To His Noble Friend, Mr. Richard Lovelace, Upon His Poems
Our times are much degenerate from those
Which your sweet muse with your fair fortune chose,
And as complexions alter with the climes,
Our wits have drawn the infection of our times.
That candid age no other way could tell
To be ingenious, but by speaking well.
Who best could praise had then the greatest praise,
'Twas more esteemed to give than bear the bays:
Modest ambition studied only then
To honour not herself but worthy men.