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N times when princes cancel’d nature's law,
And declarations which themselves did draw; When children us’d their parents to dethrone, And gnaw their
way, like vipers, to the crown; Tarquin, a savage, proud, anbitious prince, Prompt to expel, yet thoughtless of defence, The envied scepter did from Tullius snatch, The Roman king, and father by the match. To form his party, histories report, A sanctuary was open’d in his court, Where glad offenders safely might resort. Great was the crowd, and wondrous the success, For those were fruitful times of wickedness; And all, that liv'd obnoxious to the laws, Flock'd to prince Tarquin, and embrac'd his cause. 'Mongst these a pagan priest for refuge fled ; A prophet deep in godly faction read; A sycophant, that knew the modish way To cant and plot, to flatter and betray, To whine and sin, to scribble and recant, A shameless author, and a lustful faint. To serve all times he could distinctions coin, And with great ease flat contradictions join : A traitor now, once loyal in extreme, And then obedience was his only theme : He sung in temples the most passive lays, And wearied monarchs with repeated praise ;
But manag’d aukwardly that lawful part;
To vent foul lies and treason was his art,
And pointed libels at crown'd heads to dart.
This priest, and others learned to defame,
First murder injur'd Tullius in his name ;
With blackest calumnies their sovereign load,
A poison’d brother, and dark league abroad;
A son unjustly top'd upon the throne,
Which yet was prov'd undoubtedly his own ;
Though, as the law was there, 'twas his behoof,
Who dispossess'd the heir, to bring the proof.
This hellish charge they back'd with dismal frights,
The loss of property and sacred rights,
And freedom, words which all false patriots use,
As surest names the Romans to abuse.
Jealous of kings, and always malecontent,
Forward in change, yet certain to repent.
Whilst thus the plotters needful fears create,
Tarquin with open force invades the state.
Lewd nobles join him with their feeble might,
And atheist fools for dear religion fight.
The priests their boasted principles disown,
And level their harangues against the throne.
Vain promises the people's minds allure,
Slight were their ills, but desperate the cure.
'Tis hard for kings to steer an equal course,
And they who banish one, oft gain a worse.
Those heavenly bodies we admire above,
Do every day irregularly move;
Yet Tullius, tis decreed, must lose the crown,
For faults, that were his council's, not his own.
He now in vain commands ev’n those he pay'd,
By darling troops deserted and betray'd,
By creatures which his generous warmth had made.
Of these a captain of the guards was worst,
Whose memory to this day ftands accurft.
This rogue, advanc'd to military trust
By his own whoredom, and his sister's lust,
Forsook his master, after dreadful vows,
And plotted to betray him to his foes ;
The kindest inaster to the vileit flave,
As free to give, as he was sure to crave.
His haughty female, who, as books declare,
Did always toss wide noftrils in the air,
Was to the younger Tullia governess,
And did attend her, when, in borrow'd dress,
She Aed by night from Tullius in distress.
This wretch, by letters, did invite his foes,
And us’d all arts her father to depose ;
A father, always generously bent,
So kind, that ev’n her wishes he'd prevent.
'Twas now high time for Tullius to retreat,
When ev’n his daughter hasten’d his defeat;
When faith and duty vanilh’d, and no more
The name of father and of king he bore :
A king, whose right his foes could ne'er dispute ;
So mild, that mercy was his attribute ;
Affable, kind, and cafy of access;
Swift to relieve, unwilling to oppress;
Rich without taxes, yet in payınent juft ;
So honest, that he hardly could distrust;
His active soul from labours ne'er did cease,
Valiant in war, and vigilant in peace ;
Studious with traffick to enrich the land;
Strong to protect, and ikilful to command;
Liberal and splendid, yet without excess ;
Prone to relieve, unwilling to distress ;
In sum, how godlike must his nature be,
Whose only fault was too much piety!
This king remov’d, th' assembled states thought fic
That Tarquin in the vacant throne should fit;
Voted him regent in their fenate-house,
And with an empty name endow'd his spouse,
The elder Tullia, who, some authors feign,
Drove o'er her father's corpse a rumbling wain :
But she more guilty numerous wains did drive
To crush her father and her king alive ;
And in remembrance of his haften'd fall,
Resolv’d to institute a weekly ball.
The jolly glutton grew in bulk and chin,
Feaited on rapine, and enjoy'd her fin;
With luxury she did weak reason force,
Debauch'd good-nature, and cram'd down remorse ;
Yet when she drank cold tea in liberal sups,
The fobbing dame was maudling in her cups.
But brutal Tarquin never did relent,
Too hard to melt, too wicked to repent ;
Cruel in deeds, more merciless in will,
And bleft with natural delight in ill.
From a wise guardian he receiv'd his doom
To walk the Change, and not to govern Rome.
He swore his native honours to disown,
And did by perjury ascend the throne.
Oh! had that oath his swelling pride represt,
Rome had been then with peace and plenty bleft.
But Tarquin, guided by destructive fate,
The country wasted, and embroil'd the state,
Transported to their foes the Roman pelf,
And by their ruin hop'd to save himself.
Innumerable woes oppress’d the land,
When it submitted to his curs'd command,
So just was heaven, that 'twas hard to tell,
Whether its guilt or losses did excell.
Men that renounc'd their God for dearer trade,
Were then the guardians of religion made.
Rebels were sainted, foreigners did reign,
Outlaws return’d, preferment to obtain,
With frogs, and toads, and all their croaking train.
No native knew their features nor their birth,
They seem'd the greasy offspring of the earth.
The trade was funk, the fleet and army spent;
Devouring taxes swallow'd lesser rent;
Taxes impos'd by no authority;
Each lewd collection was a robbery.
Bold self-creating men did statutes draw,
Skill'd to establish villainy by law;
Fanatic drivers, whose unjust careers
Produc'd new ills exceeding former fears.