Thrice happy pair! of whom we cannot know
Which first began to love, or loves most now;
Fair course of passion! where two lovers start,
And run together, heart still yoked with heart;
Successful youth! whom love has taught the way
To be victorious in the first essay.
Sure love’s an art best practised at first,
And where th’experienced still prosper worst!
I, with a different fate, pursued in vain
The haughty Caelia, till my just disdain 10
Of her neglect, above that passion borne,
Did pride to pride oppose, and scorn to scorn.
Now she relents; but all too late to move
A heart directed to a nobler love.
The scales are turn’d, her kindness weighs no more
Now, than my vows and service did before.
So in some well-wrought hangings you may see
How Hector leads, and how the Grecians flee;
Here, the fierce Mars his courage so inspires,
That with bold hands the Argive fleet he fires; 20
But there, from heaven the blue-eyed virgin falls,
And frighted Troy retires within her walls;
They that are foremost in that bloody race,
Turn head anon, and give the conqu’rors chase.
So like the chances are of love and war,
That they alone in this distinguish’d are,
In love the victors from the vanquish’d fly;
They fly that wound, and they pursue that die.
 ‘Their loves’: supposed to be
Alexander Hampden, involved with
Waller in the plot. See ‘Life’
 ‘Blue-eyed virgin’: Minerva.
Fairest piece of well-form’d earth!
Urge not thus your haughty birth;
The power which you have o’er us lies
Not in your race, but in your eyes.
’None but a prince!’—Alas! that voice
Confines you to a narrow choice.
Should you no honey vow to taste,
But what the master-bees have placed
In compass of their cells, how small
A portion to your share would fall! 10
Nor all appear, among those few,
Worthy the stock from whence they grew.
The sap which at the root is bred
In trees, through all the boughs is spread;
But virtues which in parents shine,
Make not like progress through the line.
’Tis not from whom, but where, we live;
The place does oft those graces give.
Great Julius, on the mountains bred,
A flock perhaps, or herd, had led. 20
He that the world subdued, had been
But the best wrestler on the green.
’Tis art and knowledge which draw forth
The hidden seeds of native worth;
They blow those sparks, and make them rise
Into such flames as touch the skies.
To the old heroes hence was given
A pedigree which reached to heaven;
Of mortal seed they were not held, 29
Which other mortals so excell’d.