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And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew

the slain. The master saw the madness rise, His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes; 70 And while he heaven and earth defied, Changed his hand, and checked his pride.

He chose a mournful Muse,

Soft pity to infuse;
He sung Darius great and good,

75 By too severe a fate, Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,

Fallen from his high estate, And weltering in his blood; Deserted at his utmost need

80 By those his former bounty fed; On the bare earth exposed he lies,

With not a friend to close his eyes.
With downcast looks the joyless victor sate,

Revolving in his altered soul

The various turns of chance below:
And, now and then, a sigh he stole,

And tears began to flow,


Now strike the golden lyre again;
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
Break his bands of sleep asunder, 125
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark, hark, the horrid sound

Has raised up his head;

As awaked from the dead,
And, amazed, he stares around. 130
“Revenge, revenge !” Timotheus cries;

“See the Furies arise;
See the snakes that they rear,

How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes ?
Behold a ghastly band,

136 Each a torch in his hand! Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,

And unburied remain
Inglorious on the plain:

140 Give the vengeance due

To the valiant crew.
Behold how they toss their torches on high,

How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glittering temples of their hostile gods.” 145
The princes applaud with a furious joy;
And the king seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy;

Thais led the way,

To light him to his prey, And, like another Helen, fired another Troy. 150


Revolving in his altered soul

The various turns of chance below; 90 And, now and then, a sigh he stole,

And tears began to flow.

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The mighty master smiled to see
That love was in the next degree;
'Twas but a kindred-sound to move, 95
For pity melts the mind to love.

Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,

Soon he soothed his soul to pleasures.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble;
Honour but an empty bubble;

Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying:

If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, O think it worth enjoying:
Lovely Thais sits beside thee,

Take the good the gods provide thee.
The many rend the skies with loud applause:
So Love was crowned, but Music won the

The prince, unable to conceal his pain,

Gazed on the fair

Who caused his care,
And sighed and looked, sighed and looked,

Sighed and looked, and sighed again;
At length, with love and wine at once op-

pressed, The vanquished victor sunk upon her breast.

And the king seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy;

Thais led the way,

To light him to his prey, And, like another Helen, fired another Troy. 154


Thus long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learned to blow,

While organs yet were mute,
Timotheus, to his breathing flute

And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.
At last divine Cecilia came,

161 Inventress of the vocal frame; The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,

Enlarged the former narrow bounds,

And added length to solemn sounds, 165 With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown

Let old Timotheus yield the prize,

Or both divide the crown:
He raised a mortal to the skies;
She drew an angel down.




At last divine Cecilia came,

Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,

Enlarged the former narrow bounds,

And added length to solemn sounds, 175 With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown

Let old Timotheus yield the prize,

Or both divide the crown:
He raised a mortal to the skies;

She drew an angel down.

And peace and joy attend the glorious guest.

Truth still is one; Truth is divinely bright; No cloudy doubts obscure her native light; While in your thoughts you find the least debate, You may confound, but never can translate. Your style will this through all disguises show; For none explain more clearly than they know. He only proves he understands a text, Whose exposition leaves it unperplex’d. They who too faithfully on names insist, Rather create than dissipate the mist; And grow unjust by being over nice, (For superstitious virtue turns to vice.) Let Crassus' ghost and Labienus tell How twice in Parthian plains their legions fell. Since Rome hath been so jealous of her fame, That few know Pacorus' or Monæses' name.

Words in one language elegantly used, Will hardly in another be excused; And some that Rome admired in Cæsar's time May neither suit our genius nor our clime. The genuine sense, intelligibly told, Shows a translator both discreet and bold.

Excursions are inexpiably bad; And 'tis much safer to leave out than add. Abstruse and mystic thought you must express With painful care, but seeming easiness; For Truth shines brightest through the plainest






(In Tonson's folio edition of the Paradise

Lost, 1688)


Three poets, in three distant ages born,
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 farther go;
To make a third she joined the former two.


DORSET (1638-1706)


EARL OF ROSCOMMON (1633 2-1685)



To all you ladies now at land

We men at sea indite; But first would have you understand

How hard it is to write: The Muses now, and Neptune too, We must implore to write to you

With a fa, la, la, la, la !


What I have instanced only in the best, Is, in proportion, true of all the rest. Take pains the genuine meaning to explore; 180 There sweat, there strain; tug the laborious oar; Search every comment that your care can find; Some here, some there, may hit the poet's mind. Yet be not blindly guided by the throng; The multitude is always in the wrong. When things appear unnatural or hard, Consult your author, with himself compared. Who knows what blessing Phæbus may bestow, And future ages to your labours owe? Such secrets are not easily found out; 190 But, once discover'd, leave no room for doubt. Truth stamps conviction in your ravish'd breast;

For though the Muses should prove kind,

And fill our empty brain,
Yet if rough Neptune rouse the wind

To wave the azure main,
Our paper, pen, and ink, and we,
Roll up and down our ships at sea

With a fa, la, la, la, la l

Then if we write not by each post,

Think not we are unkind; Nor yet conclude our ships are lost

By Dutchmen or by wind:

And now we've told you all our loves,

And likewise all our fears,
In hopes this declaration moves

Some pity for our tears:
Let's hear of no inconstancy
We have too much of that at sea —

With a fa, la, la, la, la!




