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But who says he was not
A man of much plot
May repent that false accusation;
Having plotted and penn'd
Six plays, to attend
The farce of his negociation,
Before you were told
How Satan * the old
Came here with a beard to his middle;
Tho' he chang'd face and name,
Old Will was the same,
At the noise of a can and a fiddle.
These statesmen, you believe,
Send straight for the shirieve,
For he is one too, or would be;
But he drinks no wine,
Which is a shrewd sign
That all's not so well as it should be.
These three, when they drink,
How little do they think
Of banishment, debts, or dying?
Not old with their years,
Nor cold with their fears,
But their angry stars still defying.
* Mr. W. Murrey,
Mirth makes them not mad,
Nor sobriety sad;
But of that they are seldom in danger:
At Paris, at Rome,
At the Hague, they're at home;
The good fellow is no where a stranger.
ON MR. ABR. COWLEY'S DEATH,
AND BURIAL AMONGST THE ANCIENT POETS.
OLD Chaucer, like the morning star,
To us discovers day from far;
His light those mists and clouds dissolv'd
Which our dark nation long involv'd;
But he descending to the shades,
Darkness again the age invades.
Next (like Aurora) Spenser rose,
Whose purple blush the day foreshows;
The other three with his
Phoebus, the poet's god, inspires;
By Shakspeare's, Johnson's, Fletcher's lines
Our stage's lustre Rome's outshines,
These poets near our princes sleep,
And in one grave their mansion keep.
They liv'd to see so many days,
"Till time had blasted all their bays :
But cursed be the fatal hour
That pluck'd the fairest, sweetest flower
That in the Muses' garden grew,
And amongst wither'd laurels threw!
Time, which made them their fame outlive,
To Cowley scarce did ripeness give.
Old mother Wit, and Nature, gave
Shakspeare and Fletcher all they have:
In Spenser, and in Johnson, Art
Of slower Nature got the start;
But both in him so equal are,
None knows which bears the happier share.
To him no author was unknown,
Yet what he wrote was all his owo:
He melted not the ancient gold,
Nor, with Ben Johnson, did make bold
To plunder all the Roman stores
Of poets and of orators.
Horace's wit and Virgil's state
He did not steal but emulate;
And when he would like them appear,
Their garb but not their clothes did wear.
He not from Rome alone, but Greece,
Like Jason, brought the Golden Fleece,
To him that language (tho* to none
Of th' others) as his own was known.
On a stiff gale (as Flaccus* sings)
The Theban swan extends his wings,
When thro' th' ethereal clouds he flies;
To the same pitch our swan doth rise.
Old Pindar's flights by him are reach'd,
When on that gale his wings are stretch'd,
His fancy and his judgment such,
Each to the other seem's too much;
His severe judgment (giving law)
His modest fancy kept in awe;
As rigid husbands jealous are
When they believe their wives too fair.
His English streams so pure did flow,
As all, that saw and tasted know:
But for his Latin vein, so clear,
Strong, full, and high, it doth appear*,
That were immortal Virgil here,
Him for his judge he would not fear.
Of that great portraiture so true,
A copy pencil never drew.
My Muse her song had ended here,
But both their Genii straight appear :
Joy and amazement her did strike;
Two twins she never saw so like,
Twas taught by wise Pythagoras
One soul might thro' more bodies
Seeing such transmigration there,
She thought it not a fable here.
Such a resemblance of all parts,
Life, death, age, fortune, nature, arts,
Then lights her torch at theirs, to tell
And show the world this parallel :
* His last works.
Fix'd and contemplative their looks,
Still turning over Nature's books;
Their works chaste, moral, and divine,
Where profit and delight combine; vi.
They, gilding dirt, in noble verse
When heroes, gods, or god-like kings,
They praise, on their exalted wings
To the celestial orbs they climb,
And with th' harmonious spheres keep time. ti xa.
Nor did their actions fall behind
Their words, but with like candour shin'd;
Each drew fair characters, yet none
Of these they feign'd excels their own.
Both by two gen'rous princes lov’d, in
Who knew, and judg'd what they approv'd:
Yet having each the same desire,
Both from the busy throng retire.
Their bodies, to their minds resign'd,
Car'd not to propagate their kind:
Yet tho' both fell before their hour,
Time on their offspring hath no power:
Nor fire nor Fate their bays shall blast,
Nor death's dark veil their day o'ercast,