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ODE

SUR LA PRISE DE NAMUR, PAR LES ARMEs Du

ROY, L'ANNEE MDCXCII. PAR MONSIEUR

BOILEAU DESPREAUX.

QUELLE docte et sainte yvresse
Aujourd'huy me fait la loy ?
Chastes nymphes du Permesse,
N'est-ce pas vous que je voy ?
Accourez, troupe sçavante :
Des sons que ma lyre enfante
Ces arbres sont réjoüis :
Marquez en bien la cadence :
Et vous, vents, faites silence :
Je vais parler de Louis.

Dans ses chansons immortelles,
Comme un aigle audacieux,
Pindare étendant ses aisles,
Fuit loin des vulgaires yeux.
Mais, ô ma fidèle lyre,
Si, dans l'ardeur qui m'inspire,
Tu peux suivre mes transports ;
Les chesnes des monts de Thrace
N'ont rien oüi, que n'efface
La douceur de tes accords.

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AN ENGLISH BALLAD ON THE TAKING OF NAMUR BY THE KING OF GREAT BRITAIN, MDCXCV.

Dulce est desipere in loco.1

SoME folks are drunk, yet do not know it:
So might not Bacchus give you law Ż
Was it a Muse, O lofty Poet,
Or virgin of St. Cyr, you saw 2
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 2
Why must the winds all hold their tongue?
If they a little breath should raise,
Would that have spoil'd the Poet's song,
Or puff'd away the monarch's praise?

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.

1 This ballad received great alterations after the first edition of it. The taking of Namur by the French in the year

Est-ce Apollon et 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, et la mort.

Dix mille vaillans Alcides
Les bordant de toutes parts,
D'éclairs au loin homicides
Font petiller, leurs remparts :
Et dans sons sein infidèle
Par toute la terre y recèle
Un feu prest à s'élancer,
Qui soudain perçant son goufre,
Ouvre un sépulchre de soufre,
A quiconque ose avancer.

Namur, devant tes murailles
Jadis la Grèce eust vingt ans

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.

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Neptune and Sol came from above,
Shap'd like Megrigny and the 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 :
He'll pass them both, who pass'd the Boyne:*
Remember this and arm the Seine.

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.

If Namur be compar'd to Troy;
Then Britain's boys excell'd the Greeks:

1 Two celebrated engineers.

2 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 had before entertained from his expedition to Ireland.

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