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Derived her birth, in gentle murmurs steal
To the next vale, and proudly there reveal
Her streams in louder accents, adding still
More noise and waters to her channel, till
At last, swollen with increase, she glides along
The lawns and meadows, in a wanton throng
Of frothy billows, and in one great name
Swallows the tributary brooks' drowned fame.
Nor are they mere inventions, for we
In the same piece find scattered philosophy,
And hidden, dispersed truths, that folded lie
In the dark shades of deep allegory,
So neatly weaved, like arras, they descry
Fables with truth, fancy with history.
So that thou hast, in this thy curious mould,
Cast that commended mixture wished of old,
Which shall these contemplations render far
Less mutable, and lasting as their star;
And while there is a people, or a sun,
Endymion's story with the moon shall run.
APOSTROPHE TO FLETCHER THE DRAMATIST. I did believe, great Beaumont being dead, Thy widowed muse slept on his flowery bed. But I am richly cozened, and can see Wit transmigrates—his spirit stayed with thee; Which, doubly advantaged by thy single pen, In life and death now treads the stage again. And thus are we freed from that dearth of wit Which starved the land, since into schisms split, Wherein th' hast done so much, we must needs guess Wit's last edition is now i' the
press. For thou hast drained invention, and he That writes hereafter, doth but pillage thee.
But thou hast plots; and will not the Kirk strain
At the designs of such a tragic brain?
Will they themselves think safe, when they shall see
Thy most abominable policy?
Will not the Ears assemble, and think 't fit
Their synod fast and pray against thy wit?
But they 'll not tire in such an idle quest-
Thou dost but kill and circumvent in jest;
And when thy angered muse swells to a blow,
'Tis but for Field's or Swansteed's overthrow.
Yet shall these conquests of thy bays outlive
Their Scottish zeal, and compacts made to grieve
The peace of spirits; and when such deeds fail
Of their foul ends, a fair name is thy bail.
But, happy! thou ne'er saw'st these storms our air
Teemed with, even in thy time, though seeming fair.
Thy gentle soul, meant for the shade and ease
Withdrew betimes into the land of
So, nested in some hospitable shore,
The hermit-angler, when the mid seas roar,
his lines, and ere the tempest raves, Retires, and leaves his station to the waves. Thus thou diedst almost with our peace; and we,
, This breathing time, thy last fair issue see, Which I think such, if needless ink not soil So choice a muse, others are but thy foil; This or that age may write, but never see A wit that dares run parallel with thee. True Ben must live; but bate him, and thou hast Undone all future wits, and matched the past.
Abominable face of things!—here's noise
Of banged mortars, blue aprons, and boys,
Pigs, dogs, and drums; with the hoarse, hellish notes
Of politicly-deaf usurers' throats;
With new fine worships, and the old cast team
Of justices, vexed with the cough and phlegm.
'Midst these, the cross looks sad; and in the shire-
Hall furs of an old Saxon fox appear,
With brotherly ruffs and beards, and a strange sight
Of high, monumental hats, ta’en at the fight
Of Eighty-eight; while every burgess foots
The mortal pavement in eternal boots.
Hadst thou been bachelor, I had soon divined
Thy close retirements, and monastic mind;
Perhaps some nymph had been to visit; or
The beauteous churl was to be waited for,
And, like the Greek, ere you the sport would miss,
You stayed and stroked the distaff for a kiss.
Why, two months hence, if thou continue thus,
Thy memory will scarce remain with us.
The drawers have forgot thee, and exclaim
They have not seen thee here since Charles' reign;
Or, if they mention thee, like some old man
That at each word inserts—Sir, as I can
Remember--so the cipherers puzzle me
With a dark, cloudy character of thee;
That, certes, I fear thou wilt be lost, and we
Must ask the fathers ere't be long for thee.
Come! leave this sullen state, and let not wine
And precious wit lie dead for want of thine.
Shall the dull market landlord, with his rout
Of sneaking tenants, dirtily swill out
This harmless liquor? shall they knock and beat
For sack, only to talk of rye and wheat? ?
Oh, let not such preposterous tippling be;
In our metropolis, may I ne'er see
Such tavern sacrilege, nor lend a line
rapes and tragedy of wine! Here lives that chemic quick-fire, which betrays Fresh spirits to the blood, and warms our lays; I have reserved, 'gainst thy approach, a cup, That, were thy muse stark dead, should raise her up, And teach her yet more charming words and skill, Than ever Coelia, Chloris, Astrophil, Or any
of the threadbare names inspired Poor rhyming lovers, with a mistress fired. Come, then, and while the snow-icicle hangs At the stiff thatch, and winter's frosty fangs Benumb the year, blithe as of old, let us, 'Midst noise and war, of peace and mirth discuss. This portion thou wert born for: why should we Vex at the times' ridiculous misery? An age
that thus hath fooled itself, and will, Spite of thy teeth and mine, persist so still. Let's sit, then, at this fire, and while we steal A revel in the town, let others seal, Purchase, or cheat, and who can, let them pay, Till those black deeds bring on a darksome day. Innocent spenders we! A better use Shall wear out our short lease, and leave th' obtuse Rout to their husks : they and their bags, at best, Have cares in earnest—we care for a jest.
Happy that first white age! when we
Lived by the earth's mere charity;
No soft luxurious diet then
Had effeminated men
No other meat nor wine had any
Than the coarse mast, or simple honey;
And, by the parents' care laid up,
Cheap berries did the children sup.
No pompous wear was in those days,
gummy silks, or scarlet baize.
Their beds were on some flowery brink,
And clear spring water was their drink.
The shady pine, in the sun's heat,
Was their cool and known retreat;
For then 'twas not cut down, but stood
The youth and glory of the wood.
The daring sailor with his slaves
Then had not cut the swelling waves,
Nor, for desire of foreign store,
Seen any but his native shore.
No stirring drum had scared that age,
Nor the shrill trumpet's active rage;
No wounds, by bitter hatred made,
With warm blood soiled the shining blade;
For how could hostile madness arm
An age of love to public harm,
When common justice none withstood,
Nor sought rewards for spilling blood ?
Oh that at length our age would raise
Into the temper of those days !
But-worse than Ætna's fires 1 debate
And avarice inflame our state.
Alas! who was it that first found
Gold hid of purpose under ground-
That"sought out pearls, and dived to find
Such precious perils for mankind ?