LONDON, Printed for John Holden, and are to be sold at his Shop at the sign of the An­chor in the New-Exchange, 1651.


IN the PREFACE, pag. 23. line 22. for seven, r. six.

291for Lusty,Lasting.
5281for TrineTime.
58763for ThirdsThrids.
64342for this,His.
70801for cease,Seise.
15383for Beedles,Needles
161673for how,whom.
172344for morn,Moon.
219964for lose,Loose.
22641 [...]for weak,ourwea­ker.

THE AUTHOUR'S PREFACE To his much honour'd Friend Mr HOBS.


SInce you have done me the honour to allow this Poem a daily examination as it was wri­ting, I will presume, now it hath attain'd more length, to give you a longer trouble; that you may yield me as great advantages by censuring the Me­thod, as by judging the Numbers and the Matter. And because you shall pass through this New Building with more ease to your disquisition, I will acquaint you what care I took of my materials, ere I began to work.

But first give me leave (remembering with what difficul­ty the world can shew any Heroick Poem, that in a perfect glass of Nature gives us a familiar and easie view of our selves) to take notice of those quarrels, which the Living have with the Dead: and I will (according as all times have applied their reverence) begin with Homer, who, though he seems to me standing upon the Poets famous hill, like the eminent Sea-mark, by which they have in [Page 2] former Ages steer'd; and though he ought not to be re­moved from that eminence, lest Posterity should presum­ptuously mistake their course; yet some (sharply observing how his Successours have proceeded no farther than a per­fection of imitating him) say, that as Sea-marks are chiefly usefull to Coasters, and serve not those who have the am­bition of Discoverers, that love to sayl in untry'd Seas; so he hath rather prov'd a Guide for those, whose satisfied Wit will not venture beyond the track of others; than to them, who affect a new and remote way of thinking; who esteem it a deficiency and meaness of mind, to stay and depend upon the authority of example.

Some there are, that object that even in the likelyhoods of Story (and Story where ever it seems most likely, grows most pleasant) he doth too frequently inte [...]mixe such Fa­bles, as are objects listed above the Eyes of Nature; and as he often interrogates his Muse, not as his rational Spirit but as a Familiar, separated from his body, so her replies bring him where he spends time in immortal conversation; whilest supernaturally he doth often advance his men to the quality of Gods, and depose his Gods to the condi­tion of men.

His Successour to fame, (and consequently to censure) is Virgil; whose toyls nor virtue cannot free him from the peevishness (or rather curiosity) of divers Readers. He is upbraided by some (who perhaps are affected Antiquaries, and make priority of time the measure of excellence) for gaining his renown by the imitation of Hom [...]r: Whilest others (no less bold with that ancient Guide) say, He hath so often led him into Heaven and Hell, till by conversation with Gods and Ghosts, he sometimes deprives us of those natural probabilities in Story, which are instructive to hu­mane life: And others affirm (if it be not irreverence to record their opinion) That even in Wit, he seems defici­ent by many omissions; as if he had design'd a penance of gravity to himself and to posterity: And by their ob­serving that continued gravity, me thinks they look upon [Page 3] him, as on a Musitian composing of Anthems; whose ex­cellence consists more in the solemness, than in the fancy; and upon the body of his Work, as on the body of a Gi­ant, whose force hath more of strength, than quickness, and of patience than activity.

But these bold Censurers are in danger of so many Ene­mies, as I shall wise [...]y shrink from them; and onely ob­serve, That if any Disciples of unimitable Virgil can prove so formal, as to esteem Wit (as if it were levity) an imputa­tion to the Heroick Muse (by which malevolent word, Wit, they would disgrace her extraordinary heights) yet if those grave Judges will be held wise, they must endure the fate of Wise men; who always have but few of their society; for many more than consist of their number (perhaps not ha­ving the sullenness to be of it) are taken with those bold flights, and think, 'tis with the Muse (whose noble Quarry is men) as with the Eagle, who when he soars high, stoops more prosperously, and is most certain of his prey. And surely Poets (whose business should represent the Worlds true image often to our view) are not less prudent than Painters, who when they draw Landschaps, entertain not the Eye wholly with even Prospect; and a continued Flat; but (for variety) terminate the sight with lofty Hills, whose obscure heads are sometimes in the clouds.

Lucan, who chose to write the greatest actions that ever were allowed to be true (which for fear of contemporary witnesses, oblig'd him to a very close attendance upon Fame) did not observe that such an enterprize rather be­seem'd an Historian, than a Poet: for wise Poets think it more worthy to seek out truth in the Passions, than to re­cord the truth of Actions; and practise to describe Man­kind, just as we are perswaded or guided by instinct, not particular persons, as they are lifted, or levell'd by the force of Fate, it being nobler to contemplate the general History of Nature, than a selected Diary of Fortune: And Painters are no more than Historians, when they draw eminent per­sons (though they term that drawing to the life) but when [Page 4] by assembling divers figures in a larger volume, they draw Passions (though they term it but Story) then they increase in dignity and become Poets.

I have been thus hardy to call him to account for the choice of his Argument, not meerly as it was Story, but because the actions he recorded were so eminent, and so near his time, that he could not assist Truth with such or­naments as Poets, for usefull pleasure, have allowed her, le [...]t the [...]ained complection might render the true suspect­ed. And now I will leave to others the presumption of measuring his Hyperboles, by whose space and height they maliciously take the dimension of wit; and so mistake him in his boyling Youth (which had marvellous forces) as we disrelish Wine, when fuming in the Lee.

Statius (with whom we may conclude the old Heroicks) is as accomptable to some for his obligations to Virgil, as Virgil is to others for what he owes to Homer; and more closely than Virgil waits on Homer, doth Statius attend Vir­gil, and follows him there also where Nature never comes, even into Heaven and Hell: and therefore he cannot escape such as approve the wisdom of the best Dramaticks; who in representation of examples, believe they prevail most on our manners, when they lay the Scene at home in their own Countrey; so much they avoid those remote Regions of Heaven and Hell: as if the People (whom they make civil by an easie communication with reason (and familiar reason is that which is call'd the civility of the Stage) were become more discreet than to have their eyes perswaded by the descending of Gods in gay Clouds, and more manly, than to be frighted with the rising of Ghosts in Smoke.

Tasso (who reviv'd the Heroick flame after it was many Ages quench'd) is held both in time and merit, the first of the Moderns; an honour by which he gains not much, be­cause the number he excells must needs be few, which af­fords but one fit to succeed him; for I will yield to their opinion, who permit not Ariosto, no nor Du Bartas in this eminent rank of the Heroicks: rather than to make way [Page 5] by their admission for Dante, Marino, and others. Tasso's honour too is chiefly allow'd him, where he most endea­vours to make Virgil his Pattern: And again, when we con [...]ider from whom Virgil's spirit is derived, we may ob­serve how rarely humane excellence is found; for Heroick Poesie (which, if it exact in it self, yields not to any other humane work) flow'd but in few, and even those streams descended but from one Grecian Spring; and 'tis with ori­ginal Poems, as with the Original Pieces of Painters, whose Copies abare the excessive price of the first Hand.

But Tasso, though he came late into the world, must have his share in that Critical War, which never ceases amongst the Learned; and he seems most unfortunate, because his errours, which are deriv'd from the Ancients when exa­min'd, grow in a great degree excusable in them, and by being his admit no pardon. Such as are his Councel assem­bled in Heaven, his Witches Expeditions through the Air, and enchanted Woods inhabited with Ghosts. For though the elder Poets (which were then the sacred Priests) fed the World with supernatural Tales, and so compounded the Religion, of Pleasure and Mysterie, (two Ingredients which never fail'd to work upon the People) whilest for the eternity of their Chiefs (more refin'd by education) they surely intended no such vain provision.) Yet a Christian Poet, whose Religion little needs the aids of Invention, hath less occasion to imitate such Fables, as meanly illu­strate a probable Heaven, by the fashion and dignity of Courts; and make a resemblance of Hell, out of the Dreams of frighted Women; by which they continue and increase the melancholy mistakes of the People.

Spencer may stand here as the last of this short File of Heroick Poets; Men, whose intellectuals were of so great a making, (though some have thought them lyable to those few Censures we have mentioned) as perhaps they will in worthy memory out-last, even Makers of Laws, and Found­ers of Empires, and all but such as must therefore live e­qually with them, because they have recorded their names; [Page 6] and consequently with their own hands led them to the Temple of Fame. And since we have dar'd to remember those exceptions which the Curious have against them, it will not be expected I should forget what is objected a­gainst spencer; whose obsolete Language we are constrain­ed to mention, though it be grown the most vulgar accusa­tion that is laid to his charge.

Language (which is the onely Creature of Man's crea­tion) hath like a Plant, seasons of flourishing and decay; like Plants is remov'd from one soyl to another, and by be­ing so transplanted, doth often gather vigour and increase. But as it is false husbandrie to graft old branches upon young stocks: so we may wonder that our Language (not long before his time created out of a confusion of others, & then beginning to flourish like a new Plant) should (as helps to its increase) receive from his hand, new grafts of old wither'd words. But this vulgar exception, shall onely have the vulgar excuse; which is, that the unlucky choice of his Stanza, hath by repitition of Rhime, brought him to the necessity of many exploded words.

If we proceed from his Language to his Argument, we must observe with others, that his noble and most artfull hands deserv'd to be employed upon matter of a more na­tural, and therefore of a more usefull kind. His allegori­cal Story (by many held defective in the connexion) re­sembling (me thinks) a continuance of extraordinarie Dreams; such as excellent Poets, and Painters, by being over-studious, may have in the beginning of Feavers: And those moral visions are just of so much use to humane ap­plication, as painted History, when with the cousenage of lights, it is represented in Scenes, by which we are much less informed than by actions on the Stage.

Thus, Sir, I have (perhaps) taken pains to make you think me malicious, in observing how far the Curious have look'd into the errours of others; Errours which the na­tural humour of imitation hath made so like in all (even from Homer to Spencer) as the accusations against the first [Page 7] appear but little more than repitition in every process a­gainst the rest: and comparing the resemblance of errour in persons of one generation, to that which is in those of another age; we may find it exceeds not any where, no­toriously, the ordinary proportion. Such limits to the pro­gress of every thing (even of worthiness as well as defect) doth imitation give: for whilest we imitate others, we can no more excel them, than he that sayls by others Maps can make a new discovery: and to Imitation, Nature (which is the onely visible power, and operation of God) perhaps doth needfully enclineus, to keep us from exces­ses. For though every man be capable of worthiness and unworthiness (as they are defined by Opinion) yet no man is built strong enough to bear the extremities of either, without unloading himself upon others shoulders, even to the weariness of many. If courage be worthiness, yet where it is over-grown into extreams, it becomes as wilde and hurtfull as ambition; and so what was reverenced for protection, grows to be abhorr'd for oppression: If Learn­ing (which is not Knowledge, but a continu'd Sayling by fantastick and uncertain winds towards it) be worthiness, yet it hath bounds in all Philosophers; and Nature that measur'd those bounds, seems not so partial, as to allow it in any one a much larger extent than in another: as if in our fleshly building, she consider'd the furniture and the room, alike, and together; for as the compass of Diadems commonly fits the whole succession of those Kings that wear them; so throughout the whole World, a very few inches may distinguish the circumference of the heads of their Subjects: Nor need we repine that Nature hath not some Favorites, to whom she doth dispence this Treasure, Knowledge, with a prodigious Liberality. For as there is no one that can be said vastly to exceed all mankind; so divers that have in learning transcended all in some one Province, have corrupted many with that great quantity of false gold; and the authority of their stronger Science hath often serv'd to distract, or pervert their weaker disciples.

[Page 8]And as the qualities which are term'd good, are bound­ed, so are the bad; and likewise limited, as well as gotten by imitation; for amongst those that are extraordinary, either by birth or brain (for with the usual pride of Poets, I pass by common crowds, as negligently as Princes move from throngs, that are not their own Subjects) we cannot find any one so egregious (admitting cruelty and avarice for the chiefest evils; and errours in government or do­ctrine, to be the greatest errours) but that divers of former or succeeding times may enter the scales with them, and make the Ballance even; though the passion of Historians would impose the contrary on our belief; who in dispraise of evil Princes, are often as unjust and excessive, as the com­mon People: for there was never any Monarch so cruel, but he had living subjects, nor so avaricious, but that his Subjects were richer than himself; nor ever any disease in government so extreamly infectious, as to make universal Anarchy, or any errour in Doctrine so strong by the Main­tainer, but that Truth (though it wrestled with her often, and in many places) hath at some season, and on some ground, made her advantages and successes apparent: Therefore we may conclude, that Nature, for the safety of mankind, hath as well (by dulling and stopping our pro­gress with the constant humour of imitation) given limits to courage and to learning, to wickedness and to errour, as it hath ordain'd the shelves before the shore, to restrain the rage and excesses of the Sea.

But I feel (Sir) that I am falling into the dangerous Fit of a hot Writer; for in stead of performing the promise which begins this Preface, and doth oblige me (after I had given you the judgement of some upon others) to pre­sent my self to your censure, I am wandering after new thoughts: but I shall ask your pardon, and return to my undertaking.

My Argument I resolv'd should consist of Christian per­sons; for since Religion doth generally beget, and govern manners, I thought the example of their actions would [Page 9] prevail most upon our own, by being deriv'd from the same doctrine and authority; as the particular Sects educated by Philosophers, were diligent and piiant to the dictates and fashions of such as deriv'd themselves from the same Master; but lazy and froward to those who convers'd in other Schools: Yet all these Sects pretended to the same beauty, Virtue; though each did court her more fondly, when she was dress'd at their own homes, by the hands of their acquaintance: And so Subjects bred under the Laws of a Prince (though Laws differ not much in Morality, or priviledge throughout the civil World; being every where made for direction of Life, more than for sentences of Death) will rather die near that Prince, defending those they have bin taught, than live by taking new from another.

These were partly the reasons why I chose a Story of such Persons as profess'd Chaistian Religion; but I ought to have been most enclin'd to it, because the Principles of our Religion conduce more to explicable virtue, to plain demonstrative justice, and even to Honour (if Virtue the Mother of Honour be voluntary, and active in the dark, so as she need not Laws to compel her, nor look for witnes­ses to proclaim her) than any other Religion that e're as­sembled men to Divine Worship. For that of the Jews doth still consist in a sullen separation of themselves from the rest of humane flesh, which is a fantastical pride of their own cleanness, and an uncivil disdain of the imagined contagiousness of others, and at this day, their cantoni­zing in Tribes, and shyness of alliance with neighbours, de­serves not the term of mutual love, but rather seems a be­stial melancholy of herding in their own Walks. That of the Ethnicks, like this of Mahomet, consisted in the vain pride of Empire, and never enjoyn'd a Jewish separation, but drew all Nations together; yet not as their companions of the same species, but as slaves to a Yoke: Their sancti­ty was Honour, and their Honour onely an impudent cou­rage, or dexterity in destroying. But Christian Religion hath the innocence of village neighbour-hood, and did [Page 10] anciently in its politicks rather promote the interest of Mankind than of States; and rather of all States than of one; for particular endeavours onely in behalf of our own homes, are signs of a narrow moral education, not of the vast kindness of Christian Religion, which likewise or­dain'd as well an universal communion of bosoms, as a com­munity of wealth. Such is Christian Religion in the pre­cepts, and was once so in the practice. But I resolv'd my Poem should represent those of a former Age, perceiving 'tis with the servants of Christ, as with other servants un­der temporal power, who with all cleanness, and even with officious diligence perform their duty in their Masters sight, but still as he grows longer absent, become more slothfull, unclean and false. And this, who ever compares the present with the Primitive times, may too palpably discern.

When I consider'd the actions which I meant to describe, (those inferring the persōs) I was again perswaded rather to chuse those of a former Age, than the present; & in a Centu­ry so far remov'd, as might preserve me from their improper examinations, who know not the requisites of a Poem, nor how much pleasure they lose (and even the pleasures of Heroick Poesie are not unprofitable) who take away the li­berty of a Poet, and fetter his feet in the shackles of an Hi­storian: For why should a Poet doubt in Story to mend the intrigues of Fortune by more delightfull conveyances of probable fictions, because austere Historians have en­ter'd into bond to truth? an obligation which were in Poets, as foolish and unnecessary as is the bondage of false Martyrs, who lye in chains for a mistaken opinion: but by this I would imply, that Truth narrative and past, is the Idol of Historians, (who worship a dead thing) and truth operative, and by effects continually alive, is the Mistress of Poets, who hath not her existence in matter, but in reason.

I was likewise more willing to derive my Theme from elder times, as thinking it no little mark of skilfulness to comply with the common Infirmity; for men (even of the [Page 11] best education) discover their eyes to be weak, when they look upon the glory of virtue (which is great actions) and rather endure it at distance than near; being more apt to believe, and love the renown of Predecessors, than of Con­temporaries, whose deeds excelling theirs in their own sight, seem to upbraid them, and are not reverenc'd as ex­amples of Virtue, but envi'd as the favours of Fortune: But to make great Actions credible, is the principal Art of Po­ets; who though they allow the utilitie of Fictions, should not (by altering and subliming Storie) make use of their priviledge to the detriment of the Reader; whose incredu­litie (when things are not represented in proportion) doth much allay the relish of his pitie, hope, joy, and other Pas­sions: for we may descend to compare the deceptions in Poesie to those of them that profess dexteritie of Hand, which resembles Conjuring, and to such we come not with the intention of Lawyers to examine the evidence of Facts, but are content (if we like the carriage of their feigned mo­tion) to pay for being well deceiv'd.

As in the choise of time, so of place, I have comply'd with the weakness of the generalitie of men; who think the best objects of their own countrey so little to the size of those abroad, as if they were shew'd them by the wrong end of a Prospective: For man (continuing the appetites of his first Childhood, till he arrive at his second which is more froward) must be quieted with something that he thinks excellent, which he may call his own; but when he sees the like in other places (not staying to compare them) wrangles at all he has. This leads us to observe the crafti­ness of the Comicks, who are onely willing when they de­scribe humour (and humour is the drunkness of a Nation which no sleep can cure) to lay the Scaene in their own countrey; as knowing we are (like the Son of Noah) so lit­tle distasted to behold each others shame, that we delight to see even that of a Father: yet when they would set forth greatness and excellent virtue, (which is the Theme of Tragedie) publickly to the people; they wisely (to avoid [Page 12] the quarrels of neighbourly envie) remove the Scaene from home. And by their example I travell'd too; and Italie (which was once the Stage of the World) I have made the Theatre, where I shew in either Sex, some patterns of hu­mane life, that are (perhaps) fit to be follow'd.

Having told you why I took the actions that should be my Argument from men of our own Religion▪ and given you reasons for the choyce of the time and place design'd for those actions; I must next acquaint you with the Schools where they were bred; not meaning the Schools where they took their Religion, but Moralitie; for I know Religion is universally rather inherited than taught: and the most effectual Schools of Moralitie are Courts and Camps: Yet towards the first, the people are unquiet through envie; and towards the other through fear; and always jealous of both for Injustice, which is the natural scandal cast upon authoritie and great force. They look upon the outward glory or blaze of Courts, as wild Beasts in dark nights stare on their Hunters Torches; but though the expences of Courts (whereby they shine) is that con­suming glory in which the people think their libertie is wasted (for wealth is their libertie and lov'd by them even to jealousie (being themselves a courser sort of Princes, apter to take than to pay) yet Courts (I mean all abstracts of the multitude; either by King, or Assemblies) are not the Schools where men are bred to oppression, but the Temples where sometimes Oppressours take sanctuarie; a safetie which our reason must allow them. For the ancient laws of Sanctuarie (derived from God) provided chiefly for actions that proceeded from necessitie; and who can ima­gine less than a necessitie of oppressing the people, since they are never willing either to buy their Peace, or to pay for War?

Nor are Camps the Schools of wicked Destroyers, more than the Inns of Court (being the Nurserie of Judges) are the Schools of Murderers; for as Judges are avengers of private men against private Robbers; so are Armies the a­vengers [Page 13] of the Publick against publick Invaders, either civil or forreign: and Invaders are Robbers, though more in countenance than those of the High way, because of their number. Nor is there other difference between Armies when they move towards Sieges or Battel, and Judges moving in their Circuit (during the danger of ex­traordinarie malefactors) with the guards of the Countie; but that the latter is a less Army, and of less Discipline. If any man can yet doubt of the necessarie use of Armies, let him studie that which was anciently call'd a Monster, the Multitude, (for Wolves are commonly harmless when they are met alone, but very uncivil in Herds) and he will not find that all his kindred by Adam are so tame and gentle, as those Lovers that were bred in Arcadia: or to reform his opinion, let him ask why (during the utmost age of Historie) Cities have been at the charge of defen­sive Walls, and why Fortification hath been practic'd so long, till it is grown an Art?

I may now believe I have usefully taken from Courts and Camps, the patterns of such as will be fit to be imitated by the most necessary men; and the most necessary men are those who become principal by prerogative of bloud, (which is seldom unassisted with education) or by greatness of mind, which in exact definition is Virtue. The common Crowd (of whom we are hopeless) we desert, being rather to be corrected by laws (where precept is accompanied with punishment) than to be taught by Poesie; for few have arriv'd at the skill of Orpheus, or at his good fortune, whom we may suppose to have met with extraordinarie Grecian Beasts, when so succesfully he reclaim'd them with his Harp. Nor is it needfull that Heroick Poesie should be levell'd to the reach of Common men: for if the examples it presents prevail upon their Chiefs, the delight of Imitation (which we hope we have prov'd to be as effectual to good as to evil) will rectifie by the rules, which those Chiefs establish of their own lives, the lives of all that behold them; for the example of life, doth as much surpass the force of Precept, as Life doth exceed Death.

[Page 14]In the choice of these Objects (which are as Sea-marks to direct the dangerous voyage of life) I thought fit to fol­low the rule of Coasting Maps, where the Shelves and Rocks are describ'd as well as the safe Channel; the care being equal how to avoid as to proceed: and the Chara­cters of men (whose passions are to be eschew'd) I have de­riv'd from the distempers of Love or Ambition: for Love and Ambition are too often the raging Feavers of great minds. Yet Ambition (if the vulgar acception of the word were corrected) would signifie no more than an extraordi­nary lifting of the feet in the rough ways of Honour, over the impediments of Fortune; and hath a warmth (till it be chaf'd into a Fever) which is necessary for every virtuous breast: for good men are guiltie of too little appetite to greatness, and it either proceeds from that they call con­tentedness (but contentedness, when examin'd, doth mean something of Lasiness as well as Moderation) or from some melancholy precept of the Cloyster; where they would make life (for which the world was onely made) more un­pleasant than Death: as if Nature, the Vicegerent of God (who in providing delightfull varieties, which virtuous greatness can best possess, or assure peaceably to others, implicitly commanded the use of them) should in the ne­cessaries of life (life being her chief business) though in her whole reign she never committed one error, need the counsel of Fryars, whose solitude makes them no more fit for such direction, than Prisoners long fetter'd are for a race.

In saying this, I onely awaken such retir'd men, as eva­porate their strength of mind by close and long thinking; and would every where separate the Soul from the Bodie, ere we are dead, by perswading us (though they were both created and have been long companions together) that the preferment of the one must meerly consist in de­serting the other; teaching us to court the Grave, as if du­ring the whole lease of life, we were like Moles to live under ground; or as if long and well dying, were the [Page 15] certain means to live in Heaven: Yet Reason (which though the most profitable Talent God hath given us, some Di­vines would have Philosophers to bury in the Napkin, and not put it to use) perswade us, that the painfull activeness of Virtue (for Faith on which some wholly depend, seems but a contemplative boast till the effects of it grow exem­plary by action) will more probably acquire everlasting dignities. And surely if these severe Masters (who though obscure in Cells, take it ill if their very opinions rule not all abroad) did give good men leave to be industrious in getting a Share of governing the world, the Multitudes (which are but Tenants to a few Monarchs) would endure that subjection which God hath decreed them, with better order, and more ease; for the world is onely ill govern'd, because the wicked take more pains to get authority, than the virtuous; for the virtuous are often preach'd into re­tirement; which is to the publick as unprofitable as their sleep; and the erroneousness of such lazy rest, let Philo­sophers judge; since Nature (of whose body man thinks himself the chiefest member) hath not any where, at any time, been respited from action (in her, call'd motion) by which she universally preserves and makes Life. Thus much of Ambition which should have succeeded some­thing I was saying of Love.

Love, in the interpretation of the Envious, is Softness; in the Wicked, good men suspect it for Lust; and in the Good, some spiritual men have given it the name of Cha­rity: And these are but te [...]ms to this which seems a more consider'd definition; that indefinite Love is Lust; and Lust when it is determin'd to one, is Love; This defini­tion too but intrudes it self on what I was about to say, which is (and spoken with soberness though like a Lay-man) that Love is the most acceptable imposition of Nature, the cause and preservation of Life, and the very healthfulness, of the Mind, as well as of the Body; but Lust (our ra­ging Feaver) is more dangerous in Cities, than the Ca­lenture in Ships.

[Page 16]Now (Sir) I again ask you pardon, for I have again di­gressed; my immediate business being to tell you, That the distempers of Love and Ambition are the onely Cha­racters I design'd to expose as objects of terrour: and my purpose was also to assure you, that I never meant to pro­stitute Wickedness in the Images of low and contempti­ble people, as if I expected the meanest of the multitude for my Readers (since onely the Rabble is seen at common executions) nor intended to raise iniquity, to that height of horrour, till it might seem the fury of something worse than a beast. In order to the first I believe the Spartans (who to deter their children from drunkenness, a [...]ustom'd their Slaves to vomit before them) did by such fulsom ex­amples, rather teach them to disdain the Slaves, than to Ioath Wine, for Men seldom take notice of the vice in ab­ject persons, especially where necessity constrains it. And in observation of the second, I have thought, that those horrid spectacles (when the latter race of Gladiaters made up the excesses of Romane feasts) did more induce the Guests to detest the cruelty of mankind, than increase their courage by beholding such an impudent scorn of Life.

I have now given you the accomp [...] of such provisions as I made for this new Building; and you may next please (having examin'd the substance) to take a view of the form; and observe if I have methodically and with discre­tion, dispos'd of the materials, which with some curiosity I have collected. I cannot discern by any help from read­ing, or learned men, (who have been to me the best and briefest Indexes of Books) that any Nation hath in repre­sentment of great actions (either by Heroicks or Drama­ticks) digested Story into so pleasant and instructive a me­thod as the English by their Drama: and by that regular species (though narratively and not in Dialogue) I have drawn the body of an Heroick Poem: In which I did not onely observe the Symmetrie (proportioning five Books to five Acts, and Canto's to Scenes, (the Scenes having their number ever govern'd by occasion) but all the shadowings, [Page 17] happy strokes, secret graces, and even the drapery (which to­gether make the second beauty) I have (I hope) exactly follow'd: and those compositions of second beauty, I ob­serve in the Drama to be the under-walks, interweaving, or correspondence of lesser design in Scenes, not the great mo­tion of the main plot, and coherence of the Acts.

The first Act is the general preparative, by rendering the chiefest characters of persons, and ending with something that looks like an obscure promise of design. The second begins with an introducement of new persons, so finishes all the characters, and ends with some little performance of that design which was promis'd at the parting of the first Act. The third makes a visible correspondence in the un­der-walks (or lesser intrigues) of persons; and ends with an ample turn of the main design, and expectation of a new. The fourth (ever having occasion to be the longest) gives a notorious turn to all the under-walks, and a coun­ter-turn to that main design which chang'd in the third. The fifth begins with an entire diversion of the main, and dependant Plots; then makes the general correspondence of the persons more discernable, and ends with an easie untying of those particular knots, which made a contex­ture of the whole; leaving such satisfaction of probabili­ties with the Spectatour, as may perswade him that neither Fortune in the fate of the Persons, nor the Writer in the Representment, have been unnatural or exorbitant. To these Meanders of the English Stage I have cut out the Walks of my Poem; which in this description may seem intricate and tedious; but will, I hope (when men take pains to visit what they have heard describ'd) appear to them as pleasant as a summer passage on a crooked River, where going about, and turning back, is as delightfull as the delays of parting Lovers.

In placing the Argument (as a Proem) before every Ca [...]to, I have not wholly follow'd the example of the Mo­derns; but averted it from that purpose to which I found it frequently us'd: for it hath been intended by others, as [Page 18] the contents of the Chapter, or as a Bill of Fare at a Ve­netian Feast; which is not brought before the meat to raise an expectation, but to satisfie the longing curiosity of the Guests. And that which I have call'd my Argument, is onely meant as an assistance to the Readers memory, by containing brief hints, such, as if all the Arguments were successively read, would make him easily remember the mutual dependancies of the general design; yet each ra­ther mentions every person acting, than their actions: But he is very unskilfull that by Narratives before an Histori­cal Poem, prevents expectation; for so he comes to have as little success over the Reader (whom the Writer should surprize, and as it were keep prisoner for a time) as he hath on his Enemies, who commanding a party out to take them (and commonly Readers are justly Enemies to Writers) imparts openly the design ere he begins the a­ction: Or he may be said to be as unluckily officious as he that leads a wooing to a Mistress, one that already hath newly enjoy'd her.

I shall say a little, why I have chosen my inter-woven Stanza of four, though I am not oblig'd to excuse the choice; for numbers in Verse must, like distinct kinds of Musick, be expos'd to the uncertain and different taste of several Ears. Yet I may declare, that I believ'd it would be more pleasant to the Reader, in a Work of length, to give this respite or pause, between every Stanza (having endeavour'd that each should contain a period) than to run him out of breath with continu'd Couplets. Nor doth al­ternate Rhyme by any lowliness of cadence, make the sound less Heroick, but rather adapt it to a plain and state­ly composing of Musick; and the brevity of the Stanza renders it less subtile to the Composer, and more easie to the Singer; which in stilo recitativo, when the Story is long, is chiefly requisite. And this was indeed (if I shall not be­tray vanity in my Confession) the reason that prevail'd most towards my choice of this Stanza, and my division of the main work into Canto's, every Canto including a suf­ficient [Page 19] accomplishment of some worthy design or action; for I had so much heat (which you, Sir, may call pride, since pride may be allow'd in Pegasus, if it be a praise to other Horses) as to presume they might (like the Works of Homer ere they were joyn'd together, and made a Volume by the Athenian King) be sung at Village-feasts; though not to Monarchs after Victory, nor to Armies before battel. For so (as an inspiration of glory into the one, and of valour into the other) did Homer's Spirit, long after his bodies rest, wander in musick about Greece.

Thus you have the Model of what I have already built, or shall hereafter joyn to the same frame. If I be accus'd of Innovation, or to have transgress'd against the method of the Ancients; I shall think my self secure in believing, that a Poet who hath wrought with his own instruments at a new design, is no more answerable for disobedience to Predecessours, than Law-makers are lyable to those old Laws which themselves have repealed.

Having describ'd the outward frame, the large rooms within, the lesser conveyances, and now the furniture; it were orderly to let you examine the matter of which that furniture is made: But though every Owner who hath the Vanity to shew his ornament, or Hangings, must endure the curiosity, and censure of him that beholds them; yet I shall not give you the trouble of enquiring what is, but tell you of what I design'd their substance; which is, Wit: And Wit is the laborious, and the lucky resultances of Thought, ha­ving towards its excellence (as we say of the strokes of Painting) as well a happiness as care. It is a Web consist­ing of the subt'lest threds; and like that of the Spider, is considerately woven out of our selves; for a Spider may be said to consider, not onely respecting his solemness and ta­cit posture (like a grave Scout in ambush for his Enemy) but because all things done, are either from consideration, or chance; and the work of Chance are accomplishments of an instant, having commonly a dissimilitude; but hers are the works of time, and have their contextures alike.

[Page 20] Wit is not onely the luck and labour, but also the dexte­ritie of thought, rounding the world, like the Sun, with unimaginable motion; and bringing swiftly home to the memorie, universal surveys. It is the Souls Powder, which when supprest (as forbidden from flying upward) blows up the restraint, and loseth all force in a farther ascension to­wards Heaven (the region of God) and yet by nature is much less able to make any inquisition downward towards Hell, the Cel of the Devil; but breaks through all about it (as far as the utmost it can reach) removes, uncovers, makes way for Light, where Darkness was inclos'd, till great bo­dies are more examinable by being scatter'd into parcels; and till all that find its strength (but most of mankind are strangers to Wit, as Indians are to Powder) worship it for the effects, as deriv'd from the Deitie It is in Divines, Humilitie, Exemplariness and Moderation; in States-men, Gravitie, Vigilance, Benign Complacencie, Secrecie, Pati­ence and Dispatch; in Leaders of Armies, Valor, Painful­ness, Temperance, Bountie, Dexteritie in Punishing and Rewarding, and a sacred Certitude of Promise: It is in Poets, a full comprehension of all recited in all these; and an abilitie to bring those comprehensions into action, when they shall so far forget the true measure of what is of great­est consequence to humanitie, (which are things righteous, pleasant and usefull) as to think the delights of Greatness equal to that of Poesie; or the Chiefs of any Profession more necessary to the world, than excellent Poets. Lastly, though Wit be not the envie of ignorant Men, 'tis often of evil States-men, and of all such imperfect great spirits, as have it in a less degree than Poets: for though no man en­vies the excellencie of that, which in no proportion he ever tasted, (as men cannot be said to envie the condition of Angels) yet we may say the Devil envies the Supremacie of God, because he was in some degree partaker of his glory.

That which is not, yet is accounted, Wit, I will but sleightly remember; which seems very incident to imperfect [Page 21] youth, and sickly age; Young men (as if they were not quite deliver'd from Childhood, whose first exercise is Lan­guage) imagine it consists in the Musick of Words, and believe they are made wise by refining their speech, above the vulgar Dialect; which is a mistake almost as great as that of the people, who think Orators, (which is a title that crowns at riper years those that have practis'd the dexteri­tie of tongue) the ablest men; who are indeed so much more unapt for governing, as they are more fit for Sediti­on: and it may be said of them as of the Witches of Nor­way, who can sell a Storm for a Dollar, which for Ten Thou­sand they cannot allay. From the esteem of speaking they proceed to the admiration of what are commonly call'd Conceits, things that sound like the knacks or toys of ordi­narie Epigrammatists: and from thence, after more conver­sation and varietie of objects, grow up to some force of Fancie; Yet even then, like young Hawks, they stray and flie far off, using their libertie as if they would nere return to the Lure; and often go at check, ere they can make a stedie view, and know their game.

Old men, that have forgot their first Childhood and are returning to their second, think it lies in agnominations, and in a kind of an alike tinkling of words; or else in a grave telling of wonderfull things, or in comparing of times without a discover'd partialitie; which they perform so ill by favouring the past, that, as 'tis observ'd, if the bodies of men should grow less, though but an unmeasurable pro­portion in Seven years, yet reckoning from the Floud, they would not remain in the Stature of Frogs; So if States and particular persons had impair'd in government, and in­creas'd in wickedness proportionably to what Old men af­firm they have done, from their own infancie to their age; all publick Policie had been long since Confusion, and the congregated World would not suffice now to people a Village.

The last thing they suppose to be Wit, is their bitter Mo­rals, when they almost declare themselves Enemies to [Page 22] Youth & Beautie; by which severitie they seem cruel as He­rod when he surpris'd the sleeping Children of Bethlem: for Youth is so far from wanting Enemies, that it is mortally its own; so unpractis'd, that it is everywhere cosen'd more than a stranger among Jews; & hath an infirmitie of sight more hurtfull than Blindness to Blind men; for though it cannot chuse the way it scorns to be led. And Beautie, though many call themselves her Friends, hath few but such as are false to her: Though the World sets her in a Throne, yet all about her (even her gravest Counsellors) are Traytors, though not in conspiracie, yet in their distinct designs; and to make her certain not onely of distress but ruin, she is ever pursu'd by her most cruel enemie, the great Destroyer, Time. But I will proceed no farther upon old men, nor in recording mistakes; lest finding so many more, than there be Verities, we might believe we walk in as great obscurity as the Egyptians when Darkness was their Plague. Nor will I presume to call the matter of which the Ornaments or Substantial parts of this Poem-are compos'd, Wit; but onely tell you my endeavour was, in bringing Truth (too often absent) home to mens bosoms, to lead her through unfrequented and new ways, and from the most remote Shades; by representing Nature, though not in an affected, yet in an usual dress.

'Tis now fit, after I have given you so long a survay of the Building, to render you some accompt of the Builder, that you may know by what time, pains, and assistants I have proceeded, or may hereafter finish my work: and in this I shall take occasion to accuse, and condemn, as papers unworthy of light, all those hastie digestions of thought which were published in my Youth; a sentence not pro­nounc'd out of melancholly rigour, but from a cheerfull obedience to the just authoritie, of experience: For that grave Mistress of the World, Experience (in whose profita­ble School, those before the Floud stay'd long, but we like wanton children come thither late, yet too soon are call'd out of it, and fetch'd home by Death) hath taught [Page 23] me, that the engenderings of unripe age become abortive, and deform'd; and that after obtaining more years, those must needs prophesie with ill success, who make use of their Visions in Wine; That when the ancient Poets were valu'd as Prophets, they were long and pain­full in watching the correspondence of Causes, ere they presum'd to foretel effects: and that 'tis a high pesumpti­on to entertain a Nation (who are Poets standing Guest, and require Monarchical respect) with hastie provisions; as if a Poet might imitate a familiar dispatch of Faulkoners, mount his Pegasus, unhood his Muse, and with a few flights boast he hath provided a feast for a Prince. Such posting upon Pegasus I have long since forborn; and during my Journey in this Work, have mov'd with a slow pace; that I might make my survays as one that travelled not bring home the names, but the proportion, and nature of things: and in this I am made wise by two great exam­ples; for the friends of Virgil acknoledge he was many years in doing honour to Aeneas (still contracting at night into a closer force, the abundance of his morning strengths) and Statius rather seems to boast, than blush, when he con­fesses he was twice Seven in renowning the War between Argos and Thebes.

Next to the usefulness of Time (which here implies ripe age (I believ'd pains most requisite to this under­taking: for though painfulness in Poets (according to the usual negligence of our Nation in Examining, and their diligence to censure) seems always to discover a want of natural force, and is traduc'd, as if Poesie concern'd the World no more than Dancing; whose onely grace is the quickness and facilitie of motion; and whole perfection is not of such publick conse­quence, that any man can merit much by attaining it with long labour; yet let them consider, and they will find (nor can I stay long ere I convince them in the important use of Poesie) the natural force of a Poet more apparent, by but confessing that great forces [Page 24] ask great labour in managing, than by an arrogant braving the World, when he enters the field with his undisciplin'd first thoughts: For a wise Poet, like a wise General, will not shew his strengths till they are in exact government and order; which are not the postures of chance, but pro­ceed from Vigilance and Labour.

Yet to such painfull Poets some upbraid the want of ex­temporary fury, or rather inspiration, a dangerous word; which many have of late successfully us'd; and inspiration is a spiritual Fit, deriv'd from the ancient Ethnick Poets, who then, as they were Priests, were States-men too, and probably lov'd dominion; and as their well dissembling of Inspiration begot them reverence then, equal to that which was paid to Laws; so these, who now profess the same fury, may perhaps by such authentick example pretend authori­tie over the people; It being not unreasonable to imagine, they rather imitate the Greek Poets, than the Hebrew Pro­phets, since the later were inspir'd for the use of others; and these, like the former, prophesie for themselves. But though the ancient Poets are excus'd, as knowing the weak constitution of those Deities from whom they took their Priesthood; and the frequent necessitie of dissembling for the ease of Government: yet these (who also from the chief to the meanest are States-men and Priests, but have not the luck to be Poets) should not assume such saucie familiaritie with a true God.

From the time and labour requir'd to my Poem, let me proceed to my Assistants; by which I shall not so much at­test my own weakness, as discover the difficulties and greatness of such a work: For when Solomon made use of his Neighbours towards his Building, he lost no reputati­on, nor by demanding those aids was thought a lesser Prince; but rather publish'd his Wisdom in rightly under­standing the vast extent of his enterprise: Who likewise with as much glorie made use of Fellers of Wood, and Hewers of Stone, as of learned Architects: Nor have I re­frain'd to be oblig'd to men of any Science, as well mecha­nical [Page 25] as liberal: Nor when Memorie (from that various and plentifull stock, with which all observers are furnish'd, that have had diversitie of life) presented me by chance with any figure, did I lay it aside as useless, because at that instant I was not skilfull to manage it artfully? but I have staid and recorded such objects, till by consulting with right Masters I have dispos'd of them without mistake; It being no more shame to get Learning at that very time, and from the same Text; when, and by which, we instruct others; than for a froward Scout, discovering the Enemie, to save his own life at a pass, where he then teaches his Partie to escape.

In remembring mine own helps, I have consider'd those which others in the same necessitie have taken; and find that Writers (contrarie to my inclination) are apter to be beholding to Books, than to Men; not onely as the first are more in their possessions (being more constant Com­panions than dearest friends) but because they commonly make such use of treasure found in Books, as of other trea­sure belonging to the Dead, and hidden under ground; for they dispose of both with great secrecie, defacing the shape or images of the one, as much as of the other; through fear of having the original of their stealth or abun­dance discover'd. And the next cause why Writers are more in Libraries than in company, is, that Books are easi­ly open'd, and learned men are usually shut up, by a fro­ward or envious humour of retention, or else unfold them­selves, so as we may read more of their weakness and vani­tie, than Wisdom; imitating the Holy-day-custom in great Cities, where the shops of Chaundrie, and slight wares, are familiarly open, but those of solid and staple merchandise are proudly lock'd up.

Nor indeed can it be expected that all great Doctors are of so benign a nature, as to take pains in gaining treasure (of which Knowledge is the greatest) with intent to inrich others so easily, as if they stood every where with their Pockets spred, & ready to be pickt: nor can we read of any [Page 26] Father, who so far and secretly adopted his Son to a Book of his own writing, as that his Son might be thought Au­thour of that written Wit, as much as his Father was Au­thour of him: Nor of any Husband that to his darling Wife would so far surrender his Wisdom, as that in publique, he could endure to let her use his Dictates, as if she would have others think her wiser than himself. By this remem­berance of that usual parsimony in owners of Wit, towards such as would make use of their plenty, I lament the for­tune of others, and may wish the Reader to congratulate mine; For I have found Friends as ready as Books, to re­gulate my conceptions, or make them more correct, easie and apparent. But though I am become so wise, by know­ing my self, as to believe the thoughts of divers transcend the best which I have written; yet I have admitted from no man any change of my Design, nor very seldom of my sense: For I resolv'd to have this Poem subsist and conti­nue throughout with the same complexion and spirit; though it appear but like a plain Family, of a neighbourly alliance, who marry into the same moderate quality and garb, and are fearfull of introducing strangers of greater rank, lest the shining presence of such, might seem to up­braid, and put all about them out of countenance.

And now, Sir, that the Reader may (whom Writers are [...]ain to court, draw in, and keep with artifice, so shy men grow of Books) believe me worthy of him, I cannot for­bear to thank you in publick, for examining, correcting, and allowing this Poem in parcels ere it arriv'd at the con­texture: by which you have perform'd the just degrees of proceeding with Poets; who during the gayety and wan­tonness of the Muse, are but as children to Philosophers (though of some Giant race) whose first thoughts (wilde, and roaming far off) must be brought home, watch'd, and inter [...]ogated, and after they are made more regular, be encourag'd and prais'd for doing well, that they may de­light in aiming at perfection. By such a Method the Muse is taught to become Master of her own, and others strength: [Page 27] and who is he so learn'd (how proud soever with being cherish'd in the bosom of Fame) that can hope, (when through the several ways of Science, he seeks Nature in her hidden walks) to make his Journey short, unless he call you to be his Guide? and who so guided can suspect his safety, even when he travels through the Enemie's Coun­trey? for such is the vast field of Learning, where the Learned (though not numerous enough to be an Army) lye as small Parties, maliciously in Ambush, to destroy all new Men that look into their Quarters. And from such, you, and those you lead, are secure; because you move not by common Maps, but have painfully made your own Prospect; and travel now like the Sun, not to inform your self, but enlighten the world.

And likewise, when by the strict survey and Government that hath been had over this Poem, I shall think to govern the Reader (who though he be noble, may perhaps judge of supream Power like a very Commoner, and rather ap­prove authority, when it is in many, than in one) I must acquaint him, that you had not alone the trouble of establishing and destroying; but enjoy'd your intervals and ease by Two Colleagues; Two that are worthy to follow you into the Closets of Princes; if the knowledge of Men past, (of whom Books are the remaining minds) or of the present (of whom Conversation is the usefull and lawfull Spie) may make up such greatness, as is fit for great Courts: or if the rays that proceed from the Poe­tick Planet, be not a little too strong for the sight of mo­dern Monarchs; who now are too seldom taught in their youth, like Eaglets to fortifie their eyes by often soaring near the Sun. And though this be here but my testimo­ny, it is too late for any of you to disclaim it; for since you have made it valid by giving yours of GONDIBERT under your hands, you must be content to be us'd by me, as Princes are by their preferr'd Subjects; who in the very act of taking honour, return it to the Giver; as benefits re­ceiv'd by the creature, manifest the power, and redound to the glory of the Creator.

[Page 28]I am now, Sir, (to your great comfort, that have been thus ill, and long diverted) arriv'd at my last consideration, which is to satisfie those who may enquire why I have ta­ken so much pains to become an Authour? Or why any man stays so long sweating at the fire of Invention, to dress the food of the Minde, when Readers have so imperfect Stomachs, as they either devour Books with over hasty Digestion, or grow to loath them from a surfet. And why I more especially made my task an Heroick Poem? I shall involve the two first Questions in one; as submitting to be concern'd amongst the generality of Writers; whose Enemies being many, and now mine, we must joyn forces to oppose them.

Men are chiefly provok'd to the toyl of compiling Books, by love of Fame, and often by officiousness of Conscience, but seldom with expectation of Riches: for those that spend time in writing to instruct others, may finde leasure to in­form themselves, how mean the provisions are which bu­sie and studious minds can make for their own sedentary bodies: And Learned men (to whom the rest of the world are but Infants) have the same foolish affection in nourish­ing others minds, as Pelicans in feeding their young; which is, at the expence of the very subsistance of Life. 'Tis then apparent they proceed by the instigation of Fame, or Conscience; and I believe many are perswaded by the first (of which I am One) and some are commanded by the second. Nor is the desire of Fame so vain as divers have rigidly imagin'd; Fame being (when belonging to the Living) that which is more gravely call'd, a steddy and necessary reputation; and without it, hereditary Power, or acquir'd greatness can never quietly govern the World. 'Tis of the dead a musical glory, in which God, the Au­thour of excellent goodness, vouchsafes to take a continu­al share; For the remember'd virtues of Great men are chiefly such of his works (mention'd by King David) as perpetually praise him: and the good fame of the Dead prevails by example, much more than the reputation of [Page 29] the Living, because the later is always suspected by our Envy, but the other is chearfully allow'd, and religiously admir'd: for Admiration (whose Eyes are ever weak) stands still, and at gaze upon great things acted far off; but when they are near, walks slightly away as from familiar objects. Fame is to our Sons a solid Inheritance, and not usefull to remote Posterity; and to our Reason, 'tis the first, though but a little taste of Eternity.

Those that write by the command of Conscience (think­ing themselves able to instruct others, and consequently oblig'd to it) grow commonly the most voluminous; be­cause the pressures of Conscience are so incessant, that she is never satisfied with doing enough: for such as be newly made the Captives of God (many appearing so to them­selves, when they first begin to wear the Fetters of Con­science) are like common slaves, when newly taken; who terrified with a fancy of the severity of absolute Masters, abuse their diligence out of fear, and do ill, rather than appear idle. And this may be the cause why Libraries are more than double lin'd with Spiritual Books, or Tracts of Morality; the later being the Spiritual Counsels of Lay-men; and the newest of such great volumns (being usually but transcriptions or translations) differ so much from the Ancients, as later days from those of old; which difference is no more than an alteration of names by remo­ving the Ethnicks to make way for the Saints. These are the effects of their labours, who are provok'd to become Authours, meerly out of Conscience; and Conscience we may again averre to be often so unskilfull and timorous, that it seldom gives a wise and steddy account of God; but grows jealous of him as of an Adversary, and is after me­lancholy visions like a fearfull Scout, after he hath ill sur­vey'd the Enemy, who then makes incongruous, long, and terrible Tales.

Having confess'd that the desire of Fame made me a Writer; I must declare, why in my riper age I chose to gain it more especially by an Heroical Poem; and the [Page 30] Heroick, being by most allow'd to be the most beautifull of Poems, I shall not need to decide the quarrels of Po­ets about Degrees of Excellence in Poesie: But 'tis no [...] amiss ere I avow the usefulness of the Science in general (which was the cause of my undertaking) to remember the value it had from the greatest and most worthy spirits in all Ages: for I will not abstain (though it may give me the reputation but of common reading) to mention, that P [...]sistratus, (though a Tyrant) liv'd with the praise, and dy'd with the blessing of all Greece, for gathering the scatter'd limbs of Homer's Works into a Body: and that great Alexander by publickly conversing with it, attain'd the universal opinion of Wit; the fame of such inward forces conducing as much to his Conquests, as his Armies abroad: That the Athenian Prisoners were thought wor­thy of life and liberty for singing the Tragedies of Euripi­des: That Thebes was sav'd from destruction by the victors reverence to the memory of Pindar: That the elder Sci­pio, (who govern'd all the civil world) lay continually in the bosom of Ennius: That the great Numantin and Lae­lius (no less renown'd) were openly proud when the Ro­mans believ'd they assisted Terence in his Comedies: That Augustus (to whom the mysteries of the universal Empire were more familiar, than domestick Dominion to Modern Kings) made Virgil the partner of his joys, and would have divided his businesses with Horace: And that Lucan was the fear and envy of Nero. If we approch nearer our own times, we may adde the triumphal Entry which the Papa­cy gave to Petrar [...]h; and how much Tasso is still the glory and delight of Italie.