Not, Celia, that I juster am,

Or better than the rest; For I would change each hour like them

Were not my heart at rest. But I am tied to very thee,

By every thought I have; Thy face I only care to see,

Thy heart I only crave.
All that in woman is adored

In thy dear self I find;
For the whole sex can but afford

The handsome and the kind.
Why then should I seek further store

And still make love anew?
When change itself can give no more,

'Tis easy to be true.


Our tears we'll send a speedier way,
The tide shall bring them twice a day – 20

With a fa, la, la, la, la !
The King with wonder and surprise

Will swear the seas grow bold,
Because the tides will higher rise

Than e'er they did of old;
But let him know it is our tears
Bring floods of grief to Whitehall stairs -

With a fa, la, la, la, la!
Should foggy Opdam chance to know
Our sad and dismal story,

30 The Dutch would scorn so weak a foe,

And quit their fort at Goree;
For what resistance can they find
From men who've left their hearts behind ? -

With a fa, la, la, la, la !
Let wind and weather do its worst,

Be you to us but kind;
Let Dutchmen vapour, Spaniards curse,

No sorrow we shall find;
'Tis then no matter how things go,
Or who's our friend, or who's our foe

With a fa, la, la, la, la!
To pass our tedious hours away

We throw a merry main,
Or else at serious ombre play;

But why should we in vain
Each other's ruin thus pursue?
We were undone when we left you

With a fa, la, la, la, la!
But now our fears tempestuous grow 50

And cast our hopes away,
Whilst you, regardless of our woe,

Sit careless at a play,
Perhaps permit some happier man
To kiss your hand, or flirt your fan

With a fa, la, la, la, la!
When any mournful tune you hear

That dies in every note,
As if it sigh'd with each man's care
For being so remote,

60 Think then how often love we've made To you, when all those tunes were play'd —

With a fa, la, la, la, la !
In justice you cannot refuse

To think of our distress,
When we for hopes of honour lose

Our certain happiness:
All those designs are but to prove
Ourselves more worthy of your love

With a fa, la, la, la, la!

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Love still has something of the sea,

From whence his Mother rose; No time his slaves from love can free,

Nor give their thoughts repose. They are becalm'd in clearest days,

And in rough weather tost; They wither under cold delays,

Or are in tempests lost. One while they seem to touch the port,

Then straight into the main
Some angry wind in cruel sport

Their vessel drives again.
At first disdain and pride they fear,

Which, if they chance to 'scape,
Rivals and falsehood soon appear

In a more dreadful shape.
By such degrees to joy they come,

And are so long withstood,
So slowly they receive the sum,

It hardly does them good.



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THOMAS OTWAY (1652–1685)

For what he else had never got by sense.

On Butler who can think without just rage, THE ENCHANTMENT

The glory, and the scandal of the age ?

Fair stood his hopes, when first he came to town, I did but look and love awhile,

Met, ev'ry where, with welcomes of renown, 'Twas but for one half-hour;

Courted, caress'd by all, with wonder read, Then to resist I had no will,

And promises of princely favour fed;

180 And now I have no power.

But what reward for all had he at last,

After a life in dull expectance pass'd ? To sigh and wish is all my ease;

The wretch, at summing up his misspent days, Sighs which do heat impart

Found nothing left, but poverty, and praise ? Enough to melt the coldest ice,

Of all his gains by verse he could not save
Yet cannot warm your heart.

Enough to purchase flannel, and a grave:

Reduc'd to want, he, in due time, fell sick,
O would your pity give my heart

Was fain to die, and be interr'd on tick;
One corner of your breast,

And well might bless the fever that was sent, 'Twould learn of yours the winning art To rid him hence, and his worse fate prevent. 190 And quickly steal the rest.

You've seen what fortune other poets share; View next the factors of the theatre:

That constant mart, which all the year does hold, JOHN OLDHAM (1653–1683)

Where staple wit is barter'd, bought, and sold.

Here trading scriblers for their maintenance, FROM A SATIRE DISSUADING FROM

And livelihood, trust to a lott'ry-chance.

But who his parts would in the service spend, 'Tis so, 'twas ever so, since heretofore

Where all his hopes on vulgar breath depend? The blind old bard, with dog and bell before,

Where ev'ry sot, for paying half a crown, Was fain to sing for bread from door to door:

Has the prerogative to cry him down. The needy muses all turn'd Gipsies then,

Sedley indeed may be content with fame, 159

Nor care, should an ill-judging audience damn; And, of the begging-trade, e'er since have been:

But Settle, and the rest, that write for pence,

Whose whole estate's an ounce or two of brains, My own hard usage here I need not press

Should a thin house on the third day appear, Where you have ev'ry day before your face Must starve, or live in tatters all the year. Plenty of fresh resembling instances:

And what can we expect that's brave and great, Great Cowley's muse the same ill treatment had, From a poor needy wretch, that writes to eat? Whose verse shall live forever to upbraid 171 Who the success of the next play must wait 209 Th’ungrateful world, that left such worth unpaid. For lodging, food, and clothes, and whose chief care Waller himself may thank inheritance,

Is how to spunge for the next meal, and where?



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