1652 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir William Davenant

Charles Cotton, "To Sir William Davenant in answer to the Seventh Canto, of the Third Book of his Gondibert, directed to my Father" 1652; Cotton, Poems (1923) 273-74.



Oh happy Fire! whose heat can thus control
The rust of age, and thaw the frost of Death,
That renders Man immortal, as his soul,
And swells his fame with everlasting breath.

Happy's that hand, that unto honour's clime
Can lift the subject of his living praise,
That rescues frailty from the scythe of Time,
And equals glory to the length of days.

Such, Sir, is yours, that, uncontroll'd as Fate,
In the black bosom of o'er shading Night,
Can sons of immortality create,
To dazzle envy with prevailing Light.

In vain they strive your glorious lamp to hide
In that dark Lanthorn to all noble minds,
Which, through the smallest cranny is descried,
Whose force united no resistance finds.

Blest is my Father, that has found his name
Amongst the Heroes, by your pen reviv'd,
By running in Time's wheel his thriving fame
Shall still more youthful grow, and longer liv'd.

Had Alexander's trophies thus been rear'd,
And in the circle of your story come,
The spacious Orb, full well he might have spar'd,
And reap'd his distant victories at home.

Let men of greater wealth than merit cast
Medals of gold for their succeeding part
That paper monument shall longer last,
Than all the rubbish of decaying Art.