1658 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Aston Cokayne

Thomas Bancroft, "To his noble Friend Sir Aston Cokain on his Poetical Composures" Cokayne, Small Poems of Divers Sorts (1658) 1.



Sir, though I cannot on such praises hit,
As well may suit the wardrobe of your wit,
Rich and repleat; yet give me leave to aim,
And light my Taper at your Delphick flame.
But how should such a dazeled sence as mine,
(Lost in high-waies of Excellence divine)
See to pass judgements on your lines aright,
That seem all gilded with Phoebaean light
From your rich brain effus'd, that to the skie
Rightly conformes in clear sublimity?
I almost should have thought your nimbler soul
Had fire from Heaven, like sly Prometheus, stole;
But that whereas accursed plagues he brought,
Wherewith Pandora's box was sadly fraught,
You with choice things have blest us, such as be
Treasures of wit, art, language, history.
How strangely winds your fancy here and there!
Like to your Anchor, built with streams more clear
That glide along as if they long'd to see
Themselves ingulft in vast eternity.
Surely you drew from noble birds of Po
Those numerous sweetnesses that ravisht so;
And from rich Naples and renowned Rome
Brought forth fine courtship and choice learning home.
Your Muse (impregnate with no common worth)
Thus travail'd for a fame, and brought it forth:
Whose issue he that envies, let him hear
(Like Phrygian Midas) with a lengthn'd eare
Nothing but scornes shot at him sundry waies,
Yet take those pellets for a charge of praise.
Kick at such currish slaves, nor think them fit
To pick up at your chair the crumbs of wit;
But think, whilst other Muses seem to dance
After your measures, they your praise advance.
Needs must those wits or harsh or heavy be,
That move not at your strokes of harmony.