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Poem by Katherine Philips

To Mr. Henry Lawes

Nature, which is the vast creations soul,
That steady curious agent in the whole,
The art of Heaven, the order of this frame,
Is only number in another name.
For as some king conquring what was his own,
Hath choice of several titles to his crown;
So harmony on this score now, that then,
Yet still is all that takes and governs men.
Beauty is but composure, and we find
Content is but the concord of the mind,
Friendship the unison of well-turned hearts,
Honor the chorus of the noblest parts,
And all the world on which we can reflect
Music to thear, or to the intellect.
If then each man a little world must be,
How many worlds are copied out in thee,
Who art so richly formed, so complete
Tepitomize all that is good and great;
Whose stars this brave advantage did impart,
Thy natures as harmonious as thy art?
Thou dost above the poets praises live,
Who fetch from thee theternity they give.
And as true reason triumphs over sense,
Yet is subjected to intelligence:
So poets on the lower world look down,
But Lawes on them; his height is all his own.
For, like Divinity it self, his lyre
Rewards the wit it did at first inspire.
And thus by double right poets allow
His and their laurel should adorn his brow.
Live then, great soul of nature, to assuage
The savage dulness of this sullen age.
Charm us to sense; for though experience fail
And reason too, thy numbers may prevail.
Then, like those ancients, strike, and so command
All nature to obey thy genrous hand.
None will resist but such who needs will be
More stupid than a stone, a fish, a tree.
Be it thy care our age to new-create:
What built a world may sure repair a state.

Katherine Philips

Katherine Philips's other poems:
  1. On the Welsh Language
  2. An Answer to Another Persuading a Lady to Marriage
  3. To My Antenor
  4. To My Excellent Lucasia, on Our Friendship
  5. Epitaph

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