Whatever happy region is thy place, Cease thy celestial song a little space; Thou wilt have time enough for hymns divine, Since Heaven's eternal year is thine. Hear then a mortal Muse thy praise rehearse, In no ignoble verse; But such as thy own voice did practise here, When thy first fruits of Poesy were given; To make thyself a welcome inmate there: While yet a young probationer, And candidate of heaven.
If by traduction came thy mind, Our wonder is the less to find A soul so charming from a stock so good; Thy father was transfused into thy blood: So wert thou born into a tuneful strain, An early, rich, and inexhausted vein. But if thy pre-existing soul Was form'd, at first, with myriads more, It did through all the mighty poets roll, Who Greek or Latin laurels wore, And was that Sappho last, which once it was before. If so, then cease thy flight, O heaven-born mind! Thou hast no dross to purge from thy rich ore: Nor can thy soul a fairer mansion find, Than was the beauteous frame she left behind: Return to fill or mend the choir of thy celestial kind.
May we presume to say, that, at thy birth, New joy was sprung in heaven, as well as here on earth?
For sure the milder planets did combine On thy auspicious horoscope to shine, And even the most malicious were in trine. Thy brother angels at thy birth Strung each his lyre, and tuned it high, That all the people of the sky Might know a poetess was born on earth. And then, if ever, mortal ears Had heard the music of the spheres, And if no clustering swarm of bees On thy sweet mouth distill'd their golden dew, 'Twas that such vulgar miracles Heaven had not leisure to renew: For all thy blest fraternity of love Solemnized there thy birth, and kept thy holiday above.
O gracious God! how far have we Profaned thy heavenly gift of Poesy! Made prostitute and profligate the Muse, Debased to each obscene and impious use, Whose harmony was first ordain'd above For tongues of angels, and for hymns of love! O wretched we! why were we hurried down This lubrique and adulterate age, (Nay added fat pollutions of our own,) To increase the streaming ordures of the stage? What can we say to excuse our second fall? Let this thy vestal, Heaven, atone for all: Her Arethusian stream remains unsoil'd, Unmix'd with foreign filth, and undefiled: Her wit was more than man, her innocence a child.
Art she had none, yet wanted none; For nature did that want supply: So rich in treasures of her own, She might our boasted stores defy: Such noble vigour did her verse adorn, That it seem'd borrow'd where 'twas only born. Her morals too were in her bosom bred. By great examples daily fed, What in the best of books, her father's life, she read: And to be read herself she need not fear; Each test, and every light, her Muse will bear, Though Epictetus with his lamp were there. Even love (for love sometimes her Muse express'd) Was but a lambent flame which play'd about her breast: Light as the vapours of a morning dream, So cold herself, whilst she such warmth express'd, 'Twas Cupid bathing in Diana's stream.
Born to the spacious empire of the Nine, One would have thought she should have been content To manage well that mighty government; But what can young ambitious souls confine? To the next realm she stretch'd her sway, For Painture near adjoining lay, A plenteous province, and alluring prey. A Chamber of Dependencies was framed, (As conquerors will never want pretence, When arm'd, to justify the offence) And the whole fief, in right of poetry, she claim'd. The country open lay without defence:
For poets frequent inroads there had made, And perfectly could represent The shape, the face, with every lineament, And all the large domains which the Dumb Sister sway'd; All bow'd beneath her government, Received in triumph wheresoe'er she went. Her pencil drew whate'er her soul design'd, And oft the happy draft surpass'd the image in her mind. The sylvan scenes of herds and flocks, And fruitful plains and barren rocks, Of shallow brooks that flow'd so clear, The bottom did the top appear: Of deeper, too, and ampler floods, Which, as in mirrors, show'd the woods; Of lofty trees, with sacred shades, And perspectives of pleasant glades, Where nymphs of brightest form appear, And shaggy satyrs standing near, Which them at once admire and fear. The ruins, too, of some majestic piece, Boasting the power of ancient Rome or Greece, Whose statues, friezes, columns broken lie, And, though defaced, the wonder of the eye; What nature, art, bold fiction e'er durst frame, Her forming hand gave feature to the name. So strange a concourse ne'er was seen before, But when the peopled ark the whole creation bore.
The scene then changed: with bold erected look Our martial king the sight with reverence strook: For not content to express his outward part, Her hand call'd out the image of his heart:
His warlike mind, his soul devoid of fear, His high-designing thoughts were figured there, As when, by magic, ghosts are made appear. Our phoenix queen was portray'd too so bright, Beauty alone could beauty take so right; Her dress, her shape, her matchless grace, Were all observed, as well as heavenly face. With such a peerless majesty she stands, As in that day she took the crown from sacred hands: Before a train of heroines was seen, In beauty foremost, as in rank, the queen. Thus nothing to her genius was denied, But like a ball of fire the further thrown, Still with a greater blaze she shone, And her bright soul broke out on every side. What next she had design'd Heaven only knows: To such immoderate growth her conquest rose, That fate alone its progress could oppose.
Now all those charms, that blooming grace, The well-proportion'd shape, and beauteous face, Shall never more be seen by mortal eyes; In earth the much lamented virgin lies. Not wit, nor piety could Fate prevent; Nor was the cruel destiny content To finish all the murder at a blow, To sweep at once her life, and beauty too; But, like a harden'd felon, took a pride To work more mischievously slow, And plunder'd first, and then destroy'd. Oh, double sacrilege on things divine, To rob the relic, and deface the shrine!
But thus Orinda died: Heaven, by the same disease, did both translate: As equal were their souls, so equal was their fate.
Meantime her warlike brother on the seas His waving streamers to the wind displays, And vows for his return, with vain devotion, pays. Ah, generous youth! that wish forbear, The winds too soon will waft thee here: Slack all thy sails, and fear to come, Alas, thou know'st not thou art wreck'd at home! No more shalt thou behold thy sister's face, Thou hast already had her last embrace. But look aloft, and if thou ken'st from far Among the Pleiads a new-kindled star, If any sparkles than the rest more bright, 'Tis she that shines in that propitious light.
When in mid-air the golden trump shall sound, To raise the nations under ground: When in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, The judging God shall close the book of fate: And there the last assizes keep, For those who wake, and those who sleep; When rattling bones together fly, From the four corners of the sky; When sinews o'er the skeletons are spread, Those clothed with flesh, and life inspires the dead;
The sacred poets first shall hear the sound, And foremost from the tomb shall bound, For they are cover'd with the lightest ground; And straight, with inborn vigour, on the wing, Like mounting larks, to the new morning sing. There thou, sweet saint, before the quire shalt go, As harbinger of heaven, the way to show, The way which thou so well hast learn'd below.
* * * * *
[Footnote 34: 'Killigrew:' a lady of remarkable promise alike in painting and poetry; maid of honour to the Duchess of York; died at the age of 25, in 1685; her father an eminent clergyman, her brother a wit.]
[Footnote 35: 'Orinda:' Mrs Catherine Philips, author of a book of poems, died, like Mrs Killigrew, of the small-pox, in 1664, being only thirty-two years of age.]
* * * * *
UPON THE DEATH OF
THE EARL OF DUNDEE.
Oh, last and best of Scots! who didst maintain Thy country's freedom from a foreign reign; New people fill the land now thou art gone, New gods the temples, and new kings the throne. Scotland and thee did each in other live; Nor wouldst thou her, nor could she thee survive. Farewell! who dying didst support the state, And couldst not fall but with thy country's fate.
* * * * *
[Footnote 36: This is translated from a Latin elegy by Dr Pitcairn.]
* * * * *
A PANEGYRICAL POEM, DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE COUNTESS OF ABINGDON.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE EARL OF ABINGDON, &c.
MY LORD,—The commands, with which you honoured me some months ago, are now performed: they had been sooner; but betwixt ill health, some business, and many troubles, I was forced to defer them till this time. Ovid, going to his banishment, and writing from on shipboard to his friends, excused the faults of his poetry by his misfortunes; and told them, that good verses never flow but from a serene and composed spirit. Wit, which is a kind of Mercury, with wings fastened to his head and heels, can fly but slowly in a damp air. I therefore chose rather to obey you late than ill: if at least I am capable of writing anything, at any time, which is worthy your perusal and your patronage. I cannot say that I have escaped from a shipwreck; but have only gained a rock by hard swimming, where I may pant a while and gather breath: for the doctors give me a sad assurance, that my disease never took its leave of any man, but with a purpose to return. However, my lord, I have laid hold on the interval, and managed the small stock, which age has left me, to the best advantage, in performing this inconsiderable service to my lady's memory. We, who are priests of Apollo, have not the inspiration when we please; but must wait until the god comes rushing on us, and invades us with a fury which we are not able to resist: which gives us double strength while the fit continues, and leaves us languishing and spent at its departure. Let me not seem to boast, my lord, for I have really felt it on this occasion, and prophesied beyond my natural power. Let me add, and hope to be believed, that the excellency of the subject contributed much to the happiness of the execution; and that the weight of thirty years was taken off me while I was writing. I swam with the tide, and the water under me was buoyant. The reader will easily observe that I was transported by the multitude and variety of my similitudes; which are generally the product of a luxuriant fancy, and the wantonness of wit. Had I called in my judgment to my assistance, I had certainly retrenched many of them. But I defend them not; let them pass for beautiful faults amongst the better sort of critics: for the whole poem, though written in that which they call Heroic verse, is of the Pindaric nature, as well in the thought as the expression; and, as such, requires the same grains of allowance for it. It was intended, as your lordship sees in the title, not for an elegy, but a panegyric: a kind of apotheosis, indeed, if a heathen word may be applied to a Christian use. And on all occasions of praise, if we take the ancients for our patterns, we are bound by prescription to employ the magnificence of words, and the force of figures, to adorn the sublimity of thoughts. Isocrates amongst the Grecian orators, and Cicero, and the younger Pliny, amongst the Romans, have left us their precedents for our security; for I think I need not mention the inimitable Pindar, who stretches on these pinions out of sight, and is carried upward, as it were, into another world.
