To My Honor’D Friend, Dr. Charleton (Excerpt) By John Dryden
The longest tyranny that ever sway’d
Was that wherein our ancestors betray’d
Their free-born reason to the Stagirite,
And made his torch their universal light.
So truth, while only one supplied the state,
Grew scarce, and dear, and yet sophisticate;
Until ‘t was bought, like emp’ric wares, or charms,
Hard words seal’d up with Aristotle’s arms.
Columbus was the first that shook his throne,
And found a temp’rate in a torrid zone:
The fev’rish air fann’d by a cooling breeze,
The fruitful vales set round with shady trees;
And guiltless men, who danc’d away their time,
Fresh as their groves, and happy as their clime.
Had we still paid that homage to a name,
Which only God and Nature justly claim,
The western seas had been our utmost bound,
Where poets still might dream the sun was drown’d:
And all the stars that shine in southern skies
Had been admir’d by none but savage eyes.
Among th’ asserters of free reason’s claim,
Th’ English are not the least in worth, or fame.
The world to Bacon does not only owe
Its present knowledge, but its future too.
Gilbert shall live, till loadstones cease to draw,
Or British fleets the boundless ocean awe.
And noble Boyle, not less in nature seen,
Than his great brother read in states and men.
The circling streams, once thought but pools, of blood
(Whether life’s fuel or the body’s food),
From dark oblivion Harvey’s name shall save;
While Ent keeps all the honour that he gave.