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POEMS

BY

SIR JOHN DENHAM.

While luxury, and wealth, like war and peace,
Are each the other's ruin, and increase.
As rivers lost in seas, some secret vein
Thence reconveys, there to be lost again.
Oh happiness of sweet retir'd content!
To be at once secure, and innocent.

Windsor the next (where Mars with Venus
dwells,

COOPER'S HILL.

SURE there are poets which did never dream
Upon Parnassus, nor did taste the stream
Of Helicon; we therefore may suppose
Those made not poets, but the poets those.
And as courts make not kings, but kings the

court,

So where the Muses and their train resort,
Parnassus stands; if I can be to thee
A poet, thou Parnassus art to me.
Nor wonder, if (advantag'd in my flight,
By taking wing from thy auspicious height)
Through untrac'd ways and airy paths I fly,
More boundless in my fancy than my eye:
My eye, which swift as thought contracts the

space

whose

That lies between, and first salutes the place
Crown'd with that sacred pile, so vast, so high,
That, whether 'tis a part of earth or sky,
Uncertain seems, and may be thought a proud
Aspiring mountain, or descending cloud,
Paul's, the late theme of such a Muse,
flight
Has bravely reach'd and soar'd above thy height:
Now shalt thou stand, though sword, or time, or
fire,
Or zeal more fierce than they, thy fall conspire,
Secure, whilst thee the best of poets sings,
Preserv'd from ruin by the best of kings.
Under his proud survey the city lies,
And like a mist beneath a hill doth rise;

Do homage to her, yet she cannot boast

Whose state and wealth, the business and the Among that numerous, and celestial host,

crowd,

Seems at this distance but a darker cloud:
And is, to him who rightly things esteems,
No other in effect than what it seems:
Where, with like haste, though several ways,

More heroes than can Windsor, nor doth Fame's
Immortal book record more noble names.
Not to look back so far, to whom this isle
Owes the first glory of so brave a pile,
Whether to Cæsar, Albanact, or Brute,
The British Arthur, or the Danish Cnute,
(Though this of old no less contest did move,
Than when for Homer's birth seven cities

they run,

Some to undo, and some to be undone ;

1 Mr. Waller.

strove)

Beauty with strength) above the va!'ey svells
Into my eye, and doth itself present
With such an easy and unforc'd ascent,
That no stupendous precipice denies
Access, no horrour turns away our eyes:
But such a rise as doth at once invite
A pleasure, and a reverence from the sight.
Thy mighty master's emblem, in whose face
Sate meekness, heighten'd with majestic grace;
Such seems thy gentle height, made only proud
To be the basis of that pompous load,

Than which, a nobler weight no mountain
bears,

But Atlas only which supports the spheres.
When Nature's hand this ground did thus ad-
vance,

'Twas guided by a wiser power than Chance ;
Mark'd-out for such an use, as if 'twere meant
T'invite the builder, and his choice prevent.
Nor can we call it choice, when what we chuse,
Folly or blindness only could refuse.

A crown of such majestic towers doth grace
The gods' great mother, when her heavenly

race

Like him in birth, thou should'st be like in No crime so bold, but would be understood

A real, or at least a seeming good:
Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the name,
And free from conscience, is a slave to fame:
Thus he the church at once protects, and spoils:
But princes' swords are sharper than their
styles.

And thus to th' ages past he makes amends,
Their charity destroys, their faith defends.
Then did Religion in a lazy cell,

In empty, airy contemplations dwell;
And like the block, unmoved lay: but ours,
As much too active, like the stork devours.
Is there no temperate region can be known,
Betwixt their frigid, and our torrid zone?
Could we not wake from that lethargic dream,
But to be restless in a worse extreme ?
And for that lethargy was there no cure,
But to be cast into a calenturé ?

fame,

As thine his fate, if mine had been his flame)
But whosoe'er it was, Nature design'd
First a brave place, and then as brave a mind.
Not to recount those several kings, to whom
It gave a cradle, or to whom a tomb;
But thee great Edward', and thy greater son,
(The lilies which his father wore, he won)
And thy Bellona3, who the consort came
Not only to thy bed, but to thy fame,
She to the triumph led one captive 4 king
And brought that son, which did the second 4
bring.

