Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
On His Majesty’s Recovery from the Small-Pox, 1633
By William Cartwright (1611–1643)
 
I DO confess, the over-forward tongue
Of public duty turns into a wrong,
And after-ages, which could ne’er conceive
Our happy CHARLES so frail as to receive
Such a disease, will know it by the noise        5
Which we have made in shouting forth our joys;
And our informing duty only be
A well-meant spite, or loyal injury.
Let then the name be alter’d; let us say
They were small stars fix’d in a Milky-way,        10
Or faithful turquoises, which Heaven sent
For a discovery, not a punishment;
To show the ill, not make it; and to tell
By their pale looks the bearer was not well.
Let the disease forgotten be, but may        15
The joy return us yearly as the day;
Let there be new computes, let reckoning be
Solemnly made from His recovery;
Let not the Kingdom’s Acts hereafter run
From His (though happy) Coronation,        20
But from His Health, as in a better strain.
That plac’d Him on His throne; This makes Him reign.
 
 
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