Grotius, his arguments for the truth of Christian religion rendred into plain English verse.
Grotius, Hugo, 1583-1645., Virgil. Bucolica. 4. English.
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To his Friend the Author.

POet and Preacher, heretofore the same,
In dull or lazy times distinct became;
In pleasing Numbers British Bards of old
To th' list'ning Croud Religion did unfold:
In Verse they chose their Raptures to express,
In Verse their sacred Mysteries to dress;
Religious Ardours thus they did inspire,
And kindle with a pure Poetick Fire.
Primitive Muses modest Virgins were,
Ne're sung what might offend the chastest Ear;
In lovely Dress each Vertue did adorn,
In ugly Shapes each Vice expos'd to scorn.
But now turn'd Prostitutes, upon the Stage,
They teach not Manners, but corrupt the Age;
Their easy Province in our Time has been,
To raise our Lust, or gratify our Spleen,
Maliciously to murder a Good Name,
And amongst others, Verse it self defame.
If with more Chastity, and less of Spite,
Some modern Poets set themselves to write,
It is with fulsome Praise to court a Friend,
And basely flatter for some baser End;
Grosly they lay the thickest Varnish on,
Where Nature made the worst Complexion:
And thus the dignity of Verse is stain'd,
Apollo's sacred Temple thus profan'd.
But this our Author in a pious strain
The Poet and Divine unites again;
His Muse at once doth both instruct, and please,
She gilds the Pill which cures the Mind's Disease.
So weak's our Appetite to what is good,
So weary grown of plain-drest wholsome Food,
Page  [unnumbered]That Wit and Verse must spice it for our taste,
Or else our squeamish Stomacks choose to fast.
Tho Truth more naked may in Prose appear,
She's more alluring thus, and not less clear.
Happy Maintainer of our Faith in Verse,
Proceed Lucreti'an Atomes to disperse;
Proceed Eternal Truths thus to reherse;
Such Truths for all that Fiction may atone,
Poets did e're invent to please their own,
And make succeeding [Times] for real swal∣low down:
Such Truths enlightned Minds on Earth improve,
And propagate immortal Songs above.
Henceforth more sacred shall the Muses be,
And more ador'd the Art of Poesy,
Happy Assistant of Divinity.

E. Ll.