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The throng of gratulations now would be Another loss to you of liberty. When of your freedom men the news did hear, Where it was wish'd-for, that is every where, 'Twas like the speech which from your lips does fall;
As soon as it was heard, it ravish'd all.
So eloquent Tully did from exile come;
Thus long'd for he return'd, and cherish'd Rome; Which could no more his tongue and counsels miss; Rome, the world's head, was nothing without his. Wrong to those sacred ashes, I should do, Should I compare any to him but you; You, to whom Art and Nature did dispense The consulship of wit and eloquence. Nor did your fate differ from his at all, Because the doom of exile was his fall; For the whole world, without a native home, Is nothing but a prison of larger room. But like a melting woman suffer'd he, He who before out-did humanity;
Nor could his spirit constant and stedfast prove.
Whose art 't had been, and greatest end, to move.
You put ill-fortune in so good a dress,
That it out-shone other men's happiness:
Had your prosperity always clearly gone,
As your high merits would have laid it on,
You 'ad half been lost, and an example then
But for the happy-the least part of men.
Your very sufferings did so graceful shew,
That some strait envy'd your affliction too;
For a clear conscience and heroic mind
In ills their business and their glory find.
So, though less worthy stones are drown'd in night,
The faithful diamond keeps his native light,
And is oblig'd to darkness for a ray,
That would be more oppress'd than help'd by day.
Your soul then most show'd her unconquer'd pow-
Toppose him still, who once has conquer'd so, Were now to be your rebel, not your foe; Fortune henceforth will more of providence have, And rather be your friend than be your slave.
Was stronger and more armed than the Tower.
Sure unkind Fate will tempt your spirit no more;
Sh' has try'd her weakness and your strength
We'll write whate'er from you we hear;
For that's the posy of the year.
This difference only will remain-
That Time his former face does shew,
Winding into himself again;
But your unweary'd wit is always new.
'Tis said, that conjurers have an art found out
To carry spirits confin'd in rings about:
The wonder now will less appear,
When we behold your magic here.
You, by your rings, do prisoners take,
And chain them with your mystic spells,
And, the strong witchcraft full to make,
Love, the great Devil, charm'd to those circles,
PROLOGUE TO THE GUARDIAN:
BEFORE THE PRINCE.
WHO says the times do learning disallow?
'Tis false; 'twas never honour'd so as now.
When you appear, great prince! our night is done;
You are our morning-star, and shall be our sun.
But our scene's London now; and by the rout
We perish, if the Round-heads be about:
For now no ornament the head must wear,
No bays, no mitre, not so much as hair.
How can a play pass safely, when we know
Cheapside-cross falls for making but a show?
Our only hope is this, that it may be
A play may pass too, made extempore.
Though other arts poor and neglected grow,
They'll admit poesy, which was always so.
But we contemn the fury of these days.
And scorn no less their censure than their praise;
Our Muse, blest prince! does only on you rely;
Would gladly live, but not refuse to die.
Accept our hasty zeal! a thing that's play'd
Ere 'tis a play, and acted ere 'tis made.
Our ignorance, but our duty too, we show;
I would all ignorant people would do so!
At other times expect our wit or art;
This comedy is acted by the heart.
THE play, great sir! is done; yet needs must fear, Though you brought all your father's mercies here, It may offend your highness; and we 'ave now Three hours done treason here, for aught we know,
Did not with more reluctance part, Than I, my dearest friend! do part from thee. My dearest friend, would I had dy'd for thee! Life and this world henceforth will tedious be. Nor shall I know hereafter what to do,
If once my griefs prove tedious too. Silent and sad I walk about all day,
As sullen ghosts stalk speechless by Where their hid treasures lie; Alas! my treasure's gone! why do I stay? He was my friend, the truest friend on Earth; A strong and mighty influence join'd our birth; Nor did we envy the most sounding name
By friendship given of old to Fame. None but his brethren he, and sisters, knew, Whom the kind youth preferr'd to me; And ev'n in that we did agree, For much above myself I lov'd them too. Say, for you saw us, ye immortal lights, How oft unweary'd have we spent the nights, Till the Ledan stars, so fam'd for love, Wonder'd at us from above!
We spent them not in toys, in lusts, or wine;
But search of deep philosophy,
Wit, eloquence, and poetry,
Arts which I lov'd, for they, my friend, were thine.
