Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
View of London from Cooper’s Hill
By Sir John Denham (1615–1669)
 
THROUGH untraced ways and airy paths I fly,
More boundless in my fancy than my eye,—
My eye, which swift as thought contracts the space
That lies between, and first salutes the place
Crowned with that sacred pile, so vast, so high,        5
That whether ’tis a part of earth or sky
Uncertain seems, and may be thought a proud
Aspiring mountain or descending cloud,—
Paul’s, the late theme of such a Muse whose flight
Has bravely reached and soared above thy height;        10
Now shalt thou stand, though sword or time or fire,
Or zeal more fierce than they, thy fall conspire,
Secure, while thee the best of poets sings,
Preserved from ruin by the best of kings.
Under his proud survey the city lies,        15
And like a mist beneath a hill doth rise,
Whose state and wealth, the business and the crowd,
Seems at this distance but a darker cloud,
And is to him who rightly things esteems
No other in effect but what it seems,        20
Where, with like haste, though several ways, they run,
Some to undo, and some to be undone;
While luxury and wealth, like war and peace,
Are each the other’s ruin and increase;
As rivers lost in seas some secret vein        25
Thence reconveys, there to be lost again.
O happiness of sweet retired content!
To be at once secure and innocent!
 
 
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