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Not to recount those several kings to whom
It gave a cradle, or to whom a tomb;
But thee, great Edward! and thy greater son,
(The lilies which bis father wore he won)
And thy Bellona, who the consort came
Not only to thy bed, but to thy fame;
She to thy triumph led one captive king,
And brought that son which did the second bring;
Then didst thou found that Order (whether love
Or victory thy royal thoughts did move :)
Each was a noble cause, and nothing less
Than the design has been the great success,
Which foreign kings and emperors esteem
The second honour to their diadem.
Had thy great destiny but given thee skill
To know, as well as power to act her will,
That from those kings who then thy captives were,
In after-times should spring a royal pair,
Who should possess all that thy mighty pow'r,
Or thy desires more mighty, did devour;
To whom their better fate reserves whate'er
The victor hopes for, or the vanquish'd fear:
That blood which thou and thy great grandsire shed,
And all that since these sister nations bled,
Had been unspilt, and happy Edward known
That all the blood he spilt had been his own.
When he that patron chose, to whom are join'd
Soldier and martyr, and his arms copfin'd
Within the azure circles, he did seem
But to foretel and prophesy of him ;
Who to his realms that azure round hath join'd,
Which Nature for their bound at first design'd:
That bound which to the world's extremest ends,
Endless itself, its liquid arms extends.
Nor doth he need those emblems which we paint,
But is himself the soldier and the saint.
Here should my wonder dwell, and here my praise,
But my fix'd thoughts my wandering eye betrays,
Viewing a neighbouring hill, whose top of late
A chapel crown'd, till in the common fate
The' adjoining abbey fell. (May no such storm
Fall on our times, where ruin must reform!)
Tell me, my Muse! what monstrous dire offence,
What crime, could any Christian king incense
To such a rage? Was't luxury or lust?
Was he so temperate, so chaste, so just?
Were these their crimes ? they were his own much
But wealth is crime enough to him that's poor,
Who, having spent the treasures of his crown,
Condemns their luxury to feed his own;
And yet this art, to varnish o'er the shame
Of sacrilege, must bear Devotion's name.
No crime so bold but would be understood
A real, or at least, a seeming good.
Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the name,
And, free from conscience, is a slave to fame.
Thus he the church at once protects and spoils;
But princes swords are sharper than their styles :
And thus to the ages past he makes amends ;
Their charity destroys, their faith defends,
Then did Religion, in a lazy cell,
In empty airy contemplations dwell,
And like the block unmoved lay ; but ours,
As much too active, like the stork devours.
Is there no temperate region can be known
Betwixt their frigid and our torrid zone?
Could we not wake fror that lethargic dream,
But to be restless in a worse extreme ?
And for that lethargy was there no cure
But to be cast into a calenture ;
Can knowledge have no bound, but must advance
So far, to make us wish for ignorance,
And rather in the dark to grope our way
Than, led by a false guide, to err by day?
Who sees these dismal heaps, but would demand
What barbarous invader sack'd the land ?
But when he hears no Goth, no Turk, did bring
This desolation, but a Christian king;
When nothing but the name of zeal appears
Twixt our best actions and the worst of theirs;
What does he think our sacrilege would spare,
When such the effects of our devotions are ?
Parting from thence 'twixt anger, shame, and fear,
Those for what's past, and this for what's too near,
My eye descending from the Hill, surveys
Where Thames among the wanton vallies strays :
Thames ! the most lov'd of all the Ocean's sons
By his old sire, to his embraces runs,
Hasting to pay his tribute to the sea,
Like mortal life to meet eternity;
Though with those streams he no resemblance hold,
Whose foam is amber, and their gravel gold :
His genuine and less guilty wealth to explore,
Search not his bottom, but survey his shore,
O'er which he kindly spreads his spacious wing,
And hatches plenty for th' ensuing spring ;
Nor then destroys it with too fond a stay,
Like mothers which their infants overlay ;
Nor with a sudden and impetuous waye,
Like profuse kings, resumes the wealth he gave.
