The last set out the soonest did arrive.
136 ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS.
Thus Nisiis fell upon the slippery place,
Whilst his young friend perform'd and won the race.
O early ripe 1 to thy abundant store
What could advanciag age havâ‚¬ added more?
It might, what Nature never gives the young,
Have taught the smoothness of thy native tongue :
But satire needs not those, and wit will shine
Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line.
A noble error, and but seldom made,
When poets are by too much force betray'd.
Thy generous fruits, though gather d ere their-
Still show'd a quickness ; and maturing Time
But mellows what we write to the dull sweets'
Once more, hail, and farewell ; farewell, thou young,
But ah, too short Marcellus of our tongue !
Thy brows with ivy and with laurels bound;
But Fate andglooray Night encompass thee around.
TO THE Pious MEMORY OF THE ACCOMPLISHED
MRS. ANNE KILLIGREW,
EXCELLENT IN THE TWO SISTER-ARTS OF POESY
Thou youngest virgin-daughter of the Skies,
Made in the last promotion of the bless'd;
Whose palms, new pluckd from Paradise,
In spreading branches more sublimely rise.
Rich with immortal green above the rest ;
ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS. 13?
Whether, adopted to some neighbouring star,
Thou roU'st above us in thy wandering race,
Or, in procession lix'd and regular,
Mov'st with the heaven's majestic pace;
Or, call'd to more superior bliss,
Thou tread'st, with seraphiras, the vast abyss:
Whatever happy region is thy place,
Cease thy celestial song a little space ;
Thou wilt have time enough for hymns divine,
Since Heaven's eternal year is thine.
Hear, then, a mortal muse thy praise rehearse
In no ignoble verse ;
But such as thy own voice did practise here.
When thy first fruits of poesy were given
To make thyself a welcome inmate there j
While yet a young probationer.
And candidate of Heaven !
If by traduction came thy mind,
Our wonder is the less, to find
A soul so charming from a stock so good ;
Thy father was transfus'd into thy blood ;
So wert thou born into a tuneful strain.
An early, rich, and inexhausted vein,
But if thy pre-existing soul
Was form'd, at first with myriads more,
It did through all the mighty poets roll,
Who Greek or Latin laurels wore.
And was that Sappho last, which once it was
If so, then cease thy flight, O heaven-born mind !
Thou hast no dross to purge from thy rich ore ;
VOL. III. K
138 ELEGIES AND EPITAPH?.
Nor can thy soul a fairer mansion find, %
Than was the beauteous frame she left behind : f
Return to fill, or mend, the choir of thy celes- ^
tial kind. J
May we presume to say that, at thy birth, [earth?
New joy was sprung in heaven, as well as here on
For sure the milder planets did combine ^
On thy auspicious horoscope to shine, /
And eeu the most malicious were in trine. J
Thy brother-angels at thy birth
Strung each his lyre, and tun'd it high,
That all the people of the sky
Might know a poetess was born on earth ;
And then, if ever, mortal ears
Had heard the m\isic of the spheres.
And if no clustering swarm of bees
On thy sweet mouth distill'd their golden dew,
'Twas that such vulgar miracles
Heaven had not leisure to renew :
For all thy bless'd fraternity of love [above.
Solemniz'd there thy birth, and kept thy holy-day
O gracious God ! how far have we
Profan'd thy heavenly gift of poesy ?
Made prostitute and profligate the Muse,
Debas'd to each obscene and impious use,
Whose harmony was first ordain'd above
For tongues of angels, and for hymns of love?
O wretched we ! why were we hurried down
This lubrique and adulterate age,
(Nay, added fat pollutions of our own)
To' increase the streaming ordures of the stage ?
ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS. 139
What can we say to' excuse our second fall ?
Let this thy vestal, Heaven, atone for all :
Her Arethusian stream remains unsoil'd, "^
Unmix'd with foreign filth, and undefild; >
Her wit was more thanman,herinnocenceachild. 3
Art she had none, yet wanted none,
For Nature did that want supply ;
So rich in treasures of her own,
She might our boasted stores defy :
Such noble vigour did her verse adorn.
That it seem'd borrow'd, where 'tw^ only born.
Her morals, too, were in her bosom bred,
By great examples daily fed,
What in the best of books, her father's life, she
And to be read herself she need not fear ; "l
Each test, and every light, her Muse will bear. ^
Though Epictetus, with his lamp, were there. 3
E'en love, for love sometimes her Muse exprest,
Was but a lambent flame which play'd about her
Light as the vapours of a morning-dream ;
So cold herself, while she such warmth express'd,
'Twas Cupid bathing in Diana's stream.