Then didst thou found that Order (whether love
Or victory thy royal thoughts did move):
Each was a noble cause, and nothing less
Than the design, has been the great success:
Which foreign kings and emperors esteem
The second honour to their diadem.
Had thy great Destiny but given thee skill
To know, as well as power to act her will,
That from those kings, who then thy captives

were,

In after-times should spring a royal pair,
Who should possess all that thy mighty power,
Or thy desires more mighty, did devour:
To whom their better fate reserves whate'er
The victor hopes for, or the vanquish'd fear;
That blood, which thou and thy great grand-
sire shed,

And all that since these sister nations bled,
Had been unspilt, and happy Edward known
That all the blood he spilt, had been his own.
When he that patron chose, in whom are join'd
Soldier and martyr, and his arms confin'd
Within the azure circle, he did seem
But to foretel, and prophecy of him.

Who to his realms that azure round hath join'd,
Which Nature for their bound at first design'd.
That bound which to the world's extremest
ends,

Endless itself, its liquid arms extends.
Nor doth he need those emblems which we paint,
But is himself the soldier and the saint.
Here should my wonder dwell, and here my
praise,

But my fix'd thoughts my wandering eye be-
trays,

|

Viewing a neighbouring hill, whose top of late
A chapel crown'd till in the common fate
Th' adjoining abbey fell: (may no such storm
Fall on our times, where ruin must reform !)
Tell me, my Muse, what monstrous dire of
fence,

What crime could any Christian king incense
To such a rage? Was't luxury, or lust!
Was he so temperate, so chaste, so just ?
Were these their crimes? They were his own

much more:

Put wealth is crime enough to him that's poor;
Who, having spent the treasures of his crown,
Condemns their luxury to feed his own.
And yet this act, to varnish o'er the shame
Of sacrilege, must bear Devotion's name.

2 Edward III. and the Black Prince, Queen Philippa.

The kings of France and Scotland.

Can knowledge have no bound, but must advance
So far, to make us wish for ignorance;
And rather in the dark to grope our way,
Than led by a false guide to err by day?
Who sees these dismal heaps, but would demand
What barbarous invader sack'd the land?
But when he hears, no Goth, no Turk did bring,
This desolation, but a Christian king;
When nothing, but the name of zeal, appears
"Twixt our best actions and the worst of theirs:
What does he think our sacrilege would spare,
When such th' effects of our devotions are?
Parting from thence 'twixt anger, shame, and
fear,

Those for what's past, and this for what's too

near,

My eye descending from the hill, surveys
Where Thames among the wanton vallies strays,
Thames, the most lov'd of all the Ocean's sons
By his old sire, to his embraces runs ;
Hasting to pay his tribute to the sea,
Like mortal life to meet eternity.

Though with those streams he no resemblance
hold,

Whose foam is amber, and their gravel gold;
His genuine and less guilty wealth t' explore,
Search not his bottom, but survey his shore;
O'er which he kindly spread his spacious wing,
And hatches plenty for th' ensuing spring.
Nor then destroys it with too fond a stay,
Like mothers which their infants overlay;
Nor with a sudden and impetuous wave,
Like profuse kings, resumes the wealth he gave,
No unexpected inundations spoil

The mower's hopes, nor mock the plowman's

toil:

But god-like his unweary'd bounty flows;
First loves to do, then loves the good he does.
Nor are his blessings to his banks confin'd,
But free and common, as the sea of wind;
When he, to boast or to disperse his stores,
Full of the tributes of his grateful shores,
Visits the world, and in his flying towers
Brings home to us, and makes both Indies ours:
Finds wealth where 'tis, bestows it where it wants,
Cities in deserts, woods in cities plants.
So that to us no thing, no place is strange,
While his fair bosom is the world's exchange.

O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme!

Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull;

Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.
Heaven her Eridanus no more shall boast;
Whose fame in thine,like lesser current, 's lost
Thy nobler streams shall visit Jove's abodes,
To shine among the stars 5, and bathe the gods,
Here Nature, whether more intent to please
Us for herself, with strange varieties,
(For things of wonder give no less delight,
To the wise maker's, than beholder's sight.
Though these delights from several causes move;
For so our children, thus our friends we love)
Wisely she knew, the harmony of things,
As well as that of sounds, from discord springs.
Such was the discord, which did first disperse
Form, order, beauty, through the universe;
While dryness moisture, coldness heat resists,
All that we have, and that we are, subsists.
While the steep horrid roughness of the wood
Strives with the gentle calmness of the flood.
Such huge extremes when Nature doth unite,
Wonder from thence results, from thence de-
light.

