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VITAL spark of heav'nly flame !
Quit, oh quit this mortal frame !
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying;
Oh the pain, the bliss of dying !
Cease, fond Nature ! cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.

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Hark! they whisper ; angels say,
Sister Spirit, come away.
What is this absorbs me quite !
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my Soul! can this be Death ?




The world recedes; it disappears!
Heav'n opens on my eyes! my ears
With sounds seraphic ring :
Lend, lend your wings ! I mount ! I fy!
O Grave! where is thy victory?
O Death! where is thy sting?






Quid vetat et nosmet Lucili scripta legentes
Quærere, num illius, num rerum dura negarit
Versiculos natura magis factos, et euntes



YES, thank my stars! as early as I knew
This Town, I had the sense to hate it too;
Yet here, as ev’n in hell, there must be still
One giant vice so excellently ill,
That all beside one pities, not abhors,
As who knows Sappho smiles at other whores.



SIR, tho' (I thank God for it) I do hate Perfectly all this Town, yet there's one state In all ill things so excellently best, That hate towards them breeds pity towards the rest.

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I grant that poetry's a crying sin;
It brought (no doubt) th’ Excise and Army in :
Catch'd like the plague, or love, the Lord knows how,
But that the cure is starving all allow.

Yet like Papist's is the poet's state,
Poor and disarm’d, and hardly worth your hate!

Here a lean bard, whose wit could never give
Himself a dinner, makes an actor live:
The thief condemn’d, in law already dead, 15
So prompts and saves a rogue who cannot read.
Thus as the pipes of some carv'd organ move,
The gilded puppets dance and mount above :
Heav'n by th' breath th' inspiring bellows blow;
Th’inspiring bellows lie and pant below.


Tho' poetry, indeed, be such a sin
As I think brings death and Spaniards in;
Tho', like the pestilence and old-fashion'd love,
Ridlingly it catch men, and doth remove
Never till it be starv'd out; yet their state
Is poor, disarm’d, like Papists, not worth hate :
One (like a wretch, which at bar judg'd as dead,
Yet prompts him which stands next, and cannot read,
And saves his life) gives idiot actors means,
(Starving himself) to live by's labour'd scenes.
As in some organs puppets dance above,
And bellows pant below which them do move,

One sings the fair; but songs no longer move;
No rat is rhym'd to death, nor maid to love :
In love's, in Nature's, spite the siege they hold,
And scorn the flesh, the devil, and all but gold.

These write to lords, some mean reward to get, As needy beggars sing at doors for meat:

26 Those write because all write, and so have still Excuse for writing, and for writing ill.

Wretched, indeed! but far more wretched yet
Is he who makes his meal on others' wit:
'Tis chang'd, no doubt, from what it was before;
His rank digestion makes it wit no more:


One would move love by rhymes; but witchcraft's

charms Bring not now their old fears nor their old harms. Rams and slings now are silly battery ; Pistolets are the best artillery : And they who write to lords rewards to get, Are they not like singers at doors for meat ? And they who write, because all write, have still Th’excuse for writing, and for writing ill. But he is worst who (beggarly) doth chaw Others' wits' fruits, and in his ravenous maw Rankly digested, doth those things out-spue As his own things; and they're his own, 'tis true;

Sense pass'd thro' him no longer is the same;
For food digested takes another name.

I pass o'er all those confessors and martyrs 35
Who live like S-tt-n, or who die like Chartres,
Outcant old Esdras, or outdrink his heir,
Out-usure Jews, or Irishmen out-swear ;
Wicked as pages, who in early years
Acts sins which Prisca's confessor scarce hears. 46
Ev’n those I pardon, for whose sinful sake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make;
Of whose strange crimes no canonist can tell
In what commandment's large contents they dwell.

One, one man only breeds my just offence, [dence: : Whom crimes gave wealth, and wealth gave impu

For if one my meat, tho’ it be known
The meat was mine, th’excrement is his own.
But these do me no harm, nor they which use

out-usure Jews,
T'out-drink the sea, tout-swear the Litany,
Who with sins all kinds as familiar be
As confessors, and for whose sinful sake,
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make;
Whose strange sins canonists could hardly tell
In which commandment's large receipt they dwell.
But these punish themselves. The insolence
Of Coscus only breeds my just offence,

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