1632 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Philip Massinger

Aston Cokayne, "To my worthy Friend Mr. Philip Massinger, upon his Tragae-comedy, call'd the Emperour of the East" Massinger, Emperour of the East (1632) sig. A3-A3v.



Suffer, my Friend, these lines to have the grace,
That they may bee a mole on Venus face.
There is no fault about thy Booke but this,
And it will shew how faire thine Emperour is.
Thou more then Poet, our Mercurie (that art
Apollo's Messenger, and do'st impart
His best expressions to our eares) live long
To purifie the slighted English tongue,
That both the Nymphes of Tagus, and of Poe,
May not henceforth despise our language so.
Nor could they doe it, if they ere had seene
The matchless features of the faerie Queene;
Read Johnson, Shakespeare, Beaumont, Fletcher, or
Thy neat-limn'd peeces, skilfull Massinger.
Thou knowne, all the Castillians must confesse
De Vega Carpio thy foile, and blesse
His language can translate thee, and the fine
Italian witts, yeeld to this worke of thine.
Were old Pythagoras alive againe,
In thee hee might finde reason to maintaine
His Paradox; that soules by transmigration
In divers bodies make their habitation,
And more; that all Poetik soules yet knowne
Are met in thee, united, and made one.
This is a truth, not an applause. I am
One that at farthest distance view thy flame,
Yet dare pronounce, that were Apollo dead,
In thee his Poesie might all bee read.
Forbeare thy modestie. Thy Emperours veine
Shall live admir'd, when Poets shall complaine
It is a patterne of too high a reach
And what great Phoebus might the Muses teach.
Let it live therefore, and I dare bee bold
To say, it with the world shall not grow old.