This, at least, my lord, I may justly plead, that if I have not performed so well as I think I have, yet I have used my best endeavours to excel myself. One disadvantage I have had; which is, never to have known or seen my lady: and to draw the lineaments of her mind, from the description which I have received from others, is for a painter to set himself at work without the living original before him: which, the more beautiful it is, will be so much the more difficult for him to conceive, when he has only a relation given him of such and such features by an acquaintance or a friend, without the nice touches, which give the best resemblance, and make the graces of the picture. Every artist is apt enough to flatter himself (and I amongst the rest) that their own ocular observations would have discovered more perfections, at least others, than have been delivered to them: though I have received mine from the best hands, that is, from persons who neither want a just understanding of my lady's worth, nor a due veneration for her memory.
Dr Donne, the greatest wit, though not the greatest poet of our nation, acknowledges, that he had never seen Mrs Drury, whom he has made immortal in his admirable "Anniversaries." I have had the same fortune, though I have not succeeded to the same genius. However, I have followed his footsteps in the design of his panegyric; which was to raise an emulation in the living, to copy out the example of the dead. And therefore it was, that I once intended to have called this poem "The Pattern:" and though, on a second consideration, I changed the title into the name of the illustrious person, yet the design continues, and Eleonora is still the pattern of charity, devotion, and humility; of the best wife, the best mother, and the best of friends.
And now, my lord, though I have endeavoured to answer your commands; yet I could not answer it to the world, nor to my conscience, if I gave not your lordship my testimony of being the best husband now living: I say my testimony only; for the praise of it is given you by yourself. They who despise the rules of virtue both in their practice and their morals, will think this a very trivial commendation. But I think it the peculiar happiness of the Countess of Abingdon to have been so truly loved by you while she was living, and so gratefully honoured after she was dead. Few there are who have either had, or could have, such a loss; and yet fewer who carried their love and constancy beyond the grave. The exteriors of mourning, a decent funeral, and black habits, are the usual stints of common husbands: and perhaps their wives deserve no better than to be mourned with hypocrisy, and forgot with ease. But you have distinguished yourself from ordinary lovers, by a real and lasting grief for the deceased; and by endeavouring to raise for her the most durable monument, which is that of verse. And so it would have proved, if the workman had been equal to the work, and your choice of the artificer as happy as your design. Yet, as Phidias, when he had made the statue of Minerva, could not forbear to engrave his own name, as author of the piece: so give me leave to hope, that, by subscribing mine to this poem, I may live by the goddess, and transmit my name to posterity by the memory of hers. It is no flattery to assure your lordship, that she is remembered, in the present age, by all who have had the honour of her conversation and acquaintance; and that I have never been in any company since the news of her death was first brought me, where they have not extolled her virtues, and even spoken the same things of her in prose, which I have done in verse.
I therefore think myself obliged to thank your lordship for the commission which you have given me: how I have acquitted myself of it, must be left to the opinion of the world, in spite of any protestation which I can enter against the present age, as incompetent or corrupt judges. For my comfort, they are but Englishmen, and, as such, if they think ill of me to-day, they are inconstant enough to think well of me to-morrow. And after all, I have not much to thank my fortune that I was born amongst them. The good of both sexes are so few, in England, that they stand like exceptions against general rules: and though one of them has deserved a greater commendation than I could give her, they have taken care that I should not tire my pen with frequent exercise on the like subjects; that praises, like taxes, should be appropriated, and left almost as individual as the person. They say, my talent is satire: if it be so, it is a fruitful age, and there is an extraordinary crop to gather. But a single hand is insufficient for such a harvest: they have sown the dragons' teeth themselves, and it is but just they should reap each other in lampoons. You, my lord, who have the character of honour, though it is not my happiness to know you, may stand aside, with the small remainders of the English nobility, truly such, and, unhurt yourselves, behold the mad combat. If I have pleased you and some few others, I have obtained my end. You see I have disabled myself, like an elected speaker of the house: yet like him I have undertaken the charge, and find the burden sufficiently recompensed by the honour. Be pleased to accept of these my unworthy labours, this paper-monument; and let her pious memory, which I am sure is sacred to you, not only plead the pardon of my many faults, but gain me your protection, which is ambitiously sought by, my lord, your lordship's most obedient servant,
* * * * *
As when some great and gracious monarch dies, Soft whispers, first, and mournful murmurs rise Among the sad attendants; then the sound Soon gathers voice, and spreads the news around, Through town and country, till the dreadful blast Is blown to distant colonies at last; Who then, perhaps, were offering vows in vain, For his long life, and for his happy reign: So slowly, by degrees, unwilling fame Did matchless Eleonora's fate proclaim, 10 Till public as the loss the news became.
The nation felt it in the extremest parts, With eyes o'erflowing, and with bleeding hearts; But most the poor, whom daily she supplied, Beginning to be such, but when she died. For, while she lived, they slept in peace by night, Secure of bread, as of returning light; And with such firm dependence on the day, That need grew pamper'd, and forgot to pray: So sure the doll, so ready at their call, 20 They stood prepared to see the manna fall.
Such multitudes she fed, she clothed, she nursed, That she herself might fear her wanting first. Of her five talents, other five she made; Heaven, that had largely given, was largely paid: And in few lives, in wondrous few, we find A fortune better fitted to the mind. Nor did her alms from ostentation fall, Or proud desire of praise; the soul gave all: Unbribed it gave; or, if a bribe appear, 30 No less than heaven—to heap huge treasures there.
Want pass'd for merit at her open door; Heaven saw, He safely might increase His poor, And trust their sustenance with her so well, As not to be at charge of miracle. None could be needy, whom she saw, or knew; All in the compass of her sphere she drew: He, who could touch her garment, was as sure, As the first Christians of the apostles' cure. The distant heard, by fame, her pious deeds, 40 And laid her up for their extremest needs; A future cordial for a fainting mind; For, what was ne'er refused, all hoped to find, Each in his turn; the rich might freely come, As to a friend; but to the poor 'twas home. As to some holy house the afflicted came, The hunger-starved, the naked and the lame; Want and diseases fled before her name. For zeal like her's her servants were too slow; She was the first, where need required, to go; 50 Herself the foundress and attendant too.
Sure she had guests sometimes to entertain, Guests in disguise, of her great Master's train: Her Lord himself might come, for aught we know; Since in a servant's form He lived below: Beneath her roof He might be pleased to stay; Or some benighted angel, in his way, Might ease his wings, and, seeing heaven appear In its best work of mercy, think it there: Where all the deeds of charity and love 60 Were, in as constant method as above, All carried on; all of a piece with theirs; As free her alms, as diligent her cares; As loud her praises, and as warm her prayers.
Yet was she not profuse; but feared to waste, And wisely managed, that the stock might last; That all might be supplied, and she not grieve, When crowds appear'd, she had not to relieve: Which to prevent, she still increased her store; Laid up, and spared, that she might give the more. 70 So Pharaoh, or some greater king than he, Provided for the seventh necessity: Taught from above his magazines to frame, That famine was prevented ere it came. Thus Heaven, though all-sufficient, shows a thrift In His economy, and bounds His gift: Creating, for our day, one single light; And his reflection, too, supplies the night. Perhaps a thousand other worlds, that lie Remote from us, and latent in the sky, 80 Are lighten'd by his beams, and kindly nursed; Of which our earthly dunghill is the worst.
Now, as all virtues keep the middle line, Yet somewhat more to one extreme incline, Such was her soul; abhorring avarice, Bounteous, but almost bounteous to a vice: Had she given more, it had profusion been, And turn'd the excess of goodness into sin.
These virtues raised her fabric to the sky; For that, which is next heaven, is Charity. 90 But, as high turrets, for their airy steep, Require foundations in proportion deep; And lofty cedars as far upward shoot, As to the nether heavens they drive the root: So low did her secure foundation lie, She was not humble, but Humility. Scarcely she knew that she was great, or fair, Or wise, beyond what other women are; Or, which is better, knew, but never durst compare: For to be conscious of what all admire, 100 And not be vain, advances virtue higher. But still she found, or rather thought she found, Her own worth wanting, others' to abound; Ascribed above their due to every one— Unjust and scanty to herself alone.
Such her devotion was, as might give rules Of speculation to disputing schools, And teach us equally the scales to hold Betwixt the two extremes of hot and cold; That pious heat may moderately prevail, 110 And we be warm'd, but not be scorch'd with zeal: Business might shorten, not disturb, her prayer; Heaven had the best, if not the greater share. An active life long orisons forbids; Yet still she pray'd, for still she pray'd by deeds.
Her every day was Sabbath; only free From hours of prayer, for hours of charity: Such as the Jews from servile toil released; Where works of mercy were a part of rest; Such as blest angels exercise above, 120 Varied with sacred hymns and acts of love: Such Sabbaths as that one she now enjoys, Even that perpetual one, which she employs (For such vicissitudes in heaven there are) In praise alternate, and alternate prayer. All this she practised here; that when she sprung Amidst the choirs, at the first sight she sung: Sung, and was sung herself in angels' lays; For, praising her, they did her Maker praise. All offices of heaven so well she knew, 130 Before she came, that nothing there was new: And she was so familiarly received, As one returning, not as one arrived.
Muse, down again precipitate thy flight! For how can mortal eyes sustain immortal light? But as the sun in water we can bear— Yet not the sun, but his reflection there, So let us view her, here, in what she was, And take her image in this watery glass: Yet look not every lineament to see; 140 Some will be cast in shades, and some will be So lamely drawn, you'll scarcely know 'tis she. For where such various virtues we recite, 'Tis like the milky-way, all over bright, But sown so thick with stars,'tis undistinguish'd light.
Her virtue, not her virtues, let us call; For one heroic comprehends them all: One, as a constellation is but one, Though 'tis a train of stars, that, rolling on, Rise in their turn, and in the zodiac run: 150 Ever in motion; now 'tis faith ascends, Now hope, now charity, that upward tends, And downwards with diffusive good descends.
