- 1Tho' to advance thy fame, full well I know
- 2How very little my dull pen can do;
- 3Yet, with all deference, I gladly wait,
- 4Enthrong'd amongst th' attendants on thy state:
- 5Thus when Arion, by his friends betray'd,
- 6Upon his understanding-Dolphin play'd,
- 7The scaly people their resentments show'd
- Editor’s Note8By pleas'd levoltoes on the wond'ring flood.
- 9 Great Artist! thou deserv'st our loudest praise
- 10From th' garland to the meanest branch of bays;
- 11For poets can but Say, thou mak'st them Sing,
- 12And th' embryo-words dost to perfection bring;
- 13By us the Muse conceives, but when that's done,
- 14Thy midwif'ry makes fit to see the Sun;
- 15Our naked lines, drest and adorn'd by thee,
- 16Assume a beauty, pomp, and bravery;
- 17So awful and majestic they appear,
- 18They need not blush to reach a Prince's ear.
- 19Princes, tho' to poor poets seldom kind,
- 20Their numbers turn'd to air with pleasure mind.
- 21Studied and labour'd tho' our poems be,
- 22Alas! they die unheeded without thee,
- 23Whose art can make our breathless labours live,
- 24Spirit and everlasting vigour give.
- 25Whether we write of Heroes and of Kings,
- 26In Mighty Numbers, Mighty Things,
- pg 37227Or in a humble Ode express our sense
- 28Of th' happy state of ease and innocence;
- 29A country life where the contented swain
- 30Hugs his dear peace, and does a crown disdain;
- 31Thy dext'rous notes with all our thoughts comply,
- 32Can creep on Earth, can up to Heaven fly;
- 33In heights and cadences, so sweet, so strong,
- 34They suit a shepherd's reed, an angel's tongue.
- 35————But who can comprehend
- 36The raptures of thy voice, and miracles of thy hand?
Epitaph on the Incomparable Sir John King.] This 'incomparable' was an Etonian and a Cambridge (Queens' College) man, who became K.C. and Attorney-General to the Duke of York.
A first draft is in the Ashmole MS. 826 (fol. 50) of the Bodleian. Ll. 1–6 are at the end of the epitaph, and add a touch of bathos—'Et Interioris Templi Socius'—and the date—'Obiit tercio Calendarum Julii, Anno Æræ Christianæ', 1677; Ætatis 38'. In l. 8 the reading is 'obmutesce'. The 1682 has the simple heading 'In the Temple Church', and reads 'decorata' in l. 24.
8 Levoltoes 1682: levaltoes 1686—both variants of the form 'lavolta'.