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For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watry floar;
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky.
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high,
Through the dear might of Him that walk'd the waves,
Where other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy lock's he laves,
And hears the unexpressive nuptiall song
In the blest kingdoms meek of Joy and Love.
There entertain him all the saints above
In solemn troops and sweet societies,
That sing, and singing in their glory move,
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more ;
Henceforth thou art the genius of the shore,
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
To all that wander in that perilous flood.
Thus sang the uncouth swain to th’okes and rills,
While the still Morn went out with sandals grey;
He touch'd the tender stops of various quills,
With eager thought warbling his Dorick lay;
And now the sun had stretch'd out all the hills,
And now was dropt into the western bay ;
At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blew;
To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.
ALL humane things are subject to decay, And, when Fate summons, monarchs must obey. This Flecknoe found, who, like Augustus, young Was call’d to empire and had govern'd long, In prose and verse was owned without dispute Through all the realms of Nonsense absolute. This aged prince, now flourishing in peace And blest with issue of a large increase, Worn out with business, did at length debate To settle the succession of the state ; And pond'ring which of all his sons was fit To reign and wage immortal war with wit, Cry'd, “ 'Tis resolved, for Nature pleads that he “ Should onely rule who most resembles me. “Shadwell alone my perfect image bears, “Mature in dulness from his tender years ; “Shadwell alone of all my sons is he “Who stands confirm'd in full stupidity. “ The rest to some faint meaning make pretence, “But Shadwell never deviates into sense. “Some beams of wit on other souls may fall, “ Strike through and make a lucid intervall ; “But Shadwell's genuine night admits no ray, “His rising fogs prevail upon the day. “ Besides, his goodly fabrick fills the eye “And seems designed for thoughtless majesty, " Thoughtless as monarch oakes that shade the plain “And, spread in solemn state, supinely reign.
“Heywood and Shirley were but types of thee, “Thou last great prophet of tautology. “Even I, a dunce of more renown than they, “ Was sent before but to prepare thy way, “ And coursly clad in Norwich drugget came “To teach the nations in thy greater name. “My warbling lute, the lute I whilom strung “When to King John of Portugal I sung, “ Was but the prelude to that glorious day, “ When thou on silver Thames did'st cut thy way, “With well-tim'd oars before the royal barge, “Swell’d with the pride of thy celestial charge, “ And, big with hymn, commander of an host; “ The like was ne'er in Epsom blankets tost. “Methinks I see the new Arion sail, “ The lute still trembling underneath thy nail. “At thy well-sharpned thumb from shore to shore “The treble squeaks for fear, the basses roar; “ About thy boat the little fishes throng, “ As at the morning toast that floats along. “ Sometimes, as prince of thy harmonious band, “Thou weildst thy papers in thy threshing hand. “St. André's feet ne'er kept more equal time, “Not ev'n the feet of thy own 'Psyche's' rhyme, “ Though they in number as in sense excell; “So just, so like tautology, they fell “ That, pale with envy, Singleton forswore “ The lute and sword which he in triumph bore, “ And vowed he ne'er would act Villerius more." Here stopped the good old syre and wept for joy, In silent raptures of the hopefull boy. All arguments, but most his plays, perswade That for anointed dulness he was made.
Close to the walls which fair Augusta bind, (The fair Augusta much to fears inclin'd,) An ancient fabrick rais'd to inform the sight There stood of yore, and Barbican it hight; A watch-tower once, but now, so fate ordains, Of all the pile an empty name remains. Near it a Nursery erects its head, Where queens are formed and future hero's bred, Where unfledged actors learn to laugh and cry, And little Maximins the gods defy.
Great Fletcher never treads in buskins here,
Nor greater Jonson dares in socks appear ;
But gentle Simkin just reception finds
Amidst this monument of vanisht minds;
Pure clinches the suburbian muse affords
And Panton waging harmless war with words.
Here Flecknoe, as a place to fame well known,
Ambitiously designed his Shadwell's throne.
For ancient Decker prophesi'd long since
That in this pile should reign a mighty prince,
Born for a scourge of wit and flayle of sense,
To whom true dulness should some “ Psyches” owe,
But worlds of “Misers" from his pen should flow;
“Humorists” and Hypocrites it should produce,
Whole Raymond families and tribes of Bruce.
Now empress Fame had publisht the renown
Of Shadwell's coronation through the town.
Rows'd by report of fame, the nations meet
From near Bunhill and distant Watling-street.
No Persian carpets spread th' imperial way,
But scattered limbs of mangled poets lay ;
Much Heywood, Shirley, Ogleby there lay,
But loads of Shadwell almost choakt the way.
Bilkt stationers for yeomen stood prepar'd
And Herringman was captain of the guard.
The hoary prince in majesty appear’d,
High on a throne of his own labours rear'd.
At his right hand our young Ascanius sat,
Rome's other hope and pillar of the state.
His brows thick fogs instead of glories grace,
And lambent dulness plaied around his face.
As Hannibal did to the altars come,
Sworn by his syre a mortal foe to Rome :
So Shadwell swore, nor should his vow be vain,
That he till death true dulness would maintain,
And, in his father's right and realms defence,
Ne'er to have peace with wit nor truce with sense.
The king himself the sacred unction made,
As king by office and as priest by trade.
In his sinister hand, instead of ball,
He plac'd a mighty mug of potent ale;
“ Love's Kingdom” to his right he did convey,
At once his sceptre and his rule of sway;
Whose righteous lore the prince had practis'd young
And from whose loyns recorded “Psyche” sprung.
His temples, last, with poppies were o'erspread,
That nodding seemed to consecrate his head.
Just at that point of time, if fame not lye,
On his left hand twelve reverend owls did fly.
So Romulus, 'tis sung, by Tyber's brook,
Presage of sway from twice six vultures took.
The admiring throng loud acclamations make,
And omens of his future empire take.
The syre then shook the honours of his head,
And from his brows damps of oblivion shed
Full on the filial dulness ; long he stood,
Repelling from his breast the raging God;
At length burst out in this prophetick mood :
“Heavens bless my son! from Ireland let him reign
“ To far Barbadoes on the western main;
“Of his dominion may no end be known
" And greater than his father's be his throne;
“ Beyond 'Love's Kingdom' let him stretch his pen!”
He paus'd, and all the people cry'd “Amen."
Then thus continu'd he : “My son, advance
“ Still in new impudence, new ignorance.
“Success let others teach, learn thou from me
“Pangs without birth and fruitless industry.
“Let “Virtuoso's' in five years be writ,
“Yet not one thought accuse thy toil of wit.
“Let gentle George in triumph tread the stage,
“Make Dorimant betray, and Loveit rage ;
“Let Cully, Cockwood, Fopling, charm the pit,
“ And in their folly show the writers wit.
“ Yet still thy fools shall stand in thy defence
“ And justify their author's want of sense.
“Let 'em be all by thy own model made
“ Of dulness, and desire no foreign aid,
“ That they to future ages may be known,
“ Not copies drawn, but issue of thy own.
“ Nay, let thy men of wit too be the same,
“ All full of thee and differing but in name.
“ But let no alien Sedley interpose
“ To lard with wit thy hungry Epsom prose.
“ And when false flowers of rhetoric thou would'st cull,
“ Trust nature, do not labour to be dull ;