1631 - 1700
A Letter To Sir George Etherege
To you who live in chill degree, / As map informs, of fifty-three, / And do not much for cold atone,
A Song For St Cecilia's Day,
FROM harmony, from heavenly harmony / This universal frame began: / When nature underneath a heap
A Song To A Fair Young Lady, Going Out Of Town In The Spring
Ask not the cause, why sullen Spring / So long delays her flowers to bear; / Why warbling birds forget to sing,
Alexander's Feast; Or, The Power Of Music
AN ODE, IN HONOUR OF ST CECILIA'S DAY. / 'Twas at the royal feast, for Persia won / By Philip's warlike son:
You saw our wife was chaste, yet thoroughly tried, / And, without doubt, ye are hugely edified; / For, like our hero, whom we show'd to-day,
An Essay Upon Satire
By Me Dryden And The Earl Of Mulgrave, 1679. / How dull, and how insensible a beast / Is man, who yet would lord it o'er the rest!
The Year Of Wonders, 1666. / An Historical Poem. / An Account Of The Ensuing Poem, In A Letter To The Honourable Sir Robert Howard.
A Poem On The Happy Restoration And Return Of His Sacred Majesty Charles Ii., 1660. / "Jam redit et virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna."--VIRG. / "The last great age, foretold by sacred rhymes,
A Poem On The Prince, Born June 10, 1688. / Our vows are heard betimes! and Heaven takes care / To grant, before we can conclude the prayer:
A Panegyrical Poem, Dedicated To The Memory Of The Late Countess Of Abingdon. / To The Right Honourable The Earl Of Abingdon, &C. / MY LORD,--The commands, with which you honoured me some months ago, are now performed: they had been sooner; but betwixt ill health, some business, and many troubles, I was forced to defer them till this time. Ovid, going to his banishment, and writing from on shipboard to his friends, excused the faults of his poetry by his misfortunes; and told them, that good verses never flow but from a serene and composed spirit. Wit, which is a kind of Mercury, with wings fastened to his head and heels, can fly but slowly in a damp air. I therefore chose rather to obey you late than ill: if at least I am capable of writing anything, at any time, which is worthy your perusal and your patronage. I cannot say that I have escaped from a shipwreck; but have only gained a rock by hard swimming, where I may pant a while and gather breath: for the doctors give me a sad assurance, that my disease never took its leave of any man, but with a purpose to return. However, my lord, I have laid hold on the interval, and managed the small stock, which age has left me, to the best advantage, in performing this inconsiderable service to my lady's memory. We, who are priests of Apollo, have not the inspiration when we please; but must wait until the god comes rushing on us, and invades us with a fury which we are not able to resist: which gives us double strength while the fit continues, and leaves us languishing and spent at its departure. Let me not seem to boast, my lord, for I have really felt it on this occasion, and prophesied beyond my natural power. Let me add, and hope to be believed, that the excellency of the subject contributed much to the happiness of the execution; and that the weight of thirty years was taken off me while I was writing. I swam with the tide, and the water under me was buoyant. The reader will easily observe that I was transported by the multitude and variety of my similitudes; which are generally the product of a luxuriant fancy, and the wantonness of wit. Had I called in my judgment to my assistance, I had certainly retrenched many of them. But I defend them not; let them pass for beautiful faults amongst the better sort of critics: for the whole poem, though written in that which they call Heroic verse, is of the Pindaric nature, as well in the thought as the expression; and, as such, requires the same grains of allowance for it. It was intended, as your lordship sees in the title, not for an elegy, but a panegyric: a kind of apotheosis, indeed, if a heathen word may be applied to a Christian use. And on all occasions of praise, if we take the ancients for our patterns, we are bound by prescription to employ the magnificence of words, and the force of figures, to adorn the sublimity of thoughts. Isocrates amongst the Grecian orators, and Cicero, and the younger Pliny, amongst the Romans, have left us their precedents for our security; for I think I need not mention the inimitable Pindar, who stretches on these pinions out of sight, and is carried upward, as it were, into another world.
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