But as in this hasty Muster of Poets, and listing their confederates, I shall by omitting many, deprive them of that pay which is due from Fame; so I may now by the opinion of some Divines (whom notwithstanding I will re­verence in all their distinct habits and fashions of the mind) be held partial, and too bold, by adding to the first num­ber (though I range them upon holy ground, and aside) [Page 31] Moses, David, and Solomon, for their Songs, Psalms, and Anthems; the Second being the acknowledg'd Favorite of God, whom he had gain'd by excellent Praises in sa­cred Poesie. And I fear (since Poesie is the clearest light, by which they find the soul who seek it) that Poets have in their fluent kindness diverted from the right use, and spent too much of that spiritual talent in the honour of mortal Princes: for divine Praise (when in the high perfection, as in Poets, and onely in them) is so much the uttermost and whole of Religious worship, that all other parts of Devo­tion serve but to make it up.

Praise, is Devotion fit for mighty Minds;
Gondibert lib. 2. Can. 10 6.
The diff'ring World's agreeing Sacrifice;
Where Heaven divided Faiths united finds:
But Pray'r in various discord upward flies.
For Pray'r the Ocean is, where diversly
Men steer their course, each to a sev'ral Coast;
Where all our Int'rests so discordant be,
That half beg winds by which the rest are lost.
By Penitence when We our selves forsake,
'Tis but in wise design on piteous Heaven;
In Praise We nobly give what God may take,
And are without a Beggars blush forgiven.
Its utmost force, like Powder's, is unknown;
And though weak Kings excess of Praise may fear,
Yet when 'tis here, like Powder dang'rous grown,
Heavens Vault receives what would the Palace tear.

After this contemplation, how acceptable the voice of Poesie hath been to God, we may (by descending from [Page 32] Heaven to Earth) consider how usefull it is to Men; and among Men, Divines are the chief, because ordain'd to temper the rage of humane power by spiritual menaces, as by sudden and strange threatenings madness is frighted into Reason; and they are sent hither as Liegers from God, to conserve in stedfast motion the slippery joynts of Government; and to perswade an amity in divided Na­tions: therefore to Divines I first address my self; and presume to ask them, why, ever since their dominion was first allow'd, at the great change of Religions, (though ours more than any inculca [...]es obedience, as an easie Me­dicine to cool the impatient and raging world into a quiet rest) mankind hath been more unruly than before? it being, visible that Empire decreas'd with the increase of Christianity; and that one weak Prince did anciently suf­fice to govern many strong Nations: but now one little Province is too hard for thei [...] own wise King; and a small Republick hath Seventy years maintain'd their Revolt to the disquiet of many Monarchs. Or if Divines reply, we cannot expect the good effects of their Office, because their spiritual Dominion is not allow'd as absolute, then it may be ask'd them more severely, why 'tis not allow'd? for where ever there hath been great degrees of power, (which hath been often and long in the Church) it disco­vers (though worldly vicissitude be objected as an excuse) that the managers of such power, since they endeavour'd not to enlarge it, believ'd the increase unrighteous; or were in acting, or contriving that endeavour, either negligent or weak: For Power, like the hasty Vine, climbs up apace to the Supporter; but if not skilfully attended and dress'd, in stead of spreading and bearing fruit, grows high and naked; and then (like empty title) being soon useless to others, becomes neglected, and unable to support it self.

But if Divines have fail'd in governing Princes (that is, of being entirely believ'd by them) yet they might ob­liquely have rul'd them, in ruling the People; by whom of late, Princes have been govern'd; and they might proba­bly [Page 33] rule the People, because the heads of the Church (where ever Christianity is preach'd) are Te [...]rarchs of Time; of which they command the fourth Division; for to no less the Sabbaths, and Days of Saints amount; and during those days of spiritual triumph, Pulpits are Thrones▪ and the people oblig'd to open their Ears, and let in the ordinances and commands of Preachers; who likewise are not without some little Regency throughout the rest of the Year; for then they may converse with the Laity, from whom they have commonly such respect (and respect soon opens the door to perswasion) as shews their Con­gregations not deaf in those holy seasons, when speaking predominates.

But notwithstanding these advantages, the Pulpit hath little prevail'd; for the world is in all Regions revers'd, or shaken by disobedience, an Engine with which the great Angels (for such were the Devils, and had faculties much more sublim'd than Men) believ'd they could disorder Heaven. And it is not want of capacity in the lower Au­ditory that makes Doctrine so unsuccessfull; for the peo­ple are not simple, since the Gentrie ( [...]en of strongest education) lack sufficient defence against them, and are hourly surpriz'd in (their common Ambushes) their Shops: For on sacred Days they walk gravely and sadly from Tem­ples, as if they had newly buried their sinfull Fathers; at night sleep as if they never needed forgiveness; and rise with the next Sun, to lie in wait for the Noble, and the Stu­dious. And though these quiet Co [...]seners are amongst the People, esteemed their steddy Men; yet they honour the courage, and more active parts of such disobedient Spi­rits, as disdaining thus tamely to deceive, attempt bravely to rob the State; and the State they believe (though the Helm were held by Apostles) would always consist of such Arch-robbers, as who ever strips them, but waves the te­dious satisfaction which the Lasie expect from Laws, and comes a shorter way to his own.

Thus unapt for obedience (in the condition of Beasts [Page 34] whose appetite is Liberty, and their Liberty a license of Lust) the People have often been, since a long, and no­torious power hath continued with Divines; whom though with reverence we accuse for mistaken lenity, yet are we [...]t so cruel to expect they should behave themselves to Sinners like fierce Phinehas, or preach with their Swords drawn, to kill all they cannot perswade: But our meaning is to shew how much their Christian meekness hath de­ceived them in taming this wild monster, the People; and a little to rebuke them for neglecting the assistance of Poets; and for upbraiding the Ethnicks, because the Poets manag'd their Religion; as if Religion could walk more prosperously abroad, than when Morality (respect­fully, and bare-headed as her Usher) prepares the way: it being no less true, that during the dominion of Poesie, a willing and peacefull obedience to Superiours becalm'd the world; then that obedience, like the marriage yoak, is a restraint more needfull and advantagious than liber­ty; and hath the same reward of pleasant quietness, which it anciently had, when Adam, till his disobedience, en­joyed Paradise. Such are the effects of sacred Poesie, which charms the People with harmonious Precepts; and whose aid Divines should not disdain, since their Lord (the Savi­our of the World) vouchsaf'd to deliver his Doctrine in Parabolical Fictions.

Those that be of next importance are Leaders of Ar­mies; and such I measure not by the suffrages of the Peo­ple, who give them respect as Indians worship the evil Spi­rit, rather for sear of harm, than for affection; but esteem them as the painfull Protectours and Enlargers of Empire; by whom it actively moves, and such active motion of Em­pire is as necessary as the motion of the Sea, where all things would putrifie, and infect one another, if the Ele­ment were quiet: so is it with mens minds on shore, when that Element of greatness and honour, Empire, stands still; of which the largeness is likewise as needfull, as the vast­ness of the Sea: For God ordain'd not huge Empire as [Page 35] proportionable to the Bodies, but to the Minds of Men; and the Minds of Men are more monstrous, and require more space for agitation, and the hunting of others, than the bodies of Whales. But he that believes men such mo­derate Sheep, as that many are peacefully containd in a narrow Fold, may be better inform'd in America, where lit­tle Kings never enjoy a harmless neighbourhood, unless protected defensively amongst themselves, by an Emperour that hath wide possessions, and priority over them, (as in some few places) but when restrain'd in narrow dominion, where no body commands and hinders their nature, they quarrel like Cocks in a Pit; & the Sun in a days travel there, sees more battels (but not of consequence, because their Kings though many, are little) than in Europe in a Year.

To Leaders of Armies, as to very necessary Men (whose Office requires the uttermost aids of Art and Nature, and rescues the sword of Justice, when 'tis wrested from su­pream Power by Commotion) I am now address'd, and must put them in mind (though not upbraidingly) how much their Mighty Predecessours were anciently oblig'd to Poets; whose Songs (recording the praises of Conduct and Valour) were esteem'd the chiefest rewards of Victo­ry; And since Nature hath made us prone to Imitation (by which we equal the best or the worst) how much those Images of Action prevail upon our minds, which are delightfully drawn by Poets? For the greatest of the Grecian Captains have confess'd, that their Counsels have been made wise, and their Courages warm by Homer; and since Praise is a pleasure which God hath invited, and with which he often vouchsaf'd to be pleas'd when it was sent him by his own Poet; why is it not lawfull for virtuous men to be cherish'd, and magnify'd with hearing their Vigil­ance, Valour, and good Fortune (the latter being more the immediate gift of Heaven, because the effect of an unknown Cause) commended and made eternal in Poesie? But perhaps the Art of praising Armies into great and in­stant action, by singing their former deeds (an Art with [Page 36] which the Ancients made Empire so large) is too subtle for modern Leaders; who as they cannot reach the heights of Poesie, must be content with a narrow space of Domini­on: and narrow Dominion breeds evil, peevish, and vexa­tious minds, and a National self-opinion, like simple Jew­ish arrogance; and the Jews were extraordinarie proud in a very little Countrey: For men in contracted governments are but a kind of Prisoners; and Prisoners by long restraint grow wicked, malitious to all abroad, and foolish esteem­ers of themselves; as if they had wrong in not enjoying eve­ry thing which they can onely see out of Windows.

Our last application is to States-men, and makers of Laws; who may be reasonably reduc'd to one; since the second differ no more from the first, than Judges (the Co­pies of Law-makers) differ from their Originals: For Judges, like all bold Interpreters, by often altering the Text, make it quite new; and States-men (who differ not from Law-makers in the act, but in the manner of doing) make new Laws presumptuously without the consent of the people; but Legislators more civilly seem to whistle to the Beast, and stroak him into the Yoak: and in the Yoak of State, the people (with too much pampering) grow soon unruly and draw awrie; Yet States-men and Judges (whose business is Governing, and the thing to be Govern'd is the People) have amongst us (we being more proud and mista­ken than any other famous Nation) look'd gravely upon Poetrie, and with a negligence that betray'd a Northerly ignorance; as if they believ'd they could perform the work without it. But Poets (who with wise diligence studie the People, and have in all ages by an insensible influence govern'd their manners) may justly smile when they per­ceive that Divines, Leaders of Armies, States-men & Judges, think Religion, the Sword, or (which is unwritten Law, and a secret Confederacie of Chiefs) Policie, or Law (which is written, but seldom rightly read) can give with­out the help of the Muses, a long and quiet satisfaction in government: For Religion is to the wicked and saithless [Page 37] (who are many) a jurisdiction against which they readily rebel; because it rules severely, yet promiseth no worldly recompence for obedience; obedience being by every hu­mane Power invited with assurances of visible advantage. The good (who are but few) need not the power of Reli­gion to make them better, the power of Religion proceeding from her threatnings, which though mean weapons, are fitly us'd, since she hath none but base Enemies. We may observe too, that all Virtuous men are so taken up with the rewards of Heaven, that they live as if out of the World; and no government receives assistance from any man meer­ly as he is good; but as that goodness is active in temporal things.

The Sword is in the hand of Justice no guard to Govern­ment, but then when Justice hath an Army for her own de­fence; and Armies, if they were not pervertible by Facti­on, yet are to Common-wealths like Kings Physitians to poor Patients; who buy the cure of their disorder'd bodies at so high a rate, that they may be said to change their Sickness for Famin. Policie (I mean of the Living, not of the Dead; the one being the last rules or designs govern­ing the Instant, the other those laws that began Empire) is as mortal as States-men themselves: whose incessant labours make that Hectick seaver of the mind, which insensibly dispatches the Bodie: and when we trace States-men through all the Histories of Courts, we find their Inventi­ons so unnecessarie to those that succeed at the Helm, or so much envi'd as they scarce last in authoritie till the Invent­ors are buried: and change of Designs in States-men (their designs being the weapons by which States are defended) grows as distructive to Government, as a continual change of various weapons into Armies; which must receive with ruin any sudden assault, when want of practice makes unactiveness. We cannot urge that the ambition of States­men (who are obnoxious to the people) doth much dis­order Government; because the peoples anger, by a per­petual coming in of new Oppressours is so diverted in con­sidering [Page 38] those whom their Eyes but lately left, as they have not time enough to rise for the Publick: and evil suc­cessors to power are in the troubled stream of State, like succeeding Tides in Rivers, where the Mud of the former is hidden by the filth of the last.

Laws, if very ancient, grow as doubtfull and difficult as Letters on buried Marble, which onely Antiquaries read; but if not Old, they want that reverence which is therefore paid to the virtues of Ancestors, because their crimes come not to our remembrance; and yet great men must be long dead whose ills are forgotten. If Laws be New, they must be made either by very Angels, or by Men that have some vices; and those being seen make their Virtues suspected; for the People no more esteem able men, whose defects they know, (though but errors incident to Humanitie) than an Enemie values a strong Army having experience of their Errors. And new Laws are held but the projects of necessitous Power, new Nets spred to intangle Us; the Old being accounted too many, since most are believ'd to be made for Forfeitures: and such letting of bloud (though intended by Law-makers for our health) is to the People always out of Season: for those that love life with too much Passion (and Money is the Life-bloud of the Peo­ple) ever fear a Consumption. But be Law-makers as able as Nature or Experience (which is the best Art) can make them; yet though I will not yield the Wicked to be wiser than the Virtuous, I may say, offences are too hard for the Laws, as some Beasts are too wily for their Hunters; and that Vice over-grows Virtue, as much as Weeds grow fast­er than Medicinable Herbs: or rather that Sin, like the fruitfull slime of Nilus, doth increase into so many various shapes of Serpents (whose walks and retreats are winding and unknown) that even Justice, (the painfull pursuer of Mischief) is become wearie, and amaz'd.

After these meditations, me thinks Government resem­bles a Ship, where though Divines, Leaders of Armies, States-men, and Judges are the trusted Pilots; yet it moves [Page 39] by the means of winds, as uncertain as the breath of Opi­nion; and is laden with the People; a Fraight much loos­ser, and more dangerous than any other living Stowage; being as troublesom in fair weather, as Horses in a Storm. And how can these Pilots stedily maintain their course to the Land of Peace and Plentie, since they are often divi­ded at the Helm? For Divines (when they consider great Chiefs) suppose Armies to be sent from God for a tempo­rarie Plague, not for continual Jurisdiction; and that Gods extream punishments (of which Armies be the most vio­lent) are ordain'd to have no more lastingness than ex­treams in Nature. They think (when they consider States-men) Policie hath nothing of the Dove, and being all Serpent, is more dangerous than the dangers it pretends to prevent: and that out-witting (by falshood and corru­ption) adverse States, or the People (though the People be often the greater enemie and more perilsom being nearest) is but giving reputation to Sin, and that to maintain the Publick by politick evils, is a base prostitution of Religi­on, and the prostitution of Religion is that unpardonable whordom, which so much anger'd the Prophets. They think Law nothing but the Bible forcibly usurp'd by co­vetous Lawyers, and disguis'd in a Paraphrase more ob­scure than the Text; and that 'tis onely want of just reve­rence to Religion, which doth expose us to the charges and vexations of Law.

The Leaders of Armies accuse Divines, for unwisely rai­sing the War of the World by opposite Doctrine, and for being more indiscreet in thinking to appease it by per­swasion; forgetting that the dispatchfull ending of War is blows; and that the natural region for Disputes, when Na­tions are engag'd (though by Religion) is the Field of Bat­tel, not Schools and Academies; which they believe (by their restless controversies) less civil than Camps; as in­testine Quarrel is held more barbarous than forreign War. They think States-men to them (unless dignifi'd with mi­litarie Office) but mean Spies, that like African Foxes (who attend on Lions, ranging before and about for their [Page 40] valiant prey) shrink back till the danger be subdu'd, and then with insatiate hunger come in for a share: Yet some­times with the Eye of Envie (which enlarges objects like a multiplying glass) they behold these States-men, and think them immense as Whales; the motion of whose vast bodies can in a peacefull calm trouble the Ocean till it boyl; After a little hastie wonder, they consider them a­gain with disdain of their low constraints at Court; where they must patiently endure the little follies of such small Favourites as wait even near the wisest Thrones; so fanta­stically weak seem Monarchs in the sickness of Care (a fea­ver in the head) when for the humorous pleasure of Diver­sitie, they descen [...] from purple Beds, and seek their ease upon the ground. These great Leaders say also, that Law moves slowly as with fetter'd feet, and is too tedious in re­dress of wrongs; whilst in Armies Justice seems to ride post, and overtakes Offenders ere the contagion of crimes can infect others: and though in Courts and Cities great men fence often with her, and with a forcive sleight put by her sword; yet when she retires to Camps, she is in a posture not onely to punish the offences of particular Greatness, but of injurious Nations.

States-men look on Divines as men whose long solitude and Meditations on Heaven hath made them Strangers up­on Earth: and 'tis acquaintance with the World, and knowledge of Man that makes abilities of Ruling: for though it may be said that a sufficient belief of Doctrine would beget Obedience (which is the uttermost design of Governing) yet since diversitie of Doctrine doth distract all Auditors, and makes them doubtfully dispose their obe­dience (even towards spiritual powers, on which many would have the temporal depend) therefore States-men think themselves more fit to manage Empire, than Divines; whose usefulness consists in perswasion; and perswasion is the last medicine (being the most desperate) which States-men apply to the distemper of the People: for their distemper is madness, and madness is best cur'd with ter­rour [Page 41] and force. They think that Leaders of Armies are to great Empire, as great Rivers to the continent; which make an easie access of such benefits as the Metropolis (the seat of Power) would else at vast distances with diffi­cultie reach: yet often like proud Rivers when they swell, they destroy more by once overflowing their borders at home, than they have in long time acquir'd from abroad: They are to little Empire like the Sea to low Islands, by nature a defence from Forreigners, but by accident, when they rage, a deluge to their own shore. And at all seasons States-men believe them more dangerous to Government than themselves: for the popularitie of States-men is not so frequent as that of Generals; or if by rare sufficiencie of Art it be gain'd; yet the force of crowds in Cities, com­par'd to the validitie of men of Arms, and discipline, would appear like a great number of Sheep to a few Wolves, ra­ther a cause of Comfort than of Terrour. They think that chief Ministers of Law by unskilfull integritie, or love of popularity (which shews the Mind, as meanly born as bred) so earnestly pursue the protection of the Peoples right, that they neglect publick Interest; & though the Peoples right and publick Interest be the same, yet usually by the People, the Ministers of Law mean private men, and by the other the State; and so the State and the People are divi­ded, as we may say a man is divided within himself, when Reason and passion (and Passion is folly) dispute about consequent actions; and if we were call'd to assist at such intestine War, we must side with Reason, according to our dutie, by the Law of Nature; and Natures Law, though not written in Stone (as was the Law of Religion) hath taken deep impression in the Heart of Man, which is harder than marble of Mount-Sinai.

Chief Ministers of Law, think, Divines in govern­ment should like the Penal Statutes, be choicely, and but seldom us'd; for as those Statutes are rigo­rously inquisitive after venial faults, (punishing our [Page 42] very manners and weak constitution, as well as in­solent appetite; so Divines (that are made vehement with contemplating the dignitie of the Offended, (which is God) more than the frailtie of the Offender) go­vern as if men could be made Angels, ere they come to Heaven.

Great Ministers of Law think likewise that Leaders of Armies are like ill Physitians; onely fit for desperate cures, whose boldness calls in the assistance of Fortune, during the fears and troubles of Art; Yet the health they give to a distemper'd State is not more accidental, than the preservation of it is uncertain; because they often grow vain with success, and encourage a restor'd State to such hazards, as shew like irregularitie of life in other recover'd bodies; such as the cautious and ancient gravitie of Law disswaded: For Law (whose temperate design is safetie) ra­ther prevents by constancie of Medicine (like a continu'd Diet) diseases in the bodie politick, than depends after a permitted Sickness upon the chance of recoverie. They think States-men strive to be as much Judges of Law as themselves; being chief Ministers of Law, are Judges of the People, and that even good States-men pervert the Law more than evil Judges: For Law was anciently meant a defensive Armour, and the People took it as from the Ma­gazine of Justice, to keep them safe from each others vio­lence; but Sates-men use it as offensive Arms, with which in forraging to get relief for Supream Power, they often wound the Publick.

Thus we have first observ'd the Four chief aids of Go­vernment, (Religion, Arms, Policie, and Law) defectively appli'd, and then we have found them weak by an emu­lous war amongst themselves: it follows next, we should introduce to strengthen those principal aids (stil making the People our direct object) some collateral help; which I will safely presume to consist in Poesie.

We have observ'd that the People since the latter time of Christian Religion, are more unquiet than in former [Page 43] Ages; so disobedient and fierce, as if they would shake off the ancient imputation of being Beasts, by shewing their Masters they know their own strength: and we shall not erre by supposing that this conjunction of four-fold Power hath fail'd in the effects of authority by a mis-ap­plication; for it hath rather endeavour'd to prevail upon their bodies, than their minds; forgetting that the mar­tial art of constraining is the best, which assaults the weak­er part; and the weakest part of the people is their minds; for want of that which is the minds onely strength, Edu­cation; but their Bodies are strong by continual labour; for Labour is the Education of the Body. Yet when I mention the mis-application of force, I should have said, they have not onely fail'd by that, but by a main errour; Because the subject on which they should work, is the Mind; and the Mind can never be constrain'd, though it may be gain'd by perswasion: And since Perswasion is the principal instrument, which can bring to fashion the brittle and mis-shapen mettal of the Mind, none are so fit to this important work as Poets; whose art is more than any, en­abled with a voluntary, and chearfull assistance of Nature; and whose operations are as restless, secret, easie and sub­tile, as is the influence of Planets.

I must not forget (lest I be prevented by the vigilance of the Reader) that I have profess'd not to represent the beauty of Virtue in my Poem, with hope to perswade com­mon men; and I have said, that Divines have fail'd in dis­charging their share of Government, by depending upon the effects of perswasion; and that States-men in mana­ging the people, rely not upon the perswasion of Divines, but upon force. In my despair of reducing the minds of Common men, I have not confest any weakness of Poesie in the general Science; but rather inferr'd the particular strength of the Heroick; which hath a force that over­matches the infancy of such minds as are enabled by de­grees of Education; but there are lesser forces in other kinds of Poesie, by which they may train and prepare [Page 44] their understandings; and Princes and Nobles being re­form'd and made Angelical by the Heroi [...]ks, will be pre­dominant lights, which the people cannot chuse but use for direction; as Glow-worms take in, and keep the Suns beams till they shine, and make day to themselves.

In saying that Divines have vainly hop'd to continue the peace of Government by perswasion, I have imply'd such perswasions as are accompanied with threatnings, and seconded by force; which are the perswasions of Pulpits; where is presented to the obstinate, Hell after Death; and the civil Magistrate during life constrains such obedience as the Church doth ordain. But the perswasions of Poesie, in stead of menaces, are Harmonious and Delightfull Insi­nuations, and never any constraint; unless the ravishment of Reason, may be call'd Force. And such Force (con­trary to that which Divines, Commanders, States-men and Lawyers use) begets such obedience as is never weary or griev'd.

In declaring that States-men think not the State wholly secure by such manners as are bred from the perswasions of Divines, but more willingly make Government rely upon military-force, I have neither concluded that Poets are unprofitable, nor that States-men think so; for the wis­dom of Poets, would first make the Images of Virtue so a­miable, that her beholders should not be able to look off (rather gently and delightfully infusing, than inculcating Precepts) and then when the mind is conquer'd, like a wil­ling Bride, Force should so behave it self, as noble Hus­bands use their power; that is, by letting their Wives see the Dignity and Prerogative of our Sex (which is the Hus­bands harmless conquest of Peace) continually maintain'd to hinder Disobedience, rather than rigorously impose Du­ty: But to such an easie government, neither the People which are subjects to Kings and States) nor Wives which are subject to Husbands) can peacefully yield, unless they are first conquer'd by Virtue; and the Conquests of Virtue be never easie, but where her forces are commanded by Poets.

[Page 45]It may be objected, that the education of the Peoples minds (from whence virtuous Manners are deriv'd) by the several kinds of Poesie (of which the Dramatick hath been in all Ages very successfull) is opposite to the receiv'd o­pinion, that the people ought to be continu'd in igno­rance; a Maxim sound [...]ng like the little subtilty of one that is a States man onely by Birth or Beard, and merits not his place by much thinking: For Ignorance is rude, sensorious, jealous, obstinate, and proud; these being ex­actly the ingredients of which Disobedience is made; and Obedience proceeds from ample consideration; of which knowledge consists; and knowledge will soon put into one Scale the weight of oppression, and in the other, the heavie burden which Disobedience lays on us in the effects of civil War: & then even Tyranny will seem much lighter, when the hand of supream Power binds up our Load, and lays it artfully on us, than Disobedience (the Parent of Confusion) when we all load one another; in which eve­ry one irregularly increases his fellows burdens, to lessen his own.

Others may object that Poesie on our Stage, or the He­roick in Musick (for so the latter was anciently us'd) is prejudicial to a State; as begetting Levity, and giving the people too great a diversion by pleasure and mirth. To these (if they be worthy of satisfaction) I reply, That whoever in Government endeavours to make the people serious and grave, (which are attributes that may become the peoples Representatives, but not the people) doth pra­ctise a new way to enlarge the State, by making every Sub­ject a States-man: and he that means to govern so mourn­fully (as it were, without any Musick in his Dominion) must lay but light burdens on his Subjects; or else he wants the ordinary wisdom of those, who to their Beasts, that are much loaden whistle all the day to encourage their Travel. For that supream Power which expects a firm obedience in those, who are not us'd to rejoycing, but live sadly, as if they were still preparing for the funeral of Peace, hath [Page 46] little skill in contriving the lastingness of Government, which is the principal work of Art; And less hath that Power consider'd Nature; as if such new austeritie did seem to tax, even her, for want of gravity, in bringing in the Spring so merrily with a musical variety of Birds; And such sullen power doth forget, that Battels (the most solemn and serious business of Death) are begun with Trumpets and Fifes; and anciently were continu'd with more diver­sity of Musicks. And that the Grecian Laws (Laws being the gravest endeavour of humane Councels, for the ease of Life) were long before the days of Lycurgus (to make them more pleasant to memory) publish'd in Verse: And that the wise Athenians (dividing into three Parts the publick Revenue) expended one in Plays and Shows, to divert the people from meeting to consult of their Rulers merit, and the defects of Government: And that the Romans had not so long continu'd their Empire, but for the same diversions, at a vaster charge.

Again it may be objected, that the Precepts of Christian Religion are sufficient towards our regulation, by appoint­ment of manners, and towards the ease of Life, by impo­sing obedience; so that the moral assistance of Poesie, is but vainly intruded. To this I may answer, That as no man should suspect the sufficiency of Religion by its insuc­cessfulness; so if the insuccessfulness be confess'd, we shall as little disparage Religion, by bringing in more aids when 'tis in action, as a General dishonours himself by endea­vouring with more of his own Forces, to make sure an at­tempt that hath a while miscarried: For Poesie, which (like contracted Essences seems the utmost strength and activity of Nature) is as all good Arts, subservient to Re­ligion; all marching under the same Banner, though of less discipline and esteem. And as Poesie is the best Ex­positor of Nature (Nature being mysterious to such as use not to consider) so Nature is the best Interpreter of God; and more cannot be said of Religion. And when the Judges of Religion (which are the Chiefs of the Church) [Page 47] neglect the help of Moralists in reforming the people, (and Poets are of all Moralists the most usefull) they give a sen­tence against the Law of Nature: For Nature performs all things by correspondent aids and harmony. And 'tis in­jurious not to think Poets the most usefull Moralists; for as Poesie is adorn'd and sublim'd by Musick, which makes it more pleasant and acceptable; so morality is sweetned and made more amiable by Poesie. And the Austerity of some Divines may be the cause why Religion hath not more prevail'd upon the manners of Men: for great Do­ctours should rather comply with things that please (as the wise Apostle did with Ceremonies) than lose a Proselyte. And even Honour (taught by moral Philosophers, but more delightfully infus'd by Poets) will appear (notwithstanding the sad severity of some latter Divines) no unfase Guid towards Piety: for it is as wary and nice as Conscience, though more chearfull and couragious. And however Ho­nour be more pleasing to flesh and bloud, because in this World it finds applause; yet 'tis not so mercenarie as Piety: for Piety (being of all her expectations inwardly assur'd) expects a reward in Heaven, to which all earthly payments compar'd, are but Shaddows, and Sand.

And it appears that Poesie hath for its natural prevail­ings over the Understandings of Men (sometimes making her conquests with easie plainness, like Native countrey Beauty) been very successfull in the most grave and im­portant occasions, that the necessities of States or Man­kind have produc'd. For it may be said that Demosthenes sav'd the Athenians by the Fable or Parable of the Dogs and Wolves, in answer to King Philip's Proposition; And that Menenius Agrippa sav'd the Senate, if not Rome, by that of the Belly, and the Hands: and that even our Saviour was pleas'd (as the most prevalent way of Doctrine) whol­ly to use such kind of Parables in his converting, or saving of Souls; it being written, W [...]hout a Parable spake he not to them. And had not the learned Apostle thought the wisdom of Poets worthy his remembrance▪ and instructive, [Page 48] not onely to Heathens, but to Christians, he had not ci­ted Epimenides to the Cretans, as well as Aratus to the Athenians.

I cannot also be ignorant that divers (whose conscien­tious Melancholy amazes and discourages others Devoti­on) will accuse Poets as the admirers of Beauty; and In­ventors, or Provokers of that which by way of aspersion they call Love. But such, in their first accusation seem to look carelesly and unthankfully upon the wonderful works of God; or else through low education, or age, become incompetent Judges of what is the chief of his works upon Earth. And Poets, when they praise Beauty, are at least as lawfully thankfull to God, as when they praise Seas, Woods, Rivers, or any other parts that make up a prospect of the world. Nor can it be imagin'd but that Poets in prai­sing them, praise wholly the Maker; and so in praising Beauty: For that Woman who believes she is prais'd when her beauty is commended, may as well suppose that Poets thinks she created her self: And he that praises the in­ward beauty of Women, which is their Virtue, doth more perform his duty than before: for our envious silence in not approving, and so encouraging what is good, is the cause that vice is more in fashion and countenance than Virtue. But when Poets praise that which is not beauty, or the mind which is not virtuous, they erre through their mistake, or by flattery; and flattery is a crime so much prosperous in others who are companions to greatness, that it may be held in Poets rather kindness than design.

They who accuse Poets as provokers of Love, are Ene­mies to Nature; and all affronts to Nature are offences to God, as insolencies to all subordinate officers of the Crown are rudenesses to the King. Love (in the most obnoxious interpretation) is Natures Preparative to her greatest work, which is the making of Life. And since the severest Divines of these latter times have not been asham'd pub­lickly to command and define the most secret duties, and entertainments of Love in the Married; why should not [Page 49] Poets civily endeavour to make a Friendship between the Guests before they meet, by teaching them to dignifie each other with the utmost of estimation. And Marriage in Mankind were as rude and unprepar'd as the hasty ele­ctions of other Creatures, but for acquaintance, and con­versation before it: and that must be an acquaintance of Minds, not of bodies; and of the Mind, Poesie is the most natural and delightfull Interpreter.

When neither Religion (which is our art towards God) nor Nature (which is Gods first Law to Man, though by Man least study'd) nor when Reason (which is Nature, and made art by Experience) can by the enemies of Poesie be sufficiently urg'd against it, then some (whose frowardness will not let them quit an evil cause) plead written Autho­rity. And though such authority be a Weapon, which even in the War of Religion, distress'd disputers take up, as their last shift; yet here we would protest against it, but that we find it makes a false defence, and leaves the Ene­my more open. This Authority (which is but single too) is from Plato; and him some have maliciously quoted; as if in his feign'd Common-wealth he had banish'd all Poets. But Plato says nothing against Poets in general; and in his particular quarrel (which is to Homer, and Hesiod) one­ly condemns such errours as we mention'd in the begin­ning of this Preface, when we look'd upon the Ancients. And those errours consist in their abasing Religion, by re­presenting the Gods in evil proportion, and their Heroes with as unequal Characters; and so brought Vices into fa­shion, by intermixing them with the virtues of great per­sons. Yet even during this divine anger of Plato, he con­cludes not against Poesie, but the Poems then most in re­quest: For these be the words of his Law: If any Man (having ability to imitate what he pleases) imitate in his Poems both good and evil, let him be reverenced, as a sacred, admi­rable, and pleasant Person; but be it likewise known, he must have no place in our Common-wealth. And yet before his banishment he allows him, the honour of a Diadem, a [...]d [Page 50] sweet Odours to anoint his Head: And afterwards says, Let us make use of more profitable, though more severe, and less pleasant Poets, who can imitate that which is for the honour and benefit of the Common-wealth. But those who make use of this just indignation of Plato to the unjust scandal of P [...]esie, have the common craft of False Witnesses, en­larging every circumstance, when it may hurt, and conceal­ing all things that may defend him they oppose. For they will not remember how much the Scholar of Plato (who like an absolute Monarch over Arts, hath almost si­lenc'd his Master throughout the Schools of Europe) la­bours to make Poesie universally current, by giving Laws to the Science: Nor will they take notice, in what dig­nity it continu'd whilest the Greeks kept their dominion, or Language; and how much the Romans cherish'd even the publick repetition of Verses: Nor will they vouch­safe to observe (though Juvenal take care to record it) how gladly all Rome (during that exercise) ran to the voice of Statius.

Thus having taken measure (though hastily) of the ex­tent of those great Professions that in Government contri­bute to the necessities, ease, and lawfull pleasures of Men; and finding Poesie as usefull now, as the Ancients found it towards perfection and happiness; I will, Sir, (unless with these Two Books you return me a discouragement) chearfully proceed: and though a little time would make way for the Third, and make it fit for the Press, I am re­solv'd rather to hazard the inconvenience which expecta­tion breeds, (for divers with no ill satisfaction have had a taste of Gondibert) than endure that violent envy which assaults all Writers whilest they live; though their Papers be but fill'd with very negligent and ordinary thoughts: and therefore I delay the publication of any part of the Poem, till I can send it you from America; whither I now speedily prepare; having the folly to hope, that when I am in another World (though not in the common sense of dying) I shall find my Readers (even the Poets of [Page 51] the present Age) as temperate, and benign, as we are all to the Dead, whose remote excellence cannot hinder our reputation. And now, Sir, to end with the Allego­ry which I have so long continu'd, I shall, (after all [...] busie vanitie in shewing and describing my new Building) with great quietness, being almost as weary as your self, bring you to the Back-door, that you may make no re­view but in my absence; and steal hastily from you, as one who is asham'd of all the trouble you have receiv'd from,

(SIR) Your most humble, and most affectionate Servant



IF to commend your Poem, I should onely say (in ge­neral Terms) that in the choice of your Argument, the disposition of the parts, the maintenance of the Characters of your Persons, the dignitie and vigour of your expression, you have performed all the parts of vari­ous experience, readie memorie, clear judgement, swift and well govern'd fancie, though it were enough for the truth, it were too little for the weight and credit of my testimonie. For I lie open to two Exceptions, one of an incompetent, the other of a corrupted Witness. Incom­petent, because I am not a Poet; and corrupted with the Honour done me by your Preface. The former obliges me to say something (by the way) of the Nature and Dif­ferences of Poesie.

As Philosophers have divided the Universe (their sub­ject) into three Regions, Celestial, Aërial, and Terrestrial; so the Poets, (whose work it is by imitating humane life, in delightfull and measur'd lines, to avert men from vice, and incline them to virtuous and honourable actions) haue lodg'd themselves in the three Regions of mankind, Court, [Page 53] Citie, and Countrey, correspondent in some proportion, to those three Regions of the World. For there is in Princes, and men of conspicuous power (anciently call'd Heroes) a lustre and influence upon the rest of men, resembling that of the Heavens, and an insincereness, inconstancie, and troublesom humour of those that dwell in populous Cities, like the mobilitie, blustering, and impuritie of the Air; and a plainness, and (though dul) yet a nutritive facultie in rural people, that endures a comparison with the Earth they labour.

From hence have proceeded three sorts of Poesie, Hero­ique, Scommatique, and Pastoral. Every one of these is distinguished again in the manner of Representation, which sometimes is Narrative, wherein the Poet himself relateth; and sometimes Dramatique, as when the persons are eve­ry one adorned and brought upon the Theatre, to speak and act their own parts. There is therefore neither more nor less than six sorts of Poesie. For the Heroique Poem Narrative (such as is yours) is call'd Epique Poem; The He­roique Poem Dramatique, is Tragedie. The Scommatique Narrative, is Satyre; Dramatique is Comedie. The Pasto­ral Narrative, is called simply Pastoral (anciently Bucolique) the same Dramatique, Pastoral Comedie. The Figure therefore of an Epique Poem, and of a Tragedie, ought to be the same, for they differ no more but in that they are pronounced by one, or many persons. Which I insert to iustifie the figure of yours, consisting of five books divided into Songs, or Cantoes, as five Acts divided into Scenes has ever been the approved figure of a Tragedie.

They that take for Poesie whatsoever is writ in Verse, will think this Division imperfect, and call in Sonets, Epi­grams; Eclogues, and the like pieces (which are but Es­sayes, and parts of an entire Poem) and reckon Empedocies and Lucretius (natural Philosophers) for Poets, and the moral precepts of Phoc [...]lides Theognis, and the Quatrains of Pybrach, and the Historie of Lucan, and others of that kind amongst Poems; bestowing on such Writers for honour, [Page 54] the name of Poets, rather than of Historians, or Philoso­phers. But the subject of a Poem, is the manners of men, not natural causes; manners presented, not dictated; and manners feigned (as the name of Poesie imports) not found in men. They that give enterance to Fictions writ in Prose, erre not so much, but they erre: For Prose requiteth de­lightfulness, not onely of fiction, but of stile; in which if Prose contend with Verse, it is with disadvantage and (as it were) on foot against the strength and wings of Pegasus.

For Verse amongst the Greeks was appropriated ancient­ly to the service of their Gods, and was the Holy stile; the stile of the Oracles; the stile of the Laws; and the stile of Men that publickly recommended to their Gods, the vows and thanks of the people; which was done in their holy songs called Hymns; and the composers of them were cal­led Prophets and Priests before the name of Poet was known. When afterwards the majestie of that stile was observed, The Poets chose it as best becoming their high invention. And for the Antiquitie of Verse, it is greater than the antiquitie of Letters. For it is certain, Cadmus was the first that (from Phoenicia, a Countrey that neigh­boureth Judea) brought the use of Letters into Greece. But the service of the Gods, and the Laws (which by mea­sured Sounds were easily committed to the memorie) had been long time in use, before the arrival of Cadmus there.

There is besides the grace of stile, another cause why the ancient Poets chose to write in measured language, which is this. There Poems were made at first with inten­tion to have them sung, as well Epick as Dramatick (which custom hath been long time laid aside, but began to be re­vived in part, of late years in Italie) and could not be made commensurable to the Voice or Instruments, in Prose; the ways and motions whereof are so uncertain and undistinguished, (like the way and motion of a Ship in the Sea) as not onely to discompose the best Composers, but also to disapoint sometimes the most attentive Reader, and put him to hunt counter for the sense. It was therefore [Page 55] necessarie for Poets in those times, to write in Verse.

The Verse which the Greeks, and Latines (considering the nature of their own languages) found by experience most grave, and for an Epique Poem most decent, was their Hexameter; a Verse limited, not onely in the length of the line, but also in the quantitie of the syllables. In stead of which we use the line of ten Syllables, recompen­sing the neglect of their quantitie, with the diligence of Rime. And this measure is so proper for an Heroique Po­em, as without some loss of gravitie and dignitie, it was ne­ver changed. A longer is not far from ill Prose, and a short­er, is a kind of whisking (you know) like the unlacing, ra­ther than the singing of a Muse. In an Epigram or a Sonnet, a man may vary his measures, and seek glorie from a needless difficultie, as he that contrived Verses into the form of an Organ, a Hatchet, an Egg, an Altar, and a pair of Wings; but in so great and noble a work as is an Epique Poem, for a man to obstruct his own way with unprofita­ble difficulties, is great imprudence. So likewise to chuse a needless and difficult correspondence of Rime, is but a difficult toy, and forces a man sometimes for the stopping of a chink, to say somewhat he did never think; I cannot therefore but very much approve your Stanza, where­in the syllables in every Verse are ten, and the Rime Al­ternate.

For the choice of your Subject, you have sufficiently justified your self in your Preface. But because I have observed in Virgil, that the Honour done to Aeneas and his companions, has so bright a reflection upon Augustus Cae­sar, and other great Romans of that time, as a man may suspect him not constantly possessed with the noble spirit of those his Heroes, and believe you are not acquainted with any great man of the race of Gondibert, I adde to your Justification the puritie of your purpose, in having no other motive of your labour, but to adorn Virtue, and procure her Lovers; than which there cannot be a worthier design, and more becoming noble Poesie.

[Page 56]In that you make so small account of the example of almost all the approved Poets, ancient and modern, who thought fit in the beginning, and sometimes also in the progress of their Poems, to invoke a Muse, or some other Deitie, that should dictate to them, or assist them in their writings; they that take not the laws of Art, from any rea­son of their own, but from the fashion of precedent times, will perhaps accuse your singularitie, For my part, I nei­ther subscribe to their accusation, nor yet condemn that Heathen custom, otherwise than as accessarie to their false Religion. For their Poets were their Divines; had the name of Prophets, Exercised amongst the People a kind of spiritual Authoritie; would be thought to speak by a Divine spirit; have their works which they writ in Verse (the Divine stile) pass for the Word of God, and not of man; and to be hearkened to with reverence. Do not our Divines (excepting the stile) do the same, and by us that are of the same Religion cannot justly be reprehended for it? Besides, in the use of the spiritual calling of Divines, there is danger sometimes to be feared, from want of skill, such as is reported of unskilfull Conjurers, that mistaking the rites and ceremonious points of their art, call up such spirits, as they cannot at their pleasure allay again, by whom storms are raised that overthrow buildings, and are the cause of miserable wracks at Sea. Unskilfull Divines do oftentimes the like; For when they call unseasonably for Zeal, there appears a spirit of Cruelty; and by the like [...]roun instead of Truth, they raise Discord; instead of Wis­dom, Eraud; instead of Reformation, Tumult; and Controver­sie instead of Religion. Whereas in the Heathen Poets, at least in those whose works have lasted to the time we are in, there are none of those indiscretions to be found, that tended to subversion, or disturbance of the Common­wealths wherein they lived. But why a Christian should think it an ornament to his Poem; either to profane the true God, or invoke a false one, I can imagin no cause, but a reasonless imitation of Custom, of a foolish custom; [Page 57] by which a man enabled to speak wisely from the princi­ples of nature, and his own meditation, loves rather to be thought to speak by inspiration, like a Bag-pipe.

Time and Education begets Experience; Experience begets Memorie; Memorie begets Judgement, and Fancie; Judgement begets the Strength and Structure; and Fancie begets the Ornaments of a Poem. The Ancients there­fore fabled not absurdly, in making Memorie the Mother of the Muses. For Memorie is the World (though not really, yet so as in a Looking-glass) in which the Judge­ment, the severer Sister busieth her self in a grave and ri­gid examination of all the parts of Nature, and in register­ing by Letters their order, causes, uses, differences, and resemblances; Whereby the Fancie, when any work of Art is to be performed, finding her materials at hand and prepared for use, and needs no more than a swift motion over them, that what she wants, and is there to be had, may not lie too long unespied. So that when she seemeth to fly from one Indies to the other, and from Heaven to Earth, and to penetrate into the hardest matter, and obscurest places, into the future, and into her self, and all this in a point of time, the voyage is not very great, her self being all she seeks; and her wonderfull celeritie, consisteth not so much in motion, as in copious Imagerie discreetly ordered, and perfectly registered in the Memorie; which most men under the name of Philosophie have a glimpss of, and is pretended to by many that grosly mistaking her, embrace contention in her place. But so far forth as the Fancie of man, has traced the ways of true Philosophie, so far it hath produced very marvellous effects to the benefit of mankind. All that is beautifull or defensible in building, or marvellous in Engines and Instruments of motion; whatsoever commoditie men receive from the observations of the Heavens, from the descri­ption of the Earth, from the account of Time, from walking on the Seas; and whatsoever distinguisheth the Civilitie of Europe, from the Barbaritie of the American [Page 58] savages, is the workmanship of Fancy, but guided by the Precepts of true Philosophie. But where these pre­cepts fail, as they have hitherto failed in the doctrine of moral Virtue, there the Architect (Fancy) must take the Philosophers part upon her self. He therefore that under­takes an Heroick Poem (which is to exhibit a venerable and amiable Image of Heroick virtue) must not onely be the Poet, to place and connect, but also the Philosopher, to furnish and square his matter; that is, to make both Body and Soul, colour and shadow of his Poem out of his own Store: Which, how well you have performed I am now considering.

Observing how few the persons be you introduce in the beginning, and how in the course of the actions of these (the number increasing) after several confluences, they run all at last into the two principal streams of your Poem, Gondibert and Oswald, me thinks the Fable is not much unlike the Theater. For so, from several and far distant Sources, do the lesser Brooks of Lombardy, flowing into one another, fall all at last into the two main Rivers, the Po and the Adite. It hath the same resemblance also with a mans veins, which proceeding from different parts, after the like concourse, insert themselves at last into the two principal veins of the body. But when I considered that also the actions of men, which singly are inconsiderable, after many conjunctures, grow at last either into one great protecting power, or into destroying factions, I could not but approve the structure of your Poem, which ought to be no other than such, as an imitation of humane life re­quireth.

In the Streams themselves I find nothing but setled Va­lour, clean Honour, calm Counsel, learned Diversion, and pure Love▪ save onely a torrent or two of Ambition, which (though a fault) has somewhat Heroick in it, and there­fore must have place in an Heroick Poem. To shew the Reader in what place he shall find every excellent picture [Page 59] of Virtue you have drawn, is too long. And to shew him one, is to prejudice the rest; yet I cannot forbear to point him to the Description of Love in the person of Birtha, in the seventh Canto of the second Book. There has nothing been said of that Subject neither by the Ancient nor Mo­dern Poets comparable to it. Poets are painters: I would fain see another painter draw so true, perfect and natural a Love to the Life, and make use of nothing but pure Lines, without the help of any the least uncomely shadow, as you have done. But let it be read as a piece by it self, for in the almost equal height of the whole, the eminence of parts is Lost.

There are some that are not pleased with fiction, unless it be bold; not onely to exceed the work, but also the possibility of Nature: they would have impenetrable Ar­mours, Inchanted Castles, Invulnerable Bodies, Iron Men, Flying Horses, and a thousand other such things, which are easily feigned by them that dare. Against such I defend you (without assenting to those that condemn either Ho­mer or Virgil) by dissenting onely from those that think the Beauty of a Poem consisteth in the exorbitancy of the fiction. For as truth is the bound of Historical, so the Re­semblance of truth is the utmost limit of Poetical Liberty. In old time amongst the Heathen such strange fictions, and Metamorphoses, were not so remo [...]e from the Articles of their Faith, as they are now from ours, and therefore were not so unpleasant. Beyond the actual works of Nature a Poet may now go; but beyond the conceived possibility of Nature, never. I can allow a Geographer to make in the Sea, a Fish or a Ship, which by the scale of his Map would be two or three hundred mile long, and think it done for ornament, because it is done without the pre­cincts of his undertaking; but when he paints an Ele­phant so, I presently apprehend it as ignorance, and a plain confession of Terra incognita.

As the description of Great Men and Great Actions, is the constant design of a Poet; so the descriptions of worthy [Page 60] circumstances are necessary accessions to a Poem, and be­ing well performed, are the Jewels and most precious or­naments of Poesie. Such in Virgil are the Funeral games of Anchises, The duel of Aeneas and Turnus, &c. and such in yours are The Hunting, The Battel, The Citie Mourning, The Funeral, The House of Astragon, The Library and the Temple, equal to his, or those of Homer whom he imitated.

There remains now no more to be considered but the Expression, in which consisteth the countenance and co­lour of a beautifull Muse; and is given her by the Poet out of his own provision, or is borrowed from others. That which he hath of his own, is nothing but experience and knowledge of Nature, and specially humane nature; and is the true and natural Colour. But that which is taken out of Books (the ordinary boxes of Counterfeit Comple­xion) shews well or ill, as it hath more or less resemblance with the natural, and are not to be used (without examin­ation) unadvisedly. For in him that professes the imita­tion of Nature (as all Poets do) what greater fault can there be, than to bewray an ignorance of Nature in his Poem; especially having a liberty allowed him, if he meet with any thing he cannot master, to leave it out?

