Bold is the man that dares engage
For piety in such an age!
Who can presume to find a guard
From scorn, when Heaven’s so little spared?
Divines are pardon’d; they defend
Altars on which their lives depend;
But the profane impatient are,
When nobler pens make this their care;
For why should these let in a beam
Of divine light to trouble them, 10
And call in doubt their pleasing thought,
That none believes what we are taught?
High birth and fortune warrant give
That such men write what they believe;
And, feeling first what they indite,
New credit give to ancient light.
Amongst these few, our author brings
His well-known pedigree from kings.
This book, the image of his mind,
Will make his name not hard to find; 20
I wish the throng of great and good
Made it less eas’ly understood!
 ‘Several subjects’: supposed
to be Lord Berkeley. It contained
testimonies of celebrated men to the value of religion.
 ‘Pedigree from kings’: the Earl of Berkeley was descended from the
royal house of Denmark.
That sun of beauty did among us rise;
England first saw the light of your fair eyes;
In English, too, your early wit was shown;
Favour that language, which was then your own,
When, though a child, through guards you made your way;
What fleet or army could an angel stay?
Thrice happy Britain! if she could retain
Whom she first bred within her ambient main.
Our late burnt London, in apparel new,
Shook off her ashes to have treated you; 10
But we must see our glory snatch’d away,
And with warm tears increase the guilty sea;
No wind can favour us; howe’er it blows,
We must be wreck’d, and our dear treasure lose!
Sighs will not let us half our sorrows tell,—
Fair, lovely, great, and best of nymphs, farewell!
 ‘Court at Dover’: the Duchess
of Orleans, the youngest daughter of
Charles I., came to England on the 14th May 1670, on a political
Chloris! what’s eminent, we know
Must for some cause be valued so;
Things without use, though they be good,
Are not by us so understood.
The early rose, made to display
Her blushes to the youthful May,
Doth yield her sweets, since he is fair,
And courts her with a gentle air.
Our stars do show their excellence
Not by their light, but influence;
When brighter comets, since still known
Fatal to all, are liked by none.
So your admired beauty still
Is, by effects, made good or ill.