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Foolish prater, what dost thou
So early at my window do,
With thy tuneless serenade 2
Well’t had been had Tereus made .
Thee as dumb as Philomel;
There his knife had done but well.
In thy undiscover'd nest
Thou dost all the winter rest,
And dreamest o'er thy summer joys,
Free from the stormy seasons' noise :
Free from th’ ill thou'st done to me; -
Who disturbs or seeks-out thee?
Hadst thou all the charming notes
Of the wood's poetic throats,
All thy art could never pay
What thou'st ta'en from me away.
Cruel bird! thou'st ta'en away
A dream out of my arms to-day;
A dream, that ne'er must equall'd be
By all that waking eyes may see.
Thou, this damage to repair,
Nothing half so sweet or fair,
Nothing half so good, canst bring,
Though men say thou bring'st the spring.
SURE there are poets which 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 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) Through 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 and soar'd above thy height; Now shalt thou stand, though sword, 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 business 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, though several ways, they run, Some to undo, and some to be undone; While luxury and wealth, like war and peace, Are each the other's ruin and increase;
As rivers lost in seas, some secret vein Thence 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 reverence 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 power than Chance; . Mark'd out for such an use, as if't were meant To invite the builder, and his choice prevent. Nor can we call it choice, when what we choose * Folly or blindness only could refuse. A crown of such majestic towers doth grace The gods' great mother, when her heavenly race Do homage to her; yet she cannot boast, Among that numerous and celestial host, More heroes than can Windsor, nor doth Fame's Immortal book record more noble names. Not to look back so far, to whom this isle Owes the first glory of so brave a pile, Whether to Caesar, Albanact, or Brute, The British Arthur, or the Danish C'nute; (Though this of old no less contest did move Than when for Homer's birth seven cities strove) (Like him in birth, thou should'st be like in fame, As thine his fate, if mine had been his flame) But whosoe'er it was, Nature design'd First a brave place, and then as brave a mind.
Not to recount those several kings to whom
It gave a cradle, or to whom a tomb;
But thee, great Edward! and thy greater son,
(The lilies which his father wore he won)
And thy Bellona, who the consort came
Not only to thy bed, but to thy fame;
She to thy triumph led one captive king,
And brought that son which did the second bring;
Then didst thou found that Order (whether love
Or victory thy royal thoughts did move:)
Each was a noble cause, and nothing less
Than the design has been the great success,
Which foreign kings and emperors esteem
The second honour to their diadem.
Had thy great destiny but given thee skill
To know, as well as power to act her will,
That from those kings who then thy captives were,
In after-times should spring a royal pair,
Who should possess all that thy mighty pow'r,
Or thy desires more mighty, did devour;
To whom their better fate reserves whate'er
The victor hopes for, or the vanquish’d fear:
That blood which thou and thy great grandsireshed,
And all that since these sisternations bled,
Had been unspilt, and happy Edward known
That all the blood he spilt had been his own.
When he that patron chose, to whom are join'd
Soldier and martyr, and his arms confin'd
Within the azure circles, he did seem
But to foretel and prophesy of him;
Who to his realms that azure round hath join'd,
Which Nature for their bound at first design'd:-
That bound which to the world's extremest ends,
Endless itself, its liquid arms extends. -
Nor doth he need those emblems which we paint,
But is himself the soldier and the saint.
Here should my wonder dwell, and heremy praise,
But my fix’d thoughts my wandering eye betrays,
Viewing a neighbouring hill, whose top of late
A chapel crown'd, till in the common fate
The adjoining abbey fell. (May no such storm
Fall on our times, where ruin must reform:)
Tell me, my Muse! what monstrous dire offence,
What crime, could any Christian king incense
To such a rage Was’t luxury or lust?
Was he so temperate, so chaste, so just 2
Were these their crimes 2 they were his own much
But wealth is crime enough to him that's poor,
Who, having spent the treasures of his crown,
Condemns their luxury to feed his own;
• And yet this art, to varnish o'er the shame
Of sacrilege, must bear Devotion's name.
No crime so bold but would be understood
A real, or at least, a seeming good.
Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the name,
And, free from conscience, is a slave to fame.
Thus he the church at once protects and spoils;
But princes swords are sharper than their styles:
And thus to the ages past he makes amends;
Their charity destroys, their faith defends,
Then did Religion, in a lazy cell,
In empty airy contemplations dwell,
And like the block unmoved lay; but ours,
As much too active, like the stork devours.
Is there no temperate region can be known *
Betwixt their frigid and our torrid zone *
Could we not wake from that lethargic dream,
But to be restless in a worse extreme 2
And for that lethargy was there no cure
But to be cast into a calenture ;
Can knowledge have no bound, but must advance
So far, to make us wish for ignorance,
And rather in the dark to grope our way
Than, led by a false guide, to err by day?
Who sees these dismal heaps, but would demand
What barbarous invader sack'd the land 7
But when he hears no Goth, no Turk, did bring
This desolation, but a Christian king;