Born to the spagious empire of the Nine,
One would have thought she should have been
To manage well that mighty government ;
But what can young ambitious souls confine ?
To the next realm she stretch'd her sway, ")
For Painture near adjoining lay, ^
A plenteous province, and alluring prey. j
140 ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS.
A Chamber of Dependencies was fram'd,
(As conquerors will never want pretence,
When arm'd, to justify the' offence)
And the whole fief, in right of poetry, she claimd.
The country open lay without defence;
For poets frequent inroads there had made,
And perfectly could represent
The shape, the face, with every lineament.
And all the large domains which the dumb sister
All bow'd beneath her government,
Receiv'd in triumph w heresoe'er she went :
Her pencil drew whate'er her soul design'd.
And oft the happy draught surpass'd the image in
The silvan scenes of herds and flocks.
And fruitful plains, and barren rocks,
Of shallow brooks that flow'd so clear,
The bottom did the top appear ;
Of deeper too, and ampler floods.
Which, as in mirrors, show'd the woods ;
Of lofty trees, with sacred shades.
And perspectives of pleasant glades.
Where nymphs of brightest form appear,
And shaggy Satyrs standing near.
Which them at once admire and fear.
The ruins, too, of some majestic piece,
Boasting the power of ancient Rome or Greece,
Whose statues, friezes, columns, broken lie,
And, though defac'd, the wonder of the eye;
What Nature, Art, bold Fiction, e'er durst frame.
Her forming hand gave feature to the name.
So strange a concourse ne'er was seen before.
But when the peopled Ark the whole creation bore.
ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS. 1 tl
The scene then chang'd, with bold erected look
Our martial King the sight with reverence strook :
For, not content to' express his outward part,
Her hand call'd out the image of his heart :
His warlike mind, his soul devoid of fear, "1
His high-designing thoughts were fignr'd there, ^
As when, by magic, ghosts are made appear. J
Our phoenix-queen was pourtray'd, too, so bright,
Beauty alone could beauty take so right :
Her dress, her shape, her matchless grace.
Were all observ'd, as well as heavenly face.
With such a peerless majesty she stands,
As, in that day, she took the crown from sacred
Before a train of heroines was seen
In beauty foremost, as in rank, the Queen.
Thus nothing to her genius Avas denied,
But like a ball of fire, the further thrown,
Still with a greater blaze she shone,
And her bright soul broke out on every side.
What next -she had design'd Heaven only knows:
To such immoderate growth her conquest rose.
That Fate alone its progress could oppose.
Now all those charms, that blooming grace,
The well-proportion'd shape, and beauteous face.
Shall never more be seen by mortal eyes ;
In earth the much-lamented virgin lies.
Not wit, nor piety, could Fate prevent j
Nor was the cruel Destiny content
To finish all the murder at a blow,
To sweep, at once her life and beauty too ;
But, like a harden'd felon, took a pride
To work more mischievously slow,
142 ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS.
And plunder'd first, and then destroy'd.
O double sacrilege on things divine,
To rob the relic, and deface the shrine !
But thus Orinda died :
Heaven, by the same disease, did both translate ;
As equal were their souls, so equal was their fate.
Mean time, her warlike brother on the seas -^
His waving streamers to the winds displays, J
And vowsforhis return, with vain devotion, pays, j
Ah, generous youth, that wish forbear.
The winds too soon will waft thee here !
Slack all thy sails, and fear to come,
Alas, thou know'st not thou art wreck'd at home!
No more shalt thou behold thy sister's face.
Thou hast already had her last embrace.
But look aloft, and if thou ken'st from far.
Among the Pleiads a new-kindled star ;
If any sparkles than the rest more bright,
'Tis she that shines in that propitious light.
When in mid-air the golden trump shall sound,
To raise the nations under ground ;
When, in the valley of Jehoshaphat,
The judging God shall close the book of Fate,
And there the last assizes keep
For those who wake, and those who sleep;
When rattling bones together fly,
From the four corners of the sky ;
When sinews o'er the skeletons are spread,
Those cloth'd v, ith flesh, and life inspires the dead
The sacred Poets first shall hear the sound
And foremost from the tomb shall bound.
For they are covcr'd with the lightest ground;
ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS. 143
And straight, with inborn vigour, on the wing,
Like mountain larks, to the new morning sing.
