fruitful trees

narrow warrant of her gifts, but freely ranging within the zodiac of his own wit, {13} Nature never set forth the earth in so rich tapestry as divers poets have done neither with so pleasant rivers, fruitful trees, sweet-smelling flowers. nor whatsoever else may make the too- much-loved earth more lovely her world is brazen. the poets only deliver a golden.But let those things alone. and go to man {14} for whom as the other things are. so it seemeth in him her uttermost cunning is employed and know. whether she have brought forth so true a lover as Theagenes so constant a friend as Pylades so valiant a man as Orlando so right a prince as Xenophons Cyrus and so excellent a man every way as Virgils AEneas? Neither let this be jestingly conceived. because the works of the one be essential. the other in imitation or fiction for every understanding knoweth the skill of each artificer standeth in that idea. or fore-conceit of the work. and not in the work itself. And that the poet hath that idea is manifest by delivering them forth in such excellency as he had imagined them which delivering forth. also. is not wholly imaginative. as we are wont to say by them that build castles in the air but so far substantially it worketh not only to make a Cyrus. which had been but a particular excellency. as nature might have done but to bestow a Cyrus upon the world to make many Cyruses if they will learn aright. why. and how. that maker made him. Neither let it be deemed too saucy a comparison to balance the highest point of mans wit with the efficacy of nature but rather give right honour to the heavenly Maker of that maker. who having made man to His own likeness. set him beyond and over all the works of that second nature which in nothing he showeth so much as in poetry when. with the force of a divine breath. he bringeth things forth surpassing her doings. with no small arguments to the incredulous of that first accursed fall of Adam since our erected wit maketh us know what perfection is. and yet our infected will keepeth us from reaching unto it. But these arguments will by few be understood. and by fewer granted thus much I hope will be given me. that the Greeks. with some probability of reason. gave him the name above all names of learning.Now {15} let us go to a more ordinary opening of him. that the truth may be the more palpable and so. I hope. though we get not so unmatched a praise as the etymology of his names will grant. yet his very description. which no man will deny. shall not justly be barred from a principal commendation.Poesy. {16} therefore. is an art of imitation for so Aristotle termeth it in the word [Greek text] that is to say. a representing. counterfeiting. or figuring forth to speak metaphorically. a speaking picture. with this end. to teach and delight.Of {17} this have been three general kinds the CHIEF. both in antiquity and excellency. which they that did imitate the inconceivable excellencies of God such were David in the Psalms Solomon in the Song of Songs. in his Ecclesiastes. and Proverbs

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