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On William's fame their fate depends: 464 With him the song begins, with him it ends; From this bright effluence of his deed They borrow that reflected light, With which the lasting lamp they feed, Whose beams dispel the damps of envious night.
Through various climes, and to each distant pole, 470
In happy tides let active commerce roll:
Let Britain's ships export an annual fleece,
Richer than Argo brought to ancient Greece;
Returning loaden with the shining stores,
Which lie profuse on either India's shores.
As our high vessels pass their watery way,
Let all the naval world due homage pay;
With hasty reverence their top-honours lower,
Confessing the asserted power,
To whom by fate ’twas given, with happy sway 480
To calm the earth, and vindicate the sea.
Our prayers are heard, our master's fleets shall go
As far as winds can bear, or waters flow,
New lands to make, new Indies to explore,
In worlds unknown to plant Britannia's power;
Nations yet wild by precept to reclaim,
And teach them arms, and arts, in William's name.
With humble joy, and with respectful fear
The listening people shall his story hear,
The wounds he bore, the dangers he sustained, 490
How far he conquered, and how well he reigned;
Shall own his mercy equal to his fame,
And form their children's accents to his name,
Enquiring how, and when from Heaven he came.
Their regal tyrants shall with blushes hide
Their little lusts of arbitrary pride, 496
Nor bear to see their vassals tied ;
When William's virtues raise their opening thought,
His forty years for public freedom fought,
Europe by his hand sustained,
His conquest by his piety restrained,
And o'er himself the last great triumph gained.
No longer shall their wretched zeal adore
Ideas of destructive power,
Spirits that hurt, and godheads that devour;
New incense they shall bring, new altars raise,
And fill their temples with a stranger's praise,
When the great father's character they find
Visibly stamped upon the hero's mind;
And own a present Deity confessed, 510
In valour that preserved, and power that blessed.
Through the large convex of the azure sky
(For thither nature casts our common eye)
Fierce meteors shoot their arbitrary light,
And comets march with lawless horror bright.
These hear no rule, no righteous order own,
Their influence dreaded as their ways unknown;
Through threatened lands they wild destruction throw,
Till ardent prayer averts the public woe;
But the bright orb that blesses all above, 520
The sacred fire, the real son of Jove,
Rules not his actions by capricious will,
Nor by ungoverned power declines to ill:
Fixed by just laws he goes for ever right:
Man knows his course, and thence adores his light.
O Janus! would intreated Fate conspire
To grant what Britain's wishes could require,
Above, that sun should cease his way to go, 528
Ere William cease to rule, and bless below;
But a relentless destiny
Urges all that e'er was born:
Snatched from her arms, Britannia once must mourn
The demi-god; the earthly half must die.
Yet if our incense can your wrath remove,
If human prayers avail on minds above;
Exert, great god, thy interest in the sky;
Gain each kind Power, each guardian Deity,
That conquered by the public vow,
They bear the dismal mischief far away.
O! long as utmost nature may allow, 540
Let them retard the threatened day!
Still be our master's life thy happy care;
Still let his blessings with his years increase.
To his laborious youth consumed in war,
Add lasting age, adorned and crowned with peace;
Let twisted olive bind those laurels fast,
Whose verdure must for ever last!
Long let this growing era bless his sway,
And let our sons his present rule obey:
On his sure virtue long let earth rely, 550
And late let the imperial eagle fly,
To bear the hero through his father's sky;
To Leda's twins, or he whose glorious speed,
On foot prevailed, or he who tamed the steed;
To Hercules, at length absolved by Fate
From earthly toil, and above envy great;
To Virgil's theme, bright Cytherea's son,
Sire of the Latian, and the British throne.
To all the radiant names above,
Revered by men, and dear to Jove. 560
Late, Janus, let the Nassau star,
New-born, in rising majesty appear, 562
To triumph over vanquished night,
And guide the prosperous mariner
With everlasting beams of friendly light.
INSCRIBED TO THE MEMORY OF THE HONOURABLE COLONEL GEORGE VILLIERs,"
DRowNED IN THE RIVER PIAvA, IN THE country of FRIULI, MDCCIII.
IN IMITATION OF HORACE, ODE 28, LIB. I.
Te maris et terrae numeroque carentis arenae
Mensorem cohibent, Archyta, etc.
SAY, dearest Williers, poor departed friend
(Since fleeting life thus suddenly must end)
Say, what did all thy busy hopes avail,
That anxious thou from pole to pole didst sail;
Ere on thy chin the springing beard began
To spread a doubtful down, and promise man!
What profited thy thoughts, and toils, and cares,
In vigour more confirmed, and riper years!
To wake ere morning dawn to loud alarms,
And march till close of night in heavy arms; 10
To scorn the summer's suns and winter's snows,
And search through every clime thy country's foes!
That thou mightst Fortune to thy side engage;
That gentle Peace might quell Bellona's rage;
And Anna's bounty crown her soldier's hoary age?
In vain we think that free-willed man has power
To hasten or protract the appointed hour.
Our term of life depends not on our deed:
Before our birth our funeral was decreed.
Nor awed by foresight, nor misled by chance, 20
Imperious Death directs his ebon lance; 21
Peoples great Henry's tombs, and leads up Holbein’sdance.
Alike must every state, and every age
Sustain the universal tyrant's rage;
For neither William's power, nor Mary's charms,
Could, or repel, or pacify his arms.
Young Churchill” fell, as life began to bloom:
And Bradford’s” trembling age expects the tomb.
Wisdom and eloquence in vain would plead
One moment's respite for the learned head: 30
Judges of writings and of men have died,
Maecenas, Sackville, Socrates, and Hyde;
And in their various turns their sons must tread
Those gloomy journeys which their sires have led.
The ancient sage, who did so long maintain,
That bodies die, but souls return again,
With all the births and deaths he had in store,
Went out Pythagoras, and came no more.
And modern Asgyll,” whose capricious thought
Is yet with stores of wilder notions fraught, 40
Too soon convinced, shall yield that fleeting breath,
Which played so idly with the darts of death.
Some from the stranded vessel force their way;
Fearful of Fate, they meet it in the sea;
Some who escape the fury of the wave,
Sicken on earth, and sink into a grave:
In journeys or at home, in war or peace,
By hardships many, many fall by ease.