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Poets by death are conquerd, but the wit
Of poets triumphs over it.
What cannot verse? When Thracian Orpheus took
His lyre, and gently on it strook,
The learned stones came dancing all along,
And kept time to the charming song.
With artificial pace the warlike pine,
The elm and his wife the ivy twine,
With all the better trees which erst had stood
Unmoved, forsook their native wood.
The laurel to the poet's hand did bow,
Craving the honour of his brow;
And ev'ry loving arm embraced, and made
With their officious leaves a shade.
The beasts, too, strove his auditors to be,
Forgetting their old tyranny:
The fearful hart next to the lion came,
And the wolf was shepherd to the lamb.
Nightingales, harmless sirens of the air,
And muses of the place, were there;
Who, when their little windpipes they had found
Unequal to so strange a sound,
O'ercome by art and grief, they did expire,
And fell upon the conqu’ring lyre.
Happy, oh happy they! whose tomb might be,
Mausolus! envied by thee!


Hail, old patrician trees, so great and good !
Hail, ye plebeian underwood!
Where the poetic birds rejoice,
And for their quiet nests and plenteous food
Pay with their grateful voice.

Hail the poor Muse's richest manor-seat!
Ye country-houses and retreat,

Which all the happy gods so love,
That for you oft they quit their bright and great
Metropolis above.

Here Nature does a house for me erect,
Nature! the fairest architect,
Who those fond artists does despise
That can the fair and living trees neglect,
Yet the dead timber prize.
Here let me, careless and unthoughtful lying,
Hear the soft winds above me flying,
With all their wanton boughs dispute,
And the more tuneful birds to both replying,
Nor be myself too mute,

A silver stream shall roll his waters near,
Gilt with the sunbeams here and there,
On whose enameli'd bank I'll walk,
And see how prettily they smile,
And hear how prettily they talk.

Ah! wretched, and too solitary he,
Who loves not his own company!
He'll feel the weight of it for many a day,
Unless he call in sin or vanity,
To help to bear it away.

Oh, Solitude! first state of human kind!
Which bless'd remain'd till man did find
Ev'n his own helper's company :
As soon as two, alas ! together join'd,
The serpent made up three.

Though God himself, through countless ages, thee
His sole companion chose to be,
Thee, sacred Solitude! alone,
Before the branchy head of number's tree
Sprang from the trunk of one ;

Thou (though men think thine an unactive part)
Dost break and tame th' unruly heart,
Which else would know no settled pace,
Making it move, well managed by thy art,
With swiftness and with grace.

Thou the faint beams of reason's scatter'd light
Dost like a burning glass unite,
Dost multiply the feeble heat,
And fortify the strength, till thou dost bright
And noble fires beget.
Whilst this hard truth I teach, methinks, I see
That monster, London, laugh at me;
I should at thee, too, foolish city!
If it were fit to laugh at misery;
But thy estate I pity.

Let but thy wicked men from out thee go,
And all the fools that crowd thee so,
Ev'n thou, who dost thy millions boast,
A village less than Islington wilt grow,
A solitude almost.

GEORGE WITHER. 1588-1667.

See'st thou not in clearest days,
Oft thick fogs cloud heav'n's rays;
And the vapours that do breathe
From the earth's gross womb beneath,
Seem they not with their black streams
To pollute the sun's bright beams;
And yet vanish into air,
Leaving it unblemish’d, fair?
So, my Willy, shall it be
With Detraction's breath on thee.


It shall never rise so high
As to stain thy poesy.
As that sun doth oft exhale
Vapours from each rotten vale,
Poesy so sometimes drains
Gross conceits from muddy brains,
Mists of envy, fogs of spite,
'Twixt men's judgments and her light,
But so much her power may do,
That she can dissolve them too.
If thy verse do bravely tower,
As she makes wing, she gets power;
Yet the higher she doth soar,
She's affronted still the more,
Till she to the high'st hath pass'd,
Then she rests with fame at last.
Let naught therefore thee affright,
But make forward in thy flight.
For, if I could match thy rhyme,
To the very stars I'd climb;
There begin again, and fly
Till I reach'd eternity.
But, alas! my Muse is slow,
For thy place she flags too low;
Yea, the more's her hapless fate,
Her short wings were clipp'd of late ;
And poor I, her fortune ruing,
Am myself put up a muing.
But if I my cage can rid,
I'll fly where I never did.
And though for her sake I'm crossd,
Though my best hopes I have lost,
And knew she would make my trouble
Ten times more than ten times double;
I should love and keep her too,
Spite of all the world could do.
For, though banish'd from my flocks,
And confined within these rocks,
Here I waste away the light,
And consume the sullen night.

She doth for my comfort stay, And keeps many cares away. Though I miss the flowery fields, With those sweets the spring-tide yields ; Though I may not see those groves, Where the shepherds chant their loves, And the lasses more excel Than the sweet-voiced Philomel; Though of all those pleasures past Nothing now remains at last But remembrance (poor relief) That more makes than mends my grief; She's my mind's companion still, Maugre envy's evil will ; Whence she should be driven too, Were't in mortals' power to do. She doth tell me where to borrow Comfort in the midst of sorrow; Makes the desolatest place To her presence be a grace; And the blackest discontents Be her fairest ornaments. In my former days of bliss, Her divine skill taught me this, That from everything I saw I could some invention draw, And raise pleasure to her height Through the meanest object's sight. By the murmur of a spring, Or the least bough's rustling, By a daisy whose leaves spread Shut when Titan goes to bed, Or a shady bush or tree, She could more infuse in me Than all Nature's beauties can In some other wiser man. By her help I also now Make this churlish place allow


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