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But that the first in Greek,a conqu’ring language, fung,
And the last wrote but in an island tongue.
Wit, thought, invention, in them both do now,
As torrents tumbling from the mountains go.
Tho' the great Roman lyric do maintain
That none can equal Pindar's (train,
Cowley with words as full and thoughts as high
As ever Pindar did, does fly;
Of kings and heroes he as boldly fings,
And flies above the clouds, yet never wets his wings.
As fire aspiring, as the sca profound,
Nothing in Nature can his fancy bound;
As swift as lightning in its course,
And as resistlefs in his force.
Whilst other poets, like bees who range the field 25
To gather what the flow’rs will yield,
Glean matter with much toil and pain,
To bring forth verses in an humble strain,
He fees about him round,
Possess'd at once of all that can be found :
30 To his illuminated eye All things created open lie; That all his thoughts so clear and so perspicuous be, That whatsoever he describes we fee; Our souls are with his passions fir’d,
35 And he who does but read him is inspir'd.
Pindar to Thebes, where first he drew his breath,
Tho' for his fake his race was sav'd from death
By th’ Macedonian youth, did not more honour
Than Cowley does his friends and country too. 40
Had Horace liv’d his wit to understand, [land;
He ne'er had England thought a rude inhospitable
Rome might have blush'd, and Athens been alham'd,
To hear a remote Britain nam’d,
Who for his parts does match, if not exceed, 45
The greatest men that they did either breed.
If he had Aourish'd when Augustus sway'd,
Whose peaceful sceptre the whole world obey'd,
Account of him Mecænas would have made,
And from the country shade
Him into the cabinet have ta'en
To divert Cæsar's cares and charm his pain ;
For nothing can such balm infufe
Into a wearied mind, as does a noble Muse.
It is not now as 'twas in former days,
When all the streets of Rome were strow'd with bays
To receive Petrarch, who thro' arches rode,
Triumphal arches! honour'd as a demi-god,
Not for towns conquer'd, or for battles won,
But vict'ries which were more his own;
For victories of Wit, and victories of Art,
In which blind undiscerning Fortune had no part.
Tho' Cowley ne'er such honours did attain,
As long as Petrarch's Cowley's name hall reign;
'Tis but his dross that's in the grave,
His mem'ry Fame from death fhall save;
His bays shall flourish, and be ever green,
When those of conqu’rors are not to be seen. 68
Nec tibi mors ipfa fuperftes erit.
AMONGST THE ANCIENT POETS.
BY THE HON. SIR JOHN DENHAM.
Old Chaucer, like the morning star,
To us discovers day from far;
His light those mists and clouds disfoly'd,
Which our dark nation long involv'd;
But he descending to the Nades,
Darkness again the age invades,
Next (like Aurora) Spenser rose,
Whose purple blush the day foreshows;
The other three, with his own fires,
Phæbus, the poets' god, inspires;
By Shakespeare, Johnson, Fletcher's lines,
Our stage's lustre Rome's out hines :
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 fairelt, sweetest, flow'r
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.
Thus in the kernel of the largest fruit
Is all the tree in little drawn,
The trunk, the branches, and the root;
Thus a fair day is pictur'd in a lovely dawn.
Tasso, a poet in his infancy,
Did hardly earlier rise than thee,
Nor did he shoot so far, or shine so bright,
Or in his dawning beams or noon-day light.
The Muses did young Cowley raise,
They stole thee from thy nurse's arms,
Fed thee with sacred love of praise,
And taught thee all their charms :
As if Apollo's self had been thy fire,
They daily rock'd thee on his lyre:
60 Hence seeds of numbers in thy soul were fix'd, Deep as the very reason there, No force from thence could numbers tear, Even with thy being mixt: And there they lurk’d, till Spenser’s facred flame 65 Leap'd up and kiņdled thine, Thy thoughts as regular and fine, Thy soul the same, Like his, to honour and to love inclin'd, As soft thy soul, as great thy mind.
70 V. Whatever Cowley writes must please ; Sure like the gods he speaks all languages,