Ye fields of Cambridge, our dear Cambridge, say
Have ye not seen us walking every day?
Was there a tree about which did not know
No tuneful birds play with their wonted cheer,
And call the learned youths to hear ;
No whistling winds through the glad branches fly:
But all, with sad solemnity,
Mute and untnoved be,
Mute as the grave wherein my friend does lie.
To him my Muse made haste with every strain,
Whilst it was new and warm yet from the brain:
He lov'd my worthless rhymes, and, like a friend,
Would find out something to commend.
Hence now, my Muse! thou canst not me delight:
Be this my latest verse,
With which I now adorn his hearse;
And this my grief, without thy help, shall write.
Had I a wreath of bays about my brow,
I should contemn that flourishing honour now;
Condemn it to the fire, and joy to hear
It rage and crackle there.
Instead of bays, crown with sad cypress me;
Cypress, which tombs does beautify:
Not Phoebus griev'd, so much as I,
For him who first was made that mournful tree.
The love betwixt us two? Henceforth, ye gentle trees, for ever fade; Or your sad branches thicker join, And into darksome shades combine, Dark as the grave wherein my friend is laid! Henceforth, no learned youths beneath you sing, Till all the tuneful birds t' your boughs they bring;
Large was his soul; as large a soul as e'er
Submitted to inform a body here;
High as the place 'twas shortly in Heaven to
But low and humble as his grave:
So high, that all the Virtues there did come. As to their chiefest seat
Conspicuous and great;
So low, that for me too it made a room.
He scorn'd this busy world below, and all
That we, mistaken mortals! pleasure call;
Was fill'd with innocent gallantry and truth,
Triumphant o'er the sins of youth.
He, like the stars, to which he now is gone,
That shine with beams like flame,
Yet burn not with the same,
Had all the light of youth, of the fire none.
Knowledge he only sought, and so soon caught,
As if for him Knowledge had rather sought:
Nor did more learning ever crowded lie
In such a short mortality.
Whene'er the skilful youth discours'd or writ,
Still did the motions throng
About his eloquent tongue,
Nor could his ink flow faster than his wit.
So strong a wit did Nature to him frame,
As all things but his judgment overcame;
His judgment like the heavenly moon did show,
Tempering tha: mighty sea below.
Oh! had he liv'd in Learning's world, what bound
Would have been able to control
His over-powering soul;
We 'ave lost in him arts that not yet are found.
His mirth was the pure spirits of various wit,
Yet never did his God or friends forget;
And, when deep talk and wisdom came in view,
Retir'd, and gave to them their due:
For the rich help of books he always took,
Though his own searching mind before
Was so with notions written o'er
As if wise Nature had made that her book.
So many virtues join'd in him, as we
Can scarce pick here and there in history;
More than old writers' practice e'er could reach;
As much as they could ever teach.
Wondrous young man!why wert thou made so good,
To be snatch'd hence ere better understood?
Snatch'd before half of thee enough was seen!
Thou ripe, and yet thy life but green!
Nor could thy friends take their last sad farewell;
But danger and infectious death
Maliciously seiz'd on that breath
Where life, spirit, pleasure, always us'd to dwell.
But happy thou, ta'en from this frantic age,
Where ignorance and hypocrisy does rage!
A fitter time for Heaven no soul ere chose,
The place now only free from those. There 'mong the blest thou dost for ever shine, And, wheresoe'er thou casts thy view, Upon that white and radiant crew, See'st not a soul cloth'd with more light than thine. And, if the glorious saints cease not to know Their wretched friends who fight with life below, Thy flame to me does still the same abide, Only more pure and rarefy'd.
There, whilst immortal hymns thou dost rehearse, Thou dost with holy pity see
Our dull and earthy poesy, Where grief and misery can be join'd with verse.
IN IMITATION OF HORACE'S ODE,
Quis multâ gracilis te puer in rosâ
To whom now, Pyrrha, art thou kind?
To what heart-ravish'd lover
Dost thou thy golden locks unbind,
Thy hidden sweets discover,
And with large bounty open set
All the bright stores of thy rich cabinet?
Ah, simple youth! how oft will he
Of thy chang'd faith complain?
