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And guiltless men, who danc'd away their time,
Fresh as their groves, and happy as their clime.
Had we still paid that homage to a name,
Which only God and nature justly claim;
The western seas had been our utmost bound,
Where poets still might dream the sun was drown'd:
And all the stars that shine in southern skies,
Had been admir'd by none but savage eyes.
Among th' asserters of free reason's claim,
Our nation's not the least in worth or fame.
The world to Bacon does not only owe
Its present knowledge, but its future too.
Gilbert 2 Tall live, 'till loadstones cease to draw,
Our British Aleets the boundless ocean awe.
And noble Boyle, not less in nature seen,
Than his great brother read in states and men,
The circling streams, once thought but pools, of blood
(Whether life's fuel, or the body's food
From dark oblivion 3 Harvey's name shall save ;
While Ent keeps all the honour that he gave.
Nor are you, learned friend, the least renown'd;
Whose fame, not circumscrib'd with English ground,
Flies like the nimble journies of the light;
And is, like that, unspent too in its flight,
Whatever truths have been, by art or chance,
Redeem'd from error, or from ignorance,
Thin in their authors, like rich veins of ore,
Your works unite, and still discover more.
Such is the healing virtue of your pen,
To perfect cures on books, as well as men.
Nor is this work the least : you well may give
To men new vigour, who make stones to live.
Thro' you, the Danes, their short dominion loft,
A longer conqueft than the Saxons boaft.
Stone-henge, once thought a temple, you have found
A throne, where kings, our earthly gods, were crown'd;
Where by their wond'ring subjects they were seen,
Joy'd with their stature, and their princely mien.
Our sovereign here above the reft might stand,
And here be chose again to rule the land.
These ruins shelter'd once his 4 sacred head,
When he from Wor’ster's fatal battle fled ;
Watch'd by the genius of this royal place,
And mighty visions of the Danish race.
His refuge then was for a temple shown:
But, he restor'd, 'tis now become a throne.
In the Dedication of this book to Charles II. is the following parsage, which gave occasion to the fix last lines of this poem. I have had the honour to hear from your majesty's own mouth: that you were pleased to visit this monument, and entertain yourself with the dea lightful view thereof, after the defeat of your army at Worcester,
Upon her encouraging his first Play,
S seamen, shipwreck'd on some happy shore,
Discover wealth in lands unknown before ;
And, what their art had labour'd long in vain,
By their misfortunes happily obtain :
So my much-envy'd mufe, by storms long tost,
Is thrown upon your hospitable coaft,
And finds more favour by her ill success,
Than she could hope for by her happiness,
Once Cato's virtue did the gods oppose;
While they the victor, he the vanquish'd chose ;
have done what Cato could not do,
To choose the vanquish'd, and restore him too.
Let others triumph still, and gain their cause
By their deserts, or by the world's applause ;
Let merit crowns, and justice laurels give,
But let me happy by your pity live,
True poets empty fame and praise despise,
Fame is the trumpet, but your smile the prize.
1 This lady was for many years a favourite mistress of Charles the Ild. and was afterwards created dutchess of Cleveland. She was daughter of William Villiers, lord Grandifon, who was killed in the king's service at the battle of Edgehill in 1642.
You fit above, and see vain men below
Contend for what you only can bestow :
But those great actions others do by chance,
Are, like your beauty, your inheritance :
So great a soul, such sweetness join'd in one,
Could only spring from noble Grandifon.
You, like the stars, not by reflection bright,
Are borne to your own heaven, and your own light; 4
Like them are good, but from a nobler cause,
From your own knowledge, not from nature's laws.
Your power you never use, but for defence,
To guard your own, or other's innocence :
Your foes are such, as they, not you, have made,
And virtue may repel, tho' not invade.
Such courage did the ancient heroes show,
Who, when they might prevent, would wait the blow :-
With such assurance as they meant to say,
We will o'ercome, but scorn the safest way.
What further fear of danger can there be ?
Beauty, which captives all things, fets me free,
Pofterity will judge by my success,
I had the Grecian poet's happiness,
Who, waving plots, found out a better way;
Some God descended, and preserv’d the play.
When first the triumphs of your sex were fung
By those old poets, beauty was but young,
And few admir'd the native red and white,
Till poets dress'd them up to charm the fight;
So beauty took on truit, and did engage :
For sums of praises till Me came to age.
But this long-growing debt to poetry
You justly, madam, have discharg'd to me,
When your applause and favour did infuie
New lite.to my condemn'd and dying musc.
HE blaft of common censure could I fear,
Before your play my name
should not appeas ;
For 'twill be thought, and with some colour too,
I pay the bribe I first receiv'd from you ;
That mutual vouchers for our fame we stand,
And play the game into each other's hand;
And as cheap pen'orths to ourselves afford,
As I Beffus and the brothers of the sword.
Such libels private men may well endure,
When itates and kings themselves are not secure :
For ill men, conscious of their inward guilt,
Think the best actions on by-ends are built.
And yet my filence had not 'scap'd their spite ;
had not suffer'd me to write ;
For, since I could not ignorance pretend,
Such merit I must envy or commend.
So many cand
ates there ftand for wit,
A place at court is scarce fo hard to get :
In vain they crowd each other at the door ;
For e'en reversions are all begg'd before :
Desert, how known foe'er, is long delay'd ;
And then too fools and knaves are better pay'd.
Yet as some actions bear so great a name,
That courts themselves are just, for fear of shame;
i Beflus, a cowardly character in Beaumont and Fletcher's comedy of a King and no King.