Hail Learnings Pantheon! Hail the sacred Ark
Where all the World of Science does embarque!
Which ever shall withstand, and hast so long withstood,
Insatiate times devouring Flood.
Hail Tree of Knowledge, thy leaves Fruit! which well
Dost in the midst of Paradise arise,
Oxford and the Muses Paradise,
From which may never Sword the blest expell.
Hail Bank of all past Ages! where they lie
T’inrich with interest Posterity!
Hail Wits illustrious Galaxy!
Where thousand Lights into one brightness spread;
Hail living Univers’ty of the dead!
Unconfus’d Babel of all Tongues, which e’r
The mighty Linguist Fame, or Time, the mighty Traveller,
That could speak, or this could hear.
Majestick Monument and Pyramide,
Where still the shapes of parted Souls abide
Embalm’d in verse, exalted Souls which now
Enjoy those Arts they woo’d so well below,
Which now all wonders plainly see,
That have been, are, or are to be
In the mysterious Librarie,
The Beatifick Bodley of the Deitie.
Will you into your Sacred throng admit
The meanest British wit?
You Gen’ral-Council of the Priests of Fame,
Will you not murmur and disdain,
That I place among you claim,
The humblest Deacon of her Train?
Will you allow me th’ honourable chain?
The chain of Ornament which here
Your noble Pris’ners proudly wear;
A Chain which will more pleasant seem to me
Than all my own Pindarick Libertie:
Will ye to bind me with those mighty names submit,
Like an Apocrypha with holy Writ?
Whatever happy Book is chained here,
No other place or People need to fear;
His Chain’s a Passport to go ev’ry where.
As when a seat in Heaven,
Is to an unmalicious sinner given,
Who casting round his wond’ring eye
Does not but Patriarchs and Apostles there espy;
Martyrs who did their lives bestow,
And Saints, who Martyrs liv’d below,
With trembling and amazement he begins,
To recollect his frailties past, and sins,
He doubts almost his Station there,
His soul says to it self, How came I here?
It fares no otherwise with me
When I my self with conscious wonder see,
Amidst this purify’d elected Companie.
With harship they, and pain,
Did to this happiness attain;
No labour I nor merits can pretend,
I think Predestination only was my friend.
Ah that my Author had been ty’d like me
To such a place and such a Companie!
Instead of sev’ral Countreys, sev’ral Men,
And business which the Muses hate,
He might have then improv’d that small Estate
Which nature sparingly did to him give,
And settled upon my his Child, somewhat to live,
’T had happier been for him as well as me,
For when all, (alas) is done,
We Books I mean, You Books will prove to be
The best and noblest conversation.
For though some errors will get in,
Like tinctures of Original sin:
Yet sure we from our Fathers wit
Draw all the stength and sp’rit of it:
Leaving the grosser parts for conversation,
As the best blood of Man’s imploy’d in generation.
–Abraham Cowley, The Works of Mr Abraham Cowley. Consisting of Those which were formerly Printed: And Those which he Design’d for the Press, Now Published out of the Author’s Original Copies. To this Edition are added several Commendatory Copies of Verses on the Author, by Persons of Honour. As also a Table to the whole Works, never before printed. London: Printed by J.M. [John Macock] for H. Herringman, 1688. Eee3v-Eee4v.
Folio in 4s (11 1/2” x 7 5/16”, 293mm x 186mm). Binder’s blank, A2(–A2) a-c4 B-C4 C∗4 D-Ccc4 Ddd2 Eee-Yyy4 Zzz2 [$2], binder’s blank. 285 leaves, pp. , , blank, , , 41, , 1-2 3-80, , 1-58 61-70, 1-2 3-154, 1-23, blank, 1-148 [=l, 520]. Engraved portrait frontispiece, signed “W. Faithorne Sculp. 1687.”