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.

[1] ‘Salle’:  Salle, a town of Fez, given to piracy, was taken and
    destroyed in 1632 by the army of the Emperor of Morocco, assisted by
    some English vessels.
[2] ‘Horse’:  the Emperor of Morocco, in gratitude to Charles, sent him a
    present of Barbary horses, and three hundred manumitted Christian


That shipwreck’d vessel which th’Apostle bore,
Scarce suffer’d more upon Melita’s shore,
Than did his temple in the sea of time,
Our nation’s glory, and our nation’s crime. 
When the first monarch[2] of this happy isle,
Moved with the ruin of so brave a pile,
This work of cost and piety begun,
To be accomplish’d by his glorious son,
Who all that came within the ample thought
Of his wise sire has to perfection brought; 10
He, like Amphion, makes those quarries leap
Into fair figures from a confused heap;
For in his art of regiment is found
A power like that of harmony in sound.

Those antique minstrels, sure, were Charles-like kings,
Cities their lutes, and subjects’ hearts their strings,
On which with so divine a hand they strook,
Consent of motion from their breath they took: 
So all our minds with his conspire to grace
The Gentiles’ great Apostle, and deface 20
Those state-obscuring sheds, that like a chain
Seem’d to confine and fetter him again;
Which the glad saint shakes off at his command,
As once the viper from his sacred hand: 
So joys the aged oak, when we divide
The creeping ivy from his injured side.

Ambition rather would affect the fame
Of some new structure, to have borne her name. 
Two distant virtues in one act we find,
The modesty and greatness of his mind; 30
Which, not content to be above the rage,
And injury of all-impairing age,
In its own worth secure, doth higher climb,
And things half swallow’d from the jaws of Time

Reduce; an earnest of his grand design,
To frame no new church, but the old refine;
Which, spouse-like, may with comely grace command,
More than by force of argument or hand. 
For doubtful reason few can apprehend,
And war brings ruin where it should amend; 40
But beauty, with a bloodless conquest finds
A welcome sovereignty in rudest minds.

Not aught which Sheba’s wond’ring queen beheld
Amongst the works of Solomon, excell’d
His ships and building; emblems of a heart
Large both in magnanimity and art.

While the propitious heavens this work attend,
Long-wanted showers they forget to send;
As if they meant to make it understood
Of more importance than our vital food. 50

The sun, which riseth to salute the quire
Already finished, setting shall admire
How private bounty could so far extend: 
The King built all, but Charles the western end.[3]
So proud a fabric to devotion given,
At once it threatens and obliges Heaven!

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