Samuel Daniel. Excerpt from "Musophilus".
Samuel Daniel

 
FROM

Musophilus

[Power above powers]

Power above powers !  O Heavenly Eloquence !
That with the strong rein of commanding words
Dost manage, guide, and master the eminence
Of men's affections, more than all their swords !
Shall we not offer to thy excellence,
The richest treasure that our wit affords?

Thou that canst do much more with one poor pen,
Than all the powers of princes can effect ;
And draw, divert, dispose, and fashion men,
Better than force or rigour can direct !
Should we this ornament of glory then,
As the unmaterial fruits of shades, neglect?

Or should we careless come behind the rest
In power of words, that go before in worth ;
Whenas our accent's equal to the best,
Is able greater wonders to bring forth ;
When all that ever hotter spirits express'd,
Comes better'd by the patience of the north.

And who—in time—knows whither we may vent
The treasure of our tongue?  To what strange shores
This gain of our best glory shall be sent
To enrich unknowing nations with our stores?
What worlds in the yet unformed Occident
May come refin'd with the accents that are ours?

Or, who can tell for what great work in hand
The greatness of our style is now ordain'd?
What powers it shall bring in, what spirits command?
What thoughts let out ; what humours keep restrain'd?
What mischief it may powerfully withstand ;
And what fair ends may thereby be attain'd?  

 
 
Source:
Selections from the Poetical Works of Samuel Daniel.
John Morris, Ed. Bath: Charles Clark, 1855.  148-149.


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