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We search among the dead
For treasures buried;
Whilst still the liberal earth does hold
So many virgin-mines of undiscover'd gold.
The Baltic, Euxine, and the Caspian,
And slender-limb'd Mediterranean,
Seem narrow creeks to thee, and only fit
For the poor wretched fisher-boats of wit:
Thy nobler vessel the vast ocean tries,
And nothing sees but seas and skies,
Till unknown regions it descries,
Thou great Columbus of the golden lands of new
Thy task was harder much than his;
For thy learn’d America is
Not only found out first by thee,
And rudely left to future industry;
But thy eloquence, and thy wit,
Has planted, peopled, built, and civilized, it.
I little thought before (Nor, being my own self so poor, Could comprehend so vast a store) That all the wardrobe of rich Eloquence Could have afforded half enough, Of bright, of new, and lasting stuff, To clothe the mighty limbs of thy gigantic sense. Thy solid reason, like the shield from heaven To the Trojan hero given, Too strong to take a mark from any mortal dart, Yet shines with gold and gems in every part, And wonders on it graved by the learn'd hand of A shield that gives delight [Art!
Even to the enemies' sight, Then, when they're sure to lose the combat by’t.
Now can the snow, which cold Age does shed
Upon thy reverend head,
Quench or allay the noble fires within;
But all which thou hast been,
And all that Youth can be, thou’rt yet !
So fully still dost thou
Enjoy the manhood and the bloom of Wit,
And all the natural heat, but not the fever too !
So contraries on HEtna's top conspire;
Here hoary frosts, and by them breaks out fire
A secure peace the faithful neighbours keep ;
The embolden’d snow next to the flame does sleep,
And, if we weigh, like thee,
Nature and Causes, we shall see
That thus it needs must be—
To things immortal, Time can do no wrong,
And that which never is to die, for ever must be
“Hoc quoque Fatale est sic ipsum expendere Fatum.” MANIL.
STRANGE and unnaturall let's stay and see
This pageant of a prodigy.
Lo, of themselves the enliven’d Chess-men move!
Lo, the unbred, ill-organ'd pieces prove -
As full of art and industry,
Of courage and of policy, [but wel
As we ourselves, who think there's nothing wise
Here a proud Pawn I admire,
That, still advancing higher,
At top of all became
Another thing and name;
Here I’m amazed at the actions of a Knight,
That does bold wonders in the fight;
Here I the losing party blame,
For those false Moves that break the Game,
That to their Grave, the Bag, the conquer'd Pieces
bring, And, a.all, the ill conduct of the Mated King.
“Whate'er these seem, whate'er philosophy
And sense or reason tell,” said I,
“These things have life, election, liberty;
'Tis their own wisdom moulds their state,
Their faults and virtues make their fate.
They do, they do,” said I; but straight
Lo! from my’ enlighten’d eyes the mists and sha-
That hinder spirits from being visible;
And lo! I saw two angels play'd the Mate.
With man, alas! no otherwise it proves;
An unseen hand makes all their Moves;
And some are great, and some are small,
Some climb to good, some from good fortune fall;
Some wise men, and some fools, we call;
Figures, alas! of speech, for Destiny plays us all.
Me from the womb the midwife Muse did take:
She cut my navel, wash'd me, and mine head
With her own hands she fashioned;
She did a covenant with me make,
And circumcised my tender soul, and thus she
“Thou of my church shalt be; Hate and renounce,” said she, “Wealth, honour, pleasures, all the world, for me. Thou neither great at court, nor in the war, Nor at the exchange, shalt be, nor at the wrangling bar: Content thyself with the small barren praise, That neglected verse does raise.” She spake, and all my years to come Took their unlucky doom. Their several ways of life let others choose, Their several pleasures let them use, But I was born for Love, and for a Muse.
With Fate what boots it to contend ? Such I began, such am, and so must end. The star that did my being frame Was but a lambent flame, And some small light it did dispense, But neither'heat nor influence. No matter, Cowley ! let proud Fortune see, That thou canst her despise no less than she does Let all her gifts the portion be [thee. Of Folly, Lust and Flattery, Fraud, Extortion, Calumny, Murder, Infidelity, Rebellion and Hypocrisy; Do thou not grieve, nor blush to be, As all the inspired tuneful men, And all thy great forefathers, were, from Homer down to Ben.
ExcELLENT Brutus! of all human race
The best, till Nature was improved by Grace;
Till men above themselves Faith raised more
Than Reason above beasts before.
Virtue was thy life's centre, and from thence
Did silently and constantly dispense
The gentle, vigorous influence
To all the wide and fair circumference;
And all the parts upon it lean’d so easily,
Obey'd the mighty force so willingly,
That none could discord or disorder see
In all their contrariety:
Each had his motion natural and free,
And the whole no more moved than the whole
world could be.
From thy strict rule some think that thou didst
(Mistaken, honest men') in Caesar's blood;
What mercy could the tyrant's life deserve,
From him who kill'd himself, rather than serve?
The heroic exaltations of Good
Are so far from understood,
We count them Vice : alas! our sight's so ill,
That things which swiftest move seem to stand still:
We look not upon Virtue in her height,
On her supreme idea, brave and bright,
In the original light;
But as her beams reflected pass
Through our own Nature or Ill-custom's glass: