Sir William Davenant

A. M. Gibbs (ed.), Sir William Davenant: The Shorter Poems, and Songs from the Plays and Masques

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To Edward Earl of Dorset

  • 1Ah, What are Poets? Why is that great Law
  • 2Conceal'd, by which their numbers seek to awe
  • 3The Soules of Men? Poets! whom love of Praise,
  • 4A Mistress smile, or a small Twigg of Bayes,
  • 5Can lift to such a pride as strait they dreame
  • 6The Worlds chiefe care is to consider them.
  • 7Of this fond race (my Lord) am I; who think
  • 8(Since your rich Wine did purify my Ink)
  • pg 1689Though you were nobly summon'd now to fight
  • 10In single rescue of a Nations right,
  • 11Or chosen now, with popular applause,
  • 12To multiply, or else to alter Lawes,
  • 13Yet you should stay to tread the Lists, or sit
  • 14In Councill, till you read what I have writ:
  • 15To this presumptuous glory am I grown,
  • 16Since you adorn'd my Muse and made her known.
  • 17And to this trouble you yourself betray
  • 18By planting still new Nurseries of Bay.
  • 19But happy he that can securely please
  • 20His courser Soul with ignorance and ease;
  • 21That knowes no more of Nature then what yields
  • 22Growth to his Heards, and Summer to his Fields;
  • 23That Studies Art but for his wooing Cloathes;
  • 24Whose Country-Courage is his hunting Oathes.
  • 25This man shall rest untroubled with the feare
  • 26Least Orpheus useless Sons should vex his Eare:
  • 27Whilst you must suffer still, and all you get,
  • 28By ceaseless Courtships from afflicting Wit,
  • 29Is only, that when Time should rest his Feet,
  • 30The Windes shall cease to breathe, and Flouds to meet,
  • 31We wisely have resolv'd that your great Name
  • 32Shall make the last discourse of Dying Fame.

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Critical Apparatus
To Edward Earl of Dorset 1673
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