Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO SIR HENRY SAVILE [UPON HIS TRANSLATION OF TACITUS], by BEN JONSON



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TO SIR HENRY SAVILE [UPON HIS TRANSLATION OF TACITUS], by             Poet's Biography
First Line: If, my religion safe, I durst embrace
Last Line: That dares nor write things false, nor hide things true.
Subject(s): Savile, Sir Henry (1549-1622); Translating & Interpreting


If, my religion safe, I durst embrace
That stranger doctrine of PYTHAGORAS,
I should beleeve, the soule of TACITUS
In thee, most weighty SAVILE, liv'd to us:
So hast thou rendred him in all his bounds,
And all his numbers, both of sense, and sounds.
But when I read that speciall piece, restor'd,
Where NERO falls, and GALBA is ador'd,
To thine owne proper I ascribe then more;
And gratulate the breach, I griev'd before:
Which Fate (it seemes) caus'd in the historie,
Onely to boast thy merit in supply.
O, would'st thou adde like hand, to all the rest!
Or, better worke! were thy glad countrey blest,
To have her storie woven in thy thred;
MINERVAES loome was never richer spred.
For who can master those great parts like thee,
That liv'st from hope, from feare, from faction free;
That hast thy breast so cleere of present crimes,
Thou need'st not shrinke at voyce of after-times;
Whose knowledge claymeth at the helme to stand;
But, wisely, thrusts not forth a forward hand,
No more than SALUST in the Romane state!
As, then, his cause, his glorie emulate.
Although to write be lesser than to doo,
It is the next deed, and a great one too.
We need a man that knowes the severall graces
Of historie, and how to apt their places;
Where brevitie, where splendor, and where height,
Where sweetnesse is required, and where weight;
We need a man, can speake of the intents,
The councells, actions, orders, and events
Of state, and censure them: we need his pen
Can write the things, the causes, and the men.
But most we need his faith (and all have you)
That dares nor write things false, nor hide things true.






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