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Thy radiant voyages for ever run,
Yielding to none but Cynthia and the Sun:
With thy fair aspect still illustrate Heaven:
Kindly preserve what thou hast greatly given:
Thy influence for thy Anna we implore;
Prolong one life; and Britain asks no more:
For virtue can no ampler power express,
Than to be great in war, and good in peace:
For thought no higher wish of bliss can frame,
Than to enjoy that virtue still the same.
Entire and sure the monarch's rule must prove,
Who founds her greatness on her subjects' love;
Who does our homage for our good require;
And orders that which we should first desire:
Our vanquish'd wills that pleasing force obey,
Her goodness takes our liberty away,
And haughty Britain yields to arbitrary sway.
Let the young Austrian then her terrors bear,
Great as he is, her delegate in war:
Let him in thunder speak to both his Spains,
That in these dreadful isles a woman reigns.
While the bright queen does on her subjects shower
The gentle blessings of her softer power;
Give sacred morals to a vicious age,
To temples zeal, and manners to the stage;
Bids the chaste Muse without a blush appear;
And wit be that which Heaven and she may hear.
Minerva thus to Perseus lent her shield;
Secure of conquest, sent him to the field:
The hero acted what the queen ordain'd :
So was his fame complete, and Andromede un-
Meantime amidst her native temples sate
The goddess, studious of her Grecian's fate,
Taught them in laws and letters to excel,
In acting justly, and in writing well.
Thus whilst she did her various power dispose,
The world was freed from tyrants, wars, and woes:
Virtue was taught in verse, and Athen’s glory rose.
A LETTER TO MONSIEUR BOILEAUDESPREAUX, OCCASIONED BY THE VICTORY AT BLENHEIM, MDCCIv.
Cupidum, pater optime, vires
Deficiunt: neque enim quivis horrentia pilis
Agmina, nec fractä pereuntes cuspide Gallos.
HoR. Sat. I. L. 2.
SINCE hir'd for life, thy servile Muse must sing
Successive conquests, and a glorious king ;
Must of a man immortal vainly boast,
And bring him laurels, whatsoe'er they cost:
What turn wilt thou employ, what colours lay
On the event of that superior day,
In which one English subject's prosperous hand
(So Jove did will; so Anna did command)
Broke the proud column of thy master's praise,
Which sixty winters had conspir'd to raise?
From the lost field a hundred standards brought I fost be the work of Chance, and Fortune's fault: }}avaria's stars must be accus'd, which shone That fatal day the mighty work was done, With rays oblique upon the Gallic sun. Some d mol, envying Franc misld to. fight; And Mars mistook, though Louis order'd right.
When thy” young Muse invok'd the tuneful Nine, To say how Louis did not pass the Rhine, What work had we with Wageninghen, Arnheim, Places that could not be reduc’d to rhyme ! And though the poet made his last efforts, Wurts—who could mention in heroic—Wurts 2 }}ut, tell me, hast thou reason to complain Of the rough triumphs of the last campaign; The Danube rescued, and the empire sav’d, Say, is the majesty of verse retriev'd : And would it prejudice thy softer vein, To sing the princes, Louis and Eugene 2 is it too hard in happy verse to place The Vans and Vanders of the Rhine and Maes 2 Her warriors Anna sends from Tweed and Thames, That France may fall by more harmonious names, Canst thou not Hamilton or Lumley bear? Would Ingoldsby or Palmes offend thy ear? And is there not a sound in Marlborough's name, Which thou, and all thy brethren ought to claim, Sacred to verse, and sure of endless fame *
1 Epistre 4. du Sr. Boileau Despreaux au Roy.
En vain, pour te loier, &c.
Cutts is in metre something harsh to read: Place me the valiant Gouram in his stead : Let the intention make the number good: Let generous Sylvius speak for honest Wood. And though rough Churchill scarce in verse will
So as to have one rhyme at his command :
With ease the bard reciting Blenheim's plain,
May close the verse, remembering but the Dane.
I grant, old friend, old foe, (for such we are
Alternate as the chance of peace and war)
That we poetic folks, who must restrain
Our measur’d sayings in an equal chain,
Have troubles utterly unknown to those
Who let their fancy loose in rambling prose.
For instance now, how hard is it for me
To make my matter and my verse agrees
“In one great day on IIochstet's fatal plain,
French and Bavarians twenty thousand slain;
Push'd through the Danube to the shores of
Squadrons eighteen, battalions twenty-six:
Officers captive made and private men,
Of these twelve hundred, of those thousands ten.
Tents, ammunition, colours, carriages,
Cannon, and kettle-drums”—sweet numbers these
But is it thus you English bards compose 2
With Runic lays thus tag insipid prose?
And when you should your heroes' deeds rehearse.
Give us a commissary’s list in verse 2
WOL. I. . 16
Why, faith ! Despreaux, there's sense in what
I told you where my difficulty lay:
So vast, so numerous were great Blenheim's spoils,
They scorn the bounds of verse, and mock the
To make the rough recital aptly chime,
Or bring the sum of Gallia’s loss to rhyme,
'Tis mighty hard: what poet would essay
To count the streamers of my Lord Mayor's-day f
To number all the several dishes drest
I3y honest Lamb, last coronation feast
Or make arithmetic and epic meet,
And Newton's thoughts in Dryden's style repeat?
O Poet, had it been Apollo's will,
That I had shar'd a portion of thy skill:
Had this poor breast receiv'd the heavenly beam;
Or could I hope my verse might reach my theme;
Yet, Boileau, yet the labouring Muse should
Beneath the shades of Marlborough's wreaths to
Should call aspiring gods to bless her choice;
And to their favourite strains exalt her voice,
Arms and a queen to sing ; who, great and good,
From peaceful Thames to Danube's wandering
Sent forth the terror of her high commands,
To save the nations from invading hands,
To prop fair Liberty's declining cause,
And fix the jarring world with equal laws.