Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WRITTEN IN THE BEGINNING OF MEZERAY'S HISTORY OF FRANCE, by MATTHEW PRIOR



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WRITTEN IN THE BEGINNING OF MEZERAY'S HISTORY OF FRANCE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Whate'er thy countrymen have done
Last Line: Unwilling to retire, though weary.
Subject(s): Fame; France; History; Life; Pain; Reputation; Historians; Suffering; Misery


WHATE'ER thy countrymen have done
By law and wit, by sword and gun,
In thee is faithfully recited:
And all the living world, that view
Thy work, give thee the praises due,
At once instructed and delighted.

Yet for the fame of all these deeds,
What beggar in the Invalides,
With lameness broke, with blindness smitten,
Wished ever decently to die,
To have been either Mezeray,
Or any monarch he has written?

It's strange, dear author, yet it true is,
That, down from Pharamond to Louis,
All covet life, yet call it pain;
All feel the ill, yet shun the cure:
Can sense this paradox endure?
Resolve me, Cambray, or Fontaine.

The man in graver tragic known
(Though his best part long since was done)
Still on the stage desires to tarry;
And he who played the Harlequin,
After the jest still loads the scene
Unwilling to retire, though weary.





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