And his own fortunes find to be
So airy and so vain,
Of so cameleon-like an hue,
That still their colour changes with it too!
How oft, alas! will he admire
The blackness of the skies!
Trembling to hear the wind sound higher,
And see the billows rise!
Poor unexperienc'd he,
Who ne'er alas! before had been at sca!
He enjoys thy calmy sunshine now,
And no breath stirring hears;
In the clear heaven of thy brow
No smallest cloud appears,
He sees thee gentle, fair, and gay, And trusts the faithless April of thy May. Unhappy, thrice unhappy, he,
T" whom thou untry'd dost shine! But there's no danger now for me, Since o'er Loretto's shrine, In witness of the shipwreck past, My consecrated vessel hangs at last.
IN IMITATION OF
Si tecum mihi, chare Martialis, &c.
L. v. Ep. xx.
Is, dearest friend, it my good fate might be
T' enjoy at once a quiet life and thee;
If we for happiness could leisure find,
And wandering Time into a method bind;
We should not sure the great-men's favour need,
Nor on long hopes, the court's thin diet, feed;
We should not patience find daily to hear
The calumnies and flatteries spoken there;
We should not the lords' tables humbly use,
Or talk in ladies' chambers love and news;
But books, and wise discourse, gardens and fields,
And all the joys that unmixt Nature yields;
Thick summer shades, where winter still does lie,
Bright winter fires, that summer's part supply:
Sleep, not control'd by cares, confin'd to night,
Or bound in any rule but appetite:
Free, but not savage or ungracious mirth,
Rich wines, to give it quick and easy birth;
A few companions, which ourselves should chuse,
A gentle mistress, and a gentler Muse.
Such dearest friend! such, without doubt, should
Our place, our business, and our company.
Now to himself, alas! does neither live.
But sees good suns, of which we are to give
A strict account, set and march thick away:
Knows a man how to live, and does he stay?
MARGARITA first possest,
If I remember well, my breast, Margarita first of all; But when awhile the wanton maid With my restless heart had play'd, Martha took the flying ball. Martha soon did it resign
To the beauteous Catharine. Beauteous Catharine gave place (Though loth and angry she to part With the possession of my heart)
To Eliza's conquering face. Eliza till this hour might reign,
Had she not evil counsels ta'en. Fundamental laws she broke, And still new favourites she chose, Till up in arms my passions rose, And cast away her yoke. Mary then, and gentle Anne,
Both to reign at once began;
Alternately they sway'd,
And soinetimes Mary was the fair,
And sometimes Anne the crown did wear, And sometimes both I obey'd.
Another Mary then arose,
And did rigorous laws impose;
mighty tyrant she!
Long, alas! should I have been
Under that iron-scepter'd queen,
Had not Rebecca set me free.
When fair Rebecca set me free,
'Twas then a golden time with me: But soon those pleasures fled; For the gracious princess dy'd, In her youth and beauty's pride,
And Judith reigned in her stead. One month, three days, and half an hour, Judith held the sovereign power: Wondrous beautiful her face! But so weak and small her wit, That she to govern was unfit,
And so Susanna took her place. But when Isabella came,
Arm'd with a resistless flame, And th' artillery of her eye; Whilst she proudly march'd about, Greater conquests to find out,
She beat out Susan by the by. But in her place I then obey'd
Black-ey'd Bess, her viceroy-maid; To whom ensued a vacancy: Thousand worse passions then possest The interregnum of my breast;
Bless me from such an anarchy ! Gentle Henrietta then,
And a third Mary, next began; Then Joan, and Jane, and Audria; And then a pretty Thomasine, And then another Katharine,
And then a long et cætera.
TO SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT;
UPON HIS TWO FIRST BOOKS OF GONDIBERT,
FINISHED BEFORE HIS VOYAGE TO AMERICA.
METHINKS heroic poesy till now,
Like some fantastic fairy-land did show;
Gods, devils, nymphs, witches, and giants' race,
And all but man, in man's chief work had place.
Thou, like some worthy knight with sacred arms,
Dost drive the monsters thence, and end the charms,
Instead of those dost men and manners plant,
The things which that rich soil did chiefly want.
Yet ev❜n thy mortals do their gods excel,
Taught by thy Muse to fight and love so well.
