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As full of art and industry, Of courage and of policy, As we ourselves, who think there's nothingwise but we' Here a proud Pawn I admire, That, still advancing higher, At top of all became Another thing and name; Here I'm amaz'd at th’ actions of a Knight, That does bold wonders in the fight; Here I the losing party blame, For those false Moves that break the Game, That to their Grave, the Bag, the conquer'd Pieces bring, And, above all, th’ ill-conduct of the Mated King.
“Whate'er these seem, whate'er philosophy
“And sense or reason tell,” said I,
“These things have life, election, liberty;
“”T is their own wisdom moulds their state,
“Their faults and virtues make their fate.
“They do, they do,” said I; but straight
Lo! from my enlighten’d eyes the mists and shadows
That hinder spirits from being visible;
And lo! I saw two angels play'd the Mate.
With man, alas ! no otherwise it proves;
An unseen hand makes all their Moves;
And some are great, and some are small,
Some climb to good, some from good-fortune fall;
Some wise-men, and some fools, we call;
Figures, alas! of speech, for Destiny plays us all.
Me from the womb the midwife Muse did take:
She cut my navel, wash'd me, and mine head
With her own hands she fashioned;
She did a covenant with me make,
And circumcis'd my tender soul, and thus she spake:
“Thou of my church shalt be;
“ Hate and renounce,” said she,
“Wealth, honour, pleasures, all the world, for me.
“Thou neither great at court, nor in the war,
“Nor at th' exchange, shalt be, nor at the wrangling
“Content thyself with the small barren praise,
“That neglected verse does raise.”
She spake, and all my years to come
Took their unlucky doom.
Their several ways of life let others choose,
Their several pleasures let them use,
But I was born for Love, and for a Muse.
With Fate what boots it to contend ? Such I began, such am, and so must end. The star that did my being frame Was but a lambent flame, And some small light it did dispense, But neither heat nor influence. No matter, Cowley ! let proud Fortune see, That thou canst her despise no less than she does thee. Let all her gifts the portion be Of Folly, Lust, and Flattery,
Fraud, Extortion, Calumny, Murder, Infidelity, Rebellion and Hypocrisy; Do thou not grieve, nor blush to be, As all th’ inspired tuneful men, And all thy great forefathers, were, from Homer down to Ben.
- BRUTUS. EXCELLENT Brutus of all human race The best, till Nature was improv’d by Grace; Till men above themselves Faith raised more Than Reason above beasts before. Virtue was thy life's centre, and from thence Did silently and constantly dispense The gentle, vigorous influence To all the wide and fair circumference ; And all the parts upon it lean'd so easily, Obey'd the mighty force so willingly, That none could discord or disorder see In all their contrariety: Each had his motion natural and free, [could be. And the whole no more mov'd than the whole world
From thy strict rule some think that thou didst swerve
(Mistaken, honest men ) in Caesar's blood;
What mercy could the tyrant's life deserve,
From him who kill'd himself, rather than serve
Th’ heroick exaltations of Good
Are so far from understood,
We count them Vice : alas! our sight's so ill,
That things which swiftest move seem to stand still:
We look not upon Virtue in her height,
On her supreme idea, brave and bright,
In the original light;
But as her beams reflected pass
Through our own Nature or Ill-custom's glass:
As "t is no wonder, so,
If with dejected eye
In standing pools we seek the sky,
That stars, so high above, should seem to us below.
Can we stand by and see Our mother robb'd, and bound, and ravish'd be, Yet not to her assistance stir, Pleas'd with the strength and beauty of the ravisher Or shall we fear to kill him, if before The cancel’d name of friend he bore ? Ingrateful Brutus do they call? Ingrateful Caesar, who could Rome enthrall ! An act more barbarous and unnatural (In th’ exact balance of true virtue try’d) Than his successor Nero's parricide : There's none but Brutus could deserve That all men else should wish to serve, And Caesar's usurp'd place to him should proffer; None can deserve 't but he who would refuse the offer.
Ill Fate assum'd a body thee t'affright,
And wrapp'd itself i' th' terrors of the night:
“I’ll meet thee at Philippi,” said the sprite;
“I’ll meet thee there,” saidst thou,
With such a voice, and such a brow,
As put the trembling ghost to sudden flight;
It vanish'd, as a taper's light
Goes out when spirits appear in sight.
One would have thought 't heard the morning crow,
Or seen her well-appointed star
Come marching up the Eastern hill afar.
Nor durst it in Philippi's field appear,
But unseen attack'd thee there:
Had it presum’d in any shape thee to oppose,
Thou shouldst have forc’d it back upon thy foes:
Or slain 't, like Caesar, though it be
A conqueror and a monarch mightier far than he.
What joy can human things to us afford, -
When we see perish thus, by odd events,
Ill men, and wretched accidents,
The best cause and best man that ever drew a sword?
When we see
The false Octavius and wild Antony,
God-like Brutus' conquer thee *
What can we say, but thine own tragick word—
That virtue, which had worship'd been by thee
As the most solid Good, and greatest Deity,
By this fatal proof became
An idol only, and a name *