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At nos exemplis Fortuna instruxit opimis,

Et documentorum satq; supérq; dedit.
Cum Capite avulsum Diadema, infractáq; sceptra,

Contusásq; Hominum Sorte minante minas,
Parcarum ludos, & non tractabile Fatum,

Et versas fundo vidimus orbis opes.
Quis poterit fragilem post talia credere puppim

Infami scopulis naufragiisq; Mari?
Tu quoque in hoc Terre tremuisti, Academia, Motu,

(Nec frustrà) atq; ædes contremuêre tuæ. Contremuêre ipsæ pacatæ Palladis arces;

Et timuit Fulmen Laurea sancta novum.
Ah quanquam iratum, pestem hanc avertere Numen,

Nec saltem Bellis ista licere, velit!
Nos, tua progenies, pereamus; & ecce, perimus !

In nos jus habeat: Jus habet omne malum.
Tu stabilis brevium genus immortale nepotum

Fundes; nec tibi Mors ipsa superstes erit.
Semper plena manens uteri de fonte perenni

Formosas mittes ad mare Mortis aquas.
Sic Venus humanâ quondam, Dea saucia dextrâ,

(Namq; solent ipsis Bella nocere Deis) Imploravit opem superùm, questúsq; cievit,

Tinxit adorandus candida membra cruor. Quid quereris ? contemne breves secura dolores;

Nam tibi ferre Necem vulnera nulla valent.





my return lately into England, I met by great accident

(for such I account it to be, that any Copy of it should be extant any where so long, unless at his house who printed it) a Book entituled, The Iron Age, and published under my name, during the time of my absence. I wondred very much how one who could be so foolish to write so ill Verses, should yet so Wise to set them forth as another Mans rather then his own; though perhaps he might have made a better choice, and not fathered the Bastard upon such a person, whose stock of Reputation is, I fear, little enough for maintenance of his own numerous Legitimate Off-spring of that kind. It would have been much less injurious, if it had pleased the Author to put forth some of my Writings under his own name, rather then his own under mine : He had been in that a more pardonable Plagiary, and had done less wrong by Robbery, then he does by such a Bounty; for no body can be justified by the Imputation even of anothers Merit; and our own course Cloathes are like to become us better, then those of another mans, though never so rich: but these, to say the truth, were so beggarly, that I my self was ashamed to wear them. It was in vain for me, that I avoided censure by the concealment of my own writings, if my reputation could be thus Executed in Effigie; and impossible it is for any good Name to be in safety, if the malice of Witches have the power to consume and destroy it in an Image of their own making. This indeed was so ill made, and so unlike, that I hope the Charm took no effect. So that I esteem my self less prejudiced by it, then by that which has been done to me since, almost in the same kinde, which is the publication of some things of mine without my consent or knowledge, and those so mangled and imperfect, that I could neither with honour acknowledge, nor with honesty quite disavow them. Of which sort, was a Comedy called The Guardian, printed in the year 1650. but made and acted before the Prince, in his passage through Cambridge towards York, at the beginning of the late unhappy War; or rather neither made nor acted, but roughdrawn onely, and repeated; for the haste was so great, that it could neither be revised or perfected by the Author, nor learned without-Book by the Actors, nor set forth in any measure tolerably by the Officers of the College. After the Representation (which, I confess, was somewhat of the latest) I began to look it over, and changed it very much, striking out some whole parts, as that of the Poet and the Souldier ; but I have lost the Copy, and dare not think it deserves the pains to writ it again, which makes me omit it in this publication, though there be some things in it which I am not ashamed of, taking the excuse of my age and small experience in humane conversation when I made it. But as it is, it is only the hasty first-sitting of a Picture, and therefore like to resemble me accordingly. From this which has hapned to my self, I began to reflect on the fortune of almost all Writers, and especially Poets, whose Works (commonly printed after their deaths) we finde stuffed out, either with counterfeit pieces, like false Money put in to fill up the Bag, though it adde nothing to the sum; or with such, which though of their own Coyn, they would have called in themselves, for the baseness of the Allay: whether this proceed from the indiscretion of their Friends, who think a vast heap of Stones or Rubbish a better Monument, then a little Tomb of Marble, or by the unworthy avarice of some Stationers, who are content to diminish the value of the Author, so they may encrease the price of the Book; and like Vintners with sophisticate mixtures, spoil the whole vessel of wine, to make it yield more profit. This has been the case with Shakespear, Fletcher, Johnson, and many others; part of whose Poems I should take the boldness to prune and lop away, if the care of replanting them in print did belong to me; neither would I make any scruple to cut off from some the unnecessary young Suckers, and from others the old withered Branches; for a great Wit is no more tyed to live in a Vast Volume, then in a Gigantick Body; on the contrary, it is commonly more vigorous the less space it animates. And as Statius says of little Tydeus,

