Poetical Works of Edmund Waller and Sir John Denham eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 232 pages of information about Poetical Works of Edmund Waller and Sir John Denham.

This light unknown, bold Epicurus taught
That his bless’d gods vouchsafe us not a thought,
But unconcern’d let all below them slide,
As fortune does, or human wisdom, guide. 
Religion thus removed, the sacred yoke,
And band of all society, is broke. 
What use of oaths, of promise, or of test,
Where men regard no God but interest? 30
What endless war would jealous nations tear,
If none above did witness what they swear? 
Sad fate of unbelievers, and yet just,
Among themselves to find so little trust! 
Were Scripture silent, Nature would proclaim,
Without a God, our falsehood and our shame. 
To know our thoughts the object of his eyes,
Is the first step t’wards being good or wise;
For though with judgment we on things reflect,
Our will determines, not our intellect. 40
Slaves to their passion, reason men employ
Only to compass what they would enjoy. 
His fear to guard us from ourselves we need,
And Sacred Writ our reason does exceed;
For though heaven shows the glory of the Lord,
Yet something shines more glorious in His Word;
His mercy this (which all His work excels!)
His tender kindness and compassion tells;
While we, inform’d by that celestial Book,
Into the bowels of our Maker look. 50
Love there reveal’d (which never shall have end,
Nor had beginning) shall our song commend;
Describe itself, and warm us with that flame
Which first from heaven, to make us happy, came.

[1] ‘Late philosophy’:  that of Copernicus.

CANTO II.

The fear of hell, or aiming to be bless’d,
Savours too much of private interest. 
This moved not Moses, nor the zealous Paul, 57
Who for their friends abandon’d soul and all;[1]
A greater yet from heaven to hell descends,
To save, and make his enemies his friends. 
What line of praise can fathom such a love,
Which reach’d the lowest bottom from above? 
The royal prophet,[2] that extended grace
From heaven to earth, measured but half that space. 
The law was regnant, and confined his thought;
Hell was not conquer’d when that poet wrote;
Heaven was scarce heard of until He came down,
To make the region where love triumphs known.

That early love of creatures yet unmade,
To frame the world the Almighty did persuade; 70
For love it was that first created light,
Moved on the waters, chased away the night
From the rude Chaos, and bestow’d new grace
On things disposed of to their proper place;
Some to rest here, and some to shine above;
Earth, sea, and heaven, were all th’effects of love. 
And love would be return’d; but there was none
That to themselves or others yet were known;
The world a palace was without a guest,

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