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Could never yet discover'd be,
By sailors' or Chaldeans' watchful eye.
Nature's great works no distance can obscure,
No smallness her near objects can secure;
Y” have taught the curious sight to press }
Which from the spacious plains of earth and sea }
Into the privatest recess
Of her imperceptible littleness
Y’ have learn'd to read her smallest hand,
And well begun her deepest sense to understand 1
Mischief and true dishonour fall on those
Who would to laughter or to scorn expose
So virtuous and so noble a design,
So human for its use, for knowledge so divine.
The things which these proud men despise, and
Impertinent, and vain, and small,
Those smallest things of nature let me know,
Rather than all their greatest actions do
Whoever would deposed Truth advance
Into the throne usurp'd from it,
Must feel at first the blows of Ignorance,
And the shap points of envious Wit.
So, when, by various turns of the celestial dance,
In many thousand years
A star, so long unknown, appears,
Though heaven itself more beauteous by it grow,
It troubles and alarms the world below; }
Does to the wise a star, to fools a meteor, show.
With courage and success you the bold work begin;
Your cradle has not idle been :
None e'er, but Hercules and you, would be
At five years age worthy a history.
And ne'er did Fortune better yet
Th’ historian to the story fit:
As you from all old errors free
And purge the body of Philosophy;
So from all modern follies he
Has vindicated Eloquence and Wit.
His candid style like a clean stream does slide,
And his bright fancy, all the way,
Does like the sun-shine in it play;
It does, like Thames, the best of rivers' glide,
Where the God does not rudely overturn,
But gently pour, the crystal urn,
And with judicious hand does the whole current
"T has all the beauties Nature can impart,
And all the comely dress, without the paint, of Art.
Presented to the University Library of Oxford by John Davis, of Deptford, Esquire.
To this great ship, which round the globe has run,
And match'd in race the chariot of the sun,
This Pythagorean ship (for it may claim
Without presumption so deserv'd a name,
By knowledge once, and transformation now)
In her new shape, this sacred port allow.
Drake and his ship could not have wish'd from Fate
A more blest station, or more blest estate;
For, lo! a seat of endless rest is given
To her in Oxford, and to him in heaven.
AS, when the midland sea is no-where clear
From dreadful fleets of Tunis and Argier—
Which coast about, to all they meet with foes,
And upon which nought can be got but blows—
The merchant-ships so much their passage doubt,
That, though full-freighted, none dares venture out,
And trade decays, and scarcity ensues;
Just so the timorous wits of late refuse,
Though laded, to put forth upon the stage,
Affrighted by the criticks of this age.
It is a party numerous, watchful, bold;"
They can from nought, which sails in sight, with-
Nor do their cheap, though mortal, thunder spare;
They shoot, alas! with wind-guns charg’d with air.
But yet, gentlemen-criticks of Argier,
For your own interest I'd advise ye here,
To let this little forlorn-hope go by
Safe and untouch'd, “That must not be” (you'll
cry). If ye be wise, it must; I'll tell you why. There are seven, eight, nine—stay—there are be
hind Ten plays at least, which wait but for a wind, And the glad news that we the enemy miss; And those are all your own, if you spare this. Some are but new trimm'd up, others quite new ; Some by known shipwrights built, and others too By that great author made, whoe'er he be, That styles himself “Person of Quality:” All these, if we miscarry here to-day, Will rather till they rot in th’ harbour stay; Nay, they will back again, though they were come Ev’n to their last safe road, the tyring-room.
WOL. I. A A
Therefore again I say, If you be wise,
Let this for once pass free; let it suffice
That we, your sovereign power here to avow,
Thus humbly, ere we pass, strike sail to you.
STAY, gentlemen; what I have said was all
But forc'd submission, which I now recall.
Ye're all but pirates now again; for here
Does the true sovereign of the seas appear,
The sovereign of these narrow seas of wit;
'T is his own Thames; he knows and governs it.
*T is his dominion and domain; as he
Pleases,’t is either shut to us, or free.
Not only, if his passport we obtain,
We fear no little rovers of the main;
But, if our Neptune his calm visage show,
No wave shall dare to rise or wind to blow.