Epilogue, Spoken At Oxford, By Mrs Marshall.

A poem by John Dryden

Oft has our poet wish'd, this happy seat
Might prove his fading Muse's last retreat:
I wonder'd at his wish, but now I find
He sought for quiet, and content of mind;
Which noiseful towns, and courts can never know,
And only in the shades like laurels grow.
Youth, ere it sees the world, here studies rest,
And age returning thence concludes it best.
What wonder if we court that happiness
Yearly to share, which hourly you possess;
Teaching even you, while the vex'd world we show,
Your peace to value more, and better know?
'Tis all we can return for favours past,
Whose holy memory shall ever last;
For patronage from him whose care presides
O'er every noble art, and every science guides:
Bathurst,[1] a name the learn'd with reverence know,
And scarcely more to his own Virgil owe;
Whose age enjoys but what his youth deserved,
To rule those Muses whom before he served.
His learning, and untainted manners too,
We find, Athenians, are derived to you:
Such ancient hospitality there rests
In yours, as dwelt in the first Grecian breasts,
Whose kindness was religion to their guests.
Such modesty did to our sex appear,
As, had there been no laws, we need not fear,
Since each of you was our protector here.
Converse so chaste, and so strict virtue shown,
As might Apollo with the Muses own.
Till our return, we must despair to find
Judges so just, so knowing, and so kind.

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