John Wheelwright |
For Horace Gregory
After rain, through afterglow, the unfolding fan
of railway landscape sidled onthe pivot
of a larger arc into the green of evening;
I remembered that noon I saw a gradual bud
still white; though dead in its warm bloom;
always the enemy is the foe at home.
And I wondered what surgery could recover
our lost, long stride of indolence and leisure
which is labor in reverse; what physic recall the smile
not of lips, but of eyes as of the sea bemused.
We, when we disperse from common sleep to several
tasks, we gather to despair; we, who assembled
once for hopes from common toil to dreams
or sickish and hurting or triumphal rapture;
always our enemy is our foe at home.
We, deafened with far scattered city rattles
to the hubbub of forest birds (never having
"had time" to grieve or to hear through vivid sleep
the sea knock on its cracked and hollow stones)
so that the stars, almost, and birds comply,
and the garden-wet; the trees retire; We are
a scared patrol, fearing the guns behind;
always the enemy is the foe at home.
What wonder that we fear our own eyes' look
and fidget to be at home alone, and pitifully
put of age by some change in brushing the hair
and stumble to our ends like smothered runners at their tape;
We follow our shreds of fame into an ambush.
Then (as while the stars herd to the great trough
the blind, in the always-only-outward of their dismantled
archways, awake at the smell of warmed stone
or the sound of reeds, lifting from the dim
into the segment of green dawn) always
our enemy is our foe at home, more
certainly than through spoken words or from grief-
twisted writing on paper, unblotted by tears
the thought came:
There is no physic
for the world's ill, nor surgery; it must
(hot smell of tar on wet salt air)
burn in fever forever, an incense pierced
with arrows, whose name is Love and another name
Rebellion (the twinge, the gulf, split seconds,
the very raindrops, render, and instancy
All Poetry to this not-to-be-looked-upon sun
of Passion is the moon's cupped light; all
Politics to this moon, a moon's reflected
cupped light, like the moon of Rome, after
the deep well of Grecian light sank low;
always the enemy is the foe at home.
But these three are friends whose arms twine
without words; as, in still air,
the great grove leans to wind, past and to come.
John Wilmot |
Well Sir, 'tis granted, I said Dryden's Rhimes,
Were stoln, unequal, nay dull many times:
What foolish Patron, is there found of his,
So blindly partial, to deny me this?
But that his Plays, Embroider'd up and downe,
With Witt, and Learning, justly pleas'd the Towne,
In the same paper, I as freely owne:
Yet haveing this allow'd, the heavy Masse,
That stuffs up his loose Volumes must not passe:
For by that Rule, I might as well admit,
Crownes tedious Scenes, for Poetry, and Witt.
'Tis therefore not enough, when your false Sense
Hits the false Judgment of an Audience
Of Clapping-Fooles, assembling a vast Crowd
'Till the throng'd Play-House, crack with the dull Load;
Tho' ev'n that Tallent, merrits in some sort,
That can divert the Rabble and the Court:
Which blundring Settle, never cou'd attaine,
And puzling Otway, labours at in vaine.
But within due proportions, circumscribe
What e're you write; that with a flowing Tyde,
The Stile, may rise, yet in its rise forbeare,
With uselesse Words, t'oppresse the wearyed Eare:
Here be your Language lofty, there more light,
Your Rethorick, with your Poetry, unite:
For Elegance sake, sometimes alay the force
Of Epethets; 'twill soften the discourse;
A Jeast in Scorne, poynts out, and hits the thing,
More home, than the Morosest Satyrs Sting.
Shakespeare, and Johnson, did herein excell,
And might in this be Immitated well;
Whom refin'd Etheridge, Coppys not at all,
But is himself a Sheere Originall:
Nor that Slow Drudge, in swift Pindarique straines,
Flatman, who Cowley imitates with paines,
And rides a Jaded Muse, whipt with loose Raines.
When Lee, makes temp'rate Scipio, fret and Rave,
And Haniball, a whineing Am'rous Slave;
I laugh, and wish the hot-brain'd Fustian Foole,
In Busbys hands, to be well lasht at Schoole.
Of all our Moderne Witts, none seemes to me,
Once to have toucht upon true Comedy,
But hasty Shadwell, and slow Witcherley.
Shadwells unfinisht workes doe yet impart,
Great proofes of force of Nature, none of Art.
With just bold Stroakes, he dashes here and there,
Shewing great Mastery with little care;
And scornes to varnish his good touches o're,
To make the Fooles, and Women, praise 'em more.
But Witcherley, earnes hard, what e're he gaines,
He wants noe Judgment, nor he spares noe paines;
He frequently excells, and at the least,
Makes fewer faults, than any of the best.
Waller, by Nature for the Bayes design'd,
With force, and fire, and fancy unconfin'd,
In Panigericks does Excell Mankind:
He best can turne, enforce, and soften things,
To praise great Conqu'rours, or to flatter Kings.
For poynted Satyrs, I wou'd Buckhurst choose,
The best good Man, with the worst Natur'd Muse:
For Songs, and Verses, Mannerly Obscene,
That can stirr Nature up, by Springs unseene,
And without forceing blushes, warme the Queene:
Sidley, has that prevailing gentle Art,
That can with a resistlesse Charme impart,
The loosest wishes to the Chastest Heart,
Raise such a Conflict, kindle such a ffire
Betwixt declineing Virtue, and desire,
Till the poor Vanquisht Maid, dissolves away,
In Dreames all Night, in Sighs, and Teares, all Day.
