The State-progress of Ill.
by Edward Herbert, Lord Chirbury

I say, tis hard to write Satyrs. Though Ill
Great'ned in his long course, and swelling still,
Be like to a Deluge, yet, as Nile,
'Tis doubtful in his original ; this while
We may thus much on either part presume,
That what so universal are, must come
From causes great and far. Now in this state
Of things, what is least like Good, men hate,
Since 'twill be the less sin. I do see
Some Ill requir'd, that one poison might free
The other ; so States, to their Greatness, find
No faults requir'd but their own, and bind
The rest. And though this be mysterious still,
Why should we not examine how this Ill
Did come at first, how't keeps his greatness here,
When 'tis disguis'd, and when it doth appear.
This Ill having some Attributes of God,
As to have made it self, and bear the rod
Of all our punishments, as it seems, came
Into the world, to rule it, and to tame
The pride of Goodness, and though his Reign
Great in the hearts of men he doth maintain
By love, not right, he yet the tyrant here
(Though it be him we love, and God we fear)
Pretence yet wants not, that it was before
Some part of Godhead, as Mercy, that store
For Souls grown Bankrupt, their first stock of Grace,
And that which the sinner of the last place
Shall number out, unless th' Highest will shew
Some power, not yet reveal'd to Man below.

But that I may proceed, and so go on
To trace Ill in his first progression,
And through his secret'st wayes, and where that he
Had left his nakedness as well as we,
note And did appear himself,
    I note, that in
The yet infant world, how
    mischief and sin,
His Agents here on earth, & easie known,
Are now conceal'd Intelligencers grown :
For since that as a Guard th' Highest at once
Put Fear t' attend their private actions,
And Shame, their publick, other means being fail'd :
Mischief chief,under doing of Good was vail'd,
And Sin, of pleasure ; though in this disguise
They only hide themselves from mortal eyes.
Sins, those that both com- and o-mitted be,
Once hot and cold, but in a third degree
Are now such poisons, that though they may lurk
In secret parts awhile, yet they will work,
Though after death : Nor ever come along,
But sudden fruitful multiply e'r done.
While in this monstrous birth they only dy
Whom we confess, confess live which we deny.
Mischiefs like fatal Constellations
Appear unto the ignorant at once,
In glory and in hurt, while th' unseen part
Of the great Cause may be perchance, the Art
Of th' Ill, and hiding it, which that I may
Ev'n in his first original display,
And best example, sure, amongst Kings, he
Who first wanted succession to be
A Tyrant,was wise enough to have chose
An honest man for King, which should dispose
Thofe beasts, which being so tame, yet otherwise,
As it seems, could not heard : And with advise
Somewhat indifferent for both, he might
Yet have provided for their Childrens right.
If they grew wiser, not his own, that so
They might repent, yet under treason, who
Ne'r promis'd faith : though now we cannot spare,
(And not be worse) Kings, on those tearms they are
No more than we could spare (and have been sav'd)
Original sin. So the those Priests that rav'd
And propheci'd, they did a kind of good
They knew not of, by whom the choice first stood.
    Since then, we may consider now, as fit,
State-government, and all the Arts of it,
That we may know them yet, let us see how
They were deriv'd, done, and are maintain'd now,
That Princes may by this yet understand
Why we obey, as well as they command.
    State, a proportion'd colour'd table, is,
Nobility the master-piece, in this
Serves to shew distances, while being put
'Twixt sight and vastness they seem higher, but
As they're further off, yet as those blew hills,
Which th' utmost border of a Region fills
They are great and worse parts, while in the steep
Of this great Prospective, they seem to keep
Further absent from those below, though this
Exalted Spirit that's sure a free Soul, is
A greater privilege, than to be born
At Venice, although he seek not rule, doth scorn
Subjection, but as he is flesh, and so
He is to dulness, shame, and many moe
Such properties, knows, but the Painters Art,
All in the frame is equal : that desert
Is a more living thing, and doth obey,
As he gives poor, for God's sake, (though they
And kings ask it not so) thinks Honours are
Figures compos'd of lines irregular,
And happy-high, knows no election
Raiseth man to true Greatness, but his own.
Mean while, sugred Divines, next place to this,
Tell us, Humility and Patience is
The way to Heaven, and that we must there
Look for our Kingdom, that the great'st rule here
Is for to rule our selves ; and that they might
Say this the better, they to no place have right
B' inheritance, while whom Ambition swayes,
Their office is to turn it other wayes.
    Those yet, whose harder minds Religion
Cannot invade, nor turn from thinking on
A present greatness, that Combin'd curse of Law,
Of officers, and neighbours spite, doth draw
Within such whirlpools, that till they be drown'd,
They n'er get out, but only swim them round.
    Thus brief, since that the infinite of Ill
Is neither easie told, nor safe, I will
But only note, how free born man subdu'd
By his own choice, that was at first indu'd
With equal power over all, doth now submit
That infinite of Number, Spirit, Wit,
To some eight Monarchs, then why wonder men
Their rule of Horses?
The World, as in the Ark of Noah, rests,
Compos'd as then, few Men, and many Beasts.

Aug. 1668.
At Merlow in France

Transcribed and coded by Anniina Jokinen from the Scolar Press
Facsimile of Occasional Verses of Edward Lord Herbert (1665)
Bodleian Library. Shelf-mark: Bliss. A.98. Wing H1508.
Transcription and code copyright ©1999 Anniina Jokinen.

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