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JOHN DRYDEN.

1631–1700.

THE CHARACTER OF SHAFTESBURY.

Of these the false Achitophel was first;
A name to all succeeding ages cursed:
For close designs and crooked counsels fit;
Sagacious, bold,' and turbulent of wit;
Restless, unfixed in principles and place;
In power unpleased, impatient of disgrace;
A fiery soul, which, working out its way,
Fretted the pigmy body to decay,
And o'er-informed the tenement of clay.
A daring pilot in extremity;
Pleased with the danger when the waves went high,
He sought the storms; but, for a calm unfit,
Would steer too nigh the sands, to boast his wit.
Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide;
Else, why should he, with wealth and honour blest,
Refuse his age the needful hours of rest?
Punish a body which he could not please;
Bankrupt of life, yet prodigal of ease?
And all to leave what with his toil he won,
To that unfeathered two-legged thing, a son;
Got, while his soul did huddled notions try
And born a shapeless lump, like anarchy.

THE CHARACTER OF SHAFTESBURY.

In friendship false, implacable in hate;
Resolved to ruin or to rule the state.
To compass this the triple bond he broke,
The pillars of the public safety shook,
And fitted Israel for a foreign yoke;
Then, seized with fear, yet still affecting fame,
Usurped a patriot's all-atoning name.
So easy still it proves in factious times,
With public zeal to cancel private crimes.
How safe is treason, and how sacred ill,
Where none can sin against the people's will:
Where crowds can wink, and no offence be known,
Since in another's guilt they find their own!
Yet fame deserved no enemy can grudge;
The statesman we abhor, but praise the judge.
In Israel's courts ne'er sat an Abethdin
With more discerning eyes, or hands more clean,
Unbribed, unsought, the wretched to redress;
Swift of dispatch, and easy of access.
Oh! had he been content to serve the crown,
With virtues only proper to the gown;
Or had the rankness of the soil been freed
From cockle, that oppressed the noble seed;
David for him his tuneful harp had strung,
And Heaven had wanted one immortal song.
But wild ambition loves to slide, not stand,
And fortune's ice prefers to virtue's land.
Achitophel, grown weary to possess
A lawful fame, and lazy happiness,
Disdained the golden fruit to gather free,
And lent the crowd his arm to shake the trec.

JOSEPH ADDISON.

1672–1719.

ANODE.

THE spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's power display,
And publishes, to every land,
The work of an Almighty hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly, to the listening earth,
Repeats the story of her birth;
Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though, in solemn silence, all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball;
What though no real voice, nor sound,
Amidst their radiant orbs be found:
In Reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice;
For ever singing as they shine,
" The hand that made us is divine!"

MATTHEW PRIOR.

1664-1721.

THE LADY'S LOOKING-GLASS.

CELIA and I the other day
Walked o'er the sand-hills to the sea;
The setting sun adorned the coast,
His beams entire, his fierceness lost;
And on the surface of the deep
The winds lay, only not asleep:
The nymph did, like the scene, appear
Serenely pleasant, calmly fair;
Soft fell her words as flew the air.
With secret joy I heard her say,
That she would never miss one day
A walk so fine, a sight so gay.

But, oh the change! the winds grow high;
Impending tempests charge the sky;
The lightning Alies, the thunder roars,
And big waves lash the frightened shores.
Struck with the horror of the sight,
She turns her head, and wings her flight,
And, trembling, vows she'll ne'er again
Approach the shore, or view the main.

Once more, at least, look back, said I,
Thyself in that large glass descry;
When thou art in good humour dressed,
When gentle reason rules thy breast,
The sun, upon the calmest sea,
Appears not half so bright as thee:

MATTHEW PRIOR.

'Tis then that with delight I rove
Upon the boundless depth of love;
I bless my chain, I hand my oar,
Nor think on all I left on shore.

But when vain doubt, and groundless fear,
Do that dear foolish bosom tear,
When the big lip, and watery eye,
Tell me the rising storm is nigh,
'Tis then thou art yon' angry main,
Deformed by winds, and dashed by rain;
And the poor sailor, that must try
Its fury, labours less than I.

Shipwrecked, in vain to land I make,
While Love and Fate still drive me back;
Forced to dote on thee thy own way,
I chide thee first, and then obey.
Wretched, when from thee; vexed, when nigh;
I with thee, or without thee, die.

AN ANSWER TO CHLOE.

DEAR Chloe, how blubbered is that pretty face!

Thy cheek all on fire, and thy hair all uncurled : Prithee, quit this caprice; and, as old Falstaff says,

Let's e'en talk a little like folks of this world.

How canst thou presume thou hast leave to destroy

The beauties which Venus but lent to thy keeping ? Those looks were designed to inspire love and joy;

More ord'nary eyes may serve people for weeping.

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