By fatal hands whilst present empires fall,
Thine from the grave past monarchies recall;
So much more thanks from human-kind docs
The poet's fury than the zealot's spirit:
And from the grave thou mak'st this empire rise,
Not like some dreadful ghost, t' affright our eyes,
But with more lustre and triumphant state,
Than when it crown'd at proud Verona sate.
So will our God rebuild man's perish'd frame,
And raise him up much better, yet the same:
So god-like poets do past things rehearse,
Not change, but heighten, Nature by their verse.
With shame, methinks, great Italy must see
Her conquerors rais'd to life again by thee:
Rais'd by such powerful verse, that ancient Rome
May blush no less to see her wit o'ercome.
Some men their fancies, like their faith, derive,
And think all ill but that which Rome does give;
The marks of old and Catholic would find;
To the same chair would truth and fietion bind.
Thou in those beaten paths disdain'st to tread,
And scorn'st to live by robbing of the dead.
Since Time does all things change, thou think'st not fit
This latter age should see all new but wit;
Thy fancy, like a flame, its way does make,
And leave bright tracts for following pens to take.
Sure 'twas this noble boldness of the Muse
Did thy desire to seek new worlds infuse;
And ne'er did Heaven so much a voyage bless,
If thou canst plant but there with like success.
AN ANSWER TO
A COPY OF VERSES
SENT ME TO JERSEY.
As to a northern people (whom the Sun
Uses just as the Romish church has done
Her prophane laity, and does assign
Bread only both to serve for bread and wine)
A rich Canary fleet welcome arrives;
Such comfort to us here your letter gives,
Frought with brisk racy verses; in which we
The soil from whence they came taste, smell, and
Such is your present to us; for you must know,
Sir, that verse does not in this island grow,
No more than sack: one lately did not fear
(Without the Muses' leave) to plant it here;
But it produc'd such base, rough, crabbed, hedge,
Rhymes, as ev'n set the hearers' ears on edge:
Year of our Lord six hundred thirty-three.
Brave Jersey Muse! and he's for this high style
Call'd to this day the Homer of the isle.
Alas! to men here no words less hard be
To rhyme with, than 4 Mount Orgueil is to me; Mount Orgueil ! which, in scorn o' th' Muses law, With no yoke-fellow word will deign to draw. Stubborn Mount Orgueil ! ' tis a work to make it Come into rhyme, more hard than 'twere to take it. Alas! to bring your tropes and figures here, Strange as to bring camels and elephants were ; And metaphor is so unknown a thing,
"Twould need the preface of God save the king. Yet this I'll say, for th' honour of the place, That, by God's extraordinary grace (Which shows the people have judgment, if not wit) The land is undefil'd with clinches yet; Which, in my poor opinion, I confess, Is a most singular blessing, and no less Than Ireland's wanting spiders. And, so far From th' actual sin of bombast too they are, (That other crying sin o' th' English Muse) That even Satan himself can accuse
None here (no not so much as the divines)
For th' motus primò primi to strong lines.
Well, since the soil then does not naturally bear
Verse, who (a devil) should import it here?
For that to me would seem as strange a thing
As who did first wild beasts int' islands bring;
Unless you think that it might taken be,
As Green did Gondibert, in a prize at sea:
But that's a fortune falls not every day;
'Tis true Green was made by it; for they say
The parlament did a noble bounty do,
And gave him the whole prize, their tenths and
THE TREE OF KNOWLEDge.
THAT THERE IS NO KNOWLEDGE.
Against the Dogmatists.
THE sacred tree midst the fair orchard grew;
The Phoenix Truth did on it rest,
And built his perfum'd nest:
That right Porphyrian tree which did true logic
Each leaf did learned notions give,
And th' apples were demonstrative:
So clear their colour and divine,
The very shade they cast did other lights out-shine. "Taste not," said God, "tis mine and angels' meat;
A certain death doth sit,
Like an ill worm, i' th' core of it.
Ye cannot know and live, nor live or know, and eat."
Thus spoke God, yet man did go
Grew so more blind, and she
Who tempted him to this grew yet more blind
The only science man by this did get,
Was but to know he nothing knew : He straight his nakedness did view, His ignorant poor estate, and was asham'd of it. Yet searches probabilities,
And rhetoric, and fallacies,
The name of one of the castles in Jersey.