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Sure there are poets who did never dream
Upon Parnassus, nor did taste the stream
Of Helicon; we therefore may suppose
Those made not poets, but the poets those.
And as courts make not kings, but kings the court,
So where the Muses and their train resort

* This poem was originally published so far back as the year 1643. It's author, Sir John Denham, may be considered the founder (to adopt the words of Dr. Johnson) of that species of composition denominated LOCAL POETRY, the fundamental subject of which (as in the poem before us) is some particular landscape, to be poetically described, with the addition of such embellishments as may be supplied by historical retrospection, or incidental meditation. Pope, in his " Windsor Forest, which is constructed on the model of 'Cooper's Hill,' has celebrated Denham in very lofty strains. Independent of this poem, he is entitled to great merit, as having paved the way for the present improved state of our versification. Vide Johnson's Lives of the Poets.


Parnassus stands ; if I can be to thee
A poet, thou Parnassus art to me.
Nor wonder if (advantag'd in my flight,
By taking wing from thy auspicious height)
Thro' untrac'd ways and airy paths I fly,
More boundless in my fancy than my eye;
My eye, which swift as thought contracts the space
That lies between, and first salutes the place
Crown'd with that sacred pile, so vast, so high,
That whether 'tis a part of earth or sky
Uncertain seems, and may be thought a proud
Aspiring mountain, or descending cloud;
Paul's, the late theme of such a Muse,* whose flight
Has bravely reach'd aud soar'd above thy height;
Now shalt thou stand, thoʻsword, or time, or fire,
Or zeal, more fierce than they, thy fall conspire,
Secure, whilst thee the best of poets sings,
Preserv'd from ruin by the best of kings.
Under his proud survey the city lies,
And like a mist beneath a hill doth rise,
Whose state and wealth, the bus’ness and the crowd,
Seems at this distance but a darker cloud;
And is, to him who rightly things esteems,
No other in effect than what it seems;
Where with like haste, thro' several ways, they run,
Some to undo, and some to be undone ;

* Wallcr.

While luxury and wealth, like war and peace,
Are each the other's ruin and increase;
As rivers lost in seas, some secret vein
Hence reconveys, there to be lost again.
Oh! happiness of sweet retir'd content!
To be at once secure and innocent.
Windsor the next (where Mars with Venus dwells,
Beauty with strength) above the valley swells
Into my eye, and doth itself present
With such an easy and unforc'd ascent,
That no stupendous precipice denies
Access, no horror turns away our eyes ;
But such a rise as doth at once invite
A pleasure and a rev’rence from the sight;
Thy mighty master's emblem, in whose face
Sat meekness heighten'd with majestic grace;
Such seems thy gentle height, made only proud
To be the basis of that pompous load,
Than which a nobler weight no mountain bears,
But Atlas only, which supports the spheres.
When Nature's hand this ground did thus advance,
'Twas guided by a wiser pow'r than chance;
Mark'd out for such a use, as if ’twere meant
T'invite the builder, and his choice prevent.
Nor can we call it choice, when what we choose
Folly or blindness only could refuse.

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