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And we, dull souls, admire, but cannot see
head The curious net that is for fancies spread,* Lets through its meshes every meaner thought, While rich ideas there are only caught? Sure that's not all; this is a piece too fair To be the child of chance, and not of care. No atoms, casually together hurld, Could e'er produce so beautiful a world ; Nor dare I such a doctrine here admit, As would destroy the providence of wit. 'Tis your strong genius, then, which does not feel Those weights, would make a weaker spirit reel. To carry weight, and run so lightly too, Is what alone your Pegasus can do. Great Hercules himself could ne'er do more, Than not to feel those heavens and gods he bore. Your easier odes, which for delight were penn’d, Yet our instruction make their second end; We're both enrich'd and pleased, like them that woo At once a beauty, and a fortune too. Of moral knowledge poesy was queen, And still she might, had wanton wits not been; Who, like ill guardians, lived themselves at large, And, not content with that, debauch'd their charge. Like some brave captain, your successful pen Restores the exiled to her crown again ; And gives us hope, that having seen the days When nothing flourish'd but fanatic bays, All will at length in this opinion rest, “ A sober prince's government is best.”
This is not all; your art the way has found
* Sir Robert Howard's collection contains a translation of the Fourth Book of the Æneid, under the title of “ The Loves of Dido and Eneas.".
+ Sir Robert also translated the Achilleis of Statius, an author whom Dryden seldom mentions without censuring his turgid and bombastic style of poetry. The story of this neglected epic turns on the juvenile adventures of Achilles.
Your curious notes* so search into that age,
* The annotations on the Achilleis.
+ Sir Robert Howard's poems contain a Panegyric to the King,” concerning which he says, in the preliminary address to the reader, “ I should be a little dissatisfied with myself to appear public in his praise just when he was visibly restoring to power, did not the reading of the Panegyric vindicate the writing of it, and, besides my affirmation, assure the reader, written when the king deserved the praise as much as now, but was separated farther from the power ; which was about three years since, when I was prisoner in Windsor Castle, being the best diversion I could then find for my own condition, to think how great his virtues were for whom I suffered, though in so small a measure compared to his own, that I rather blush at it, than believe it meritorious."
| The volume begins with the “ Poem to the King,” and ends with a “ Panegyric to General Monk.” $ Hic situs est Rufus qui pulso vindice quondam,
Imperium asseruit non sibi sed patriæ. DRYDEN.
“ This work, by merit first of fame secure,
* The author speaks the language of astrology, in which geni. ture signifies nativity.
EPISTLE THE THIRD.
TO MY HONOURED FRIEND,
LEARNED AND USEFUL WORKS,
BUT MORE PARTICULARLY HIS TREATISE OF STONE
HENGE, BY HIM RESTORED TO THE TRUE.
Walter CHARLETON, M. D. was born in 1619, and educated at Oxford to the profession of physic, in which he became very eminent. During the residence of King Charles I. at Oxford, in the Civil Wars, Charleton became one of the physicians in ordinary to his majesty. He afterwards settled in London; and, having a strong bent towards philosophical and historical investigation, became intimate with the most learned and liberal of his profession, particularly with Ent and Harvey. He wrote several treatises in the dark period preceding the Restoration, when, the government being in the hands of swordsmen equally ignorant and fanatical, a less ardent mind would have been discouraged from investigations, attended neither by fame nor profit. These essays were upon physical, philosophical, and moral subjects. After the Restoration, Charleton published the work upon which he is here congratulated by our author. Its full title is, “ CHOREA GIGANTUM, or the most famous antiquity of Great Britain, STONEHENGE, standing on Salisbury Plain, restored to the Danes. By Walter Charleton, M.D., and Physician in Ordinary to his Majesty.