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To my Lady ***
M AD A M,
Y.

OUR commands for the gathering these sticks

into a faggot had sooner been obeyed; but, intending to present you with my whole vintage, I stayed till the latest grapes were ripe: for, here your Ladyfhip has not only all I have done, but all I ever mean to do of this kind. Not but that I may defend the attempt I have made upon Poetry, by the examples (not to trouble you with history) of many wife and worthy persons of our own times; as Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Francis Bacon, Cardinal Perron (the ablest of his countrymen), and the former Pope; who, they say, instead of the triple crown, wore sometimes the Poet's ivy, as' an ornament, perhaps, of lesser weight and trouble. But, Madam, these Nightingales fung only in the spring; it was the diversion of their youth; as Ladies' learn to sing, and play, when they are children, what they forget when they are women. The resemblance holds further; for as you quit the lute the sooner, because the posture is suspected to draw the body awry; so this is not always practised without fome villany, to the mind; wresting it from present occasions; and accustoming us to a style somewhat removed from common use. But that you may not think his case deplorable who had made verses; we are told, that Tully (the greatest Wit among the Ro. mans) was once sick of this disease; and yet recovered so well, that of almost as bad a Poet as your servant,

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he

he became the most perfect Orator in the world. So that, not so much to have made verses, as not to give over in time, leaves a man without excuse: the former presenting us with an opportunity at least of doing wisely, that is, to conceal those we have made;, which I shall yet do, if my humble request may be of as much force with your Ladyship, as your commands have been with me. Madam, I only whisper these in your ear; if you publish them, they are your own: and therefore, as you apprehend the reproach of a Wit and a Poet, caft them into the fire: or, if they come where green boughs are in the chimney, with the help of your fair friends, (for, thus bound, it will be too hard a task for your hands alone) tear them in pieces, wherein you will honour me with the fate of Orpheus; for so his Poems, whereof we only hear the form, (not his limbs, as the story will have it) I suppose were scattered by the Thracian dames. Here, Madam, I might take an opportunity to celebrate your virtues, and to instruct you how unhappy you are, in that you know not who you are: how much you excel the most excellent of your own, and how much you amaze the least inclined to wonder of our, sex. But as they will be apt to take your Ladyship's for a Roman name, so would they believe that I en. deavoured the character of a perfect Nymph, worshiped an image of my own making, and dedicated this to the Lady of the brain, not of the heart, of

Your Ladyship's
most humble Servant,

Edm. WALLER,

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WHEN the Author of these verses (written only

to please himself, and such particular persons to whom they were directed) returned from abroad fome years since, he was troubled to find his name in Print: but, fomewhat satisfied, to see his Lines so ill rendered that he might justly disown them; and say to a mistaking Printer, as * one did to an ill Reciter,

*** Male dum recitas, incipit esse tuus. Having been ever since prested to correct the many and grofs faults (such as use to be in impressions wholly neglected by the Authors); his answer was, that he made these when ill Verses had more favor, and escaped better, than good ones do in this age: the feverity whereof he thought not unhappily diverted by those faults in the impreffion, which hitherto have hung upon his Book, as the Turks hang old rags, or

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* Martial, Lib. i. Ep. 39.

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such-like

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