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Methinks I see you, crowned with olives, sit,
5 And strike a sacred horror from the pit. A day of doom is this of your decree, Where even the best are but by mercy free: A day, which none but Jonson durst have wished to see, Here they, who long have known the useful stage, Come to be taught themselves to teach the age. As your commissioners our poets go, To cultivate the virtue which you sow; In your Lycæum first themselves refined, And delegated thence to human-kind.
15 But as ambassadors, when long from home, For new instructions to their princes come, So poets, who your precepts have forgot, Return, and beg they may be better taught: Follies and faults elsewhere by them are shown, But by your manners they correct their own. The illiterate writer, empiric-like, applies To minds diseased, unsafe, change remedies : The learned in schools, where knowledge first began, Studies with care the anatomy of man; Sees virtue, vice, and passions, in their cause, And fame from science, not from fortune, draws. So poetry, which is in Oxford made An art, in London only is a trade. There haughty dunces, whose unlearnèd pen Could ne'er spell grammar, would be reading men. Such build their poems the Lucretian way; So many huddled atoms make a play; And if they hit in order by some chance, They call that nature which is ignorance.
35 To such a fame let mere town-wits aspire, And their gay nonsense their own cits admire. Our poet, could he find forgiveness here, Would wish it rather than a plaudit there. He owns no crown from those Prætorian bands,
40 But knows that right is in the senate's hands,
Not impudent enough to hope your praise,
TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.
Though actors cannot much of learning boast,
But, by the sacred genius of this place,
River is time in water; as it came,
The rose is but the flower of a briar;
15 The good man has an Adam to his sire. The dying mole, some say, opens his eyes; The rich, till 'tis too late, will not be wise. The sick hart eats a snake, and so grows well; Repentance digests sin, and man 'scapes hell. Flies, oft removed, return. Do they want fear, Or shame, or memory ? Flies are everywhere. Pride cannot see itself by mid-day light; The peacock's tail is farthest from his sight. The swallow's a quick arrow, that may show With what an instant swiftness life doth flow. The nightingale's a quire, no single note; O various power of God in one small throat ! The silkworm's its own wonder; without loom It does provide itself a silken room. The moon is the world's glass; in which 'twere strange If we saw her's and saw not our own change. Herodotus is history's fresh youth ; Thucydides is judgment, age, and truth. In sadness, Machiavel, thou didst not well,
35 To help the world to run faster to hell. The Italian's the world's gentleman, the Court To which thrift, wit, lust, and revenge resort. Bogs, purgatory, wolves, and ease, by fame Are counted Ireland's earth, mistake, curse, shame. 40 The Indies, Philip, spread not like thy robe; Art thou the new horizon to the globe? Down, pickaxe; to the depths for gold let's go; We'll undermine Peru. Is'nt heaven below ?
Who gripes too much casts all upon the ground;
All things are wonder since the world began ;
There's none should places have in Fame's high court
15 Duchess of Newcastle..
ON THE DEATH OF PRINCE HENRY, SON OF
JAMES THE FIRST.
Methought his royal person did foretell