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for sure the milder planets did combine
strung each his lyre, and tun'd it high,
might know a poetess was born on earth,
and then, if ever, mortal ears
had heard the music of the spheres.
And if no clustering swarm of bees
on thy sweet mouth distill'd their golden dew,
solemniz'd there thy birth, and kept thy holy-day
O gracious God! how far have we prophan'd thy heavenly gift of poesy? made prostitute and profligate the Muse, debas'd to each obscene and impious use, whose harmony was first ordain'd above for tongues of angels, and for hymns of love? O wretched we! why were we hurry'd down this lubrique and adulterate age,
(nay added fat pollutions of our own)
t' increase the streaming ordures of the stage?
her wit was more than man, her innocence a child.
she might our boasted stores defy:
such noble vigour did her verse adorn,
that it seem'd borrow'd, where 't was only born. Her morals too were in her bosom bred,
by great examples daily fed,
what in the best of books, her father's life she read. And to be read herself she need not fear; each test, and every light, her Muse will bear, tho' Epictetus with his lamp were there. Ev'n love (for love sometimes her Muse exprest) was but a lambent flame which play'd about her light as the vapours of a morning dream, [breast: so cold herself, while she such warmth exprest, 't was Cupid bathing in Diana's stream.
Born to the spacious empire of the Nine,
a plenteous province, and alluring prey.
and the whole fief, in right of Poetry, she claim'd. The country open lay without defence:
for poets frequent inroads there had made, and perfectly could represent
the shape, the face, with every lineament; and all the large domains which the Dumb Sister All bow'd beneath her government,
[sway'd. received in triumph wheresoe'er she went. Her pencil drew, whate'er her soul design'd, and oft the happy draught surpass'd the image in her The sylvan scenes of herds and flocks,
and fruitful plains and barren rocks, of shallow brooks that flow'd so clear, the bottom did the top appear; of deeper too and ampler floods, which, as in mirrors, shew'd the woods; of lofty trees, with sacred shades. And perspectives of pleasant glades, where nymphs of brightest form appear, and shaggy Satyrs standing near, which them at once admire and fear. The ruins too of some majestic piece, boasting the power of ancient Rome or Greece, whose statutes, freezes, columns, broken lie, and tho' defac'd, the wonder of the eye; what nature, art, bold fiction, e'er durst frame, her forming hand gave feature to the name. So strange a concourse ne'er was seen before, but when the peopled ark the whole creation bore.
The scene then chang'd, with bold erected look our martial king the sight with reverence strook: for, not content t' express his outward part, her hand call'd out the image of his heart: his warlike mind, his soul devoid of fear, his high-designing thoughts were figur'd there, as when, by magic, ghosts are made appear. Our phoenix queen was pourtray'd too so bright, beauty alone could beauty take so right: her dress, her shape, her matchless grace, were all observ❜d, as well as heavenly face. With such a peerless majesty she stands,
as in that day she took the crown from sacred hands: before a train of heroines were seen,
in beauty foremost, as in rank, the queen,
Thus nothing to her genius was deny'd but like a ball of fire the further thrown, still with a greater blaze she shone,
and her bright soul broke out on every What next she had design'd, heaven only knows: to such immoderate growth her conquest rose, that Fate alone it's progress could oppose.
Now all those charms, that blooming grace, the well-proportion'd shape, and beauteous face, shall never more be seen by mortal eyes; in earth the much-lamented virgin lies. Not wit, nor piety, could fate prevent; nor was the cruel destiny content to finish all the murder at a blow, to sweep at once her life and beauty too; but, like a barden'd felon, took a pride to work more mischievously slow,
and plunder'd first, and then destroy'd.
O double sacrilege on things divine,
heaven, by the same disease, did both translate; as equal were their souls, so equal was their fate. Meantime her warlike brother on the seas his waving streamers to the winds displays, and vows for his return, with vain devotion, pays. Ah, generous youth, that wish forbear,
the winds too soon will waft thee here! slack all thy sails, and fear to come,
alas, thou know'st not, thou art wreck'd at home! no more shalt thou behold thy sister's face, thou hast already had her last embrace. But look aloft, and if thou ken'st from far among the Pleiads a new-kindled star,
if any sparkles than the rest more bright;
When in mid-air the golden trump shall sound,
for those who wake, and those who sleep:
from the four corners of the sky; when sinews o'er the skeletons are spread, those cloth'd with flesh, and life inspires the dead; the sacred poets first shall hear the sound,
and foremost from the tomb shall bound, for they are cover'd with the lightest ground; and straight, with in-born vigour, on the wing, like mounting larks, to the new morning sing. There thou, sweet Saint, before the quire shall go, and harbinger of heaven, the way to show,
the way which thou so well hast learnt below.
ON THE DEATH OF A VERY YOUNG GENTLEMAN.
He who could view the book of destiny,
and read whatever there was writ of thee,
O charming youth! in the first opening page, so many graces in so green an age,
such wit, such modesty, such strength of mind,
would wonder, when he turn'd the volume o'er,