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Not wit, uor piety, could fate prevent;
To sweep at once her life and beauty too;
To work inore mischievously now,
And plunder'd first, and then destroy'd,
But thus Orinda dy'd :
His waving streamers to the winds displays,
Ah, generous youth, that wish forbear,
The winds too soon will waft thee here!
any sparkles than the rest more bright;
When in the valley of Jehofhaphat,
And there the last afsizes keep,
From the four corners of the sky;
And foremost from the tomb shall bound,
UPON THE DEATH OF THE EARL OF DUNDEE.
Translated from the Latin of Dr. PITCAIRN.
OH laft and beft of Scots! who did maintain
Thy country's freedom from a foreign reign;
PANEGYRICAL POEM, DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE COUNTESS OF ABINGDON.
RIGHT HONOURABLE THE
HE commands with which you honoured me T
fome 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 any thing, 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 fad 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 till the God comes ruthing 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
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 fimilitudes; which are generally the product of a luxuriant fancy, and the wantonness of wit. Had I called in my judgment to my affiftance, I had certainly retrenched many
of them. But I defend them not; let them pass for beautiful faults amongst the better fort 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 fees in the title, not for an elegy, but a panegyric: a kind of apotheofis, indeed, if a Heathen word may by 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 fublimity 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 juftly plead, that, if I have not performed so well as I think I have, yet I have used my beft 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 difcovered 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 juft understanding of my lady's worth, nor a due veneration for her memory.
Doctor Donne, the greatest wit, though not the greatest poet of our nation, acknowledges, that he had