That which giveth a Poem the true and natural Colour consisteth in two things, which are; To know well, that is, to have images of Nature in the memory distinct and clear; and To know much. A sign of the first is perspicuity, pro­perty, and decency, which delight all sorts of men, either by instructing the ignorant, or soothing the learned in their knowledge. A sign of the latter is novelty of expres­sion, and pleaseth by excitation of the mind; for novelty causeth admiration, and admiration curiosity, which is a de­lightfull appetite of knowledge.

There be so many words in use at this day in the Eng­lish Tongue, that, though of magnifick sound, yet (like the windy blisters of a troubled water) have no sense at all; and so many others that lose their meaning, by being ill coupled, that it is a hard matter to avoid them; for ha­ving [Page 61] been obtruded upon youth in the Schools (by such as make it, I think, their business there (as 'tis exprest by the best Poet)

With terms to charm the weak and pose the wise, they grow up with them, and gaining reputati­on with the ignorant, are not easily shaken off.

To this palpable darkness, I may also adde the ambitious obscurity of expressing more than is perfectly conceived; or perfect conception in fewer words than it requires. Which Expressions, though they have had the honour to be called strong lines, are indeed no better than Riddles, and not onely to the Reader, but also (after a little time) to the Writer himself dark and troublesom.

To the property of Expression I referre, that clearness of memory, by which a Poet when he hath once introdu­ced any person whatsoever, speaking in his Poem, main­taineth in him to the end the same character he gave him in the beginning. The variation whereof, is a change of pace, that argues the Poet tired.

Of the Indecencies of an Heroick Poem, the most re­markable are those that shew disproportion either between the persons and their actions, or between the manners of the Poet and the Poem. Of the first kind, is the uncom­liness of representing in great persons the inhumane vice of Cruelty, or the sordid vice of Lust and Drunkenness. To such parts as those the ancient approved Poets, thought it fit to suborn, nor the persons of men, but of monsters and beastly Giants, such as Polyphemus, Cacus, and the Centaurs. For it is supposed a Muse, when she is invoked to sing a song of that nature, should maidenly advise the Poet, to set such persons to sing their own vices upon the Stage; for it is not so unseemly in a Tragedy. Of the same kind it is to represent scurrility, or any action or language that moveth much laughter. The delight of an Epique Poem consisteth not in mirth, but admiration. Mirth and Laughter is proper to Comedie and Satyre. Great persons that have their minds employed on great designs, have not [Page 62] leasure enough to laugh, and are pleased with the contem­plation of their own power and virtues, so as they need not the infirmities and vices of other men, to recommend themselves to their own favour by comparison, as all men do when they laugh. Of the second kind, where the dis­proportion is between the Poet, and the persons of his Poem, one is in the Dialect of the Inferiour sort of peo­ple, which is always different from the language of the Court. Another is to derive the Illustration of any thing, from such Metaphors or Comparisons as cannot come into mens thoughts, but by mean conversation, and experi­ence of humble or evil Arts, which the person of an Epique Poem, cannot be thought acquainted with.

From Knowing much, proceedeth the admirable variety and novelty of Metaphors and Similitudes, which are not possible to be lighted on, in the compass of a narrow knowledge. And the want whereof compelleth a Writer to expressions that are either defac'd by time, or sullied with vulgar or long use. For the phrases of Poesie, as the airs of musick with often hearing become insipide, the Reader having no more sense of their force, than our Flesh is sensible of the bones that sustain it. As the sense we have of bodies, consisteth in change and variety of impres­sion, so also does the sense of language in the variety and changeable use of words. I mean not in the affectation of words newly brought home from travel, but in new (and withal significant) translation to our purposes, of those that be already received; and in far fetcht (but withal apt, instructive and comly) similitudes.

Having thus (I hope) avoided the first Exception, a­gainst the incompetency of my Judgement, I am but little moved with the second, which is of being bribed by the honour you have done me, by attributing in your Preface somewhat to my Judgement. For I have used your Judgement no less in many things of mine, which coming to light will thereby appear the better. And so you have your bribe again.

[Page 63]Having thus made way for the admission of my Testimo­ny, I give it briefly thus; I never yet saw Poem, that had so much shape of Art, health of Morality, and vigour and beauty of Expression, as this of yours. And but for the clamour of the multitude, that hide their Envy of the present, under a Reverence of Antiquity, I should say further, that it would last as long as either the Aeneid, or Iliad, but for one Disadvantage, and the Disadvantage is this: The languages of the Greeks and Romans (by their Colonies and Conquests) have put off flesh and bloud, and are become immutable, which none of the modern tongues are like to be. I honour Antiquity, but that which is com­monly called Old time, is Young time. The glory of Anti­quity is due, not to the Dead, but to the Aged.

And now, whilest I think on't, give me leave with a short discord to sweeten the Harmony of the approaching close. I have nothing to object against your Poem; but dissent onely from something in your Preface, sounding to the prejudice of Age. 'Tis commonly said, that old Age is a return to childhood. Which me thinks you in­sist on so long, as if you desired it should be believed. That is the note I mean to shake a little. That saying, meant onely of the weakness of body, was wrested to the weakness of mind, by froward children, weary of the con­troulment of their parents, masters, and other admoni­tours. Secondly, the dotage and childishness they ascribe to Age, is never the effect of Time, but sometimes of the excesses of youth, and not a returning to, but a continual stay with childhood. For they that wanting the curiosity of furnishing their memories with the rarities of Nature in their youth, and pass their time in making provision onely for their ease, and sensual delight, are children still, at what years soever; as they that coming into a populous Citie, never going out of their Inn, are strangers still, how long soever they have been there. Thirdly, there is no reason for any man to think himself wiser to day than ye­sterday, [Page 64] which does not equally convince he shall be wi­ser tomorrow than today.

Fourthly, you will be forced to change your opinion hereafter when you are old; and in the mean time you discredit all I have said before in your commendation, be­cause I am old already. But no more of this.

I believe (Sir) you have seen a curious kind of perspe­ctive, where, he that looks through a short hollow pipe, upon a picture containing divers figures, sees none of those that are there painted, but some one person made up of their parts, conveyed to the eye by the artificial cutting of a glass. I find in my imagination an effect not unlike it from your Poem. The virtues you distribute there amongst so many noble persons, represent (in the read­ing) the image but of one mans virtue to my fancy, which is your own; and that so deeply imprinted, as to stay for ever there, and govern all the rest of my thoughts and affections, in the way of honouring and serving you, to the utmost of my power, that am

Your most humble and obedient Servant, THO. HOBS.

TO Sr WILL. D'AVENANT, Upon his two first Books of GONDIBERT, Finish'd before his Voyage to AMERICA.

THus the wise Nightingale that leaves her home,
Her native Wood, when Storms and Winter come,
Pursuing constantly the chearfull Spring
To forreign Groves does her old Musick bring:
The drooping Hebrews banish'd Harps unstrung
At Babylon, upon the Willows hung;
Yours sounds aloud, and tells us you excell
No less in Courage, than in Singing well;
Whilst unconcern'd you let your Countrey know,
They have impov'rished themselves, not you;
Who with the Muses help can mock those Fates
Which threaten Kingdoms, and disorder States.
So Ovid, when from Caesar's rage he fled,
The Roman Muse to Pontus with him led,
Where he so sung, that We through Pitie's Glass,
See Nero milder than Augustus was.
Hereafter such in thy behalf shall be
Th'indulgent censure of Posteritie.
To banish those who with such art can sing,
Is a rude crime which its own Curse does bring:
Ages to come shall ne'r know how they fought,
Nor how to Love their present Youth be taught.
[Page]This to thyself. Now to thy matchless Book,
Wherein those few that can with Judgement look,
May find old Love in pure fresh Language told,
Like new stampt Coyn made out of Angel gold.
Such truth in Love as th'antique world did know,
In such a style as Courts may boast of now.
Which no bold tales of Gods or Monsters swell,
But humane Passions, such as with us dwell.
Man is thy theam, his Virtue or his Rage
Drawn to the life in each elaborate Page.
Mars nor Bellona are not named here;
But such a Gondibert as both might fear.
Venus had here, and Hebe been out-shin'd
By thy bright Birtha, and thy Rhodalind.
Such is thy happy skill, and such the odds
Betwixt thy Worthies and the Grecian Gods.
Whose Deities in vain had here come down,
Where Mortal Beautie wears the Sovereign Crown;
Such as of flesh compos'd, by flesh and bloud
(Though not resisted) may be understood.

TO Sr WIL. D'AVENANT, Upon his two first Books of GONDIBERT, Finish'd before his Voyage to AMERICA.

ME thinks Heroick Poesie till now,
Like some fantastick Fairy-land did show;
Gods, Devils, Nymphs, Witches, and Giants race,
And all but Man, in Mans best Work had place.
Thou like some worthy Knight, with sacred Arms
Dost drive the Monsters thence, and end the Charms:
In stead of those, dost Men and Manners plant,
The things which that rich Soyl did chiefly want.
But even thy Mortals do their Gods excell,
Taught by thy Muse to Fight and Love so well.
By fatal hands whilest present Empires fall,
Thine from the grave past Monarchies recal.
So much more thanks from humane kind does merit
The Poets fury, than the Zelots Spirit.
And from the grave thou mak'st this Empire rise,
Not like some dreadfull Ghost t'affright our Eyes,
But with more beauty and triumphant state,
Than when it crown'd at proud Verona sate.
So will our God re-build Mans perish'd frame,
And raise him up much better, yet the same:
[Page]So God-like P [...]e [...]s do past things rehearse,
Not change, but heighten Nature with their Verse.
With shame me thinks great Italie must see
Her Conqu'rors call'd to life again by thee;
Call'd by such powerfull Arts, that ancient Rome
May blush [...]o less to see her Wit orecome.
Some men their Fancies like their Faiths derive;
And count all ill but that which Rome does give;
The marks of Old and Catholick would find;
To the same Chair would Truth and Fiction bind.
Thou in these beaten paths disdain'st to tread,
And scorn'st to live by robbing of the Dead.
Since Time does all things change, thou think'st not fit
This latter Age should see all new, but Wit.
Thy Fancie, like a Flame, her way does make,
And leaves bright tracks for following Pens to take.
Sure 'twas this noble boldness of the Muse
Did thy desire, to seek new Worlds, infuse;
And ne'r did Heaven so much a Voyage bless,
If thou canst Plant but there with like success.

GONDIBERT. The First Book.

CANTO the First.

Old ARIBERT'S great race, and greater mind
Is sung, with the renown of RHODALIND.
Prince OSWALD is compar'd to GONDIBERT,
And justly each distinguish'd by desert:
Whose Armies are in Fame's fair Field drawn forth,
To shew by discipline their Leaders worth.
OF all the Lombards, by their Trophies known,
Who sought Fame soon, and had her favour long,
King Aribert best seem'd to fill the Throne;
And bred most bus'ness for Heroick Song.
From early Childhoods promising estate,
Up to performing Manhood, till he grew
To failing Age, he Agent was to Fate,
And did to Nations Peace or War renew.
War was his studi'd Art; War, which the bad
Condemn, because even then it does them aw
When with their number lin'd, and purple clad,
And to the good more needfull is than Law.
To conquer Tumult, Nature's suddain force,
War, Arts delib'rate strength, was first devis'd;
Cruel to those whose rage has no remorse,
Lest civil pow'r should be by Throngs surpris'd.
The feeble Law rescues but doubtfully
From the Oppressours single Arm our right;
Till to its pow'r the wise wars help apply;
Which soberly does Mans loose rage unite.
Yet since on all War never needfull was,
Wise Aribert did keep the People sure
By Laws from lesser dangers; for the Laws
Them from themselves, and not from pow'r secure.
Else Conquerours, by making Laws, orecome
Their own gain'd pow'r, and leave mens furie free;
Who growing deaf to pow'r, the Laws grow dumb;
Since none can plead where all may Judges be.
Prais'd was this King for war, the Laws broad shield;
And for acknowledg'd Laws, the art of Peace;
Happy in all which Heav'n to Kings does yield,
But a successour when his cares shall cease.
For no Male Pledge, to give a lustie name,
Sprung from his bed, yet Heav'n to him allow'd
One of the gentler sex, whose Storie Fame
Has made my Song, to make the Lombards proud.
Recorded Rhodalind! whose high renown
Who miss in Books, not luckily have read;
Or vex'd by living beauties of their own
Have shunn'd the wise Records of Lovers dead.
Her Fathers prosp'rous Palace was the Sphear
Where she to all with Heav'nly order mov'd;
Made rigid virtue so benign appear,
That 'twas without Religion's help belov'd.
Her looks like Empire shew'd, great above pride;
Since pride ill counterfeits excessive height;
But Nature publish'd what she fain would hide;
Who for her deeds, not beautie, lov'd the light.
To make her lowly minds appearance less,
She us'd some outward greatness for disguise;
Esteem'd as pride the Cloist'ral lowliness,
And thought them proud who even the proud despise.
Her Father (in the winter of his age)
Was like that stormie season froward grown;
Whom so her springs fresh presence did asswage,
That he her sweetness tasted as his own.
The pow'r that with his stooping age declin'd,
In her transplanted, by remove increas'd;
Which doubly back in homage she resign'd;
Till pow'rs decay, the Thrones worst sickness, ceas'd.
Oppressours big with pride, when she appear'd
Blush'd, and believ'd their greatness counterfeit;
The lowly thought they them in vain had fear'd;
Found virtue harmless, and nought else so great.
Her mind (scarce to her feeble sex of kin)
Did as her birth, her right to Empire show;
Seem'd careless outward when imploy'd within;
Her speech, like lovers watch'd, was kind and low.
She shew'd that her soft sex contains strong minds,
Such as evap'rates through the courser Male,
As through course stone Elixar passage finds,
Which scarce through finer Christal can exhale.
Her beautie (not her own but Natures pride)
Should I describe; from every Lovers eye
All Beauties this original must hide,
Or like scorn'd Copies be themselves laid by;
Be by their Poets Shunn'd, whom beautie feeds,
Who beautie like hyr'd witnesses protect,
Officiously averring more than needs,
And make us so the needfull truth suspect.
And since fond Lovers (who disciples be
To Poets) think in their own loves they find
More beautie than yet Time did ever see,
Time's Curtain I will draw ore Rhodalind;
Lest shewing her, each see how much he errs,
Doubt since their own have less, that they have none;
Believe their Poets perjur'd Flatterers,
And then all Modern Maids would be undone.
In pitie thus, her beauty's just renown
I wave for publick Peace, and will declare
To whom the King design'd her with his Crown;
Which is his last and most unquiet care.
If in alliance he does greatness prise,
His Mind grown wearie, need not travel far;
If greatness he compos'd of Victories,
He has at home many that Victors are.
Many whom blest success did often grace
In Fields where they have seeds of Empire sown;
And hope to make, since born of princely race,
Even her (the harvest of those toyls) their own.
And of those Victors Two are chiefly fam'd,
To whom the rest their proudest hopes resign;
Though young, were in there Fathers battels nam'd,
And both are of the Lombards Royal Line.
Oswald the great, and greater Gondibert!
Both from successfull conqu'ring Fathers sprung▪
Whom both examples made of War's high art,
And far out-wrought their patterns being young.
Yet for full fame (as Trine Fam's Judge reports)
Much to Duke Gondibert Prince Oswald yields,
Was less in mightie mysteries of Courts,
In peacefull Cities, and in fighting Fields.
In Court Prince Oswald costly was and gay,
Finer than near vain Kings their Fav'rites are;
Out-shin'd bright Fav'rites on their Nuptial day,
Yet were his Eyes dark with ambitious care.
Duke Gondibert was still more gravely clad,
But yet his looks familiar were and clear;
As if with ill to others never sad,
Nor tow'rds himself could others practise fear.
The Prince, could Porpoise-like in Tempests play,
And in Court-storms on ship-wrack'd Greatness seed;
Not frighted with their fate when cast away,
But to their glorious hazzards durst succeed.
The Duke would lasting calms to Courts assure,
As pleasant Gardens we defend from winds;
For he who bus'ness would from Storms procure,
Soon his affairs above his mannage finds.
Oswald in Throngs the abject People sought
With humble looks; who still too late will know
They are Ambitious Quarrie, and soon caught
When the aspiring Eagle stoops so low.
The Duke did these by stedie Virtue gain;
Which they in action more than precept tast;
Deeds shew the Good, and those who goodness feign
By such even through their vizards are out-fac't.
Oswald in war was worthily renown'd;
Though gay in Courts, coursly in Camps could live;
Judg'd danger soon, and first was in it found;
Could toil to gain what he with ease did give.
Yet toils and dangers through ambition lov'd;
Which does in war the name of Virtue own;
But quits that name when from the war remov'd,
As Rivers theirs when from their Channels gon.
The Duke (as restless as his fame in war)
With martial toil could Oswald wearie make;
And calmly do what he with rage did dare,
And give so much as he might deign to take.
Him as their Founder Cities did adore;
The Court he knew to steer in storms of State;
In Field a Battel lost he could restore,
And after force the Victors to their Fate.
In Camps now chiefly liv'd, where he did aim
At graver glory than Ambition breeds;
Designs that yet this story must not name,
Which with our Lombard Authours pace proceeds.
The King adopts this Duke in secret thought
To wed the Nations wealth, his onely child,
Whom Oswald as reward of merit sought,
With Hope, Ambition's common bait, beguild.
This as his souls chief secret was unknown,
Lest Oswald that his proudest Army led
Should force possession ere his hopes were gone,
Who could not rest but in▪ the royal bed.
The Duke discern'd not that the King design'd
To chuse him Heir of all his victories;
Nor guess'd that for his love fair Rhodalind
Made sleep of late a stranger to her Eyes.
Yet sadly it is sung that she in shades,
Mildly as mourning Doves love's sorrows felt;
Whilst in her secret tears her freshness fades
As Roses silently in Lymbecks melt.
But who could know her love, whose jealous shame
Deny'd her Eyes the knowledge of her glass;
Who blushing thought Nature her self too blame
By whom Men guess of Maids more than the face.
Yet judge not that this Duke (though from his sight
With Maids first fears she did her passion hide)
Did need love's flame for his directing light,
But rather wants Ambition for his Guide.
Love's fire he carry'd, but no more in view
Than vital heat which kept his heart still warm;
This Maids in Oswald, as love's Beacon knew;
The publick flame to bid them flie from harm.
Yet since this Duke could love, we may admire
Why love ne'r rais'd his thoughts to Rhodalind;
But those forget that earthly flames aspire,
Whilst Heavenly beams; which purer are, descend.
As yet to none could he peculiar prove,
But like an universal Influence
(For such and so sufficient was his love)
To all the Sex he did his heart dispence.
But Oswald never knew love's ancient Laws,
The aw that Beauty does in lovers breed,
Those short-breath'd fears and paleness it does cause
When in a doubtfull Brow their doom they read.
Not Rhodalind (whom then all Men as one
Did celebrate, as with confed'rate Eyes)
Could he affect but shining in her Throne;
Blindly a Throne did more than beauty prise.
He by his Sister did his hopes prefer;
A beauteous pleader who victorious was
O're Rhodalind, and could subdue her Ear
In all requests but this unpleasant cause.
Gartha, whose bolder beauty was in strength
And fulness plac'd, but such as all must like;
Her spreading stature talness was, no [...] length,
And whilst sharp beauties pierce, hers seem'd to strike.
Such goodly presence ancient Poets grace,
Whose songs the worlds first manliness▪ declare;
To Princes Beds teach carefulness of Bace;
Which now store Courts, that us'd to store the war.
Such was the palace of her Mind, a Prince
Who proudly there, and still unquier lives;
And sleep (domestick ev'ry where) from thence,
To make Ambition room, unwisely drives.
Of manly force was this her watchfull mind,
And fit in Empire to direct and sway;
If she the temper had of Rhodalind,
Who knew that Gold is currant with allay.
As Kings (oft slaves to others hopes and skill)
Are urg'd to war to load their slaves with spoyls;
So Oswald was push'd up Ambition's hill,
And so some urg'd the Duke to martial toyls.
And these who for their own great cause so high
Would lift their Lords Two prosp'rous Armies, are
Return'd from far to fruitfull Lombardy,
And paid with rest, the best reward of War.
The old near Brescia lay, scarce warm'd with Tents;
For though from danger safe, yet Armies then
Their posture kept 'gainst warring Elements,
And hardness learn'd against more warring Men.
Near Bergamo encamp'd the younger were,
Whom to the Franks distress the Duke had led;
The other Oswald's lucky Ensigns bear,
Which lately stood when proud Ovenna fled.
These that attend Duke Gondibert's renown
Where Youth, whom from his Fathers Camp he chose,
And them betimes transplanted to his own;
Where each the Planters care and judgement shows.
All hardy Youth, from valiant Fathers sprung;
Whom perfect honour he so highly taught,
That th' Aged fetch'd examples from the young,
And hid the vain experience which they brought.
They danger met diverted less with fears
Than now the dead would be if here again,
After they know the price brave dying bears;
And by their sinless rest find life was vain.
Temp'rate in what does needy life preserve,
As those whose Bodies wait upon their Minds;
Chaste as those Minds which not their Bodies serve,
Ready as Pilots wak'd with sudden Winds.
Speechless in diligence, as if they were
Nightly to close surprize and Ambush bred;
Their wounds yet smarting mercifull they are,
And soon from victory to pitie led.
When a great Captive they in fight had ta'ne,
(Whom in a Filial duty some fair Maid
Visits, and would by tears his Freedom gain)
How soon his Victors were his Captives made?
For though the Duke taught rigid Discipline,
He let them beauty thus at distance know;
As Priests discover some especial Shrine,
Which none must touch, yet all may to it bow.
When thus as Suitors mourning Virgins pass
Through their clean camp, themselves in form they draw
That they with Martial reverence may grace
Beauty, the Stranger, which they seldom saw.
They vayl'd their Ensigns as it by did move,
Whilst inward (as from Native Conscience) all
Worship'd the Poets Darling Godhead, Love,
Which grave Philosophers did Nature call.
Nor there could Maids of Captive Syres despair,
But made all Captives by their beauty free;
Beauty and Valour native Jewels are,
And as each others onely price agree.
Such was the Duke's young Camp near Bergamo,
But these near Brescia whom fierce Oswald led,
Their Science to his famous Father owe,
And have his Son (though now their Leader) bred.
This rev'rend Army was for age renown'd;
Which long through frequent dangers follow'd Time;
Their many Trophies gain'd with many a wound,
And Fames last Hill, did with first vigour climb.
But here the learned Lombard whom I trace
My forward Pen by flower Method stays;
Lest I should them (less heeding time and place
Than common Poets) out of season praise.
Think onely then (couldst thou both Camps discern)
That these would seem grave Authours of the war,
Met civily to teach who e're will learn,
And those their young and civil Students are.
But painful virtue of the war ne'r pays
Itself with consciousness of being good,
Though Cloyster-virtue may believe even praise
A sallary which there should be withstood.
For many here (whose virtues active heat
Concurs not with cold virtue which does dwell
In lazy Cells) are virtuous to be great,
And as in pains so would in pow'r excell.
And Oswald's Faction urg'd him to aspire
That by his height they higher might ascend;
The Dukes to glorious Thrones access desire,
But at more awfull distance did attend.
The royal Rhodalind is now the Prize
By which these Camps would make their merit known;
And think their Gen'rals but their Deputies
Who must for them by Proxy wed the Crown.
From forreign Fields (with toyling conquest tyr'd,
And groaning under spoyls) came home to rest;
But now they are with emulation fir'd,
And for that pow'r they should obey, contest.
Ah how perverse and froward is Mankind!
Faction in Courts does us to rage excite;
The Rich in Cities we litigious find,
And in the Field th'Ambitious make us fight.
And fatally (as if even souls were made
Of warring Elements as Bodies are)
Our Reason our Religion does invade,
Till from the Schools to Camps it carry war.

CANTO the Second.

The hunting which did yearly celebrate
The LOMBARDS glory, and the VANDALES Fate,
The Hunters prais'd; how true to love they are,
How calm in Peace, and Tempest-like in war.
The Stag is by the num'rous Chace subdu'd,
And strait his Hunters are as hard pursu'd.
SMALL are the seeds Fate does unheeded sow
Of slight beginnings to important ends;
Whilst wonder (which does best our rev'rence show
To Heav'n) all Reason's sight in gazing spends.
For from a Days brief pleasure did proceed
(A day grown black in Lombard Histories)
Such lasting griefs as thou shalt weep to read,
Though even thine own sad love had drain'd thine eyes.
In a fair Forrest near Verona's Plain,
Fresh as if Natures Youth chose there a shade,
The Duke with many Lovers in his Train,
(Loyal, and young) a solemn hunting made.
Much was his Train enlarg'd by their resort
Who much his Grandsire lov'd, and hither came
To celebrate this Day with annual sport,
On which by battel here he earn'd his Fame.
And many of these noble Hunters bore
Command amongst the Youth at Bergamo;
Whose Fathers gather'd here the wreath they wore,
When in this Forrest they interr'd the Foe.
Count Hurgonil, a Youth of high descent,
Was listed here, and in the Story great;
He follow'd Honour when tow'rd's Death it went;
Fierce in a charge but temp'rate in retreat.
His wondrous beauty which the world approv'd
He blushing hid, and now no more would own
(Since he the Dukes unequal'd Sister lov'd)
Than an old wreath when newly overthrown.
And she, Orna the shy! Did seem in life
So bashfull too to have her beauty shown,
As I may doubt her shade with Fame at strife,
That in these vicious times would make it known.
Not less in publick voice was Arnold here;
He that on Tuscan Tombs his Trophies rais'd;
And now loves pow'r so willingly did bear,
That even his arbitrary reign he prais'd.
Laura, the Duke's fair Niece inthrall'd his heart;
Who was in Court the publick morning Glass
Where those who would reduce Nature to art,
Practis'd by dress the conquests of the Face.
And here was Hugo whom Duke Gondibert
For stout and stedfast kindness did approve;
Of stature small, but was all over heart,
And though unhappy all that heart was love.
In gentle sonnets he for Laura pin'd;
Soft as the murmures of a weeping spring;
Which ruthless she did as those murmures mind:
So ere their death sick Swans unheeded sing.
Yet whilst she Arnold favour'd, he so griev'd
As loyal Subjects quietly bemoan
Their Yoke, but raise no war to be reliev'd,
Nor through the envy'd Fav'rite wound the Throne.
Young Goltho next these Rivals we may name,
Whose manhood dawn'd early as Summer light;
As sure and soon did his fair day proclaim,
And was no less the joy of publick sight.
If Loves just pow'r he did not early see,
Some small excuse we may his errour give;
Since few (though learn'd) know yet blest Love to be
That secret vital heat by which we live:
But such it is; and though we may be thought
To have in Childhood life, ere Love we know,
Yet life is useless till by reason taught,
And Love and Reason up together grow.
Nor more, the Old shew they out-live their Love,
If when their Love's decay'd, some signs they give
Of life, because we see them pain'd and move,
Then Snakes, long cut, by torment shew they live.
If we call living, Life, when Love is gone,
We then to Souls (Gods coyn) vain rev'rence pay;
Since Reason (which is Love, and his best known
And currant Image) Age has worn away.
And I that Love and Reason thus unite,
May, if I old Philosophers controul,
Confirm the new by some new Poets light;
Who finding Love, thinks he has found the Soul.
From Goltho, to whom Love yet tasteless seem'd,
We to ripe Tybalt are by order led;
Tybalt, who Love and Valour both esteem'd,
And he alike from eithers wounds had bled.
Publick his valour was, but not his love,
One fill'd the world, the other he contain'd;
Yet quietly alike in both did move,
Of that ne'r boasted, nor of this complain'd.
With these (whose special names Verse shall preserve)
Many to this recorded hunting came;
Whose worth authentick mention did deserve,
But from Time's deluge few are sav'd by Fame.
Now like a Giant Lover rose the Sun
From th'Ocean Queen, fine in his fires and great;
Seem'd all the Morn for shew, for strength at Noon;
As if last Night she had not quench'd his heat!
And the Sun's Servants who his rising wait,
His Pensioners (for so all Lovers are,
And all maintain'd by him at a high rate
With daily Fire) now for the Chace prepare.
All were like Hunters clad in chearfull green,
Young Natures Livery, and each at strife
Who most adorn'd in favours should be seen,
Wrought kindly by the Lady of his life.
These Martial Favours on their Wasts they wear,
On which (for now they Conquest celebrate)
In an imbroider'd History appear
Like life, the vanquish'd in their fears and fate.
And on these Belts (wrought with their Ladies care)
Hung Semy [...]ers of Akons trusty steel;
Goodly to see, and he who durst compare
Those Ladies Eyes, might soon their temper feel.
Cheerd as the woods (where new wak'd Q [...]ires they meet)
Are all; and now dispose their choice Relays
Of Horse and Hounds, each like each other fleet;
Which best when with themseves compar'd we praise;
To them old Forrests Spies, the Harbourers
With haste approach, wet as still weeping Night,
Or Deer that mourn their growth of head with tears,
When the defenceless weight does hinder flight.
And Dogs, such whose cold secrecy was ment
By Nature for surprize, on these attend;
Wise temp'rate Lime Hounds that proclaim no scent;
Nor harb'ring will their Mouths in boasting spend.
Yet vainlier far than Traitours boast their prize
(On which their vehemence vast rates does lay,
Since in that worth their treasons credit lies)
These Harb'rers praise that which they now betray.
Boast they have lodg'd a Stag, that all the Race
Out-runs of Cr [...]ton Horse, or Regian Hounds;
A Stag made long, since Royal in the Chace,
If Kings can honour give by giving wounds.
For Aribert had pierc'd him at a Bay,
Yet scap'd he by the vigour of his Head;
And many a Summer since has won the day,
And often left his Regian Foll'wrs dead.
His spacious Beam (that even the Rights out-grew)
From Antlar to his Troch had all allow'd
By which his age the aged Woodmen knew;
Who more than he were of that beauty proud.
Now each Relay a sev'ral Station finds,
Ere the triumphant Train the Cops surrounds;
Relays of Horse, long breath'd as winter winds,
And their deep Cannon Mouth'd experienc'd Hounds.
The Hunts-men (Busily concern'd in show
As if the world were by this Beast undone,
And they against him hir'd as Natures Foe)
In haste uncouple, and their Hounds out-run.
Now wind they a Recheat, the rows'd Deers knell;
And through the Forrest all the Beasts are aw'd,
Alarmd by Eccho, Natures Sentinel,
Which shews that murdrous Man is come abroad.
Tyrannick Man! Thy subjects Enemy!
And more through wantonness than need or hate;
From whom the winged to their Coverts flie;
And to their Dens even those that lay in wait.
So this (the most successfull of his kind,
Whose Foreheads force oft his Opposers prest,
Whose swiftness left Pursuers shafts behind)
Is now of all the Forrest most distrest!
The Herd deny him shelter, as if taught
To know their safety is to yield him lost;
Which shews they want not the results of thought,
But speech, by which we ours for reason boast.
We blush to see our politicks in Beasts,
Who Many sav'd by this one Sacrifice;
And since through blood they follow interests,
Like us when cruel should be counted wise.
His Rivals that his fury us'd to fear
For his lov'd Female, now his faintness shun;
But were his season hot, and she but near,
(O mighty Love!) his Hunters were undone.
From thence, well blown, he comes to the Relay;
Where Mans fam'd reason proves but Cowardise,
And onely serves him meanly to betray;
Even for the flying, Man, in ambush lies.
But now, as his last remedy to live,
(For ev'ry shift for life kind Nature makes;
Since life the utmost is which she can give)
Cool Adice from the swoln Bank he takes.
But this fresh Bath the Dogs will make him leave;
Whom he sure nos'd as fasting Tygers found;
Their scent no North-east wind could e're deceave
Which dries the air, nor Flocks that foyl the Ground.
Swift here the Flyers and Pursuers seem;
The frighted Fish swim from their Adice,
The Dogs pursue the Deer, he the fleet stream,
And that hastes swiftly to the Adrian Sea.
Refresh'd thus in this fleeting Element,
He up the stedfast Shore did boldly rise;
And soon escap'd their view, but not their scent;
That faithfull Guide which even conducts their Eyes.
This frail relief was like short gales of breath,
Which oft at Sea a long dead calm prepare;
Or like our Curtains drawn at point of death,
When all our Lungs are spent, to give us ayr.
For on the Shore the Hunters him attend;
And whilst the Chace grew warm as is the day
(Which now from the hot Zenith does descend)
He is imbos'd, and weary'd to a Bay.
The Jewel, Life, he must surrender here;
Which the world's Mistris, Nature, does not give,
But like dropp'd Favours suffers us to wear,
Such as by which pleas'd Lovers think they live.
Yet life he so esteems, that he allows
It all defence his force and rage can make;
And to the Regian Race such furie shows
As their last bloud some unreveng'd forsake.
But now the Monarch Murderer comes in,
Destructive Man! whom Nature would not arm,
As when in madness mischief is fore-seen,
We leave it weaponless for fear of harm.
For she defenceless made him, that he might
Less readily offend; but Art arms all,
From single strife makes us in Numbers fight;
And by such art this Royal Stag did fall.
Now weeps till grief does even his Murd'rers pierce;
Grief, which so nobly through his anger strove,
That it deserv'd the dignitie of Verse,
And had it words as humanly would move.
Thrice from the ground his vanquish'd Head he rear'd,
And with last looks his Forrest walks did view;
Where sixtie Summers he had rul'd the Heard,
And where sharp Dittanie now vainly grew:
Whose hoarie Leaves no more his wounds shall heal;
For with a Sigh (a blast of all his breath)
That viewless thing call'd Life, did from him steal;
And with their Bugle Horns they wind his death.
Then with their annual wanton sacrifice
(Taught by old custom, whose decrees are vain,
And we like hum'rous Antiquaries prise
Age though deform'd) they hasten to the Plain.
Thence homeward bend as Westward as the Sun;
Where Gondibert's allies proud Feasts prepare,
That day to honour which his Grand-fire won;
Though Feasts the Eves to Fun'rals often are.
One from the Forrest now approach'd their sight,
Who them did swiftly on the Spur pursue;
One there still resident as Day and Night,
And known as th' eldest Oak which in it grew.
Who with his utmost breath, advancing cries,
(And such a vehemence no Art could feign)
Away, happie the Man that fastest flies;
Flie famous Duke, flie with thy noble Train!
The Duke reply'd, though with thy fears disguis'd,
Thou do'st my Sires old Rangers Image bear,
And for thy kindness shalt not be despis'd;
Though Counsels are but weak which come from fear.
Were Dangers here, great as thy love can shape;
(And love with fear can danger multiply)
Yet when by flight, thou bidst us meanly scape,
Bid Trees take wings, and rooted Forrests flie.
Then said the Ranger, you are bravely lost,
(And like high anger his complexion rose)
As little know I fear, as how to boast;
But shall attend you through your many Foes.
See where in ambush mighty Oswald lay;
And see from yonder Lawn he moves apace,
With Launces arm'd to intercept thy way,
Now thy sure Steeds are weary'd with the Chace.
His purple Banners you may there behold,
Which (proudly spred) the fatal Raven bear;
And full five hundred I by Rank have told,
Who in their guilded Helms his Colours wear.
The Duke this falling storm does now discern;
Bids little Hugo flie▪ but 'tis to view
The Foe, and timely their first count'nance learn,
Whilst firm he in a square his Hunters drew.
And Hugo soon (light as his Coursers Heels)
Was in their Faces troublesom as wind;
And like to it (so wingedly he wheels)
No one could catch, what all with trouble find.
But ev'ry where the Leaders and the Led
He temp'rately observ'd, with a slow sight;
Judg'd by their looks how hopes and fears were fed,
And by their order, their success in fight.
Their Number ('mounting to the Rangers guess)
In three Divisions evenly was dispos'd;
And that their Enemies might judge it less,
It seem'd one Gross with all the Spaces clos'd.
The Van fierce Oswald led, where Paradine
And Manly Dargonet (both of his blood)
Out-shin'd the Noon, and their Minds stock within
Promis'd to make that outward glory good.
The next bold, but unlucky, Hubert led;
Brother to Oswald, and no less ally'd
To the ambitions which his Soul did wed;
Lowly without, but lin'd with costly Pride.
Most to himself his valour fatal was,
Whose glories oft to others dreadfull were;
So Commets (though suppos'd Destructions cause)
But waste themselves to make their Gazers [...]e [...]r.
And though his valour seldom did succeed,
His speech was such as could in Storms perswade;
Sweet as the Hopes on which starv'd Lovers feed,
Breath'd in the whispers of a yielding Maid.
The bloudy Borgio did conduct the Rere,
Whom sullen Vasco heedfully attends;
To all but to themselves they cruel were,
And to themselves chiefly by mischief Friends.
War, the worlds Art, Nature to them became;
In Camps begot, born, and in anger bred;
The living vex'd till Death, and then their Fame;
Because even Fame some life is to the Dead.
Cities (wise States-men's Folds for civil Sheep)
They sack'd, as painfull Sheerers of the wise;
For they like carefull Wolves would lose their sleep,
When others prosp'rous toyls might be their prise.
Hugo amongst the [...] Troops spy'd many more
Who had, as brave Destroyers, got renown;
And many forward wounds in boast they wore;
Which if not well reveng'd, had ne'r been shown.
Such the bold Leaders of these Launceers were,
Which of the Brescian Vet'rans did consist;
Whose practis'd age might charge of Armies bear,
And claim some ranck in Fame's eternal List.
Back to his Duke the dextr'rous Hugo flies;
What he observ'd he chearfully declares;
With noble Pride did what he lik'd despise;
For wounds he threatned, whilst he prais'd their skars.
Lord Arnold cry'd, vain is the Bugle Horn,
Where Trumpets Men to Manly work invite!
That distant summons seems to say in scorn,
We Hunters may be hunted hard ere night.
Those Beasts are hunted hard that hard can flie,
Reply'd aloud the noble Hurgonil;
But we not us'd to flight, know best to die,
And those who know to die, know how to kill.
Victors through number never gain'd applause;
If they exceed our count in Arms and Men,
It is not just to think that ods, because
One Lover equals any other Ten.

CANTO the Third.

The Ambush is become an inter-view;
And the Surpriser proves to honour true;
For what had first, ere words his furie spent,
Been murder, now is but brave killing meant.
A Duel form'd where Princes Seconds are,
And urg'd by Honour each to kill his share.
THe Duke observ'd (whilst safe in his firm Square)
Whether their form did change whom Oswald led;
That thence he shifts of figure might prepare,
Divide, or make more depth, or loosly spred.
Though in their posture close, the Prince might guess
The Duke's to his not much in number yield;
And they were leading Youth, who would possess
This Ground in Graves, rather than quit the Field.
Thus (timely certain of a standing Foe)
His form'd Divisions yet reveal'd no space
Through haste to charge; but as they nearer grow,
The more divide, and move with slower pace.
On these the Duke attends with watchfull eye;
Shap'd all his Forces to their Triple strength;
And that their Launces might pass harmless by,
Widens his Ranks, and gives his Files more length.
At distance Oswald does him sharply view,
Whom but in Fame he met till this sad hour;
But his fair fame, Virtues known Image, knew;
For Virtue spreads the Owner more than Pow'r.
In Fields far sever'd both had reap'd renown;
And now his envie does to surfet feed
On what he wish'd his Eyes had never known;
For he begins to check his purpos'd deed.
And though Ambition did his rage renew;
Yet much he griev'd (mov'd with the Youthfull Train)
That Plants which so much promis'd as they grew,
Should in the Bud be ere performance, slain.
With these remorsefull thoughts, he a fair space
Advanc'd alone, then did his Troops command
To halt; the Duke th'example did embrace,
And gives like order by his lifted hand.
Then when in easie reach of eithers voice
Thus Oswald spake, I wish (brave Gondibert)
Those wrongs which make thee now my angers choice,
Like my last fate were hidden from my heart.
But since great Glory does allow small rest,
And bids us jealously to honour wake,
Why at alarms given hot even at my brest,
Should I not arm, but thinks my Scouts mistake?
'Tis loud in Camps, in Cities, and in Court,
(Where the important part of Mankind meets)
That my adoption is thy Faction's sport;
Scorn'd by hoarse Rhymers in Verona Streets.
Who is renown'd enough but you or I
(And think not when you visit Fame, she less
Will welcome you for mine known Company)
To hope for Empire at our Kings decease?
The Crown he with his Daughter has design'd;
His favour (which to me does frozen prove)
Grows warm to you, as th'Eyes of Rhodalind,
And she gives sacred Empire with her love.
Whilst you usurp thus, and my claim deride,
If you admire the veng'ance I intend,
I more shall wonder where you got the pride
To think me one you safely may offend.
Nor judge is strange I have this Ambush laid;
Since you (my Rival) wrong'd me by surprise;
Whose darker vigilance my love betraid;
And so your ill example made me wise.
But in the School of glory we are taught,
That greatness and success should measure deeds;
Then not my great revenge, nor your great fault,
Can be accus'd when eithers act succeeds.
Opinions stamp does virtue currant make;
But such small Money (though the Peoples Gold
With which they trade) great Dealers scorn to take,
And we are greater than one world can hold.
Now Oswald paws'd, as if he curious were
Ere this his Foe (the Peoples Fav'rite) dy'd,
To know him as with Eyes, so with his Ear;
And to his speech thus Gondibert reply'd:
Successfull Prince! since I was never taught
To court a Threating Foe, I will not pay
For all the Trophies you from war have brought
A single wreath, though all these woods were B [...]y!
Nor would I by a total silence yield
My honour ta'ne, though I were pris'ner made;
Lest you should think we may be justly kill'd,
And sacred justice by mistake invade.
You might perceive (had not a distant war
Hindred our Breasts the use of being known)
My small ambition hardly worth your care;
Unless by it you would correct your own.
The King's objected love is but your dream,
As false as that I strive for Rhodalind
As Valour's hire; these sickly visions seem
Which in Ambitions Feaver vex your mind.
Nor wonder if I vouch, that 'tis not brave
To seek war's hire, though war we still pursue;
Nor censure this a proud excuse to save
These who no safety know, but to subdue.
Your misbelief my hireless valour scorns;
But your hir'd valour were your faith reclaim'd,
(For faith reclaim'd to highest virtue turns)
Will be of bravest salary asham'd.
Onely with fame Valour of old was hir'd;
And love was so suffic'd with its own taste,
That those intemp'rate seem'd, who more desir'd
For loves reward, than that it self should last.
If love, or lust of Empire, breed your pain,
Take what my prudent hope hath still declin'd,
And my weak virtue never could sustain,
The Crown, which is the worst of Rhodalind.
'Tis she who taught you to increase renown,
By sowing Honours Field with noble deeds;
Which yields no harvest when 'tis over-grown
With wild Ambition, the most rank of weeds.
Go, reconcile the winds faln▪ out at Sea
With these [...]ame precepts, (Oswald did reply)
But since thou dost bequeath thy hopes to me,
Know Legacies are vain till Givers die.
And here his rage ascended to his Eyes
From his close breast, which hid till then the flame;
And like stirr'd fire in sparkles upward flies;
Rage which the Duke thus practis'd to reclaim.
Though you design'd your ruin by surprise,
Though much in usefull Arms you us exceed,
And in your number some advantage lies,
Yet you may find you such advantage need.
If I am vallu'd as th' impediment
Which hinders your adoption to the Crown;
Let your revenge onely on me be spent,
And hazard not my Party, nor your own.
Ambition else would up to Godhead grow,
When so profanely we our anger prise,
That to appease it we the bloud allow
Of whole offenceless Herds for sacrifice.
Oswald (who Honour's publick pattern was,
Till vain ambition led his heart aside)
More temp'rate grew in manage of his cause,
And thus to noble Gondibert reply'd:
I wish it were not needfull to be great;
That Heavens unenvy'd pow'r might Men so aw,
As we should need no Armies for defeat,
Nor for protection be at charge of Law.
But more than Heav'ns, Men, Mans authoritie
(Though envy'd) use, because more understood;
For but for that Life's Utensils would be,
In Markets, as in Camps the price of blood.
Since the Worlds safety we in greatness find,
And pow'r divided is from greatness gone,
Save we the World, though to our selves unkind,
By both endang'ring to establish one.
Nor these, who kindle with my wrongs their rage,
Nor those bold Youth, who warmly you attend,
Our distant Camps by action shall ingage;
But we our own great cause will singly end.
Back to your noble Hunters strait retire,
And I to those who would those Hunters chace;
Let us perswade their fury to expire,
And give obediently our anger place.
Like unconcern'd Spectatours let them stand,
And be by sacred vow to distance bound;
Whilst their lov'd Leaders by our strict command,
As patient witnesses, approach this ground.
Where with no more defensive Arms than was
By Nature ment us, who ordain'd Men Friends,
We will on foot determine our great cause,
On which the Lombards doubtfull peace depends.
The Duke full low did bow, and soon obay,
Confess'd his honour he transcendent finds,
Said he their persons might a meaner way
With ods have aw'd, but this subdues their Minds.
Now wing'd with hope they to their Troops return,
Oswald his old grave Brescians makes retire,
Lest if too near, though like slow Match they burn,
The Dukes rash Youth like Powder might take fire.
First with their noble Chiefs they treat aside,
Plead it humanity to bleed alone,
And term it needless cruelty and pride
With others Sacrifice to grace their own.
Then to their Troops gave their resolv'd command
Not to assist, through anger nor remorse;
Who seem'd more willing patiently to stand,
Because each side presum'd their Champions force.
Now near that ground ordain'd by them and Fate,
To be the last where one or both must tread,
Their chosen Judges they appoint to wait;
Who thither were like griev'd Spectatours led.
These from the distant Troops far sever'd are;
And near their Chiefs divided Stations take;
Who strait uncloath, and for such deeds prepare,
By which strip'd Souls their fleshy Robes forsake.
But Hubert now advanc'd, and cry'd aloud,
I will not trust uncertain Destinie,
Which may obscurely kill me in a Crowd,
That here have pow'r in publick view to die.
Oswald my Brother is! If any dare
Think Gondibert's great name more Kingly sounds,
Let him alight, and he shall leave the care
Of chusing Monarchs, to attend his wounds!
This Hurgonil receiv'd with greedy Ear,
Told him his summons boldly did express,
That he had little judgement whom to fear,
And in the choice of Kings his skill was less.
With equal haste they then alight and met,
Where both their Chiefs in preparation stood;
Whilst Paradine and furious Dargonet,
Cry'd out, we are of Oswald's Princely blood.
Are there not yet two more so fond of same,
So true to Gondibert, or Love's commands,
As to esteem it an unpleasant shame
With idle eyes to look on busie hands?
Such haste makes Beauty when it Youth forsakes,
And day from Travellers when it does set,
As Arnold to proud Paradine now makes,
And little Hugo to tall Dargonet.
The bloudy Borgio, who with anguish stay'd,
And check'd his rage, till these of Oswald's Race,
By wish'd example their brave Challenge made,
Now like his curb'd Steed foaming, shifts his place.
And thus (with haste and choler hoarse) he spake,
Who e're amongst you thinks we destin'd are
To serve that King your Courtly Camp shall make,
Falsly he loves, nor is his Lady fair!
This scarce could urge the temp'rate Tybalts fire,
Who said, When Fate shall Aribert remove,
As ill then wilt thou judge who should aspire,
As who is fair, that art too rude to love.
But scarce had this reply reach'd Borgio's Ear,
When Goltho louder cry'd, what ere he be
Dares think her foul who hath a Lover here,
Though Love I never knew, shall now know me.
Grave Tybalt, who had laid an early'r claim
To this defiance, much distemper'd grows,
And Goltho's forward Youth would sharply blame,
But that old Vasco thus did interpose.
That Boy who makes such haste to meet his fate,
And fears he may (as if he knew it good)
Through others pride of danger come too late,
Shall read it strait ill written in his blood.
Let Empire fall, when we must Monarchs choose,
By what unpractis'd Childhood shall approve;
And in tame peace let us our Manhood loose,
When Boys yet wet with milk discourse of Love.
As bashfull Maids blush, as if justly blam'd▪
When forc'd to suffer some indecent Tongue,
So Goltho blush'd (whom Vasco made asham'd)
As if he could offend by being young.
But instantly offended bashfulness
Does to a brave and beauteous anger turn,
Which he in younger flames did so express,
That scarce old Vasco's Embers seem'd to burn.
The Princes knew in this new kindled rage,
Opinion might (which like unlucky wind
Sate right to make it spread) their Troops engage;
And therefore Oswald thus proclaim'd his-mind.
Seem we already dead, that to our words
(As to the last requests men dying make)
Your love but Mourners short respect affords,
And ere interr'd you our commands forsake?
We chose you Judges of our needfull strife,
Such whom the world (grown faithless) might esteem
As weighty witnesses of parting life,
But you are those we dying must condemn.
Are we become such worthless sacrifice,
As cannot to the Lombards Heav'n atone,
Unless your added blood make up the price,
As if you thought it worthier than our own?
Our fame, which should survive before us, die!
And let (since in our presence disobay▪d)
Renown of pow'r, like that of beauty flie
From knowledge, rather than be known decay'd!
This when with rev'rence heard, it would have made
Old Armies melt, to mark at what a rate
They spent their Hearts and Eyes, kindly afraid
To be omitted in their Gen'rals fate.
Hubert (whose princely quality more frees
Him than the rest, from all command, unless
He find it such as with his will agrees)
Did nobly thus his firm resolve express:
All greatness bred in blood be now abas'd!
Instinct, the inward Image, which is wrought
And given with Life, be like thaw'd wax defac'd!
Though that bred better honour than is taught;
And may impressions of the common ill
Which from street Parents the most low derives,
Blot all my minds fair book if I stand still,
Whilst Oswald singly for the Publick strives:
A Brothers love all that obedience stays,
Which Oswald else might as my Leader claim;
Whom as my love, my honour disobays,
And bids me serve our greater Leader, Fame.
With gentle looks Oswald to Hubert bows,
And said, I then must yield that Hubert shall
(Since from the same bright Sun our lustre grows)
Rise with my Morns, and with my Ev'nings fall!
Bold Paradine and Dargonet reviv'd
Their suit, and cry'd, We are Astolpho's sons!
Who from your highest spring his blood deriv'd,
Though now it down in lower Channels runs.
Such lucky seasons to attain renown,
We must not lose, who are to you ally'd;
Others usurp, who would your dangers own,
And what our duty is, in them is pride.
Then as his last Decree thus Oswald spake;
You that vouchsafe to glory in my blood,
Shall share my doom, which for your merits sake,
Fate, were it bad, would alter into good.
If any others disobedient rage,
Shall with uncivil love intrude his aid,
And by degrees our distant Troops ingage,
Be it his Curss still to be disobey'd.
Wars Orders may he by the slow convey
To such as onely shall dispute them long;
An ill peace make; when none will him obey,
And be for that, when old, judg'd by the young.
This said, he calmly bid the Duke provide
Such of his bloud, as with those chosen Three
(Whilst their adoption they on foot decide)
May in brave life or death fit Partners be.
Though here (reply'd the Duke) I find not now
Such as my bloud with their alliance grace,
Yet Three I see to whom your stock may bow,
If love may be esteem'd of heav'nly Race.
And much to me these are by love ally'd;
Then Hugo, Arnold, and the Count drew near;
Count Hurgonil woo'd Orna for his Bride,
The other Two in Laura Rivals were.
But Tybalt cry'd (and swiftly as his voice
Approch'd the Duke) forgive me mightie Chief,
If justly I envie thy noble choice,
And disobey thee in wrong'd Love's relief.
If rev'renc'd love be sacred Myst'rie deem'd,
And mysteries when hid, to value grow,
Why am I less for hidden love esteem'd?
To unknown God-head, wise Religions bow,
A Maid of thy high linage much I love,
And hide her name till I can merit boast,
But shall I here (where I may worth improve)
For prising her above my self, be lost?
The Duke's firm bosome kindly seem'd to melt
At Tybalt's grief, that he omitted was;
Who lately had Love's secret conquest felt,
And hop'd for publick triumph in this cause.
Then he decreed, Hugo (though chose before
To share in this great work) should equally
With Tybalt be expos'd to Fortune's pow'r,
And by drawn Lots their wish'd election trie.
Hugo his dreaded Lord with chearfull aw
Us'd to obey, and with implicit love;
But now he must for certain honour draw
Uncertain Lots, seems heavily to move.
And here they trembling reach'd at honour so,
As if they gath'ring Flow'rs a Snake discern'd;
Yet fear'd Love onely whose rewards then grow
To Lovers sweetest, when with danger earn'd.
From this brave fear, lest they should danger scape,
Was little Hugo eas'd, and when he drew
The Champion's lot, his joy inlarg'd his shape,
And with his lifted mind he taller grew.
But Tybalt stoop'd beneath his sorrows waight;
Goltho and him kindly the Duke imbrac'd;
Then to their station sent; and Oswald straight
His so injoyn'd, and with like kindness grac'd.
When cruel Borgio does from Tybalt part,
Vasco from Goltho, many a look they cast
Backward in sullen message from the heart,
And through their eyes their threatning anger waste.

