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which they introduced so frequently, were considered as realities, so far as to be received by the imagination, whatever sober reason might even then determine. But of these images time has tarnished the splendor. A fiction, not only detected but despised, can never afford a solid basis to any position, though sometimes it may furnish a transient allusion, or slight illustration. No modern monarch can be much exalted by hearing that, as Hercules had had his club, he has his navy.
But of the praise of Waller, though much may be taken away, much will remain; for it cannot be denied that he added something to our elegance of diction, and something to our propriety of thought; and to him may be applied what Tasso said, with equal spirit and justice, of himself and Guarini, when, having perused the Pastor Fido, he cried out, "If he had not read Aminta, he had never excelled it."
As Waller professed himself to have learned the art of versification from Fairfax, it has been thought proper to subjoin a specimen of his work, which, after Mr. Hoole's translation, will perhaps not be soon reprinted. By knowing the state in which Waller found our poetry, the reader may judge how much he improved it.
Of her strong foes, that chas'd her through the plaine,
Like as the wearie hounds at last retire,
4. Her teares, her drinke; her food, her sorrowings, This was her diet that vnhappie night: But sleepe (that sweet repose and quiet brings) To ease the greefes of discontented wight, Spred foorth his tender, soft, and nimble wings, In his dull armes foulding the virgin bright; And loue, his mother, and the graces kept Strong watch and warde, while this faire Ladie slept.
The birds awakte her with their morning song,
Their warbling musicke pearst her tender eare,
The murmuring brookes and whistling windes among
The ratling boughes, and leaues, their parts did beare;
Her eies vnclosM beheld the groues along
Of swaines and shepherd groomes, that dwellings weare;
And that sweet noise, birds, winds, and waters sent,
Prouokte againe the virgin to lament.
Her plaints were interrupted with a sound,
Nor ever greedie soldier was entised
By pouertie, neglected and despised.
12. Time was (for each one hath his doting time, These siluer locks were golden tresses than) That countrie life I hated as a crime, And from the forrests sweet contentment ran, To Memphis' stately pallace would I clime, And there became the mightie Caliphes man, And though I but a simple gardner weare, Yet could I marke abuses, see and heare.
Entised on with hope of future gaine,
1 suffred long what did my soule displease;But when my youth was spent, my hope was vaine,
I felt my native strength at last decrease;I gan my losse of lustie yeeres complaine, And wisht I had enjoy'd the countries peace;I bod the court farewell, and with content My later age here have I quiet spent.
14. While thus he spake, Erminia husht and still His wise discourses heard, with great attention, His speeches graue those idle fancies kill, Which in her troubled soule bred such dissention; After much thought reformed was her will, Within those woods to dwell was her intention, Till fortune should occasion new afford, To turne her home to her desired Lord.
15. She said therefore, O shepherd fortunate! That troubles some didst whilom feele and proue, Yet liuest now in this contented state, Let my mishap thy thoughts to pitie moue, To entertaine me as a willing mate In shepherds life, which I admire and loue;
Within these pleasant groues perchance my hart Of her discomforts may vnload some part.