Verse > John Dryden > Poems
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John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
 
Prologues and Epilogues
First Prologue to the University of Oxford
 
THE FAM’D 1 Italian Muse, whose Rhymes advance
Orlando, and the Paladins of France,
Records that, when our Wit and Sense is flown,
’Tis lodg’d within the Circle of the Moon
In Earthen Jars, which one, who thither soar’d,        5
Set to his Nose, snufft up, and was restor’d.
What e’re the Story be, the Moral’s true;
The Wit we lost in Town we find in you.
Our Poets their fled Parts may draw from hence,
And fill their windy Heads with sober Sense.        10
When London Votes with Southwark’s disagree,
Here may they find their long-lost Loyalty,
Here busie Senates, to th’ old Cause inclin’d,
May snuff the Votes their Fellows left behind:
Your Country Neighbours, when their Grain grows dear,        15
May come, and find their last Provision here;
Whereas we cannot much lament our Loss,
Who neither carried back nor brought one Cross.
We look’d what Representatives wou’d bring,
But they help’d us, just as they did the King.        20
Yet we despair not; for we now lay forth
The Sybill’s Books to those who know their Worth;
And tho the first was Sacrific’d before,
These Volumes doubly will the price restore.
Our Poet bade us hope this Grace to find,        25
To whom by long Prescription you are kind.
He, whose undaunted Muse with Loyal Rage
Has never spar’d the Vices of the Age,
Here finding nothing that his Spleen can raise,
Is forced to turn his Satire into Praise.        30
 
Note 1. 1681. Text from the Miscellanies of 1693. [back]
 
 
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