Totos infusa per artus

Major in exiguo regnabat corpore virtus *. I am not ignorant, that by saying this of others, I expose my self to some Raillery, for not using the same severe discretion in my own case, where it concerns me nearer : But though I publish here, more then in strict wisdom I ought to have done, yet I have supprest and cast away more then I publish; and for the ease of my self and others, have lost, I believe too, more then both. And upon these considerations I have been perswaded to overcome all the just repugnances of my own modesty, and to produce these Poems to the light and view of the World; not as a thing that I approved of in it self, but as a less evil, which I chose rather then to stay till it were done for me by some body else, either surreptitiously before, or avowedly after my death : and this will be the more excusable, when the Reader shall know in what respects he may look upon me as a Dead, or at least a Dying Person, and upon my Muse in this action, as appearing, like the Emperor Charls the Fifth, and assisting at her own Funeral.

For to make my self absolutely dead in a Poetical capacity, my resolution at present, is never to exercise any more that faculty. It is, I confess, but seldom seen that the Poet dyes before the Man; for when we once fall in love with that bewitching Art, we do not use to court it as a Mistress, but marry it as a Wife, and take it for better or worse, as an Inseparable Companion of our whole life. But as the Mariages of Infants do but rarely prosper, so no man ought to wonder at the diminution or decay of my affection to Poesie; to which I had contracted my self so much under Age, and so much to my own prejudice in regard of those more profitable matches which I might have made among the richer Sciences. As for the Portion which this brings of Fame, it is an Estate (if it be any, for men are not oftner deceived in their hopes of Widows, then in their opinion of, Exegi monumentum ære perennius) that hardly ever comes in whilst we are Living to enjoy it, but is a fantastical kind of Reversion to our own selves : neither ought any man to envy Poets this posthumous and imaginary happiness, since they find commonly so little in present, that it may be truly applyed to them, which S. Paul speaks of the first Christians, If their reward be in this life, they are of all men the most miserable.

* Stat. I l. Theb.

And if in quiet and flourishing times they meet with so small encouragement, what are they to expect in rough and troubled ones? if Wit be such a Plant, that it scarce receives heat enough to preserve it alive even in the Summer of our cold Clymate, how can it choose but wither in a long and a sharp winter? a warlike, various, and a tragical age is best to write of, but worst to write in. And I may, though in a very unequal proportion, assume that to my self, which was spoken by Tully to a much better person, upon occasion of the Civil Wars and Revolutions in his time, Sed in te intuens, Brute, doleo, cujus in adolescentiam per medias laudes quasi quadrigis vehentem transversa incurrit misera fortuna Reipublicæ *.

Neither is the present constitution of my Mind more proper then that of the Times for this exercise, or rather divertisement. There is nothing that requires so much serenity and chearfulness of Spirit; it must not be either overwhelmed with the cares of Life, or overcast with the Clouds of Melancholy and Sorrow, or shaken and disturbed with the storms of injurious Fortune ; it must like the Halcyon, have fair weather to breed in. The Soul must be filled with bright and delightful Idea's, when it undertakes to communicate delight to others; which is the main end of Poesie. One may see through the stile of Ovid de Trist. the humbled and dejected condition of Spirit with which he wrote it; there scarce remains any footsteps of that Genius,

Quem nec Jovis ira, nec ignes, &c. The cold of the Countrey had strucken through all his faculties, and benummed the very feet of his Verses. He is himself, methinks, like one of the Stories of his own Metamorphosis; and though there remain some weak resemblances of Ovid at Rome, It is but as he says of Niobe,

In vultu color est sine sanguine, lumina mæstis
Stant immota genis; nihil est in Imagine vivum,

Flet tamen......t
* Cic. de Clar. Orator.

+ Ovid. Metam. I. 6.

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