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true; because he knew that truth was but to countenance error. There is ever true corn strewed under a pitfall: those ears are full and weighty, which we dress with lime to deceive the poor birds in a snow: no fisher lets down an empty hook, but cloathed with a proper and pleasing bait. These impostors have no other errand but deceit. If he love himself, let him be afraid of their favours; and think their frowns safer than their smiles.
And if, at any time, as no fly is more importunate, they thrust themselves into his conversation, let him, as those which must necessarily pass by a carrion in the way, hold his breath, and hasten to be out of their air. And, if they yet follow him in his flight, let him turn back to them with the angel's farewell, Increpet te Dominus.
TO MY LOVING AND LEARNED COUSIN,
MR. SAMUEL BURTON,
ARCHDEACON OF GLOUCESTER.
INDEED, my Poetry was long since out of date, and yielded her place to graver studies: but whose vein would it not revive, to look into those Heuvenly Songs? I were not worthy to be a Divine, if it should repent me to be a Poet with David, after I shall have aged in the Pulpit.
This work is holy and strict, and abides not any youthful or heathenish liberty ; but requires hands free from profaneness, looseness, affection. It is a service to God and the Church, by so much more carefully to be regarded, as it is more common. For, who is there, that will not challenge a part in this labour ? and that shall not find himself much more affected with holy measure rightly composed ?
Wherefore, I have oft wondered, how it could be offensive to our adversaries, that these divine ditties, which the Spirit of God wrote in verse, should be sung in verse; and that a Hebrew Poem should be made English. For, if this kind of composition had been unfit, God would never have made choice of numbers, wherein to express himself.
Yea, who knows not, that some other Scriptures, which the Spirit hath indited in prose, have yet been happily and with good allowance put into strict numbers? If histories tell us of a wanton poet of old, which lost his eyes while he went about to turn Moses into verse; yet every student knows, with what good success and commendation, Nonnus hath turned John's Gospel into Greek Heroics. And Appollinarius, that learned Syrian, matched with Basil and Gregory (who lived in his time) in the terms of this equality, thut Basil's speech wus saJepaítepos, but Appollinarius's ce&potepos, wrote, as Suidas reports, all the Hebrew Scripture in Heroics ; as Sozomen, somewhat more restrainedly, all the Archaiology of the Jews, till Saul's government, in twentyfour parts; or, as Socrates, yet more particularly, all Moses in Heroics, and all the other histories in divers metres : but, however his other labours lie hid, his Metaphrase of the Psalms is still in our hands, with the applause of all the learned: besides the labours of their own Flaminius and Arias Montanus, to seek for no more, which have worthily bestowed themselves in this subject.