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Syrens sung but to devour,
Yet they sung as well as she. O beware those poison’d tongues, That carry death in [all] their songs !
But if virtue please thee most,
And thou like her beauteous mind, Then I give thee o'er for lost :
There no remedy I find.Yet, if she be virtuous, ther Sure she will not murther men.
Called the Silurist, from that part of Wales whose inhabitants
were the ancient SILURES, was born on the banks of the Uske, in Brecknockshire, and entered in 1638 at Jesus College, Oxford, being then 17. He was designed for the law, but retiring to his home at the commencement of the civil wars, became eminent in the practice of physic, and was esteemed by scholars, says Wood, “an ingenious « person, but proud and humorous." He died in 1695. A list of his works may be seen in Ath. Ox. II 926-7. The principal are the “ Silex Scintillans" (sacred poems), 1650, 1655, 12mo, and “ Olor Iscanus. A collection of “ some select poems and translations,” 1651, 12mo, from the latter of which the following lines are taken, being perhaps the most favourable specimen that can be selected, though even these are too much marked by quaintness and conceit.
To the best and most accomplished Couple
Blessings as rich and fragrant crown your heads
Fresh as the hours may all your pleasures be,
Like the day's warmth may all your comforts be,
Langbaine tells us, “ This gentleman was as famous as any
“ in his age for indifferent metre;" and adds, “ his ac. “ quaintance with the nobility was more than with the “ Muses.” He is said to have been originally a Jesuit, and was the author of five dramatic pieces : but is less indebted to them than to the satire of Dryden for the celebrity of his name. Pope terms him an Irish priest, who had laid aside (as himself expressed it) the mechanic part of priesthood. Mr. Malone says he died in the summer of 1678. Farther particulars may be met with in Langbaine and the Biographia Dramatica. The following specimens are taken from his “ Miscellania. Or Poems of all sorts with divers “ other Pieces,” &c. London, 1653. 12mo.
Little think'st thou, poor ant, who there
With so much toil, and so much time A grain or two to th' cell dost bear,
There's greater work i' th' world than thine.
Nor is 't such wonder now in thee, * No more of th' world nor things dost know, That all thy thoughts o'th' ground should be,
And mind on things so poor and low.
But that man so base mind should bear,
To fix it on a clod of ground, As there no greater business were,
Nor greater worlds for to be found !
He so much of the man does want
As metamorphos’d quite again, Whilst thou’rt but man turn'd groveling ant,
Such grovelers seem but ants turn'd men.
Extempore in praise of drinking Wine.
The fountains drink caves subterrene,
The rivulets drink the fountains dry; Brooks drink those rivulets again,
And them some river gliding by. Until some gulph o'th' sea drink them, And th'ocean drinks up that again.
Of th'ocean then does drink the sky,
When, having brew'd it into rain,
And plants do drink up that again.