Poetical recreations consisting of original poems, songs, odes, &c. with several new translations : in two parts
CHORUS I. Of Seneca's Agamemnon.
FOrtune, thou setter up of Kings,
Upon whose smiles or frowns
Depends the standing, or the fall of Crowns.
What various Chances Fortune brings?
Mounting on deceitfull Wings,
She lifteth Kings on high,
On Wings of Dignity.
Then leaves them all alone,
Tells them she must be gone;
So let them stand, or •all, or rise,
With Wings spread out, away she flies.
Fortune, how canst thou cheat us so
With naughty Goods, yet make a show
Of honest Ware; thou do'st desire
Thy Goods shou'd rich, and gay appear,
Though they be truly little worth, and truly very dear.
'Tis not the Scepter, or the bearing sway,
Can cares and troubles drive away:
Page 256One trouble on anothers neck do's come;
The first retreats, another takes his room.
The raging Sea contends
For passage through the Sands;
The skipping Waves do beat and roar,
Falling from a lofty shoar;
So Fortune head-long throws,
Chances of Kings, and those
That are exalted unto dignitie.
Kings wou'd be feared, yet we see,
They fear, lest they that fear them shou'd use treacherie.
'Tis not the Night can give them rest,
Whose Hearts with slavish fear are prest;
Nor can sweet sleep expell the care
Of them, whose Minds unquiet are.
What Pallace is not quickly brought,
By Prince's Wickedness, to nought?
VVhat Tower do's not impious Arms
VVeary, with continual harms?
All Law and Modesty is fled the Court,
No ties of sacred Wedlock there resort.
But desperate Bellona stands
With quavering Spear, and bloody hands:
There stands Erinnys too, beside,
The Punisher of Courtly Pride;
Who always waiteth at the door
Of such as swell in Wealth and Pow'r,
To lay them level every hour:
And yet suppose there shou'd be peace,
And th' ills pre-mention'd all shou'd cease.
Still things that are so high, and great,
Are over-turn'd by their own weight.
If Sails be blown by prosp'rous Wind,
We fear those Gales shou'd prove unkind:
And Auster smites the Tower that shrouds
His lofty top among the Clouds.
The little Shrubs, in shades that spread,
Do see the tall and ancient Oak,
Which blasting Boreas oft has shook,
Lie fall'n on th' Ground, wither'd and dead.
Page 258Flashes of Lightning smite the Mountains high,
Great Bodies open to diseases lie.
Among the Herd's, Kine that are fat, and best,
Are chose for slaughter out from all the rest;
What ever tott'ring Fortune do's exalt,
Has only Crutches lent to learn to halt.
Low, mean, and mod'rate things bear longest date,
That Man is •ruly, and is only Great,
Who lives contented with a mean Estate.
Thrice happy is the Man, whose Means do lye
Above, or else below curst Fortune's eye;
Too low for Envy, for Contempt too high.