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Already laboring with a mighty fate,
She shakes the rubbish from her mounting brow, And seems to have renewed her charter's date,
Which Heaven will to the death of Time allow.
More great than human now, and more august,
Now deified she from her fires does rise :
Her widening streets on new foundations trust,
And opening into larger parts she flies.
Before, she like some shepherdess did show,
Who sat to bathe her by a river's side; Not ansy
swering to her fame, but rude and low, Nor taught the beauteous arts of modern pride. Now like a maiden queen she will behold,
From her high turrets, hourly suitors come; The East with incense, and the West with gold,
Will stand like suppliants to receive her doom. The silver Thames, her own domestic flood,
Shall bear her vessels like a sweeping train; And often wind, as of his mistress proud,
With longing eyes to meet her face again.
143. ON MILTON.
Three poets, in three distant ages porn,
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.
The first in loftiness of thought surpassed;
The next in majesty; in both the last.
The force of nature could no further go;
To make a third, she joined the other two.
FROM "ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL.” 144. CHARACTER OF SHAFTESBURY (ACHITOPHEL).
Of these the false Achitophel was first;
A name to all succeeding ages cursed:
For close designs and crooked counsels fit,
Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit:
Restless, unfixed in principles and place;
In power unpleased, impatient of disgrace,
A fiery soul which, working out its way,
Fretted the pigmy body to decay,
And o'er informed its tenement of clay:
A daring pilot in extremity;
Pleased with the danger, when the waves went high
He sought the storms; but, for a calm unfit,
Would steer too nigh the sands to show his wit.
Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide:
Else, why should he, with wealth and honors blest,
Refuse his age the needful hours of rest?
Punish a body which he could not please;
Bankrupt of life, yet prodigal of ease?
In friendship false, implacable in hate,
Resolved to ruin or to rule the state.
To compass this the triple bond he broke,
The pillars of the public safety shook,
And fitted Israel with a foreign yoke;
Then, seized with fear, yet still affecting fame,
Usurped a patriot's all-atoning name;
So easy still it proves, in factious times,
With public zeal to cancel private crimes.
How safe is treason, and how sacred ill,
Where none can sin against the people's will !
Where crowds can wink, and no offence be known,
Since in another's guilt they find their own!
Yet fame deserved no enemy can grudge;
The statesman we abhor, but praise the judge.
In Israel's courts ne'er sat an Abethdin
With more discerning eyes, or hands more clean,
Unbribed, unsought, the wretched to redress;
Swift of despatch and easy of access.
O, had he been content to serve the crown
With virtue only proper to the gown;
Or had the rankness of the soil been freed
From cockle, that oppressed the noble seed;
David for him his tuneful harp had strung.
But wild Ambition loves to slide, not stand;
And Fortune's ice prefers to Virtue's land,
Achitophel, grown weary to possess
A lawful fame, a lasting happiness,
Disdained the golden fruit to gather free,
And lent the crowd his arm to shake the tree.
Now, manifest of crimes contrived long since,
He stood at bold defiance with his prince;
Held up the buckler of the people's cause
Against the crown, and skulked behind the laws.
145. CHARACTER OF ZIMRI (VILLIERS, Duke of Buckingham).
Some of their chiefs were princess of the land;
In the first rank of these did Zimri stand:
A man so various, that he seemed to be
Not one, but all mankind's epitome:
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong;
Was everything by starts, and nothing long;
But, in the course of one revolving moon,
Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon.
Blest madman, who could every hour employ
With something new to wish, or to enjoy!
Railing and praising were his usual themes,
And both, to shew his judgment, in extremes;
So over violent, or over civil,
That every man with him was God or Devil.
In squandering wealth was his peculiar art;
Nothing went unrewarded but desert.
Beggared by fools, whom still he found too late;
He had his jest, and they had his estate.