No unexpected inundations spoil
The mower's hopes, nor mock the ploughmau's toil;
But godlike his unwearied bounty flows;
First loves to do, then loves the good he does.
Nor are his blessings to his banks confin'd,
But free and common as the sea or wind;
When he, to boast or to disperse his stores,
Full of the tributes of his grateful shores,
Visits the world, and in his flying tow'rs
Brings home to us, and makes both Indies ours;
Finds wealth where 'tis, bestows it where it wants,
Cities in deserts, woods in cities plants.
So that to us no thing, no place is strange,
While his fair bosom is the world's exchange.
O could I flow like thee; and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme;
Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull;
Strong without rage, without o'erfiowing full;
Heaven her Eridanus no more shall boast,
Whose fame in thine, like lesser current, 's lost:
Thy nobler streams shall visit Jove's abodes,
To shine among the stars, and bathe the gods.
Here Nature, whether more intent to please
Us for herself, with strange varieties,
(For things of wonder give no less delight
To the wise Maker's than beholder's sight;
Though these delights from several causes move,
For so our children, thus our friends, we love)
Wisely she knew the harmony of things,
As well as that of sounds, from discord springs.
Such was the discord-which did first disperse
Form, order, beauty, through the universe:
While dryness moisture, coldness heat resists,
All that we have, and that we are, subsists :
While the steep horrid roughness of the wood
Strives with the gentle calmness of the flood.
Such huge extremes when Nature doth unite,
Wonder from thence results, from thence delight.
The stream is so transparent, pure, and clear,
That had the self-enamour'd youth gaz'd here,
So fatally deceiv'd he had not been,
While he the bottom, not his face, had seen.
But his proud head the airy mountain hides
Among the clouds; his shoulders and his sides
A shady mantle clothes : his curled brows
Frown on the gentle stream, which calmly flows,
While winds and storms his lofty forehead beat;
The common fate of all that's high or great.
Low at his foot a spacious plain is plac'd,
Between the mountain and the stream embrac'd,
Which shade and shelter from the Hill derives,
While the kind river wealth and beauty gives,
And in the mixture of all these appears
Variety, which all the rest endears.
This scene had some bold Greek or British bard
Beheld of old, what stories had we heard
Of Fairies, Satyrs, and the Nymphs, their dames,
Their feasts, their revels, and their amorous flames
Tis still the same, although their airy shape
All but a quick poetic sight escape.
There Faunus and Sylvanus keep their courts,
And thither all the horned host resorts
To graze the ranker mead ; that noble herd
On whose sublime and shady fronts is rear'd
Nature's great masterpiece, to show how soon
Great things are made, but sooner are undone.
Here have I seen the king, when great affairs
Gave leave to slacken and unbend his cares,
Attended to the chase by all the flow'r
Of youth, whose hopes a nobler prey devour;
Pleasure with praise and danger they would buy,
And wish a foe that would not only fly.
The stag now conscious of his fatal growth,
At once indulgent to his fear and sloth,
To some dark covert his retreat had made,
Where nor man's eye, nor Heaven's, should invade
His soft repose; when the' unexpected sound
Of dogs and men his wakeful ear does wound.
Rous'd with the noise, he scarce believes his ear,
Willing to think the illusions of his fear
Had given this false alarm, but straight his view
Confirms, that more than all he fears is true.
Betray'd in all his strengths, the wood beset,
All instruments, all arts of ruin met,
He calls to mind his strength, and then his speed,
His winged heels, and then his armed head;
With these to avoid, with that his fate to meet,
But fear prevails, and bids him trust his feet.
So fast he flies, that his reviewing eye
Has lost the chasers, and his ear the cry ;
Exulting, till he finds their nobler sense
Their disproportion'd speed doth recompense :
Then curses his conspiring feet, whose scent
Betrays that safety which their swiftness lent :
Then tries his friends; among the baser herd,
Where he so lately was obey'd and fear'd,
His safety seeks: the herd, unkindly wise,
Os chases him from thence or from him tlies.