A Collection of English Poems, 1660-1800

By Ronald S. Crane | Go to book overview

And all the way, to guide their Chime,
With falling Oars they kept the time.


JOHN DRYDEN
(1631-1650-1700)

Upon the Death of the Lord Hastings1

MUST Noble Hastings Immaturely die,
(The Honour of his ancient Family?)
Beauty and Learning thus together meet,
To bring a Winding for a Wedding-sheet?

Must Vertue prove Death's Harbinger? Must She, 5

With him expiring, feel Mortality?
Is Death (Sin's wages) Grace's now? shall Art
Make us more Learned, only to depart?
If Merit be Disease, if Vertue Death;
To be Good, Not to be, who'd then bequeath 10
Himself to Discipline? Who'd not esteem
Labour a Crime, Study self-murther deem?
Our Noble Youth now have pretence to be
Dunces securely, Ign'rant healthfully.
Rare Linguist! whose Worth speaks it self; whose Praise, 15
Though not his Own, all Tongues Besides do raise:
Then Whom Great Alexander may seem less,
Who conquer'd Men, but not their Languages.
In his Mouth Nations speak; his Tongue might be
Interpreter to Greece, France, Italy. 20

His native Soyl was the four parts o' th' Earth;
All Europe was too narrow for his Birth.
A young Apostle; and (with rev'rence may
I speak 'it) inspir'd with gift of Tongues, as They.
Nature gave him, a Childe, what Men in vain 25
Oft strive, by Art though further'd, to obtain.
His body was an Orb, his sublime Soul
Did move on Vertue's and on Learning's pole:
Whose Reg'lar Motions better to our view,
Then Archimedes Sphere, the Heavens did shew. 30
Graces and Vertues, Languages and Arts,
Beauty and Learning, fill'd up all the parts.
Heav'ns Gifts, which do, like falling Stars, appear

____________________
1
Published in Lachrymœ Musarum, 1650. Text of first edition. See Preface.

-45-

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