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Then least to feel, when most they suffer pain ; 20
And we, dull souls, admire, but cannot see
What hidden springs within the engine be ;
Or 'tis some happiness that still pursues
Each act and motion of your graceful muse.
Or is it fortune's work, that in your
The curious net that is for fancies spread,
Lets through its meshes every meaner thought,
While rich ideas there are only caught?
Sure that 's not all: this is a piece too fair
To be the child of chance, and not of care.
No atoms casually together hurld
Could e'er produce so beautiful a world.
Nor dare I such a doctrine here admit,
As would destroy the providence of wit.
your strong genius then which does not feel Those weights, would make a weaker spirit reel. To carry weight, and run so lightly too, Is what alone your Pegasus can do. Great Hercules himself could ne'er do more, Than not to feel those heavens and gods he bore. Your easier odes, which for delight were penn'd, Yet our instruction make their second end : We're both enrich'd and pleas’d, like them that woo At once a beauty and a fortune too. Of moral knowledge poesy was queen, And still she might, had wanton wits not been; Who, like ill guardians, liv'd themselves at large,
V. 26. The curious net, &c.) A compliment to a poem of Sir Robert's, entitled Rete Mirabile. D.
And, not content with that, debauch'd their charge.
Like some brave captain, your successful
Restores the exil'd to her crown again :
And gives us hope, that having seen the days
When nothing flourish'd but fanatic bays,
All will at length in this opinion rest,
A sober prince's government is best.
This is not all; your art the way has found
To make the improvement of the richest ground,
That soil which those immortal laurels bore,
That once the sacred Maro's temples wore.
Elisa's griefs are so express’d by you,
They are too eloquent to have been true.
Had she so spoke, Æneas had obey'd
What Dido, rather than what Jove had said.
If funeral rites can give a ghost repose,
Your muse so justly has discharged those,
Elisa's shade may now its wand'ring cease,
And claim a title to the fields of peace.
But if Æneas be oblig'd, no less
Your kindness great Achilles doth confess;
Who, dress’d by Statius in too bold a look,
Did ill become those virgin robes he took.
To understand how much we owe to you,
We must your numbers, with your author's, view:
Then we shall see his work was lamely rough,
Each figure stiff, as if design'd in buff:
His colours laid so thick on every place,
As only show'd the paint, but hid the face.
But as in perspective we beauties see,
Which in the glass, not in the picture, be;
So here our sight obligingly mistakes
That wealth, which his your bounty only makes.
Thus vulgar dishes are, by cooks disguis'd,
More for their dressing than their substance priz’d.
Your curious notes so search into that
When all was fable but the sacred page,
That, since in that dark night we needs must stray,
We are at least misled in pleasant way.
But what we most admire, your verse no less
The prophet than the poet doth confess.
Ere our weak eyes discern’d the doubtful streak
Of light, you saw great Charles his morning break.
So skilful seamen ken the land from far,
Which shows like mists to the dull passenger.
To Charles your muse first pays her duteous love,
As still the ancients did begin from Jove.
With Monk you end, whose name preserv'd shall be,
As Rome recorded Rufus' memory,
Who thought it greater honour to obey
His country's interest, than the world to sway.
But to write worthy things of worthy men,
Is the peculiar talent of your pen:
Yet let me take your mantle up, and I
Will venture in your right to prophesy.
This work, by merit first of fame secure,
Is likewise happy in its geniture:
For, since 't is born when Charles ascends the
TO MY HONOURED FRIEND DR. CHARLETON,* ON HIS
LEARNED AND USEFUL WORKS; BUT MORE PARTICULARLY HIS TREATISE OF STONEHENGE,
BY HIM RESTORED TO THE TRUE FOUNDER.
The longest tyranny that ever sway'd
Was that wherein our ancestors betray'd
Their free-born reason to the Stagirite,
And made his torch their universal light.
So truth, while only one supplied the state,
Grew scarce, and dear, and yet sophisticate.
Still it was bought, like empiric wares, or charms,
Hard words seald up with Aristotle's arms.
Columbus was the first that shook his throne,
And found a temperate in a torrid zone :
The feverish air fann’d by a cooling breeze,
The fruitful vales set round with shady trees;
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 the 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 shall live, till loadstones cease to draw, 25
Or British fleets 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 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
Flies like the nimble journeys 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.