« ПредишнаНапред »
. To the METROPOLIS OF GREAT BRITAIN, the
most renowned and late flourishing CITY of LONDON, in its REPRESENTATIVES, the LORD-Mayor and Court of AlderMen, the Sheriffs, and COMMON-COUNCIL of it,
As perhaps I am the first who ever presented a work
of this nature to the metropolis of any nation ; so it is likewise confonant to justice, that he who was to give the first example of such a dedication should begin it with that city, which has set a pattern to all others of true loyalty, invincible courage, and unshaken constancy. Other cities have been praised for the same virtues, but I am much deceived if any have fo dearly purchased their reputation ; their fame has been won them by cheaper trials than an expensive, though, necessary war, a consuming pestilence, and a more confuming fire. To submit yourselves with that humility . to the judgments of heaven, and at the same time to raise yourselves with that vigour above all human enemies
; to be combated at once from above and from below, to be struck down and to triumph : I know not whether such trials have been ever paralleled in any nation : the resolution and successes of them never can be. Never had prince or people more mutual reason to love each other, if suffering for each other can endear affection. You have come together a pair of matchless lovers, through many difficulties; he, through a long exile, various traverses of fortune, and the interposition
of many rivals, who violently ravished and with-held you from him : and certainly you have had your share in sufferings. But Providence has cast upon you want of trade, that you might appear bountiful to your country's necessities ; and the rest of your afflictions are not more the effects of God's displeasure (frequent examples of them having been in the reign of the most excellent princes) than occasions for the manifesting of your christian and civil virtues. To you therefore this Year of Wonders is justly dedicated, because you have made it so. You, who are to stand a wonder to all years and ages ; and who have built yourselves an immortal monument on your own ruins. You are now a Phænix in her ashes, and, as far as humanity can approach, a great emblem of the suffering Deity : but heaven never made so much piety and virtue to leave it miserable. I have heard, indeed, of some virtuous persons who have ended unfortunately, but never of any virtuous nation : Providence is engaged too deeply when the cause becomes so general; and I cannot imagine it has resolved the ruin of that people at home, which it has blessed abroad with such successes. I am therefore to conclude, that
your sufferings are at an end ; and that one part of my poem has not been more an history of your destruction, than the other a prophecy of your restoration. The accomplishment of which happiness, as it is the wish of all true Englishmen, so is it by none more passionately desired, than by,
The greatest of your admirers,
An Account of the ensuing POEM,
In a LETTER to the
Hon. Sir ROBERT HOWARD.
I AM so many ways obliged to you, and so little
able to return your favours, that, like those who owe too much, I can only live by getting farther into
You have not only been careful of my fortune, which was the effect of your nobleness, but you have been solicitous of my reputation, which is that of your kindness. It is not long since I gave you the trouble of perusing a play for me, and now, instead of an acknowledgment, I have given you a greater, in the correction of a poem. But since you are to bear this persecution, I will at least give you the
encouragement of a martyr; you could never suiter in a nobler cause. For I have chosen the most heroic subject, which any poet could desire : I have taken upon me to describe the motives, the beginning, progress, and fuccesses, of a molt just and necessary war; in it, the care, management, and prudence of our king; the conduct and valour of a royal admiral, and of two incomparable generals; the invincible courage of our captains and seamen ; and three glorious victories, the result of all. After this, I have, in the Fire, the most deplorable, but withal the greatest, argument that can be imaVol. I.