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Euterpe: The Lyrick Muse, On the Death of John Dryden, Esq;


1 I soft Euterpe, sweetest of the Nine,
2 The most Inspiring, and the most Divine,
3 By my own Lyre rais'd to extatick Joy
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4 Full of kind Influence expecting sate,
5 When tuneful Dryden would my Aid implore,
6 Who with gay Transports did my Gifts employ,
7 And meanest Thoughts above my Notes did soar
8 But strait a dismal, and unwelcome Sound,
9 Fill'd all th' Æthereal Courts around,
10 Great Dryden is no more.
11 But like the common things in mortal State,
12 Lost in th' impartial Gulf of an inevitable Fate,
13 At the dread News Grief all my Lustre veil'd,
14 I broke my harmonious Harp and Lute,
15 Threw by my softning ever-charming Flute,
16 Not the least glympse of Joy appears,
17 No radiant Nymphs about my Pallace wait,
18 Nor drink I any Nectar but my Tears.
19 I with profoundest Cause, and Sorrow mourn,
20 Over my Dryden's sacred Urn:
21 He was my greatest Glory, only boast,
22 Through him I let ungrateful Mankind know,
23 What mighty Wonders I could do,
24 But now, like him, to the inferior World I'm lost.
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25 I taught Him all the softer Airs of Love,
26 And Anthems so divine; he'll find the same above.
27 With an auspicious Pride I did dispense
28 My mighty Favours, when He did implore,
29 From my pregnant unexhausted Store,
30 Of tuneful Fancies, and harmonious Sense.
31 When I with gentle Fire have warm'd the Breast,
32 The Soul with pleasing Raptures bles't,
33 The sacred Flame in ev'ry part does shine.
34 The Product, like the Source, is all divine,
35 Poetry's not th' effect of Art, or Wine, or Love,
36 Tho' They sometimes the Gift improve,
37 Nor is the warmth that Poets Breasts inspire,
38 Vinum Doemonum, but Celestial Fire.
39 A God-like Ray enlightning from above;
40 As decent Measures, regular Motions be
41 Through all the tuneful Universe,
42 And speak in all a glorious Harmony,
43 Ev'n so the mystick Numbers of melodious Verse,
44 Are of th' intellectual World the sacred Symmetry.
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45 Dryden I chose of all the tuneful Throng,
46 His Soul with Ardour fill'd fit for immortal Song;
47 Learn'd him all Lyrick Arts of Poetry,
48 Such as might with Celestial Notes agree;
49 Which his Industry did improve,
50 In Celebrations, Elegies and Love,
51 And ev'ry Theme which his commanding Pen would try
52 With strength of Judgment, and profoundest Sense,
53 With sparkling Wit, gay Fancy, Eloquence,
54 His Verse did all abound:
55 In him alone was found
56 The much desir'd, aim'd at Excellence.
57 In ev'ry Line magnificent or sweet,
58 Like OVID soft, or else like VIRGIL great.
59 Orpheus magnetick Harp less Pow'r cou'd boast,
60 All Rage, unless in Love when e'er he sung was lost.
61 Above 'em all he rais'd his matchless Lays,
62 Glory of Britain, and Wits Empire too,
63 Which tho' the Subjects are but Few,
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64 Did justly wreath him with deserved Bays:
65 The verdant Diadem which Laureats Crown,
66 Ne'er look'd so fresh as when he put it on,
67 Then like his Lines with Godlike-lustre shone.
68 With a Superior and victorious Grace
69 The sacred Place,
70 He did almost unenvy'd assume,
71 I, pleas'd to see the Branches spread
72 O're his triumphant Head,
73 From th' Helicon Spring
74 Did Water bring,
75 Sprinkled them oft that they might ever bloom.
76 But, oh! they cou'd not stand the Rage,
77 Of an ill-natur'd and Lethargick Age,
78 Who spight of Wit wou'd stupidly be Wise,
79 All noble Raptures, Extasies despise,
80 And only Plodders after Sense will Prize.
81 They from his meritorious Brow
82 Th' exalted Laurel tear,
83 Which none but he could justly wear,
84 And He must suffer Abdication too.
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85 With Him they did suppress all lofty flights of Poetry.
86 All melting Airs, and rapt'ring Harmony,
87 But this Revenge, let Mankind take from me.
88 If any dare on Dryden's Death to Write,
89 Not to express their Grief, but shew their Wit,
90 I the ambitious Purpose will Reverse,
91 Deny my Aid,
92 And so shall each inspiring Maid.
93 Resolving ungrateful Man that could contemn
94 Such noble Excellence in Him.
95 Shall never more the Blessing know,
96 We'll ne'r again our Influence bestow.
97 Tho' 'tis pretended to adorn his Herse.
98 (Unless the generous Montague implore,
99 Then in him shall all our Glories shine as heretofore.)
100 But to express our own immortal Love,
101 We'll Solemnize Great Dryden's Obsequies above,
102 Our Grief such Emphasis shall bear,
103 As no Corporeal Organs can declare,
104 And one Eternal Sigh spread thro' the Extended Air.


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Title (in Source Edition): Euterpe: The Lyrick Muse, On the Death of John Dryden, Esq; An ODE.
Themes: death
Genres: ode; elegy

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Egerton, Sarah Fyge, 1668-1723. Poems on Several Occasions, Together with a Pastoral. By Mrs. S. F. [poems only] London: printed, and are to be sold by J. Nutt, near Stationers-Hall, 1703, pp. 98-103. [20],117,[3],15,[1]p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T125148) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [280 e.4058].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Sarah Fyge Egerton