CANTO the Fourth.

The Duel where all rules of artfull strife,
To rescue or endanger Darling-life,
Are by reserves of strength and courage shown;
For killing was long since a Science grown.
Th' event by which the Troops engaged are,
As private rage too often turn to war.
BY what bold passion am I rudely led,
Like Fame's too curious and officious Spie,
Where I these Rolls in her dark Closet read,
Where Worthies wrapt in Time's disguises lie?
Why should we now their shady Curtains draw,
Who by a wise retirement hence are [...]reed,
And gone to Lands exempt from Nature's Law,
Where love no more can mourn, nor valour bleed?
Why to this stormy world from their long▪rest,
Are these recall'd to be again displeas'd,
Where during Natures reign we are opprest,
Till we by Deaths high priviledge are eas'd?
Is it to boast that Verse has Chymick pow'r,
And that its rage (which is productive heat)
Can these revive, as Chymists raise a Flower,
Whose scatter'd parts their Glass presents compleat?
Though in these Worthies gone, valour and love
Did chastely as in sacred Temples meet,
Such reviv'd Patterns us no more improve,
Than Flowers so rais'd by Chymists make us sweet.
Yet when the souls disease we desp'rate find,
Poets the old renown'd Physitians are,
Who for the sickly habits of the mind,
Examples as the ancient cure prepare.
And bravely then Physitians hononr gain,
When to the world diseases cureless seem,
And they (in Science valiant) ne'r refrain
Arts war with Nature, till they life redeem.
But Poets their accustom'd task have long
Forborn, (who for Examples did disperse
The Heroes virtues in Heroick Song)
And now think virtue sick, past cure of verse.
Yet to this desp'rate cure I will proceed,
Such patterns shew as shall not fail to move;
Shall teach the valiant patience when they bleed,
And hapless Lovers constancy in love.
Now Honour's chance, the Duke with Oswald takes,
The Count his great Stake, Life, to Hubert sets;
Whilst his to Paradin's Lord Arnold stakes,
And little Hugo throws at Dargonets.
These Four on equal ground those Four oppose;
Who wants in strength, supples it with his skill;
So valiant that they make no haste to close;
They not apace, but handsomly would kill.
And as they more each others courage found,
Each did their force more civilly express,
To make so manly and so fair a wound,
As loyal Ladies might be proud to dress.
But vain, though wondrous, seems the short event
Of what with pomp and Noise we long prepare:
One hour of battel oft that force hath spent,
Which Kings whole lives have gather'd for a war.
As Rivers to their ruin hastie be,
So life (still earnest, loud, and swift) runs post
To the vaste Gulf of death, as they to Sea,
And vainly travels to be quickly lost.
And now the Fates (who punctually take care
We not escape their sentence at our birth)
Writ Arnold down where those inroled are
Who must in Youth abruptly leave the Earth.
Him Paradine into the Brow had pierc't;
From whence his bloud so overflow'd his Eyes,
He grew too blind to watch and guard his breast,
Where wounded twice, to Deaths cold Court he hies.
And Love (by which Life's name does value find,
As Altars even subsist by ornament)
Is now as to the Owner quite resign'd,
And in a sigh to his dear Laura sent.
Yet Fates so civil were in cruelty
As not to yield that he who conquer'd all
The Tuscan Vale, should unartended die,
They therefore doom that Dargonet must fall.
Whom little Hugo dext'rously did vex
With many wounds in unexpected place,
Which yet not kill, but killingly perplex;
Because he held their number a disgrace.
For Dargonet in force did much exceed
The most of Men, in valour equall'd all;
And was asham'd thus diversly to bleed,
As if he stood where showrs of Arrows fall.
At once he ventures his remaining strength
To Hugo's nimble skill, who did desire
To draw this little war out into length,
By motions quick as Heav'ns fantastick fire!
This fury now is grown too high at last
In Dargonet; who does disorder all
The strengths of temp'rance by unruly haste,
Then down to Deaths low Calm does breathless fall.
When with his own Storm sunk, his Foe did spie
Lord Arnold dead, and Paradine prepare
To help Prince Oswald to that victory,
Of which the Duke had yet an equal share.
Vain Conquerour (said Hugo then) return!
In stead of Laurel which the Victor wears,
Go gather Cypress for thy Brothers Urn,
And learn of me to water it with Tears.
Thy Brother lost his life attempting mine;
Which cannot for Lord Arnold's loss suffice:
I must revenge (unlucky Paradine)
The blood his death will draw from Laura's Eyes.
We Rivals were in Laura, but though she
My griefs derided, his with sighs approv'd;
Yet I (in Loves exact integritie)
Must take thy life for killing him She lov'd.
These quick alike, and artfully as fierce,
At one sad instant give and take that wound,
Which does through both their vital Closets pierce;
Where Life's small Lord doth warmly sit enthron'd.
And then they fell, and now near upper Heaven,
Heav'ns better part of them is hov'ring still,
To watch what end is to their Princes given,
And to brave Hubert, and to Hurgonil.
In progress thus to their eternal home,
Some method is observ'd by Destinie,
Which at their Princes setting out did doom,
These as their leading Harbingers to die.
And fatal Hubert we must next attend,
Whom Hurgonil had brought to such distress,
That though Life's stock he did not fully spend,
His glory that maintain'd it is grown less.
Long had they strove, who first should be destroy'd;
And wounds (the Marks of Manhood) gave and took,
Which though like honour'd Age, we would avoid,
Yet make us when possess'd, for rev'rence look.
O Honour! Frail as Life thy sellow Flower!
Cherish'd and watch'd, and humr'ously esteem'd,
Then worn for short adornments of an hour;
And is when lost no more than life redeem'd.
This fatal Hubert finds, if honour be
As much in Princes lost, when it grows less,
As when it dies in men of next degree:
Princes are onely Princes by excess.
For having twice with his firm Opposite
Exchang'd a wound, yet none that reach'd at life,
The adverse sword his Arms best sinew hit,
Which holds that strength, which should uphold their strife.
When thus his dear defence had left his Hand,
Thy life (said Hurgonil) rejoyce to wear
As Orna's favour, and at her command;
Who taught the mercy I will practise here.
To which defenceless Hubert did reply,
My life (a worthless Blank) I so despise,
Since Fortune laid it in her Lotary,
That I'm asham'd thou draw'st it as a Prize.
His grief made noble Hurgonil to melt,
Who mourn'd in this a Warriours various fate;
For though a Victor now, he timely felt
That change which pains us most by coming late.
But Orna (ever present in his thought)
Prompts him to know, with what success for fame
And Empire, Gondibert and Oswald fought;
Whilst Hubert seeks out death▪ and shrinks from shame.
Valour, and all that practice torns to art,
Alike the Princes had and understood;
For Oswald now is cool as Gondibert;
Such temper he has got by losing blood.
Calmly their temper did their art obay;
Their stretch'd Arms regular in motion prove;
And force with as unseen a stealth convay,
As noiseless hours by hands of Dials move.
By this new temper Hurgonil believ'd
That Oswald's elder virtues might prevail;
To think his own help needfull much he griev'd;
But yet prepar'd it le [...]t the Duke should fail.
Small wounds they had, where as in Casements [...]ate
Disorder'd Life; who seem'd to look about,
And fain would be abroad, but that a Gate
She wants so wide, at once to [...]ally out.
When Gondibert saw Hurgonil draw near,
And doubly arm'd at conquer'd Huberts cost,
He then, who never fear'd, began to fear,
Lest by his help his honour should be lost.
Retire, said he; for if thou hop'st to win
My Sisters love by aiding in this strife;
May Heav'n (to make her think thy love a s [...]n)
Eclipse that beauty which did give it life.
Count Hurgonil did doubtfully retire,
Fain would assist, yet durst not disobay;
The Duke would rather instantly expire,
Than hazard Honour's death, by death's delay.
Alike did Oswald for dispatch prepare;
And cries, Since Hubert knew not to subdue,
Glory farewel, that art the Souldiers care,
More lov'd than Woman, less than Woman true▪
And now they strive with all their sudden force
To storm Life's Cit [...]adil, each others Brest;
At which could Heav'ns chief Eye have felt remorse,
It would have wink'd, or hast'ned to the West.
But sure the Heav'nly Movers little care
Whether our motion here be false or true;
For we proceed, whilst they are regular,
As if we Dice for all our actions threw.
We seem surrender'd to indiff'rent Chance,
Even Deaths grave work looks like fantastick play;
That Sword which oft did Oswald's fame advance
In publick war, fails in a private fray.
For when (because he ebbes of bloud did feel)
He levell'd all his strength at Gondibert,
It clash'd and broke against the adverse steel,
Which travell'd onward till it reach'd his heart.
Now he that like a stedfast statue stood
In many Battels registerd by Fames,
Does fall depriv'd of language as of blood;
Whilst high the Hunters send their Victors name.
Some shout aloud, and others wind the Horn!
They mix the Cities with the Field's applause;
Which Borgio soon interprets as their scorn,
And will revenge it ere he mourn the cause.
This the cold Evening warm'd of Vasco's age;
He shin'd like scorching Noon in Borgio's looks,
Who kindled all about him with his rage,
And worse the Triumph than the Conquest brooks.
The Troops (astonish'd with their Leaders fate)
The horrour first with silence entertain;
With loud impatience than for Borgio wait,
And next with one confusion all complain.
Whom thus he urg'd! Prince Oswald did command
We should remove far from the Combat's list;
And there like unconcern'd Spectatours stand,
Justly restrain'd to hinder or assist.
This (Patient Friends!) we dully have obay'd;
A temp'rance which he never taught before,
But though alive he could forbid our aid,
Yet dead, he leaves revenge within our pow'r.

CANTO the Fifth.

The Battel in exact, though little shape,
Where none by flight, and few by fortune scape,
Where even the vanquish'd so themselves behave,
The Victors mourn for all they could not save:
And fear (so soon is Fortune's fullness wain'd)
To lose in one, all that by all they gain'd.
NOw Hubert's Page assists his wounded Lord
To mount that Steed, he scarce had force to guide;
And wept to see his hand without that Sword
Which was so oft in busie Battel try'd.
Those who with Borgio saw his want of blood,
Cry'd out, If of thy strength enough remain,
Though not to charge, to make thy conduct good
Lead us to adde their living to our slain.
Hubert reply'd, Now you may justly boast,
You Sons of War, that Oswald was your Sire;
Who got in you the honour I have lost;
And taught those deeds our Ladies songs admire.
But he (Wars Ancestour, who gave it birth,
The Father of those Fights we Lombards fought)
Lies there embracing but his length of Earth,
Who for your use the world's vast Empire sought.
And cold as he lies noble Dargonet,
And Paradine, who wore the Victors Crown;
Both swift to Charge, and lame in a Retreat;
Brothers in bloud, and Rivals in renown.
This said, their Trumpets sound Revenge's praise;
The Hunters Horns (though terrour of the wood)
Reply'd so meanly, they could scarcely raise
Eccho so loud as might be understood.
The Duke (his fit of fury being spent,
Which onely wounds and opposition bred)
Does weep on faded Oswald, and lament
What was so great in life, is nothing dead.
But cry'd, when he the speechless Rivals spy'd,
O worth, above the ancient price of Love!
Lost are the living, for with these love dy'd;
Or if immortal, fled with them above.
In these we the intrinsick value know
By which first Lovers did love currant deem;
But Love's false Coyners will allay it now,
Till men suspect what next they must contemn.
Not less young Hurgonil resents their chance,
Though no fit time to practise his remorse,
For now he cries (finding the Foe advance)
Let Death give way to life! to horse! to horse!
This sorrow is too soft for deeds behind;
Which I (a mortal Lover) would sustain;
So as to make your Sister wisely kind,
And praise me living, not lament me slain.
Swift as Armenians in the Panthers chace
They flie to reach where now their Hunters are;
Who sought out danger with too bold a pace,
Till thus the Duke did them aloud prepare.
Impatient Friends, stand that your strength may last,
Burn not in blaze rage that should warm you long!
I wish to Foes the weaknesses of haste,
To you such slowness as may keep you strong.
Not their scorns force should your fixt patience move;
Though scorn does more thā boads free minds provoke:
Their flashy rage shall harmless lightning prove,
Which but fore-runs our Thunder's fatal stroke.
For when their fury's spent, how weak they are
With the dull weight of antique Vandal [...]
Their work but short, and little is in war,
Whom rage within, and Armour outward warms.
When you have us'd those arts your patience yields,
Try to avoid their couched Launces force
By dext'rous practise of Croation Fields,
Which turns to lazy Elephants their Horse.
When false retreat shall scatter you in flight,
As if you back to Elements were fled;
And no less faith can you again unite,
Than recollects from Elements the dead.
Make Chasers seem by your swift Rallies, slow;
Whilst they your swifter change of figures fear,
Like that in Battels, which t' amuse the Foe
My Grand-sire taught, as Wars Philosopher.
Think now your Valour enters on the Stage,
Think Fame th'Eternal Choru [...] to declare
Your mighty minds to each succeeding age,
And that your Ladies the Spectatours are.
This utter'd was with so supream a grace,
That ev'ry heart it empty'd, and did raise
Life's chiefest blood in valour to the Face,
Which made such beauty as the Foe did praise.
Yet 'twas Ambition's praise, which but approves
Those whom through envy it would fain subdue;
Likes others honour, but her own so loves,
She thinks all others Trophies are her due.
For Hubert now (though void of strength as fear)
Advanc'd the first Division fast and far;
Bold Borgio with the next attends his Rear,
The Third was left to Vasco's steddy care.
The Duke still watch'd when each Divisions space
Grew wide, that he might his more open spred;
His own brave conduct did the foremost grace,
The next the Count, the third true Tybalt led.
A forward fashion he did wear a while,
As if the Charge he would with fury meet;
That he their forward fury might beguil,
And urge them past redemption by retreat.
But when with Launces couch'd they ready were,
And their thick Front (which added Files in large)
With their ply'd spurs kept time in a Career,
Those soon were vanish'd whom they meant to charge.
The Duke by flight his Manhood thus and force
Reserv'd, and to his skill made Valour yield,
Did seem to blush, that he must lead his Horse
To lose a little ground, to gain the Field.
Yet soon with Ralleys he reviv'd the war;
Hubert pursues the Rear of Hurgonil;
And Borgio's Rear with Chace so loos'ned are,
That them the Count does with close order kill.
And that which was erewhile the Dukes firm Van,
Before old Vasco's Front vouchsafe to flie,
Till with Croation Ralleys they began
In small Divisions hidden strength to trie.
Then cursing Borgio cry'd, Whence comes his skill,
Who men so scatter'd can so firmly mix?
The living Metal, held so volatile
By thy dull word, this Chymick Lord can fix!
He press'd where Hurgonil his fury spends,
As if he now in Orna's presence fought;
And with respect his brave approach attends,
To give him all the dangers which he sought.
So bloody was th'event of this new strife,
That we may here applauded valour blame;
Which oft too easily abandons Life,
Whilst Death is Parent made of noble Fame.
For many now (belov'd by both) forsake
In their pursuit of flying Fame, their breath;
And through the world their Valour currant make,
By giving it the ancient stamp of death.
Young Hurgonil's renowned self had bought
Honour of Borgio at no less a rate,
Had not the Duke dispatch'd with those he sought,
And found his aid must flie, or come too late.
For he advancing saw (which much him griev'd)
That in the fairest Region of the Face,
He two wide wounds from Borgio had receiv'd;
His beauties blemish, but his valours grace.
Now cry'd the Duke, strive timely for renown!
Thy Age will kiss those wounds thy Youth may loath;
Be not dismaid to see thy beautie gone;
My Sister's thine, who has enough for both.
Then soon the Youth, Death as an honour gave
To one that Strove to rescue Borgio's life;
Yet Borgio had dispatch'd him to his grave,
Had Gondibert stood neutral in the Strife:
Who with his sword (disdaining now to stay
And see the bloud he lov'd so rudely spilt)
Pierc't a bold Lombard who imbarr'd his way;
Even till his heart did beat against his Hilt.
Timely old Vasco came to Borgio's aid;
Whose long experienc'd Arm wrought sure and fast;
His rising oppositions level laid,
And miss'd no execution by his haste.
And timely where the bleeding Count now fought,
And where the Duke with Number was opprest,
Resistless Tybalt came, who Borgio sought,
But here with many Borgios did contest.
As Tides, that from their sev'ral Channels haste,
Assemble rudely in th' Ub [...]an Bay,
And meeting there to indistinction waste,
Strive to proceed, and force each others stay.
So here the valiant who with swift force come,
With as resistless valour are ingag'd;
Are hid in angers undistinguish'd Fome,
And make less way by meeting so inrag'd.
But room for Goltho now! Whose valour's fire,
Like lightning, did unlikely passage make;
Whose swift effects like lightnings they admire,
And even the harms it wrought with rev'rence take.
Vasco he seeks, who had his Youth disdain'd;
And in that search he with irreverend rage,
Revengefully from younger Foes abstain'd,
And deadly grew where he encounterd Age.
And Vasco now had felt his Gothick steel,
But that Duke Gondibert (through Helm and Head)
The last dire stroke which Vasco ere shall feel
Did give, and sent him to adorn the dead.
Here Borgio too had faln, but bravely then
The Count so much reveng'd the wounds he gave,
As Gondibert (the Prop of falling Men)
Such sinking greatness could not chuse but save.
When Vasco was remov'd, the Count declin'd
His bashfull Eyes; the Duke thought suddain shame
(From sence of luckless wounds) possess'd his mind;
Which thus he did reform, and gently blame.
Now thy complexion lasting is, and good!
As when the Sun sets red, his Morning Eyes
In glory wake, so now thou setst in bloud,
Thy parting beautie will in honour rise.
These scars thou needst not from my Sister hide;
For as our Father, in brave battel lost,
She first did name with sorrow, then with pride,
Thy beauties loss she'l mourn and after boast.
Mine are but Love's false wounds (said Hurgonil)
To what you Vasco gave; for I must grieve
My strength of honour could not Vasco kill,
That honour lost, yet I have strength to live.
But now behold vex'd Hubert, who in all
This battel was by ready conduct known,
And though unarm'd, and his spent force so small
He could to none bring death, yet sought his own:
And ev'ry where, where Rallies made a Gross
He charg'd; and now with last reserves he try'd
His too slow fate from Gondibert to force,
Where he was Victor and where Vasco dy'd.
The Duke (in Honours School exactly bred)
Would not that this defenceless Prince should be
Involv'd with those, whom he to dying led,
Therefore ordain'd him still from slaughter free.
And now his pow'r did gently make him know,
That he must keep his life, and quit the cause;
More Pris'ner to him self than to his Foe,
For life within himself in Prison was.
His fierce Assistance did not quit the Field,
Till forward marks declar'd they fairly fought;
And then they all with sullen slowness yield;
Vex'd they had found what vain Revenge had sought.
In the renown'd destruction of this day,
Four hundred Leaders were by valours pride
Led to blest shades, by an uncertain way,
Where lowliness is held the surest Guide.
And twice the Tierce of these consists of those
Who for Prince Oswald's love of Empire bled;
The Duke does thus with thanks and praise dispose
Both of the worthy living, and the dead.
Bind all your wounds, and shed not that brave life,
Which did in all by great demeanor past,
(Teaching your Foes a wiser choise of strife)
Deserve a Lease of Nature that may last.
Love warm'd you with those hints which kindled me;
And form'd Ideas in each lovers thought
Of the distress of some beloved she,
Who then inspir'd, and prais'd you whilst you fought.
You nobly prompt my passion to desire,
That the rude Crowd who Lovers softness scorn,
Might in fair field meet those who love admire,
To trie which side must after Battel mourn.
O that those rights which should the good advance,
And justly are to painfull valour due,
(How ere misplac'd by the swift hand of Chance)
Were from that Crowd defended by those few!
With this great Spectacle we should refresh
Those Chiefs, who (though preferr'd by being dead)
Would kindly wish to fight again in flesh:
So all that lov'd by Hurgonil were led.
This gracious mention from so great a Lord,
Bow'd Hurgonil with dutious homage down,
Where at his feet he laid his rescn'd Sword;
Which he accepts, but he returns his own.
By this and thine, said gentle Gondibert,
In all distress of various Courts and war,
We interpledge and bind each others heart,
To strive who shall possess griefs greatest share.
Now to Verona hast, and timely bring
Thy wounds unto my tender Sister's care;
This Days sad story to our dreaded King,
And watch what veng'ance Oswald's Friends prepare.
Brave Arnold, and his Rival streight remove;
Where Laura shall bestrew their hallow'd Ground;
Protectours both, and Ornaments of Love;
This said, his Eyes out-weep'd his widest wound.
Tell her now these (Love's faithful Saints) are gon,
The beautie they ador'd, she ought to hide;
For vainly will Love's Miracles be shown,
Since Lovers faith with these brave Rivals dy'd.
Say little Hugo never more shall mourn
In noble Numbers her unkind disdain;
Who now not seeing beautie feels no scorn;
And wanting pleasure, is exempt from pain.
When she with Flowrs Lord Arnold's Grave shall strew,
And hears why Hugo's life was thrown away,
She on that Rival's Hearse will drop a few;
Which merits all that April gives to May.
Let us forsake for safety of our Eyes
Our other loss; which I will straight inter,
And raise a Trophy where each Body lies;
Vain marks, how those alive the Dead prefer!
If my full Breast, my wounds that empty be,
And this Days toil (by which my strength is gon)
Forbid me not, I Bergamo will see
Ere it beholds the next succeeding Sun.
Thither convey thy souls consid'rate thought,
How in this cause the Court and Camp's inclin'd;
What Oswald's Faction with the King has wrought,
And how his loss prevails with Rhodalind.
The Count and Tybalt take their lowly leaves▪
Their slain they sadly, with consuming hearts,
Bear tow'rds Verona, whilst the Duke perceives
Prince Hubert's grief, and thus his tears diverts.
Afflicted Prince! in an unpleasant hour
You and your living (by blind valour led)
Are captives made to such an easie pow'r,
Shall you as little vex, as Death your dead.
The Dead can ne'r by living help return
From that dark Land, which life could ne'r diselese;
But these alive (for whom the Victors mourn)
To thee I give, thee to thine own dispose.
Be not with honours guilded Baits beguild;
Nor think Ambition wife, because 'tis brave;
For though we like it, as a forward Child,
'Tis so unsound, her Cradle is her Grave.
Study the mighty Oswald vainly gone!
Fierce Paradine, and Dargonet the stout!
Whose Thirds by patient Parcae slowly spun,
Ambition's haste has rashly ravell'd out.
But Hubert's grief no precept could reform:
For great grief counsell'd, does to anger grow;
And he provided now a future Storm,
Which did with black revenge orecast his Brow.
Borgio and he from this dire Region haste;
Shame makes them sightless to themselves and dumb;
Their thoughts flie swift as Time from what is past;
And would like him demolish all to come.
Strait they interre th'inferiour of their slain;
Their nobler Tragick load their grief attends
Tow'rds Brescia, where the Camp they hope to gain,
Then force the Court by faction of their Friends.
To Bergamo the gentle Duke does turn
With his surviving Lovers, who in kind
Remembrance every step look back, and mourn
Their fellow Lovers Death has staid behind.
Some lost their quiet Rivals, some their dear
Love's Brother, who their hopes with help approv'd;
Some such joy'd Friends, as even tomorrow were
To take from Hymen those they dearest lov'd.
But now to Gondibert they forward look,
Whose wounds, ere he could waste three league of way,
So waste him, that his speech him quite forsook,
And Nature calls for Art to make Life stay.
His Friends in torment lest they should forsake
Delightfull him, for whom alone they live;
Urge Heav'n uncivilly for calling back
So soon such worth, it does so seldom give.

CANTO the Sixth.

The Victor is (when with his wounds subdu'd)
By such deform'd and dismal Troops pursu'd,
That he thinks Death, than which they uglier seem,
No ill expedient to escape from them.
But ULFIN guids him to sage ASTRAGON,
By the last Rays of the descending Sun.
SCarce on their Duke their fears kind fit was spent,
When strait a thick arm'd Squadron clouds their sight,
Which cast so dark a shade, as if it meant
Without the Suns slow leave, to bring in night.
This threatning Squadron did consist of Horse,
And by old Ulfin they were gravely led,
Whose mind was sound, nor wants his Body force,
Though many Winters Snow had coold his head.
The sad remainder who with Hubert went,
Did miss his reach, when they to Brescia turn'd,
And now (as if his haste destruction meant)
He chac'd these who the Dukes spent valour mourn'd.
Whose posture being loose, their number few,
His Scouts grow scornfull as they forward come,
He makes his Squadron halt, and near he drew,
Then asks aloud, what are you, and for whom?
The noble Goltho (whose great deeds to day
Prevented Manhood in his early youth)
Believ'd him Oswald's Friend, yet scorn'd the way
To shelter life, behind abandon'd Truth.
For he to Ulfin boldly thus reply'd,
This second Ambush finds us here in vain;
We have no treasure left that we would hide,
Since Gondibert is reckon'd with the slain.
Duke Gondibert we vouch to be our Lord,
To whose high virtues Sov'raignty we bow;
Oswald sunk low, as death, beneath his Sword,
Though him superiour Fate will vanquish now.
Scarce empty Eagles stooping to their prey,
Could be more swift than Ulfin to alight,
And come where Gondibert expiring lay;
Now pleasing those whom he did newly fright.
For scarce that rev'rence which a Monarch draws,
Who seldom will be seen, though often sought;
Who spends his carefull age in making Laws,
To rule those lands for which in youth he fought.
Nor that respect which People pay those Kings,
Whose peace makes rich, whom civil war made wise,
Can equal this which aged Ulfin brings
The gentle Duke, to whom he prostrate lies.
His Eyes (not us'd to tears) bathe ev'ry wound;
Which he salutes as things he chiefly lov'd;
And when expence of spirits he had found,
To gain him air, his Mourners he remov'd.
Make way, said he, and give Experience room,
The Confident of age, though Youth's scorn'd guide,
My wounds, though past, out number yours to come,
You can but hope the knowledge I have try'd.
His Hilts round Pommel he did then unskrew,
And thence (which he from ancient Precept wore)
In a small Chrystal he a Cordial drew,
That weary life could to her walks restore.
This care (amazing all it does delight)
His ruins, which so reverend appear,
With wonder not so much surprise their sight,
As a strange object now his Troops draw near.
In whom such death and want of limbs they find,
As each were lately call'd out of his Tomb,
And left some members hastily behind,
Or came, when born, abortive from the Womb.
Yet this defect of Legs, or Arms, or Hands,
Did wondring valour not disturb, but please;
To see what divers weapons each commands
With arts hard shifts, till custom gave them ease.
But the uncomely absence of an Eye,
And larger wants, which ev'ry visage mourn'd,
(Where black did over-vail, or ill supply)
Was that which wonder into horrid turn'd.
And Ulfin might be thought (when the rude wind
Lifting their Curtains, left their ruins bare)
A formal Antiquary, gravely kind
To Statues, which he now drew out to air.
The Duke (whose absent knowledge was call'd back
By Cordials pow'r) his wonder did increase
So much, that he agen did knowledge lack,
Till thus old Ulfin made his wonder cease.
Auspicious Prince! recorded be this day,
And sung by Priests of each ensuing Age;
On which thou may'st receive, and I may pay
Some debts of duty, as thy Grandsires Page.
That mighty Chief I serv'd in youth's first strength,
Who our short Scepter meant to stretch so far,
Till Eastern Kings might grieve theirs wanted length,
Whose Maps scarce teach where all their Subjects are.
Full many stormy winters we have seen,
When kindled Valour's heat was all our fire,
Else we in stupid Frosts had fetter'd been,
By which soft sinews are congeal'd to wire.
And many scorching Summers we have felt,
Where Death relieves all whom the sword invades;
And kindly thence (where we should toyling melt)
Leads us to rest beneath eternal shades.
For aid of action he obedience taught,
And silent patience for afflictions cure:
He prais'd my courage when I boldly fought,
But said, They conquer most, that most endure.
The toyls of diligence as much approv'd
As Valour's self, or th'Arts her practise gains;
The care of Men, more than of glory lov'd,
Success rewarded, and successless pains.
To joyfull Victors quenching water sent,
Delightfull wine to their lamenting slaves;
For Feasts have more brave lives than Famine spent,
And Temp'rance more than Trench or Armour saves.
Valour his Mistress, Caution was his Friend;
Both to their diff'rent seasons he appli'd;
The first he lov'd, on th'other did depend;
The first made worth uneasie by her pride.
He to submiss devotion more was given
After a battel gain'd, than ere 'twas fought;
As if it nobler were to thank high Heav'n
For favours past, than bow for bounty sought.
And thus through smarting heat, and aking cold,
Till Heav'ns perpetual Traveller▪ had more
Than thirty journeys through the Zodiack told,
I serv'd thy Grandsire, whom I now adore.
For Heav'n in his too ripe and weary age,
Call'd him, where peacefully he rules a Star;
Free'd from the lower El'ments ceaseless rage,
Which last like Monarchs pow'r by needfull war.
Strait thy lamented Father did succeed
To his high place, by Aribert's consent,
Our Ensigns through remoter Lands to lead:
Him too I follow'd till he upward went.
Till that black day on which the Hunns may boast
Their own defeat, and we our conquest hide;
For though we gain'd, and they the battel lost,
Yet then thy brave victorious Father dy'd.
And I am stay'd unwillingly behind;
Not caught with wealth, Life's most intangling snare;
Though both my Masters were in giving kind,
As joyfull Victors after Battel are.
Whilst thus this aged Leader does express
His and their Story whom this bounty feeds,
His hands the Duke's worst order'd wounds undress
And gently bind; then strait he thus proceeds.
West from those Hills till you Cremona reach,
With an unmingled right I gather rent;
By their great Gift who did such precepts teach
In giving, as their wealth is ne'r misspent.
For as their plenteous pity fills my thought,
So their example was not read in vain;
A Thousand, who for them in battel fought,
And now distress'd with Maims, I entertain:
Not giving like to those, whose gifts, though scant,
Pain them, as if they gave with gowty hand;
Such vex themselves, and ease not others want;
But we alike enjoy, a like command.
Most spaciously we dwell, where we possess
All smless pleasures Nature did ordain;
And who that all may have, yet will have less,
Wiser than Nature, thinks her kindness vain.
A sad resolve, which is a wise-mans vow,
From Cities noise, and Cou [...]s unpity'd care
Did so divorce me, it would scarce allow
I ere should take one League of dist [...] ai [...].
But that Alarms from each adjacent part
Which borders my abode, disturb'd my rest,
With dreadfull news that gracious Gondibert
By Oswald's Faction was in fight opprest.
Then it had given your wonder cause to last,
To see the vex'd mistakes this summons wrought
In all my Maim'd Domesticks by their haste,
For some tie on the Limbs which others sought.
Just such mistakes audacious Ethnicks say
Will happen where the Righteous busie are,
Through glad and earnest haste in the last day;
Whilst others slowly to their doom prepare.
And this had Anger, anger noise had bred▪
And Noise, the Enemy of usefull Thought,
Had them to more mistakes than blindness led▪
But that our awfull Camps had silence taught.
Silence did Mem'ry, Mem'ry order make▪
Order to each did his mist wood restore▪
For some, who once were stedfast Foo [...], mistake,
And snatch those limbs which onely Horse-men wore.
Like swift Pursuers on Arabian Horse,
These with their needfull Instruments of hold
(Which give their strange adapted weapons force)
I mounted strait Five Hundred fully told.
These from the Lombards highly have deserv'd,
In Conquests where thy Father did command;
Whom they for Science and affection serv'd,
And lost their Limbs to gain our Scepter Land.
Which yet are noble, though unsightly signs,
That each in active courage much abounds;
And many a widow'd Mother now repines,
They cannot shew the Men who gave those wounds.
For dearly did the Huns for honour pay,
When they deform'd them in a fatal fight;
Since though they strongly struggled for the day,
Yet all they got, was everlasting Night.
And Oswald's Friends, were they not timely gone
(Though all the Faction in one Army were)
Should mourn this act against their Gen'ral's Son,
Who was to Souldiers more than Triumph dear.
For these to Conquest us'd, Retreats dislike;
Thy beauty want, to others Beauty's cost,
With envious rage still at the Face they strike,
And punish Youth, for what in youth they lost.
Thus, though the Duke's amazement be remov'd,
It now returns, gladly on him to gaze,
Who feeds those Fighters whom his Father lov'd;
A gratitude would Virtue's self amaze.
Thou art, said he, (then melted whilst he spake)
So ripe in what nice Heav'n does dearly love,
That Heav'ns remorse for Earth we should mistake,
To think it will forbear thee long above.
As if thy sent for Soul already were
Upon her Wings, so much I give thee gon;
And wish thee left in some Successor here,
That might receive the kindness thou hast shown.
Old Ulfin now (but meltingly as he)
T'inrich him, gives the Jewell of his sight;
For strait, with Father's grave authoritie,
He bids his son, young Ulfinor alight!
Take him (said he) whose duty I release;
In whom all Heav'ns rewards included are,
For all my Justice in corrupted peace,
And for my mercy in revengeful war.
The fruit Heav'ns sent me by my loyal wife,
In age, the gloomy Eve of endless night;
Which eas'd in me the pain of latter life,
And frustrates death, by fresh succession's sight.
The Duke with passion did this Youth embrace;
Then luckie Goltho he call'd forth in view;
Who was this day in Fortun's special grace,
For though no blood he lost, yet much he drew.
Him he with Ulfinor does strait unite;
Bids neither strive the other to precede,
Unless when danger doth them both invite,
But be, even in nice Rivalship agreed.
Bids both their Breasts be eithers open book,
Where nought is writ too hard for sodain Eies;
But [...]ought's plain Text grows easie by a look:
Study breeds doubt, where reading should suffice.
But these to joyn Nature no Counsel needs;
Whom Sympathy, her secret Priest, does wed;
Much fam'd will be their loves, and Martial Deeds;
Which fill all Books that are of Lombards read.
With gracious Eyes, and Bodie lo [...]ly bent,
The Duke his Fathers rev'rend Troops salutes;
To Bergamo He holds his first intent;
Which to oppose, old Ulfin thus disputes.
Thou seest (my Prince) the faint decays of Light;
How hastily the Suns hot Steeds begin
To mend their pace, as if their longing sight
Had newly spy'd their usual Western Inn.
Too far is pleasant Bergamo from hence,
Since Day has reach'd so near his journeys end;
Days strength and yours are at their last expence;
Do not whilst both are wasting, both misspend.
You and Your wounded must with Nature strive,
Till all (whose few hours sway to day excels
Their elder Foes long reign in Camps) arrive
Where Astragon the wise and wealthy dwels.
Rich is that Lord, and rich in learnings wealth;
Art flies his test, he all Art's test endures;
Our Cities send their sick to him for health,
Our Camps the wounded for their certain cures.
Though cautious Nature, check'd by Destinie,
Has many secrets she would ne'r impart;
This fam'd Philosopher is Natures Spie,
And hireless gives th' intelligence to Art.
The Duke with virtue (antiquated now)
Did rev'rence Counsel, and to Age did bend;
His first Course alters, and does this allow;
Then Ulfin as their Guide they all attend.
Soon they the Pallace reach'd of Astragon;
Which had its beauty hid by envious Night,
Whose Cypress Curtain drawn before the Sun,
Seem'd to perform the Obsequies of light.
Yet Light's last rays were not intirely spent,
For they discern'd their passage through a Gate,
Whose height and space shew'd ancient ornament,
And Ancients there in carefull Office sate.
Who by their Weights and Measures did record
Such num'rous Burdens as were thither brought
From distant Regions, to their learned Lord;
On which his Chymicks and Distillers wrought.
But now their common bus'ness they refrain,
When they observe a quiet fullenness
And bloody marks in such a civil Train;
Which shew'd at once their worth and their distress.
The voice of ulfin they with gladness knew,
Whom to this house long neighbourhood indeer'd
Approaching Torches perfected their view,
And taught the way till Astragon appear'd.
Who soon did Ulfin chearfully embrace,
The visits cause by whispers he receiv'd;
Which first he hop'd was meant him as a grace,
But being known, with manly silence griev'd.
And then with gestures full of grave respect,
The Duke he to his own apartment led;
To each distinct retirements did direct,
And all the wounded he ordain'd to Bed.
Then thin digestive food he did provide,
More to enable fleeting strength to stay;
To wounds well search'd he cleansing wines apply'd,
And so prepar'd his rip'ning Balsoms way.
Balm of the Warriour's herb, Hypericon!
To warriour's as in use, in form decreed;
For through the leaves transparent wounds are shown;
And rudely touch'd, the Golden Flower does bleed.
For sleep they juice of pale Nymphaea took,
Which grows (to shew that it for sleep is good)
Near sleep's abode, in the soft murm'ring Brook:
This cools, the yellow Flow'r restrains the Bloud:
And now the wearie world's great Med'cin, Sleep,
This learned Host dispenc'd to ev'ry Guest;
Which shuts those wounds where injur'd Lovers weep,
And flies Oppressours to relieve th' Opprest.
It loves the Corrage, and from Court abstains,
It stills the Sea man though the Storm be high;
Frees the griev'd Captive in his closest Chains,
Stops wants loud Mouth, & blinds the treach'rous Spie!
Kind Sleep, Night's welcome Officer, does cease
All whom this House contains till day return;
And me, Grief's Chronicler, does gently ease,
Who have behind so great a ta [...]k to mourn.
The end of the First Book.

GONDIBERT. The Second Book.

CANTO the First.

VERONA by the Poet's Pencil drawn;
Where HURGONIL did meet the early dawn:
Her wealth shown by each Dwellers early'r care;
Which soon by others peace, she reap'd by war.
The slain, whose life her safetie was and pride,
Are now in death their Fun'ral Rites deny'd.
SUnk near his Evening Region was the Sun,
When Hurgonil with his lamented Load,
And faithfull Tybalt their sad march begun
To Fair Verona, where the Court aboad.
They slowly rode till Night's dominion ceast;
When infant Morn (her scarce wak'd beams display'd)
With a scant face peep [...] shylie through the East,
And seem'd as yet of the black world afraid.
But by increase of swift expansive light,
The lost Horizon was apparent grown,
And many Tow'rs salute at once their sight;
The distant boasts of an Imperial Town.
Verona, spr [...]g from [...]oble Vera's [...],
Whom careless Time (still [...] old Records
Where they are loosly gather'd up by [...]ame)
Proclaims the chief of ancient Tuscan Lords.
Verona borders on that fatal Plain;
Whose barren thirst was quench'd with valiant blood,
When the rough Cy [...]brians by [...]ierce Mari [...] slain,
Left Hills of Bodies where their Ensigns stood.
So safely proud this Town did now appear,
As if it but immortal Dwellers lack'd;
As if Theodorick had ne'r been there,
Nor Attila her wealth and beauty sack'd.
Here Hurgonil might follow with his Eye
(As with deep stream it through the City pass'd)▪
The fruitfull and the frighted Adice,
Which thence from noise and nets to sea does haste.
And on her peopled Bank they might behold
The toyls of conquest paid with works of pride;
The Palace of King Agilulf the old,
Or Monument, for ere 'twas built, he dy'd.
To it that Temple joyns, whose lofty Head
The prospect of a swelling Hill commands;
In whose cool womb the City springs are bred:
On Dorique Pillars this tall Temple stands.
This to sooth Heav'n the bloody Clephes built,
As if Heav'ns King so soft and easie were,
So meanly hous'd in Heav'n, and kind to guilt,
That he would be a Tyrant's Tenant here.
And now they might arrest their wa [...]d'ring [...]ight
With that which makes all other Objects lost;
Makes Lombard greatness [...]a [...] to [...] height,
And Modern Builders bl [...], that else would [...]oast:
An Amphy theater which has controll'd
Unheeded conquests of advancing Age,
Winds which have made the trembling world look old,
And the uncivil Goth's malicious rage.
This great Flaminius did in youth erect,
Where Cities sat to see whole Armies play
Death's serious part: but this we may neglect
To mark the bus'ness which begins with day.
As Day now op'ning fils the Hemisphear,
And all at once; so quickly ev'ry street
Does by an instant op'ning full appear,
When from their dwellings busie Dwellers meet.
From wider Gates Oppressours sally there;
Here creeps th'afflicted through a narrow Door;
Groans under wrongs he has not strength to bear,
Yet seeks for wealth to injure others more.
And here the early Lawyer mends his pace,
For whom the earlier Cliant wai [...]ed long;
Here greedy Creditours their Debtours chace,
Who scape by herding in th' indebted Throng.
Th' advent'rous Merchant, whom a Storm did wake,
(His Ships on Adriatick Billows [...]ost)
Does hope of Eastern winds from Steeples take,
And hastens there a Currier to the Coast.
Here through a secret Postern issues out
The skar'd Adult'rer, who out-slept his time;
Day, and the Husbands Spie alike does doubt,
And with a half hid face would-hide his crime.
There from sick mirth neglectful Feasters [...]eel;
Who cares of want in wine's false L [...]the sleep.
There anxious empty Gamsters homeward steal,
And fear to wake, ere they begin to sleep.
Here stooping Lab'rers slowly moving are;
Beasts to the Rich, whose strength grows rude with case;
And would usurp, did not their Rulers care,
With toile and tax their furious strength appease.
There th' Aged walk, whose needless carefulness
Infects them past the Mindes best med'cin, sleep;
There some to Temples early vows address,
And for th'ore busie world most wisely weep.
To this vast Inn, where Tydes of strangers flow,
The Morn and Hurgonil together came;
The Morn, whose Dewy wings appear'd but slow,
When Men the motion mark'd of swifter Fame.
For Fame (whose journeys are through waies unknown,
Tr [...]celess and swift, and changing as the wind)
The Morn and Hurgonil had much out-gone,
Whilst temp'rate Truth mov'd patiently behind.
For some the Combat (to a Batail grown)
Did apprehend in such prodigious shape,
As if their living to the Dead were gone,
And onely Fame did by her Wings escape.
Some said this Hunting falsely was design'd,
That by pretence both Factions might prepare
Their Armies to contest for Rhodalind,
The Crown's chief Jewel, and Reward of War.
And some report (so far they range from Truth
Who for intelligence must follow Fame)
That then from Bergamo th'encamped Youth,
With Gondibert, to this dire Hunting came.
And some, that Oswald had enlarg'd his Train
With the old Troops by his bold Father led;
And that of these the nobler half were slain,
The rest were to their Camp at Brescia fled.
And as dire Thunder rowling ore Heav'ns vault,
By murmure threatens, ere it kills aloud;
So was this fatal news in whisper brought,
Which menac'd, ere it struck the list'ning Croud.
But Rumour soon to high extreams does move,
For first it Oswald nam'd with dreadfull voice;
Then said that Death had widow'd Truth and Love,
By making Gondibert the second choice.
And to all hearts so dear was Gondibert,
So much did Pitie, Oswald's Valour prise,
That strait their early bus'ness they desert,
And fix on wounded Hurgonil their Eyes.
Him when by perfect day they sadly knew,
Through hiddē wounds, whose blood his beauty stain'd,
Even from the Temples, Angels soon withdrew,
So sawcely th'afflicted there complain'd.
The People straight united clamour gave,
Shriek'd loud like Sea-men split on a strange Coast;
As if those Pow'rs were deaf who should them save,
And Pray'rs no louder than the winds were lost.
Now, with impatience urg'd, he does declare
Whom he so mournfully in Fun'ral brought;
The publick losses of a private war,
Who living, love, and valour, dying taught.
For he does Hugo and Arnoldo name,
To these (said he) Ver [...]ra Cradles gave,
And since in forreign Fields they rais'd her Fame,
They challenge here, though much too soon, a Grave.
Bring sprinklings, Lamps, and th'Altar's precious breath;
All Rites which Priests have prudently devis'd,
Who gratefully a rev'rence teach to death;
Because they most by dying men are pris'd.
But though our loss we justly may complain,
Though even by Priests authority we grieve;
Yet Heav'n's first bounty, Life, let none disdain,
Since Gondibert, our chief Delight, does live.
Th [...] [...]eard, as Sea-men near a Shore unknown,
Who their North Guide lose in a Stormy night,
His absence with distracted silence moan,
And loudly welcome his return to sight:
So when their great Conductor seem'd to be
Retir'd to endless shades amongst the slain,
With silent grief they seem'd as dead as he,
But with new life welcom'd his life again.
And now that cold remainder Valour left
Of these whom Love had lost, and Fate forsook▪
The Two that were of all but Fame berefr,
From Hurgonil the weeping People took.
Whilst of them both sad Hurgonil takes leave,
Till th' universal meeting Faith provides;
The Day when all shall publickly receave
Those Bodies, Death does not destroy, but Hides▪
Then to his Palace he retires by stealth,
His wounds from his lov'd Mistress to conceal,
On whose dear joys so much depends his health;
The wounds her Tears should touch would never heal.
To the chief Temple straight the People bear
The valiant Rivals, who for love were slain;
Whom all he peacefull Priests behold with fear,
And griev'd such Guests they durst not entertain.
For soon the Prior of their Brotherhood
(Who long serv'd Heav'n with praise, the world with pray'r)
Cry'd out, this holy House is shut to blood,
To all that die in combat or despair.
These by their bloody marks in Compar dy'd,
Through anger, the disease of Beasts untam'd;
Whose wrath is hunger, but in Men 'tis pride,
Yet theirs is cruelty, ours courage nam'd.
Here the neglected Lord of peace does live;
Who taught the wrangling world the rules of love,
Should we his dwelling to the wrathfull give,
Our Sainted Dead would rise, and he remove.
Well by his precepts may we punish strife,
Whose pitie knew that Famine, Plague, and Time,
Are Enemies enough to humane life,
None need ore-charge Death's Quiver with a crime.
To unfrequented Fields bear then your slain,
Where neither Dirge nor Requiem shall be giv'n;
To those who by usurp'd Revenge disdain
To take from Men, neglects they put on Heav'n.
But now the People's passions run too far;
Their untaught love, artless extreams does wed;
Of times they like the past, and since they are
Opprest still by the living, love the Dead:
And now resolve these Rivals shall not lose
The Rites of Sprinkling, Incense, Lights, and Song;
Then as the voice of all their Minds, they chuse
An Oratour, of rude, but ready Tongue:
Who at the Temple Gate thus pleads aloud!
We know, though Priests are Pensioners of Heav'n,
Your Flock which yields best rent, is this dull Croud;
The learn'd examine why their Fleece is giv'n.
Though by the Rich first shorn, to you they bear
A second tribute, and by zeal support
Temples which Kings for glory raise, and where
The Rich for fame, the Learn'd as Spies resort.
Temples are yours, not God's lov'd Palaces,
Where Off'rings make not his, but your own Feasts;
Where you most wisely live, because at ease,
And entertain your Founders as your Guests:
With ease you take what we provide with care;
And we (who your Legation must maintain)
Find all your Tribe in the Commission are;
And none but Heav'n could send so large a Train.
But being all Ambassadours from thence,
The growing charge will soon exceed our rent,
Unless you please to treat at his expence
Who sent you; not at ours, where you are sent.
The ancient Laws liv'd in the Peoples voice;
Rites you from Custom, not from Canon draw;
They are but fashions of a graver choice,
Which yield to Laws, and now our voice is Law.
This Tybalt heard with sorrow and disdain,
(Who here with Hurgonil a Mourner came)
And strait the peacefull Fathers strives to gain,
And thus the Peoples Oratour reclaim.
Most usefull Fathers! some trace secret things
Even to his Closet, who is hid in Heav'n;
Vainly as Nilus to his hidden springs,
And not enjoy, but censure what is giv'n.
You with such temper their intemp'rance bear,
To shew your solid science does rely
So on it self, as you no trial fear;
For Arts are weak that are of Scepticks shie.
Though in your Office humane safety lies,
Which opes that Hell the vicious vulgar fear,
Yet never can the People Priesthood prise;
As if from Heav'n your daily errands were.
Not that your message, Truth they disesteem,
Or think it comes from any other way,
But that they Taxes hate, and Truth does seem
Brought as a Tax, when they the Bringers pay.
Thus we to Beasts, fall from our noble kind,
Making our Pastur'd Bodies all our care;
Allowing no subsistence to the Mind,
For Truth we grudge her as a costly fare.
But if they fear (since daily you renew
Disputes) your Oracles are doubtfull still
As those of old; yet more reward is due
To pains, where so uneasie is the skill.
Or if no skill they think it, but suppose
'Tis Faith (& Faith ne'r thinks Heav'n's height too high
Yet Faiths so sev'ral be, that few are those
Can chuse right wings, when they to Heav'n would flie.
Or if they think, Faith humane help transcends,
And to your Science is so strict a bound
As Death to Valour is, where daring ends;
And none are farthest in that Progress found;
Yet in our walk to our last home design'd,
'Tis safe by all the study'd Guides to go;
Lest we in death, too late, the knowledge find
Of what in life 'twas possible to know.
Your Pomp, by which your Pow'r in count'nance dures,
Though costly, costs much less than Camps or Laws;
And more than both, Religion us secures;
Since Hell (your Prison) more than dying aws.
For though the plain Judge, Conscience, makes no show,
But silently to her dark Session comes,
Not as red Law does to arraignment go,
Or War to Execution with loud Drums;
Though she on Hills sets not her Gibbets high,
Where frightfull Law sets hers; nor bloody seems
Like War in Colours spred, yet secretly
She does her work, and many a Man condemns.
Chokes in the seed, what Law, till ripe, ne'r sees;
What Law would punish, Conscience can prevent;
And so the world from many Mischiefs [...]ees;
Known by her Cures, as Law by punishment.
The weaker sighted ever look too nigh;
But their disputes have made your Charter good;
As doubted Tenures, which long pleadings trie,
Authentick grow by being much withstood.
These Chiefs, for whom we holy Rites desire,
By well fought Fields begot this Cities peace;
Oft with their blood have quench'd intestine fire;
And oft our famines chang'd to glad excess.
Their Rites let not the people be de [...]iy'd,
Though by untutor'd kindness rudely fought;
Nor think they have in private Comba [...] dy'd,
Where Gondibert and mighty Oswald fought.
Both Princes of the Lombards royal blood;
For whom full Thrice Three Hundred number'd are,
Whose anger strove to make their anger good;
Number gives strife th'authentick name of War.
This said, Wars cause these Priests no more debate,
They knew, War's Justice none could ere decide;
At that more specious name they open strait,
And sacred Rites of Fun'ral they provide.
How vain is Custom, and how guilty Pow'r?
Slaughter is lawfull made by the excess;
Earth's partial Laws, just Heav'n must needs abhor,
Which greater crimes allow, and damn the less.

