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“ Tentanda via est, &c.”
WHAT shall I do to be for ever known,
And make the age to come my own? I shall, like beasts or common people, die,
Unless you write my elegy; Whilst others great, by being born, are grown;
Their mothers' labour, not their own. In this scale gold, in th' other fame does lie,
The weight of that mounts this so high. These men are Fortune's jewels, moulded bright;
Brought forth with their own fire and light: If I, her vulgar stone, for either look,
Out of myself it must be strook.
Sure I Fame's trumpet hear:
Raise up the buried man.
And march, the Muses' Hannibal.
Nets of roses in the way!
And all that is not above Fate !
Which intercepts my coming praise.
Come, my best friends, my books ! and lead me on;
'T is time that I were gone. •
All I was born to know:.
He conquer'd th’earth, the whole world you. Welcome, learn'd Cicero! whose blest tongue and wit
Preserves Rome's greatness yet: Thou art the first of Orators; only he
Who best can praise thee, next must be. Welcome the Mantuan swan, Virgil the wise !
Whose verse walks highest, but not flies; Who brought green Poesy to her perfect age, • And made that Art which was a Rage. Tell me, ye mighty Three! what shall I do
: To be like one of you? But you have climb’d the mountain's top, there sit
On the calm flourishing head of it,
· See us, and clouds, below.
TELL me, O tell, what kind of thing is Wit,
Thou who master art of it?
A thousand different shapes it bears,
Comely in thousand shapes appears. Yonder we saw it plain; and here 't is now, Like spirits, in a place we know not how.
London, that vents of false ware so much store,
In no ware deceives us more;
Some things do through our judgment pass
As through a multiplying-glass ; And sometimes, if the object be too far; We take a falling meteor for a star.
Hence 't is a Wit, that greatest word of fame,
Grows such a common name; And Wits by our creation they become, Just so as titular bishops made at Rome.
'T is not a tale, 't is not a jest
Admir'd with laughter at a feast, Nor florid talk, which can that title gain ; The proofs of Wit for ever must remain.
"T is not to force some lifeless verses meet
• With their five gouty feet. All, every-where, like man’s, must be the soul, And Reason the inferior powers control.
Such were the numbers which could call
The stones into the Theban wall. Such miracles are ceas’d; and now we see No towns or houses rais'd by poetry:
Yet ’t is not to adorn and gild each part;
. That shows more cost than art." Jewels at nose and lips but ill appear; Rather than all things Wit, let none be there.
Several lights will not be seen,
If there be nothing else between. Men doubt, because they stand so thick i'th’sky, If those be stars which paint the Galaxy.
'Tis not when two like words make up one noise
. (Jests for Dutch men and English boys); In which who finds out Wit, the same may see In anʼgrams and acrostick poetry : ,
Much less can that have any place
At which a virgin hides her face; Such dross the fire must purge away: 't is just The author blush there, where the reader must. ;
'Tis not such lines as almost crack the stage
When Bajazet begins to rage ; Nor a tall metaphor in the bombast way; Nor the dry chips of short-lung’d Seneca;
Nor upon all things to obtrude
And force some odd similitude. What is it then, which, like the Power Divine, We only can by negatives define ?
In a true piece of Wit all things must be,
, Yet all things there agree; As in the ark, join'd without force or strife, :.: All creatures dwelt; all creatures that had life: , ; • Or, as the primitive forms of all ' . .
(If we compare great things with small) :: Which, without discord or confusion, lie In that strange mirror of the Deity.
But Love, that moulds one man up out of two,
Makes me forget, and injure you: I took you for myself, sure, when I thought That you in any thing were to be taught.
Correct my error with thy pen;
And, if any ask me then
TO THE LORD FALKLAND,
FOR HIS SAFE RETURN FROM THE NORTHERN
, EXPEDITION AGAINST THE SCOTS.
GREAT is thy charge, O North! be wise and just,