Tentanda via est, &c.
What shall I do to be for ever known,
And make the age to come my own?
I shall like beasts or common people, die,
Unless you write my elegy;
Whilst others, great, by being born are grown,
Their mothers' labour, not their own.
In this scale gold, in th'other fame does lie,
The weight of that, mounts this so high.
These men are fortune's jewels, moulded bright;
Brought forth with their own fire and light:
If I, her vulgar stone, for either look;
Out of my self it must be strook.
Yet I must on; What sound is't strikes mine ear?
Sure I Fame's trumpet hear.
It sounds like the last Trumpet; for it can
Raise up the buried man.
Unpast Alpes stop me, but I'll cut through all,
And march, the Muses' Hannibal.
Hence all the flattering vanities that lay
Nets of roses in the way!
Hence, the desire of honors, or estate,
And all, that is not above fate!
Hence, Love himself, that tyrant of my days!
Which intercepts my coming praise,
Come, my best friends, my books, and lead me on;
'Tis time that I were gone.
Welcome, great Stagirite! and teach me now
All I was born to know:
Thy scholar's victories thou dost far out-do;
He conquer'd th' earth, the whole world you.
Welcome, learn'd Cicero, whose blest tongue and wit
Preserves Rome's greatness yet.
Thou art the first of Ora'tors; only he
Who best can praise thee, next must be.
Welcome the Mantu'an swan, Virgil the wise!
Whose verse walks highest, but not flies.
Who brought green Poesy to her perfect age;
And made that Art which was a Rage.
Tell me, ye mighty Three! what shall I do
To be like one of you?
But you have climb'd the mountains top, there sit
On the calm flour'ishing head of it,
And whilst with wearied steps we upward go,
See us, and clouds, below.