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How long, great poet, shall thy sacred lays
Provoke our wonder, and transcend our praise?
Can neither injuries of time, nor age,
Damp thy poetic heat, and quench thy rage?
Not so thy Ovid in his exile wrote,
Grief chili'd his breast, and check'd his rising thought;
Pensive and sad, his drooping Muse betrays
The Roman genius in its last decays.
Prevailing warmth has still thy mind possest,
And second youth is kindled in thy breast;
Thou mak'st the beauties of the Romans known,
And England boasts of riches not her own;
Thy lines have heighten'd Virgil's majesty,
And Horace wonders at himself in thee.
Thou teachest Persius to inform our isle
In smoother numbers, and a clearer style;
And Juvenal, instructed in thy page,
Edges his satire, and improves his rage.
Thy copy casts a fairer light on all,
And still out-shines the bright original
Now Ovid boasts th' advantage of thy song,
And tells his story in the British tongue;
Thy charming verse, and fair translations, show
How thy own laurel first began to grow;
How wild Lycaon, chang'd by angry gods,
And frighted at himself
, ran howling through the woods.
O mayst thou still the noble task prolong,
Nor age, nos sickness, interrupt thy song:
Then may we wond'ring read, how human limbs
Have water'd kingdoms, and dissolv'd in streams;
Of those rich fruits that on the fertile mould
Turn’d yellow by degrees, and ripen’d into gold;
How some in feathers, or a ragged hide,
Have liv'd a second life, and different nature's try'd.
Then will thy Ovid, thus transform’d, reveal
A nobler change than he himself can tell.
MAG. COLL. Oxon,
June 2, 1693. The Author's age 22.
PRESENTED TO THE LORD KEEPER.
King William. Printed in the year 1695. The author's age 24.
LORD KEEPER OF THE GREAT SEAL.
F yet your thoughts are loose from state affairs, , Nor feel the burden of a kingdom's cares, If yet your time and actions are your own, Receive the present of a muse unknown: A muse that in advent'rous numbers sings The rout of armies and the fall of kings, Britain advanc'd and Europe's peace restor'd, By Somers' counsels and by Nassav's sword.
To you, my Lord, these daring thoughts belong,
Who help'd to raise the subject of my song;
you the hero of my verse reveals
His great designs, to you in council tells
His inmost thoughts, determining the doom
Of towns unstorm'd, and battles yet to come.
And well could you, in your immortal strains,
Describe his conduct, and reward his pains:
But since the state has all your cares engrost,
And poetry in higher thoughts is lost,
Attend to what a lesser muse indites,
Pardon her faults, and countenance her flights,
On you, my Lord, with anxious fear I wait, And from your judgment must expect my fate,