived from gods, in mortal breasts did shine.
Nor from my knowledge did the ancients hide
What Socrates declared the hour he died;
He th'immortality of souls proclaim'd,
(Whom th'oracle of men the wisest named)
Why should we doubt of that whereof our sense
Finds demonstration from experience? 840
Our minds are here, and there, below, above;
Nothing that's mortal can so swiftly move.
Our thoughts to future things their flight direct,
And in an instant all that's past collect.
Reason, remembrance, wit, inventive art,
No nature, but immortal, can impart.
Man's soul in a perpetual motion flows,
And to no outward cause that motion owes;
And therefore that no end can overtake,
Because our minds cannot themselves forsake. 850
And since the matter of our soul is pure
And simple, which no mixture can endure
Of parts, which not among themselves agree;
Therefore it never can divided be.
And Nature shows (without philosophy)
What cannot be divided, cannot die.
We even in early infancy discern
Knowledge is born with babes before they learn;
Ere they can speak they find so many ways
To serve their turn, and see more arts than days: 860
Before their thoughts they plainly can express,
The words and things they know are numberless;
Which Nature only and no art could find,
But what she taught before, she call'd to mind,
These to his sons (as Xenophon records)
Of the great Cyrus were the dying words;
'Fear not when I depart (nor therefore mourn)
I shall be nowhere, or to nothing turn:
That soul which gave me life, was seen by none,
Yet by the actions it design'd was known; 870
And though its flight no mortal eye shall see,
Yet know, for ever it the same shall be.
That soul which can immortal glory give
To her own virtues must for ever live.
Can you believe that man's all-knowing mind
Can to a mortal body be confined?
Though a foul foolish prison her immure
On earth, she (when escaped) is wise and pure.
Man's body when dissolved is but the same 879
With beasts, and must return from whence it came;
But whence into our bodies reason flows,
None sees it when it comes, or where it goes.
Nothing resembles death so much as sleep,
Yet then our minds themselves from slumber keep.
When from their fleshly bondage they are free,
Then what divine and future things they see!
Which makes it most apparent whence they are,
And what they shall hereafter be, declare.'
This noble speech the dying Cyrus made.
Me (Scipio) shall no argument persuade, 890
Thy grandsire, and his brother, to whom Fame
Gave, from two conquer'd parts o' th'world, their name,
Nor thy great grandsire, nor thy father Paul,
Who fell at Cannæ against Hannibal;
Nor I (for 'tis permitted to the aged
To boast their actions) had so oft engaged
In battles, and in pleadings, had we thought,
That only fame our virtuous actions bought;
'Twere better in soft pleasure and repose
Ingloriously our peaceful eyes to close: 900
Some high assurance hath possess'd my mind,
After my death an happier life to find.
Unless our souls from the immortals came,
What end have we to seek immortal fame?
All virtuous spirits some such hope attends,
Therefore the wise his days with pleasure ends.
The foolish and short-sighted die with fear,
That they go nowhere, or they know not where.
The wise and virtuous soul, with clearer eyes,
Before she parts, some happy port descries. 910
My friends, your fathers I shall surely see:
Nor only those I loved, or who loved me,
But such as before ours did end their days,
Of whom we hear, and read, and write their praise.
This I believe; for were I on my way,
None should persuade me to return, or stay:
Should some god tell me that I should be born
And cry again, his offer I would scorn;
Asham'd, when I have ended well my race,
To be led back to my first starting-place. 920
And since with life we are more grieved than joy'd,
We should be either satisfied or cloy'd:
Yet will I not my length of days deplore,
As many wise and learn'd have done before:
Nor can I think such life in vain is lent,
Which for our country and our friends is spent.
Hence from an inn, not from my home, I pass,
Since Nature meant us here no dwelling-place.
Happy when I, from this turmoil set free,
That peaceful and divine assembly see: 930
Not only those I named I there shall greet,
But my own gallant virtuous Cato meet.
Nor did I weep, when I to ashes turn'd
His belov'd body, who should mine have burn'd.
I in my thoughts beheld his soul ascend,
Where his fixed hopes our interview attend:
Then cease to wonder that I feel no grief
From age, which is of my delights the chief.
My hopes if this assurance hath deceived
(That I man's soul immortal have believed), 940
And if I err, no power shall dispossess
My thoughts of that expected happiness,
Though some minute philosophers pretend,
That with our days our pains and pleasures end.
If it be so, I hold the safer side,
For none of them my error shall deride.
And if hereafter no rewards appear, 947
Yet virtue hath itself rewarded here.
If those who this opinion have despised,
And their whole life to pleasure sacrificed,
Should feel their error, they, when undeceived,
Too late will wish that me they had believed.
If souls no immortality obtain,
'Tis fit our bodies should be out of pain.
The same uneasiness which everything
Gives to our nature, life must also bring.
Good acts, if long, seem tedious; so is age,
Acting too long upon this earth her stage.—
Thus much for age, to which when you arrive,
That joy to you, which it gives me, 'twill give. 960