Give me that2 wit whose fancy’s not confined,
That buildeth on itself, with no brain3 joined,
Not like two4 oxen yoked, and forced to draw,
Or like two witnesses t’one5 deed in law,
But like the sun, that needs no help to rise, 5
Or like a bird in6 air which freely flies.
For good wits run like parallels7 in length,
Need no triang’lar8 points to give them9 strength.
Or like the sea, which runneth round without,
And grasps the Earth with twining arms about. 10
Thus true-born wits to others strength may give,
Yet by their10 own, and not by others live.
Those verses still to me do seem the best11
Where lines run smooth, and wit’s with ease12 expressed,
Where fancies flow, as gentle waters glide, 15
And13 flow’ry banks of rhet’ric on14 each side,
That when they read, delight may them invite15
To read again, and wish16 they could so write.
For verses should,17 like to a beauteous face,
Both in the eye and in the heart take place, 20
That18 readers may,19 like lovers, wish to be
Always in their dear mistress company.
- This title is not present in 1653; it may be that this poem is intended to be part of “The Mine of Wit” directly above.
- that] a 1664, 1668
- with no brain] not two Braines 1653
- Not like two] For that’s like 1653
- t’one] for one 1653
- in] i’th’ 1664, 1668
- For good wits run like parallels] Good Wits are Parallels, that run 1653
- triang’lar] Triangular 1653
- them] it 1653
- their] its 1653
- lines 13–22 of this poem are located on sig. T4r in the 1653 edition after the poem “Similizing Birds to a Ship.”
- wit’s with ease] Wit eas’ly 1653
- And] Where 1653
- rhet’ric on] Fancies grow 1653
- That when they read, delight may them invite] Which with Delight the Readers do invite 1664, 1668
- and wish] wishing 1664, 1668
- verses should,] Verse must be 1653
- That] Where 1653
- may,] must, 1653