1Within this sober frame expect
2Work of no foreign Architect,
3That unto caves the quarries drew,
4And forests did to pastures hew;
5Who of his great design in pain
6Did for a model vault his brain,
7Whose columns should so high be rais’d
8To arch the brows that on them gaz’d.
9Why should of all things man unrul’d
10Such unproportion’d dwellings build?
11The beasts are by their dens exprest,
12And birds contrive an equal nest;
13The low-roof’d tortoises do dwell
14In cases fit of tortoise-shell:
15No creature loves an empty space;
16Their bodies measure out their place.
17But he, superfluously spread,
18Demands more room alive than dead;
19And in his hollow palace goes
20Where winds as he themselves may lose.
21What need of all this marble crust
22T’impark the wanton mote of dust,
23That thinks by breadth the world t’unite
24Though the first builders fail’d in height?
25But all things are composed here
26Like nature, orderly and near:
27In which we the dimensions find
28Of what more sober age and mind,
29When larger sized men did stoop
30To enter at a narrow loop;
31As practicing, in doors so straight,
32To strain themselves through Heaven’s Gate.
33And surely when the after age
34Shall hither come in pilgrimage,
35These sacred places to adore,
36By Vere and Fairfax trod before,
37Men will dispute how their extent
38Within such dwarfish confines went;
39And some will smile at this, as well
40As Romulus his bee-like cell.
41Humility alone designs
42Those short but admirable lines,
43By which, ungirt and unconstrain’d,
44Things greater are in less contain’d.
45Let others vainly strive t’immure
46The circle in the quadrature!
47These holy mathematics can
48In ev’ry figure equal man.
49Yet thus the laden house does sweat,
50And scarce endures the Master great,
51But where he comes the swelling hall
52Stirs, and the square grows spherical;
53More by his magnitude distress’d,
54Than he is by its straightness press’d;
55And too officiously it slights
56That in itself which him delights.
57So honour better lowness bears,
58Than that unwonted greatness wears.
59Height with a certain grace does bend,
60But low things clownishly ascend.
61And yet what needs there here excuse,
62Where ev’ry thing does answer use?
63Where neatness nothing can condemn,
64Nor pride invent what to contemn?