There thou, sweet saint ! before the quire shall go, "^
As harbinger of Heaven, the way to show, ^
The way which thou so well hast learnt below. 3
DEATH OF THE EARL OF DUNDEE.
Oh, last and best of Scots ! who didst maintain
Thy country's freedom from a foreign reign;
New people fill the land, now thou art gone.
New gods the temples, and new kings the throne.
Scotland and thee did each in other live ;
Nor wouldst thou her, nor could she thee survive.
Farewell ! who dying didst support the state.
And couldst not fall but with thy country's fate.
A PANEGYRICAL POEM,
JDEUICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE
COUNTESS OF ABINGDON*.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
THE EARL OF ABINGDON, Sfc,
The commands, with which you honoured me
some months ago, are now performed : they had
been sooner; but betwixt ill health, some business,
and many troubles, I was forced to defer them till
this time. Ovid, going to his banishment, and
writing from on shipboard to his friends, excused
the faults of his poetry by his misfortunes ; and
told them, that good verses never flow but from a
serene and composed spirit. Wit, which is a kind
of Mercury, with wings fastened to his head and
1 Eleonora, eldest daughter and sole heir of Sir Henry
Lee, Bart. She became the wife of James, first Earl of
Abingdon, and died May 31, 1691. See Malone's Dryden.
beds, can fly but slowly in a damp air. I therefore
chose rather to obey you late, than ill ; if at least
I am capable of writing any thing, at any time,
which is worthy your perusal and your patronage.
I cannot say that I have escaped from a shipwreck,
but have only gained a rock by hard swimming,
where I may pant awhile and gather breath : for
the doctors give me a sad assurance, that my
disease^ never took its leave of any man but with
a purpose to return. However, my Lord, I have
laid hold on the interval^ and managed the small
stock which age has left me to the best advantage,
in performing this inconsiderable service to my
Lady's memory. We, who are priests of Apollo,
have not the inspiration when we please; but must
wait till the god comes rushing on us, and invades
us with a fury which we are not able to resist;
which gives us double strength while the fit con-
tinues, and leaves us languishing and spent at its
departure. Let me not seem to boast, my Lord ;
for I have really felt it on this occasion, and pro-
phesied beyond my natural power. Let me add,
and hope to be believed, that the excellency of
the subject contributed much to the happiness of
the execution ; and that the weight of thirty years
was taken off me while I was writing. I swam
with the tide, and the water under me was buoy-
ant. The reader will easily observe that I was
transported by the multitude and variety of my
similitudes, which are generally the product of a
luxuriant fancy, and the wantonness of wit. Had
2 The gout.
I called in my judgment to my assistance, I had
certainly retrenched many of them. But I defend
them not ; let them pass for beautiful faults amongst
the better sort of critics : for the whole poem,
though written in that which they call Heroic verse,
is of the Pindaric nature, as well in the thought as
the expression ; and, as such, requires the same
grains of allowance for it. It was intended, as
your Lordship sees in the title, not for an elegy,
but a panegyric : a kind of apotheosis, indeed, if
a heathen word may be applied to a Christian use.
And, on all occasions of praise, if we take the
ancients for our patterns, we are bound, by pre-
scription, to employ the magnificence of words,
and the force of figures, to adorn the sublimity of
thoughts. Isocrates amongst the Grecian orators,
and Cicero and the younger Pliny amongst the
Romans, have left us their precedents for our
security : for I think I need not mention the
inimitable Pindar, who stretches, on these pinions,
out of sight, and is carried upward, as it were,
into another world.
This, at least, my Lord, I may justly plead, that
if I have not performed so well as I think I have,
yet I have used my best endeavours to excel ray-
self. One disadvantage I have had, which is, never
to have known or seen my Lady: and to draw the
lineaments of her mind from the description which
I have received from others, is for a painter to set
himself at work without the living original before
him; which, the more beautiful it is, will be so
much the more difficult for him to conceive, when
lie has only a relation given him of such and such
features by an acquaintance or a friend, without
the nice touches, which give the best resemblance,
and make the graces of the picture. Every artist
is apt enough to flatter himself (and I among the
rest) that his own ocular observations would have
discovered more perfections, at least others,
than have been delivered to him; though I have
received mine from the best hands, that is, from
persons who neither want a just understanding of
my Lady's worth, nor a due veneration for her
Doctor Donne, (the greatest wit, though not the
greatest poet of our nation) acknowledges that he
had never seen Mrs. Drury, whom he has made
immortal in his admirable Anniversaries. I have
had the same fortune, though I have not succeeded
to the same genius. However, I have followed
his footsteps in the design of his panegyric, which
was to raise an emulation in the living, to copy
out the example of the dead. And tlierefore it
was that I once intended to have called this poem
The Pattern ; and though, on a second considera-
tion, I changed the title into the name of the
illustrious person, yet the design continues, and
Eleonora is still the pattern of charity, devotion,
and humility ; of the best wife, the best mother,
and the best of friends.
