1667 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Katherine Philips

Thomas Flatman, "To the Memory of the Incomparable Orinda. A Pindarick Ode" Philips, Poems (1667) sigs e2-f2.



I.
A long Adieu to all that's bright,
Noble, or brave in Womankind;
To all the wonders of their Wit,
And Trophies of their mind;
The glowing Heat of th' Holy Fire is gone,
To th' Altar, whence 'twas kindled, flown;
There's nought on Earth, but Ashes left behind;
E'er since th' amazing sound was spread,
ORINDA'S Dead,
Every soft and fragrant word,
All that language could afford,
Every high and lofty thing
That's wont to set the Soul on wing,
No longer with this worthless World would stay;
Thus when the Death of the great PAN was told,
Along the shore the dismal tidings roll'd;
The lesser Gods their Fanes forsook,
Confounded with the mighty stroke,
They could not over-live that Fatal day,
But sigh'd and groan'd their gasping Oracles away.

II.
How rigid are the Laws of Fate,
And how severe that black Decree?
No sublunary thing is free,
But all must enter th' Adamantine Gate:
Sooner, or later shall we come
To Nature's dark Retiring room;
And yet 'tis pity, is it not?
The learned, as the fool should dye,
One full as low as t' other lye,
Together Blended in the general lot;
Distinguish'd only from the common croud
By an hing'd Coffin, or an holland shroud,
Though Fame and Honour speak them ne'er so loud;
Alas, ORINDA, even thou!
Whose happy verse made others live,
And certain Immortality could give;
Blasted are all thy blooming glories now,
The Laurel withers o'er thy brow:
Methinks it should disturb thee to conceive
That when poor I this artless breath resign,
My Dust should have as much of Poetry as Thine.

III.
Too soon we languish with desire
Of what we never could enough admire;
On th' Billows of this world some times we rise
So dangerously high,
We are to Heaven too nigh;
When (all in rage
Grown hoary with one minute's age)
The very self-same fickle wave,
Which the entrancing Prospect gave,
Swoln to a Mountain, sinks into a grave.
Too happy mortals, if the Pow'rs above
As merciful would be,
And easy to preserve the thing we love,
As in the giving they are free!
But they too oft delude our weary'd Eyes,
They fix a flaming Sword 'twixt us and Paradise;
A weeping Evening crowns a smiling Day,
Yet why should Heads of Gold, have feet of Clay?
Why should the Man that wav'd th' Almighty Wand,
That led the Murmuring Croud,
By Pillar and by Cloud,
Shivering atop of aery Pisgah stand
Only to see, but never, never tread the Promis'd Land?

IV.
Throw your Swords, and Gauntlets by,
You daring Sons of War,
You cannot purchase ere you dy
One honourable scar,
Since that fair hand that gilded all your Bays,
That in heroick Numbers wrote your praise,
That you might safely slept in Honour's Bed,
It self, alas! is wither'd, cold, and Dead;
Cold and Dead are all those Charms,
That burnish't your Victorious Arms:
Inglorious Arms hereafter must
Blush first in bloud, and then in rust:
No Oil, but that of Her smooth words can serve
Weapon, and Warriour to preserve.
Expect no more from this dull Age,
But folly, or Poetique Rage,
Short-liv'd Nothings of the Stage,
Vented to day, and cry'd to morrow down,
With HER the soul of Poesie is gone;
Gone, while our expectations flew
As high a pitch as She has done,
Exhal'd to Heaven like early dew,
Betimes the little shining drops are flown,
Ere th' drowsy World perceiv'd that Manna was come down.

V.
You of the Sex that would be fair,
Exceeding lovely, hither come,
Would you be pure as Angels are,
Come dress you by ORINDA'S Tomb,
And leave your flatt'ring Glass at home;
Within this Marble Mirrour see,
How one day such as She
You must, and yet alas! can never be.
Think on the heights of that vast Soul,
And then admire, and then condole.
Think on the wonders of Her Pen,
'Twas that made Pompey truely great,
Neither the th' expence of bloud nor sweat,
Nor yet Cornelia's Kindness made him live agen.
With envy think, when to the Grave you go,
How very little must be said of you,
Since all that can be said of vertuous Woman was her due.