Abraham Cowley



From Davideis


Tell me, O Muse (for thou or none canst tell

The mystic powers that in blest numbers dwell,

Thou their great nature knowst, nor is it fit

This noblest gem of thine own crown to omit),

Tell me from whence these heavenly charms arise;

Teach the dull world t'admire what they despise.

     As first a various unformed hint we find

Rise in some godlike poet's fertile mind,

Till all the parts and words their places take,

And with just marches verse and music make,

Such was God's poem, this world's new essay;

So wild and rude in its first draught it lay;

Th' ungoverned parts no correspondence knew,

And artless war from thwarting motions grew;

Till they to number and fixed rules were brought

By the eternal mind's poetic thought.

Water and air he for the tenor chose,

Earth made the base, the treble flame arose;

To th' active moon a quick brisk stroke he gave,

To Saturn's string a touch more soft and grave.

The motions straight and round and swift and slow

And short and long were mixed and woven so,

Did in such artful figures smoothly fall,

As made this decent measured dance of all.

And this is music: sounds that charm our ears

Are but one dressing that rich science wears.

Though no man hear't, though no man it rehearse,

Yet will there still be music in my verse.