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All this the mild, the beauteous queen has done,
And William’s softer half shakes Lewis’ throne :
Maria does the sea command
Whilst Gallia flies her husband's arms by land.
So, the sun absent, with full sway the moon
Governs the isles, and rules the waves alone:
So Juno thunders when her Jove is gone.
Io Britannia! loose thy ocean's chains,
Whilst Russel strikes the blow thy queen ordains:
Thus rescued, thus rever'd, for ever stand,
And bless the counsel, and reward the hand,
Jo Britannia! thy Maria reigns.
From Mary’s conquests, and the rescued main,
Let France look back to Sambre's armed shore,
And boast her joy for William's death no more.
He lives; let France confess, the victor lives:
Her triumphs for his death were vain,
And spoke her terror of his life too plain.
The mighty years begin, the day draws nigh,
In which that one of Lewis' many wives,
1. At the battle of Boyne, King William being slightly wounded with a cannon ball, a report was spread which reached France, that he was killed; “And upon it,” says Bishop Durnet, “there were more public rejoicings, than had been usual upon their greatest victories: which gave that court afterwards a vast confusion, when they knew that he was still alive; and saw, that they had raised in their own people a high opinion of him by their inhuman joy, when they believed him, dead.” History of his own Times, vol. iii. p. 68.
Who, by the baleful force of guilty charms,
Has long enthrall'd him in her wither'd arms,
Shall o'er the plains, from distant towers on high,
Cast around her mournful eye,
And with prophetic sorrow cry:
“Why does my ruin'd lord retard his flight?
Why does despair provoke his age to fight?
As well the wolf may venture to engage
The angry lion's generous rage;
The ravenous vulture, and the bird of night,
As safely tempt the stooping eagle's flight;
As Lewis to unequal arms defy
Yon hero, crown'd with blooming victory,
Just triumphing o'er rebel rage restrain'd,
And yet unbreath’d from battles gain'd.
See all yon dusty field's quite cover'd o'er
With hostile troops, and Orange at their head;
Orange, destin'd to complete
The great designs of labouring fate;
Orange, the name that tyrants dread:
He comes; our ruin’d empire is no more;
Down, like the Persian, goes the Gallic throne;
Darius flies, young Ammon urges on.”
Now from the dubious battle's mingled heat,
Let fear look back, and stretch her hasty wing,
Impatient to secure a base retreat:
Let the pale coward leave his wounded king,
For the vile privilege to breathe,
To live with shame in dread of glorious death !
In vain: for fate has swifter wings than fear,
She follows hard, and strikes him in the rear;
Dying and mad the traitor bites the ground,
His back transfix’d with a dishonest wound ;
While through the fiercest troops, and thickest press,
Virtue carries on success; [brave.
Whilst equal heaven guards the distinguish’d
And armies cannot hurt whom angels save.
Virtue to verse immortal lustre gives,
Each by the other's mutual friendship lives;
AEneas suffer'd, and Achilles fought,
The hero's acts enlarg’d the poet's thought,
Or Virgil's majesty, and Homer's rage,
Had ne'er like lasting nature vanquish'd age.
Whilst Lewis then his rising terror drowns
With drums' alarms, and trumpets' sounds,
Whilst, hid in arm'd retreats and guarded towns,
From danger as from honour far,
He bribes close murder against open war:
In vain you Gallic muses strive
With labour’d verse to keep his fame alive:
Your mouldering monuments in vain ye raise
On the weak basis of the tyrant's praise:
Your songs are sold, your numbers are profane,
'Tis incense to an idol given, |
Meat offer'd to Prometheus' man
That had no soul from heaven.
Against his will you chain your frighted king
On rapid Rhine's divided bed;
And mock your hero, whilst ye sing
The wounds for which he never bled : Falsehood does poison on your praise diffuse, And Lewis’ fear gives death to Boileau's muse.
On its own worth true majesty is rear'd,
And virtue is her own reward ;
With solid beams and native glory bright,
She neither darkness dreads, nor covets light;
True to herself, and fix’d to inborn laws,
Nor sunk by spite, nor lifted by applause,
She from her settled orb looks calmly down,
On life or death, a prison or a crown.
When bound in double chains poor Belgia lay,
To foreign arms and inward strife a prey,
Whilst one good man buoy’d up her sinking state,
And virtue labour'd against fate;
When fortune basely with ambition join'd,
And all was conquer'd but the patriot's mind;
When storms let loose, and raging seas,
Just ready the torn vessel to o'erwhelm,
Forc’d not the faithful pilot from his helm,
Nor all the syren songs of future peace,
And dazzling prospect of a promis'd crown,
Could lure his stubborn virtue down ;
But against charms, and threats, and hell, he stood,
To that which was severely good;
Then, had no trophies justified his fame,
No poet blest his song with Nassau's name,
Virtue alone did all that honour bring,
And Heaven as plainly pointed out the king,
As when he at the altar stood
In all his types and robes of power,
Whilst at his feet religious Britain bow’d,
And own’d him next to what we there adore.
Say, joyful Maese, and Boyne's victorious flood,
(For each has mixt his waves with royal blood)
When William's armies past, did he retire,
Or view from far the battle's distant fire 2
Could he believe his person was too dear?
Or use his greatness to conceal his fear 2
Could prayers or sighs the dauntless hero move?
Arm'd with Heaven's justice, and his people's love,
Thro' the first waves he wing'd his venturous way,
And on the adverse shore arose,
(Ten thousand flying deaths in vain oppose.)
Like the great ruler of the day, [sea:
With strength and swiftness mounting from the
Like him all day he toil'd ; but long in night
The god had eas'd his wearied light,
Ere vengeance left the stubborn foes,
Or William's labours found repose 1
When his troops falter'd, stept not he between 2
Restor'd the dubious fight again,
Mark'd out the coward that durst fly,
And led the fainting brave to victory?
Still as she fled him, did he not o'ertake
Her doubtful course, still brought her bleeding