A Collection of English Poems, 1660-1800

By Ronald S. Crane | Go to book overview

Then cease, thou Charmer of the Air,
No more in Musick spend the Morn, With me that languish in Despair,
Opprest by
Cynthia's Hate and Scorn;

And do not this Poor Boon deny, 45
I ask but Silence whilst I dye.


MATTHEW PRIOR
(1664-1687-1721)

On Exodus iii. 14. I am that I am. An Ode Written in 1688, as an Exercise at St. John's College, Cambridge1

I.

MAN! Foolish Man!
Scarce know'st Thou how thy self began:
Scarce hast Thou Thought enough to prove Thou art:
Yet steel'd with study'd Boldness, Thou dar'st try

To send thy doubting Reason's dazled Eye 5
Through the mysterious Gulph of vast Immensity.
Much Thou canst there discern, much thence impart.
Vain Wretch! suppress thy knowing Pride:
Mortifie thy learned Lust:
Vain are thy Thoughts; while Thou thy self are Dust. 10


II.

Let Wit her Sails, her Oars let Wisdom lend:
The Helm let Politick Experience guide:
Yet cease to hope thy short-liv'd Bark shall ride
Down spreading Fate's unnavigable Tide.

What, tho' still it farther tend? 15
Still 'tis farther from it's End;
And, in the Bosom of that boundless Sea,
Still finds it's Error lengthen with it's Way.


III.

With daring Pride and insolent Delight

Your Doubts resolv'd you boast, your Labours crown'd; 20

____________________
1
Published in Dryden Miscellany, Volume III, 1693. Text of Poems, 1718.

-206-

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