Katherine Philips

To Mr. Henry Vaughan,*
Silurist, on his Poems

HAD I ador'd the multitude, and thence
Got an antipathy to Wit and Sense,
And hugg'd that fate, in hope the World would grant
'Twas good affection to be ignorant;
Yet the least ray of thy bright fancy seen,
I had converted, or excuseless been;
For each birth of thy Muse to after-times
Shall expiate for all this Age's crimes.
First shines thy Amoret, twice crown'd by thee,
Once by thy Love, next by thy poetry;
Where thou the best of unions dost dispense,
Truth cloth'd in Wit, and Love in Innocence.
So that the muddiest lovers may learn here,
No Fountains can be sweet that are not clear.
Then Juvenal reviv'd by thee declares
How flat Man's joys are, and how mean his cares;
And generously upbraids the World that they
Should such a value for their ruin pay.
But when thy sacred Muse diverts her quill,
The landskip to design of Leon's Hill;†
As nothing else was worthy her or thee,
So we admire almost t' idolatry.
What savage breast would not be rapt to find
Such jewels in such cabinets enshrin'd?
Thou (fill'd with joys too great to see or count)
Descend'st from thence like Moses from the Mount,
And with a candid, yet unquestion'd awe,
Restor'st the Golden Age when Verse was Law.
Instructing us thou so secur'st thy fame,
That nothing can distrub it but my name;
Nay, I have hopes that standing so near thine
'Twill lose its dross, and by degrees refine.
Live till the disabusèd World consent,
All truths of use, or strength, or ornament,
Are with such harmony by thee display'd,
As the whole World was first by Number made;
And from the charming rigour thy Muse brings
Learn, there's no pleasure but in serious things.

[AJ Notes:
    * On the publication of Henry Vaughan's Poems,
in the Metaphysical tradition of Donne and Herbert.
    † Leon's Hill, Ellen Moody replaces this
with "Zion-Hill", by an early manuscript.

Philips, Katherine. Poems, 1678.
in Minor Poets of the Caroline Period.
George Saintsbury, ed.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1905. 523.

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