And now, ray Lord, though I have endeavoured
to answer your commands, yet I could not answer
it to the world, nor to my conscience, if I gave not
your Lordship my testimony of being the best hus-
band now living : I say my testimony only ; for the
praise of it is given you by yourseif. They who
despise the rules of virtue, both in their practice
and their morals, will think this a very trivial com-
mendation. But I think it the peculiar happiness
of the Countess of Abingdon to have been so truly-
loved by you, while she was living, and so grate-
fully honoured after she was dead. Few there are
who have either had, or could have, such a loss;
and yet fewer who carried their love and constancy
beyond the grave. The exteriors of mourning, a
decent funeral, and black habits, are the usual
stints of common husbands ; and perhaps their
wives deserve no better than to be mourned with
hypocrisy, and forgot with ease. But you have
distinguished yourself from ordinary lovers by a
real and lasting grief for the deceased: and by
endeavouring to raise for her the most durable
monument, which is that of verse. And so it would
have proved, if the workmen had been equal to
the work, and your choice of the artificer as happy
as your design. Yet, as Phydias, when he had
made the statue of Minerva, could not forbear to
engrave his own name as author of the piece ; so
give me leave to hope that, by subscribing mine
to this poem, I may live by the goddess, and trans-
rait my name to posterity by the memory of her's.
It is no flattery to assure your Lordship, that she is
remembered, in the present age, by all who have
had the honour of her conversation and acquaint-
ance ; and that I have never been in any company,
since the news of her death was first brought me,
where they have not extolled her virtues, and even
spoken the same things of her in prose which I
have done in verse.
"^ DEDICATION. 149
I therefore thiuk myself obliged to thank your
Lordship for the commission which you have given
me : how I have acquitted myself of it must be
left to the opinion of the world, in spite of any
protestation which I can enter against the present
age, as incompetent or corrupt judges. For my
comfort they are but Englishmen, and, as such, if
they think ill of me to-day, they are inconstant
enough to think well of me to-morrow. And,
after all, I have not much to thank my fortune
that I was born amongst them. The good of both
sexes are so few in England, that they stand like
exceptions against general rules : and though one
of them has deserved a greater commendation than
I could give her, they have taken care that I should
not tire my pen with frequent exercise on the like
subjects ; that praises, like taxes, should be appro-
priated, and left almost as individual as the person.
They say my talent is satire ; if it be so, it is a
fruitful age, and there is an extraordinary crop to
gather : but a single hand is insufficient for such a
harvest. They have sown the dragon's teeth them-
selves, and it is but just they should reap each
other in lampoons. You, my Lord, who have the
character of honour, (though it is not my happiness
to know you) raa^c. stand aside, with the small
remainders of the English nobility, truly such;
and, unhurt yourselves, behold the mad combat.
If I have pleased you, and some few others, I have
obtained my end. You see, I have disabled myself,
like an Elected Speaker of the House ; yet, like
him, I have undertaken the charge, and find the
burden sufficiently recompensed by the honour.
Bepleased to accept of these my unworthy labonrs,
this paper-monument ; and let her pious memory,
which I am sure is sacred to you, not only plead
the pardon of my many faults, but gain me your
protection, which is ambitiously sought by,
most obedient servant,
A PANEGYRICAL POEM.
DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATI
COUNTESS Ol- ABINGDON.
As when some great and gracious monarch die?.
Soft whispers first, and mournful murmurs rise,
Among the sad attendants, then the sound
Soon gathers voice, and spreads the news around.
Through town and country ; till the dreadful blast
Is blown to distant colonies at last,
Who then, perhaps, were offering vows in vain,
For his long life, and for his happy reign :
So slowly, by degrees, unwilling Fame "^
Did matchless Eleonora's fate proclaim, ^
Till public as the loss the news became. -'
The nation felt it in the' extremest parts,
With eyes o'crflowing, and with bleeding hearts ;
But most the poor, whom daily she supplied j
Beginning to be such, but when she died :
For, while she liv'd, they slept in peace by night.