He laughed himself from court, then sought relief
By forming parties, but could ne'er be chief;
For spite of him the weight of business fell
On Absalom, and wise Achitophel :
Thus, wicked but in will, of means bereft,
He left not faction, but of that was left.
146. VENI CREATOR SPIRITUS.
Creator Spirit; by whose aid
The World's foundations first were laid,
Come, visit every pious mind;
Come, pour thy joys on human kind;
From sin and sorrow set us free,
And make thy temples worthy Thee.
O Source of uncreated light,
The Father's promised Paraclete !
Thrice holy fount, thrice holy fire,
Our hearts with heavenly love inspire;
Come, and thy sacred unction bring,
To sanctify us while we sing.
Plenteous of grace, descend from high,
Rich in thy sevenfold energy!
Thou strength of his Almighty hand,
Whose power does heaven and earth command;
Proceeding Spirit, our defence,
Who dost the gifts of tongues dispense,
And crown'st thy gifts with eloquence.
Refine and purge our earthy parts;
But, O, inflame and fire our hearts !
Our frailties help, our vice control,
Submit the senses to the soul;
And when rebellious they are grown,
Then lay thine hand, and hold them down.
Chase from our minds the infernal foe,
And peace, the fruit of love, bestow;
And, lest our feet should step astray,
Protect and guide us in the way.
Make us eternal truths receive,
And practise all that we believe:
Give us Thyself, that we may see
The Father, and the Son, by Thee.
Immortal honor, endless fame,
Attend the Almighty Father's name!
The Saviour Son be glorified,
Who for lost man's redemption died !
And equal adoration be,
Eternal Paraclete, to Thee!
FROM "RELIGIO LAICI."
147. FAITH. What then remains, but, waiving each extreme, The tide of ignorance and pride to stem? Neither so rich a treasure to forego; Nor proudly seek beyond our power to know: Faith is not built on disquisitions vain; The things we must believe are few and plain. But, since men will believe more than they need, And every man will make himself a creed, In doubtful questions 'tis the safest way To learn what unsuspected ancients say: For 'tis not likely we should higher soar In search of Heaven, than all the church before : Nor can we be deceived unless we see The Scripture and the Fathers disagree. If after all they stand suspected still — For no man's faith depends upon his will —
'Tis some relief, that points not clearly known,
Without much hazard may be let alone :
And, after hearing what our church can say,
If still our reason runs another way,
That private reason 'tis more just to curb,
Than by disputes the public peace disturb:
For points obscure are of small use to learn,
But common quiet is mankind's concern.
148. EPISTLE TO CONGREVE.
O that your brows my laurel had sustained !
Well had I been deposed, if you had reigned,
The father had descended for the son;
For only you are lineal to the throne.
Thus, when the state one Edward did depose,
A greater Edward in his room arose :
But now, not I, but poetry is cursed;
For Tom the second reigns like Tom the first.
But let them not mistake my patron's part,
Nor call his charity their own desert.
Yet this I prophesy: thou shalt be seen
(Though with some short parenthesis between)
High on the throne of wit, and, seated there,
Not mine, that's little, but thy laurel wear.
Thy first attempt an early promise made,
That early promise this has more than paid.
So bold, yet so judiciously you dare,
That your least praise is to be regular.
Time, place, and action, may with pains be wrought,
But genius must be born, and never can be taught.
This is your portion; this your native store;
Heaven, that but once was prodigal before,
To Shakspeare gave as much; she could not give him more.
Maintain your post: that all the fame you need;
For 'tis impossible you should proceed.
Already I am worn with cares and age,
And just abandoning th' ungrateful stage :
Unprofitably kept at Heaven's expense,
I live a rent-charge on his providence;
But you, whom every Muse and Grace adorn,
Whom I foresee to better fortune born,
Be kind to my remains; and, O, defend,
Against your judgment, your departed friend!
Let not th' insulting foe my fame pursue,
But shade those laurels which descend to you:
And take for tribute what these lines express :
You merit more; nor could my love do less.