As in perfumes composed with art and cost, 'Tis hard to say what scent is uppermost; Nor this part musk or civet can we call, Or amber, but a rich result of all; So she was all a sweet, whose every part, In due proportion mix'd, proclaim'd the Maker's art. No single virtue we could most commend, 160 Whether the wife, the mother, or the friend; For she was all, in that supreme degree, That as no one prevail'd, so all was she. The several parts lay hidden in the piece; The occasion but exerted that, or this.
A wife as tender, and as true withal, As the first woman was before her fall: Made for the man, of whom she was a part; Made to attract his eyes, and keep his heart. A second Eve, but by no crime accursed; 170 As beauteous, not as brittle, as the first: Had she been first, still Paradise had been, And Death had found no entrance by her sin: So she not only had preserved from ill Her sex and ours, but lived their pattern still.
Love and obedience to her lord she bore; She much obey'd him, but she loved him more: Not awed to duty by superior sway, But taught by his indulgence to obey. Thus we love God, as author of our good; 180 So subjects love just kings, or so they should. Nor was it with ingratitude return'd; In equal fires the blissful couple burn'd; One joy possess'd them both, and in one grief they mourn'd. His passion still improved; he loved so fast As if he fear'd each day would be her last. Too true a prophet to foresee the fate That should so soon divide their happy state; When he to heaven entirely must restore That love, that heart, where he went halves before. 190 Yet as the soul is all in every part, So God and he might each have all her heart.
So had her children too; for charity Was not more fruitful, or more kind than she: Each under other by degrees they grew; A goodly perspective of distant view. Anchises look'd not with so pleased a face, In numbering o'er his future Roman race, And marshalling the heroes of his name, As, in their order, next to light they came. 200 Nor Cybele, with half so kind an eye, Survey'd her sons and daughters of the sky; Proud, shall I say, of her immortal fruit? As far as pride with heavenly minds may suit. Her pious love excell'd to all she bore; New objects only multiplied it more. And as the chosen found the pearly grain As much as every vessel could contain; As in the blissful vision each shall share As much of glory as his soul can bear; 210 So did she love, and so dispense her care. Her eldest thus, by consequence, was best, As longer cultivated than the rest. The babe had all that infant care beguiles, And early knew his mother in her smiles: But when dilated organs let in day To the young soul, and gave it room to play, At his first aptness, the maternal love Those rudiments of reason did improve: The tender age was pliant to command; 220 Like wax it yielded to the forming hand: True to the artificer, the labour'd mind With ease was pious, generous, just, and kind; Soft for impression, from the first prepared, Till virtue with long exercise grew hard: With every act confirm'd, and made at last So durable as not to be effaced, It turn'd to habit; and, from vices free, Goodness resolved into necessity.
Thus fix'd she virtue's image, that's her own, 230 Till the whole mother in the children shone; For that was their perfection: she was such, They never could express her mind too much. So unexhausted her perfections were, That, for more children, she had more to spare; For souls unborn, whom her untimely death Deprived of bodies, and of mortal breath; And (could they take the impressions of her mind) Enough still left to sanctify her kind.
Then wonder not to see this soul extend 240 The bounds, and seek some other self, a friend: As swelling seas to gentle rivers glide, To seek repose, and empty out the tide; So this full soul, in narrow limits pent, Unable to contain her, sought a vent To issue out, and in some friendly breast Discharge her treasures, and securely rest: To unbosom all the secrets of her heart, Take good advice, but better to impart: For 'tis the bliss of friendship's holy state, 250 To mix their minds, and to communicate; Though bodies cannot, souls can penetrate. Fix'd to her choice, inviolably true, And wisely choosing, for she chose but few. Some she must have; but in no one could find A tally fitted for so large a mind.
The souls of friends, like kings in progress, are Still in their own, though from the palace far: Thus her friend's heart her country dwelling was A sweet retirement to a coarser place; 260 Where pomp and ceremonies enter'd not, Where greatness was shut out, and business well forgot.
This is the imperfect draught; but short as far As the true height and bigness of a star Exceeds the measures of the astronomer. She shines above, we know; but in what place, How near the throne, and Heaven's imperial face, By our weak optics is but vainly guess'd; Distance and altitude conceal the rest.
Though all these rare endowments of the mind 270 Were in a narrow space of life confined, The figure was with full perfection crown'd; Though not so large an orb, as truly round.
As when in glory, through the public place, The spoils of conquer'd nations were to pass, And but one day for triumph was allow'd, The consul was constrain'd his pomp to crowd; And so the swift procession hurried on, That all, though not distinctly, might be shown: So in the straiten'd bounds of life confined, 280 She gave but glimpses of her glorious mind: And multitudes of virtues pass'd along; Bach pressing foremost in the mighty throng, Ambitious to be seen, and then make room For greater multitudes that were to come.
Yet unemploy'd no minute slipp'd away; Moments were precious in so short a stay. The haste of heaven to have her was so great, That some were single acts, though each complete; But every act stood ready to repeat. 290
Her fellow-saints with busy care will look For her bless'd name in Fate's eternal book; And, pleased to be outdone, with joy will see Numberless virtues, endless charity: But more will wonder at so short an age, To find a blank beyond the thirtieth page; And with a pious fear begin to doubt The piece imperfect, and the rest torn out. But 'twas her Saviour's time; and, could there be A copy near the Original, 'twas she. 300
As precious gums are not for lasting fire, They but perfume the temple, and expire: So was she soon exhaled, and vanish'd hence; A short sweet odour, of a vast expense. She vanish'd, we can scarcely say she died; For but a now did heaven and earth divide: She pass'd serenely with a single breath; This moment perfect health, the next was death: One sigh did her eternal bliss assure; So little penance needs, when souls are almost pure. 310 As gentle dreams our waking thoughts pursue; Or, one dream pass'd, we slide into a new; So close they follow, such wild order keep, We think ourselves awake, and are asleep: So softly death succeeded life in her, She did but dream of heaven, and she was there.
No pains she suffer'd, nor expired with noise; Her soul was whisper'd out with God's still voice; As an old friend is beckon'd to a feast, And treated like a long-familiar guest. 320 He took her as He found, but found her so, As one in hourly readiness to go: Even on that day, in all her trim prepared; As early notice she from heaven had heard, And some descending courier from above Had given her timely warning to remove; Or counsell'd her to dress the nuptial room, For on that night the Bridegroom was to come. He kept His hour, and found her where she lay Clothed all in white, the livery of the day. 330 Scarce had she sinn'd in thought, or word, or act; Unless omissions were to pass for fact: That hardly death a consequence could draw, To make her liable to nature's law: And, that she died, we only have to show The mortal part of her she left below: The rest, so smooth, so suddenly she went, Look'd like translation through the firmament; Or, like the fiery car, on the third errand sent.
O happy soul! if thou canst view from high, 340 Where thou art all intelligence, all eye; If, looking up to God, or down to us, Thou find'st that any way be pervious, Survey the ruins of thy house, and see Thy widow'd, and thy orphan family: Look on thy tender pledges left behind; And, if thou canst a vacant minute find From heavenly joys, that interval afford To thy sad children, and thy mourning lord. See how they grieve, mistaken in their love, 350 And shed a beam of comfort from above; Give them, as much as mortal eyes can bear, A transient view of thy full glories there; That they with moderate sorrow may sustain And mollify their losses in thy gain: Or else divide the grief; for such thou wert, That should not all relations bear a part, It were enough to break a single heart.
Let this suffice: nor thou, great saint, refuse This humble tribute of no vulgar Muse: 360 Who, not by cares, or wants, or age depress'd, Stems a wild deluge with a dauntless breast; And dares to sing thy praises in a clime Where vice triumphs, and virtue is a crime; Where even to draw the picture of thy mind, Is satire on the most of human kind: Take it, while yet 'tis praise; before my rage, Unsafely just, break loose on this bad age; So bad, that thou thyself hadst no defence From vice, but barely by departing hence. 370
Be what, and where thou art: to wish thy place, Were, in the best, presumption more than grace. Thy relics (such thy works of mercy are) Have, in this poem, been my holy care. As earth thy body keeps, thy soul the sky, So shall this verse preserve thy memory; For thou shalt make it live, because it sings of thee.
* * * * *
[Footnote 37: 'Third errand:' Enoch and Elias were the first two.]
* * * * *
ON THE DEATH OF AMYNTAS.
A PASTORAL ELEGY.
'Twas on a joyless and a gloomy morn, Wet was the grass, and hung with pearls the thorn; When Damon, who design'd to pass the day With hounds and horns, and chase the flying prey, Rose early from his bed; but soon he found The welkin pitch'd with sullen clouds around, An eastern wind, and dew upon the ground. Thus while he stood, and, sighing, did survey The fields, and cursed the ill omens of the day, He saw Menalcas come with heavy pace; 10 Wet were his eyes, and cheerless was his face: He wrung his hands, distracted with his care, And sent his voice before him from afar. Return, he cried, return, unhappy swain! The spungy clouds are fill'd with gathering rain: The promise of the day not only cross'd, But even the spring, the spring itself is lost. Amyntas—oh!—he could not speak the rest, Nor needed, for presaging Damon guess'd. Equal with heaven young Damon loved the boy, 20 The boast of nature, both his parents' joy, His graceful form revolving in his mind; So great a genius, and a soul so kind, Gave sad assurance that his fears were true; Too well the envy of the gods he knew: For when their gifts too lavishly are placed, Soon they repent, and will not make them last. For sure it was too bountiful a dole, The mother's features, and the father's soul. Then thus he cried; the morn bespoke the news: 30 The morning did her cheerful light diffuse: But see how suddenly she changed her face, And brought on clouds and rain, the day's disgrace! Just such, Amyntas, was thy promised race: What charms adorn'd thy youth, where nature smiled, And more than man was given us in a child! His infancy was ripe: a soul sublime In years so tender that prevented time: Heaven gave him all at once; then snatch'd away, Ere mortals all his beauties could survey: 40 Just like the flower that buds and withers in a day.
