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Presenting a Lark

Imitation of Cowley

Go tuneful bird, forbear to soar,
And the bright sun admire no more;
Go bask in Serenissa's eyes,
And turn a bird of paradise.
In those fair beams thy wings display,
Take shorter journies to the day,
And at an humbler pitch prefer
Thy musick to an angel's ear.
Nor, tho' her slave, thy lot deplore;
The god of love himself's no more:
Ev'n him to constancy she brings,
And clips, like thine, his wav'ring wings.
She gains from us, as now from thee,
Our songs by our captivity;
But happier you attention gain,
While wretched lovers sing in vain.

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On Silence

SILENCE! Coceval with Eternity;

Thou wert e'er Nature's self began to be, 'Twas one vast Nothing, All, and all slept fast in thee. Thine was the Sway, e'er Heav'n was form’d or Earth,

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E'er fruitful Thought conceiv'd Creation's Birth,
Or Midwife Word gave Aid, and spoke the Infant forth.

Then various Elements against thee join'd,

In one more various Animal combin'd,
And fram’d the clam'rous Race of busie Human-kind.
The tongue mov'd gently first, and Speech was low,

'Till wrangling Science taught it Noise and Show, And wicked Wit arose, thy most abusive Foe.

But Rebel Wit deserts thee oft in vain;

Lost in the Maze of Words, he turns again,
And seeks a surer State, and courts thy gentle Reign.

Afflicted Sense thou kindly dost set free,

Oppress'd with Argumental Tyranny,
And routed Reason finds a safe Retreat in thee.

With thee in private modest Dulness lies,

And in thy Bosom lurks in Thought's Disguise; Thou Varnisher of Fools, and Cheat of all the Wise.

Yet thy Indulgence is by both confest;

Folly by thee lies sleeping in the Breast,
And 'tis in thee at last that Wisdom seeks for Rest.

Silence, the Knave's Repute, the Whore's good Name,

The only Honour of the wishing Dame;
Thy very want of Tongue makes thee a kind of Fame.

But could'st thou seize some Tongues that now are free,

How Church and State should be oblig'd to thee!
At Senate, and at Bar, how welcome would'st thou be!

Yet Speech, ev'n there, submissively withdraws

From Rights of Subjects, and the Poor Man's Cause; Then pompous Silence reigns, and stills the noisie Laws.

Past Services of Friends, good Deeds of Foes,

What Fav’rites gain, and what the Nation owes, Fly the forgetful World, and in thy Arms repose.

The Country Wit, Religion of the Town,

The Courtier's Learning, Policy o'th' Gown, Are best by thee express'd, and shine in thee alone.

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The Parson's Cant, the Lawyer's Sophistry,

Lord's Quibble, Critick's Jest; all end in thee, All rest in Peace at last, and sleep eternally.

On a Fan

Imitation of Waller

COME, gentle Air! th' Æolian Shepherd said,
While Procris panted in the secret shade;
Come, gentle Air, the fairer Delia cries,
While at her feet her swain expiring lies.
Lo the glad gales o'er all her beauties stray,
Breathe on her lips, and in her bosom play!
In Delia's hand this toy is fatal found,
Nor could that fabled dart more surely wound:
Both gifts destructive to the givers prove;
Alike both lovers fall by those they love.
Yet guiltless too this bright destroyer lives,
At random wounds, nor knows the wound she gives:
She views the story with attentive eyes,
And pities Procris, while her lover dies.

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The Garden

Imitation of Cowley

FAIN would my Muse the flow'ry Treasures sing,
And humble glories of the youthful Spring;
Where opening Roses breathing sweets diffuse,
And soft Carnations show'r their balmy dews;
Where Lillies smile in virgin robes of white,

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The thin Undress of superficial Light,
And vary'd Tulips show so dazling gay,
Blushing in bright diversities of day.
Each painted flouret in the lake below
Surveys its beauties, whence its beauties grow;
And pale Narcissus on the bank, in vain
Transformed, gazes on himself again.
Here aged trees Cathedral walks compose,
And mount the Hill in venerable rows:
There the green Infants in their beds are laid,
The Garden's Hope, and its expected shade.
Here Orange-trees with blooms and pendants shine,
And vernal honours to their autumn join;
Exceed their promise in the ripen'd store,
Yet in the rising blossom promise more.
There in bright drops the crystal Fountains play,
By Laurels shielded from the piercing Day:
Where Daphne, now a tree as once a maid,
Still from Apollo vindicates her shade,
Still turns her beauties from th' invading beam,
Nor seeks in vain for succour to the Stream.
The stream at once preserves her virgin leaves,
At once a shelter from her boughs receives,
Where Summer's beauty midst of Winter stays,
And Winter's Coolness spite of Summer's rays.

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