CANTO the Second.

Fame's progress through Verona, when she brings
Ill news enlarg'd, as her extended wings.
The Combat's cause shakes ARIBERT'S great mind;
And the effects more conquers RHODALIND.
Meek ORNA'S fears, proud GARTHA'S bold disdain;
And LAURA kindly dying for the Slain.
To Streets (the Peoples Region) early Fame
First brought this grief, which all more tragick make;
And next, to the triumphant Court she came,
Where prosp'rous Pow'r sleeps long, though Sutors wake;
But yet the early King (from Childhood bred
To dangers, toyls, and courser wants of war)
Rose up to rule, and left soft Love in bed,
Could conquer Lands and Love, but stoopt to Care.
Care, that in Cloysters onely seals her Eies,
Which Youth thinks folly, Age as wisdom owns;
Fools by not knowing her, out live the wise;
She Visits Cities, but she dwells in Thrones.
Care, which King Aribert with Conquest gain'd,
And is more sure to him than Realms intail'd;
Wak'd him to know why Rumor thus complain'd,
Or who in battail bled, or who prevail'd?
Young Hurgonil (who does his wounds conceal,
Yet knew it did his dutious care import
That some just witness should his cause reveal)
Sent Tybalt to appease, and tast the Court.
To that proud Palace which once low did lie
In Parian Quarries, now on Columes stands:
Ionique Props that bear their Arches high,
Which conquer'd treasure rais'd with Tuscan Hands.
So vast of heighth, to which such space did fit
As if it were o're-cyz'd for Modern Men;
The ancient Giants might inhabit it;
And there walk free as winds that pass unseen,
The Monarch's wealth this shew'd in all the parts;
But the attendant Guards denote him wise;
Who on the weather of his Peoples hearts,
For a short Course, not voyages, relies.
Through many Guards (all watchful, calm, and bold)
Tybalt did pass the first magnifick Square;
And through ascents does enter to behold,
Where the States Head and Eies assembled are.
There sa [...] the King, on whose consid'rate Brow
Sixtie experienc'd Summers he discern'd,
Which made him ripe, and all of Conduct know
That from success is own'd, from losses learn'd.
Near him the Empire's strict Surveyors sate;
whose universal fight no object lose;
Who see not crimes too soon, nor worth too late;
Find dangers seed, and choke it ere it grows.
He wealth nor birth preferr'd to Councels place;
For Counsel is for use, not ornament;
Souls are alike, of rich and ancient Race;
Though Bodies claim distinctions by descent.
Here boyling Youth, nor frozen Age can sit:
It would in Subjects scorn of ruling Breed,
If that great work should such small ayds admit,
And make them hope that they no rulers need.
Nature too oft by birth-right does prefer
Less perfect Monarchs to a busie Throne;
Yet more than her, Courts by weak Counc'lers err,
In adding Cyphers where she made but one.
To this wise King, sage Tybalt did relate
The Combats cause, with truth's severe extent;
Reveals that fire which kindl'd Oswald's hate:
For which such precious valour was misspent.
Gives Gondibert a just record of praise;
First how unwilling, then how bold in fight;
And crowns the Conquer'd with the Victor's Baies,
When Manhood bids him do their valour right:
At last recounts the wounded and the slain;
And how Prince Hubert and the Duke retir'd;
From nothing brave or great he did refrain,
But his own deeds, which doing were admir'd.
This Arribert with outward patience hears,
Though wounded by the cause for which they fought;
With mod'rate joy the death of Oswald bears;
Yet justly to extreams it inward wrought.
Tybalt he now with peacefull looks discharg'd;
And then his thoughts (imprison'd in his breast)
He straight by libertie of Tongue inlarg'd;
Which thus unto his Councel he addrest.
With what a diff'rence Nature's pallate tasts
The sweetest draught which Art provides her, Pow'r:
Since Pow'r, Pride's Wine, but high in relish last
Whilst fuming new, for Time does turn it sow'r?
Yet Pow'r, Earth's tempting Fruit, Heav'n first did plant
From Mans first Serpent safe, Ambition's reach;
Else Eden could not serve Ambition's want;
Whom no command can rule, nor precept teach.
Pow'r is that luscious wine, which does the bold,
The wise, and noble most Intoxicate;
Ads time to Youth, and takes it from the Old;
Yet I by surfeit this Elixer hate.
I curse those Wars that make my glory last;
For which the Tuscan Widows curse me more;
T [...]e barren Fields where I in Arms did fast,
That I might furfeit on Iuxurious pow'r.
Thou Hermegild, who art for valour Crown'd,
For honour trusted, and for wisdom heard;
And you whom Counsel has no less renown'd,
Observe how virtue against peace has err'd.
Still I have fought, as if in Beauty's sight,
Out-suffer'd patience, bred in Captives Breasts;
Taught fasts, till Bodies like our Souls grew light;
Out-watch'd the jealous, and out-labour'd Beas [...].
These were my merits, my reward is Pow'r;
An outward Trifle, bought with inward peace;
Got in an Age, and rifled in an hour;
When feav'rish love, the People's Fit, shall cease.
For did not Pow'r on their frail love depend,
Prince Oswald had not treated with that love;
Whose glory did in hastie darkness end;
A spark which vanish'd, as it upward strove.
By scorn of dangers and of ease, he sought▪
The Lombards hearts, my Rhodalind, and Crown;
And much his youth had by his practice wrought,
Had Gondibert not levell'd his renown:
Had Gondibert not staid the Peoples Eyes
(Whose virtue stept 'twixt Oswald and their sight)
Who knows but Rhodalind had been his Prise,
Or war must have secur'd Paternal right.
Sad and uneasie is a long-kept Throne;
Not that the People think long pow'r unjust,
But that for change, they wish best Monarchs gone;
Fond change, the People's soon repented lust!
I did advance (though with some jealous pain)
A forward virtue to my subjects love;
Lest one less temp'rat should their favour gain;
Whom their unstudy'd choice would more approve.
To thee sage Hermegild my self I leave,
My fame and pow'r: Thee action cannot waste;
Caution retard, nor promptitude deceave;
Slowness belate, nor Hope drive on too fast.
Think Hubert Heir to Oswald's bold pretence;
To whom the Camp at Brescia is inclin'd;
The Duke at Bergamo will seek defence;
And these are seeds of war for Rhodalind.
This said, his Councel he dismiss'd, who spy'd
A growing rage, which he would fain conceal;
They durst but nicely search, what he would hide,
Lest they inflame the wound that else might heal.
They haste to sev'ral Cares, some to allay
Court's hectick Feaver, Faction (which does reign
Where Luxury, the Syre of Want, does sway)
Some to appease th'Alliance of the slain.
But Order now bids us again pursue
Th' unweary'd Motion of unhappie Fame;
From Fields to Streets, from Streets to Court she flew;
Where first she to the Kings Apartment came.
Thence through the Palace she her wings did air;
And as her Wings, her Tongue too never ceas'd;
Like restless Swallows in an Evening fair:
At last does on a peacefull dwelling rest.
Where Sleep does yet that gentle Sex possess,
Who ne'r should more of Care's rude wakings know,
But what may help sad Lovers to success;
Or imp Loves wings when Hymen thinks them slow.
There Lovers seek the Royal Rhodalind;
Whose secret breast was sick for Gondibert;
And Orna, who had more in publick pin'd
For Hurgonil, the Monarch of her heart.
And there the killing Laura did reside;
See, of whose Eyes the Lombard Youth Complain;
Yet often she for noble Arnold di'd;
And knew not now her Murderer was slain.
Nor Hugo, who was all with love indu'd;
Whom still with tears the Lombard Ladies name;
Esteeming Modern Lovers false, and rude,
And Poets falser when they sing their fame.
These Beauties (who could soften Tyrant Kings)
Sleep now conceal'd within there Curtains shade;
Till rudely Fame, by shaking loud her wings
Disturb'd their Eyes, and their wak'd hearts dismay'd.
They heard in parcels by imperfect sound,
A tale too dismal to be understood;
That all their Lovers lay in hallow'd ground;
Temples their Bodies hid, the Fields their bloud.
That this dire Morn to sad Verona brought
The Duke and Oswald, of lov'd life depriv'd;
And that of all who their fierce battel fought,
Onely the mangled Hurgonil surviv'd.
This Tale, Fam's course, officious Friends convey'd,
(Which are attendant Slaves, and Palace Grooms)
Who by the Lover of some busie Maid,
From outward Courts sent it to inward Rooms.
Such horrour brought, where love had onely us'd,
Did yet breed more amazement than belief;
Whilst Orna now, and Laura flie confus'd
To R [...]odalind, Truth's Altar, for relief.
There with disorder'd voyces they compare,
And then derive what each has loosly learn'd;
Each hope applies, where others most despair;
As doubting all but where her self's concern'd.
This weeping conf'rence had not lasted long,
When Tybalt, free from Aribert's commands,
Scapes the assembling Court's inquiring Throng,
And enters here; where first he doubtfull stands.
For Pitie, when he ruin'd Laura spi'de.
Bids his discretion artfully complain;
And shew far off, what Truth not long can hide:
Death at a distance seen, may ease fears pain.
Their bus'ness now he can no more forbear;
For who on their urg'd patience can prevail,
Whose expectation is provok'd with fear?
He therefore thus their patience did assail.
Kind Heav'n that gave you virtue, give you peace;
Delightfull as your Beauties be your Minds;
Still may your Lovers your renown increase,
Though he who honour seeks, first danger finds!
Still may your beauty bear that ancient rate,
Which beautie was chaste Honours Merchandice;
When Valor was chief Factor in Love's State;
Danger, Love's stamp, and Beautie's currant price.
Renown'd be Oswald, who in high belief
Of Rhodalind, her love with danger sought;
In Love's Records be Gondibert the chief,
Who for her right, not for his own has sought.
Though these for mighty minds deserve Fame's voice;
Yet Orna needs must boast of Hurgonil;
Whose dangers well have justifi'd her choice,
And might alone Fame's publick Trumpet fill.
Enlarg'd be Honor's Throne, that Arnold there
And Hugo may for ever sit and rest,
Free from their Valor's toyls, and Laura's fear;
Which more than wounds disorder'd eithers Breast.
This said, he paws'd; finds each distrusts his art;
For Hope and Doubt came and return'd apace,
In chang'd Complexion from th'uncertain heart,
Like frighted Scowts for Tidings to the Face.
His Eie seem'd most imploy'd on Rhodalind;
Whose love above her bashful caution sways;
For naming Gondibert, he soon did find,
Her secret Soul shew'd pleasure at his praise.
Yet when she found her comforts did not last,
And that as Oracles, the future taught
He hid Truth's Face, and darkned what was past;
Thus Truth through all her mourning Vails she sought.
Why in these Ladies do you lengthen pain,
By giving them Grief's common med'cin, Doubt?
Ease those with death, whose Lovers now are slain;
Life's fire a Feaver is, when Love's is out.
Yet think not that my cares peculiar are;
Perhaps I from religious pitie learn'd,
In Virtue's publick loss to take some share;
For there, all but the vicious are concern'd.
Your Prudence, Royal Maid (he straight replies)
More than your birth, may claim the Lombards Crown;
Who'ere in conquest of your favour dies;
For life's lost Inch, shall find a long renown.
Then happy Oswald who is sure to gain,
Even by Ambition that undoes the wise;
Great was th'attempt for which he's nobly slain;
And gets him praise, though he has mist the Prize.
But happier Gondibert, who does survive
To beg your Mercy, that he thus hath dar'd
To own that cause, for which the world might strive;
And conq'ring, takes his wounds for his reward.
Be Hurgonil long distant from his Grave,
Whose life was so important in this cause;
Who for each wound he took, a wider gave,
And live [...]t' enjoy the pleasure of applause.
To say, how Hugo and Lord Arnold strove
For victory, and mention their event,
Were to provide such fun'ral rites for Love,
As Death would be closs Mourner, and repent.
Now Laura's blood back to her liv [...] fled;
True Beautie's Mint: For by her Heart L [...]ve's Throne,
Beautie's call'd in, like Coyn, when Kings are dead
As if not currant, now her Lover's gone.
And like her beauty, she had darkned life▪
But that with sprinkled water they restore▪
(By sudden cold, with sudden heat a [...]strife)
Her spirits to those walks they us'd before.
She Arnold calls, then lost that [...]e again,
Which Rhodalind, and Orna's tears [...]e [...]one,
Who busily would her spent strength sustain,
Though Hope has scarcely yet brought back their own.
Now they her Temples chaf'd, and straight prepare
Hot Eastern Fumes to reach her Brains cool'd sence▪
With Wine's [...]erce spirits these extracted are,
Which warm but slowly, though of swift expence.
Yet now again she breath'd Lord Arnold's name,
Which her apt Tongue through custom best exprest;
Then to stay Life, that so unwilling came,
With Cordial Epithems they bath'd her breast.
Th' attendant Maids, by Tyhalt's ready aid,
To stop her Mourners tears, convey her now
Where she may ease in her own Curtain's shade
Her weary heart, and grief more Tongue allow.
No sooner was this pity'd Laura gone,
But Oswald's sister, Gartha the renown'd▪
Enters, as if the world were overthrown,
Or in the tears of the afflicted drown'd.
Unconquer'd as her beauty was her mind;
Which wanted not a spark of Oswald's fire▪
Ambition lov'd, but ne'r to Love was kind▪
Vex'd Thrones did more than quiet shades desire.
Her Garments now in loose neglect she wore,
As sured to her wild dis-shevell'd hair;
Men in her shape might Nature's work adore,
Yet ask, why Art's nice dress was absent there?
But soon they found what made this change appear;
For meeting Truth, which slowly follows Fame,
Rage would not give her leasure for a Tear
To quench (ere he thus spake) her passions flame.
Blasted be all your beauties Rhodalind,
Till you a shame, and terrour be to light;
Unwing'd be Love, and slow as he is blind,
Who with your Looks poyson'd my Brothers sight!
Low and neglected be your Father's Throne,
Which like your beauty, Oswald did ore-rate;
Let luckless war take Lands from his light Crown,
Till those high cares he want that give it weight!
Let Pow'rs consumption be his long disease,
(Heav'ns vexing curb, which makes wild Monarchs [...]am)
And be he forc'd in froward age to please
His Favour's Monster, who devours his Fame.
May you soon feel (though secret in your love,
As if your love were Sin) the publick scorn!
May Gondibert, who is your glory, move
Your pitie, when none else but you shall mourn!
To the dark Inn (where weary Valour, free
From thankless dangers rests) brave Oswald's gone!
But Hubert may, though vanquish'd, live to see
Your Victor with his victory undone!
This said, she mounts (with a tempestuous Brow)
The Chariot her Calabrian Coursers drew;
Lifted by Slaves (who still about her bow)
As if with wings of swift Revenge she flew.
To Brescia's Camp her course she had design'd;
And bids her Tuscan Cha [...]ioter drive on,
As if his Steeds were dieted with wind!
Slow seems their speed whose thoughts before them [...]
The pav'd Streets kindle with her Chariot wheels!
The Omen of wars fire the Citie spies,
Which with those sparks struck by her Coursers heels,
Shine not so much as rage does in her Eyes.
Those that observ'd her anger, grief, and haste,
With ancient Roman melancholy mourn;
She seem'd their Cities Genius as she pass'd,
Who by their Sins expell'd, would ne'r return.
The gentle Ladies, she has left in tears,
Who no example need, nor cause to melt;
For soon even grief's Alarms, our foremost tears,
Kill those whose pain by Love's quick sence is felt.
And Rhodalind her fatal love does blame,
Because she finds it now by Gartha spy'd;
And does lament Love's fire, which bashfull shame
Cannotreveal, nor her discretion hide.
She would not have it waste, nor publick grow,
But last conceal'd like that in Tullia's Urn;
Or that which prosp'rous Chymists nicely show;
Which as it thrives, must more in private burn.
Yet straight (grown valiant with her Victors fate)
She would have Hymen hold his Torches high;
And Love's fire priz'd, as Vestals theirs did rate;
Which none durst quench, though free to ev'ry eye.
Resolves her love whilst this new valour lasts,
Shall undisguis'd her Father's sight endure;
And Orna now to her dear Lover hastes;
Whose outward wounds stay for her inward cure.
But here a wonder may arrest our thought,
Why Tybalt (of his usual pity void)
To such sost Ears these direfull sorrows brought,
Since to the King he onely was employ'd?
But these are Ridles of mysterious Love!
Tybalt in private long for Laura pin'd;
And try'd how Arnold would her passion move
In death, who living ever fill'd her mind?
And by this trial how she Arnold us'd,
He gravely meant to urge or stay his heart;
But much by Love the Cautions are abus'd,
Who his wild Ridles would reduce to Art.

CANTO the Third.

Dead OSWALD to his Camp by HUBERT brought;
The Camp from pitie, are to furie wrought;
Yet find, when GARTHA's looks does them surprise,
Their forward Hands diverted by their Eyes:
Till with her voice new urg'd, they deeds pursue
Which ever Revenge would, had it Eyes, eschew.
WHen from the fatal Forrest Hubert rode,
To Brescia he and Borgie bent their way;
That their, though dead, yet much important Load,
They might with horrour to the Camp convay.
Revenge, impatient Hubert proudly sought▪
Revenge, which even when just the wise deride;
For on past wrongs we spend our time and thought,
Which scarce against the future can provide.
But Fame before him came, where those are b [...]ed
Who to her dismal Tales, faint eredit give;
Who could not think their mighty Oswald dead,
VVhilst they unconquer'd and unwounded live▪
Nor could Fame hope to make this Camp her Seat;
Her Tales, the talking, idle, fearfull, hear;
But these are silent as in sto [...]n retreat,
Busie as life, and like the Dead, past fear.
Near Mela's flowry Bank this Army lay,
VVhich Oswald's Syre, and Oswald oft had led
Against the Vandals King; and twice the Day
They gain'd, whilst he from them and Empire fled.
From Youth expos'd, like [...] in the Field;
And not taught war [...]th, as Citie Infants are;
But colds and [...]asts, to kill or to be kill'd;
Like th'Elements their birth began with war.
So rev'rend now, and strong in age appear,
As if maintain'd by more than humane breath;
So grave, as if the Councellours they were▪
Not Executioners of Tyrant Death.
VVith silence (order's help, and mark of ca [...])
They chid that noise which [...]eedless youth effect;
Still course for use, for health they cleanty were,
And save in well fix'd Arms, all niceness check'd.
They thought, those that unarm'd expos'd f [...]all life;
But naked Nature valiantly betrai'd;
VVho was, though naked, safe, till pride made strife;
But made defence must use, now dangers made.
And those who toyl of Armour cannot bide,
Lose Nature's force, which these in custom find;
And make (since strength's but Nature hou [...]ly try'd)
The Body weak by softness of the Mind.
They seem'd so calm, and with their age so grave,
So just and civil in their killing trade,
As if all life were crime but what they save;
Or Murder were by method lawfull made.
Yet now that Manhood which those Victors makes
(So weak is Man, where most he may be proud)
Pitie, the tender'st of affections, shakes,
And they become from order, loose, and loud.
For when they saw the Brother of their Chief
Led to their Camp by a defeated Train,
They soon, too late scorn'd Rumour, gave belief,
And then by Hubert's wounds thought Oswald slain.
But when disguis'd in death they Oswald saw,
In a slow Chariot brought, with fun'ral pace;
Themselves in an united Croud they draw;
And give all grief one universal Face.
Wonder (which grows unactive by excess)
A while did their unruly passion stay;
The object lasting made their wonder less,
Which fled to give their grief and anger way.
Yet first their grief (which Manhood should restrain)
They vent in womens sighs, with tears allay'd;
As if those women taught them to complain
Who by their Swords are weeping widows made.
As Icie Rocks which frosts together bind,
Stand silent, till as silently they melt,
But when they meet in Currents unconfin'd,
Swell, and grow loud, as if they freedom felt;
So these, unmov'd before, melt quietly
In their first grief, till grief (when tears meet tears,
And sighs meet sighs from ev'ry Breast and Eye)
Unruly grows, and danger's visage bears.
When hastily they heard by whose dire hand
Their Gen'ral fell, they think it cold to pause
Till anger may be guided by command;
And vain to ask of cureless Death the cause.
Some would to Bergamo their Ensignes bear,
Against those Youth which Gondibert had led;
Whom they in sacrifice would offer there,
T'appease the living, and revenge the dead.
And some (to shew their rage more eminent(
VVould to Verona march, and there do deeds
Should make the shining Court in blacks lament,
And weep, whilst the Victorious Faction bleeds.
Hubert (who saw Revenge advance so fast,
VVhilst Prudence, [...]lower pac'd was left behind)
VVould keep their anger bent, yet slack their haste;
Because the rash fall oftner then the blind.
He first their melting Pity kindly prais'd,
VVhich water'd Anger's forge, and urg'd their fire;
That like to Meteors lasts by being rais'd,
But when it first does sink, does strait expire.
Commends their anger, yet that flame he prays
May keep the temp'rate Chymicks equal heat;
That they in surie might not need allays,
Nor charge so rashly as to want retreat.
Begs they this dismal night would there remain,
And make the hopeful Morn their Guid; whilst Grief
(Which high Revenge, as tameness should disdain)
Sleep shall conceal, and give his wounds relief.
He Vasco, Paradine, and Dargonet,
VVith Oswald, to the red Pavilion sent;
(Death's equal Pris'ners now for Nature's debt)
And then retires with Borgio to his sent.
This is the night the Brescians so bemoan'd;
Who left their beds, and on then walls appear'd;
As if th'oppressed World in Earth-quakes groan'd,
Or that some ruin'd Nation's figh [...] they heard;
Admir'd what in that Damp such griefs could raise,
Where serious Death so oft had been abus'd,
When even their sportive Fencers Monthly Plays
Profan'd that shape, which States for terror us'd.
Yet this loud mourning will no wonder breed,
When we with life lay Oswald's errors by,
And use him as the Living use the Dead;
Who first allow men virtue when they die.
Still lib'ral of his life, of wealth as free;
By which he chief in fighting Crowds became;
Who must their Leaders Va [...]ors often see;
And follow them for bounty more than fame.
This gen'ral mourning was to loudness rais'd,
By shewing Gifts he gave, and wounds he took;
They chid at last his life which they had prais'd,
Because such virtue it so soon forsook.
Now Night, by Grief neglected, hastes away!
And they the Morn's officious Usher spie,
The closs Attendant on the Lord of Day;
Who shows the warmer of the World is nigh.
And now the Drums, the Camps low Thunder, make
War's thick united noise from ev'ry Guard;
Though they Reveillees scorn, whom grief does wake,
And sleep, think Nature's curse, not toyls reward.
All night proud Borgio (chief in Hubert's trust)
With haughtie hopes, the Camp does waking keep:
Ambition is more vigilant than Lust,
And in hope's feaver is too hot to sleep.
Now Day, and Hubert haste to publick view;
His wounds (unluckie more than dangerous)
Are so refresh'd, that he the Army drew
To a wide gross, and urg'd their Anger thus.
Friends to my Father! In whose wounds I see
They envy'd Merit whence his triumphs came;
And Fathers to my Brother, and to me;
For onely you adopted us to Fame!
Forgive me that I there have [...]eebly [...]ought,
Where Oswald in your cause did nobly strive;
Whence of his bloud these veins so much have brought,
As makes me blush that I am still alive!
Gone is your fighting Youth, whom you have bred
From milkie Childhood to the years of bloud!
By whom you joy'd so often to be led,
Where firm, as now your Trophies, then you stood!
Gon is he now, who still with low regard
Bow'd to your age, your wounds as beautie kist;
Knew Age was of your temp'rance the reward;
And Courts in beauty by your skars subsist.
Yet was he not for mean pretensions slain,
Who for your int'rest, not his own has fought;
Vex'd that the Empire which your wounds did gain,
Was by a young unwounded Army sought!
For Gondibert (to whom the Court must bow,
Now War is with your Fav'rite overthrown)
Will by his Camp of Boys at Bergamo,
Wed her, who to your Valour ows the Crown.
Blame not your Chief for his ambitious fire;
Who was but temp'rate, when he understood
He might the Empire in your right require;
The scant reward of your exhausted bloud.
Thus Hubert spake, but now so fierce they grow,
That Borgio strove to quench whom Hubert warm'd;
To Bergamo, they cry'd, to Bergamo!
And as they soon were vex'd, as soon are arm'd.
For to distinct and spacions Tents they hie,
Where quick as Vests of Persia shifted are,
Their Arms (which there in cleanly order lie)
They take from moving Ward-robes of the War.
Arm'd soon as Porquipins! as if like those,
Their very rage them with defence supplies;
As born with it, and must have winged Foes
That stoop from Heav'n to harm them by surprise.
With Ensigns now display'd, there Force they draw
To hastie order, and begin to move;
But are amus'd by something that they saw,
Which look'd like all that ere they heard of Love.
Unusual to their Camp such objects were,
Yet this no ill effect from wonder wrought;
For it appeas'd them by approching near,
And satisfi'd their Eyes in all they sought.
And this was Gartha in her Chari'ot drawn;
Who through the swarthie Region of the Night
Drove from the Court; and as a second dawn
Breaks on them like the Morns Reserve of Light.
Through all the Camp she moves with Fun'ral pace,
And still bows meekly down to all she saw;
Her grief gave speaking beautie to her Face,
Which lowly look'd, that it might pitie draw.
When by her Slaves her name they understood,
Her Lines of feature heedfully they view,
In her complexion track their Gen'ral's bloud,
And find her more than what by fame they knew.
They humbly her to that Pavilion guide,
Where Hubert his bold Chiefs with furie fir'd;
But his ambition, when he Gartha spy'd
(To give his sorrow place) a while retyr'd.
With his respectfull help she does descend;
Where they, with dear imbraces mingle Tears,
But now her Male Revenge would grief suspend;
Revenge, through Grief, too feminine appears.
But when her dear Allies, dead Paradine,
And Dargonet she saw: that Manliness
Which her weak Sex assum'd, she does decline;
As bred too soft, to mannage griefs excess.
Then soon return'd, as loth to shew her Eyes
No more of Oswald than she must forsake;
But sorrow's moisture heat of anger dries;
And mounted in her Chariot, thus she spake:
If you are those of whom I oft have heard
My Father boast, and that have Oswald bred;
Ah, where is now that rage our Tyrant fear'd;
Whose Darling is alive, though yours be dead?
The Court shines out at Rhodalind's commands,
To me (your drooping Flowre) no beam can spare;
Where Oswald's name new planted by your hands,
Withers, as if it lost the planters care.
From Rhodalind I thus disorder'd flie;
Lest she should say, thy Fate unpity'd comes!
Go sing, where now thy Fathers Fighters lie,
Thy Brothers Requiem, to their conqu'ring Drums!
The happy Fields by those grave Warriours fought,
(Which from the Dictates of thy aged Syre,
Oswald in high Victorious Numbers wrote)
Thou shalt no more sing to thy silenc'd Lyre!
Such scorns, pow'r on unlucky virtue throws,
When Courts with prosp'rous vices wanton are;
Who your Authentick age dispise for those,
Who are to you but Infants of the war.
Thus though she spake, her looks did more perswade;
Like virtuous anger did her colour rise,
As if th' injurious world it would invade,
Whilst tears of rage not pitie drown her Eyes.
The sun did thus to threatned Nature show
His anger red, whilst guilt look'd pale in all;
When Clouds of Flouds did hang about his Brow,
And then shrunk back to let that anger fall.
And so she turn'd her Face, not as to grieve
At ruin, but to lisence what she rais'd;
Whilst they (like common Throngs) all Tongues believe
When Courts are tax'd, but none when they are prais'd.
Like Commets, Courts afflict the Vulgar Eye;
And when they largest in their glory blaze,
People through ignorance think plag [...]es are nigh,
And till they waste with mourning wonder gaze.
These scorn the Courts dissertion for their age;
The Active, ease impos'd, like pain endure▪
For though calm rest does Ages pains asswage,
Yet few the sickness own to get the cure.
To Heav'n they lift their looks! whose Sun ne'r saw
Rage so agreed, as now he does behold;
Their shining swords all at an instant draw,
And bade him judge next day if they were old!
And of Verona wish'd him take his leave;
Which ere his third return they will destroy,
Till none shall guess by ruins where to grieve,
No more than Phrygians where to weep for Troy.
Thus Bergamo is soon forgot, whilst all
Aloud, Verona cry! Verona must
(That reach'd the Clouds) low as her Quaries fall!
They Court they'l bury in the Cities dust.

CANTO the Fourth.

At OSWALD'S Camp arrives wise HER MEGILD,
Whose presence does a new diversion yield;
In Councel he reveals his secret Breast▪
Would mingle Love with Empires interest:
From rash revenge, [...] [...]c [...] the Camp invites,
Who▪ OSWALD'S Fun'ral grace with Roman Rites.
IN this distemper whilst the humours strive
T' assemble, they again diverted are;
For tow'rds their Trenches Twentie Chariots drive,
Swiftly as Syrians when they charge in war.
They Hermegild with Court attendants spy'd;
Whose haste to Hubert does advice intend;
To warn him that just Fate can ne'r provide
For rash beginnings a succesfull end.
But fate for Hermegild provided well;
This Story else (which him the wise does call)
Would here his private ruin sadly tell,
In hastning to prevent the publick Fall.
His noble bloud obscurely had been shed,
His undistinguish'd Limbs torn and unknown,
As is the dust of Victors long since dead,
Which March in April's watry Eyes has blown.
Such was their rage when on Verona's way
(With his rich Train) they saw from Court he came;
Till some did their impetuous furie stay;
And gave his life protection for his fame,
Told them his Valour had been long allow'd,
That much the Lombards to his conduct ow;
And this preserv'd him, for the very Crowd
Felt Honour here, and did to valour bow.
Vain Wrath! Deform'd, unquiet Child of Pride!
Which in a few the People madness call;
But when by Number they grew dignify'd,
What's rage in one, is liberty in all.
Through dangers of this lawless liberty,
He like authentick Pow'r does boldly pass;
And with a quiet and experienc'd Eye,
Through Death's foul Vizard, does despise his face.
At Hubert's Tent alights, where Hubert now
With Gartha of this Torrent does advise;
Which he believes does at the highest flow,
And must like Tides, sink when it cannot rise.
When Hermegild he saw, he did disperse
Those cares assembled in his looks, and strove
(Though to his Master, and the Court perverse)
To shew him all the civil signs of Love.
For him in stormy war he glorious knew;
Nor in calm Counsels was he less renown'd;
And held him now to Oswald's Faction true,
As by his love, the world's first Tenure, bound.
For he (though wasted in the ebb of blood,
When Man's Meridian tow'rds his Evening turns)
Makes against Nature's Law, Lov's Charter good,
And as in raging Youth for Gartha burns.
Who did his suit not onely disapprove,
Because the summer of his life was past▪
And she fresh blown; but that even highest love
Grows tasteless to Ambition's higher taste.
Yet now in such a great and single cause,
With nice Ambition, nicer Loves complies;
And she (since to revenge he usefull was)
Perswades his hope with Rhet'rick of her Eyes.
A closs division of the Tent they straight
By outward Guards secure from all resort;
Then Hermegild does thus the cause relate,
Which to the Camp dispatch'd him from the Court.
Important Prince! who justly dost succeed
To Oswald's hopes, and all my loyal aid;
Virtue as much in all thy wounds does bleed,
As love in me, since wounded by that Maid.
Long have I sayl'd through Times vexatious sea;
And first set out with all that Youth is worth;
The Tropicks pass'd of bloods hot bravery,
With all the Sayls, gay Flags, and Streamers forth!
But as in hotter voyages, Ships most
Decay their trim, yet then they chiefly gain
By inward stowage, what is outward lost;
So Men, decays of youth, repair in brain.
If I experience boast when youth decays,
Such vanity may Gartha's pitie move,
Since so I seek your service by self-praise,
Rather than seem unusefull where I love.
And never will I (though by Time supply'd
With such discretion as does Man improve)
To shew discretion, wiser Nature hide,
By seeming now asham'd to say I love.
For Love his pow'r has in grey Senates shown,
Where he, as to green Courts, does freely come▪
And though loud youth, his visits makes more known,
With graver Age he's poivately at home.
Scarce Oreece, or greater Rome a Victor shows,
Whom more victorious Love did not subdue;
Then blame not me who am so weak to those;
Whilst Gartha all exceeds, that ere they knew.
Hope (Love's first food) I ne'r till now did know;
Which Love, as yet but temp'rately devours,
And claims not love for love, since Gartha so
For Autumn Leaves, should barter Summer Flowers.
I dare not vainly wish her to be kind,
Till for her love, my Ar [...]s and Pow'r bestow
The Crown on thee, [...]dor [...]'d with Rhodalind;
Which yet for Gartha is a price too low.
This said, he paws'd; and now the hectick heat
Of Oswald's blood, doubled their Pul [...]es pace;
Which high, as if they would be heard, did beat,
And hot Ambition shin'd in eithers face.
For Hermegild they knew could much out-doe
His words, and did possess great Aribert,
Not in the Courts cheap Glass of civil show,
But by a study'd Tenure of the heart.
Whilst this try'd truth does make their wishes sure,
Hubert on Gartha looks, with suing Eyes
For Hermegild, whose love she will endure,
And make Ambition yield what Youth denies.
Yet in this bargain of her self, she knows
Not how to treat; but all her chief desires,
Bids Hubert, as the Twins of his, dispose
To glory and revenge; and then retires.
But with such blushes Hermegild she leaves,
As the unclouded Evening's Face adorn;
Nor much he for her parting glory grieves,
Since such an Evening bodes a happy Morn.
Now Hermegild by vows does Hubert binde,
(Vows by their fate in Lombard Story known)
He Gartha makes the price of Rhodalind,
And Aribert his Tenant to the Crown.
He bids him now the Armies rage allay;
By rage (said he) onely they Masters are
Of those they chuse, when temp'rate to obay:
Against themselves th'impatient chiefly war.
We are the Peoples Pilots, they our winds;
To change by Nature prone; but Art Laveers,
And rules them till they rise with Stormy Minds;
Then Art with danger against Nature Steers.
Where calms have first amuz'd, Storms most prevail;
Close first with calms the Courts suspicious Eyes;
That whilst with all their [...]rim they sleeping sail,
A sudden Gust may wrack them by surprize.
Your Army will (though high in all esteem
That ever rev'renc'd Age to action gave)
But a small Party to Verona seem;
Which yearly to such Numbers yields a Grave.
Nor is our vast Metropolis, like those
Tame Towns, which peace has soft'ned into fears;
But Death deform'd in all his Dangers knows;
Dangers, which he like frightfull Vizards wears.
From many Camps, who forreign winters felt,
Verona has her conqu'ring Dwellers ta'ne;
In War's great Trade, with richest Nations dealt;
And did their Gold and Fame with Iron gain.
Yet to the mighty Aribert it bows;
A King out-doing all the Lombards Line!
Whose Court (in Iron clad) by courseness shows
A growing pow'r, which fades when Courts grow fine.
Scorn not the Youthfull Camp at Bergamo,
For they are Victors, though in years but young;
The war does them, they it by action know,
And have obedient Minds in bodies strong.
Be slow, and stay for aids, which haste forsakes!
For though Occasion still does Sloth out-go,
The rash, who run from help, she ne'r ore-takes,
Whose haste thinks Time, the Post of Nature, slow.
This is a cause which our Ambition fills;
A cause, in which our strength we should not waste,
Vainly like Giants, who did heave at Hills;
'Tis too unwildy for the force of haste.
A cause for graver Minds that learned are
In mistick Man; a cause, which we must gain
By surer methods than depend on war;
And respite Valour, to employ the brain.
In the King's Scale your merits are too light,
Who with the Duke, weighs his own partial heart;
Make then the gift of Empire publick right,
And get in Rhodalind the Peoples part.
But this rough side, the meeting Multitude
If we oppose, we make our voyage long;
Yet when we with it row, it is subdu'd;
And we are wise, where Men in vain are strong.
Then to the People sue, but hide your force,
For they believe the strong are still unjust;
Never to armed Sutors yield remorse;
And where they see the pow'r, the right distrust.
Assault their pitie, as the weakest part,
Which the first Plaintiff never fails to move;
They search but in the face to find the heart,
And grief in Princes, more than triumph, love.
And to prepare their pitie, Gartha now
Should in her sorrows height with me return;
For since their Eyes at all distresses flow,
How will they at afflicted beauty mourn?
Much such a pledge of Peace will with the King
(Urg'd by my int'rest here) my pow'r improve;
And much my power will to your int'rest bring,
If from the watchfull Court you hide my Love.
If Gartha deigns to love, our love must grow
Unseen, like Mandrakes weeded under ground;
That I (still seeming unconcern'd) may know
The Kings new depths, which length of trust may sound!
Thus Hermegild his study'd thoughts declar'd;
Whilst Hubert (who believ'd, discover'd love.
A solid Pledge for hidden faith) prepar'd▪
To stay the Camp so furious to remove.
And now their rage (by correspondence spred)
Borgio allays, that else like sparks of fire
(Which drops at first might drown) by matter fed,
At last to quench the flame may seas require.
As with the Sun they rose in wrath, their wrath
So with his heat increas'd; but now he hastes
Down Heav'ns steep Hill, to his Atlantick Bath,
Where he refreshes till his Feaver wastes.
With his (by Borgin's help) their heat declin'd;
So soon lov'd Eloquence does Throngs fubdue;
The common Mistress to each private Mind;
Painted and dress'd to all, to no Man true.
To Court his Gartha Hermegild attends,
And with old Lovers vain poetick Eyes,
Marks how her beauty, when the Sun descends,
His pity'd Evening poverty supplies.
The Army now to Neighb'ring Brescia bear,
With dismal pomp, the slain: In hallow'd ground
They Paradine, and Dargonet interr,
And Vasco much in painfull war renown'd.
To Oswald (whose illustrious Roman mind
Shin'd out in life, though now in dying hid)
Hubert these Roman fun'ral rites assign'd,
Which yet the world's last law had not forbid.
Thrice is his Body clean by bathing made,
And when with Victor's Oyl anointed ore,
'Tis in the Palace Gate devoutly laid,
Clad in that Vest which he in Battel wore.
Whilst seven succeeding Suns pass sadly by,
The Palace seems all hid in Cypress Boughs;
From ancient Lore of Man's mortalitie
The Type, for where 'tis lopp'd it never grows.
The publick fun'ral voice, till these expire,
Cries out; Here greatness, tir'd with honour, rests!
Come see what Bodies are, when Souls retire;
And visit death, ere you become his Guests!
Now on a purple Bed the Corps they raise,
Whilst Trumpets summon all the common Quire
In tune to mourn him, and disperse his praise;
And then move slowly tow'rds the Fun'ral fire!
They bear before him Spoils they gain'd in war,
And his great Ancestours in Sculpture wrought;
And now arrive, where Hubert does declare
How oft and well, he for the Lombards fought.
Here, in an Altar's form, a Pile is made
Of Unctious Fir, and Sleepers fatal Yew;
On which the Body is by Mourners laid,
Who there sweet Gums (their last kind Tribute threw.)
Hubert his Arm, Westward, aversly stretch'd;
Whilst to the hopefull East his Eyes were turn'd;
And with a hallow'd Torch the Pyle he reach'd;
VVhich seen, they all with utmost clamour mourn'd.
VVhilst the full Flame aspires, Oswald (they crie)
Farewell! we follow swiftly as the Hours!
For with Time's wings, tow'rds Death, even Cripples flie!
This said, the hungrie Flame its food devours.
Now Priests with VVine the Ashes quench, and hide
The Rev'renc'd Reliques in a Marble Urn.
The old dismissive Ilicet is cry'd
By the Town voice, and all to Feasts return.
Thus Urns may Bodies shew; but the fled Mind
The Learn'd seek vainly; for whose Quest we pay,
VVith such success as cosen'd Shepherds find,
VVho seek to VVizards when their Cattel stray.

CANTO the Fifth.