The mother, lovely, though with grief oppress'd, Reclined his dying head upon her breast. The mournful family stood all around; One groan was heard, one universal sound: All were in floods of tears and endless sorrow drown'd. So dire a sadness sat on every look, Even Death repented he had given the stroke. He grieved his fatal work had been ordain'd But promised length of life to those who yet remain'd. 50 The mother's and her eldest daughter's grace, It seems, had bribed him to prolong their space. The father bore it with undaunted soul, Like one who durst his destiny control: Yet with becoming grief he bore his part, Resign'd his son, but not resign'd his heart: Patient as Job; and may he live to see, Like him, a new increasing family!
Such is my wish, and such my prophecy. For yet, my friend, the beauteous mould remains; 60 Long may she exercise her fruitful pains! But, ah! with better hap, and bring a race More lasting, and endued with equal grace! Equal she may, but further none can go: For he was all that was exact below.
Damon! behold yon breaking purple cloud; Hear'st thou not hymns and songs divinely loud? There mounts Amyntas; the young cherubs play About their godlike mate, and sing him on his way! He cleaves the liquid air, behold he flies, 70 And every moment gains upon the skies! The new-come guest admires the ethereal state, The sapphire portal, and the golden gate; And now admitted in the shining throng, He shows the passport which he brought along: His passport is his innocence and grace, Well known to all the natives of the place. Now sing, ye joyful angels, and admire Your brother's voice that conies to mend your quire Sing you,—while endless tears our eyes bestow: 80 For like Amyntas none is left below.
* * * * *
ON THE DEATH OF A VERY YOUNG GENTLEMAN.
He who could view the book of destiny, And read whatever there was writ of thee, O charming youth, in the first opening page, So many graces in so green an age, Such wit, such modesty, such strength of mind, A soul at once so manly and so kind; Would wonder, when he turn'd the volume o'er, And after some few leaves should find no more, Nought but a blank remain, a dead void space, A step of life that promised such a race. 10 We must not, dare not think, that Heaven began A child, and could not finish him a man; Reflecting what a mighty store was laid Of rich materials, and a model made: The cost already furnish'd; so bestow'd, As more was never to one soul allow'd: Yet after this profusion spent in vain, Nothing but mouldering ashes to remain, I guess not, lest I split upon the shelf, Yet durst I guess, Heaven kept it for himself; 20 And giving us the use, did soon recall, Ere we could spare, the mighty principal.
Thus then he disappeared, was rarified; For 'tis improper speech to say he died: He was exhaled; his great Creator drew His spirit, as the sun the morning dew. 'Tis sin produces death; and he had none, But the taint Adam left on every son. He added not, he was so pure, so good, 'Twas but the original forfeit of his blood: 30 And that so little, that the river ran More clear than the corrupted fount began. Nothing remain'd of the first muddy clay; The length of course had wash'd it in the way: So deep, and yet so clear, we might behold The gravel bottom, and that bottom gold.
As such we loved, admired, almost adored, Gave all the tribute mortals could afford. Perhaps we gave so much, the powers above Grew angry at our superstitious love: 40 For when we more than human homage pay, The charming cause is justly snatch'd away.
Thus was the crime not his, but ours alone: And yet we murmur that he went so soon; Though miracles are short and rarely shown.
Learn, then, ye mournful parents, and divide That love in many, which in one was tied. That individual blessing is no more, But multiplied in your remaining store. The flame's dispersed, but does not all expire; 50 The sparkles blaze, though not the globe of fire. Love him by parts, in all your numerous race, And from those parts form one collected grace: Then, when you have refined to that degree, Imagine all in one, and think that one is he.
* * * * *
UPON YOUNG MR ROGERS OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE.
Of gentle blood, his parents' only treasure, Their lasting sorrow, and their vanish'd pleasure, Adorn'd with features, virtues, wit, and grace, A large provision for so short a race; More moderate gifts might have prolong'd his date, Too early fitted for a better state; But, knowing heaven his home, to shun delay, He leap'd o'er age, and took the shortest way.
* * * * *
ON THE DEATH OF MR PURCELL.
SET TO MUSIC BY DR BLOW.
1 Mark how the lark and linnet sing; With rival notes They strain their warbling throats, To welcome in the spring. But in the close of night, When Philomel begins her heavenly lay, They cease their mutual spite, Drink in her music with delight, And, listening, silently obey.
2 So ceased the rival crew, when Purcell came; They sung no more, or only sung his fame: Struck dumb, they all admired the godlike man: The godlike man, Alas! too soon retired, As he too late began. We beg not hell our Orpheus to restore: Had he been there, Their sovereign's fear Had sent him back before. The power of harmony too well they knew: He long ere this had tuned their jarring sphere, And left no hell below.
3 The heavenly choir, who heard his notes from high, Let down the scale of music from the sky: They handed him along, And all the way he taught, and all the way they sung Ye brethren of the lyre, and tuneful voice, Lament his lot; but at your own rejoice: Now live secure, and linger out your days; The gods are pleased alone with Purcell's lays, Nor know to mend their choice.
* * * * *
EPITAPH ON THE LADY WHITMORE.
Fair, kind, and true, a treasure each alone, A wife, a mistress, and a friend in one, Rest in this tomb, raised at thy husband's cost, Here sadly summing what he had, and lost. Come, virgins, ere in equal bands ye join, Come first, and offer at her sacred shrine; Pray but for half the virtues of this wife, Compound for all the rest, with longer life; And wish your vows, like hers, may be return'd, So loved when living, and when dead so mourn'd.
* * * * *
EPITAPH ON SIR PALMES FAIRBONE'S TOMB IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY.
SACRED TO THE IMMORTAL MEMORY OF SIR PALMES FAIRBONE, KNIGHT, GOVERNOR OF TANGIER; IN EXECUTION OF WHICH COMMAND, HE WAS MORTALLY WOUNDED BY A SHOT FROM THE MOORS, THEN BESIEGING THE TOWN, IN THE FORTY-SIXTH YEAR OF HIS AGE. OCTOBER 24, 1680.
Ye sacred relics, which your marble keep, Here, undisturb'd by wars, in quiet sleep: Discharge the trust, which, when it was below, Pairbone's undaunted soul did undergo, And be the town's Palladium from the foe. Alive and dead these walls he will defend: Great actions great examples must attend. The Candian siege his early valour knew, Where Turkish blood did his young hands imbrue. From thence returning with deserved applause, 10 Against the Moors his well-flesh'd sword he draws; The same the courage, and the same the cause. His youth and age, his life and death, combine, As in some great and regular design, All of a piece throughout, and all divine. Still nearer heaven his virtues shone more bright, Like rising flames expanding in their height; The martyr's glory crown'd the soldier's fight. More bravely British general never fell, Nor general's death was e'er revenged so well; 20 Which his pleased eyes beheld before their close, Follow'd by thousand victims of his foes. To his lamented loss for time to come His pious widow consecrates this tomb.
* * * * *
UNDER MR MILTON'S PICTURE, BEFORE HIS PARADISE LOST.
Three Poets, in three distant ages born, Greece, Italy, and England, did adorn. The first, in loftiness of thought surpass'd; The next, in majesty; in both the last. The force of nature could no further go; To make a third, she join'd the former two.
* * * * *
[Footnote 38: In Tonson's folio edition.]
* * * * *
ON THE MONUMENT OF A FAIR MAIDEN LADY, WHO DIED AT BATH, AND IS THERE INTERRED.
Below this marble monument is laid All that heaven wants of this celestial maid. Preserve, O sacred tomb! thy trust consign'd; The mould was made on purpose for the mind: And she would lose, if, at the latter day, One atom could be mix'd of other clay. Such were the features of her heavenly face, Her limbs were form'd with such harmonious grace: So faultless was the frame, as if the whole Had been an emanation of the soul: 10 Which her own inward symmetry reveal'd And like a picture shone, in glass anneal'd. Or like the sun eclipsed, with shaded light: Too piercing, else, to be sustain'd by sight. Each thought was visible that roll'd within: As through a crystal case the figured hours are seen. And Heaven did this transparent veil provide, Because she had no guilty thought to hide. All white, a virgin-saint, she sought the skies: For marriage, though it sullies not, it dyes. 20 High though her wit, yet humble was her mind: As if she could not, or she would not find How much her worth transcended all her kind. Yet she had learn'd so much of heaven below, That, when arrived, she scarce had more to know: But only to refresh the former hint, And read her Maker in a fairer print. So pious, as she had no time to spare For human thoughts, but was confined to prayer. Yet in such charities she pass'd the day, 30 'Twas wondrous how she found an hour to pray. A soul so calm, it knew not ebbs or flows, Which passion could but curl, not discompose. A female softness, with a manly mind: A daughter duteous, and a sister kind: In sickness patient, and in death resign'd.
* * * * *
[Footnote 39: This Lady is interred in the Abbey-church. Her name was Mary Frampton. She died in 1698.]
* * * * *
EPITAPH ON MRS MARGARET PASTON, OF BURNINGHAM IN NORFOLK.
So fair, so young, so innocent, so sweet, So ripe a judgment, and so rare a wit, Require at least an age in one to meet. In her they met; but long they could not stay, 'Twas gold too fine to mix without allay. Heaven's image was in her so well express'd, Her very sight upbraided all the rest; Too justly ravish'd from an age like this, Now she is gone, the world is of a piece.
* * * * *
ON THE MONUMENT OF THE MARQUIS OF WINCHESTER.
He who in impious times undaunted stood, And 'midst rebellion durst be just and good; Whose arms asserted, and whose sufferings more Confirm'd the cause for which he sought before, Rests here, rewarded by an heavenly prince, For what his earthly could not recompense. Pray, reader, that such times no more appear: Or, if they happen, learn true honour here. Ask of this age's faith and loyalty, Which, to preserve them, Heaven confined in thee. Few subjects could a king like thine deserve; And fewer such a king so well could serve. Blest king, blest subject, whose exalted state By sufferings rose, and gave the law to fate! Such souls are rare, but mighty patterns given To earth, and meant for ornaments to heaven.
* * * * *
[Footnote 40: Winchester, a staunch royalist, besieged two years in his castle of Basing, died in 1674.]
* * * * *
SONGS, ODES, AND A MASQUE
THE FAIR STRANGER.
