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

Part 6 out of 7

Shepherds and folds, the foaming surges sweep.
And now between two sad extremes I stood,
Here Pyrrhus and th'Atridae 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 cursed 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
Obliged 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 Actaeon from his hounds;
Which first their brains, and then their belly fed,
And from their excrements new poets bred. 10
But now thy Muse enraged, from her urn,
Like ghosts of murder'd bodies, does return
T' accuse the murderers, to right the stage,
And undeceive the long-abused 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 sublimed eyes not only gazed,
But his sublimed 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 fixed 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 Astraea 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 cursed monuments of him with fire
We must abolish (so the gods require).'
She gives her credit for no worse effect
Than from Sichaeus' 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 beloved 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 undeserved 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 deplored 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
Sichaeus' 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 Sichaeus 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.
Amazed 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 Circaean 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.
Musaeus 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 accursed 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 Chimaera'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.


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