The stream is so transparent, pure and clear,
That had the self enamour'd youth gaz'd here,
So fatally deceiv'd he had not been,
While he the bottom, not his face had seen.
But his proud head the airy mountain hides
Among the clouds; his shoulders and his sides
A shady mantle clothes; his curled brows
Frown on the gentle stream, which calmly
flows;

While winds and storms his lofty forehead beat :
The common fate of all that's high or great.
Low at his foot a spacious plain is plac'd,
Between the mountain and the stream em-
brac'd,

Which shade and shelter from the hill derives,
While the kind river wealth and beauty gives;
And in the mixture of all these appears
Variety, which all the rest endears.
This scene had some bold Greek, or British bard
Beheld of old, what stories had we heard
Of Fairies, Satyrs, and the Nymphs, their dames,
Their feasts, their revels, and their amorous
flames?

His soft repose, when the unexpected sound
Of dogs, and men, his wakeful ear does wound:
Rouz'd with the noise, he scarce believes his
ear,
Willing to think th' illusions of his fear

Had given this false alarm, but straight his view
Confirms, that more than all he fears is true.
Betray'd in all his strengths, the wood beset,
All instruments, all arts of ruin met,

He calls to mind his strength, and then his
speed,

The Forest.

His winged heels, and then his armed head;
With these t' avoid, with that his fate to meet ;
But fear prevails, and bids him trust his feet.
So fast he flies, that his reviewing eye
Has lost the chasers, and his ear the cry;
Exulting, till he finds their nobler sense
Their disproportion'd speed doth recompense;
Then curses his conspiring feet, whose scent
Betrays that safety which their swiftness lent.
Then tries his friends: among the baser herd,
Where he so lately was obey'd and fear'd,
His safety seeks: the herd, unkindly wise,
Or chases him from thence, or from him flies,
Like a declining statesman, left forlorn
To his friends' pity, and pursuers' scorn,
With shame remembers, while himself was one
Of the same herd, himself the same had done.
Thence to the coverts and the conscious groves,
The scenes of his past triumphs, and his loves;
Sadly surveying where he rang'd alone
Prince of the soil, and all the herd his own ;
And like a bold knight-errant did proclaim
Combat to all, and bore away the dame;
And taught the woods to echo to the stream
His dreadful challenge, and his clashing beam;
Yet faintly now declines the fatal strife,
So much his love was dearer than his life.
Now every leaf, and every moving breath
Presents a foe, and every fue a death.
Weary'd, forsaken, and pursued, at last
All safety in despair of safety plac'd,
Courage he thence resumes, resolv'd to bear
All their assaults, since 'tis in vain to fear.
And now, too late, he wishes for the fight
That strength he wasted in ignoble flight:
But when he sees the eager chase renew'd,
Himself by dogs, the dogs by men pursued,
He straight revokes his bold resolve, and more
Repents his courage, than his fear before;
Finds that uncertain ways unsafest are,
And doubt a greater mischief than despair.
Then to the stream, when neither friends, nor
force,

'Tis still the same, although their airy shape
All but a quick poetic sight escape.
There Faunus and Sylvanus keep their courts,
And thither all the horned host resorts
To graze the ranker mead, that noble herd,
On whose sublime and shady fronts is rear'd
Nature's great master-piece; to show how soon
Great things are made, but sooner are undone,
Here have I seen the king, when great affairs
Gave leave to slacken and unbend his cares,
Attended to the chase by all the flower
Of youth, whose hopes a nobler prey devour:
Pleasure with praise, and danger they would

buy,
And wish a foe that would not only fly.
The stag, now conscious of his fatal growth,
At once indulgent to his fear and sloth,
To some dark covert his retreat had made,
Where no man's eye, nor heaven's should in- Repels their force, and wounds returns for

So towards a ship the oar-finn'd gallics ply,
Which wanting sea to ride, or wind to fly,
Stands but to fall reveng'd on those that dare
Tempt the last fury of extreme despair:
So fares the stag, a:nong th' enraged hounds,

vade

Nor speed, nor art avail, he shapes his course;
Thinks not their rage so desperate to essay
An element more merciless than they.
But fearless they pursue, nor can the flood
Quench their dire thirst! alas, they thirst for
blood.

wounds.

And as a hero, whom his baser foes

In troops surround, now these assails, now those

6

Though prodigal of life, disdains to die
By common hands; but if he can descry
Some nobler foe approach, to him he calls,
And begs his fate, and then contented falls.
So when the king a mortal shaft lets fly,
From his unerring hand, then, glad to die,
Proud of the wound, to it resigns his blood,
And stains the crystal with a purple flood.
This a more innocent and happy chase,
Than when of old, but in the self-same place,
Fair Liberty pursued, and meant a prey
To lawless Power, here turn'd, and stood at
bay;

When in that remedy all hope was plac'd,
Which was, or should have been at least the last.
Here was that charter seal'd, wherein the

THE

DESTRUCTION OF TROY.