1 Happy and free, securely blest, No beauty could disturb my rest; My amorous heart was in despair, To find a new victorious fair.
2 Till you descending on our plains, With foreign force renew my chains: Where now you rule without control The mighty sovereign of my soul.
3 Your smiles have more of conquering charms, Than all your native country arms; Their troops we can expel with ease, Who vanquish only when we please.
4 But in your eyes, oh! there's the spell, Who can see them, and not rebel? You make us captives by your stay, Yet kill us if you go away.
* * * * *
[Footnote 41: This song is a compliment to the Duchess of Portsmouth, Charles's mistress, on her first coming to England.]
* * * * *
ON THE YOUNG STATESMEN.
WRITTEN IN 1680.
1 CLARENDON had law and sense, Clifford was fierce and brave; Bennet's grave look was a pretence, And Danby's matchless impudence Help'd to support the knave.
2 But Sunderland, Godolphin, Lory, These will appear such chits in story, 'Twill turn all politics to jests, To be repeated like John Dory, When fiddlers sing at feasts.
3 Protect us, mighty Providence! What would these madmen have? First, they would bribe us without pence, Deceive us without common sense, And without power enslave.
4 Shall free-torn men, in humble awe, Submit to servile shame; Who from consent and custom draw The same right to be ruled by law, Which kings pretend to reign?
5 The duke shall wield his conquering sword, The chancellor make a speech, The king shall pass his honest word, The pawn'd revenue sums afford, And then, come kiss my breech.
6 So have I seen a king on chess (His rooks and knights withdrawn, His queen and bishops in distress) Shifting about, grow less and less, With here and there a pawn.
* * * * *
[Footnote 42: 'Laurence Hyde,' afterwards Earl of Rochester, is the person here called Lory.]
* * * * *
A SONG FOR ST CECILIA'S DAY,1687.
1 FROM harmony, from heavenly harmony This universal frame began: When nature underneath a heap Of jarring atoms lay, And could not heave her head, The tuneful voice was heard from high, Arise, ye more than dead. Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry, In order to their stations leap, And Music's power obey. From harmony, from heavenly harmony This universal frame began: From harmony to harmony Through all the compass of the notes it rail, The diapason closing full in Man.
2 What passion cannot Music raise and quell? When Jubal struck the chorded shell, His listening brethren stood around, And, wondering, on their faces fell To worship that celestial sound. Less than a God they thought there could not dwell Within the hollow of that shell, That spoke so sweetly and so well. What passion cannot Music raise and quell?
3 The trumpet's loud clangour Excites us to arms, With shrill notes of anger, And mortal alarms. The double double double beat Of the thundering drum Cries, hark! the foes come; Charge, charge!'tis too late to retreat.
4 The soft complaining flute In dying notes discovers The woes of hopeless lovers, Whose dirge is whisper'd by the warbling lute.
5 Sharp violins proclaim Their jealous pangs, and desperation, Fury, frantic indignation, Depth of pains, and height of passion, For the fair, disdainful dame.
6 But oh! what art can teach, What human voice can reach, The sacred organ's praise? Notes inspiring holy love, Notes that wing their heavenly ways To mend the choirs above.
7 Orpheus could lead the savage race; And trees uprooted left their place, Sequacious of the lyre: But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher: When to her organ vocal breath was given, An angel heard, and straight appear'd, Mistaking earth for heaven.
As from the power of sacred lays The spheres began to move, And sung the great Creator's praise To all the bless'd above; So when the last and dreadful hour This crumbling pageant shall devour, The trumpet shall be heard on high, The dead shall live, the living die, And Music shall untune the sky.
* * * * *
[Footnote 43: 'St Cecilia's Day': 22d November-birthday of St Cecilia, the patron saint of music-a Roman lady martyred in the third century, said to have been taught music by an angel.]
* * * * *
THE TEARS OF AMYNTA, FOR THE DEATH OF DAMON.
1 On a bank, beside a willow, Heaven her covering, earth her pillow, Sad Amynta sigh'd alone: From the cheerless dawn of morning Till the dews of night returning, Singing thus she made her moan: Hope is banish'd, Joys are vanish'd, Damon, my beloved, is gone!
2 Time, I dare thee to discover Such a youth and such a lover; Oh, so true, so kind was he! Damon was the pride of nature, Charming in his every feature; Damon lived alone for me; Melting kisses, Murmuring blisses: Who so lived and loved as we?
3 Never shall we curse the morning. Never bless the night returning, Sweet embraces to restore: Never shall we both lie dying, Nature failing, Love supplying All the joys he drain'd before:
Death come end me, To befriend me: Love and Damon are no more.
* * * * *
THE LADY'S SONG.
1 A Choir of bright beauties in spring did appear, To choose a May-lady to govern the year; All the nymphs were in white, and the shepherds in green; The garland was given, and Phyllis was queen: But Phyllis refused it, and sighing did say, I'll not wear a garland while Pan is away.
2 While Pan and fair Syrinx are fled from our shore, The Graces are banish'd, and Love is no more: The soft god of pleasure, that warm'd our desires, Has broken his bow, and extinguish'd his fires; And vows that himself and his mother will mourn, Till Pan and fair Syrinx in triumph return.
3 Forbear your addresses, and court us no more; For we will perform what the Deity swore: But if you dare think of deserving our charms, Away with your sheephooks, and take to your arms; Then laurels and myrtles your brows shall adorn, When Pan, and his son, and fair Syrinx return.
* * * * *
[Footnote 44: Intended to apply to the banishment of King James and his wife, Mary of Este.]
* * * * *
1 Fair, sweet, and young, receive a prize Reserved for your victorious eyes: From crowds, whom at your feet you see, O pity, and distinguish me! As I from thousand beauties more Distinguish you, and only you adore.
2 Your face for conquest was design'd, Your every motion charms my mind; Angels, when you your silence break, Forget their hymns, to hear you speak; But when at once they hear and view, Are loth to mount, and long to stay with you.
3 No graces can your form improve, But all are lost, unless you love; While that sweet passion you disdain, Your veil and beauty are in vain: In pity then prevent my fate, For after dying all reprieve's too late.
* * * * *
High state and honours to others impart, But give me your heart: That treasure, that treasure alone, I beg for my own.
So gentle a love, so fervent a fire, My soul does inspire; That treasure, that treasure alone, I beg for my own. Your love let me crave; Give me in possessing So matchless a blessing; That empire is all I would have. Love's my petition, All my ambition; If e'er you discover So faithful a lover, So real a flame, I'll die, I'll die, So give up my game.
* * * * *
1 Chloe found Amyntas lying, All in tears upon the plain; Sighing to himself, and crying, Wretched I, to love in vain! Kiss me, dear, before my dying; Kiss me once, and ease my pain!
2 Sighing to himself, and crying, Wretched I, to love in vain! Ever scorning and denying To reward your faithful swain: Kiss me, dear, before my dying; Kiss me once, and ease my pain:
3 Ever scorning, and denying To reward your faithful swain: Chloe, laughing at his crying, Told him, that he loved in vain: Kiss me, dear, before my dying; Kiss me once, and ease my pain!
4 Chloe, laughing at his crying, Told him, that he loved in vain: But repenting, and complying, When he kiss'd, she kiss'd again: Kiss'd him up before his dying; Kiss'd him up, and eased his pain.
* * * * *
1 Go tell Amynta, gentle swain, I would not die, nor dare complain: Thy tuneful voice with numbers join, Thy words will more prevail than mine. To souls oppress'd and dumb with grief, The gods ordain this kind relief; That music should in sounds convey, What dying lovers dare not say.
2 A sigh or tear perhaps she'll give, But love on pity cannot live. Tell her that hearts for hearts were made, And love with love is only paid. Tell her my pains so fast increase, That soon they will be past redress; But ah! the wretch that speechless lies, Attends but death to close his eyes.
* * * * *
A SONG TO A FAIR YOUNG LADY, GOING OUT OF TOWN IN THE SPRING.
1 Ask not the cause, why sullen Spring So long delays her flowers to bear; Why warbling birds forget to sing, And winter storms invert the year: Chloris is gone, and fate provides To make it Spring, where she resides.
2 Chloris is gone, the cruel fair; She cast not back a pitying eye; But left her lover in despair, To sigh, to languish, and to die: Ah, how can those fair eyes endure To give the wounds they will not cure?
3 Great God of love, why hast thou made A face that can all hearts command, That all religions can evade, And change the laws of every land? Where thou hadst placed such power before, Thou shouldst have made her mercy more.
4 When Chloris to the temple comes, Adoring crowds before her fall; She can restore the dead from tombs, And every life but mine recall. I only am by Love design'd To be the victim for mankind.
* * * * *
SONGS IN THE "INDIAN EMPEROR."
Ah, fading joy! how quickly art thou past! Yet we thy ruin haste. As if the cares of human life were few, We seek out new: And follow Fate, which would too fast pursue. See how on every bough the birds express, In their sweet notes, their happiness. They all enjoy, and nothing spare; But on their mother Nature lay their care: Why then should man, the lord of all below, Such troubles choose to know, As none of all his subjects undergo? Hark, hark, the waters fall, fall, fall, And with a murmuring sound Dash, dash upon the ground, To gentle slumbers call.
I look'd, and saw within the book of fate, When many days did lour, When lo! one happy hour Leap'd up, and smiled to save the sinking state; A day shall come when in thy power Thy cruel foes shall be; Then shall thy land be free: And then in peace shall reign; But take, O take that opportunity, Which, once refused, will never come again.
* * * * *
SONG IN THE "MAIDEN QUEEN."
I feed a flame within, which so torments me, That it both pains my heart, and yet contents me: 'Tis such a pleasing smart, and I so love it, That I had rather die than once remove it.
Yet he for whom I grieve shall never know it: My tongue does not betray, nor my eyes show it. Not a sigh, not a tear, my pain discloses, But they fall silently, like dew on roses.
Thus, to prevent my love from being cruel, My heart's the sacrifice, as 'tis the fuel: And while I suffer this to give him quiet, My faith rewards my love, though he deny it.
