To His Friend The Author, John Hoddesdon, On His Divine Epigrams.

A poem by John Dryden

Thou hast inspired me with thy soul, and I
Who ne'er before could ken of poetry,
Am grown so good proficient, I can lend
A line in commendation of my friend.
Yet 'tis but of the second hand; if ought
There be in this, 'tis from thy fancy brought.
Good thief, who dar'st, Prometheus-like, aspire,
And fill thy poems with celestial fire:
Enliven'd by these sparks divine, their rays
Add a bright lustre to thy crown of bays.
Young eaglet, who thy nest thus soon forsook,
So lofty and divine a course hast took
As all admire, before the down begin
To peep, as yet, upon thy smoother chin;
And, making heaven thy aim, hast had the grace
To look the Sun of righteousness i' the face.
What may we hope, if thou go'st on thus fast,
Scriptures at first; enthusiasms at last!
Thou hast commenced, betimes, a saint; go on,
Mingling diviner streams with Helicon;
That they who view what epigrams here be,
May learn to make like, in just praise of thee.

Reader, I've done, nor longer will withhold
Thy greedy eyes; looking on this pure gold
Thou'lt know adulterate copper, which, like this,
Will only serve to be a foil to his.

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