Poems, &c. written upon several occasions, and to several persons by Edmond Waller.
Waller, Edmund, 1606-1687.
Page  141

Upon Ben. Johnson.

MIrror of Poets, mirror of our age!
Which her whole face beholding on thy stage,
Pleas'd and displeas'd with her own faults, indures
A remedy like those whom musick cures:
Thou hast alone those various inclinations
Which Nature gives to Ages, Sexes, Nations:
So traced with thy All-resembling Pen
That what ere custom has impos'd on men;
Or ill got habit, which deforms them so,
That scarce a Brother can his Brother know,
Is represented to the wondring eyes
Of all that see or read thy Comedies:
Who ever in those Glasses looks, may find
The spots return'd, or graces of his mind:
And by the help of so divine an Art
At leasure view and dress his Nobler part.
Page  142Narisss couzened by that flatt'ring Well,
Which nothing could but of his beauty tell,
Had here discovering the deform'd estate
Of his fond mind, preserv'd him self with hate;
But Vertue too, as well as Vice, is clad
In Flesh and Blood so well, that Plato had
Beheld what his high fancy once embrac't
Vertue with colours, speech, and motion grac't:
The sundry postures of thy copious Muse
Who would express, a thousand Tongues must use;
Whose fate's no less peeuliar than thy Art,
For as thou couldst all characters impart:
So none could render thine, who still escapes
Like Proteus in variety of shapes:
Who was, nor this, nor that, but all we find,
And all we can imagine in mankind.