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All acts of outrage and all acts of shame [name:
Stalk'd forth at large, disguised with Honour's
Rebellion, raising high her bloody hand,
Spread universal havoc through the land;
With zeal for party, and with passion drunk,
In public rage all private love was sunk;
Friend against friend, brother’gainst brother stood,
And the son's weapon drank the father's blood :
Nature, aghast, and fearful lest her reign
Should last no longer, bled in every vein.
Unhappy Stuart! harshly though that name
Grates on my ear, I should have died with shame
To see my king before his subjects stand,
And at their bar hold up his royal hand;
At their commands to hear the monarch plead,
By their decrees to see that monarch bleed!
What though thy faults were many and were great?
What though they shook the basis of the state ?
In royalty secure thy person stood,
And sacred was the fountain of thy blood.
Vile ministers, who dared abuse their trust,
Who dared seduce a king to be unjust,
Vengeance, with justice leagued, with power
made strong, Had nobly crush'd: “The king could do no wrong.' Yet grieve not, Charles ! nor thy hard fortunes
blame; They took thy life, but they secured thy fame; Their greater crimes made thine like specks appear, From which the sun in glory is not clear. Hadst thou in peace and years resign'd thy breath; At Nature's call hadst thou laid down in death, As in a sleep, thy name by Justice borne On the four winds, had been in pieces torn.
Pity, the virtue of a generous soul,
Sometimes the vice, hath made thy memory whole.
Misfortunes gave what virtue could not give,
And bade, the tyrant slain, the martyr live.
Ye Princes of the earth! ye mighty few!
Who, worlds subduing, can't yourselves subdue;
Who, goodness scorn'd, wish only to be great,
Whose breath is blasting, and whose voice is fate;
Who own no law, no reason but your will,
And scorn restraint, though 'tis from doing ill;
Who of all passions groan beneath the worst,
Then only bless'd when they make others cursed ;
Think not, for wrongs like these, unscourged to
Long may ye sin, and long may Heaven forgive;
But when ye least expect, in sorrow's day,
Vengeance shall fall more heavy for delay;
Nor think, that vengeance heap'd on you alone
Shall (poor amends) for injured worlds atone;
No; like some base distemper, which remains,
Transmitted from the tainted father's veins
In the son's blood, such broad and general crimes
Shall call down vengeance e'en to latest'times,
Call vengeance down on all who bear your name,
And make their portion bitterness and shame.
From land to land for years compell’d to roam,
Whilst Usurpation lorded it at home,
Of majesty unmindful, forced to fly,
Not daring, like a king, to reign or die;
Recall’d to repossess his lawful throne
More at his people's seeking than his own,
Another Ch succeeded. In the school
Of travel he had learn’d to play the fool,
And, like pert pupils with dull tutors sent
To shame their country on the Continent,
From love of England by long absence wean'd,
From every court he every folly glean’d,
And was, so close do evil habits cling,
Till crown'd a beggar, and when crown'd no king.
Those grand and general powers which Heaven
An instance of his mercy to mankind [design'd
Were lost, in storms of dissipation hurld,
Nor would he give one hour to bless a world;
Lighter than levity which strides the blast,
And of the present fond, forgets the past,
He changed and changed, but every hope to curse,
Changed only from one folly to a worse:
State he resign’d to those whom state could please;
Careless of majesty, his wish was ease ;
Pleasure, and pleasure only was his aim;
Kings of less wit might hunt the bubble fame :
Dignity through his reign was made a sport,
Nor dared Decorum show her face at court:
Morality was held a standing jest,
And faith a necessary fraud at best:
Courtiers, their monarch_ever in their view,
Possess'd great talents and abused them too :
Whate'er was light, impertinent, and vain,
Whate'er was loose, indecent, and profane
(So ripe was folly folly to acquit)
Stood all absolved in that poor bauble wit.
In gratitude, alas! but little read,
He let his father's servants beg their bread *,
His father's faithful servants and his own,
To place the foes of both around his throne.
Bad counsels he embraced through indolence, Through love of ease, and not through wantofsense ;
* The loyalists had great cause to feel disappointed at the neglect their claims experienced after the Restoration.
He saw them wrong, but rather let them go As right than take the pains to make them so.
Women ruled all, and ministers of state Were for commands at toilets forced to wait; Women who have as monarchs graced the land, But never govern'd well at second hand.
To make all other errors slight appear,
In memory fix'd stand Dunkirk * and Tangiert;
In memory fix'd so deep that time in vain
Shall strive to wipe those records from the brain,
Amboyna stands #—Gods! that a king should hold
In such high estimate vile paltry gold,
And of his duty be so careless found
That when the blood of subjects from the ground
For vengeance call’d, he should reject their cry,
And, bribed from honour, lay his thunders by,
Give Holland peace, whilst English victims
And butcher'd subjects wander'd unatoned !
Oh dear, deep injury to England's fame,
To them, to us, to all! to him deep shame!
Of all the passions which from frailty spring,
Avarice is that which least becomes a king.
To crown the whole, scorning the public good,
Which through his reign he little understood
Or little heeded, with too narrow aim
He reassumed a bigot brother's claim,
And, having made time-serving senates bow,
Suddenly died, that brother best knew how *.
No matter how-he slept amongst the dead,
And James, his brother, reigned in his stead :
But such a reign-so glaring an offence
In every step 'gainst freedom, law, and sense,
'Gainst all the rights of Nature's general plan,
'Gainst all which constitutes an Englishman,
That the relation would mere fiction seem,
The mock creation of a poet's dream;
And the poor bards would, in this sceptic age,
Appear as false as their historian's page t.
Ambitious folly seized the seat of wit, Christians were forced by bigots to submit; Pride without sense, without religion zeal Made daring inroads on the commonweal; Stern Persecution raised her iron rod, And call’d the pride of kings the power of God; Conscience and fame were sacrificed to Rome, And England wept at Freedom's sacred tomb.
Her laws despised, her constitution wrench'd From its due natural frame, her rights retrench'd Beyond a coward's sufferance, conscience forced, And healing justice from the crown divorced, Each moment pregnant with vile acts of power, Her patriot bishops sentenced to the Tower, Her Oxford (who yet loves the Stuart name) Branded with arbitrary marks of shame,