chapter  87
A PINDARIC POEM TO THE Reverend Doctor Burnet ON THE Honour he did me of Enquiring after me and my MUSE.
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I When Old Rome’s Candidates aspir’d to Fame, And did the Peoples Suffrages obtain For some great Consul, or a Cæsar’s Name; The Victor was not half so Pleas’d and Vain, 5 As I, when given the Honour of your Choice. And Preference had in that one single Voice; That Voice, from whence Immortal Wit still flows Wit that at once is Solemn all and Sweet, Where Noblest Eloquence and Judgment shows 10 The Inspiring Mind Illustrious, Rich, and Great; A Mind that can inform your wond’rous Pen In all that’s Perfect and Sublime: And with an Art beyond the Wit of Men, On what e’re Theam, on what e’re great Design, 15 It carries a Commanding Force, like that of Writ Divine. II With Pow’rful Reasoning drest in finest Sence, A thousand ways my Soul you can Invade, And spight of my Opinions weak Defence, Against my Will, you Conquer and Perswade. 20 Your Language soft as Love, betrays the Heart, And at each Period fixes a Resistless Dart, While the fond Listner, like a Maid undone, Inspir’d with Tenderness she fears to own; In vain essays her Freedom to Regain: 25 The fine Ideas in her Soul remain, And Please, and Charm, even while they Grieve and Pain. III But yet how well this Praise can Recompense For all the welcome Wounds (before) you’d given! Scarce any thing but You and Heaven 30 Such Grateful Bounties can dispense, As that Eternity of Life can give; So fam’d by you my Verse Eternally shall live: Till now, my careless Muse no higher strove T’ inlarge her Glory, and extend her Wings; 35 Than underneath Parnassus Grove, To Sing of Shepherds, and their humble Love; But never durst, like Cowly, tune her Strings, To sing of Heroes and of Kings. But since by an Authority Divine, 40 She is allow’d a more exalted Thought; She will be valu’d now as Currant Coyn, Whose Stamp alone gives it the Estimate, Tho’ out of an inferiour Metal wrought. IV But oh! if from your Praise I feel 45 A Joy that has no Parallel What must I suffer when I cannot pay 309Your Goodness, your own generous way? And make my stubborn Muse your Just Commands obey. My Muse that would endeavour fain to glide With the fair prosperous Gale, and the full driving 50 Tide But Loyalty Commands with Pious Force, That stops me in the thriving Course. The Brieze that wafts the Crowding Nations o’re, Leaves me unpity’d far behind 55 On the Forsaken Barren Shore, To Sigh with Echo, and the Murmuring Wind; While all the Inviting Prospect I survey, With Melancholy Eyes I view the Plains, Where all I see is Ravishing and Gay, 60 And all I hear is Mirth in loudest Strains; Thus while the Chosen Seed possess the Promis’d Land, I like the Excluded Prophet stand, The Fruitful Happy Soul can only see, But am forbid by Fates Decree 65 To share the Triumph of the joyful Victory. V ’Tis to your Pen, Great Sir, the Nation owes For all the Good this Mighty Change has wrought; ’Twas that the wondrous Method did dispose, E’re the vast Work was to Perfection brought. 70 Oh Strange effect of a Seraphick Quill! That can by unperceptable degrees Change every Notion, every Principle To any Form, its Great Dictator please: The Sword a Feeble Pow’r compar’d to That, 75 And to the Nobler Pen subordinate; And of less use in Bravest turns of State: While that to Blood and Slaughter has recourse, This Conquers Hearts with soft prevailing Force: So when the wiser Greeks o’recame their Foes, 80 It was not by the Barbarous Force of Blows. When a long Ten Years Fatal War had fail’d, With luckier Wisdom they at last assail’d, Wisdom and Counsel which alone prevail’d. 310Not all their Numbers the Fam’d Town could win 85 ’Twas Nobler Stratagem that let the Conquerour in. VI Tho’ I the Wond’rous Change deplore, That makes me Useless and Forlorn, Yet I the great Design adore, Tho’ Ruin’d in the Universal Turn. 90 Nor can my Indigence and Lost Repose, Those Meager Furies that surround me close, Convert my Sense and Reason more To this Unpresidented Enterprise, Than that a Man so Great, so Learn’d, so Wise, The Brave Atchievement Owns and nobly 95 Justifies. ’Tis you, Great Sir, alone, by Heaven preserv’d, Whose Conduct has so well the Nation serv’d, ’Tis you that to Posterity shall give This Ages Wonders, and its History. 100 And great NASSAU shall in your Annals live To all Futurity. Your Pen shall more Immortalize his Name, Than even his Own Renown’d and Celebrated Fame.