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To my Lady ** *

OUR commands for the gathering these sticks tending 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 wise and worthy persons of our own times; as Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Irancis Bacon, Cardinal Perron (the ableft of his countıymen), and the former Pope; who, they say, inste:ud of the triple crown, wore sometimes the Poet's ivy, as an ornament, perhaps, of lesser weight and trouble. But, Madam, these Nightingales sung 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 sonie villany to the inind; 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 Romans) was once fick of this disease; and yet recovered so well, that of almost as bad a Poet as your servant,



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if they

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, cast them into the fire: or,
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-
pose 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 wonld they believe that I en-
deavoured the character of a perfect Nymph, worship-
ed an image of my own making, and dedicated this
to the Lady of the brain, not of the heart, of

Your Ladyfhip's
most humble Servant,


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