Dryden, in vaine, try'd this nice way of Witt,
For he, to be a tearing Blade thought fit,
But when he wou'd be sharp, he still was blunt,
To friske his frollique fancy, hed cry ****;
Wou'd give the Ladyes, a dry Bawdy bob,
And thus he got the name of Poet Squab:
But to be just, twill to his praise be found,
His Excellencies, more than faults abound.
Nor dare I from his Sacred Temples teare,
That Lawrell, which he best deserves to weare.
But does not Dryden find ev'n Johnson dull?
Fletcher, and Beaumont, uncorrect, and full
Of Lewd lines as he calls em? Shakespeares Stile
Stiffe, and Affected? To his owne the while
Allowing all the justnesse that his Pride,
Soe Arrogantly, had to these denyd?
And may not I, have leave Impartially
To search, and Censure, Drydens workes, and try,
If those grosse faults, his Choyce Pen does Commit
Proceed from want of Judgment, or of Witt.
Of if his lumpish fancy does refuse,
Spirit, and grace to his loose slatterne Muse?
Five Hundred Verses, ev'ry Morning writ,
Proves you noe more a Poet, than a Witt.
Such scribling Authors, have beene seene before,
Mustapha, the English Princesse, Forty more,
Were things perhaps compos'd in Half an Houre.
To write what may securely stand the test
Of being well read over Thrice oat least
Compare each Phrase, examin ev'ry Line,
Weigh ev'ry word, and ev'ry thought refine;
Scorne all Applause the Vile Rout can bestow,
And be content to please those few, who know.
Canst thou be such a vaine mistaken thing
To wish thy Workes might make a Play-house ring,
With the unthinking Laughter, and poor praise
Of Fopps, and Ladys, factious for thy Plays?
Then send a cunning Friend to learne thy doome,
From the shrew'd Judges in the Drawing-Roome.
I've noe Ambition on that idle score,
But say with Betty Morice, heretofore
When a Court-Lady, call'd her Buckleys Whore,
I please one Man of Witt, am proud on't too,
Let all the Coxcombs, dance to bed to you.
Shou'd I be troubled when the Purblind Knight
Who squints more in his Judgment, than his sight,
Picks silly faults, and Censures what I write?
Or when the poor-fed Poets of the Towne
For Scrapps, and Coach roome cry my Verses downe?
I loath the Rabble, 'tis enough for me,
If Sidley, Shadwell, Shepherd, Witcherley,
Godolphin, Buttler, Buckhurst, Buckingham,
And some few more, whom I omit to name
Approve my Sense, I count their Censure Fame.
Philip Freneau |
Nil mortalibus ardui est
Caelum ipsum petimus stultitia
FROM Persian looms the silk he wove
No Weaver meant should trail above
The surface of the earth we tread,
To deck the matron or the maid.
But you ambitious, have design'd
With silk to soar above mankind:--
On silk you hang your splendid car
And mount towards the morning star.
How can you be so careless--gay:
Would you amidst red lightnings play;
Meet sulphurous blasts, and fear them not--
Is Phaeton's sad fate forgot?
Beyond our view you mean to rise--
And this Balloon, of mighty size,
Will to the astonish'd eye appear,
An atom wafted thro' the air.
Where would you rove? amidst the storms,
Departed Ghosts, and shadowy forms,
Vast tracks of aether, and, what's more,
A sea of space without a shore!--
Would you to Herschell find the way--
To Saturn's moons, undaunted stray;
Or, wafted on a silken wing,
Alight on Saturn's double ring?
Would you the lunar mountains trace,
Or in her flight fair Venus chase;
Would you, like her, perform the tour
Of sixty thousand miles an hour?--
To move at such a dreadful rate
He must propel, who did create--
By him, indeed, are wonders done
Who follows Venus round the sun.
At Mars arriv'd, what would you see!--
Strange forms, I guess--not such as we;
Alarming shapes, yet seen by none;
For every planet has its own.
If onward still, you urge your flight
You may approach some satellite,
Some of the shining train above
That circle round the orb of Jove.
Attracted by so huge a sphere
You might become a stranger here:
There you might be, if there you fly,
A giant sixty fathoms high.
May heaven preserve you from that fate!
Here, men are men of little weight:
There, Polypheme, it might be shown,
Is but a middle sized baboon.
This ramble through, the aether pass'd,
Pray tell us when you stop at last;
Would you with gods that aether share,
Or dine on atmospheric air?--
You have a longing for the skies,
To leave the fogs that round us rise,
To haste your flight and speed your wings
Beyond this world of little things.
Your silken project is too great;
Stay here, Blanchard, 'till death or fate
To which, yourself, like us, must bow,
Shall send you where you want to go.
Yes--wait, and let the heav'ns decide;--
Your wishes may be gratified,
And you shall go, as swift as thought,
Where nature has more finely wrought,
Her Chrystal spheres, her heavens serene;
A more sublime, enchanting scene
Than thought depicts or poets feign.