The house of ASTRAGON; where in distress
Of Nature, GONDIBERT, for Art's redress
Was by old ULFIN brought: where Arts hard strife,
In studying Nature for the ayd of Life,
Is by full wealth and conduct easie made;
And Truth much visited, though in her shade.
FRom Brescia swiftly ore the bord'ring Plain,
Return we to the House of Astragon;
Where Gondibert, and his succesfull Train,
Kindly lament the Victorie they won.
But though I Fame's great Book shall open now,
Expect a while, till she that Decad reads,
Which does this Dukes eternal Story show,
And aged Ulfin cites for special deeds.
Where Friendship is renown'd in Ulfinore;
Where th' ancient musick of delightfull verse;
Does it no less in Goltho's Breast adore,
And th' union of their equal hearts rehearse.
These wearie Victors the descending Sun
Led hither, where swift Night did them surprise;
And where, for vatiant toils, wise Astragon,
With sweet rewards of sleep, did fill their Eyes.
When to the need [...]e World Day did appear,
And freely op'd her Treasurie of light,
His house (where Art and Nature Tenants were)
The pleasure grew, and bus'ness of their sight.
Where Ulfin (who an old Domestick seems,
And rules as Master in the Owners Breast)
Leads Goltho to admire what he esteems;
And thus, what he had long observ'd, exprest.
Here Art by such a diligence is serv'd,
As does th' unwearied Planets imitate;
Whose motion (life of Nature) has preserv'd
The world, which God vouchsaf'd but to create.
Those heights, which else Dwarf-life could never reach,
Here by the wings of Diligence they climb;
Truth (skar'd with Terms frō Canting Schools) they teach;
And buy it with their best sav'd Treasure, Time.
Here all Men seem Recov'rers of time past;
As busie as intentive Emmets are;
As alarm'd Armies that intrench in haste;
Or Cities, whom unlook'd-for Sieges skare.
Much it delights the wise observers Eye,
That all these toils direct to sev'ral skils;
Some from the Mine to the hot Fornace hie,
And some from flowrie Fields to weeping Stils.
The first to hopefull Chymicks matter bring,
Where Med'cine they extract for instant cure;
These bear the sweeter burthens of the Spring;
Whose virtues (longer known) though slow, are sure.
See there wet Divers from Fossone sent!
Who of the Seas deep Dwellers knowledge give;
Which (more unquiet than their Element)
By hungrie war, upon each other live.
Pearl to their Lord, and Cordial Coral these
Present; which must in sharpest liquids melt;
He with Nigella cures that dull disease
They get, who long with stupid Fish have dwelt.
Others through Quarries dig, deeply below
Where Desart Rivers, cold, and private run;
Where Bodies conservation best they know,
And Mines long growth, and how their veins begun.
He shews them now Tow'rs of prodigious height,
Where Nature's Friends, Philosophers, remain,
To censure Meteors in their cause and flight;
And watch the Wind's authoritie on Rain.
Others with Optick Tubes the Moons scant sace
(Vast Tubes, which like long Cedars mounted lie)
Attract through Glasses to so near a space,
As if they came not to survey, but prie.
Nine hastie Centuries are now fulfill'd,
Since Opticks first were known to Astragon;
By whom the Moderns are become so skill'd,
They dream of seeing to the Maker's Throne.
And wisely Astragon thus busie grew,
To seek the Stars remote societies;
And judge the walks of th'old, by finding new;
For Nature's law in correspondence lies.
Man's pride (grown to Religion) he abates,
By moving our lov'd Earth; which we think fix'd;
Think all to it, and it to none relates;
With others motion scorn to have it mix'd:
As if 'twere great and stately to stand still
Whilst other Orbs dance on; or else think all
Those vast bright Globes (to shew God's needless skill)
Were made but to attend our little Ball.
Now near a sever'd Building they discern'd
(Which seem'd, as in a pleasant shade, retir'd)
A Throng, by whose glad diligence they learn'd,
They came frome Toils which their own choice desir'd.
This they approch, and as they enter it
Their Eyes were stay'd, by reading ore the Gate,
Great Natures Office, in large letters writ;
And next, they mark'd who there in office sa [...].
Old busie Men, yet much for wisdom fam'd;
Hastie to know, though not by haste beguild;
These fitly, Natures Registers were nam'd;
The Throng were their Intelligencers styl'd:
Who stop by snares, and by their chace oretake
All hidden Beasts the closser Forrest yields;
All that by secret sence their rescue make,
Or trust their force, or swiftness in the Fields.
And of this Throng, some their imployment have
In fleeting Rivers, some fixed Lakes beset;
Where Nature's self, by shifts, can nothing save
From trifling Angles, or the swall'wing Net.
Some, in the spacious Ayr, their Prey oretake,
Cos'ning, with hunger, Faulcons of their wings;
Whilst all their patient observations make,
Which each to Natures Office duely brings.
And there of ev'ry Fish, and Foul, and Beast,
The wil [...]s those learned Registers record,
Courage, and fears, their motion and their rest;
Which they prepare for their more learned Lord.
From hence to Nature's Nurserie they go;
Where seems to grow all that in Eden grew;
And more (if Art her mingled Species show)
Tha [...] th'Hebrew King, Nature's Historian, knew.
Impatient Simplers climb for Blossoms here:
When Dews (Heav'n's secret milk) in unseen showrs
First feed the early Childhood of the year;
And in ripe Summer, stoop for Hearbs and Flowers.
In Autumn, Seed, and Berries they provide;
Where Nature a remaining force preserves;
In Winter dig for Roots, where she does hide
That stock, which if consum'd, the next Spring stervs.
From hence (fresh Nature's flowrishing Estate!)
They to her wither'd Receptacle come:
Where she appears the loathsome Slave of Fate;
For here her various Dead possess the Room.
This dismall Gall'ry, lofty, long and wide;
Was hung with S [...]litons of ev'ry kind;
Humane, and all that learned humane pride
Thinks made t'obey Man's high immortal Mind.
Yet on that Wall hangs he too, who so thought;
And she dry'd by him, whom that He obay'd;
By her an El'phant that with Heards had fought,
Of which the smallest Beast made her afraid.
Next it, a Whale is high in Cables ty'd,
VVhose strength might Herds of Elephants controul;
Then all, (in payres of ev'ry kind) they spyd,
VVhich Death's wrack leaves, of Fishes, Beasts & Fowl.
These Astragon (to watch with curious Eie
The diff'rent Tenements of living breath)
Collects, with what far Travailers supplie;
And this was call'd, The Cabinet of Death.
VVhich some the Monument of Bodies, name;
The Ark, which saves from Graves all dying kinds;
This to a structure led, long known to Fame,
And call'd, The Monument of vanish'd Minds.
VVhere, when they thought they saw in well sought Books,
Th'assembled souls of all that Men held wise,
It bred such awful rev'rence in their looks,
As if they saw the buryd writers rise.
Such heaps of written thoughts (Gold of the Dead▪
VVhich Time does still disperse, but not devour)
Made them presume all was from Deluge free'd,
Which long-liv'd Authours writ ere Noah's Showr.
They saw Egyptian Roles, which vastly great,
Did like faln Pillars lie, and did display
The tale of Natures life, from her first hear,
Till by the Flood o're-cool'd, she felt decay.
And large as these (for Pens were Pencils then)
Others that Egypts chiefest Science show'd;
VVhose River forc'd Geometry on Men,
VVhich did distinguish what the Nyle o're-flow'd.
Near them, in Piles, Chaldean Cos'ners lie;
Who the hid bus'ness of the Stars relate;
Who make a Trade of worshipp'd Prophesie;
And seem to pick the Cabinet of Fate.
There Persian Magi stand, for wisdom prais'd;
Long since wise States-men, now Magicians thought;
Altars and Arts are soo [...] to fiction rais'd,
And both would have, that miracles are wrought.
In a dark Text, these States-men left their Minds;
For well they knew, that Monarch's Misterie
(Like that of Priests) but little rev'rence finds,
When they the Curtain ope to ev'ry Eye.
Behind this Throng, the talking Greeks had place;
Who Nature turn'd to Art, and Truth disguise,
As skill does native beautie oft deface;
With Terms they charm the weak, and pose the wise.
Now they the Hebrew, Greek, and Roman spie;
Who for the Peoples ease, yoak'd them with Law;
Whom else, ungovern'd lusts would drive awrie;
And each his own way frowardly would draw.
In little Tomes these grave first Lawyers lie,
In Volumes their Interpreters below;
Who first made Law an Art, than Misterie;
So clearest springs, when troubled, cloudie grow.
But here, the Souls chief Book did all precede;
Our Map tow'rds heav'n to common Crowds deny'd;
VVho proudly aym to teach, ere they can read;
And all must stray, where each will be a Guide.
About this sacred little Book did stand
Unwieldy Volumes, and in number great;
And long it was since any Readers hand
Had reach'd them from their unfrequented Seat.
For a deep Dust (which Time does softly shed,
Where onely Time does come) their Covers bear;
On which, grave Spiders, streets of webs have spred;
Subtle, and slight, as the grave Writers were.
In these, Heav'ns holy fire does vainly burn;
Nor warms, nor lights, but is in sparkles spent,
Where froward Authours, with disputes, have torn
The Garment seamless as the Firmament.
These are the old Polemicks, long since read,
And shut by Astragon; who thought it just,
They, like the Authours (Truth's Tormentors) dead,
Should lie unvisited, and lost in dust.
Here the Arabian's Gospel open lay,
(Men injure Truth, who Fiction nicely hide)
Where they the Monk's audacious stealth survay,
From the World's first, and greater second Guide.
The Curious much perus'd this, then, new Book;
As if some secret ways to Heav'n it taught;
For straying from the old, men newer look,
And prise the found, not finding those they sought.
We, in Tradition (Heav'ns dark Map) descrie
Heav'n worse than ancient Maps far Indian show;
Therefore in new, we search where Heav'n does lie;
The Minds sought Ophir, which we long to know.
Or as a Planter, though good Land he spies,
Seeks new, and when no more so good he finds,
Doubly esteems the first; so Truth men prise;
Truth, the discov'ry made by trav'ling Minds.
And this false Book, till truly understood
By Astragon, was openly display'd
As counterfeit, false Princes, rather shou'd
Be shewn abroad, than in closs Prison laid.
Now to the old Philosophers they come;
Who follow'd Nature with such just despair,
As some do Kings far off; and when at home,
Like Courtiers boast, that they deep secret share.
Near them are grave dull Moralists; who give
Counsel to such, as still in publick dwell;
At se [...], at Courts, in Camps, and Cities live,
And scorn experience from th'unpractis'd Cell.
Aesop with these stands high, and they below;
His pleasant wisdom mocks their gravitie;
Who Virtue like a tedious Matron show,
He dresses Nature to invite the Eye.
High skill their Ethicks seems whilst he stoops down
To make the People wise; their learned pride
Makes all obscure, that Men may prise the Gown,
With ease lie teaches, what with pain they hide.
And next (as if their bus'ness rul'd Mankind)
Historians stand, big as their living looks;
Who thought swift Time they could in fetters bind;
Till his Confessions they had ta'ne in books.
But Time oft scap'd them in the shades of Night;
And was in Princes Closets oft conceal'd,
And hid in Battels smoke; so what they write
Of Courts and Camps, is oft by guess reveal'd.
Near these, Physitians stood; who but reprieve
Life like a Judge, whom greater pow'r doe [...] aw▪
And cannot an Almighty pardon give;
So much yields Subject Art to Nature's Law.
And not weak Art, but Nature we upbraid,
When our frail essence proudly we take ill;
Think we are rob'd, when first we are decay'd,
And those were murder'd whom her law did kill.
Now they refresh, after this long survay,
With pleasant Poets, who the Soul sublime;
Fame's Her auids, in whose Triumphs they make way;
And place all those whom Honour helps to climb.
And he, who seem'd to lead this ravish'd Race,
Was Heav'ns lov'd La [...]reat, that in Jewry writ;
Whose Harp approach'd Gods Ear, though none his Face
Durst see, and first made inspiration, wit.
And his Attendants, such blest Poets are,
As make unblemish'd Love, Courts best delight;
And sing the prosp'rous Battels of just War;
By these the loving, Love, and valiant, fight.
O hireless Science! and of all alone
The liberal! Meanly the rest each State
In pension treats, but this depends on none;
Whose worth they rev'rendly forbear to rate.

CANTO the Sixth.

How ASTRAGON to Heav'n his duty pays
In Pray'r, and Penitence, but most in Praise:
To these he sev'ral Temples dedicates:
And ULFIN their distinguish'd use relates.
Religion's Rites, seem here, in Reasons sway;
Though Reason must Religion's Laws obay.
THe noble Youths (reclaim'd by what they saw)
Would here unquiet war, as pride, for sake;
And study quiet Nature's pleasant Law,
Which Schools, through pride, by Art uneasie make.
But now a sudden Shout their thoughts diverts!
So chearfull, general, and loud it was,
As pass'd through all their Ears, and fill'd their Hearts;
Which lik'd the joy, before they knew the cause.
This Ulfin by his long Domestick skill
Does thus explain, The Wise I here observe,
Are wise tow'rds God; in whose great service still,
More than in that of Kings, themselves they serve.
He who this Building's Builder did create,
As an Apartment here Triangular;
Where Astragon Three Fanes did dedicate,
To days of Praise, of Penitence, and Pray'r.
To these, from diff'rent motives, all proceed;
For when discov'ries they on Nature gain,
They praise high Heav'n which makes their work succe [...]
But when it falls, in Penitence complain.
[...]f after Praise, new blessings are not giv'n,
Nor mourning Penitence can ills repair,
Like practis'd Beggers, they solicite Heav'n,
And will prevail by violence of Pray'r.
The Temple built for Pray'r, can neither boast
The Builder's curious Art, nor does declare
By choice Materials he intended cost;
To shew, that nought should need to tempt to Pray'r.
No Bells are here! Unhing'd are all the Gates!
Since craving in distress is natural,
All lies so ope that none for ent'rance waits,
And those whom Faith invites, can need no call.
The Great have by distinction here no name;
For all so cover'd come, in grave disguise,
To shew none come for decency or fame)
That all are strangers to each others Eyes.
But Penitence appears unnatural;
For we repent what Nature did perswade;
And we lamenting Men's continu'd fall,
Accuse what Nature necessary made.
Since the requir'd extream of Penitence
Seems so severe, this Temple was design'd,
[...]olemn and strange without, to catch the sense,
And dismal shew'd within, to aw the mind.
Of sad black Marble was the outward Frame,
A mourning Monument to distant sight)
[...]ut by the largeness when you near it came,
It seem'd the Palace of Eternal Night.
Black beauty (which black Meroens had prais'd
Above their own) gravely adorn'd each part;
In Stone, from Nyle's head Quarries, slowly rais'd,
And slowlyer polish'd by Numidi an Art.
Hither a loud Bells tole, rather commands,
Than seems t'invite the persecured Ear;
A summons Nature hardly understands;
For few, and flow are those who enter here.
Within a dismal Majesty they find!
All gloomy great, all silent does appear!
As Chaos was, ere th'Elements were design'd;
Man's evil fate seems hid and fashion'd here.
Here all the Ornament is rev'rend black;
Here, the check'd Sun his universal Face
Stops bashfully, and will no enterance make;
As if he spy'd Night naked through the Glass.
Black Curtains hide the Glass; whilst from on high
A winking Lamp still threatens all the Room;
As if the lazy flame just now would die:
Such will the Sun's last light appear at Doom!
This Lamp was all, that here inform'd all Eyes;
And by refléx, did on a Picture gain
Some few false Beams, that thence from Sodom rise;
Where Pencils seign the fire which Heav'n did rain.
This on another Tablet did reflect,
Where twice was drawn the am'rous Magdaline;
Whilst beauty was her care, then her neglect;
And brightest through her Tears she seem'd to shine.
Near her, seem'd crncifi'd, that lucky Thief
(In Heav'ns dark Lot'ry prosp'rous, more than wife)
Who groap'd at last, by chance, for Heav'ns relief,
And Throngs undoes with Hope, by one drawn Prize.
In many Figures by reflex were sent,
Through this black Vault (instructive to the mind)
That early, and this tardy Penitent;
For with Obsidian stone 'twas chiefly lin'd.
The Seats were made of Ethiops swarthy wood,
Abstersive Ebony, but thinly fill'd;
For none this place by nature understood;
And practise, when unpleasant, makes few skill'd.
Yet these whom Heav'ns mysterious choice fetch'd in,
Quickly attain Devotion's utmost scope;
For having softly mourn'd away their sin,
They grow so certain, as to need no Hope.
At a low Door they enter'd, but depart
Through a large Gate, and to fair Fields proceed;
Where Astragon makes Nature last by Art,
And such long Summers shews, as ask no seed.
Whilst Ulfin this black Temple thus exprest
To these kind Youths, whom equal soul endeers;
Goltho and Ulfinore, (in friendship blest)
A second gen'ral shout salutes their Ears.
To the glad House of Praise this shout does call!
To Pray'r (said he) no Summons us invites,
Because distress does thither summon all)
As the loud tole to Penitence excites.
But since dull Men, to gratitude are slow,
And joy'd consent of Hearts is high Heav'ns choice;
To this of Praise, shouts summon us to go;
Of Hearts assembled, the unfeigned Voice.
And since, wise Astragon, with due applause,
Kind Heav'n, for his success, on Nature pays;
This day, Victorious Art, has given him cause,
Much to augment Heav'ns lov'd reward of praise.
For this effectual day his Art reveal'd,
What has so oft made Nature's spies to pine,
The Load-stones mystick use, so long conceal'd
In closs allyance with the courser Mine.
And this in sleepy Vision, he was bid
To register in Characters unknown;
Which Heav'n will have from Navigators hid,
Till Saturn's walk be twenty Circuits grown.
For as Religion (in the warm East bred)
And Arts (which next to it most needfull were)
From Vices sprung from their corruption, fled;
And thence vouchsaf'd a cold Plantation here;
So when they here again corrupted be,
(For Man can even his Antidotes insect)
Heav'ns reserv'd world they in the West shall see;
To which this stone's hid virtue will direct.
Religion then (whose Age this world upbraids,
As scorn'd deformitie) will thither steer;
Serv'd at fit distance by the Arts, her Maids,
Which grow too bold, when they attend too neer.
And some, whom Traffick thither tempts, shall thence
In her exchange (though they did grudge her shrines,
And poorly banish'd her to save expence)
Bring home the Idol, Gold, from new-found Mines.
Till then, sad Pilots must be often lost,
VVhilst from the Ocean's dreaded Face they shrink;
And seeking safetie near the cos'ning Coast,
VVith winds surpris'd, by Rockie Ambush sink.
Or if success rewards, what they endure,
The VVorlds chief Jewel, Time, they then ingage
And forfeit (trusting long the Cynosure)
To bring home nought but wretched Gold, and Age.
Yet when this plague of ignorance shall end,
(Dire ignorance, with which God plagues us most,
Whilst we not feeling it, him most offend)
Then lower'd Sayls no more shall tie the Coast.
They with new Tops to Fore-masts and the Main,
And Misens new, shall th' Ocean's Breast invade;
Stretch new sayls out, as Arms to entertain
Those winds, of which their Fathers were afraid.
Then (sure of either Pole) they will with pride,
In ev'ry storm, salute this constant Stone!
And scorn that Star, which ev'ry Cloud could hide;
The Sea-men's spark! which soon, as seen, is gone!
'Tis sung, the Ocean shall his bonds untie,
And Earth in half a Globe be pent no more;
Typhis shall sail, till Thube he discrie,
But a domestick step to distant Shore!
This Astragon had read; and what the Greek,
Old [...]r [...]ti [...]s in Egyptian Books had found;
By which, his travail'd soul, new Worlds did seek,
And div'd to find the old Atlantis drown'd.
Grave Ulfin thus discours'd; and now he brings
The Youths to view the Temple built for Praise;
Where Olive, for th'Olimpian Victor Springs;
Mirtle, for Love's; and for War's triumph, Bays.
These, as rewards of praise about it grew;
For lib'ral praise from an aboundant Mind
Does even the Conqueror of Fate subdue;
Since Heav'n's good King is Captive to the Kind.
Dark are all Thrones to what this Temple seem'd,
Whose Marble veins out-shin'd Heav'n's various Bow;
And would (eclipsing all proud Rome esteem'd)
To Northern Eies, like Eastern Mornings show.
From Paros I [...]le, was brought the milkie white;
From Sparta, came the Green, which cheers the view;
From Araby, the blushing [...]ni [...]hite,
And from the Misnian Hills, the deeper Blew.
The arched Front did on Vast Pillars fall;
Where all harmonious Instruments they spie
Drawn out in Boss; which from the Astrigall
To the flat E [...]ise in apt resemblance lie.
Toss'd Cymbals (which the sullen Jews admir'd)
Were figur'd here, with all of ancient choice
That joy did ere invent, or breath inspir'd,
Or flying Fingers touch'd into a voice.
In Statue o're the Gate, God's Fav'rite-King
The author of Celestial praise) did stand;
His Quire (that did his sonnets set and Sing)
In Niches rang'd, attended either Hand.
From these, old Greeks sweet Musick did improve;
The Solemn Dorian did in Temples charm,
The softer Lydian sooth'd to Bridal Love,
And warlick Phrygian did to Battail warm!
They enter now, and with glad rev'rence saw
Glory, too solid great to taste of pride;
So sacred pleasant, as preserves an awe;
Though jealous Priests, it neither praise nor hide,
Tapers and Lamps are not admitted here;
Those, but with shadows, give false beauty grace;
And this victorious glory can appear
Unvayl'd before the Sun's Meridian Face:
Whose Eastern lusture rashly enters now;
Where it his own mean Infancy displays;
Where it does Man's chief obligation show,
In what does most adorn the House of Praise;
The great Creation by [...]old Pencils drawn;
Where a feign'd Curtain does our Eies forbid,
Till the Sun's Parent, Light, first seem to dawn
From quiet Chaos, which that Curtain hid.
Then this all-rev'renc'd Sun (God's hasty Spark
Struck out of Chaos, when he first struck Light)
Flies to the Sphears, where first he found all dark,
And kindled there th'unkindled Lamps of Night.
Then Motion, Nature's great Preservative,
Tun'd order in this World, Life's restless Inn;
Gave Tydes to Seas, and caus'd stretch'd Plants to live;
Else Plants but Seeds, and Seas but Lakes had bin.
But this Fourth Fiat, warming what was made,
(For Light ne'r warm'd, till it did motion get)
The Picture fills the World with woodie shade;
To shew how Nature thrives by Motion's heat.
Then to those Woods the next quick Fiat brings
The Feather'd kind; where merrily they fed,
As if their Hearts were lighter than their Wings;
For yet no Cage was fram'd, nor Net was spred.
The same Fifth voice does Seas and Rivers Store;
Then into Rivers Brooks the Painter powres,
And Rivers into Seas; which (rich before)
Return their gifts, to both exhal'd in Showrs.
This voice (whose swift dispatch in all it wrought,
Seems to denote the Speaker was in haste,
As if more Worlds were framing in his thought)
Ads to this World one Fiat, as the last.
Then straight an universal Herd appears;
First gazing on each other in the shade;
Wond'ring with levell'd Eyes, and lifted Ears,
Then play, whilst yet their Tyrant is unmade.
And Man, the Painter now presents to view;
Haughtie without, and busie still within;
Whom, when his Furr'd and Horned Subjects knew,
Their sport is ended, and there fears begin.
But here (to cure this Tyrant's sullenness)
The Painter has a new false Curtain drawn;
Where Beauty's hid, Creation to express;
From thence, harmless as light, he makes it dawn.
From thence breaks lovely forth, the Worlds first Maid;
Her Breast, Love's Cradle, where Love quiet lies;
Nought yet had seen so soul, to grow afraid,
Nor gay, to make it crie with longing Eyes,
And thence, from stupid sleep, her Monarch steals;
She wonders, till so vain his wonder grows,
That it his feeble sov'reigntie reveals;
Her Beautie then, his Manhood does depose.
Deep into shades the Painter leads them now;
To hide their future deeds; then storms does raise
Ore Heav'n's smooth face, because their life does grow
Too black a storie for the House of Praise.
A noble painted Vision next appears;
Where all Heav'ns Frowns in distant prospect waste;
And nought remains, but a short showre of Tears,
Shed, by its pitie, for Revenges past.
The Worlds one Ship, from th▪ old to a new World bound,
Fraighted with Life (chief of uncertain Trades!)
After Five Moons at dri [...]t, lies now aground;
Where her frail Stowage, she in haste unlades.
On Persian Caucasus the Eight descend,
And seem their trivial essence to deplore,
Griev'd to begin this World in th' others end,
And to behold wrack'd Nations on the Shore.
Each humbled thus his Beasts led from aboard,
As fellow-Passengers, and Heirs to breath;
Joynt Tenants to the VVorld, he not their Lord;
Such likeness have we in the Glass of Death.
Yet this humilitie begets their joy;
And taught, that Heav'n (which fully sin survays)
VVas partial where it did not quite destroy;
So made the whole VVorld's Dirge their song of praise.
This first redemption to another led,
Kinder in deeds, and nobler in effects;
That but a few did respit from the Dead,
This all the Dead from second Death protects.
And know, lost Nature, this resemblance was
Thy frank Redeemer in ascension shown;
VVhen Hell he conquer'd in thy desp'rate cause;
Hell, which before Man's common Grave was grown.
By an Imperial Pencil this was wrought;
Ronnded in all the Curious would behold;
VVhere life Came out, and Met the Painters thought;
The Force was tender, though the strokes were bold.
The holy Mourners, who this Lord of Life
Ascending saw, did seem with him to rise;
So well the Painter drew their Passions strife,
To follow him with Bodies, as with Eyes.
This was the chief which in this Temple did,
By Pencils Rhethorick to praise perswade;
Yet to the living here, compar'd, seems hid;
VVho shine all painted Glory into shade.
Lord Astragon a Purple Mantle wore,
Where Nature's storie was in Colours wrought▪
And though her ancient Text seem'd dark before,
'Tis in this pleasant Comment clearly taught.
Such various Flowrie Wreaths th' Assembly wear,
As shew'd them wisely proud of Natures pride;
Which so adorn'd them, that the cour [...]est here
Did seem a prosp'rous Bride-groom, or a Bride.
All shew'd as fresh, and [...]all, and innocent,
As Virgins to their Lovers first survay;
Joy'd as the Spring, when March his sighs has spent,
And April's sweet rash Tears are dry'd by May.
And this confed'rate joy so swell'd each Breast,
That joy would turn to pain without a vent▪
Therefore their voices Heav'n's renown exprest;
Though Tongues ne'r reach, what minds so nobly ment.
Yet Musick here shew'd all her Art's high worth;
Whilst Virgin-Trebbles, [...]eem'd, with bashfull grace,
To call the bolder marry'd Tenor forth;
Whose Manly voice challeng'd the Giant Base.
To these the swift soft Instruments reply;
Whisp'ring for help to those whom winds inspire;
Whose louder Notes, to Neighb'ring Forrests flie,
And summon Nature's Voluntarie Quire.
These Astragon, by secret skill had taught,
To help, as if in artfull Consort bred;
Who sung, as if by chance on him they thought,
Whose care their careless merry Fathers Fed.
Hither, with borrow'd strength, Duke Gondibert
Was brought, which now his rip'ning wounds allow;
And high Heav'ns praise in musick of the heart,
He inward sings, to pay a Victor's vow.
Praise, is devotion fit for mightie Minds!
The diff'ring World's agreeing Sacrifice;
VVhere Heav'n divided Faiths united finds;
But Pray'r in various discord upward flies.
For Pray'r the Ocean is, where diversly
Men steer their Course, each to a sev'ral Coast;
VVhere all our int'rests so discordant be,
That half beg winds by which the rest are lost.
By Penitence, when we our selves forsake,
'Tis but in wise design on pitious Heav'n;
In Praise we nobly give, what God may take,
And are without a Beggers blush forgiv'n.
Its utmost force, like Powder's, is unknown!
And though weak Kings excess of Praise may fear,
Yet when 'tis here, like Powder, dang'rous grown,
Heav'ns Vault receives, what would the Palace tear.

CANTO the Seventh.

The Duke's wish'd health in doubtfull wounds assur'd;
Who gets new wounds before the old are cur'd:
Nature in BIRTHA, Art's weak help derides,
Which strives to mend, what it at best but hides;
Shews Nature's courser works, so hid, more course,
As Sin conceal'd and uncon [...]es [...]'d, grows worse.
LEt none our Lombard Authour rudely blame,
Who from the Story has thus long digrest;
But for his righteous pains, may his fair Fame
For ever travel, whilst his ashes rest.
Ill could he leave Art's Shop of Nature's Store;
Where she the hidden Soul would make more known;
Though common Faith seeks Souls, which is no more
Than long Opinion to Religion grown.
A while then let this sage Historian stay
With Astragon, till he new wounds reveals,
And such (though now the old are worn away)
As Balm, nor juice of Pyr [...]l, never heals.
To Astragon, Heav'n for succession gave
One onely Pledge, and Birtha was her name;
Whose Mother slept, where Flowers grew on her Grave,
And she succeeded her in Face, and Fame.
Her beauty, Princes, durst not hope to use,
Unless, like Poets, for their Morning Theam;
And her Minds beauty they would rather chuse,
Which did the light in Beautie's Lanthorn seem.
She ne'r saw Courts, yet Courts could have undone
With untaught looks, and an unpractis'd heart;
Her Nets, the most prepar'd, could never shun;
For Nature spred them in the scorn of Art.
She never had in busie Cities bin,
Ne'r warm'd with hopes, nor ere allay'd with fears;
Not seeing punishment, could guess no Sin;
And Sin not seeing, ne'r had use of tears.
But here▪ her Father's precepts gave her skill,
Which with incessant bus'ness fill'd the Hours;
In spring, she gather'd Blossoms for the Still,
In Autumn, Berries; and in Summer, Flow'rs.
And as kind Nature with calm diligence
Her own free virtue silently employs,
Whilst she, unheard, does rip'ning growth dispence,
So were her virtues busie without noise.
Whilst her great Mistress, Nature, thus she tends,
The busie Houshold waits no less on her;
By secret law, each to her beauty bends;
Though all her lowly Mind to that prefer.
Gracious and free, she breaks upon them all
With Morning looks; and they when she does rise,
Devoutly at her dawn in homage fall,
And droop like Flow'rs, when Evening shuts her Eyes.
The sooty Chymist (who his sight does waste,
Attending lesser Fires) she passing by,
Broke his lov'd Lymbick, through enamour'd haste,
And let, like common Dew, th' Elixar flie.
And here the grey▪ Philosophers resort,
Who all to her, like crafty Courtiers, bow;
Hoping for secrets now in Nature's Court▪
Which onely she (her fav'rite Maid) can know.
These, as the Lords of Science, she respects,
And with famillar beams their age she chears,
Yet all those civil forms seem but neglec [...]s
To what she shews, when Astragon appears.
For as she once from him her being took,
She hourly takes her Law [...] reads with swift sight
His will, even at the op'ning of his look,
And shews, by haste, obedience her delight▪
She makes (when she at distance to him bows)
His int'rest in her Mother's beauty known,
For that's th' Orig'nal whence her Copy' grows,
And near Orig'nals, Copies are not shown.
And he, with dear regard, her gifts does wear
Of Flow'rs, which she in mystick order ties,
And with the sacrifice of many a tear
Salutes her loyal Mother in her Eyes.
The just Historians, Birtha thus express,
And tell how by her Syres Example taught,
She serv'd the wounded Duke in Life's distress,
And his fled Spirits back by Cordials brought.
Black melancholy Mists, that fed despair
Through wounds long rage, with sprinkled Vervin cleer'd
Strew'd Leaves of Willow to refresh the air,
And with rich Fumes his sullen sences cheer'd.
He that had serv'd▪ great Love with rev'rend heart,
In these old wounds, worse wounds from him endures,
For Love, makes Birtha shift with Death, his Dart,
And she kills faster than her Father cures.
Her heedless innocence as little knew▪
The wounds she gave, as those from Love she took;
And Love lifts high each secret Sha [...]t he drew;
Which at their Stars he first in triumph shook!
Love he had lik'd, yet never lo [...]g'd before;
But finds him now a bold unquier Guest;
Who climbs to windows, when we shut the Door;
And enter [...]d, never lets the Master rest.
So strange disorder; now he pines for health,
Makes him conceal this Revelle [...] with shame;
She not the Robber knows, yet feels the stealth,
And never but in Songs had heard his name.
Yet then it was, when she did smile at Hearts
Which Countrey Lovers wea [...] in bleeding Seals▪
Ask'd where his pretty Godhead found such Da [...]s,
As make those wounds that onely Hymen heals.
And this, her ancient Maid, with sharp complaint [...]
Heard, and rebuk'd; shook her experienc'd Head,
With tears [...]osought her not to jest at Saints,
Nor mock those Martyrs, Love had Captive led.
Nor think the pions Poets ere would waste▪
So many tears in Ink, to make Maids mourn,
I [...] injur'd Lovers had in ages past▪
The lucky Mirtle, more than Willow worn.
This grave rebuke, Officious Memory
Presents to Birtha's thought; who now believ'd
Such sighing Songs, as tell why Lovers die,
And prais'd their faith, who wept, when Poets griev'
She, full of inward questions, walks alone,
To take her heart aside in secret Shade;
But knocking at her breast, it seem'd, or gone,
Or by confed'racie was useless made;
Or else some stranger did usurp its room▪
One so remote, and new in ev'ry thought,
As his behaviour shews him not at home,
Nor the Guide sober that him thither brought.
Yet with this forreign Heart, she does begin
To treat of Love, her most unstudy'd Theam;
And like young conscienc'd Casuists, thinks that sin,
Which will by talk and practise lawfull seem.
With open Ears, and ever-waking Eyes,
And flying Feet, Love's fire she from the sight
Of all her Maids does carry, as from Spies;
Jealous, that what burns her, might give them light.
Beneath a Mirtle Covert now does spend
In Maids weak wishes, her whole stock of thought;
Fond Maids! who Love, with Minds fine stuff would mend,
Which Nature purposely of Bodies wrought,
She fashions him she lov'd of Angels kind,
Such as in holy Story were employ'd
To the first Fathers from th' Eternal Mind,
And in short vision onely are enjoy'd.
As Eagles then, when nearest Heav'n they flie;
Of wild impossibles soon weary grow;
Feeling their bodies find no rest so high,
And therefore pea [...]ch on Earthly things below:
So now she yields; him she an Angel deem'd
Shall be a Man; the Name which Virgins fear;
Yet the most harmless to a Maid he seem'd,
That ever yet that fatal name did beat.
Soon her opinion of his hurtless heart,
Affection turns to faith▪ and then Loves fire
To Heav'n, though bashfully, she does impart;
And to her Mother in the Heav'nly Quire.
If I do love, (said she) that love (O Heav'n!)
Your own Disciple, Nature, bred in me;
Why should I hide the passion you have given,
Or blush to shew effects which you decree?
And you, my alter'd Mother (grown above
Great Nature, which you read, and rev'renc'd here)
Chide not such kindness, as you once call'd Love,
When you as mortal as my Father were.
This said, her Soul into her breasts retires!
With Love's vain diligence of heart she dreams
Her self into possession of desires,
And trusts unanchor'd Hope in fleeting Streams.
Already thinks, the Duke her own spous'd Lord,
Cur'd, and again from bloody battel brought,
Where all false Lovers perish'd by his sword,
The true to her for his protection sought.
She thinks how her imagin'd Spouse and she,
So much from Heav'n, may by her virtues gain;
That they by Time shall ne'r oretaken be,
No more than Time himself is overta'ne.
Or should he touch them as he by does pass,
Heav'ns favour may repay their Summers gone,
And he so mix their sand in a slow Glass,
That they shall live, and not as Two, but One.
She thinks of Eden-life; and no rough wind,
In their pacifique Sea shall wrinkles make;
That still her lowliness shall keep him kind,
Her cares keep him asleep, her voice awake.
She thinks, if ever anger in him sway
(The Youthfull Warriours most excus'd disease)
Such chance her Tears shall calm, as showres allay
The accidental rage of Winds and Seas.
She thinks that Babes proceed from mingling Eyes,
Or Heav'n from Neighbourhood increase allows,
As Palm, and the Mamora fructifies;
Or they are got, by closs exchanging vows.
But come they (as she hears) from Mothers pain,
(Which by th'unlucky first-Maids longing, proves
A lasting curse) yet that she will sustain,
So they be like this Heav'nly Man she loves.
Thus to her self in day-dreams Birtha talks;
The Duke (whose wounds of war are healthfull grown)
To cure Love's wounds, seeks Birtha where she walks▪
Whose wandring Soul, seeks him to cure her own.
Yet when her solitude he did invade.
Shame (which in Maids is unexperienc'd fear)
Taught her to wish Night's help to make more shade,
That Love (which Maids think guilt) might not appear.
And she had fled him now, but that he came
So like an aw'd, and conquer'd Enemy,
That he did seem offenceless, as her shame;
As if he but advanc'd for leave to flie.
First with a longing Sea-mans look he gaz'd,
Who would ken Land, when Seas would him devour;
Or like a fearfull Scout, who stands amaz'd
To view the Foe, and multiplies their pow'r.
Then all her knowledge which her Father had
He dreams in her, through purer Organs wrought;
Whose Soul (since there more delicately clad)
By lesser weight, more active was in thought.
And to that Soul thus spake, with trembling voice,
The world will-be (O thou, the whole world's Maid!)
Since now 'tis old enough to make wise choice,
Taught by thy mind, and by thy beauty sway'd.
And I a needless part of it, unless
You'd think me for the whole a Delegate,
To treat, for what they want of y [...] excess,
Virtue to serve the universal State.
Nature (our first example) and our Queen,
Whose Court this is, and you her Minion Maid,
The World, thinks now, is in her sickness seen,
And that her noble influence is decay'd.
And the Records so worn of her first Law,
That Men, with Art's hard shifts, read what is good;
Because your beautie many never saw,
The Text by which your Mind is understood.
And I with the apostate world should grow,
From sov'reign Nature, a revolted Slave,
But that my luckie wounds brought me to know,
How with their cure, my sicker mind to save.
A mind still dwelling idly in mine Eyes,
Where it from outward pomp could ne'r abstain;
But even in beautie, cost of Courts did prise,
And Nature unassisted, thought too plain.
Yet by your beautie now reform'd, I find
All other onely currant by false light;
Or but vain Visions of a feav'rish mind;
Too slight to stand the test of waking sight.
And for my healthfull Mind (diseas'd before)
My love I pay; a gift you may disdain,
Since Love to you, Men give not, but restore;
As Rivers to the Sea restore the Rain.
Yet Eastern Kings, who all by birth possess,
Take gifts, as gifts, from Vassals of the Crown;
So think in love, your propertie not less,
By my kind giving what was first your own.
Lifted with Love▪ thus he with Lovers grace,
And Love's wild wonder, spake; and he was rais'd
So much with rev'rence of this learned place,
That still he fear'd to injure all he prais'd.
And she in love unpractis'd and unread,
(But for some hints her Mistress, Nature, taught)
Had it, till now, like grief with silence fed;
For Love and grief are nourish'd best with thought.
But this closs Diet Love endures not long;
He must in sighs, or speech, take ayr abroad;
And thus, with his Interpreter, her Tongue,
He ventures forth, though like a stranger aw'd.
She said, those virtues now she highly needs,
Which he so pow'rfully does in her praise,
To check (since vanitie on praises feed)
That pride, which his authentick words may raise.
That if her Pray'rs, or care, did ought restore
Of absent health, in his bemoan'd distress;
She beg'd, he would approve her duty more,
And so commend her feeble virtue less,
That she, the payment he of love would make,
Less understood, than yet the debt she knew;
But coyns unknown suspitiously we take,
And debts, till manifest, are never due.
With bashfull Looks besought him to retire,
Lest the sharp Ayr should his new health invade;
And as she spake, she saw her reverend Syre
Approach to seek her in her usual shade.
To whom with filial homage she does how;
The Duke did first at distant duty stand,
But soon imbrac'd his knees; whilst he more low
Does bend to him, and then reach'd Birtha's hand.
Her Face, o recast with thought, does soob [...] tray
Th'assembled spirits, which his Eies detect
[...]y her pale look, as by the Milkie way,
Men first did the assembled Stars suspect.
[...]r as a Pris'ner, that in Prison pines,
Still at the utmost window grieving lies;
Even so her Soul, imprison'd, sadly shines,
As if it watch'd for freedom at her Eys!
This guides him to her P [...]lse, th'Alarum Bell,
Which waits the insurrections of desire;
And rings so fast, as if the Cittadell,
Her newly conquer'd Breast, were all one fire!
Then on the Duke, he casts a short survay;
Whose Veins, his Temples, with deep purple grace;
Then Love's dispair gives them a pale allay;
And shifts the whole complexion of his Face.
Nature's wise Spie does outward with them walk;
And finds, each in the midst of thinking starts;
Breath'd short, and swiftly in disoder'd talk,
To cool, beneath Love's Torrid Zone, their hearts,
When all these Symptones he observ'd, he knows
From Alga, which is rooted deep in Seas,
To the high Cedar that on Mountains grows,
No sov'raign hearb is found for their disease.
He would not Nature's eldest Law resist,
As if wise Nature's Law could be impure;
But Birtha with indulgent Looks dismist,
And means to counsel, what he cannot cure.
With mourning Gondibert he walks apart,
To watch his Passions force, who seems to bear
By silent grief, Two Tyrants ore his Heart,
Great Love, and his inferiour Tyrant, Fear.
But Astragon such kind inquiries made,
Of all which to his Art's wise cares belong,
As his sick silence he does now disswade,
And midst Love's fears, give courage to his Tongue.
Then thus he spake with Love's humilitie;
Have pitie Father! and since first so kind,
You would not let this worthless Bodie die,
Vouchasafe more nobly to preserve my Mind!
A Mind so lately luckie, as it here
Has Virtue's Mirrour found, which does reflect
Such blemishes as Custom made it wear,
But more authentick Nature does detect.
A Mind long sick of Monarchs vain disease;
Not to be fill'd, because with glorie fed;
So busie it condemn'd even War of Ease,
And for their useless rest despis'd the Dead.
But since it here has Virtue quiet sound,
It thinks (though Storms were wish'd by it before)
All sick at least at Sea, that scape undrown'd,
Whom Glory serves as wind to leave the shore.
All Virtue is to yours but fashion now,
Religion, Art; Internals are all gone,
Or outward turn'd, to satisfie with show,
Not God, but his inferiour Eye, the Sun.
And yet, though Virtue be as fashion sought,
And now Religion rules by Art's prais'd skill;
Fashion is Virtue's Mimmick, falsly taught,
And Art, but Nature's Ape, which plays her ill.
To this blest House (great Nature's Court) all Courts
Compar'd, are but dark Closets for retreat
Of private Minds, Battels but Childrens sports;
And onely simple good, is solid Great.
Let not the Mind, thus freed from Errour's Night,
(Since you repriev'd my Body from the Grave)
Perish for being how in love with light,
But let your Virtue, Virtue's Lover save.
Birtha I love; and who loves wisely so,
Steps far tow'rds all which Virtue can attain;
But if we perish, when tow'rds Heav'n we go,
Then have I learnt that Virtue is in vain.
And now his Heart (extracted through his Eyes
In Love's Elixar, Tears) does soon subdue
Old Astragon; whose pitie, though made wise
With Love's false Essences, likes these as true.
The Duke he to a secret Bowr does lead,
Where he his Youths first Storie may attend;
To guesse, ere he will let his love proceed;
By such a dawning, how his day will end.
For Virtue, though a rarely planted Flow'r,
Was in the seed now by this Florist known;
Who could foretel, even in springing hour,
What colours she shall wear when fully blown.

CANTO the Eighth.

BIRTHA her first unpractis'd Love bewails,
Whilst GONDIBERT on ASTRAGON prevails,
By shewing, high▪ Ambition is of use,
And Glory in the Good needs no excuse.
GOLTHO a grief to ULFINORE reveals,
Whilst he a greater of his own conceals.
BIrtha her griefs to her Apartment brought,
Where all her Maids to Heav'n were us'd to ra [...]
Their voices, whilst their busie Fingers wrought
To deck the Altar of the House of Praise.
But now she finds their Musick turn'd to care;
Their looks allay'd, like beautie over-worn;
Silent and sad as with ring Fav'rites are,
Who for their sick indulgent Monarch mourn.
Thula (the eldest of this silenc'd Quire)
When Birtha at this change astonish'd was,
With hastie whisper, begg'd her to retire▪
And on her knees thus tells their sorrows cause.
Forgive me such experience, as too soon,
Shew'd me unluckie Love; by which I guess
How Maids are by their innocence undone,
And trace those sorrows that them first oppress.
Forgive such Passion as to Speech perswades,
And to my Tongue my observation brought;
And then forgive my Tongue, which to your Maids,
Too rashly carry'd, what Experience taught.
For since I saw this wounded stranger here,
Your inward musick still untun'd has been;
You, who could need no hope, have learnt to feat,
And practis'd grief, ere you did know to Sin.
This being Love, to Agatha I told;
Did on her Tongue, as on still Death reli [...]
But winged Love, she was too young to hold,
And, wanton-like, let it to others flie.
Love, who in whisper scap'd, did publick grow;
Which makes them now their time in silence waste;
Makes their neglected Beedles move so slow,
And through their Eyes, their Hearts dissolve so fast.
For oft, dire tales of Love has fill'd their Heads;
And while they doubt you in that Tyrant's pow'r,
The Spring (they think) may visit Woods and Meads,
But scarce shall hear a Bird, or see a Flow'r.
Ah how (said Birtha) shall I dare confess
My griefs to thee, Love's rash, impatient Spie;
Thou (Thula) who didst r [...] to tell thy guess,
With secrets known, wilt to confession flie.
But if I love this Prince, and have in Heav'n
Made any Friends by vows, you need not fear
He will make good the feature, Heav'n has given▪
And be as harmless [...]s his looks appear.
Yet I have heard, that Men whom Maids think kind,
Calm, as forgiven Saints, at their last Hour,
Oft prove like Seas, inrag'd by ev'ry wind,
And all who to their Bosoms trust, devour.
Howere Heav'n knows, (the witness of the Mind)
My hear [...]bears Men nomalice, nor esteems
Young Princes of the common cruel kind,
Nor Love so foul as it in Story seems.
Yet if this Prince brought Love, what ere it be,
I must suspect, though I accuse it not;
For since he came, my med [...]'nal Huswiserie,
Confections, and my Stils, are all forgot.
Blossoms in winds, Berries in Frosts may fall!
And Flow'rs sink down in Rain! For I no more
Shall Maids to woods, for early gath'rings call,
No [...] haste to Gardens to prevent a showre.
This said, retires; and now a lovely shame
That she reveal'd so much, possess'd her Cheeks;
In a dark Lanthorn she would bear Love's flame,
To hide her self, whilst she her Lover seeks.
And to that Lover let our Song return▪
Whose Tale so well was to her Father told,
As the Philosopher did seem to mourn
That Youth had reach'd such worth, and he so old.
Yet Birtha was so precious in his Eyes,
Her vanish'd Mother still so near his mind,
That farther yet he thus his prudence tries,
Ere such a Pledge he to his trust resign'd.
Whoere (said he) in thy first story looks,
Shall praise thy wise conversing with the Dead;
For with the Dead he lives, who is with Books,
And in the Camp (Death's moving Palace) bred.
Wise Youth, in books and battels early finds
What thoughtless lazy Men perceive too late;
Books shew the utmost conquests of our Minds;
Battels, the best of our lov'd Bodies fate.
Yet this great breeding, joyn'd with Kings high blood
(Whose blood Ambition's feaver over-heats)
May spoil digestion, which would else be good,
As stomachs are deprav'd with highest Meats.
For though Books serve as Diet of the Mind,
If knowledge, early got, self-value breeds,
By false digestion it is turn'd to wind;
And what should nourish, on the Eater feeds.
Though Wars great shape best educates the sight,
And makes small soft'ning objects less our care;
Yet War, when urg'd for glory, more than right,
Shews Victors but authentick Murd'rers are.
And I may fear that your last victories,
Where Glory's Toyls, and you will ill abide.
(Since with new Trophies still you fed your Eyes)
Those little objects which in Shades we hide.
Could you in Fortunes smiles, foretel her frowns,
Our old Foes slain, you would not hunt for new;
But Victors, after wreaths, pretend at Crowns,
And such think Rhodalind their Valour's due.
To this the gentle Gondibert replies;
Think not Ambition can my duty sway,
look on Rhodalin'd with Subjects Eyes,
Whom he that conquers, must in right obay.
And though I humanely have heretofore
All beauty lik'd, I never lov'd till now;
Nor think a Crown can raise his value more,
To whom already Heav'n does Love allow.
Though, since I gave the Hunns their last defeat,
I have the Lombards Ensigns outward led,
Ambition kindled not this Victors heat,
But 'tis a warmth my Fathers prudence bred.
Who cast on more than Wolvish Man his Eye,
Man's necessary hunger judg'd, and saw
That caus'd not his devouring Maladie;
But like a wanton whelp he loves to gnaw.
Man still is sick for pow'r, yet that disease
Nature (whose Law is Temp'rance) ne'r inspires;
But 'tis a humour, does his Manship please,
A luxury, fruition onely tires.
And as in persons, so in publick States,
The lust of Pow'r provokes to cruel war;
For wisest Senates it intoxicates,
And makes them vain, as single persons are.
Men into Nations it did first divide;
Whilst place, scarce distant, gives them diff'rent stiles;
Rivers, whose breadth Inhabi [...]ants may stride,
Parts them as much as Continents, and Isles.
On equal, smooth, and undistinguish'd Ground,
The lust of pow'r does liberty impair,
And limits by a border and a bound,
What was before as passable as Air.
Whilst change of Languages oft breeds a war,
(A change which Fashion does as oft obtrude
As womens dress) and oft Complexions are,
And diff'rent names, no less a cause of fou [...].
Since Men so causelesly themselves devour,
(And hast'ning still, their else too hasty Fates,
Act but continu'd Massacres for pow'r,)
My Father meant to chastise Kings, and States.
To overcome the world, till but one Crown▪
And universal Neighbourhood he saw;
Till all were rich by that alliance grown,
And want no more should be the cause of Law.
One family the world was first design'd,
And though some fighting Kings so sever'd are,
That they must meet by help of Seas and wind,
Yet when they fight, 'tis but a civil war.
Nor could Religions heat, if one rul'd all,
To bloody war the unconcern'd allure;
And hasten us from Earth, ere Age does call;
Who are (alas) of Heav'n so little sure.
Religion, ne'r till divers Monarchies,
Taught that almighty Heav'n needs Armies aid;
But with contentious Kings she now complies,
Who seem for their own cause, of God's afraid.
To joyn all sever'd Pow'rs (which is to end
The cause of War) my Father onward fought;
By war the Lombard Scepter to extend
Till peace were forc'd, where it was slowly sought.
He lost in this attempt his last dear blood;
And I (whom no remoteness can deterre,
If what seems difficult, be great and good)
Thought his Example could not make me erre.
No place I merit in the Book of Fame!
Whose leaves are by the Greeks and Romans fill'd;
Yet I presume to boast, she knows my name,
And she has heard to whom the Hunns did yield.
But let not what so needfully was done,
Though still pursu'd, make you ambition fear;
For could I force all Monarchies to one,
That Universal Crown I would not wear.
He who does blindly [...]oar at Rhodalind,
Mounts like feel'd Doves, still higher from his ease;
And in the lust of Empire he may find,
High Hope does better than Fruition please.
The Victor's solid recompence is rest;
And 'tis unjust, that Chiefs who pleasure shun,
Toyling in Youth, should be in Age opprest
With greater Toyls, by ruling what they won.
Here all reward of conquest I would find,
Leave shining Thrones for Birtha in a shade,
With Nature's quiet wonders fill my mind;
And praise her most, because she Birtha made.
Now Astragon (with joy suffic'd) perceiv'd
How nobly Heav'n for Birtha did provide;
O [...]t had he for her vanish'd Mother griev'd,
[...]ut [...]an this joy, less than that sorrow hide.
With tears, bids Gondibert to Heav'ns Eye make
All good within, as to the World he seems;
And in gain'd Birtha then from Hymen take
All youth can wish, and all his age esteems.
Straight to his lov'd Philosophers he hies,
Who now at Nature's Counsel busie are
To trace new Lights, which some old Gazer spies,
Whilst the Duke seeks more busily his Star.
But in her search, he is by Goltho stay'd,
Who in a closs dark Covert folds his Arms;
His Eyes with thought grow darker than that shade,
Such thought as brow and breast with study warms.
Fix'd to unheeded object is his Eye▪
His sences he calls in, as if t'improve
By outward absence inward extasie,
Such as makes Prophets, or is made by Love.
Awake (said Gondibert) for now in vain
Thou dream'st of sov'reignty▪ and War's success;
Hope, nought has left, which Worth should wish to gain;
And all Ambition is but Hope's excess.
Bid all our Worthies to unarm, and rest!
For they have nought to conquer worth their care;
I have a Father's right in Birtha's breast,
And that's the peace for which the wise make war.
At this starts Goltho, like some Armie's Chief,
Whom unintrench'd, a midnight Larum wakes,
By pawse then gave disorder'd sence relief,
And this reply with kindled passion makes:
What means my Prince to learn so low a boast,
Whose merit may aspire to Rhodalind?
For who could Birtha miss if she were lost,
That shall by worth the others treasure find?
When your high blood, and conquests shall submit
To such mean joys, in this unminded shade,
Let Courts, without Heav'ns Lamps, in darkness sit,
And war become the lowly Shepheard's Trade.
Birtha, (a harmless Cottage Ornament!)
May be his Bride, that's born himself to serve;
But you must pay that blood your Anny spent,
And wed that Empire which our wounds deserve.
This brought the Dukes swi [...]t anger to his Eyes;
Which his consid'rate Heart rebuk'd as fast;
He Goltho chid, in that he nought replies;
Leaves him, and Birtha seeks with Lovers haste.
Now Goltho mourns, yet not that Birtha's fair;
Or that the Duke shuns Empire for a Bride,
But that himself must joyn love to despair;
Himself who loves her, and his love must hide.
He curs'd that him the wounded hither brought
From Oswald's field; where though he wounds did scape
In tempting Death, and here no danger sought,
Yet here met worse than Death in Beauty's shape.
He was unus'd to love, as bred in wars,
And not till now for be [...]uty leasure had;
Yet bore Love's load, as Youth bea [...]s other C [...]res;
Till now despair makes Love's old weight too [...]ad.
But Ulfinore, does hither aptly come,
His second breast, in whom his griefs excess
He may ebb out, when they ore-flow at home;
Such griefs, as thus in Throngs for utt'rance press.
Forgive me that so falsly am thy Friend!
No more our Hearts for kindness shall contest;
Since mine I hourly on another spend,
And now imbrace thee with an empty brest.
Yet pard'ning me, you cancel Nature's fault;
Who walks with her first force in Birtha's shape,
And when she spreads the Net to have us caught,
It were in youth presumption to escape.
When Birtha's grief so comly did appear,
Whilst she beheld our wounded Duke's distress;
Then first my alter'd Heart began to fear,
Lest too much Love should friendship dispossess;
But this whilst Ulfinore with sorrow hears,
Him Goltho's busier sorrow little heeds;
And though he could reply in sighs and tears,
Yet governs both, and Goltho thus proceeds.
To Love's new dangers I have gone unarm'd;
I lack'd experience why to be afraid,
Was too unlearn'd to read how Love had harm'd,
But have his will as Nature's law obay'd.
Th'obedient and defenceless, sure; no law
Afflicts, for law is their defence, and pow'r;
Yet me, Loves sheep, whom rigour needs not aw,
Wolf-Love, because defenceless, does devour:
Gives me not time to perish by degrees,
But with despair does me at once destroy;
For none who Gondibert a Lover sees,
Thinks he would love, but where he may enjoy.
Birtha he loves; and I from Birtha fear
Death that in rougher Figure I despise▪
This Ulfinore did with distemper hear,
Yet with dissembled temp'rance thus replies:
Ah Goltho! who Love's Feaver can asswage?
For though familiar seems that old disease;
Yet like Religion's fit, when Peoples rage,
Few cure those evils which the Patient please.
Natures Religion, Love, is still perverse;
And no commerce with cold discretion hath,
For if Discretion speak when Love is fierce,
'Tis wav'd by Love, as Reason is by Faith.
As Gondibert left Goltho when he heard▪
His Saint profan'd, as if some Plague were nigh;
So Goltho now leaves Ulfinore, and fear'd
To share such veng'ance, if he did not flie.
How each at home ore-rates his miserie,
And thinks that all are musical abroad,
Unfetter'd as the Winds, whilst onely he
Of all the glad and licenc'd world is aw'd?
And as Cag'd Birds are by the Fowler set
To call in more, whilst those that taken be,
May think▪ (though they are Pris'ners in the Net)
Th'incag'd, because they ne'r complain, are free.
So Goltho (who by Ulfinore was brought
Here where he first Love's dangers did perceive
In Beautie's Field) thinks though himself was caught,
Th' inviter safe, because not heard to grieve.
But Ulfinore (whom neighbourhood led here)
Impressions took before from Birtha's sight;
Ideas, which in silence hidden were,
As Heav'n's designs before the birth of Light.
This from his Father Ulfin he did hide,
Who, strict to Youth, would not permit the best
Reward of worth, the Bosom of a Bride,
Should be but after Virtuous toils possest.
For Ulfinore (in blooming honour yet)
Though he had learnt the count'nance of the Foe,
And though his courage could dull Armies whet,
The care ore Crouds, nor Conduct could not know;
Nor varie Battels shapes in the Foes view;
But now in forreign Fields means to improve
His early Arts, to what his Father knew,
That merit [...]o might get him leave to love.
Till then, check'd passion, shall not venture forth:
And now retires with a disorder'd Heart;
Griev'd, lest his Rival should by early'r worth
Get Love's reward, ere he can gain desert.
But stop we here, like those who day-light lack;
Or as misguided Travellers that rove,
Oft find their way by going somewhat back;
So let's return, thou ill Conductour Love▪
Thy little Grecian Godhead as my Guide
I have attended many a Winter night;
To seek whom Time for honour's sake would hide,
Since in mine age sought by a wasted light:
But ere my remnant of Life's Lamp be spent,
Whilst I in Lab'rinths stray amongst the Dead;
I mean to recollect the paths I went▪
And judge from thence the steps I am to tread.
Thy walk (though as a common Deitie
The Croud does follow thee) misterious grows:
For Rhodalind may now closs Mourner die,
Since Gondibert, too late, her sorrow knows.
Young Hurgonil above dear light prefers
Calm Orna, who his highest Love out-loves;
Yet envious Clouds in Lombard Registers
Orecast their Morn, what ere their Evening proves.
For fatal Laura trustie Tybalt pines;
For haughtie Gartha, [...]ubtle Hermegild;
Whilst she her beautie, youth, and birth declines;
And as to Fate, does to Ambition yield.
Great Gondibert, to bashfull Birtha bends;
Whom she adores like Virtue in a Throne;
Whilst Ulfinore, and Goltho (late vow'd Friends
By him) are now his Rivals, and their own.
Through ways thus intricate to Lovers Urns,
Thou lead'st me, Love, to shew thy Trophies past;
Where time (less cruel than thy Godhead) mourns
In ruins, which thy pride would have to last.
Where I on Lombard Monuments have read
Old Lovers names, and their fam'd Ashes spy'd;
But less can learn by knowing they are dead,
And such their Tombes; than how they liv'd and dy'd.
To Paphos flie! and leave me sullen here!
This Lamp shall light me to Records, which give
To future Youth, so just a cause of fear,
That it will Valour seem to dare to live.
The End of the Second Book.