On his eyes will I gaze, and there delight me; Where I conceal my love no frown can fright me: To be more happy, I dare not aspire; Nor can I fall more low, mounting no higher.
* * * * *
SONGS IN "THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA."
Wherever I am, and whatever I do, My Phyllis is still in my mind; When angry, I mean not to Phyllis to go, My feet, of themselves, the way find: Unknown to myself I am just at her door, And when I would rail, I can bring out no more, Than, Phyllis too fair and unkind!
When Phyllis I see, my heart bounds in my breast, And the love I would stifle is shown; But asleep or awake I am never at rest, When from my eyes Phyllis is gone. Sometimes a sad dream does delude my sad mind; But, alas! when I wake, and no Phyllis I find, How I sigh to myself all alone!
Should a king be my rival in her I adore, He should offer his treasure in vain: Oh, let me alone to be happy and poor, And give me my Phyllis again! Let Phyllis be mine, and but ever be kind, I could to a desert with her be confined, And envy no monarch his reign.
Alas! I discover too much of my love, And she too well knows her own power! She makes me each day a new martyrdom prove, And makes me grow jealous each hour: But let her each minute torment my poor mind, I had rather love Phyllis, both false and unkind, Than ever be freed from her power.
HE. How unhappy a lover am I, While I sigh for my Phyllis in vain: All my hopes of delight Are another man's right, Who is happy, while I am in pain!
SHE. Since her honour allows no relief, But to pity the pains which you bear, 'Tis the best of your fate, In a hopeless estate, To give o'er, and betimes to despair.
HE. I have tried the false medicine in vain; For I wish what I hope not to win: From without, my desire Has no food to its fire; But it burns and consumes me within.
SHE. Yet, at least, 'tis a pleasure to know That you are not unhappy alone: For the nymph you adore Is as wretched, and more; And counts all your sufferings her own.
HE. O ye gods, let me suffer for both; At the feet of my Phyllis I'll lie: I'll resign up my breath, And take pleasure in death, To be pitied by her when I die.
SHE. What her honour denied you in life, In her death she will give to your love. Such a flame as is true After fate will renew, For the souls to meet closer above.
* * * * *
SONG OF THE SEA-FIGHT, IN AMBOYNA.
Who ever saw a noble sight, That never view'd a brave sea-fight! Hang up your bloody colours in the air, Up with your fights, and your nettings prepare; Your merry mates cheer, with a lusty bold spright. Now each man his brindace, and then to the fight. St George, St George, we cry, The shouting Turks reply. Oh, now it begins, and the gun-room grows hot, Ply it with culverin and with small shot;
Hark, does it not thunder? no, 'tis the guns' roar, The neighbouring billows are turn'd into gore; Now each man must resolve to die, For here the coward cannot fly. Drums and trumpets toll the knell, And culverins the passing bell. Now, now they grapple, and now board amain; Blow up the hatches, they're off all again: Give them a broadside, the dice run at all, Down comes the mast and yard, and tacklings fall; She grows giddy now, like blind Fortune's wheel, She sinks there, she sinks, she turns up her keel. Who ever beheld so noble a sight, As this so brave, so bloody sea-fight!
* * * * *
INCANTATION IN OEDIPUS.
TIR. Choose the darkest part o' th' grove, Such as ghosts at noonday love. Dig a trench, and dig it nigh Where the bones of Laius lie; Altars raised, of turf or stone, Will th' infernal powers have none, Answer me, if this be done?
ALL PR. 'Tis done.
TIR. Is the sacrifice made fit? Draw her backward to the pit: Draw the barren heifer back; Barren let her be, and black.
Cut the curl'd hair that grows Full betwixt her horns and brows: And turn your faces from the sun, Answer me, if this be done?
ALL PR. 'Tis done.
TIR. Pour in blood, and blood-like wine, To Mother Earth and Proserpine: Mingle milk into the stream; Feast the ghosts that love the steam: Snatch a brand from funeral pile: Toss it in to make them boil; And turn your faces from the sun, Answer me, if this be done?
ALL PR. 'Tis done.
* * * * *
SONGS IN ALBION AND ALBANIUS.
Cease, Augusta! cease thy mourning, Happy days appear, Godlike Albion is returning, Loyal hearts to cheer! Every grace his youth adorning, Glorious as the star of morning, Or the planet of the year.
Albion, by the nymph attended, Was to Neptune recommended, Peace and plenty spread the sails: Venus, in her shell before him, From the sands in safety bore him, And supplied Etesian gales. Archon on the shore commanding, Lowly met him at his landing, Crowds of people swarm'd around; Welcome, rang like peals of thunder, Welcome, rent the skies asunder, Welcome, heaven and earth resound.
Infernal offspring of the Night, Debarr'd of heaven your native right, And from the glorious fields of light, Condemn'd in shades to drag the chain, And fill with groans the gloomy plain; Since pleasures here are none below, Be ill our good, our joy be woe; Our work t' embroil the worlds above, Disturb their union, disunite their love, And blast the beauteous frame of our victorious foe.
See the god of seas attends thee, Nymphs divine, a beauteous train: All the calmer gales befriend thee In thy passage o'er the main: Every maid her locks is binding, Every Triton's horn is winding, Welcome to the watery plain.
Albion, loved of gods and men, Prince of Peace too mildly reigning, Cease thy sorrow and complaining, Thou shalt be restored again: Albion, loved of gods and men.
Still thou art the care of heaven, In thy youth to exile driven: Heaven thy ruin then prevented, Till the guilty land repented: In thy age, when none could aid thee, Foes conspired, and friends betray'd thee. To the brink of danger driven, Still thou art the care of heaven.
* * * * *
SONGS IN KING ARTHUR.
Where a battle is supposed to be given behind the scenes, with drums, trumpets, and military shouts and excursions; after which, the Britons, expressing their joy for the victory, sing this song of triumph.
Come, if you dare, our trumpets sound; Come, if you dare, the foes rebound: We come, we come, we come, we come, Says the double, double, double beat of the thundering drum. Now they charge on amain, Now they rally again: The gods from above the mad labour behold, And pity mankind, that will perish for gold. The fainting Saxons quit their ground, Their trumpets languish in the sound: They fly, they fly, they fly, they fly; Victoria, Victoria, the bold Britons cry. Now the victory's won, To the plunder we run: We return to our lasses like fortunate traders, Triumphant with spoils of the vanquish'd invaders.
O sight, the mother of desires, What charming objects dost thou yield! 'Tis sweet, when tedious night expires, To see the rosy morning gild The mountain-tops, and paint the field! But when Clarinda comes in sight, She makes the summer's day more bright; And when she goes away, 'tis night.
When fair Clarinda comes in sight, &c.
'Tis sweet the blushing morn to view; And plains adorn'd with pearly dew: But such cheap delights to see, Heaven and nature Give each creature; They have eyes, as well as we;
This is the joy, all joys above, To see, to see, That only she, That only she we love!
This is the joy, all joys above, &c.
Two daughters of this aged stream are we; And both our sea-green locks have comb'd for thee; Come bathe with us an hour or two, Come naked in, for we are so: What danger from a naked foe? Come bathe with us, come bathe, and share What pleasures in the floods appear; We'll beat the waters till they bound, And circle round, around, around, And circle round, around.
Ye blustering brethren of the skies, Whose breath has ruffled all the watery plain, Retire, and let Britannia rise, In triumph o'er the main. Serene and calm, and void of fear, The Queen of Islands must appear: Serene and calm, as when the Spring The new-created world began, And birds on boughs did softly sing Their peaceful homage paid to man; While Eurus did his blasts forbear, In favour of the tender year. Retreat, rude winds, retreat To hollow rocks, your stormy seat; There swell your lungs, and vainly, vainly threat.
Foe folded flocks, on fruitful plains, The shepherd's and the farmer's gains, Fair Britain all the world outvies; And Pan, as in Arcadia, reigns, Where pleasure mix'd with profit lies.
Though Jason's fleece was famed of old, The British wool is growing gold; No mines can more of wealth supply; It keeps the peasant from the cold, And takes for kings the Tyrian dye.
Fairest isle, all isles excelling, Seat of pleasures and of loves; Venus here will choose her dwelling, And forsake her Cyprian groves.
Cupid from his favourite nation Care and envy will remove; Jealousy, that poisons passion, And despair, that dies for love,
Gentle murmurs, sweet complaining, Sighs, that blow the fire of love; Soft repulses, kind disdaining, Shall be all the pains you prove.
Every swain shall pay his duty, Grateful every nymph shall prove; And as these excel in beauty, Those shall be renown'd for love.
* * * * *
SONG OF JEALOUSY, IN LOVE TRIUMPHANT.
What state of life can be so blest As love, that warms a lover's breast? Two souls in one, the same desire To grant the bliss, and to require! But if in heaven a hell we find, 'Tis all from thee, O Jealousy! 'Tis all from thee, O Jealousy! Thou tyrant, tyrant Jealousy, Thou tyrant of the mind! All other ills, though sharp they prove, Serve to refine, and perfect love: In absence, or unkind disdain, Sweet hope relieves the lover's pain. But, ah! no cure but death we find, To set us free From Jealousy: O Jealousy! Thou tyrant, tyrant Jealousy, Thou tyrant of the mind!
False in thy glass all objects are, Some set too near, and some too far; Thou art the fire of endless night, The fire that burns, and gives no light. All torments of the damn'd we find In only thee, O Jealousy! Thou tyrant, tyrant Jealousy, Thou tyrant of the mind!
* * * * *
SONG. FAREWELL, FAIR ARMIDA.
Farewell, fair Armida, my joy and my grief, In vain I have loved you, and hope no relief; Undone by your virtue, too strict and severe, Your eyes gave me love, and you gave me despair; Now call'd by my honour, I seek with content The fate which in pity you would not prevent: To languish in love, were to find by delay A death that's more welcome the speediest way. On seas and in battles, in bullets and fire, The danger is less than in hopeless desire; 10 My death's-wound you give, though far off I bear My fall from your sight—not to cost you a tear: But if the kind flood on a wave should convey, And under your window my body should lay, The wound on my breast when you happen to see, You'll say with a sigh—it was given by me.