AN ESSAY ON THE

crown

All marks of arbitrary power lays down:
Tyrant and slave, those names of hate and fear,
The happier stile of king and subject bear:
Happy, when both to the same center move,
When kings give liberty, and subjects love.
Therefore not long in force this charter stood;
Wanting that seal, it must be seal'd in blood.
The subjects arm'd, the more their prin
Th' advantage only took, the more to crave:
Till kings, by giving give themselves away,
And even that power, that should deny, be-
tray,
[viles,
"Who gives constrain'd, but his own fear re-
Not thank'd, but scorn'd; nor are they gifts, but
spoils."

gave,

Thus kings, by grasping more than they could
hold,
First made their subjects, by oppression bold;
And popular sway, by forcing kings to give
More than was fit for subjects to receive,
Ran to the same extremes; and one excess
Made both, by striving to be greater, less.
When a calm river, rais'd with sudden rains,
Or snows dissolv'd, o'erflows th' adjoining plains,
The husbandmen with high-rais'd banks secure
Their greedy hopes; and this he can endure.
But if with bays and dams they strive to force
His channel to a new, or narrow course;
No longer then within his banks he dwells,
First to a torrent, then a deluge swells:
Stronger and fiercer by restraint he roars,

To see the slighted camp, the vacant port.
Here lay Ulysses, there Achilles; here
The battle join'd, the Grecian fleet rode there;
But the vast pile th' amazed vulgar views,
Till they their reason in their wonder lose.
And first Thy mates moves (urg'd by the
power

And knows no bound, but makes his power his Of fate or fraud) to place it in the tower;

shores.

But Capys and the graver sort thought fit
The Greeks suspected present to commit

To seas or flames, at least to search and bore
The sides, and what that space contains t'ex-
plore.

SECOND BOOK OF VIRGIL'S ÆNEIS
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1636.

coast of Carthage, he was received by queen Dido, who, after the feast, desires him to make the relation of the destruction of Troy; which is the Argument of this book.

THE ARGUMENT.

The first book speaks of Eneas's voyage by sea, and how, being cast by tempest upon the

Runny Mead.

WH

HILE all with silence and attention wait,
Thus speaks Æneas from the bed of state;
Madam, when you command us to review
Our fate, you make our old wounds bleed

anew,

And all those sorrows to my sense restore,
Whereof none saw so much, none suffer'd

more:

Not the most cruel of our conquering foes
So unconcern'dly can relate our woes,
As not to lend a tear, then how can I
Repress the horrour of my thoughts, which
fly

The said remembrance? Now th' expiring
night

And the declining stars to rest invite;
Yet since 'tis your command, what you so well
Are pleas'd to hear, I cannot grieve to tell.
By Fate repell'd, and with repulses tir'd,
The Greeks, so many lives and years expir'd,
A fabric like a moving mountain frame,
Pretending vows for their return; this Fame
Divulges; then within the beast's vast womb
The choice and flower of all their troops en
tomb.
In view the isle of Tenedos, once high

In fame and wealth, while Troy remain'd, doth

lie,
(Now but an unsecure and open bay)
Thither by stealth the Greeks their fleet con-
vey.

We gave them gone, and to Mycenæ sail'd,
And Troy reviv'd, her mourning face unvail'd;
All through th' unguarded gates with joy re-

sort

Th' uncertain multitude with both engag'd,
Divided stands, till from the tower, enrag'd
Laocoon ran, whom all the crowd attends.
Crying, "What desperate frenzy's this, (oh
friends)

To think them gone? Judge rather their re

treat

But a design, their gifts but a deceit ;
For our destruction 'twas contriv'd, no doubt,
Or from within by fraud, or from without
By force; yet know ye not Ulysses' shifts?
Their swords less danger carry than their

gifts."

(This said) against the horse's side his spear He throws, which trembles with enclosed fear,

Chiefly when this stupendous pile was ras'd,
Strange noises fill'd the air; we, all amaz'd,
Dispatch Eurypylus t' inquire our fates,

The place; then Troy and Priam's throne had Who thus the sentence of the gods relates;
'A virgin's slaughter did the storm appease,
When first towards Troy the Grecians took the

Whilst from the hollows of his womb proceed Groans, not his own; and had not Fate decreed Our ruin, we had fill'd with Grecian blood

stood.

Meanwhile a fetter'd prisoner to the king
With joyful shouts the Dardan shepherds bring,
Who to betray us did himself betray,
At once the taker, and at once the prey;
Firmly prepar'd, of one event secur'd,
Or of his death or his design assur❜d.
The Trojan youth about the captive flock,
To wonder, or to pity, or to mock.

