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POEM ON THE PRINCE,
BORN ON THE TENTH OF JUNE, 1688.
OUR vows are heard betimes! and Heaven
takes care To grant, before we can conclude the prayer:
# " On the 10th of June, 1688, the queen was suddenly seized with labour-pains, and delivered of a fon, who was haptized by the name of James, and declared Prince of Wales. All the catholics and friends of James were transported with the most extravagant joy at the birth of this child; while great part of the nation consoled themselves with the notion that it was altogether fuppofititious. They carefully collected a variety of circumstances, upon which this conjecture was founded; and though they were inconfiftent, contradictory, and inconclufive, the inference was so agrecable to the views and passions of the people, that it made an impression which, in all probability, will never be totally effaced. Dr. Burnet, who seems to have been at uncommon pains to establish this belief, and to have consulted all the Whig nurses in England upon the subject; first pretends to demonstrate, that the queen was not with child; secondly, that she was with child, but miscarried ; thirdly, that a child was brought into the queen's apartment in a warming, pan; fourthly, that there was no child at all in the room ; fifthly, that the queen actually bore a child, but it died that same day; sixthly, that the fupposititious child had not the fits; seventhly, that it had the fits, of which it died at Richmond : therefore the Chevalier de St. George must be the fruit of four different impostures.” Smollett's History of England.
DERRICK. Ver. 1. Our vows ure heard] It might be expected, that a late and zealous convert to popery would join in the general ịriumph and exultation, felt by all his brethren, on the birth of a prince who might be the means of perpetuating the Catholic
Preventing angels met it half the
way, And sent us back to praise, who came to pray.
Just on the day, when the high-mounted fun Did farthest in his northern progress run,
6 Ile bended forward, and ev'n stretch'd the
Departing Spring could only stay to shed
Jam nova progenies cælo demittitur alto. Which was the motto of a long poem in hexameter verse, and not bad Latin, now before me, written by Mr. J. Plowden at this time. Buruet certainly has disgraced his history by collecting all the idle and incredible tales, and inconsistent accounts of the birth of this prince, in order to prove it was a fuppofititious child, and has given a narration more worthy of a nurse or midwife, than of a bishop and historian. King William, with that generosity and magnanimity that distinguished his character, gave no credit or countenance to this improbable fiction.
Dr. J. WARTON. Ver. 6.
in his northern progress] Thus the original edition in 1688. Derrick has its.
TODD. Ver. 13. Her bloomy beauties] Original edition. Derrick, by an absurd error, has gloomy.
* Last folemn fabbath saw the Church at
The Paraclete in fiery pomp descend;
Or did the mighty Trinity conspire,
Hail son of prayers ! by holy violence Drawn down from heaven; but long be ba.
nish'd thence, And late to thy paternal skies retire: To mend our crimes whole ages would require;
• Whit-Sunday. Original edition. Ver. 20. The Paraclete in fiery pomp descend ;) So Parnell : The fiery pomp ascending left the view.
JOHN WARTON. + Trinity Sunday. Original edition. Ver. 37. And late to thy paternal skies retire :) Serus in cælum redeas. Hor.
To change the inveterate habit of our fins,
The facred cradle to your charge receive,
Our wants exact at least that moderate stay For see the Dragon * winged on his way, To watch the travail , and devour the prey. Or, if allusions may not rise so high, Thus, when Alcides rais'd his infant cry, The snakes besieg’d his young divinity: But vainly with their forked tongues they threat; For opposition makes a hero great. To needful fuccour all the good will run, And Jove affert the godhead of his son.
O still repining at your present state, Grudging yourselves the benefits of fate, this running century] Orig. edition.
Todd. Ver. 50.
his fon] Orig. edit. Derrick has this fon.
TODD. * Alluding only to the Commonwealth party, here and in other places of the poem. Original edition.
+ Rev. xii, 4. Original edition.
Look up, and read in characters of light
your own despight. The manna falls, yet that celestial bread Like Jews you munch, and murmur while you
70 Though poets are not prophets, to foreknow What plants will take the blight, and what will
grow, By tracing heaven his footsteps may be found: Behold ! how awfully he walks the round! God is abroad, and, wond'rous in his ways, The rife of empires, and their fall surveys; More (might I say) than with an usual eye, He sees his bleeding Church in ruin lie, And hears the souls of saints beneath his
Already has he lifted high the sign *,
stantine : The moon + grows pale at that presaging light, And half her train of stars have lost their light.
The cross. Original edition. + The crescent which the Turks bear for their arms. Orig. edition.