GONDIBERT. The Third Book.

Written by the Authour during his Imprisonment.

CANTO the First.

The People, left by GARTHA, leave to mourn;
And worship HERMEGILD for her return.
The wounded HURGONIL by ORNA cur'd:
Their loyal loves by marriage plight assur'd.
In LAURA'S hasty change, Love's pow'r appears,
And TYBALT seeks the kindness which he fears.
WHen sad Verona saw in Gartha's shape (prais'd;
Departed Peace brought back, the Court they
And seem'd so joy'd as Cities which escape
A Siege, even by their own brave Sallys rais'd.
And Hermegild, to make her triumph long,
Through all the streets his Chariot slowly drove;
Whilst she endures the kindness of the Throng,
Though rude, as was their rage, is now their love.
On Hermegild (so longingly desir'd
From Hubert's Camp) with Childish Eyes they gaze;
They worship now, what late they but admir'd,
And all his Arts to mightie Magick raise.
On both they such a [...]t Bl [...]ings throw,
As if those num'rous Priests who here reside,
(Loath to out-live this joy) assembled now
In haste to bless the [...]ayti [...] e'r [...] they [...]yd▪.
Thus dignify'd, and [...]rown'd through all the Streets
To Court they come; where them wi [...]e Aribert
Not weakly with a publick passion meets;
But in his open'd Face conceal'd his heart.
With mod'rate joy he took this Pledge of Peace,
Because great joys infer to judging Eys▪
The mind distress'd before; and in distress,
Thrones, which are jealous Forts, think all are Spies.
Yet, by degrees, a Soul delighted shows
To Gartha, whom he leads to Rhodalind;
And soon to Hermegild as artless grows
As Maids, and like succesfull Lovers kind.
And Rhodalind, though bred to daily sight
Of Courts feign'd Faces, and pretended hearts,
(In which disguises Courts take no delight,
But little mischiefs shun by little Arts.)
She, when she Gartha [...]aw, no kindness faign'd;
But faithfully her former rage excus'd;
For now she others sorrows entertain'd,
As if to love, a Maid's first sorrow us'd,
Yet did her first with cautious gladness meet;
Then soon from grave respect to fondness grew;
To kisses in their taste and odour sweet,
As Hybla Hony, or Arabian Dew.
And Gartha like an Eastern Monarch's Bride,
This publick love with bashfull homage took,
For she had learn'd from Hermegild to hide
A rising Heart, behind a falling Look.
Thus, mask'd with meekness, she does much intreat
A pardon for that Storm her sorrow rais'd;
Which Rhodalind more fues she would forget,
Unless to have so just a sorrow prais'd.
Soon is this joy through all the Court dispers'd;
So high they vallue peace, who daily are
In Prides invasions, private faction, vers'd;
The small, but fruitfull seed of publick war.
Whilst thus sweet Peace had others joys assur'd,
Orna with hopes of sweeter Love was pleas'd;
For of war's wounds brave Hurgonil was cur'd;
And those of love, which deeper reach'd, were [...]as'd.
In both these cures her Sov'raign help appears,
Since as her double Patient he receiv'd
For War's wounds, Balm, dropp'd in her precious tears,
And Love's, her more accepted vows, reliev'd.
She let no medc'nal Flow'r in quiet grow,
No Art lie hid, nor Artist ease his thought,
No Fane be shut, no Priest from Altars go,
Nor in Heav'n's Quire no Saint remain unsought,
Nor more her Eys could ease of sleep esteem
Than sleep can the world's Eye, the Sun, conceal;
Nor breath'd she but in vows to Heav'n, or him,
Till Heav'n, and she, his diff'rent wounds did heal.
But now she needs those ayds she did dispence;
For scarce her cures were on him perfect grown,
E're shame afflicts her for that diligence,
Which Love had in her fits of pity shown.
When she (though made of shunning bashfulness)
Whilst him in wounds a smarting Feaver burn'd,
Invok'd remotest aydes to his redress,
And with a loud ungovern'd kindness mourn'd.
When o're him then, whilst parting life She ru'd,
Her kisses saster (though unknown before)
Then Blossoms fall on parting Spring, she strew'd;
Than Blossoms sweeter, and in number more.
But now when from her busie Maid she knew
How wildly Grief had led her Love abroad,
Unmask'd to all, she her own Pris'ner grew;
By shame, a Virgin's Native Conscience, aw'd.
With undirected Eies which careless rove,
With thoughts too singly to her self confin'd,
She blushing starts at her remember'd love,
And grievs the world had Eyes, when that was blind.
Sad darkness, which does other Virgins fright,
Now boldly and alone, she entertain'd;
And shuns her Lover, like the Traytor, light,
Till he her curtains drew, and thus complain'd.
Why, bashfull Maid, will you your beauty hide,
Because your fairer Mind, your Love, is known?
So Jewellers conceal with artfull pride
Their second wealth, after the best is shown.
In pity's passion you unvail'd your mind;
Let him not fall, whom you did help to climb;
Nor seem by being bashfull so unkind,
As if you think your pity was a crime.
O useless shame! Officious bashfulness!
Virtues vain sign, which onely there appears
Where Virtue grows erroneous by excess,
And shapes more sins, than frighted Conscience fears.
Your blushes, which to meer complexion grow,
You must, as Nature, not as Virtue own;
And for your open'd Love, you but blush so
As guiltless Roses blush that they are blown.
As well the Morn (whose essence Poets made,
And gave her bashfull Eyes) we may believe
Does blush for what she sees through Night's thin shade,
As that you can for love discover'd grieve.
Arise! and all the Flow'rs of ev'ry Mead
(Which weeping through your Stils my health restor'd)
[...]ring to the Temple to adorn your Head,
And there where you did worship, be ador'd.
[...]his with a low regard (but voice rais'd high
By joys of Love) he spake; and not less kind
[...]as now (ent'ring with native harmony,
Like forward spring) the blooming Rhodalind:
[...]ke Summer, goodly Gartha, fully blown;
Laura, like Autumn, with as ripe a look;
[...]t shew'd, by some chill griefs, her Sun was gone,
Arnold, from whom she Life's short glory took.
Like Winter, Hermegild; yet not so gray
And cold, but that his fashion seem'd to boast,
That even weak Winter is allow'd some day,
And the Air clear, and healthfull in a Frost.
All these, and Tybalt too (unless a Spie
He be, watching who th [...]ives in Laura's sight)
Came hither, as in kind conspiracy,
To hasten Orna to her marriage plight.
And now the Priests prepare for this high vow
All Rites that to their Laws can adde a grace;
To which the sequent knot they not allow,
Till a spent Morn recovers all her Face.
And now the streets like Summer Me [...]ds appear!
For with sweet strewings Maids left Gardens bare,
As Lovers wish their sweeter Bosoms were,
When hid unkindly by dis▪shevell'd Hair.
And Orna now (importun'd to possess▪
Her long wish'd joys) breaks through her blushes so,
As the fair Morn breaks through her rosyness;
And from a like guilt did their blushes grow.
She thinks her Love's high sickness now appears
A fit so weak, as does no med'cine need;
So soon societie can cure those fears
On which the Coward, Solitude, does feed.
They with united joy blest Hurgonil
And Orna to the sacred Temple bring;
Whilst all the Court in triumph shew their Skill,
As if long bred by a triumphant King.
Such days of joy, before the marriage day,
The L [...]bards long by custom had embrae't;
Custom, which all, rather than Law obay,
For Laws by force, Customs, by pleasure last.
And wisely Ancients by this needfull snare
Of guilded joys, did hide such bitterness
As most in marriage swallow with that care,
Which bashfully the wise will ne'r confess.
'Tis Sates-mens musick, who States Fowle [...]s be,
And singing Birds, to catch the wilder, set;
So bring in more to tame societie;
For wedlock, to the wild, is the States Net.
And this loud joy, before the marriage Rites,
Like Battels Musick which to fights prepare,
Many to strise and sad success invites;
For marriage is too oft but civil war.
A truth too amply known to those who read
Great Hymen's Roles; though he from Lovers Eyes
Hides his most Tragick stories of the Dead,
Lest all, like Goths, should 'gainst his Temples rise.
And thou (what ere thou art, who dost perchance
With a hot Reader's haste, this Song pursue)
May'st find, too soon, thou dost too far advance,
And wish it all unread, or else untrue.
For it is sung (though by a mourning voice)
That in the Ides before these Lovers had,
With Hymens publick hand, confirm'd their choice,
A cruel practise did their peace invade.
For Hermegild, too studiously foresaw
The Counts alliànce with the Duke's high blood,
Might from the Lombards such affection draw,
As could by Hubert never be withstood.
And he in haste with Gartha does retire,
Where thus his breast he opens to preyent,
That Hymen's hallow'd Torch may not take fire,
When all these lesser lights of joy are spent.
High Heav'n (from whose best Lights your beauty grows,
Born high, as highest Minds) preserve you still
From such, who then appears resistless Foes,
When they allyance joyn to Arms and Skill!
Most by conjunction Planets harmfull are;
So Rivers joyning overflow the Land,
And Forces joyn'd make that destructive war,
Which else our common conduct may withstand.
Their Knees to Hurgonil the People bow
And worship Orna in her Brothers right;
They must be sever'd, or like Palms will grow,
Which planted near, out-climb their native hight.
As Winds, whose violence out-does all art,
Act all unseen: so we as secretly
These branches of that Cedar Gondibert
Must force, till his deep Root in rising die.
If we make noise whilst our deep workings last,
Such rumour through thick Towns unheeded flies,
As winds through woods, and we (our great work past)
Like winds will silence Tongues, and scape from Eyes.
Ere this dark lesson she was clearer taught,
His enter'd Slaves place at her rev'renc'd Feet
A spacious Cabinet, with all things fraught,
Which seem'd for wearing artfull, rich, and sweet.
With leisurely delight, she by degrees
Lifts ev'ry Till, does ev'ry Drawer draw,
But nought which to her Sex belongs she sees;
And for the Male all nice adornments saw.
This seem'd to breed some strangeness in her Eyes,
Which like a wanton wonder there began;
But straight she in the lower Closet spies
Th'accomplish'd dress, and Garments of a Man.
Then starting, she her Hand shrunk nicely back,
As if she had been stung; or that she fear'd
This Garment was the skin of that old Snake,
Which at the fatal Tree like Man appear'd.
Th'ambitious Maid at scornfull distance stood,
And bravely seem'd of Love's low vices free;
Though vicious in her mind, not in her blood:
Ambition is the Minds immodestie!
He knew great minds disorder'd by mistake,
Defend through pride, the errours they repent;
And with a Lovers fearfulness he spake
Thus humbly, that extreams he might prevent.
How ill (delightfull Maid!) shall I deserve
My Life's last flame, fed by your beauty's fire,
If I shall vex your virtues, that preserve
Others weak virtues, which would else expire.
How, more than death, shall I my life despise,
When your fear'd srowns, make me your service fear;
When I scarce dare to say, that the disguise
You shrink to see, you must vouchsafe to wear.
So rude a Law your int'rest will impose;
And solid int'rest must not yield to shame:
Vain shame, which fears you should such honour lose,
As lasts but by intelligence with Fame.
Number, which makes opinion Law, can turn
This shape to fashion, which you scorn to use,
Because not by your Sex as fashion worn;
And fashion is but that which Numbers chuse.
If you approve what Numbers lawfull think,
Be bold, for Number cancels bashfulness;
Extreams, from which a King would blushing shrink,
Unblushing Senates act as no excess.
Thus he his thoughts (the picture of his mind)
By a dark Vayl to sudden sight deny'd;
That she might prise, what seem'd so hard to find;
For Curtains promise worth in what they hide.
He said her Manhood would not strange appear
In Court, where all the fashion is disguise;
Where Masquerades are serious all the year,
None known but strangers, nor secure but Spies.
All rules he reads of living great in Courts,
Which some the Art of wise dissembling call;
For Pow'r (born to have Foes) much weight supports
By their false strength who thrust to make it fall.
He bids her wear her beauty free as light;
By Ears as open be to all endeer'd;
For the unthinking Croud judge by their sight,
And seem half eas'd, when they are fully heard.
He shuts her breast even from familiar Eyes;
For he who secrets (Pow'rs chief Treasure) spends
To purchase Friendship, friendship dearly buys:
Since Pow'r seeks great Confed'rates, more than friends.
And now with Counsels more particular,
He taught her how to wear tow'rds Rhodalind
Her looks, which of the Mind false pictures are,
And then how Orna may believe her kind.
How Laura too may be (whose practis'd Eyes
Can more detect the shape of forward love)
By treaty caught, though not by a surprize;
Whose aid would precious to her faction prove.
But here he ends his Lecture, for he spy'd
(Adorn'd, as if to grace Magnifick Feasts)
Bright Rhodalind, with the elected Bride;
And with the Bride, all her selected Guests.
They Gartha in their civil pitie sought,
Whom they in midst of triumphs mis'd, and fear
Lest her full breast (with Huberts sorrows fraught)
She, like a Mourner, came to empty here.
But she, and Hermegild, are wild with haste,
As Traitors are whom Visitants surprise;
Decyphring that which searfully they cast
In some dark place, where worser Treason lies.
So open they the fatal Cabinet,
To shut things slighter with the Consequent;
Then soon their rally'd looks in posture set;
And boldly with them to their triumphs went.
Tybalt, who Laura gravely ever led,
With ceaseless whispers laggs behind the Train;
Tries, since her wary Governour is dead,
How the fair Fort he may by Treaty gain.
For now unhappy Arnold she forsakes;
Yet he is blest that she does various prove,
When his spent heart for no unkindness akes;
Since from the Light as sever'd as from Love.
Yet as in storms and sickness newly gone,
Some Clouds a while, and strokes of faintness last;
So, in her brow, so much of grief is shown,
As shews a Tempest, or a sickness past.
But him no more with such sad Eyes she seeks,
As even at Feasts would make old Tyrants weep;
Nor more attempts to wake him with such shreek [...]
As threatned all where Death's deaf Pris'ners [...]
Hugo and him, as Leaders [...]
Not much as Lovers does their [...]ame approve;
Nor her own fate, but chance of battel blames;
As if they dy'd for honour, not for love.
This Tybalt saw, and finds that the turn'd Stream
Came fairly flowing to refresh his heart;
Yet could he not forget the kind esteem
She lately had of Arnold's high desert.
Nor does it often scape his memorie,
How gravely he had vow'd, that if her Eyes,
After such Show'rs of Love, were quickly drie,
He would them more than Lamps in Tombs despise.
And Whilst he watch'd like an industrious Spie
Her Sexes changes, and revolt of Youth;
He still reviv'd this vow as solemnly,
As Senates Count'nance Laws or Synods, Truth.
But men are frail, more Glass than Women are!
Tybalt who with a stay'd judicious heart
Would love, grows vain amidst his gravest care:
Love, free by nature, scorns the Bonds of Art!
Laura (whose Fort he by approch would gain)
With a weak sigh blows up his Mine, and Smiles;
Gives fire but with her Eye, and he is slain;
Or treats, and with a whisper him beguiles.
Nor force of Arms or Arts (O Love!) endures
Thy mightiness; and since we must discern
Diseases fully ere we studie cures;
And our own force by othes, weakness learn;
Let me to Courts and Camps thy Agent be,
Where all their weakness and diseases spring
From their not knowing, and not honouring thee
In those who Nature in thy triumphs sing.

CANTO the Second.

Whilst BIRTHA and the Duke their joyes pursue
In conqu'ring Love, Fate doth them both subdue
With triumphs, which from Court young ORGO brought;
And have in GOLTHO greater triumphs wrought:
Whose hopes the quiet ULFINORE does bear
With patience feigne'd, and with a hidden fear.
THe prosp'rous Gondibert from Birtha gains
All bashfull plights a Maids first bounties give;
Fast vows, which bind Love's Captives more than chains,
Yet free Love's Saints in chosen bondage live.
Few were the days, and swiftly seem'd to waste,
Which thus he in his minds [...]tuition spent;
And lest some envious Cloud should overcast
His Lov's fair Morn, oft to his Camp he sent
To Bergamo, where still intrenched were
Those Youth, whom first his Father's Army bred;
Who ill the rumour of his wounds did bear,
Though he that gave them, of his own be dead.
And worse those haughtie threat'nings they abhor,
Which Fame, from Brescia's ancient Fighters brought;
Vain Fame, the Peoples trusted Orator,
Whose speech (too fluent) their mistakes has wrought.
Oft Goltho with his temp'rate Counsels went,
To quench whom Fame to dang'rous furie warm'd;
Till temp'rately his dangers they resent,
And think him safest in their patience arm'd.
And safe now is his love, as love could be,
If all the World like old Arcadia were;
Honour the Monarch, and all Lovers free
From jealosie, as safetie is from fear.
And Birtha's heart does to his civil Breast
As much for ease and peace, as safetie, come;
For there 'tis serv'd and treated as a Guest,
But watch'd, and taught, and often chid at home.
Like great and good Confed'rates, whose design
Invades not others, but secures their own:
So they in just and virtuous hopes combine,
And are, like new Confed'rates, busie grown.
With whisper earnest, and now grave with thought
They walk consulting, standing they debate;
And then seek shades, where they in vain are sought,
By servants who intrude, and think they wait.
In this great League, their most important care
Was to dispatch their Rites; Yet so provide,
That all the Court might think them free as air,
When fast as faith, they were by Hymen ty'd.
For if the King (said he) our love surprise,
His stormie rage will it Rebellion call;
Who claims to chuse the Brides of his Allies;
And in that storm our joys in blossom fall.
Our love, your cautious Father, onely knows
(On whose safe prudence, Senates may depend)
And Golth [...], who to time few reck'nings ows,
Yet can discharge all duties of a Friend.
Such was his mind, and hers (more busie) shows
That bonds of love does make her longer fast
Than Hymen's knot, as plain Religion does,
Longer than Rites (Religion's fashions) last.
That her discretion somewhat does appear,
Since she can Love, her minds chief beautie, hide;
Which never farther went than Thula's Ear,
Who had (alass) but for that secret dy'd.
That she alreadie had disguises fram'd,
And sought out Caves where she might closs reside;
As being, nor unwilling nor asham'd
To live his Captive, so she die his Bride.
Full of themselves, delight them onward leads,
Where in the Front was to remoter view
Exalted Hills, and nearer prostrate Meads,
With Forrests flanck'd, where shade to darkness grew.
Beneath that shade, Two Rivers slily steal,
Through narrow walks, to wider Adice,
Who swallows both, till she does proudly swel,
And hasts to shew her beautie to the Sea.
And here, whilst forth he sends his raging Eye,
Orgo he spies, who plies the spur so fast,
As if with news of Vict'rie he would flie
To leave swift Fame behind him by his haste.
If (said the Duke) because the Boy is come,
I second gladness shew, do not suppose
I spread my Breast to give new Comforts room,
That were to welcome rain where Nilus flows.
Though the unripe appearance of a Page
For weightie trust, may render him too weak,
Yet this is he, who more than cautious Age,
Or like calm Death, will bury what we speak.
This, Birtha, is the Boy, whose skilless face
Is safe from jealousie of oldest spies;
In whom, by whisper, we from distant place
May meet, or wink our meaning to his Eyes.
More had he said to gain him her esteem,
But Orgo enters speechless with his Speed;
And by his looks more full of haste did seem,
Than when his spurs provok'd his flying Steed.
And with his first recover'd breath he cries,
Hail my lov'd Lord, whom Fame does value so,
That when she swift with your successes [...]ies,
She fears to wrong the World in being flow.
I bring you more than tasts of Fortune's love,
Yet am afraid I err, in ha [...]ing dar'd
To think her favours could your gladness move;
Who have more worth than Fortune can reward.
The Duke, with smiles, forewarns his hastie Tongue;
As loth he should proceed in telling more;
Kindly afraid to do his kindness wrong,
By hearing what he thought he knew before.
Thy diligence (said he) is high desert;
It does in Youth supply defects of skill;
And is of dutie the most usefull part;
Yet art thou now but slow to Hurgonil.
Who hither by the Moons imperfect light
Came and return'd, without the help of day,
To tell me he has Orna's Virgin plight,
And that their Nuptials for my presence stay.
Orgo reply'd, though that a triumph be
Where all false Lovers are, like savage Kings,
Led Captive after Love's great Victorie,
It does but promise what your triumph brings.
It was the Eve to this your Holy-day,
And now Verona Mishess does appear
Of Lombardy; and all the Flow'rs which May
Ere wore, does as the Countrie's favours wear.
The wearie Eccho from the Hills makes hastes
Vex'd that the Bells still calls for her replies
When they so many are, and ring so fast;
Yet oft are [...]ilenc'd by the Peoples cries:
Who send to Heav'n the name of Rh [...]dalind,
And then Duke Gondibert as high they raise,
To both with all their publick passion kind,
If kindness shine in wishes and in praise.
The King this day made your adoption known,
Proclaim'd you to the Empire next ally'd,
As heir to all his Conquests and his Crown,
For royal Rhodalind must be your Bride.
Not all the dange [...]s valour finds in war,
Love meets in Courts, or pride to Courts procures,
When sick with Peace the hot in Faction are,
Can make such fears as now the Duke endures.
Nor all those fears which ev'ry Maid has found,
On whose first Guards, Love by surprises steals,
(Whose sightless Arrow makes a c [...]reless wound)
Are like to this which doubtfull Birtha feels.
He from his looks wild wonder strives to chace;
Strives more to teach his Manhood to resist
Death in her Eyes, and then with all the grace
Of seeming pleasure, Orgo he dismist.
And Orgo being gone, low as her knees
Could fall, she fell; and soon he bends as low
With weight of heart; griev'd that no Grave he sees,
To sink, where love no more can sorrow know.
Her sighs as show'rs lay winds, are calm'd with tears;
And parting life seems stay'd awhile to take
A civil leave, whilst her pale visage wears
A clearie Skie, and thus she weeping spake.
Since such a Prince has forfeited his pow'r,
Heav'n give me leave to make my dutie less,
Let me my vows, as sudden oaths abhor,
Which did my passion, not my truth express.
Yet yours I would not think were counterfeit,
But rather ill and rashly understood;
For 'tis impossible I can forget
So soon, that once you fatally were good.
Though cruel now as Beasts where they have pow'r;
Chusing, like them to make the weakest bleed;
For weakness soon invites you to devour,
And a submission gives you ease to feed.
To fighting Fields, send all your honour back,
To Courts your dang'rous Tongue and civil shape,
That Country Maids may Men no more mistake,
Nor seek dark Death, that they may Love escape.
Now soon to Heav'n her Soul had found the way,
(For there it o [...]t had been in pray'r and praise)
But that his vows did life with loudness stay,
And life's warm help did soon her Body raise.
And now he gently leads her; for no more
He lets th'unhallow'd Ground a fal [...] Flow' [...] wear,
Sweeter than Nature's Bosom ever wore;
And now these vows sends kindly to her E [...]r.
If (Birtha) I am false, think none too blame
For thinking Truth (by which the Soul subsists▪)
No farther to be found than in the name;
Think humane kind betraid ev'n by their Priests.
Think all my Sex so vile, that you may chide
Those Maids who to your Mothers Nuptials ran;
And praise your Mother who so early dy'd,
Remembring whom she marry'd was a Man.
This great Court miracle you strait receive
From Orgo, and your faith the whole allows;
Why since you Orgo's words so soon believe▪
Will you less civilly suspect my vows?
My Vows, which want the Temples seal, will bind
(Though private kept) surer than publick Laws;
For Laws but sorce the Body, but my Mind
Your Virtue Counsels, whilst your beauty draws.
Thus spake he, but his mourning looks did more
Attest▪ his grief, and fear does hers renew;
Now losing (were he lost) more than before,
For then she fear'd him false, now thinks him true.
As sick Physicians seldom their own Art
Dare trust to cure their own disease; so these
Were to themselves quite useless, when apart;
Yet by consult, each can the other ease.
But from themselves they now diverted stood;
For Orgo's News (which need not borrow wings,
Since Orgo for his Lord believ'd it good▪)
To Astragon the joyfull Houshold brings.
But Astragon, with a judicious thought,
This days glad news took in the dire portent;
A day, which mourning Nights to Birtha brought;
And with that fear in search of Birtha went.
And here he finds her in her Lovers Eyes,
And him in hers; both more afflicted grown
At his approach; for each his sorrow spies;
Who thus would counsel theirs, and hide his own.
Though much this fatal joy to anger moves,
Yet reason's aids shall anger's force subdue;
I will not chide you for your hasty Loves,
Nor ever doubt (great Prince) that yours is true.
In chiding Love, because he hasty was,
Or urging errours, which his swiftness brings,
I find effects, but dare not tax the cause;
For Poets were inspir'd, who gave him wings.
When low I dig, where desart-Rivers run,
Dive deep in Seas, through Forrests follow winds,
Or reach with Optick Tubes the ragged Moon,
My sight no cause of Love's swift motion finds.
Love's fatal haste, in yours, I will not blame,
Because I know not why his wings were giv'n;
Nor doubt him true, not knowing whence he came,
Nor Birtha chide, who thought you came from Heav'n.
If you lay snares, we erre when we escape;
Since evil practise learns Men to suspect
Where falshood is, and in your noble shape,
We should by finding it, our skill detect.
Yet both your griefs I'le chide, as ignorance;
Call you unthankfull; for your great griefs show
That Heav'n has never us'd you to mischance,
Yet rudely you repine to feel it now.
If your contextures be so weak, and nice,
Weep that this windy world you ever knew;
You are not in those Calms of Paradice,
Where slender Flow'rs as safe as Cedars grew.
This which your Youth calls grief, was frowardness
In flatter'd Infancy, and as you bear
Unkindly now amidst Youth's joys distress,
So then, unless still rock'd, you froward were.
Griefs conflicts gave these Hairs their silver shine;
(Torn Ensigns which victorious Age adorn)
Youth is a Dress too garish, and too fine
To be in foul tempestuous weather worn.
Grief's want of use does dang'rous weakness make;
But we by use of Burdens are made strong;
And in our practis'd Age can calmly take
Those sorrows, which like Feavers, vex the young.
When you in Love's fair Books (which Poets keep)
Read what they hide, his Tragick History,
You will rejoyce that half your time is sleep,
And smile at Love when Nature bids you die.
Learn then that Love's diseases common are;
Do not in sickness known (though new to you)
Whilst vital hear does last, of cure despair:
Love's vital heat does last, whilst Love is true.
Thus spake the kind and prudent Astragon:
And much their kind impatience he appeas'd,
For of his griefs (which heavier than their own
Were born by both) their duteous fears are eas'd.
She begs that he would pardon her distress,
Thought that even sin which did her sorrows move;
And then with all her Mothers lowliness,
His pardon craves for asking leave to love.
The Duke who saw fair Truth so undisguis'd,
And love in all, but love so unconcern'd,
Pity'd the studious world, and all despis'd
Who did not here unlearn, what they had learn'd.
I am reform'd (said he) not that before
I wanted love, or that my love was ill;
But I have learnt to perfect Nature more
By giving innocence a little skill.
For 'tis some skill in innocence to bear
With temper the distempers of our Stars;
Not doubting griefs already come by fear
Of more, for fears but hasten threat'ned Wars.
But we will bravely suffer to inure
Our strength to weights against the new are laid;
That when 'tis known how much we can endure,
Our sufferings may make our Foes afraid.
This Comet Glory shines but in portent;
Which from the Court does send her threatning Beams;
And looks as if it were by malice meant
To hasten Oswald's Faction to extreams.
Since Hurgonil, who just fore-ran the Boy
Could not instruct us, we as much may know
Of the first Light, as of these fires of joy;
Which is, that both did out of darkness grow.
Yet this the King might hide in Kingly skill,
Wisely to make his bounty more his own:
Kings stoop for Counsel, who impart their will;
His Acts, like Heav'ns, make not their Causes known.
Yet with as plain a heart as love untaught
In Birtha wears, I here to Birtha make
A vow, that Rhodalind I never sought,
Nor now would with her love her greatness take.
Love's bonds are for her greatness made too straight;
And me Ambition's pleasures cannot please;
Ev'n Priests, who on the higher Altar wait;
Think a continu'd rev'rence loss of ease.
Let us with secrecy our love protect;
Hiding such precious wealth from publick view;
The proffer'd glory I will first suspect
As false, and shun it when I find it true.
They now retire, because they Goltho saw,
Who hither came to watch with Ulfinore
If much the Duke's woo'd Mistress did him aw;
Since love woo'd him, and in the shape of Pow'r.
But when he mark'd that he did from them move
With sudden shyness, he suppos'd it shame
Of being seen in chase of Birtha's love;
As if above it grown since Orgo came.
Goltho by nature was of Musick made,
Chearfull as Victors warm in their success;
He seem'd like Birds created to be glad,
And nought but love could make him taste distress.
Hope, which our cautious Age scarce entertains,
Or as a Flatt'rer gives her cold respect,
He runs to meet, invites her, and complains
Of one hours absence as a years neglect.
Hope, the world's welcome, and his standing Guest,
Fed by the Rich, but feasted by the Poor;
Hope, that did come in triumph to his breast,
He thus presents in boast to Ulfinore.
Well may I (Friend) auspicious Love adore,
Seeing my mighty Rival takes no pride
To be with Birtha seen; and he before
(Thou knowst) enjoyn'd that I his love should hide.
Nor do I break his trust when 'tis reveal'd
To thee, since we are now so much the same,
That when from thee, it is from me conceal'd,
For we admit no diff'rence but in name.
But be it still from ev'ry other Ear
Preserv'd, and strictly by our mutual vow:
His Laws are still to my obedience dear,
Who was my Gen'ral, though my Rival now.
And well thou knowst how much mine Eyes did melt
When our great Leader they did first perceive
Love's Captive led; whose sorrows then I felt,
Though now for greater of mine own I grieve.
Nor do I now by love in duty erre;
For if I get what he would fain possess,
Then he a Monarch is, and I preferre
Him who undoes the world in being less.
When Heav'n (which hath preferr'd me to thy brest
Where Friendship is inthron'd) shall make it known
That I am worth thy love, which is exprest
By making Heav'nly Birtha all mine own.
Then at this quiet Eden thou wilt call,
And stay a while, to mark if Love's prais'd Plant
Have after Spring a ripeness, and a Fall,
Or never of the first abundance want.
And I shall tell thee then if Poets are
In using Beauty's Pencil false, or blind;
For they have Birtha drawn but sweet and fair;
Stiles of her Face, the Curtain of her Mind!
And thou at parting shalt her picture wear,
For Nature's honour, not to shew my pride;
Try if like her, the teeming World does bear,
Then bring that Copy hither for thy Bride.
And they shall love as quietly as we;
Their Beauty's pow'r no civil War will raise;
But flourish, and like neighb'ring Flow'rs agree;
Unless they kindly quarrel in our praise.
Then we for change will leave such luscious peace;
In Camps their Favours shall our Helms adorn;
For we can no way else our joys increase,
But by beholding theirs at our return.
Thus cloath'd in Feathers, he [...]on Steeples walks;
Not guessing yet, that silent Ulfinore,
Had study'd her of whom he loosly talks,
And what he likes, did solidly adore.
But Ulfinore with cold discretion aw'd
His passion, and did grave with Love become;
Though youthfully he sent his Eyes abroad,
Yet kept with manly care, his Tongue at home.
These Rival's hopes, he did with patience hear;
His count'nance not uneasie seem'd, nor strange;
Yet meant his cares should more like Love appear,
If in the Duke Ambition bred a change.
But as the Duke shun'd them for secrecy,
So now they from approaching Org [...] move,
Made by Discretion (Love's strict Tutor) shy,
Which is to Lovers painfull as their Love.
But Orgo they did ill suspect, whose Youth
And nature yielded Lovers no offence;
Us'd by his Lord for kindness and for truth;
Both native in him as his innocence:
And here pass'd by in haste, to Court employ'd,
That Birtha may no more have cause to mourn:
Full was his little Breast, and over-joy'd
That much depended on his quick return!
Many like Orgo, in their Manhoods Morn,
As Pages, did the Noble Duke attend;
The Sons of Chiess, whom beauty did adorn,
And fairer Virtue did that beauty mend.
These in his Heroe's Schools he bred (which were
In Peace his Palace, and in War his Tent)
As if Time's self had read sage Lecture there
How he would have his hours (Life's Treasure) spent.
No action, though to shorten dreaded war,
Nor needfull Counsels, though to lengthen Peace,
Nor Love, of which wise Nature takes such care,
Could from this usefull work his cares release.
But with the early Sun he rose, and taught
These Youths, by growing virtue to grow great;
Shew'd greatness is without it blindly sought,
A desp'rate charge which ends in base retreat.
He taught them shame, the sudden sence of ill;
Shame, Nature's hasty Conscience, which forbids
Weak inclination ere it grow to will,
And stays rash will, before it grow to deeds.
He taught them▪ Honour, Virtue's bashfulness;
A Fort so yieldless, that it fears to treat;
Like Pow'r, it grows to nothing, growing less;
Honour, the moral Conscience of the Great!
He taught them kindness, Souls civilitie;
In which, nor Courts, nor Cities have a part;
For theirs is fashion, this from falshood free;
Where Love, and pleasure, know no Lust nor Art.
And Love he taught; the Soul's stoln Visit made,
Though froward Age watch hard, and Law forbid;
Her walks no Spie has trac'd, nor mountain staid;
Her friendship's cause, is as the Loadstone's hid.
He taught them love of Toyl, Toyl which does keep
Obstructions from the Mind, and quench the bloud;
Ease but belongs to us like sleep, and sleep
Like Opium, is our Med'cine, not our Food.
To dangers us'd them, which Death's Visards are,
More uglie than himself, and often chace
From Battel Coward-life; but when we dare
His Vizard see, we never fear his face.

CANTO the Third.

The Poet takes the Wise aside, to prove
Ev'n them concern'd in all he writes of Love.
The duteous ORGO from the Court returns
With joys, at which again fair BIRTHA mourns.
The Duke with open Arms does entertain
Those Guests whom he receives with secret pain.
THou, whom some Ages hence these Roles dost read
(Kept as Records by Lovers of Love's pow'r)
Thou who dost live, when I have long been dead,
And feed'st from Earth, when Earth does me devour.
Who liv'st, perhaps, amidst some Cities joys,
Where they would fall asleep with Lazie peace,
But that their triumphs make so great a noise,
And their loud Bells cannot for Nuptials cease:
Thou, who perhaps, proudly thy bloomie Bride
Lead'st to some Temple, where I withered lie;
Proudly, as if she Age's Frosts desy'd;
And that thy springing self could never die:
Thou, to whom then the chearfull Quire will sing,
Whilst hallow'd Lamps, and Tapers, brave the Sun
As a Lay-Light; and Bells in triumph ring,
As when from sallies the Besiegers run.
Then when the Priest has ended, if thine Eyes
Can but a little space her Eyes forbear,
To shew her where my Marble Co [...]in lies;
Her Virgin Garlands she will offer there:
Confess, that reading me she learnt to Love;
That all the good behaviour of her heart,
Even tow'rds thy self, my doctrine did improve;
Where Love by Nature is forewarn'd of Art.
She will confess, that to her Maiden state
This Storie shew'd such Patterns of great Life,
As though she then could those but imitate,
They an Example make her now a Wife.
And thy lif's fire could she a while out-live
(Which were, though lawfull, neither kind nor good)
Then, even her sorrows would examples give;
And shine to others through dark widowhood.
And she will boast, how spite of Cynick Age,
Of bus'ness, which does Pow'r uncivil make,
Of ruder Cells, where they Love's Fire asswage
By studying Death, and Fear for Virtue take:
And spite of Courts (where loving now is made
An Art, as dying is in Cells) my Laws
Did teach her how by Nature to perswade,
And hold by virtue whom her beautie draws.
Thus when by knowing me, thou know'st to whom
Love ows his Eyes, who has too long been blind▪
Then in the Temple leave my Bodies Tomb,
To seek this Book, the Mon'ment of my Mind.
Where thou may'st read; who with impatient Eyes
For Orgo on the guilded Tarras stay;
Which high, and golden shews, and open lies,
As the Morn's Window when she lets out Day.
Whose heighth Two rising Forrests over-looks;
And on Pine-tops the Eye-sight downward cast;
Where distant Rivers seem bestrided Brooks,
Churches but Anchor'd Ships, their Steeples, Masts.
Hence, by his little Regian Courser brought,
Orgo they spie, with diligence indu'd,
As if he would oretake fore-running Thought;
And he by many swiftly seem'd pursu'd.
But his light speed left those awhile behind;
Whilst with rais'd Dust, their swiftness hide the way;
Yet Birtha will, too soon, by Orgo find
What she by distance lost in this survay.
Orgo a precious Casket did present
To his dear Lord, of Podian Saphyr wrought;
For which, unknown to Birtha, he was sent,
And a more precious Pledge was in it brought.
Then thus proclaim'd his joy, Long may I live!
Sent still with blessings from the Heav'nly Powers;
And may their bounties shew what they can give;
And full as fast as long expected Showers!
Behold the King, with such a shining Train
As dazles sight, yet can inform the Blind;
But there the Rich, and Beauteous shine in vain,
Unless they d [...]stance keep from Rhodalind.
M [...] thinks, they through the Middle Region come;
Their Chariots hid in Clouds of Dust below;
And ore their Heads, their Coursers scatter'd Fome
Does seem to cover them like falling Snow.
This Birtha heard, and she on Orgo cast
A pitious look (for she no anger knew)
But griev d he knows not, that he brings too fast
Such joys, as fain she faster would eschew.
So Gondibert this Gust of glorie took,
As Men whose Sayls are full, more weather take;
And she so gaz'd on him, as Sea-men look
On long sought shore, when Tempests drive them back.
But now these glories more apparent be;
And justly all their observation claim'd;
Great, as in greatest Courts less Princes see,
When entertain'd to be eclips'd, and sham'd,
West from Verona's Road, through pleasant Meads,
Their Chariots cross, and to the Palace steer;
And Aribert this winged triumph leads;
Which like the Planets Progress did appear.
So shin'd they, and so noiseless seem'd their speed;
Like Spartans, touching but the silken Reins,
Was all the conduct which their Coursers need,
And proudly to sit still, was all their pains.
With Aribert sat royal Rhodalind;
Calm Orna by the Count, by Hermegild
(Silver'd with time) the Golden Gartha shin'd;
And Tybalt's Eyes were full by Laura fill'd.
The lesser Beauties, numberless as Stars,
Shew'd [...]ickly and far off, to this Noon-day;
And lagg'd like Baggage Treasure in the Wars;
Or onely seem'd another Milkie-way.
The Duke perceiv'd, the King design'd to make
This visit more familiar by surprise;
And with Court art, he would no notice take
Of that which Kings are willing to disguise.
But as in heedless sleep, the House shall seem
New wak'd with this Alarm; and Vlfin strait
(Whose [...]ame was precious in the Courts esteem)
Must, as with casual sight, their entrance wait.
To Astragon he doubles all his Vows;
To Birtha, through his Eies, his Heart reveal'd;
And by some civil jealousies he shows
Her beauty from the Court must be conceal'd.
Prays her, from Envy's danger to retire;
The Palace war; which there can never cease,
Till Beauty's force in age or death expire:
A War disguis'd in civil shapes of Peace.
Still he the precious Pledge kept from her view;
Who guess'd not by the Casket his intent;
And was so willing not to fear him true,
That she did fear to question what it ment.
Now hasts she to be hid; and being gon,
Her Lover thinks the Planet of the day;
So leaves the mourning World to give the Moon
(Whose Train is mark'd but for their number) way.
And entring in her Closet (which took light
Full in the Palace Front) she finds her Maids
Gather'd to see this gay unusuall sight;
Which Commet-like, their wondring Eyes invades
Where Thula would by climbing highest be,
Though ancient grown, and was in Stature short;
Yet did protest, she came not there to see,
But to be hid from dangers of the Court.
Their curious longing Birtha durst not blame
(Boldness, which but to seeing did aspire)
Since she her self, provok'd with Courts great Fame,
Would fain a little see what all admire.
Then through the Casement ventur'd so much Face,
As Kings depos'd shew when through Grates they peep
To see Deposers in their Crowding pass;
But strait shrink back, and at the triumph weep.
Soon so her Eyes did too much glory find;
For ev'n the first she saw was all; for she
No more would view, since that was Rhodalind;
And so much beauty could none others be.
Which with her Virtue weigh'd (no less renown'd)
Afflicts her that such worth must fatal prove;
And be in tears of the Possessor drown'd,
Or she depose her Lover by her love.
But Thula (wildly earnest in the view
Of such gay sights as she did ne'r behold)
Mark'd not when Birtha her sad Eyes withdrew;
But dreamt the world was turn'd again to Gold.
Each Lady most, till more appear'd, ador'd;
Then with rude liking prais'd them all aloud;
Yet thought them foul and course to ev'ry Lord;
And civilly to ev'ry Page she bow'd.
The objects past, out-sigh'd ev'n those that woo;
And strait her Mistris at the Window mist;
Then finding her in grief, out-sigh'd her too;
And her fair Hands with parting passion kist:
Did with a Servants usual art profess
That all she saw was, to her beauty, black;
Confess'd their Maids well bred, and knew to dress,
But said those Courts are poor which painting lack.
Thy praise (said Birtha) poyson'd is with spite;
May blisters seiz on thy uncivil Tongue,
Which strives so wickedly to do me right,
By doing Rhodalind and Orna wrong.
False Fame, thy Mistris tutor'd thee amiss;
Who teaches School in streets, where Crowds resort;
Fame, false, as that their beauty painted is;
The common Country slander on the Court.
With this rebuke, T [...]ula takes gravely leave;
Pretends she'll better judge ere they be gon;
At least see more, though they her sight deceive;
Whilst Birtha finds wilde Fear feeds best alone.
Ulfin receives, and through Art's Palace guides
The King; who owns him with familiar grace;
Though Twice seven Years from first observance hides▪
Those Marks of valour which adorn'd his Face.
Then Astragon with hasty homage bows:
And says, when thus his Beams he does dispence
In lowly visits, like the Sun he shows
Kings made for universal influence.
Him with renown the King for Science pays,
And Virtue; which Gods likest pictures bee
Drawn by the Soul, whose onely hire is praise;
And from such Salary not Heav'n is free.
Then kindly he inquires for Gondibert;
When, and how far his wounds in danger were?
And does the cautious progress of his Art
Alike with wonder and with pleasure hear.
Now Gongibert advanc'd, but with delay,
As fetter'd by his love; for he would fain
Dissembled weakness might procure his stay,
Here where his Soul does as in Heav'n remain.
Him, Creature like, the King did boldly use
With publick love; to have it understood
That Kings, like God, may chuse whom they will chuse;
And what they make, judge with their own Eyes good.
This grace the Duke at bashfull distance takes;
And Rhodalind so much concern'd is grown,
That his surprisal she her trouble makes;
Blushing, as if his blushes were her own.
Now the bright Train with Astragon ascend;
Whilst Hermegild, with Gartha moves behind;
Whom much this gracious visit did offend;
But thus he practis'd to appease her mind.
Judge not you strangely in this visit show;
As well in Courts think wise disembling new;
Nor think the kindness strange, though to your Foe,
Till all in Courts where they are kind are true.
Why should your closser mourning more be worn!
Poor Priests invented Blacks for lesser cost;
Kings for their Syres in Regal Purple mourn,
Which shews what they have got, not what they lost.
Though rough the way to Empire be, and steep,
You look that I should level it so plain,
As Babes might walk it barefoot in their sleep;
But Pow'r is the reward of patient pain!
This high Hill Pow'r, whose Bowels are of Gold,
Shews near to greedy and unpractis'd sight;
But many grow in travel to it, old,
And have mistook the distance by the height.
If those old Travellers may thither be
Your trusted Guides, they will your haste reform;
And give you fears of Voyages by Sea;
Which are not often made without a storm.
Yet short our Course shall prove, our passage fair,
If in the Steerage you will quiet stand,
And not make storms of ev'ry sigh of Air;
But think the Helm safe in the Pilots hand.
You, like some fatal King (who all Men hears,
Yet trusts entirely none) your trust mistake,
As too much weight for one: One Pillar bears
Weight that would make a thousand shoulders ake.
Your Brothers storm I to a calm have turn'd;
Who lets this guilded Sacrifice proceed
To Hymen's Altar, by the King adorn'd,
As Priests give Victims Garlands ere they bleed.
Hubert to triumph would not move so fast;
Yet you (though but a kind Spectator) mean
To give his triumph Laws, and make more haste
To see it pass, than he does to be seen.
With patience lay this Tempest of your heart!
For you, ere long, this Angels form shall turn
To fatal Man's; and for that shape of Art,
Some may, as I for yours of Nature, mourn!
Thus by her Love-sick States-men she was taught;
And smil'd with joy of wearing Manly shape;
Then smil'd, that such a smile his Heart had caught;
Whose Nets camps break not through, nor Senates scape.

