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AN ENGLISH BALLAD
ON THE TAKING OF NAMUR BY THE KING OF
GREAT BRITAIN, MDCXCV.
Dulce est desipere in loco.”
I. ØOMEfolksare drunk, yet do not know it. * So might not Bacchus give you law? Was it a Muse, 0 lofty Poet, Or virgin of St. Cyr, you saw? Why all this fury? What's the matter, That oaks must come from Thrace to dance 2 Must stupid stocks be taught to flatter? And is there no such wood in France? Why must the winds all hold their tongue? If they a little breath should raise, 1C Would that have spoil'd the Poet's song, Or puff'd away the monarch's praise?
II. Pindar, that eagle, mounts the skies: While Virtue leads the noble way: Too like a vulture Boileau flies, Where sordid Int’rest shows the prey. When once the Poet's honour ceases, From reason far his transports rove: And Boileau, for eight hundred pieces, Makes Louis take the wall of Jove. 20 * This ballad received great alterations after the first ediIII. Est-ce Apollon & Neptune, Qui sur ces rocs sourcilleux Ont, compagnons de fortune, Basti ces murs orgueilleux ? De leur enceinte fameuse La Sambre unie à la Meuse, Défend le fatal abord ; Et par cent bouches horribles L'airain sur ces monts terribles Vomit le fer, & la mort. 30
tion of it. The taking of Namur by the French in the year 1692, and the retaking it by the English in the year 1695, were considered by each nation as events which contributed to raise the honour and reputation of the respective kingdoms. Both sieges were carried on by the rival monarchs in person, and the success of each was celebrated by the best writers of the times. It may be doubted whether there ever was a burlesque more agreeably or happily executed than this by our excellent countryman.
III. Neptune and Sol came from above, Shap'd like Megrigny and Vauban : * They arm'd these rocks: then show'd old Jove Of Marli wood, the wondrous plan. Such walls, these three wise gods agreed, By human force could ne'er be shaken: But you and I in Homer read Of gods, as well as men, mistaken. Sambre and Maese their waves may join; But ne'er can William's force restrain: 30 He'll pass them both, who pass'd the Boyne:t Remember this and arm the Seine.
IV. Full fifteen thousand lusty fellows With fire and sword the fort maintain ; Each was a Hercules, you tell us, Yet out they march'd like common men. Cannons above, and mines below, Did death and tombs for foes contrive: Yet matters have been order'd so, That most of us are still alive. 4C
If Namur be compar'd to Troy;
Their siege did ten long years employ;
* Two celebrated engineers.
ł In the year 1690, notwithstanding numberless difficulties, this famous passage of the river brought on a general engagement, which entirely destroyed the power of King James, and put an end to every hope of success, which he habefore entertained from his expedition to Ireland.
Quelle effroyable Puissance
N'en doute point : c'est luy-mesme.
Plein de la frayeur nouvelle,
What godhead does so fast advance,
WI. Our king thus trembles at Namur, Whilst Willeroy, who ne'er afraid is,t To Bruxelles marches on secure, To bemb the monks and scare the ladies. After this glorious expedition, One battle makes the marshal great: He must perform the king's commission: Who knows, but Orange may retreat? 60 Kings are allow'd to feign the gout, Or be prevail'd with not to fight: And mighty Louis hop'd, no doubt, That William would preserve that right.
VII. From Seine and Loire, to Rhone and Po, See every mother's son appear: In such a case ne'er blame a foe, If he betrays some little fear. He comes, the mighty Willeroy conies; Finds a small river in his way; 70 * Mons surrendered to Louis XIV. 10th April, 1691. + While King William was carrying on the siege of Namur, Marshal Willeroy, in order to compel him to re
linquish that design, marched to Brussels and bombarded that town.