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with any relation to the differences that caused them ; as, among others, three books of the civil war itself, reaching as far as the first battle of Newbury, where the fucceeding misfortunes of the party ftopt the work. As for the enfuing book, it confifts of four * parts.. The first is a Mifcellany of feveral subjects, and fome of them made when I was very young, which it is perhaps fuperfluous to tell the reader: I know not by what chance I have kept copies of them; for they are but a very few in comparison of thofe which I have loft; and I think they have no extraordinary virtue in them, to deferve more care in preservation, than was beftowed upon their brethren i for which I am fo little concerned, that I am afhamed of the arrogancy of the word, when I faid I had loft them.

The fecond, is called," The Miftrefs," or "Love"Verfes;" for fo it is, that poets are fcarce thought freemen of their company, without paying fome duties, and obliging themselves to be true to love. Sooner or later they must all pass through that trial, like some Mahometan monks, that are bound by their order, once at least in their life, to make a pilgrimage to

Mecca :

"In furias ignemque ruunt: amor omnibus idem †.”

* In the prefent collection, there are five parts; the first of which contains the juvenile Poems mentioned in p. 15. Their hiftory may be seen in the prefaces prefixed to them. N.

Virg. Georg. iii. 244.


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But we must not always make a judgment of their manners from their writings of this kind; as the Romanists uncharitably do of Beza, for a few lascivious fonnets composed by him in his youth. It is not in this fenfe that poefy is faid to be a kind of painting; it is not the picture of the poet, but of things and perfons imagined by him. He may be in his own practice and difpofition a philofopher, nay a Stoic, and yet speak fometimes with the foftness of an amorous Sappho,

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He profeffes too much the use of fables (though without the malice of deceiving) to have his testimony taken even against himself. Neither would I here be misunderstood, as if I affected so much gravity as to be ashamed to be thought really in love. On the contrary, I cannot have a good opinion of any man, who is not at least capable of being fo. But I fpeak it to excufe fome expreffions (if fuch there be) which may happen to offend the feverity of fupercilious readers: for much excefs is to be allowed in love, and even more in poetry; fo we avoid the two unpardonable vices in both, which are obfcenity and profaneness, of which, I am sure, if my words be ever guilty, they have ill reprefented my thoughts and intentions. And if, notwithstanding all this, the lightnefs of the matter here difplease any body, he may find wherewithal to content his more ferious inclinations in the weight and height of the enfuing arguments.



Virg. Ecl. iii. 89.



revife that part which is done, with that care which I refolved to bestow upon it, and which the dignity of the matter well deferves. For what worthier subject could have been chofen, among all the treafuries of past times, than the life of this young prince; who, from fo small beginnings, through fuch infinite troubles and oppofitions, by fuch miraculous virtues and excellencies, and with such incomparable variety of wonderful actions and accidents, became the greatest monarch that ever fat on the most famous throne of the whole earth? Whom should a poet more justly seek to honour, than the highest person who ever honoured his profeffion? whom a Christian poet, rather than the man after God's own heart, and the man who had that facred pre-eminence above all other princes, to be the best and mightiest of that royal race from whence Chrift himfelf, according to the flesh, disdained not to defcend?

When I confider this, and how many other bright and magnificent fubjects of the like nature the holy Scripture affords and proffers, as it were, to poefy; in the wife managing and illustrating whereof the glory of God Almighty might be joined with the fingular utility and noblest delight of mankind; it is not without grief and indignation that I behold that divine fcience employing all her inexhauftible riches of wit and eloquencé, either in the wicked and beggarly flattery of great perfons, or the unmanly idolizing of foolish women, or the wretched affectation of fcurril laughter, or at beft on the confused antiquated dreams


of fenfelefs fables and metamorphofes. Amongft all holy and confecrated things, which the devil ever ftolę and alienated from the service of the Deity; as altars, temples, facrifices, prayers, and the like; there is none that he fo univerfally, and fo long, ufurpt, as poetry. It is time to recover it out of the tyrant's hands, and to restore it to the kingdom of God, who is the father of it. It is time to baptize it in Jordan, for it will never become clean by bathing in the water of Damafcus. There wants, methinks, but the converfion of that, and the Jews, for the accomplishment of the kingdom of Chrift. And as men, before their receiving of the faith, do not without fome carnal reluctancies apprehend the bonds and fetters of it, but find it afterwards to be the trueft and greatest liberty: it will fare no otherwife with this art, after the regeneration of it; it will meet with wonderful variety of new, more beautiful, and more delightful objects; neither will it want room, by being confined to heaven.

There is not so great a lye to be found in any poet, as the vulgar conceit of men, that lying is effential to good poetry. Were there never fo wholefome nourishment to be had (but alas! it breeds nothing but difeases) out of these boafted feasts of love and fables; yet, methinks, the unalterable continuance of the diet fhould make us naufeate it: for it is almost impoffible to serve up any new dish of that kind. They are all but the cold-meats of the ancients, new-heated, and new fet forth. I do not at all wonder that the old poets made

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made fome rich crops out of these grounds; the heart of the foil was not then wrought out with continual tillage but what can we expect now, who come a gleaning, not after the first reapers, but after the very beggars? Befides, though thofe mad ftories of the gods and heroes feem in themselves fo ridiculous; yet they were then the whole body (or rather chaos) of the theology of thofe times. They were believed by all, but a few philofophers, and perhaps fome atheifts and ferved to good purpose among the vulgar (as pitiful things as they are), in ftrengthening the authority of law with the terrors of confcience, and expectation of certain rewards and unavoidable punishments. There was no other religion; and therefore that was better than none at all. But to us, who have no need of them; to us, who deride their folly, and are wearied with their impertinencies; they ought to appear no better arguments for verfe, than those of their worthy fucceffors, the knights-errant. What can we imagine more proper for the ornaments of wit or learning in the story of Deucalion than in that of Noah? Why will not the actions of Sampfon afford as plentiful matter as the labours of Hercules? Why is not Jeptha's daughter as good a woman as Iphigenia? and the friendship of David and Jonathan more worthy celebration than that of Thefeus and Perithous? Does not the paffage of Mofes and the Ifraelites into the Holy Land yield incomparably more poetical variety than the voyages of Ulyffes or. Æneas? Are the obsolete thread-bare

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