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To my Lady **
OUR commands for the gathering these ticks into a faggot had fooner been obeyed; but, intending to present you with my whole vintage, I stayed till the latest grapes were ripe: for, here your Ladyship 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 perfons of our own times; as Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Francis Bacon, Cardinal Perron (the ableft of his countrymen), and the former Pope; who, they say, inftead of the triple crown, wore fometimes the Poet's ivy, as an ornament, perhaps, of leffer weight and trouble. But, Madam, these Nightingales fung only in the fpring; it was the diverfion of their youth; as Ladies learn to fing, and play, when they are children, what they forget when they are women. refemblance holds further; for as you quit the lute the fooner, because the posture is fufpected to draw the body awry; fo this is not always practifed without fome villany, to the mind; wresting it from prefent occafions; and accuftoming 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 Romans) was once fick of this disease; and yet recovered fo well, that of almost as bad a Poet as your fervant, B
he became the most perfect Orator in the world. So that, not fo much to have made verfes, as not to give over in time, leaves a man without excufe: the former prefenting us with an opportunity at least of doing wifely, that is, to conceal those we have made; which I fhall 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 fo his Poems, whereof we only hear the form, (not his limbs, as the story will have it) I sup-' pofe were scattered by the Thracian dames. Here, Madam, I might take an opportunity to celebrate your virtues, and 'to inftruct 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, fex. But as they will be apt to take your Ladyship's for a Roman name, fo would they believe that I endeavoured the character of a perfe& Nymph, worshiped an image of my own making, and dedicated this to the Lady of the brain, not of the heart, of
moft humble Servant,
TO THE FIRST EDITION OF
MR. WALLER'S POEMS,
AFTER THE RESTORATION;
Printed in the Year 1664.
WHEN the Author of these verses (written only
to please himself, and fuch particular perfons to whom they were directed) returned from abroad fome years fince, he was troubled to find his name in Print: but, fomewhat fatisfied, to fee his Lines fo 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 effe tuus.
Having been ever fince pressed to correct the many and grofs faults (fuch as ufe to be in impreffions wholly neglected by the Authors); his anfwer was, that he made these when ill Verfes had more favor, and escaped better, than good ones do in this age: the feverity whereof he thought not unhappily diverted by thofe faults in the impreffion, which hitherto have hung upon his Book, as the Turks hang old rags, or
*Martial, Lib. i. Ep. 39.