Poems and songs by Thomas Flatman.
Flatman, Thomas, 1637-1688.
To Mr. Sam. Austin of Wadham Col. Oxon on his most unintelligible Poems.
IN that small inch of time I stole, to look
On th'obscure depths of your mysterious Book
(Heav'n bless my eye sight!) what strains did I see?
What Steropegeretick Poetrie!
What Hieroglyphick words, what all,
In Letters more than Cabalistical!
Our little fingers may our Verses scan,
But all our Noddles understand them can
No more, than read that dung fork, pothook hand
That in Queen's Colledge Library does stand.
The cutting Hanger of your wit I can't•see,
For that same scabbard that conceals your Fancy:
Thus a black •elvet Casket hides a Jewel;
Page 89 And a dark woodhouse, wholesome winter fuel;
Thus Iohn Tradeskin starves our greedy eyes,
By boxing up his new found Rarities;
We dread Actaeons Fate, dare not look on,
When you do scowre your skin in Helicon;
We cannot (Lynceus like) see through the wall
Of your strong Morter'd Poems; nor can all
The small shot of our brains make one hole in
The Bulwarke of your Book, that Fort to win.
Open your meanings door, O do not lock it!
Undo the Buttons of your smaller Pocket,
And charitably spend those Angels there,
Let them inrich and actuate our sphere.
Take off our Bongraces, and shine upon us,
Though your resplendent beams should chance to tan us.
Had you but stoln your verses, than we might
Hope in good time they would have come to light;
And felt I not a strange Poetick heat
Flaming within, which reading makes me sweat,
Page 90Vulcan should take 'em, and I'de not exempt 'em,
Because they be things Quibus lumen ademptum.
I thought to have commended something there,
But all exceeds my commendations far,
I can say nothing; but stand still, and stare,
And cry O wondrous, strange, profound, & rare,
Vast Wits must fathome you better than thus.
You merit more than their praise: as for us
The Beetles of our Rhimes shall drive full fast in
The wedges of your worth to everlasting.