Secure of bread as of returning light;
And with such firm dependance on the day.
That Need grew pamper'd, and forgot to pray :
So sure the dole, so ready at their call,
They stood prepar'd to see the manna fall.
Sach multitudes she fed, she cloth'd, shenurs'd,
That she, herself, might fear her wanting first.
152 ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS.
Of her five talents other five she made ;
Heaven, that had largely given, was largely paid:
And in few lives, in wondrous few, we find
A fortune better fitted to the mind.
Nor did her alms from ostentation fall,
Or proud desire of praise ; the soul gave all :
Unbrib'd it gave; or if a bribe appear,
No less than Heaven, to heap huge treasures there.
Want pass'd for merit at her open door ;
Heaven saw he safely might increase his poor,
And trust their sustenance with her so well,'
As not to be at charge of miracle.
None could be needy whom she saw or knew ;
All in the compass of her sphere she drew :
He who could touch her garment, was as sure
As the first Christians of the' Apostles' cure.
The distant heard, by fame, her pious deeds,
And laid her up for their extremest needs ;
A future cordial for a fainting mind ;
For what was ne'er refus'd, all hop'd to find,
Each in his turn. The rich might freely come,
As to a friend ; but to the poor â€” 'twas home.
As to some holy house the' afflicted came, ^
The hunger-starv'd, the naked and the lame; 5
AVant and diseases fled before her name. 3
For zeal like her's her servants were too slow ; "1
She was the first, where need requir'd, to goj /
Herself the foundress and attendant too. ^
Sure she had guests sometimes to entertain,
Guests in disguise, of her great Master's train :
Her Lord himself might come, for aught we know,
Since in a servant's form he liv'd below:
Beueath her roof he might be pleas'd to stayj
Or some benighted angel, in his way,
ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS. 153
Might ease bis wings, and seeing Heaven appear
In its best work of mercy, think it there;
Where all the deeds of charity and love
Were in as constant method, as above,
All carried on ; all of a piece with theirs 3 "^
As free her alms, as diligent her cares ; S
As loud her praises, and as warm her prayers. 3
Yet was she not profuse, but fear'd to waste,
And wisely manag'd, that the stock might last;
That all might be supplied, and she not grieve,
When crowds appear'd, she had not to relieve :
Which to prevent, she still increas'd her store ;
Laid up, and spar'd, that she might give the more.
So Pharaoh, or some greater king than he,
Provided for the seventh necessity;
Taught from above his magazines to frame.
That famine was prevented ere it came.
Thus Heaven, though all-sufficient, shows a thrift
In his economy, and bounds his gift :
Creating, for our day, one single light ;
And his reflection, too, supplies the night.
Perhaps a thousand other worlds, that lie
Remote from us, and latent in the sky.
Are lighten'd by his beams, and kindly nurst,
Of which our earthly dunghill is the worst.
Now, as all virtues keep the middle line,
Yet somewhat more to one extreme incline.
Such was her soul ; abhorring avarice,
Bounteoos, but almost bounteous to a vice :
Had she given more, it had profusion been,
And turn'd the' excess of goodness into sin.
These virtues rais'd her fabric to the sky ;
For tliat, which is next Heaven, is charity.
VOL. iir. L
154 ELEGIES AND EPITAPHS.
But as high turrets, for their airy steep.
Require foundations in proportion deep;
And lofty cedars as far upwards shoot,
As to the nether heavens they drive the root.
So low did her secure foundation lie,
She was not humble, but humility.
Scarcely she knew that she was, great, or fair, "1
Or wise, beyond what other women are, [pare. ?
Or, which is better, knew, but never durst com- ^
For to be conscious of what all admire,
And not be vain, advances virtue higher.
But still she found, or rather thought she found,
Her own worth wanting, others' to abound;
Ascrib'd above their due to every one,
Unjust and scanty to herself alone.
Such her devotion was, as might give rules
Of speculation to disputing schools,
And teach us equally the scales to hold
Betwixt the two extremes of hot and cold;
That pious heat may moderately prevail,
And we be warm'd, but not be scorch'd with zeal.
Business might shorten, not disturb, her prayer ;
Heaven had the best, if not the greater share.
An active life long orisons forbids ;
Yet still she pray'd, for still she pray'd by deeds.