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At Penshurst

Edmund Waller 1606 (Coleshill) – 1687



Had Sacharissa lived when mortals made
Choice of their deities, this sacred shade
Had held an alter to her power, that gave
The peace and glory which these alleys have;
Embroidered so with flowers where she stood,
That it became a garden of a wood.
Her presence has such more than human grace
That it can civilize the rudest place;
And beauty too, and order, can impart,
Where nature ne'er intended it, nor art.
The plants acknowledge this, and her admire
No less than those of old did Orpheus' lyre;
If she sit down, with tops all towards her bowed,
They round about her into arbors crowd;
Or if she walk, in even ranks they stand,
Like some well marshaled and obsequious band.
Amphion so made stones and timber leap
Into fair figures from a confused heap;
And in the symmetry of her parts is found
A power like that of harmony in sound.

Ye lofty beeches, tell this matchless dame
That if together ye fed all one flame,
It could not equalize the hundredth part
Of what her eyes have kindled in my heart!
Go, boy, and carve this passion on the bark
Of yonder tree, which stands the sacred mark
Of noble Sidney's birth; when such benign,
Such more than mortal-making stars did shine,
That there they cannot but forever prove
The monument and pledge of humble love;
His humble love whose hopes shall ne'er rise higher
Than for a pardon that he dares admire.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Edmund Waller

Edmund Waller, FRS was an English poet and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1624 and 1679. more…

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