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.

Rare Artisan, whose pencil moves
Not our delights alone, but loves! 
From thy shop of beauty we
Slaves return, that enter’d free. 
The heedless lover does not know
Whose eyes they are that wound him so;
But, confounded with thy art,
Inquires her name that has his heart. 
Another, who did long refrain,
Feels his old wound bleed fresh again 10
With dear remembrance of that face,
Where now he reads new hope of grace: 
Nor scorn nor cruelty does find,
But gladly suffers a false wind
To blow the ashes of despair
From the reviving brand of care. 
Fool! that forgets her stubborn look
This softness from thy finger took. 
Strange! that thy hand should not inspire
The beauty only, but the fire; 20
Not the form alone, and grace,
But act and power of a face. 
Mayst thou yet thyself as well,
As all the world besides, excel! 
So you th’unfeigned truth rehearse
(That I may make it live in verse),
Why thou couldst not at one assay,[2]
The face to aftertimes convey,
Which this admires.  Was it thy wit
To make her oft before thee sit? 30
Confess, and we’ll forgive thee this;
For who would not repeat that bliss,
And frequent sight of such a dame
Buy with the hazard of his fame? 
Yet who can tax thy blameless skill,
Though thy good hand had failed still,
When Nature’s self so often errs? 
She for this many thousand years 38
Seems to have practised with much care,
To frame the race of women fair;
Yet never could a perfect birth
Produce before to grace the earth,
Which waxed old ere it could see
Her that amazed thy art and thee. 
But now ’tis done, oh, let me know
Where those immortal colours grow,
That could this deathless piece compose! 
In lilies? or the fading rose? 
No; for this theft thou hast climb’d higher
Than did Prometheus for his fire. 50

[1] ‘Vandyck’:  some think this refers to a picture of Saccharissa, by
    Vandyck, in Hall-Barn.
[2] ‘Assay’:  attempt.


1 Not that thy trees at Penshurst groan,
    Oppressed with their timely load,
  And seem to make their silent moan,
    That their great lord is now abroad: 
  They to delight his taste, or eye,
  Would spend themselves in fruit, and die.

2 Not that thy harmless deer repine,
    And think themselves unjustly slain
  By any other hand than thine,
    Whose arrows they would gladly stain;
  No, nor thy friends, which hold too dear
  That peace with France which keeps thee there.

3 All these are less than that great cause
    Which now exacts your presence here,
  Wherein there meet the divers laws
    Of public and domestic care. 
  For one bright nymph our youth contends,
  And on your prudent choice depends.

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