תמונות בעמוד

I have taken the liberty to go off from it, and to add variously, as the subject and my own imagination carried me. As to the style, the choice I made of following the ode in Latin determined me in English to the stanza; and herein it was impossible not to have a mind to follow our great countryman Spenser; which I have done (as well at least as I could) in the manner of my expression, and the turn of my number; having only added one verse to his stanza, which I thought made the number more harmonious; and avoided such of his words as I found too obsolete. I have, however, retained some few of them, to make the colouring look more like Spenser's. Behest, command; band, army; prowess, strength; I weet, I know; I ween, I think; whilom, heretofore; and two or three more of that kind, which I hope the ladies will pardon me, and not judge my Muse less handsome, though for once she appears in a farthingale. I have also, in Spenser's manner, used Capsar for the emperor, Boya for Bavaria, Bavar for that prince, Ister for Danube, Iberia for Spain, etc.

That noble part of the Ode which I just now mentioned,

* Gens, quae, cremato fortis ab Ilio
Jactata Tuscis aequoribus,” etc. -

where Horace praises the Romans as being descended from AEneas, I have turned to the honour of the British nation, descended from Brute, likewise a Trojan. That this Brute, fourth or fifth from Æneas, settled in England, and built London, which is called Troja Nova, or Troynovante, is a story which (I think) owes its original, if not to Geoffry of Monmouth, at least to the Monkish writers; yet it is not rejected by our great Camden; and is told by Milton, as if (at least) he was pleased with it; though possibly he does not believe it. However, it carries a poetical authority, which is sufficient for our purpose. It is as certain that Brute came into England, as that AEneas went into Italy; and upon the supposition of these facts, Virgil wrote the best poem that the world ever read, and Spenser paid Queen Elizabeth the greatest compliment.

I need not obviate one piece of criticism. that I bring my hero

From burning Troy, and Xanthus red with blood:

whereas he was not born when that city was destroyed. Virgil, in the case of his own AFneas relating to Dido, will stand as a sufficient proof, that a man in his poetical capacity is not accountable for a little fault in chronology.

My two great examples, Horace and Spenser, in many things resemble each other. Both have a height of imagination, and a majesty of expression in describing the sublime; and both know to temper those talents, and sweeten the description, so as to make it lovely as well as pompous. Both have equally that agreeable manner of mixing morality with their story, and that curiosa felicitas in the choice of their diction, which every writer aims at, and so very few have reached. Both are particularly fine in their images, and knowing in their numbers. Leaving therefore our two masters to the consideration and study of those who design to excel in poetry, I only beg leave to add, that it is long since I have (or at least ought to have) quitted Parnassus, and all the flowery roads on that side the country; though I thought myself indispensably obliged, upon the present occasion, to take a little journey into those parts.


1 WHEN great Augustus governed ancient Rome,
And sent his conquering bands to foreign wars;
Abroad when dreaded, and beloved at home,
He saw his fame increasing with his years;
Horace, great bard! (So Fate ordained) arose,
And, bold as were his countrymen in fight,
Snatched their fair actions from degrading prose,
And set their battles in eternal light;
High as their trumpets' tune his lyre he strung,
And with his prince's arms he moralized his song.

2. When bright Eliza ruled Britannia's state,
Widely distributing her high commands,
And boldly wise, and fortunately great,
Freed the glad nations from tyrannic bands;
An equal genius was in Spenser found;
To the high theme he matched his noble lays;
He travelled England o'er on fairy ground,
In mystic notes to sing his monarch's praise;
Reciting wondrous truths in pleasing dreams,
He decked Eliza's head with Gloriana's beams.

3 But, greatest Anna! while thy arms pursue
Paths of renown, and climb ascents of fame,
Which nor Augustus, nor Eliza knew;
What poet shall be found to sing thy name!
What numbers shall record, what tongue shall say,
Thy wars on land, thy triumphs on the main.
O fairest model of imperial sway,
What equal pen shall write thy wondrous reign!
Who shall attempts and feats of arms rehearse,
Not yet by story told, nor paralleled by verse?