* * * * *
ALEXANDER'S FEAST; OR, THE POWER OF MUSIC.
AN ODE, IN HONOUR OF ST CECILIA'S DAY.
1 'Twas at the royal feast, for Persia won By Philip's warlike son: Aloft in awful state The godlike hero sate On his imperial throne: His valiant peers were placed around; Their brows with roses and with myrtles bound (So should desert in arms be crown'd). The lovely Thais, by his side, Sate like a blooming Eastern bride In flower of youth and beauty's pride. Happy, happy, happy pair! None but the brave, None but the brave, None but the brave deserves the fair.
Happy, happy, happy pair! None but the brave, None but the brave, None but the brave deserves the fair.
2 Timotheus, placed on high Amid the tuneful quire, With flying fingers touch'd the lyre: The trembling notes ascend the sky, And heavenly joys inspire. The song began from Jove, Who left his blissful seats above (Such is the power of mighty love). A dragon's fiery form belied the god: Sublime on radiant spires he rode, When he to fair Olympia press'd: And while he sought her snowy breast: Then, round her slender waist he curl'd, And stamp'd an image of himself, a sovereign of the world. The listening crowd admire the lofty sound, A present deity, they shout around, A present deity, the vaulted roofs rebound: With ravish'd ears The monarch hears, Assumes the god, Affects to nod, And seems to shake the spheres.
With ravish'd ears The monarch hears, Assumes the god, Affects to nod, And seems to shake the spheres.
3 The praise of Bacchus then, the sweet musician sung; Of Bacchus ever fair and ever young: The jolly god in triumph comes; Sound the trumpets; beat the drums; Flush'd with a purple grace He shows his honest face: Now give the hautboys breath; he comes, he comes. Bacchus, ever fair and young, Drinking joys did first ordain; Bacchus' blessings are a treasure, Drinking is the soldier's pleasure: Rich the treasure, Sweet the pleasure; Sweet is pleasure after pain.
Bacchus' blessings are a treasure, Drinking is the soldier's pleasure: Rich the treasure, Sweet the pleasure; Sweet is pleasure after pain.
4 Soothed with the sound the king grew vain; Fought all his battles o'er again; And thrice he routed all his foes; and thrice he slew the slain. The master saw the madness rise; His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes; And while he heaven and earth defied, Changed his hand, and check'd his pride. He chose a mournful muse Soft pity to infuse: He sung Darius great and good, By too severe a fate, Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen, Fallen from his high estate, And weltering in his blood; Deserted, at his utmost need, By those his former bounty fed; On the bare earth exposed he lies, With not a friend to close his eyes. With downcast looks the joyless victor sate, Revolving in his alter'd soul The various turns of chance below; And now and then a sigh he stole; And tears began to flow.
Revolving in his alter'd soul The various turns of chance below; And now and then a sigh he stole; And tears began to flow.
5 The mighty master smiled, to see That love was in the next degree: 'Twas but a kindred sound to move, For pity melts the mind to love. Softly sweet, in Lydian measures, Soon he soothed his soul to pleasures. War, he sung, is toil and trouble; Honour, but an empty bubble; Never ending, still beginning, Fighting still, and still destroying: If the world be worth thy winning, Think, O think it worth enjoying: Lovely Thais sits beside thee, Take the good the gods provide thee. The many rend the skies with loud applause; So Love was crown'd, but Music won the cause. The prince, unable to conceal his pain, Gazed on the fair Who caused his care, And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd, Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again: At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd, The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.
The prince, unable to conceal his pain, Gazed on the fair Who caused his care, And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd, Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again: At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd, The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.
6 Now strike the golden lyre again: A louder yet, and yet a louder strain. Break his bands of sleep asunder, And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder. Hark, hark, the horrid sound Has raised up his head: As awaked from the dead, And amazed, he stares around. Revenge, Revenge, Timotheus cries, See the Furies arise: See the snakes that they rear, How they hiss in their hair, And the sparkles that flash from their eyes! Behold a ghastly band, Each a torch in his hand! Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain, And unburied remain Inglorious on the plain: Give the vengeance due To the valiant crew. Behold how they toss their torches on high, How they point to the Persian abodes, And glittering temples of their hostile gods. The princes applaud, with a furious joy; And the king seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy; Thais led the way, To light him to his prey, And, like another Helen, fired another Troy.
And the king seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy; Thais led the way, To light him to his prey, And, like another Helen, fired another Troy.
Thus, long ago, Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow, While organs yet were mute; Timotheus, to his breathing flute, And sounding lyre, Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire. At last divine Cecilia came, Inventress of the vocal frame; The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store, Enlarged the former narrow bounds, And added length to solemn sounds, With nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before. Let old Timotheus yield the prize, Or both divide the crown; He raised a mortal to the skies; She drew an angel down.
At last, divine Cecilia came, Inventress of the vocal frame; The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store, Enlarged the former narrow bounds, And added length to solemn sounds, With nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before. Let old Timotheus yield the prize, Or both divide the crown; He raised a mortal to the skies; She drew an angel down.
* * * * *
THE SECULAR MASQUE.
Janus. Chronos, Chronos, mend thy pace; An hundred times the rolling sun Around the radiant belt has run In his revolving race. Behold, behold the goal in sight, Spread thy fans, and wing thy flight.
Enter CHRONOS, with a scythe in his hand, and a globe on his back; which he sets down at his entrance.
Chronos. Weary, weary of my weight, Let me, let me drop my freight, And leave the world behind. I could not bear, 10 Another year, The load of human kind.
Enter MOMUS, laughing.
Momus. Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! well hast thou done To lay down thy pack, And lighten thy back. The world was a fool, ere since it begun, And since neither Janus nor Chronos, nor I, Can hinder the crimes, Or mend the bad times, 'Tis better to laugh than to cry. 20
Chorus of all three. 'Tis better to laugh than to cry.
Janus. Since Momus comes to laugh below, Old time begin the show, That he may see, in every scene, What changes in this age have been.
Chronos. Then goddess of the silver bow begin.
[Horns, or hunting-music within.]
Diana. With horns and with hounds, I waken the day, And hie to the woodland walks away; I tuck up my robe, and am buskin'd soon, And tie to my forehead a waxing moon; 30 I course the fleet stag, unkennel the fox, And chase the wild goats o'er summits of rocks; With shouting and hooting we pierce through the sky, And Echo turns hunter, and doubles the cry.
Chorus of all. With shouting and hooting we pierce through the sky, And Echo turns hunter, and doubles the cry.
Janus. Then our age was in its prime:
Chronos. Free from rage:
Diana.—And free from crime.
Momus. A very merry, dancing, drinking, 40 Laughing, quaffing, and unthinking time.
Chorus of all. Then our age was in its prime, Free from rage, and free from crime, A very merry, dancing, drinking, Laughing, quaffing, and unthinking time.
[Dance of Diana's attendants.]
Mars. Inspire the vocal brass, inspire; The world is past its infant age: Arms and honour, Arms and honour, Set the martial mind on fire, 50 And kindle manly rage. Mars has look'd the sky to red; And Peace, the lazy god, is fled. Plenty, peace, and pleasure fly; The sprightly green, In woodland walks, no more is seen; The sprightly green has drunk the Tyrian dye.
Chorus of all. Plenty, peace, &c.
Mars. Sound the trumpet, beat the drum; Through all the world around, 60 Sound a reveillie, sound, sound, The warrior god is come.
Chorus of all. Sound the trumpet, &c.
Momus. Thy sword within the scabbard keep, And let mankind agree; Better the world were fast asleep, Than kept awake by thee. The fools are only thinner, With all our cost and care:
But neither side a winner, 70 For things are as they were.
Chorus of all. The fools are only, &c.
Venus. Calms appear when storms are past; Love will have his hour at last: Nature is my kindly care; Mars destroys, and I repair; Take me, take me, while you may, Venus comes not every day.
Chorus of all. Take her, take her, &c.
Chronos. The world was then so light, 80 I scarcely felt the weight; Joy ruled the day, and Love the night. But, since the queen of pleasure left the ground, I faint, I lag, And feebly drag The ponderous orb around.
Momus. All, all of a piece throughout; [Pointing to Diana.] Thy chase had a beast in view; [To Mars.] Thy wars brought nothing about; [To Venus.] Thy lovers were all untrue. 90
Janus. 'Tis well an old age is out.
Chronos. And time to begin a new.
Cho. of all. All, all of a piece throughout; Thy chase had a beast in view: Thy wars brought nothing about; Thy lovers were all untrue. 'Tis well an old age is out, And time to begin a new.
Dance of huntsmen, nymphs, warriors, and lovers.
* * * * *
[Footnote 45: This Masque, with the song of a scholar and his mistress, was performed in 1700, for the author's benefit, with the play of the Pilgrim, altered by Sir John Vanbrugh, his fortune and health being at that time in a declining state.]
* * * * *
SONG OF A SCHOLAR AND HIS MISTRESS,
WHO, BEING CROSSED BY THEIR FRIENDS, FELL MAD FOR ONE ANOTHER; AND NOW FIRST MEET IN BEDLAM.
The Lovers enter at opposite doors, each held by a keeper.
Phillis. Look, look I see—I see my love appear! 'Tis he—'Tis he alone; For, like him, there is none: 'Tis the dear, dear man, 'tis thee, dear.
Amyntas. Hark! the winds war; The foamy waves roar; I see a ship afar: Tossing and tossing, and making to the shore: But what's that I view, So radiant of hue, St Hermo, St Hermo, that sits upon the sails? Ah! No, no, no. St Hermo never, never shone so bright; 'Tis Phillis, only Phillis, can shoot so fair a light; 'Tis Phillis, 'tis Phillis, that saves the ship alone, For all the winds are hush'd, and the storm is overblown.
Phillis. Let me go, let me run, let me fly to his arms.
Amyntas. If all the fates combine, And all the furies join, I'll force my way to Phillis, and break through the charm.
[Here they break from their keepers, run to each other, and embrace.]
