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If Rome's great senate could not wield that sword,
Which of the conquer'd world had made thern lord;
What hope had ours, while yet their power was new,
To rule victorious armies, but by you?
You ! that had taught them to subdue their foes,
Could order teach, and their high spirits compose :
To every duty could their minds engage,
Provoke their courage, and command their rage.
So, when a lion shakes his dreadful mane,
And angry grows, if he that first took pain
To tame his youth, approach the haughty beast,
He bends to him, but frights away the rest.
As the vex'd world, to find repose, at last
Itself into Augustus' arms did cast;
So England now does, with like toil opprest,
weary head upon your bosom rest.
Then let the Muses, with such notes as these,
Instruct us what belongs unto our peace !
Your battles they hereafter shall indite,
And draw the image of our Mars in fight;
Tell of towns storm’d, of armies over-run,
And mighty kingdoms by your conduct won ;
How, while you thunder'd, clouds of dust did choke
Contending troops, and seas lay hid in smoke.
Illustrious acts high raptures do infuse,
And every conqueror creates a Muse :
Here in low strains your milder deeds we sing:
But there, my lord! we'll bays and olive bring
To crown your head, while you in triumph ride O'er vanquish'd nations, and the sea beside ; While all your neighbour princes unto you, Like Joseph's sheaves, pay reverence and bow.
Poets may boast, as safely vain,
Their works shall with the world remain :
Both bound together, live or die,
The verses and the prophecy.
But who can hope his line should long
Last, in a daily-changing tongue?
While they are new, envy prevails;
And as that dies, our language fails.
When architects have done their part,
The matter may betray their art:
Time, if we use ill-chosen stone,
Soon brings a well-built palace down.
Poets, that lasting marble seek,
Must carve in Latin or in Greek :
We write in sand, our language grows,
And, like the tide, our work o'erflows.
Chaucer his sense can only boast,
The glory of his numbers lost !
Years have defac'd his matchless strain,
And yet he did not sing in vain,
The beauties, which adorn'd that age,
The shining subjects of his rage,
Hoping they should immortal prove,
Rewarded with success his love.
This was the gen'rous poet's scope ;
And all an English pen can hope ;
To make the fair approve his flame,
That can so far extend their fame.
Verse, thus design’d, has no ill fate,
If it arrive but at the date
Of fading beauty, if it prove
But as long-liv'd as present love.
THYRSIS, a youth of the inspired train,
Fair Sacharissa lov’d, but lov'd in vain :
Like Phoebus sung the no less amorous boy ;
Like Daphne she, as lovely, and as coy!
With numbers he the flying nymph pursues ;
With numbers, such as Phoebus' self might use !
Such is the chase, when Love and Fancy leads,
O’er craggy mountains, and through flowery meads;
Invok'd to testify the lover's care,
Or form some image of his cruel fair.
Urg'd with his fury, like a wounded deer,
O'er these he fled; and now approaching ncar,
Had reach'd the nymph with his harmonious lay,
Whom all his charms could not incline to stay.
Yet, what he sung in his immortal strain,
Though unsuccessful, was not sung in vain :
All, but the nymph that should redress his wrong,
Attend his passion, and approve his song.
Like Phæbus thus, acquiring unsought praise,
He catch'd at love, and fill'd his arms with bays.
Go, lovely Rose!
Tell her, that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet, and fair, she seems to be.
Tell her that's young,
And shuns to have her graces spy'd,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts, where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended dy'd.
Small is the worth
Of beauty, from the light retir’d:
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desir'd,
And not blush so to be admir'd.
Then die! that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee :
How small a part of time they share,
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!
PHYLLIS! why should we delay
Pleasures shorter than the day?
Could we (which we never can !)
Stretch our lives beyond their span,
Beauty like a shadow flies,
And our youth before us dies.
Or, would youth and beauty stay,
Love hath wings, and will away.
Love hath swifter wings than Time;
Change in love to Heaven does climb ;
Gods, that never change their state,
Vary oft their love and hate.
Phyllis ! to this truth we owe
All the love betwixt us two :
Let not you and I inquire,
What has been our past desire ;
On what shepherd you have smil'd,
Or what nymphs I have beguild:
Leave it to the planets too,
What we shall hereafter do :
For the joys we now may prove,
Take advice of present love.