[ocr errors]

Me all too mean for such a task I weet; Yet, if the Sovereign Lady deigns to smile, I’ll follow Horace with impetuous heat, And clothe the verse in Spenser's native style. By these examples rightly taught to sing, And smit with pleasure of my country's praise, Stretching the plumes of an uncommon wing, High as Olympus I my flight will raise; And latest times shall in my numbers read Anna's immortal fame, and Marlborough's hardy


As the strong eagle in the silent wood, Mindless of warlike rage and hostile care, Plays round the rocky cliff or crystal flood, Till by Jove's high behests called out to war, And charged with thunder of his angry king, His bosom with the vengeful message glows; Upward the noble bird directs his wing, And, towering round his master's earth-born foes, Swift he collects his fatal stock of ire, Lifts his fierce talon high, and darts the forked fire.

Sedate and calm thus victor Marlborough sate, Shaded with laurels, in his native land, Till Anna calls him from his soft retreat, And gives her second thunder to his hand. Then, leaving sweet repose and gentle ease, With ardent speed he seeks the distant foe; Marching o'er hills and vales, o'er rocks and seas, He meditates, and strikes the wondrous blow. Our thought flies slower than our general's fame: Grasps he the bolt! we ask, when he has hurled the


7 When fierce Bavar on Judoign's spacious plain
Did from afar the British chief behold,
Betwixt despair, and rage, and hope, and pain,
Something within his warring bosom rolled:
He views that favourite of indulgent fame,
Whom whilom he had met on Ister's shore;
Too well, alas! the man he knows the same,
Whose prowess there repelled the Boyan power,
And sent them trembling through the frighted lands,
Swift as the whirlwind drives Arabia's scattered


8 His former losses he forgets to grieve;
Absolves his fate, if with a kinder ray
It now would shine, and only give him leave
To balance the account of Blenheim's day.
So the fell lion in the lonely glade,
His side still smarting with the hunter's spear,
Though deeply wounded, no way yet dismayed,
Roars terrible, and meditates new war;
In sullen fury traverses the plain,
To find the venturous foe, and battle him again.

9 Misguided prince, no longer urge thy fate,
Nor tempt the hero to unequal war;
Famed in misfortune, and in ruin great,
Confess the force of Marlborough's stronger star.
Those laurel groves the merits of thy youth,
Which thou from 'Mahomet didst greatly gain,
While, bold assertor of resistless truth,
Thy sword did godlike liberty maintain,

* The Elector of Bavaria had formerly acquired great reputation by the success of his arms against the Turks, more especially in obliging them to raise the siege of Vienna, after it had continued fifty-nine days, in September 1683, with the loss of seventy-five thousand men.

Must from thy brow their falling honours shed, And their transplanted wreaths must deck a worthier head.

10 Yet cease the ways of Providence to blame,
And human faults with human grief confess,
'Tis thou art changed, while Heaven is still the same;
From thy ill councils date thy ill success.
Impartial Justice holds her equal scales,
Till stronger Virtue does the weight incline;
If over thee thy glorious foe prevails,
He now defends the cause that once was thine.
Righteous the war, the champion shall subdue;
For Jove's great handmaid, Power, must Jove's

decrees pursue.

11 Hark! the dire trumpets sound their shrillalarms!
Auverquerque,” branched from the renowned Nas-
Hoary in war, and bent beneath his arms,
His glorious sword with dauntless courage draws.
When anxious Britain mourned her parting lord,
And all of William that was mortal died;
The faithful hero had received his sword
From his expiring master's much loved side.
Oft from its fatal ire has Louis flown,
Where'er great William led, or Maese and Sambre

12 But brandished high, in an ill-omened hour
To thee, proud Gaul, behold thy justest fear,
The master sword, disposer of thy power:
'Tis that which Caesar gave the British peer.

1 Monsieur Auverquerque who, in the year 1704, and the succeeding campaigns, was appointed to the command of the Dutch forces. He was in great favour with King William, and was present at his death.

« הקודםהמשך »