« PreviousContinue »
Such were the storms good Sancroft long has
born; The mitre, which his sacred head has worn, Was, like his Master's Crown, inwreath'd with
thorn. Death's sting is swallow'd up in victory at last,
The bitter cup is from him past :
Fortune in both extremes
Yet to firm heavenly minds,
seen, Confesses ignorance to judge between; And must to human reasoning opposite conclude, To point out which is moderation, which is
Thus Sancroft, in the exaltation of retreat,
Short glimm’rings of the prelate glorified; Which the disguise of greatness only served to
To lodge behind a golden cloud;
appears so gay, 'Tis but a lowborn vapour kindled by a ray ;
At length 'tis overblown and past,
Puff'd by the people's spightful blast, The dazzling glory dims their prostituted sight, No deflowered eye can face the naked light:
Yet does this high perfection well proceed
From strength of its own native seed, This wilderness the world, like that poetick wood
of old, Bears one, and but one branch of gold, Where the bless d spirit lodges like the dove, And which (to heavenly soil transplanted) will
improve, To be, as 'twas below, the brightest plant above; For, whate'er theologic lev'llers dream;
There are degrees above I know,
As well as here below, (The goddess Muse herself has told me so) Where high patrician souls, dress'd heavenlygay,
Sit clad in lawn of purer woven day, There some high-spirited throne to Sancroft shall
be given, In the metropolis of Heaven ; Chief of the mitred saints, and from archprelate
Since, happy saint, since it has been of late
Either our blindness or our fate,
To lose the providence of thy cares, Pity a miserable church's tears,
That begs the pow'rful-blessing of thy pray’rs. Some angel say, what were the nation's crimes, That sent these wild reformers to our times :
Say what their senseless malice meant,
To tear religion's lovely face:
Religion Religion now does on her death-bed lie, Heart-sick of a high fever and consuming atrophy; How the physicians swarm to show their mortal
skill, And by their college arts methodically kill : Reformers and physicians differ but in name,
One end in both, and the design the same;
Is but the patient's death, and gain---
Or a more worthy subject choose:
Nor be thy mighty spirit rais’d,
[The rest of the poem is lost.]
ODE TO THE HON. SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE.
WRITTEN AT MOOR PARK IN JUNE 1689.
VIRTUE, the greatest of all monarchies !
Till, its first emperor, rebellious man,
Depos'd from off his seat,
By many a petty lord possess’d,
who must this land subdue,
Where none ever led the way,
Like the philosopher's stone,
We have too long been led astray ;
With rules from musty morals brought,
you must put us in the way;
With antique relics of the dead,
And we, the bubbled fools,
But what does our proud ignorance Learning call?
We oddly Plato's paradox make good,
Stale memorandums of the schools:
Think that she there does all her treasures hide, And that her troubled ghost still haunts there
since she died.
Her priest, her train, and followers show
Affect ill-manner'd pedantry, Rudeness, ill-nature, incivility,
And, sick with dregs and knowledge grown,
Which greedily they swallow down, Still cast it
and nauseate company.
Curst be the wretch! nay doubly curst!
(If it may lawful be
(Which since has seiz'd on all the rest) That knowledge forfeits all humanity; Taught us, like Spaniards, to be proud and poor,
And fling our scraps before our door!
You cannot be compar'd to one:
Borrow from every one a grace;
Their courting a retreat like you, Unless I put in Cæsar's learning too: