Poetical Works of Edmund Waller and Sir John Denham eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about Poetical Works of Edmund Waller and Sir John Denham.

6 Guard us from all temptations of the foe;
  And those we may in several stations know;
  The rich and poor in slipp’ry places stand. 
  Give us enough, but with a sparing hand! 
  Not ill-persuading want, nor wanton wealth,
  But what proportion’d is to life and health. 
  For not the dead, but living, sing thy praise,
  Exalt thy kingdom, and thy glory raise.

Favete linguis!... 
Virginibus puerisque canto.—­HOR.

[1] ‘Vouchsafe to bow’:  Psalm xviii. 9.


When we for age could neither read nor write,
The subject made us able to indite;
The soul, with nobler resolutions deck’d,
The body stooping, does herself erect. 
No mortal parts are requisite to raise
Her that, unbodied, can her Maker praise.

The seas are quiet when the winds give o’er;
So, calm are we when passions are no more! 
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting things, so certain to be lost. 
Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries.

The soul’s dark cottage, batter’d and decay’d,
Lets in new light through chinks that time has made;
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become,
As they draw near to their eternal home. 
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,
That stand upon the threshold of the new.

    ....Miratur limen Olympi.—­VIRG.


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Next to those poets who have exerted an influence on the matter, should be ranked those who have improved the manner, of our song.  So that thus the same list may include the names of a Chaucer and a Waller, of a Milton and a Denham—­the more as we suspect none but a true poet can materially improve even a poetical mode, can contrive even a new stirrup to Pegasus, or even to retune the awful organ of Pythia.  Neither Denham nor Waller were great poets; but they have produced lines and verses so good, and have, besides, exerted an influence so considerable on modern versification, and the style of poetical utterance, that they are entitled to a highly respectable place amidst the sons of British song.

Sir John Denham, although thoroughly English both in descent and in complexion of mind, was born in Dublin in 1615.  His father, whose name also was Sir John (of Little Horseley, in Essex), was, at the time of our poet’s birth, the Chief Baron of Exchequer in Ireland.  His mother was Eleanor More, daughter of Sir Garret More, Baron of Mellefont.  Two years after the son’s birth, the father,

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Poetical Works of Edmund Waller and Sir John Denham from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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