45 Tell of towns storm’d, of armies overrun,
And mighty kingdoms by your conduct won;
How, while you thunder’d, clouds of dust did choke
Contending troops, and seas lay hid in smoke.
46 Illustrious acts high raptures do infuse,
And every conqueror creates a Muse.
Here, in low strains, your milder deeds we sing;
But there, my lord! we’ll bays and olive bring,
47 To crown your head; while you in triumph ride
O’er vanquish’d nations, and the sea beside;
While all your neighbour princes unto you,
Like Joseph’s sheaves, pay reverence, and bow.
 Written about 1654.  ‘Joseph’s sheaves’: Gen. xxxvii.
So we some antique hero’s strength
Learn by his lance’s weight and length,
As these vast beams express the beast
Whose shady brows alive they dress’d.
Such game, while yet the world was new,
The mighty Nimrod did pursue.
What huntsman of our feeble race,
Or dogs, dare such a monster chase,
Resembling, with each blow he strikes, 9
The charge of a whole troop of pikes?
O fertile head! which every year
Could such a crop of wonder bear!
The teeming earth did never bring
So soon, so hard, so huge a thing;
Which might it never have been cast
(Each year’s growth added to the last),
These lofty branches had supplied
The earth’s bold sons’ prodigious pride;
Heaven with these engines had been scaled,
When mountains heap’d on mountains fail’d. 20
Balls of this metal slack’d At’lanta’s
And on the am’rous youth bestow’d the race;
Venus (the nymph’s mind measuring by her own),
Whom the rich spoils of cities overthrown
Had prostrated to Mars, could well advise
Th’ advent’rous lover how to gain the prize.
Nor less may Jupiter to gold ascribe;
For, when he turn’d himself into a bribe,
Who can blame Danae, or the brazen tower,
That they withstood not that almighty shower 10
Never till then did love make Jove put on
A form more bright, and nobler than his own;
Nor were it just, would he resume that shape,
That slack devotion should his thunder ’scape.
’Twas not revenge for griev’d Apollo’s wrong, 15
Those ass’s ears on Midas’ temples hung,
But fond repentance of his happy wish,
Because his meat grew metal like his dish.
Would Bacchus bless me so, I’d constant hold
Unto my wish, and die creating gold.
 ‘Am’rous youth’: Hippomenes.
 Transcriber’s note: The original text has a single dot over the
second “a” and another over the “e”, rather than the more
conventional diaresis shown here.