Now hear the Grecian fraud, and from this one
Conjecture all the rest.

Disarm'd, disorder'd, casting round his eyes On all the troops that guarded him, he cries, "What land, what sea, for me what fate attends?

Caught by my foes, condemned by my friends,
Incensed Troy a wretched captive seeks
To sacrifice; a fugitive, the Greeks."
To pity this complaint our former rage
Converts, we now inquire his parentage,
What of their counsels or affairs he knew:
Then fearless he replies, Great king, to you
All truth I shall relate: nor first can I
Myself to be of Grecian birth deny;
And though my outward state misfortune hath
Deprest thus low, it cannot reach my faith.
You may by chance have heard the famous

name

Of Palamede, who from old Belus came,
Whom, but for voting peace, the Greeks pursue,
Accus'd unjustly, then unjustly slew,
Yet mourn'd his death. My father was his
friend.

And me to his commands did recommend,
While laws and counsels did his throne support;
I but a youth, yet some esteem and port
We then did bear, till by Ulysses' craft
(Things known I speak) he was of life bereft :
Since in dark sorrow I my days did spend,
Till now, disdaining his unworthy end,
I could not silence my complaints, but vow'd
Revenge, if ever fate or chance allow'd
My wish'd return to Greece; from hence his
hate,
From thence my crimes, and all my ills bear
date:

Old guilt fresh malice gives; the peoples' ears He fills with rumours, and their hearts with fears,

And then the prophet to his party drew.
But why do I these thankless truths pursue :
Or why defer your rage? on me, for all
The Greeks, let your revenging fury fall.
Ulysses this, th' Atride this desire

At any rate." We straight are set on fire (Unpractis'd in such mysteries, to inquire The manner and the cause, which thus told,

he

With gestures humble, as his tale was bold. "Oft have the Greeks (the siege detesting) tir'd

With tedious war, a stolen retreat desir'd,
And would to Heaven they'd gone: but still dis-
may'd
By seas or skies, unwillingly they stay'd,

seas;

Their safe retreat another Grecian's blood
Must purchase.' AH at this confounded stood;
Each thinks himself the man, the fear on al
Of what, the mischief but on one can fall.
Then Calchas (by Ulysses first inspir'd)
Was urg'd to name whom th' angry gods res
quir'd;

Yet was I warn'd (for many were as well
Inspir'd as he, and did my fate foretel)
Ten days the prophet in suspence remain❜d,
Would no man's fate pronounce; at last, con-
strain'd

By Ithacus, he solemnly design'd
Me for the sacrifice; the people join'd
In glad consent, and all their common fear
Determme in my fate. The day drew near,
The sacred rites prepar'd, my temples crown'd
With holy wreaths; then I confess I found
The means to my escape, my bonds I brake,
Fled from my guards, and in a muddy lake
Amongst the sedges all the night lay hid,
Till they their sails had hoist (if so they did).
And now, alas! no hope remains for me
My home, my father, and my sons to see,
Whom they, enrag'd, will kill for my offence,
And punish, for my guilt, their innocence,
Those gods who know the truths I now relate,
That faith which yet remains inviolate
By mortal men; by these I beg, redress
My causeless wrongs, and pity such distress."
And now true pity in exchange he finds
For his false tears, his tongue his hands un-
binds.

"Then spake the king, Be ours, whoe'er thou art, Forget the Greeks. But first the truth impart, Why did they raise, or to what use intend This pile? to a war-like, or religious end?" Skilful in fraud (his native art), his hands Toward Heaven he rais'd, deliver'd now from

bands.

"Ye pure æthereal flames, ye powers ador'd
By mortal men, ye altars, and the sword
I scap'd, ye sacred fillets that involv'd
My destin'd head, grant I may stand absolv'd
From all their laws and rights, reuounce ail

name

Of faith or love, their secret thoughts proclaims
Only, O Troy, preserve thy faith to me,
If what I shall relate preserveth thee.
From Pallas' favour, all our hopes, and all
Counsels and actions, took original,

Till Diomed (for such attempts made fit
By dire conjunction with Ulysses' wit)
Assails the sacred tower, the guards they slay,
Defile with bloody hands, and thence convey
The fatal image; straight with our success
Our hopes fell back, whilst prodigies express
Her just disdain, her flaming eyes did throw
Flashes of lightning, from each part did flow
A briny sweat, thrice brandishing her spear,
Her statue from the ground itself did rear;

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