1655 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Waller

Charles Cotton, "To Poet E. W. occasion'd for his writing a Panegyric on Oliver Cromwell" 1655 ca.; Cotton, Poems (1923) 276-77.



From whence, vile Poet, did'st thou glean the wit,
And words for such a vicious poem fit?
Where could'st thou paper find was not too white;
Or ink, that could be black enough to write?
What servile Devil tempted thee to be
A flatterer of thine own Slavery?
To kiss thy bondage, and extol the deed,
At once that made thy Prince and Country bleed?
I wonder much thy false heart did not dread,
And shame to write, what all men blush to read;
Thus with a base ingratitude to, rear
Trophies unto thy Master's Murtherer?
Who call'd thee Coward (—) much mistook
The characters of thy pedantic look;
Thou hast at once abus'd thyself, and us;
He's stout that dares flatter a Tyrant thus.

Put up thy pen, and ink, muzzle thy Muse
Adulterate Hag fit for a common stews,
No good man's library; writ thou hast
Treason in rhyme has all thy works defac't:
Such is thy fault, that when I think to find
A punishment of the severest kind
For thy offence, my malice cannot name
A greater; than, once to commit the same.

Where was thy reason then, when thou began
To write against the sense of God, and man?
Within thy guilty breast despair took place,
Thou would'st despairing die in spite of Grace.
At once th' art judge, and Malefactor shown,
Each sentence in thy poem is thine own.

Then, what thou hast pronounc'd go execute,
Hang up thy self, and say, I bid thee do 't:
Fear not thy memory, that cannot die,
This Panegyric is thy Elegy,
Which shall be when, or wheresoever read,
A living poem to upbraid thee dead.