CANTO the Fourth.

The King to GONDIBERT is grown so kind,
That he prevents the bounteous RHODALIND
In giving of her love; and GONDIBERT
Laments his Breast, holds but a single heart;
Which BIRTHA grieves her beauty did subdue,
Since he undoes the world in being true.
FUll grows the Presence now, as when all know
Some stranger Prince must be receiv'd with state,
When Courts shew those, who come to see the Show;
And all gay Subjects like Domesticks wait.
Nor Vlfinore nor Goltho absent were;
Whose hopes expect what lift'ning Birtha (hid
In the adjoyning Closet) fears to hear;
And begs kind Heav'n in pitie would forbid.
The King (who never time nor pow'r mispent
In Subjects bashfulness, whiling great deeds
Like Coward Councels, who too late consent)
Thus to his secret Will aloud proceeds.
If to thy same (brave Youth) I could adde wings,
Or make her Trumpet louder by my voice,
I would (as an example drawn for Kings)
Proclaim the cause, why thou art now my choice.
But this were to suspect the world asleep,
Or all our Lombards with their envy blind,
Or that the Hunns so much for bondage weep,
As their drown'd Eyes cannot thy Trophies find.
When this is heard, none dare of what I give
Presume their equal merit might have shar'd;
And to say more, might make thy Foes believe,
Thy dang'rous worth is grown above reward.
Reward even of a Crown, and such a Crown,
As by Heav'n's Model ancient Victors wore;
When they, as by their Coyn, by Laws were known;
For Laws but made more currant Victors pow'r.
A Crown soon taught, by whom Pow'r first was given;
When Victors (of Dominion cautious made
By hearing of that old revolt in Heaven)
Kept Pow'r too high for Subjects to invade.
A Crown, which ends by Armies their debate,
Who question height of Pow'r; who by the Law
(Till plain obedience they make intricate)
Would not the People, but their Rulers aw.
To Pow'r, adoption makes thy Title good;
Preferring worth, as birth gives Princes place;
And Virtue's claim exceeds the right of blood,
As Souls extraction does the Bodies Race.
Yet for thy Bloods long walk through Princes veins,
Thou maist with any Lombard measure time;
Though he his hidden house in Illium feigns;
And not step short, when Hubert self would climb.
And Hubert is of highest Victors Breed;
Whose worth I shall for distant Empire chuse;
If he will learn, that you by Fate precede,
And what he never had, he cannot lose.
His Valour shall the Gothick Conquest keep:
And would to Heav'n that all your mighty Minds
As soon were pleas'd, as Infants are with sleep,
And you had Musick common as the winds.
That all the Year your Seasons were like Spring;
All joy'd as Birds, and all as Lovers kind;
That ev'ry famous Fighter were a King,
And each, like you, could have a Rhodalind.
For she is yours, as your adoption, free;
And in that gift my remnant Life I give;
But 'tis to you, brave Youth! Who now are she;
And she that Heav'n where secondly I live.
And richer than that Crown (which shall be thine,
When Life's long Progress I am gone with Fame)
Take all her love; which scarce forbears to shine
And own thee, through her Virgin-Curtain, Shame.
Thus spake the King, and Rhodalind appear'd
Through publish'd Love, with so much bashfulness,
As young Kings shew, when by surprize ore-heard,
Moaning to Fav'rite Ears a deep distress.
For Love is a distress, and would be hid
Like Monarchs grief, by which they bashfull grow;
And in that shame beholders they forbid;
Since those blush most, who must their blushes show.
And Gondibert with dying Eyes did grieve
At her vail'd love (a wound he cannot heal)
As great Minds mourn, who cannot then relieve
The virtuous, when through shame they want, conceal.
And now cold Birtha's rosie looks decay;
Who in Fear's Frost had like her beauty dy'd,
But that Attendant Hope perswades her stay
A while, to hear her Duke, who thus reply'd:
Victorious King! Abroad your Subjects are
Like Legats safe, at home like Altars free!
Ev'n by your fame they conquer as by war;
And by your Laws safe from each other be.
A King you are ore Subjects, so as wise
And noble Husbands seem ore Loyal Wives;
Who claim not, yet confess their liberties,
And brag to strangers of their happy lives.
To Foes a winter storm; whilst your Friends how
Like Summer Trees, beneath your bounty's load;
To me (next him whom your great self, with low
And chearfull duty serves) a giving God.
Since this is you, and Rhodalind (the Light
By which her Sex fled virtue find) is yours;
Your Diamond, which tests of jealous sight,
The stroke, and fire, and Oisel's juice endures;
Since she so precious is, I shall appear
All counterfeit, of Art's disguises made;
And never dare approach her Lustre near;
Who can scarce hold my value in the shade.
Forgive me that I am not what I seem;
But falsly have dissembled an excess
Of all such virtues as you most esteem;
And now grow good but as I ills confess.
Far in Ambition's Feaver am I gone!
Like raging Flame aspiring is my Love;
Like flame destructive too, and like the Sun
Does round the world tow'rds change of Objects
Nor is this now through virtuous shame confess'd;
But Rhodalind does force my conjur'd fear,
As Men whom evil spirits have possess'd,
Tell all when saintly Votaries appear.
When she will grace the Bridal dignitie,
It will be soon to all young Monarchs known;
Who then by posting through the World, will trie
Who first can at her Feet present his Crown.
Then will Verona seem the Inn of Kings;
And Rhodalind shall at her Palace Gate
Smile, when great Love these royal Sutors brings;
Who for that smile would as for Empire wait.
Amongst this ruling Race she choice may take
For warmth of Valour, coolness of the mind,
Eyes that in Empires drowsie Calms can wake,
In storms look out, in darkness dangers find.
A Prince who more inlarges pow'r than lands;
Whose greatness is not what his Map contains;
But thinks that his, where he at full commands,
Not where his Coyn does pass, but pow'r remains.
Who knows that Pow'r can never be too high
When by the Good possest; fo [...] 'tis in them
The swelling Nyle; from which, though people flie,
They prosper most by rising of the stream.
Thus (Princess) you should chuse, and you will find,
Even he, since Men are Wolves, must civilize
(As light does [...]ame some Beasts of savage kind)
Himself yet more, by dwelling in your Eyes.
Such was the Duk's reply, which did produce
Thoughts of a divers shape through sev'ral Ears:
His jealous Rivals mourn at his excuse;
But Astragon it cures of all his fears.
Birtha his praise of Rhodalind bewails;
And now her hope a weak Physician seems,
For Hope, the common Comforter prevails
Like common Med'cines, slowly in extreams.
The King (secure in off'rd Empire) takes
This forc'd excuse, as troubled bashfulness,
And a disguise which suddain passion makes,
To hide more joy than prudence should express.
And Rhodalind (who never lov'd before,
Nor could suspect his love was giv'n away)
Thought not the treasure of his Breast so poor,
But that it might his debts of honour pay.
To hasten the rewards of his desert,
The King does to Verona him command;
And kindness so impos'd, not all his Art
Can now instruct his dutie to withstand.
Yet whilst the King does now his time dispose
In seeing wonders, in this Palace shown,
He would a parting kindness pay to those
Who of their wounds are yet not perfect grown.
And by this fair pretence, whilst on the King
Lord Astragon through all the house attends,
Young Orgo does the Duke to Birtha bring;
Who thus her sorrows to his bosom sends.
Why should my Storm your Life's calm voyage vex?
Destroying wholly Virtues Race in one;
So by the first of my unluckie Sex,
All in a single ruin were undone.
Make Heav'nly Rhodalind your Bride! Whilst I
Your once lov'd Maid, excuse you, since I know
That virtuous Men forsake so willingly
Long cherish'd life, because to Heav'n they go.
Let me her servant be! A dignitie;
Which if your pitie in my fall procures;
I still shall value the advancement high,
Not as the Crown is hers, but she is yours.
Ere this high sorrow up to dying grew,
The Duke the Casket op'ned, and from thence
(Form'd like a Heart) a chearfull Emrauld drew;
Chearfull, as if the lively stone had sence.
The Thirti'th Charract it had doubled Twice;
Not taken from the At [...]ick silver Mine,
Nor from the Brass, though such (of nobler price)
Did on the Necks of Parthian Ladies shine:
Nor yet of those which make the Ethiop proud;
Nor taken from those Rocks where Bactrians climb;
But from the Scithian, and without a Cloud;
Not sick at fire, nor languishing with time.
Then thus he spake, This (Birtha) from my Male
Progenitours, was to the loyal she
On whose kind Heart they did in love prevail,
The Nuptial Pledge, and this I give to thee!
Seven Centuries have pass'd since it from Bride
To Bride did first succeed; and though 'tis known
From ancient lore, that Gems much virtue hide,
And that the Emrauld is the Bridal Stone.
Though much renown'd because it chastens loves,
And will, when worn by the neglected wife,
Shew when her absent Lord disloyal proves,
By faintness, and a pale decay of life;
Though Emraulds serve as Spies to jealous Brides,
Yet each compar'd to this does counsel keep;
Like a false Stone, the Husbands falshood hides,
Or seems born blind, or feigns a dying sleep.
With this take Orgo, as a better Spy;
Who may in all your kinder fears be sent
To watch at Court, if I deserve to die
By making this to fade, and you lament.
Had now an artfull Pencil Birtha drawn
(With grief all dark, then straight with joy all light)
He must have [...]ancy'd first in early dawn,
A sudden break of beautie out of Night.
Or first he must have mark'd what Paleness, Fear,
Like nipping Frost, did to her visage bring;
Then think he sees, in a cold backward year,
A Rosie Morn begin a sudden Spring.
Her joys (too vast to be contain'd in speech)
Thus she a little spake, Why stoop you down,
My plighted Lord, to lowly Birtha's reach,
Since Rhodalind would lift you to a Crown?
Or why do I, when I this plight imbrace,
Boldly aspire to take what you have given?
But that your virtue has with Angels place,
And 'tis a virtue to aspire at Heav'n.
And as tow'rds Heav'n all travel on their Knees,
So I tow'rds you, though Love aspire, will move:
And were you Crown'd, what could you better please
Than aw'd obedience led by bolder Love?
If I forget the depth from whence I rise,
Far from your bosom banish'd be my heart;
Or claim a right by beautie to your Eyes,
Or proudly think my chastitie desert.
But thus ascending from your humble Maid
To be your plighted Bride, and then your Wife,
Will be a Debt that shall be hourly paid,
Till Time my dutie cancel with my life.
And fruitfully if Heav'n ere make me bring
Your Image to the World, you then my pride
No more shall blame, than you can tax the Spring
for boasting of those Flowr's she cannot hide.
Orgo, I so receive as I am taught
By dutie to esteem what ere you love;
And hope the joy he in this Jewel brought,
Will luckier than his former triumphs prove.
For though but Twice he has approach'd my [...]ight,
He Twice made haste to drown me in my Tears:
But now I am above his Planets spite,
And as for sin beg pardon for my fears.
Thus spake she; and with fix'd continu'd sight,
The Duke did all her bashfull beauties view;
Then they with kisses seal'd their sacred plight;
Like Flowr's still sweeter as they thicker grew.
Yet must these pleasures feel, though innocent,
The sickness of extreams, and cannot last;
For Pow'r (Love's shun'd Impediment) has sent
To tell the Duke, his Monarch is in hast:
And calls him to that triumph which he fears
So as a Saint forgiven (whose Breast does all
Heav'n's joys contain) wisely lov'd Pomp for bears,
Lest tempted Nature should from blessings fall.
He often takes his leave, with Love's delay;
And bids her hope, he with the King shall find,
By now appearing forward to obay,
A means to serve him less in Rhodalind.
She weeping to her Closet-window hies;
Where she with tears does Rhodalind survay;
As dying Men, who grieve that they have Eyes,
When they through Curtains spie the rising Day.
The King has now his curious sight suffic'd
With all lost Arts, in their revival view'd;
Which when restor'd, our pride thinks new devis'd:
Fashions of Minds, call'd new when but renew'd!
The busie Court prepares to move; on whom
Their sad offended Eyes the Countrey cast;
Who never see enough where Monarchs come,
And nothing so uncivil seems as haste.
As Men move slow, who know they lose their way,
Ev'n so the Duke tow'rd Rhodalind does move;
Yet he does duteous fears, and wonder pay,
Which are the first, and dang'rous signs of Love.
All his addresses much by Goltho were
And Ulfinore observ'd, who distant stand,
Not daring to approch his presence near;
But shun his Eyes to scape from his command:
Lest to Verona he should both require;
For by remaining here, both hope to light
Their Hymen's Torches at his parting fire,
And not despair to kindle them to night.
The King his Golden Chariot now ascends;
Which near fair Rhodalind the Duke contains▪
Though to excuse that grace he lowly bends;
But honour so refus'd more honour gains.
And now their Chariots (readie to take wing)
Are ev'n by weakest breath, a whisper stay'd;
And but such whisper as a Page does bring
To Laura's Woman from a Houshold Maid.
But this low voice did raise in Laura's Ear
An Eccho, which from all redoubled soon;
Proclaiming such a Countrey beautie here,
As makes them look like Ev'ning to her Noon.
And Laura (of her own high beautie proud,
Yet not to others cruel) softly prays
She may appear! but Gartha, bold, and loud,
With Eyes impatient as for conquest, stays.
Though Astragon now owns her, and excus'd
Her presence, as a Maid but rudely taught,
Infirm in health, and not to greatness us'd;
Yet Gartha still calls out to have her brought!
But Rhodalind (in whose relenting Breast
Compassion's self might sit at School, and learn)
Knew bashfull Maids with publick view distrest;
And in their Glass, themselves with fear discern;
She stopt this Challenge which Court Beautie made
To Countrey shape, not knowing Nature's hand
Had Birtha dress'd, nor that her self obay'd
In vain, whom conqu'ring Birtha did command.
The Duke (whom virtuous kindness soon subdues)
Though him his Bonds from Birtha highly please,
Yet seems to think, that luckie he, who sues
To wear this royal Maid's, will walk at ease.
Of these a brief survey sad Birtha takes;
And Orgo's help directs her Eye to all;
Shews her for whom grave Tybalt nightly wakes;
Then at whose feet wise Hermegild does fall.
And when calm Orna with the Count she saw,
Hope (who though weak, a willing Painter is,
And busily does ev'ry Pattern draw)
By that example could not work amiss.
For soon she shap'd her Lord and her so kind,
So all of love; till fancie wrought no more
When she perceiv'd him sit with Rhodalind;
But froward-Painter-like the Copie tore.
And now they move; and she thus robb'd, believes
(Since with such haste they bear her wealth away)
That they at best are but judicious Thieves,
And know the noble value of their prey.
And then she thus complain'd, Why royal Maid!
Injurious Greatness! Did you hither come
Where Pow'r's strong Nets of Wire were never laid?
But childish Love took Cradle as at home.
Where can we safe our harmless blessings keep,
Since glorious Courts our solitude invade?
Bells which ring out, when th' unconcern'd would sleep;
Faise lights to scare poor Birds in Countrey shade!
Or if our joys their own discov'rie make,
Envie (whose Tongue first kills whom she devours)
Calls it our Pride; Envie, The poys'nous snake,
Whose breath blasts Maids, as innocent as Flow'rs!
Forgive me beautious Greatness, if I grow
Distemper'd with my fears, and rudely long
To be secure; or praise your beautie so
As to believe that it may do me wrong.
And you my plighted Lord, forgive me too,
If since your worth and my defects I find,
I fear what you in justice ought to do;
And praise your judgement when I doubt you kind.
Now suddain fear ore all her beauty wrought
The pale appearance of a killing Frost;
And carefull Orgo, when she started, thought
She had her Pledge, the precions Emrauld, lost.
But that kind Heart, as constant as her own,
She did not miss; 'twas from a suddain sence,
Lest in her Lover's heart some change was grown,
And it grew pale with that intelligence.
Soon from her bosom she this Emrauld took;
If now (said she) my Lord my Heart deceives,
This Stone will by dead paleness make me look
Pale as the Snowy skin of Lilly Leaves.
But such a chearfull green the Gem did sling
Where she oppos'd the Rays, as if she had
Been dy'd in the complexion of the Spring,
Or were by Nimphs of Brittain Valleys clad.
Soon she with earnest passion kist the Stone;
Which ne'r till then had suffer'd an eclips;
But then the Rays retir'd, as if it shone
In vain, so near the Rubies of her Lips.
Yet thence remov'd, with publick glory shines!
She Orgo blest, who had this Relique brought;
And kept it like those Reliques lock'd in shrines,
By which the latest Miracles were wrought.
For soon respect was up to rev'rence grown;
Which fear to Superstition would sublime,
But that her Father took Fear's Ladder down;
Lose steps by which distress to Heav'n would climbe.
He knew, when Fear shapes Heav'nly Pow'r so just,
(And terrible parts of that shape drawn true)
It vails Heav'n's beauty, Love; which when we trust
Our courage honours him to whom we sue!

CANTO the Fifth.

The deep Designs of BIRTHA in distress;
Her Emrauld's virtue shews her Love's success.
Wise ASTRAGON with reason cures despair,
And the Afflicted chides for partial Pray'r.
With grief the secret Rivals take their leave,
And but dark hope for hidden love receive.
TO shew the Morn her passage to the East,
Now Birtha's dawn, the Lover's Day, appears!
So soon Love beats Revellies in her Breast,
And like the Dewy Morn, she rose in tears:
So much she did her jealous dreams dislike,
Her Maids straight kindle by her light their Eyes;
Which when to hers compar'd, Poets would strike
Such sparks to light their Lamps, ere Day does rise.
But, O vain Jealousie! why dost thou haste
To find those evils which too soon are brought?
Love's frantick Valour! which so rashly fast
Seeks dangers, as if none would come unsought.
As often fairest Mo [...]s soon cover'd be,
So she with dark'ning thoughts is clouded now;
Looks so, as weaker Eyes small objects see;
Or studious States-men who contract the Brow.
Or like some thinking Sybill that would find
The sence of mystick words by Angels giv'n!
And this fair Politick bred in her mind
(Restless as Seas) a deep designe on Heav'n.
To Pray'rs plain Temple she does hast unseen;
Which though not grac'd with curious cost for show,
Was nicely kept; and now must be as clean,
As Tears make those who thence forgiven go.
For her own Hands (by which best Painter drew
The Hands of Innocence) will make it shine;
Penance, which newly from her terrors grew;
And was (alas!) part of her deep designe.
And when this holy huswifry was past,
Her vows she sends to Heav'n, which thither fly
Intire; not broken by unthinking hast;
Like Sinners Sparks that in ascending dye.
Thence she departs; but at this Temple Gate
A needy Crowd (call'd by her Summons there)
With such assurance for her bounty waite;
As if ne'r failing Heav'n their Debtor were.
To these she store of Antique Treasure gave
(For she no Money knew) Medals of Gold,
Which curious Gath'rers did in travell save,
And at high worth were to her Mother sold.
Figures of fighting Chiefs, born to orecome
Those who without their leave would all destroy;
Chiefs, who had brought renown to Athens, Rome,
To Carthage, Tyre, and to lamented Troy.
Such was her wealth, her Mothers Legacy;
And well she knew it was of special price;
But she has begg'd what Heav'n must not deny;
So would not make a common Sacrifice.
To the black Temple she her Sorrow bears;
Where she out-begg'd the tardy begging Thief;
Made weeping Magdaline but poor in Tears,
Yet Silent as their Pictures was her Grief.
Her purpos'd penance she did here fulfill;
Those Pictures dress'd, and the spent Lamp reliev'd
With fragrant Oyls, dropp'd from her Silver Still;
And now for those that there sat mourning, griev'd.
Those Penitients, who knew her innocence,
Wonder what Parents sin she did bemoan;
And venture (though they go unpardon'd thence)
More sighs for her redress than for their own.
Now jealousie no more benights her face,
Her courage beauteous grows, and grief decays;
And with such joy as shipwrack'd Men imbrace
The Shore, she hastens to the House of Praise.
And there the Gem she from her bosom took,
(With which till now she trembled to advise)
So far from pale, that Gondibert would look
Pale, if he saw, how it out-shin'd her Eyes.
These Rays she to a Miracle prefers;
And lustre that such beauty so defies,
Had Poets seen (Love's partial Jewellers,
Who count nought precious but their Mistress Eyes)
They would with grief a miracle confess!
She enters straight to pay her gratitude;
And could not think her beauty in distress,
Whilst to her Love, her Lord is still subdu'd.
The Altar she with Imag'ry array'd;
Where Needles boldly, as a Pencil, wrought
The Story of that humble Syrian Mayd,
Who Pitchers bore, yet Kings to Juda brought.
And there she of that precious Linnen spreds,
Which in the consecrated Moneth is spun
By Lombard Brides; for whom in empty Beds
Their Bridegrooms sigh till the succeeding Moon.
'Tis in that Moon, bleach'd by her fuller Light;
And wash'd in Suds of Amber, till it grow
Clean as this spreaders Hands, and those were white
As rising Lilies, or as falling Snow.
The voluntary Quire of Birds she feeds,
Which oft had here the Virgin-Consort fill'd;
She diets them with Aromatick seeds;
And quench'd their Thirst with Rainbowe-Dew distill'd.
Lord Astragon, whose tender care did wait
Her progress, since her Morn so cloudy broke,
Arrests her passage at this Temple Gate,
And thus, he with a Father's license, spoke.
Why art thou now, who hast so joyfull liv'd
Ere love thou knewst, become with Love so sad?
If thou hast lost fair Virtue, then be griev'd;
Else shew thou know'st her worth, by being glad.
Thy love's high soaring cannot be a crime;
Nor can we, if a Spinster loves a King,
Say that her love ambitiously does climb:
Love seeks no honour, but does honour bring;
Mounts others value, and her own lets fall!
Kings honour is but little, till made much
By Subjects Tongues! Elixar-Love turns all
To pow'rfull Gold, where it does onely touch.
Thou lov'st a Prince above thine own degree:
Degree is Monarch's Art; Love, Nature's Law;
In Love's free State all Pow'rs so levell'd be,
That there, affection governs more than aw.
But thou dost love where Rhodalind does love;
And thence thy griefs of jealousie begin;
A cause which does thy sorrow vainly move;
Since 'tis thy noble fate, and not thy Sin.
This vain and voluntary Load of grief
(For Fate sent Love, thy will does sorrow bear)
Thou to the Temple carry'st for relief,
And so to Heav'n art guided by thy fear.
Wild Fear! Which has a Common-wealth devis'd
In Heav'n's old Realm, and Saints in Senates fram'd;
Such as by which, were Beasts well civilliz'd,
They would suspect their Tamer Man, untam'd.
Wild Fear! Which has the Indian worship made,
Where each unletter'd Priest the Godhead draws
In such a form, as makes himself afraid;
Disguising Mercy's shape in Teeth and Claws.
This false Guide, Fear, which does thy Reason sway,
And turns thy valiant virtue to despair,
Has brought thee here, to offer, and to pray;
But Temples were not built for Cowards pray'r.
For when by Fear thy noble Reason's led
(Reason, not Shape gives us so great degree
Above our Subjects, Beasts) then Beasts may plead
A right in Temples helps as well as we.
And here, with absent Reason thou dost weep
To beg success in love; that Rhodalind
May lose, what she as much does beg to keep,
And may at least an equal audience find.
Mark Birtha, this unrighteous war of prayer!
Like wrangling States, you ask a Monarch's aid,
When you are weak, that you may better dare
Lay claim, to what your passion would invade.
Long has th'ambitious World rudely preferr'd
Their quarrels, which they call their pray'rs, to Heav'n;
And thought that Heav'n would like themselves have err'd,
Depriving some, of what's to others giv'n.
Thence Modern Faith becomes so weak and blind,
Thinks Heav'n in ruling other Worlds employ'd,
And is not mindfull of our abject Kind,
Because all Sutes are not by all enjoy'd.
How firm was Faith, when humbly Sutes for need,
Not choice were made? then (free from all despair
As mod'rate Birds, who sing for daily seed)
Like Birds, our Songs of praise included pray'r.
Thy Hopes are by thy Rivals virtue aw'd;
Thy Rival Rhodalind, whose virtue shines
On Hills, when brightest Planets are abroad;
Thine privately, like Miners Lamps, in Mines.
The Court (where single Patterns are disgrac'd;
Where glorious Vice, weak Eyes admire;
And Virtue's plainness is by Art out-fac'd)
She makes a Temple by her Vestal Fire.
Though there, Vice sweetly dress'd, does tempt like bliss
Even Cautious Saints; and single Virtue seem
Fantastick, where brave Vice in fashion is;
Yet she has brought plain Virtue in esteem.
Yours is a virtue of inferiour rate,
Herein the dark a Pattern, where 'tis barr'd
From all your Sex that should her imitate,
And of that pomp which should her Foes reward:
Retir'd, as weak Monasticks flie from care;
Or devout Cowards steal to Forts, their Cells,
From pleasures, which the worlds chief dangers are:
Hers passes yours, as Valour Fear excels.
This is your Rival in your suit to Heav'n:
But Heav'n is partial if it give to you
What to her bolder Virtue should be giv'n;
Since yours, pomps, Virtue's dangers, never knew.
Your suit would have your love with love repay'd;
To which Arts conquests, when all science flows,
Compar'd, are Students dreams; and triumphs made
By glorious Courts and Camps, but painted shows.
Even Art's Dictators, who give Laws to Schools,
Are but dead Heads; States-men, who Empire move,
But prosp'rous Spies; and Victors, fighting Fools,
When they their Trophies rank with those of Love.
And when against your fears I thus declame,
(Yet make your danger more, whilst I decry
Your worth to hers) then wisely fear I blame;
For fears are hurtfull'st when attempts are high.
And you should think your noble dangers less,
When most my praise does her renown prefer;
For that takes off your hasty hope's excess;
And when we little hope, we nothing fear.
Now you are taught your sickness, learn your cure;
You shall to Court, and there serve Rhodalind;
Trie if her virtue's force you can endure
In the same Sphear, without eclipse of mind.
Your Lord may there your Souls compare; for we,
Though Souls, like stars, make not their greatnes known;
May find which greater than the other be;
The Stars are measur'd by Comparison▪
Your plighted Lord shall you ere long prefer
To near attendance on this royal Maid:
Quit then officious Fear! The Jealous fear
They are not fearfull, when to death afraid.
These words he clos'd with kindness, and retir'd;
In which her quick Ey'd Hope three blessings spy'd;
With joy of being near her Lord, inspir'd,
With seeing Courts', and having Virtue try'd.
She now with jealous questions utter'd fast,
Fils Orgo's Ear, which there unmark'd are gon,
As Throngs through guarded Gates, when all make haste,
Not giving Warders time t' examine one.
She ask'd if Fame had render'd Rhodalind
With favour, or in Truth's impartial shape?
If Orna were to humble Virtue kind,
And beauty could from Gartha's envy scape?
If Laura (whose faire Eyes those but invites
Who to her wit ascribe the Victory)
In conquest of a speechless Mayd delights?
And ere to this prompt Orgo could reply,
She ask'd, in what consist the Charms of Court?
Whether those pleasures so resistless were
As common Country Travailers report,
And such as innocence had cause to fear?
What kind of Angels shape young Fav'rites take?
And being Angels, how they can be bad?
Or why delight so cruelly to make
Fair Country Mayds, return from Court so sad?
More had she ask'd (for study warm'd her brow,
With thinking how her love might prosp'rous be)
But that young ulfinore approach'd her now,
And Goltho, warmer with designe than she.
Though Goltho's hope (in Indian Feathers clad)
Was light, and gay, as if he meant to flie;
Yet he no farther than his Rival had
Advanc'd in promise, from her Tongue, or Eye.
When distant, talk'd, as if he plighted were;
For hope in Love, like Cowards in the War,
Talks bravely till the enterprise be near;
But then discretion dares not venture far.
He never durst approch her watchfull Eye
With studious gazing, nor with sighs her Ear;
But still seem'd frolick, like a States-man's Spie;
As if his thoughtfull bus'ness were not there.
Still, Superstitious Lovers Beauty paint,
(Thinking themselves but Devils) so divine,
As if the thing belov'd, were all a Saint;
And ev'ry place she enter'd, were a Shrine.
And though last Night were the auspitious time
When they resolv'd to quit their bashfull fears;
Yet soon (as to the Sun when Eaglets climbe)
They stoop'd, And quench'd their daring Eyes in tears.
And now (for Hope, that formal C [...]ntry, stands
All Winds and Showrs though there but vainly plac'd,
They to Verona beg her dear commands;
And look to be with parting kindness grac'd.
Both dayly journies meant, 'twixt this and Court:
For taking leave is twice Love's sweet Repast;
In being sweet, and then in being short;
Like Manna, ready still, but cannot last.
Her Favours not in lib'ral looks she gave,
But in a kind respectfull lowliness,
Them honour gives, yet did her honour save;
Which gently thus she did to both express.
High heav'n that did direct your Eyes the way
To chuse so well, when you your friendship made,
Still keep you joyn'd, that daring Envie may
Fear such united Virtue to invade!
In your safe Breasts, the noble Gondibert
Does trust the secret Treasure of his love;
And I (grown Conscious of my low desert)
Would not, you should that wealth for me improve.
I am a Flow'r that merit not the Spring!
And he (the World's warm Sun,) in passing by
Should think, when such as I leave flourishing,
His Beams to Cedars haste, which else would die.
This from his humble Maid you may declare
To him, on whom the good of humane kind
Depends; and as his greatning is your care,
So may your early love successes find!
So may that beauteous She, whom eithers Heart
For virtue and delight of life shall chuse,
Quit in your siege the long defence of Art,
And Nature's freedom in a treatie lose.
This gave cold Ulfinore in Love's long Night
Some hope of Day; as Sea-men that are run
Far North-ward, find long Winters to be light,
And in the Cynosure adore the Sun.
It shew'd to Goltho, not alone like Day,
But like a Wedding Noon, who now grows strong
Enough to speak, but that her beauties stay
His Eyes, whose wonder soon arrests his Tongue.
Yet something he at parting seem'd to say,
In prettie Flow'rs of Love's wild Rhetorick;
Which mov'd not her, though Oratours thus [...]way
Assemblies, which since wild, wild Musick like.

CANTO the Sixth.

Here ULFIN reads the art to ULFINORE
Of wisely getting, and increasing Pow'r.
The Rivals to VERONA haste, and there
Young GOLTHO'S frailtie does too soon appear.
Black DALGA'S fatal beautie is reveal'd;
But her descent and Storie [...]s conceal'd.
OLd Ulfin parting now with Ulfinore,
His study'd thoughts, and of a grave import
Thus utter'd, as well read in ancient Lore;
When prudence kept up greatness in the Court.
Heav'n guide thee Son, through Honour's sl [...]pp'ry way;
The Hill, which warie painfulness must climbe;
And often rest, to take a full survay
Of ev'ry path trod by Experienc'd Time.
Rise glorious with thy Master's hopefull Morn!
His favour calls thee to his secret Breast;
Great Gondibert! to spatious▪ Empire born;
Whose carefull Head will in thy Bosom rest.
Be good! and then in pitie soon be great!
For virtuous men should toil to compass pow'r,
Lest when the Bad possess Dominion's Seat,
We vainly weep for those whom they devour.
Our virtue without pow'r but harmless is!
The Good, who lazily are good at home,
And safely rest in doing not amiss,
Flie from the Bad, for fear of Martyrdome.
Be in thy greatness easie, and thy Brow
Still clear, and comforting as breaking Light;
The Great, with bus'ness troubled, weakly bow;
Pow'r should with publick Burdens walk upright!
We chearfulness, as innocence commend!
The Great, may with benign and civil Eyes
The People wrong, yet not the wrong'd offend;
Who feel most wrong from those who them despise!
Since wrongs must be, Complaints must shew the Grie
And Favourites should walk still open Ear'd;
For of the suing Croud, half are reliev'd
With the innate delight of being heard:
Thy greatness be in Arms! who else are great,
Move but like Pageants in the People's view;
And in [...]oul weather make a scorn'd retreat;
The Greeks their painted Gods in Armour drew!
Yield not in storms of State to that dislike,
Which from the People does to Rulers grow;
Pow'r (Fortun's Sail) should not for threatnings strike;
In Boats bestorm'd all check at those that row.
Courts little Arts contemn dark Holes to save
Retreated Pow'r, when fear does Friendship feign;
Poor thieves retire to Woods! Chiefs, great and brave,
Draw out their Forces to the open Plain!
Be by thy Virtue bold! when that Sun shines,
All Art's false lights are with disgrace put out;
Her streitness shews it self in crooked Lines;
And her plain Txet the Scepticks dare not doubt.
Revenge (weak Women's Valour, and in Men
The Ruffians Cowardise,) keep from thy Breast,
The factious Palace is that Serpent's Den;
Whom Cowards there, with secret slaughter feast.
Revenge is but a braver Name for Fear,
'Tis Indians furious fear, when they are fed
With valiant Foes; whose Hearts their Teeth must tear
Before they boldly dare believe them dead.
When thou giv'st death, thy Banners be display'd!
And move not till an open Foe appears!
Courts lurking war shews Justice is afraid;
And no broad Sword, but a closs Ponyard wears.
To kill, shews Fear dares not more fears endure!
When wrong'd, destroy not with thy Foes thy fame,
The Valiant by forgiving mischief, cure;
And it is Hea [...]'n's great conquest to reclaim?
Be by thy bountie known! for since the needs
Of life, so rudely press the bold and wise;
The bounteous heart, all but his God exceeds;
Whom bountie best makes known to Mortal Eyes!
And to be bountefull, be rich! for those
Fam'd Talkers who in Schools did wealth despise,
Taught doctrine, which at whom would Empire lose,
If not believ'd first by their Enemies.
And though in ruling Ministers of State,
The People wretched povertie adore,
(Which Fools call innocence, and wise Men hate
As▪ sloth) yet they rebel for being poor.
And to be rich, be diligent! Move on
Like Heav'ns great Movers that inrich the Earth;
Whose Moments sloth would shew the world undone,
And make the Spring straight bury all her birth.
Rich are the diligent! who can command
Time, Natures stock! and could his Hour glass fall,
Would, as for seed of Stars, stoop for the sand;
And by incessant Labour gather all.
Be kind to Beautie! that unluckie Shrine!
Where all Love's Thieves come bowing to their P [...];
And honour steal; which Beautie makes divine:
Be thou still kind, but never to betray!
Heav'n studie more in Nature, than in Schools!
Let Nature's Image never by thee pass
Like unmark'd Time; but those unthinking Fools
Despise, who spie not Godhead through her Glass.
These precepts Ulfinore, with duteous care,
In h [...]s Hearts Closet lock'd, his faithfull Brest!
And now the Rival-friends for Court prepare;
And much their Youth, is by their haste exprest.
They yet ne'r saw Verona, nor the Court;
And expectation lengthens much their way;
Since by that great Inviter urg'd, Report;
And thither flie on Coursers of Relay.
Ere to his Western Mines the Sun retir'd,
They his great Mint for all those Mines behold,
Verona, which in Tow'rs to Heav'n aspir'd,
Guilt doubly, for the Sun now guilt their gold.
They make their Entry through the Western Gate!
A Gothick Arch! Where, on an Elephant
Bold Clephes, as the second Founder, sate;
Made to mock life, and onely life did want.
Still strange, and divers seem their Objects now,
And still increase, where e're their Eyes they cast;
Of lazy Pag'ant-Greatness, moving slow,
And angry bus'ness, rushing on in haste.
All strange to them, as they to all appear;
Yet less like strangers gaz'd than those they see;
Who this glad Day the Duke's Spectatours were;
To mark how with his fame his looks agree.
And guess that these are of his fighting Train,
Renown'd in Youth: who by their wonder stay'd,
And by their own, but slowly passage gain;
But now much more their progress is delay'd:
For a black Beauty did her pride display
Through a large Window, and in Jewels sho [...],
As if to please the World, weeping for day,
Night had put all her Starry Jewels on.
This Beauty gaz'd on both, and Ulfinore
Hung down his Head, but yet did lift his Eyes;
As if he fain would see a little more:
For much, though bashful, he did beauty prise.
Goltho did like a blushless Statue stare;
Boldly her practis'd boldness did out-look;
And even for fear she would mistrust her snare,
Was ready to cry out, That he was took!
She, with a wicked Woman's prosp'rous Art,
A seeming modesty, the Window clos'd;
Wisely delay'd his Eyes, since of his Heart
She thought, she had sufficiently dispos'd.
And he thus straight complain'd! Ah Ulfinore,
How vainly Glory has our Youth misled?
The Wind which blows us from the happy Shore,
And drives us from the Living to the Dead:
To bloudy slaughters, and perhaps of those
Who might beget such Beauties as this Maid;
The Sleepy here are never wak'd with Foes;
Nor are of ought but Ladies frowns afraid.
Ere he could more lament, a little Page,
Clean, and perfum'd (one whom this Dame did breed
To guess at ills, too manly for his age)
Steps swiftly to him, and arrests his s [...]eed.
With civil whisper cries, My Lady Si [...]!
At this, Goltho alights, as swiftly post
As Posters mount; by ling'ring loath to erre,
As Wind-bound Men, whose sloth their first Wind lost.
And when his Friend advis'd him to take care;
He gravely, as a Man new potent grown,
Protests he shall in all his Fortunes share;
And to the House invites him as his own.
And, with a Rival's wisdom, Ulfinore
Does hope, since thus blind Love leads him astray,
Where a false Saint he can so soon adore,
That he to Birtha ne'r will find the way.
They enter, and ascend; and enter then
Where Dalga with black eyes does Sinners draw;
And with her voice holds fast repenting Men;
To whose warm Jett, light Goltho is but Straw.
Nicely as Bridegrooms was her Chamber drest,
Her Bed, as Brides; and richer than a Throne,
And sweeter seem'd than the Circania's Nest,
Though built in Eastern Groves of Cinamon.
The price of Princes pleasure, who her love
(Though but false ware) at rates so costly bought
The wealth of many, but may hourly prove
Spoils to some one, by whom her self is caught.
She sway'd by sinfull Beauties destiny,
Finds her Tyrannick Pow'r must now expire,
Who meant to kindle Goltho in her Eye,
But to her breast has brought the raging fire.
Yet ev'n in simple Love she uses Art,
Though weepings are from looser Eyes but Leaks;
Yet eldest Lovers scarce would doubt her heart,
So well she weeps, and thus to Goltho speaks:
I might, if I would ask your pardon, Sir,
Suspect that pitie which the noble feel
When women fail, but since in this I erre
To all my Sex, I would to women kneel.
Yet happy were our Sex, could they excuse
All breach of Modestie, as I can mine,
Since 'tis from passion which a Saint might use,
And not appear less worthy of a shrine.
For my brave brother you resemble so
Throughout your shape, who late in Combat fell,
As you in that an inward Virtue show,
By which to me you all the world excell.
All was he which the Good of greatness see,
Or Love can like, in Judgement match'd by none;
Unless it fail'd in being kind to me,
A crime forbid to all, since he is gone.
For though I send my Eyes abroad in hope
Amongst the Streams of Men still slowing here,
To find (which▪ is my passion's utmost scope)
Some one that does his noble Image bear.
Yet still I live recluse, unless it seem
A liberty too rude, that I in you
His likeness at so high a rate esteem,
As to believe your heart is kind and true.
She casts on Ulfinore a sudden look,
Starts like a Mountebank, who had forgot
His Viol, and the cursed poison took,
By dire mistake before his Antidote.
Pray'd Goltho that his friend may straight forbear
Her presence, whom (she said) resembled so
Her noble Brother's cruel Murtherer,
As she must now expire, unless he go.
Goltho still gravely vain, with formal Face
Bids Ulfinore retire, and does pretend
Almost to know her Parents, and the place,
And ev'n to swear her brother was his friend.
But warie Ulfinore (who beauteous Truth
Did never but in plainest Dress behold)
Smiles, and remembers Tales to forward Youth
In winter Nights by Countrey Matrons told:
Of Witches Towns, where [...]eeming Beauties dwell,
All hair, and black within, Maids that can flie:
Whose Palaces at night are smoaky Hell,
And in their beds their slaughter'd Lovers lie.
And though the Sun now setting, he no Lights
Saw burning blue, nor Steam of Sulphur smelt,
Nor took her two black Mer [...]on Maids for Sp'rites,
Yet he a secret touch of Honour felt.
For not the craft of Rivalship (though more
Than States wise Rivals study interest)
Can make him leave his friend, till he restore
Some cold Discretion to his burning breast.
Though to his fears this cause now serious shows,
Yet smiles heat his solemn loving Eye:
For lust in reading Beautie seldom grows,
As old Physitians in Anatomie.
Goltho (said he) 'tis easie to discern
That you are grave, and think you should be so;
Since you have bus'ness here of great concern,
And think that you this House and Lady know.
You'l stay, and have your Sleep with Musick fed,
But little think to wake with Mandrakes groans,
And by a Ghost be to a Garden led
At midnight, strew'd with simple Lovers bones.
This Goltho is enchantment, and so strange,
So subt'ly false, that whilst I tell it you,
I fear the Spell will my opinion change,
And make me think the pleasant vision true.
Her dire black Eyes are like the Oxes Eye,
Which in the Indian Ocean Tempests brings:
Let's go before our Horses learn to [...]lie,
Ere she shew [...]loven Feet, and they get wings.
But high rebellious Love, when counsell'd, soon
As sullen as rebuk'd Ambition, grows
And Goltho would pursue what he should shun,
But that his happier fa [...]e did interpose.
For at the Garden gate a Summons, loud
Enough to shew authority and haste,
Brought cares to Dalga's Brow, which like a Cloud,
Did soon her shining Beauty over cast.
Like Thieves surpriz'd whilst they divide their prize,
Her Maids run and return through ev'ry room;
Still seeming doubtfull where their safety lies,
All speaking with their looks, and all are dumb.
She, who to dangers could more boldly wake,
With words, swift as those errands which her heart
Sends out in glances, thus to Goltho spake:
My Mother, Sir, Alas! You must depart.
She is severe, as dying Confessours,
As jealous as unable Husbands are,
She Youth in Men, like Age in Maids abhors,
And has more Spies than any Civil War.
Yet would you but submit to be conceal'd,
I have a Closet secret as my Brest,
Which is to Men, nor Day, no more reveal'd,
Than a closs Swallow in his Winters Nest.
To this good Goltho did begin to yield,
But Ulfinore (who doubts that it may tend
To base retreat, unless they quit the Field)
Does by Example govern, and descend.
And now his Eyes ev'n wake with longingness,
Ready to break their strings to get abroad,
To see this Matron, by whose sole access
Dalga in all her furious hopes is aw'd.
And as he watch'd her civil Mercurie,
The hopefull Page, he saw him entrance give,
Not to a Matron still prepar'd to die,
But to a Youth wholly design'd to l [...]ve.
He seem'd the heir to prosp'rous Parents toyls,
Gay as young Kings, who sue in forreign Courts,
Or youthfull Victors in their Persian spoyls,
He seem'd like Love and Musick made for sports:
But wore his clothing loose, and wildly cast,
As Princes high with feasting, who to win
Are seldom us'd, shew'd warm, and more unbrac'd
Than Ravishers oppos'd in their design.
This Ulfinore observ'd, and would not yet
In civil pitie undeceive his friend;
But watch the signs of his departing fit,
Which quickly did in bashfull silence end.
To the Duke's palace they enquir'd the way,
And as they slowly rode, a grave excuse
Griev'd Goltho frames, vowing he made this stay,
For a discov'ry of important use.
If Sir (said he) we heedlesly pass by
Great Towns, like Birds that from the Countrey come
But to be skar'd, and on to Forrests flie;
Let's be no travell'd Fools, but roost at home.
I see (reply'd his friend) you nothing lack
Of what is painfull, curious, and discreet
In Travellers, else would you not look back
So often to observe this House and Street.
Drawing your Citie Map with Coasters care,
Not onely marking where safe Channels run,
But where the Shelves, and Rocks, and Dangers are,
To teach weak strangers what they ought to shun.
But, Goltho, flie from Lust's experiments,
Whose heat we quench much sooner than asswage,
To quench the Fornace-lust stop all the vents,
For give it any Air the Flames will rage.

POST-SCRIPT To the Reader.

I Am here arriv'd at the middle of the Third Book, which makes an equal half of the POEM; and I was now by de­grees to present you (as I promised in the Preface) the several Keys of the main Build­ing; which should convey you through such short Walks as give an easie view of the whole Frame. But 'tis high time to strike Sail, and cast Anchor (though I have [Page] run but half my Course) when at the Helm I am threatened with Death; who, though he can visit us but once, seems trou­blesom; and even in the Innocent may be­get such a gravitie, as diverts the Musick of Verse. And I beseech thee (if thou art so civil as to be pleas'd with what is writ­ten) not to take it ill, that I run not on till my last gasp. For though I intended in this POEM to strip Nature naked, and clothe her again in the perfect shape of Virtue, yet even in so worthy a Design I shall ask leave to desist, when I am interrupted by so great an experiment as Dying: and 'tis an expe­riment to the most experienc'd; for no Man (though his Mortifications may be much greater than mine) can say, He has alreadie Dy'd.

It may be Objected by some (who look not on Verse with the Eyes of the Anci­ents, nor with the Reverence which it still preserves amongst other Nations) that I beget a POEM in an unseasonable time. But be not thou, Reader, (for thine own sake, as well as mine) a common Spectator, [Page] that can never look on great Changes but with tears in his Eyes: for if all Men would observe, That Conquest is the Wheels of the World, on which it has ever run, the Victorious would not think they have done so new, and such admirable actions, as must draw Men from the noble and beautiful▪ Arts, to gaze wholly upon them; neither would the Conquer'd continue their won­der, till it involve them in sorrow; which is then the Mind's incurable Disease, when the Patient grows so sullen,▪ as not to listen to Remedie: and Poesie was that Harp of David, which remov'd from Saul, the Me­lancholly Spirit, that put him in a continual remembrance of the revolution of Empire.

I shall not think I instruct Militarie Men, by saying, That with Poesie in Heroick Songs, the Wiser Ancients prepar'd their Battels; nor would I offend the austeritie of such, as vex themselves with the mannage of Civil Affairs, by putting them in mind, that whilst the Plays of Children are punish'd, the plays of Men are but excus'd under the title of Business.

[Page]But I will gravely tell thee (Reader) he who writes an Heroick POEM, leaves an Estate entayl'd; and he gives a greater Gift to Posteritie, than to the present Age; for a publick benefit is best measured in the number of Receivers; and our Contempo­raries are but few, when reckon'd with those who shall succeed.

Nor could I sit idle, and sigh with such as mourn to hear the Drum; for if this Age be not quiet enough to be taught Virtue a pleasant way, the next may be at leisure: Nor could I (like men that have civilly slept, till they are old in dark Cities) think War a noveltie: For we have all heard, that Alexander walk'd after the Drum from Macedon into India; and I tell thee (Reader) he carry'd Homer in his Pocket; and that after Augustus, by many Battels had chang'd the Government of the world, he and Mecoenas often feasted very peacea­bly with Horace: And that the last wi [...]e Cardinal (whilst he was sending Armies a­broad, and preparing against civil Invasion) took Virgil & Tasso aside under the Louvre [Page] Gallerie, and at a great expence of time and Treasure, sent them forth in new Or­naments. And perhaps, if my POEM were not so severe a representation of Vir­tue (undressing Truth even out of those disguises, which have been most in fashion throughout the World) it might arrive at fair entertainment, though it make now for a Harbour in a Storm.

If thou art a malicious Reader, thou wilt remember, my Preface boldly confes­sed, That a main motive to this underta­king, was a desire of Fame; and thou mayst likewise say, I may very possibly not live to enjoy it. Truly I have some years ago consider'd, that Fame, like Time, onely gets a reverence by long running; and that like a River, 'tis narrowest where 'tis bred, and broadest afar off: but this concludes it not unprofitable; for he whose Writings di­vert Men from indiscretion & vice, becomes famous as he is an example to others en­deavours: and exemplary Writers are Wiser than to depend on the gratuities of this World; since the kind looks and praises [Page] of the present Age, for reclaiming a few, are not mentionable with those solid re­wards in Heaven, for a long and continual conversion of Posteritie.

If thou (Reader) art one of those, who has been warm'd with Poetick Fire▪ I reve­rence thee as my Judge, and whilst others tax me with vanitie, as if the Preface argu­ed my good opinion of the Work, I appeal to thy Conscience, whether it be more than such a necessarie assurance, as thou hast made to thy self in like Undertakings? For when I observe that Writers have many Enemies, such inward assurance (me thinks) resembles that forward confidence in Men of Arms, which makes them proceed in great Enterprise; since the right examinati­on of abilities, begins with inquiring whe­ther we doubt our selves.


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