1635 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Lawes

Edmund Waller, "To Mr. Henry Lawes, who had then newly set a Song of mine in the Year 1635"; Poems (1711) 176-77.



Verse makes Heroick Virtue live,
But you can Life to Verses give:
As when in open Air we blow,
The Breath (tho' strain'd) sounds flat and low:
But if a Trumpet take the Blast,
It lifts it high, and makes it last;
So in your Ayrs our Numbers drest
Make a shrill Sally from the Breast
Of Nymphs, who Singing what we Pen'd,
Our Passions to themselves commend,
While Love, Victorious with thy Art,
Governs at once their Voice and Heart;
You, by the help of Tune and Time,
Can make that Song which was but Rhime.
Noy pleading, no Man doubts the Cause,
Or questions Verses set by Lawes.
As a Church-window, thick with Paint,
Lets in a Light but dim and faint;
So others, with Division, hide
The Light of Sense, the Poets Pride;
But you alone may truly boast
That not a Syllable is lost;
The Writer's, and the Setter's, Skill
At once the Ravish'd Ears do fill.
Let those which only warble long,
And gargle in their Throats a Song,
Content themselves with UT, RE, MI
Let Words, and Sense, be set by thee.