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" He seems
rer life he appears to have relinquished every vice, and to have closed his days with the composure of a christian, supported by faith and hope. Denham's works have been frequently collected and published. The 6th edition appeared in 1719.
His reputation seems, at present, to rest almost entirely on Cooper's Hill, a production which has conferred on him the rank and dignity of an original author. to have been,” says Dr. Johnson,“ at least among us, the author of a species of composition that may be denominated LOCAL POETRY, of which the fundamendal subject is some particular landscape, to be poetically described, with the addition of such embellishments as may be supplied by historical retrospection, or incidental meditation; and that he is one of the writers that improved our taste, and advanced our language; whom therefore we ought to read with gratitude, tho'having done much, he left much to do."
Bear me, oh! bear me to sequester'd scenes, the bow'ry mazes, and surrounding greens; to Thames's bạnks, which fragrant breezes fill, or where the Muses sport on Cooper's Hill. (On Cooper's Hill eternal wreaths shall grow wbile lasts the mountain, or while Thames shall flow.) Here his first lays majestic Denbam sung; there the last numbers flow'd from Cowley's tongue. Who now shall charm the shades where Cowley strung his living harp, and lofty Denham sung?
COOPER'S HILL. Sure there are poets which did never dream upon Parnassus, nor did taste the stream of Helicon; we therefore may suppose those madé not poets, but the poets those, and as courts make not kings, but kings the court, so where the Muses and their train resort, Parnassus stands; if I can be to thee a poet, thou Parnassus art to me. Nor wonder if (advantag'd in my flight, by taking wing from thy auspicious height) through untrac'd ways and airy paths I fly, more boundless in my fancy than my eye; my eye, which swift as thought contracts the
space that lies between, and first salutes the place crown'd with that sacred pile, so vast, so high, that whether 'tis a part of earth or sky uncertain seems, and may be thought a proud aspiring mountain, or descending cloud; Paul's, the late theme of such a Muse,* whose flight has bravely reach'd and soar'd above thy height; now shalt thou stand, tho’sword, or time or fire, or zeal, more fierce than they, thy fall conspire, secure, whilst thee the best of poets sings, preserv'd from ruin by the best of kings. Under his proud survey the City lies, and like a mist beneath a hill doth rise, whose state and wealth, the bus'ness and the crowd, seems at this distance but a darker cloud, and is, to him who rightly things esteems, no other in effect than what it seems; where, with like haste, tho’several ways, they run,
* Mr. Waller.
some to undo, and some to be undone; while luxury and 'wealth, like war and peace, are each the other's ruin and increase; as rivers lost in seas, some secret vein thence reconveys, there to be lost again, oh! happiness of sweet retir'd content ! to be at once secure and innocent. Windsor the next (where Mars with Venus dwells, beauty with strength) above the valley swells into my eye, and doth itself present with such an easy and unforc'd ascent, that no stupendous precipice denies access, no borror turns away our eyes; but such a rise as doth at once invite a pleasure and a rev’rence from the sight: thy mighty master's emblem, in whose face sat meekness, heighten'd with majestic grace; such seems thy gentle height, made only proud to be the basis of that pompous load, than which a nobler weight no mountain bears, but Atlas only, which supports the spheres. When Nature's hand this ground did thus advance, 't was guided by a wiser pow'r than chance; mark'd out for such an use, as if t’were meant ť invite the builder, and his choice prevent. Nor can we call it choice, when what we choose folly or blindness only could refuse. A crown of such majestic towers doth grace the god's great mother, when her heav'nly race do homage to her; yet she cannot boast, among that num'rous and celestial host, more heroes than can Windsor; nor doth Fame's immortal book record more noble nameş. Not to look back so far, to whom this isle
owes the first glory of so brave a pile, whether to Cæsar, Albanact, or Brute, the British Arthur, or the Danish C’nute; (tho' this of old no less contest did move than when for Homer's birth seven cities strove) (like him in birth, thou shouldst be like in fame, as thine his fate, if mine had been his fame) but whosoe'er it was, Nature design'd first a brave place, and then as brave a mind. Not to recount those sev'ral kings to whom it gave a cradle, or to whom a tomb; but thee, great Edward! and thy greater son, * (the Lilies which his father wore he won) and thy Bellona, t who the consort came not only to thy bed but to thy fame, she to thy triumph led one captive king, * and brought that son which did the second | bring; then didst thou found that Order (whether love or victory thy royal thoughts did move:) each was a noble cause, and nothing less than the design has been the great success, which foreign kings and emperors esteem the second honour to their diadem. Had thy great Destiny but given thee skill to know, as well as pow'r to act her will, that from those kings, who then thy captives were, in after-times should spring a royal pair who should possess all that thy mighty pow'r, or thy desires more mighty, did devour; to whom their better fate reserves whate'er the victor hapes for or the vanquish'd fear; that blood which thou and thy great grandsire shed, and all that since the sister nations bled, had been unspilt, and happy Edward' known that all the blood he spilt had been his own. When he that patron chose in whom are join'd soldier and martyr, and his arms confin'd within the azure circle, he did seem but to foretel and prophesy' of him who to his realms that azure round hath join'd, which Nature for their bound at first desigu'd; that bound which to the world's extremest ends, endless itself, it's liquid arms extends. Nor doth be need those emblems which we paint, but is himself tbe soldier and the saint. Here should my wonder dwell, and here my praise ; but my fix'd thoughts my wand'ring eye betrays, viewing a neighb'ring hill, whose top of late a chapel crown'd, till in the common fate th' adjoining abbey fell. (May no such storm fall on our times, where ruin must reform !) Tell me, my Muse! what monstrous dire offence, what crime, could any Christian king incense to such a rage? Was 't luxury or lust? was be so temperate, so chaste, so just ? [ınore; were these their crimes? they were his own much but wealth is crime enough to bim that's poor, who having spent the treasures of his crown, condemns their luxury to feed his own; and yet this act, to varnish o'er the shame of sacrilege, must bear devotion's name. No crime so bold but would be understood a real, or at least a seeming good. Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the name, and, free from conscience, is a slave to fame. Thus be the church at once protects and spoils; No. 77.
* Edward 3, and the Black Princo. + Queen Phillippa. * The kings of France and Scotland