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This may our judgment in the search direct ;
O blessed shades! O gentle cool retreat
From all th' immoderate heat, In which the frantic world does burn and sweat ! This does the lion-star, ambition's rage ; This avarice, the dog-star's thirst assuage; Everywhere else their fatal power we see, They make and rule man's wretched destiny:
They neither set, nor disappear,
But tyrannize o'er all the year ;
The birds that dance from bough to bough,
Are not from fears and cares more free,
And should by right be singers too.
That, which within this shade does dwell ?
Without reward, or thanks for their obliging pains ;
'Tis well, if they become not prey :
But to our plants, art's music too,
When Orpheus strook th' inspired lute,
The trees danc'd round, and understood
These are the spells, that to kind sleep invite,
Which yet we moderately take;
Who would not choose to be awake, While he's encompass'd round with such delight, To th' ear, the nose, the touch, the taste and sight? When Venus would her dear Ascanius keep 1 A prisoner in the downy bands of sleep, She od'rous herbs and flowers beneath him spread,
As the most soft and sweetest bed ; Not her own lap would more have charm’d his head.
i Virg. Æn., i. 695.
Who, that has reason, and his smell,
Rather than all his spirits choke
And all th' uncleanness, which does drown
When Epicurus to the world had taught,
That pleasure was the chiefest good, (And was, perhaps, i'th' right, if rightly understood)
His life he to his doctrine brought, And in a garden's shade that sovereign pleasure sought : Whoever a true epicure would be, May there find cheap and virtuous luxury. Vitellius his table, which did hold As many creatures, as the ark of old ; That fiscal table, to which every day All countries did a constant tribute pay,
was, perhaps, i' th' right] The author had seen Gassendi's fine work on this subject,
Could nothing more delicious afford,
Than nature's liberality,
Yet still the fruits of earth we see
But with no sense the garden does comply,
Though she on silver floors did tread,
To hide the metal's poverty. 1 Plac'd the third story] i. e, in the desert, which stands as the third story in the fabric of modern luxury.
2 But with no sense the garden does comply,
None courts, or flatters, as it does the eye] A little obscurely expressed. The meaning is—The garden gratifies no sense, it courts and Aatters none, so much as it does the eye, 1 Matth. vi. 29.
Though she look'd up to roofs of gold,
But silk and rich embroidery,
And Babylonian tapestry,
And wealthy Hiram's princely dye : Though Ophir's starry stones met everywhere her eye; Though she herself, and her gay host were drest With all the shining glories of the East; When lavish art her costly work had done,
The honour and the prize of bravery Was by the garden from the palace won ; And
every rose and lily there did stand
Better attir'd by nature's hand : 1 The case thus judg'd against the king we see, By one, that would not be so rich, though wiser far
Nor does this happy place only dispense
Such various pleasures to the sense ;
Here health itself does live, That salt of life, which does to all a relish give, Its standing pleasure, and intrinsic wealth, The body's virtue, and the soul's good fortune, health.