Poems, &c. written upon several occasions, and to several persons by Edmond Waller.
Waller, Edmund, 1606-1687.

CANTO I.

POets we prize, when in their Verse we find
Some great employment of a worthy mind.
Angels have been inquisitive to know
The Secret, which this Oracle does show.
Page  288 What was to come Isaiah did declare,
Which she describes, as if she had been there;
Had seen the Wounds, which to the Reader's view,
She draws so lively, that they Bleed a new.
As Ivy thrives, which on the Oak takes hold,
So with the Prophets may her lines grow old;
If they should die, who can the World forgive?
Such pious Lines! When wanton Sapho's live.
Who with his Breath his Image did inspire,
Expects it should foment a Nobler fire:
Not Love which Brutes as well as Men may know;
But Love like his, to whom that Breath we owe.
Verse so design'd, on that high Subject wrote,
Is the Perfection of an ardent Thought:
The Smoke which we from burning Incense raise,
When we complete the Sacrifice of Praise.
In boundless Verse the Fancy soars too high,
For any Object, but the Deity.
Page  289 What Mortal can with Heav'n pretend to share
In the Superlatives of Wise and Fair?
A meaner Subject when with these we grace,
A Giants habit on a Dwarf we place.
Sacred should be the Product of our Muse,
Like that sweet Oil, above all private use:
On pain of Death forbidden to be made,
But when it should be on the Altar laid.
Verse shows a rich inestimable Vein,
When dropt from Heav'n, 'tis thither sent again:
Of Bounty 'tis that he admits our Praise,
Which does not him, but us that yield it raise.
For as that Angel up to Heav'n did rise,
Born on the Flame of Manoah's Sacrifice:
o wing'd with Praise, we penetrate the Sky,
Teach Clouds and Stars to praise him as we fly;
The whole Creation, by our Fall made groan,
••is Praise to Eccho, and suspend their Moan
Page  290 For that he Reigns, all Creatures should rejoice,
And we with Songs supply their want of voice.
The Church Triumphant, and the Church below
In Songs of Praise their present Union show:
Their Joys are full, our Expectation long;
In Life we differ, but we join in Song.
Angels, and we, assisted by this Art,
May Sing together, thô we dwell apart.
Thus we reach Heav'n, while vainer Poems must
No higher rise, than Winds may lift the Dust.
From that they spring; this from his breath that gave
To the first Dust, th 'Immortal Soul we have:
His Praise well sung, our great endeavor here,
Shakes off the Dust, and makes that breath appear.