1679 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Samuel Woodford

Thomas Flatman, "To my dear Old Friend, the Reverend Dr. Samuel Woodford" Woodford, Paraphrase upon the Canticles (1679).



Well! since it must be so, so let it be,
For what do Resolutions signifie,
When we are urg'd to Write by Destiny?

I had Resolv'd, nay, and I almost Swore,
My Bed-rid Muse should walk abroad no more:
Alas! 'tis more than time that I give o're:

In the Recesses of a private Brest,
I thought to entertain your Charming Guest,
And never to have boasted of my Feast:

But see (my Friend) when through the World you go,
My Lacquy-Verse must shadow-like pursue,
Thin, and Obscure, to make a Foil for you.

'Tis true, you cannot need my feeble Praise,
A lasting Monument to your Name to Raise,
Well-known in Heav'n by your Angelique' Layes.

There, in indelible Characters They are writ,
Where no pretended Heights will easie fit,
But those of Serious, Consecrated Wit.

By immaterial defecated Love,
Your Soul it's Heavenly Origin doe's approve,
And in least dangerous Raptures soar's above.

How could I wish (Dear Friend!) unsaid agen
(For once I rank'd my self with Tuneful Men)
Whatever dropt from my unhallowed Pen!

The trifling Rage of Youthful heat, once past,
Who is not troubled for his Wit misplac'd!
All pleasant Follies breed regret at last.

While Reverend Don's, and noble Herbert's Flame,
A glorious Immortality shall claim,
In the most durable Records of Fame.

Our Modish Rimes, like Culinary Fire,
Unctuous and Earthy, shall in Smoke expire;
In odorous Clouds your Incense shall aspire.

Let th' Pagan-World your Pious Verse defy—
Yet shall they envy, when they come to Die,
Your Wiser Projects on Eternity.