Phillis. Shall I marry the man I love? And shall I conclude my pains? Now bless'd be the powers above, I feel the blood bound in my veins; With a lively leap it began to move, And the vapours leave my brains.
Amyntas. Body join'd to body, and heart join'd to heart, To make sure of the cure, Go call the man in black, to mumble o'er his part.
Phillis. But suppose he should stay—
Amyntas. At worst if he delay, 'Tis a work must be done, We'll borrow but a day, And the better, the sooner begun.
Cho. of both. At worst if he delay, &c.
[They run out together hand in hand.]
* * * * *
PROLOGUES AND EPILOGUES.
PROLOGUE TO THE RIVAL LADIES.
'Tis much desired, you judges of the town Would pass a vote to put all prologues down: For who can show me, since they first were writ, They e'er converted one hard-hearted wit? Yet the world's mended well; in former days Good prologues were as scarce as now good plays. For the reforming poets of our age, In this first charge, spend their poetic rage: Expect no more when once the prologue's done: The wit is ended ere the play's begun. 10 You now have habits, dances, scenes, and rhymes; High language often; ay, and sense, sometimes. As for a clear contrivance, doubt it now; They blow out candles to give light to the plot. And for surprise, two bloody-minded men Fight till they die, then rise and dance again, Such deep intrigues you're welcome to this day: But blame yourselves, not him who writ the play; Though his plot's dull, as can be well desired, Wit stiff as any you have e'er admired: 20 He's bound to please, not to write well; and knows There is a mode in plays as well as clothes; Therefore, kind judges....
A SECOND PROLOGUE ENTERS.
2. Hold; would you admit For judges all you see within the pit?
1. Whom would he then except, or on what score?
2. All who (like him) have writ ill plays before; For they, like thieves condemn'd, are hangmen made, To execute the members of their trade. All that are writing now he would disown, But then he must except—even all the town; All choleric, losing gamesters, who, in spite, Will damn to-day, because they lost last night; All servants, whom their mistress' scorn upbraids; All maudlin lovers, and all slighted maids; All who are out of humour, all severe; All that want wit, or hope to find it here.
* * * * *
PROLOGUE TO THE INDIAN QUEEN.
As the music plays a soft air, the curtain rises slowly and discovers an Indian boy and girl sleeping under two plantain-trees; and, when the curtain is almost up, the music turns into a tune expressing an alarm, at which the boy awakes, and speaks:
BOY. Wake, wake, Quevira! our soft rest must cease, And fly together with our country's peace! No more must we sleep under plantain shade, Which neither heat could pierce, nor cold invade; Where bounteous nature never feels decay, And opening buds drive falling fruits away.
QUE. Why should men quarrel here, where all possess As much as they can hope for by success?— None can have most, where nature is so kind, As to exceed man's use, though not his mind. 10
BOY. By ancient prophecies we have been told, Our world shall be subdued by one more old;— And, see, that world already's hither come.
QUE. If these be they, we welcome then our doom! Their loots are such, that mercy flows from thence, More gentle than our native innocence.
BOY. Why should we then fear these, our enemies, That rather seem to us like deities?
QUE. By their protection, let us beg to live; They came not here to conquer, but forgive. 20 If so, your goodness may your power express, And we shall judge both best by our success.
* * * * *
EPILOGUE TO THE INDIAN QUEEN.
SPOKEN BY MONTEZUMA.
You see what shifts we are enforced to try, To help out wit with some variety; Shows may be found that never yet were seen, 'Tis hard to find such wit as ne'er has been: You have seen all that this old world can do, We therefore try the fortune of the new, And hope it is below your aim to hit At untaught nature with your practised wit: Our naked Indians, then, when wits appear, Would as soon choose to have the Spaniards here. 10 'Tis true, you have marks enough, the plot, the show, The poet's scenes, nay, more, the painter's too; If all this fail, considering the cost, 'Tis a true voyage to the Indies lost: But if you smile on all, then these designs, Like the imperfect treasure of our minds, Will pass for current wheresoe'er they go, When to your bounteous hands their stamps they owe.
* * * * *
EPILOGUE TO THE INDIAN EMPEROR,
BY A MERCURY.
To all and singular in this full meeting, Ladies and gallants, Phoebus sends ye greeting. To all his sons, by whate'er title known, Whether of court, or coffee-house, or town; From his most mighty sons, whose confidence Is placed in lofty sound, and humble sense, Even to his little infants of the time, Who write new songs, and trust in tune and rhyme Be 't known, that Phoebus (being daily grieved To see good plays condemn'd, and bad received) 10 Ordains your judgment upon every cause, Henceforth, be limited by wholesome laws. He first thinks fit no sonnetteer advance His censure farther than the song or dance, Your wit burlesque may one step higher climb, And in his sphere may judge all doggrel rhyme; All proves, and moves, and loves, and honours too; All that appears high sense, and scarce is low. As for the coffee wits, he says not much; Their proper business is to damn the Dutch: 20 For the great dons of wit— Phoebus gives them full privilege alone, To damn all others, and cry up their own. Last, for the ladies, 'tis Apollo's will, They should have power to save, but not to kill: For love and he long since have thought it fit, Wit live by beauty, beauty reign by wit.
* * * * *
PROLOGUE TO SIR MARTIN MARR-ALL.
Fools, which each man meets in his dish each day, Are yet the great regalios of a play; In which to poets you but just appear, To prize that highest, which cost them so dear: Fops in the town more easily will pass; One story makes a statutable ass: But such in plays must be much thicker sown, Like yolks of eggs, a dozen beat to one. Observing poets all their walks invade, As men watch woodcocks gliding through a glade: And when they have enough for comedy, They stow their several bodies in a pie: The poet's but the cook to fashion it, For, gallants, you yourselves have found the wit. To bid you welcome, would your bounty wrong; None welcome those who bring their cheer along.
* * * * *
PROLOGUE TO THE TEMPEST.
As when a tree's cut down, the secret root Lives under ground, and thence new branches shoot; So from old Shakspeare's honour'd dust, this day Springs up and buds a new reviving play: Shakspeare, who (taught by none) did first impart To Fletcher wit, to labouring Jonson art. He, monarch like, gave those, his subjects, law; And is that nature which they paint and draw. Fletcher reach'd that which on his heights did grow, While Jonson crept, and gather'd all below. 10 This did his love, and this his mirth digest: One imitates him most, the other best. If they have since outwrit all other men, 'Tis with the drops which fell from Shakspeare's pen. The storm, which vanish'd on the neighbouring shore, Was taught by Shakspeare's Tempest first to roar. That innocence and beauty, which did smile In Fletcher, grew on this enchanted isle. But Shakspeare's magic could not copied be; Within that circle none durst walk but he. 20 I must confess 'twas bold, nor would you now That liberty to vulgar wits allow, Which works by magic supernatural things: But Shakspeare's power is sacred as a king's. Those legends from old priesthood were received, And he then writ, as people then believed. But if for Shakspeare we your grace implore, We for our theatre shall want it more: Who, by our dearth of youths, are forced to employ One of our women to present a boy; 30 And that's a transformation, you will say, Exceeding all the magic in the play. Let none expect in the last act to find, Her sex transform'd from man to womankind. Whate'er she was before the play began, All you shall see of her is perfect man. Or, if your fancy will be further led To find her woman—it must be a-bed.
* * * * *
PROLOGUE TO TYRANNIC LOVE.
Self-love, which, never rightly understood, Makes poets still conclude their plays are good, And malice in all critics reigns so high, That for small errors, they whole plays decry; So that to see this fondness, and that spite, You'd think that none but madmen judge or write, Therefore our poet, as he thinks not fit To impose upon you what he writes for wit; So hopes, that, leaving you your censures free, You equal judges of the whole will be: 10 They judge but half, who only faults will see. Poets, like lovers, should be bold and dare, They spoil their business with an over care; And he, who servilely creeps after sense, Is safe, but ne'er will reach an excellence. Hence 'tis, our poet, in his conjuring, Allow'd his fancy the full scope and swing. But when a tyrant for his theme he had, He loosed the reins, and bid his muse run mad: And though he stumbles in a full career, 20 Yet rashness is a better fault than fear. He saw his way; but in so swift a pace, To choose the ground might be to lose the race. They, then, who of each trip the advantage take, Find but those faults, which they want wit to make.
* * * * *
EPILOGUE TO THE WILD GALLANT,
Of all dramatic writing, comic wit, As 'tis the best, so 'tis most hard to hit, For it lies all in level to the eye, Where all may judge, and each defect may spy. Humour is that which every day we meet, And therefore known as every public street; In which, if e'er the poet go astray, You all can point, 'twas there he lost his way. But, what's so common, to make pleasant too, Is more than any wit can always do. 10 For 'tis like Turks, with hen and rice to treat; To make regalios out of common meat. But, in your diet, you grow savages: Nothing but human flesh your taste can please; And, as their feasts with slaughter'd slaves began, So you, at each new play, must have a man. Hither you come, as to see prizes fought; If no blood's drawn, you cry, the prize is nought. But fools grow wary now: and, when they see A poet eyeing round the company, 20 Straight each man for himself begins to doubt; They shrink like seamen when a press comes out. Few of them will be found for public use, Except you charge an oaf upon each house, Like the train bands, and every man engage For a sufficient fool, to serve the stage, And when, with much ado, you get him there, Where he in all his glory should appear. Your poets make him such rare things to say, That he's more wit than any man i' th' play: 30 But of so ill a mingle with the rest, As when a parrot's taught to break a jest. Thus, aiming to be fine, they make a show, As tawdry squires in country churches do. Things well consider'd, 'tis so hard to make A comedy, which should the knowing take, That our dull poet, in despair to please, Does humbly beg, by me, his writ of ease. 'Tis a land-tax, which he's too poor to pay; You therefore must some other impost lay. 40 Would you but change, for serious plot and verse, This motley garniture of fool and farce, Nor scorn a mode, because 'tis taught at home, Which does, like vests, our gravity become, Our poet yields you should this play refuse: As tradesmen, by the change of fashions, lose, With some content, their fripperies of France, In hope it may their staple trade advance.