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The Delights of the Muses.
BY RICHARD CRASHAW, some-
The second Edition wherein are added divers pieces not before extant.
Printed for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his Shop at the Princes Armes
in St. Pauls Church-yard.
Other Poems written on
By Richard Crafhaw, fometimes of Pembroke Hall, and late Fellow of St. Peters Colledge in Cambridge.
Mart. Dic mihi quid melius defidiosus agas.
Printed by T. W. for H. Mofeley, at the Princes Armes in S. Pauls
THE PREFACE TO THE READER.
LEARNED READER, – The Author's friend will not usurp much upon thy eye ; this is only for those whom the name of our divine Poet hath not yet seized into admiration. I dare undertake, that what JAMBLICUS (in vita Pythagora) affirmeth of his Master, at his Contemplations, these poems can, viz., They shalt lift thee, Reader, some yards above the ground ; and, as in PyTHAGORAS' school, every temper was first tuned into a height by several proportions of music, and spiritualised for one of his weighty lectures ; so mayest thou take a poem hence, and tune thy soul by it into a heavenly pitch ; and thus refined and borne up upon the wings of meditation, in these poems thou mayest talk freely of God, and of that other state.
Here is HERBERT's second, but equal, who hath retrieved Poetry of late, and returned it up to its primitive use ; let it bound back to heaven gates, whence it came. Think ye St. AUGUSTINE would have stained his graver learning with a book of Poetry, had he fancied their dearest end to be the vanity of love-sonnets and epithalamiums? No, no, he thought with this our poet, that every foot in a high-born verse, might help to measure the soul into that better world. Divine Poetry, I dare hold it in position, against SUAREZ on the subject, to be the language of the angels ; it is the quintessence of phantasy and discourse centred in heaven ; it is the very outgoings of the soul ; it is what alone our Author is able to tell you, and that in his own verse.
It were profane but to mention here in the Preface those underheaded Poets, retainers to seven shares and a half; madrigal fellows, whose only business in verse is to rhyme a poor sixpenny soul, a suburb sinner into Hell :- May such arrogant pretenders to Poetry vanish, with their prodigious issue of tumorous heats and flashes of their adulterate brains, and for ever after may this our Poet fill up the better room of man. Oh ! when the general arraignment of Poets shall be, to give an account of their higher souls, with what a triumphant brow shall our divine Poet sit above and look down upon poor HOMER, Virgil, HORACE, CLAUDIAN, &c. ! who had amongst them the ill luck to talk out a great part of their gallant genius upon bees, dung, frogs, and gnats, &c., and not as himself here, upon Scriptures, divine graces, martyrs, and angels.
Reader, we style his Sacred Poems, “Steps to the Temple,' and aptly, for in the Temple of God, under His wing, he led his life in St. Mary's Church, near St. Peter's College ; there he lodged under Tertullian's roof of angels ; there he made his nest more gladly than David's swallow near the house of God: where, like a primitive saint, he offered more prayers in the night than others usually offer in the day; there he penned these Poems, Steps for happy souls to climb heaven by.
And those other of his pieces, entitled, “ The Delights of the Muses' (though of a more human mixture), are as sweet as they are innocent.
The praises that follow are but few of many that might be conferred on him : he was excellent in five languages (besides his mother-tongue), viz., Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, the two last whereof he had little help in—they were of his own acquisition.
Amongst his other accomplishments in academic (as well pious as harmless) arts, he made his skill in Poetry, Music, Drawing, Limning, Graving (exercises of his curious invention and sudden fancy) to be but his subservient recreations for vacant hours, not the grand business of his soul.
To the former qualifications I might add that which would crown them all — his rare moderation in diet (almost Lessian temperance) ; he never created a Muse out of distempers, nor (with our canary scribblers) cast any strange mists of surfeits before the intellectual beams of his mind or memory, the latter of which he was so much a master of, that he had there, under lock and key, in readiness, the richest treasures of the best Greek and Latin poets, some of which Authors he had more at his command by heart, than others that only read their works, to retain little and understand less.
Enough, reader; I intend not a volume of praises larger than his book, nor need I longer transport thee to think over his vast perfections; I will conclude all that I have impartially writ of this learned young gentleman (now dead to us) as he himself doth, with the last line of his poem upon Bishop Andrews' picture before his Sermons
THE AUTHOR'S MOTTO.