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He took the gift; nor ever will I sheathe
This steel (so Anna's high behests ordain),
The general said, unless by glorious death
Absolved, till conquest has confirmed your reign.
Returns like these our mistress bids us make,
When from a foreign prince a gift her Britons take.
And now fierce Gallia rushes on her foes,
Her force augmented by the Boyan bands;
So Volga's stream, increased by mountain snows,
Rolls with new fury down through Russia's lands.
Like two great rocks against the raging tide
(If Virtue's force with Nature's we compare),
Unmoved the two united chiefs abide,
Sustain the impulse, and receive the war.
Round their firm sides in vain the tempest beats;
And still the foaming wave with lessened power
The rage dispersed, the glorious pair advance,
With mingled anger and collected might,
To turn the war, and tell aggressing France,
How Britain's sons and Britain's friends can fight.
On conquest fixed, and covetous of fame,
Behold them rushing through the Gallic host;
Through standing corn so runs the sudden flame,
Or eastern winds along Sicilia's coast.
They deal their terrors to the adverse nation:
Pale death attends their arms, and ghastly desolation.
But while with fiercest ire Bellona glows,
And Europe rather hopes than fears her fate;
While Britain presses her afflicted foes;
What horror damps the strong, and quells the great!
Whence look the soldier's cheeks dismayed and pale;
Erst ever dreadful, know they now to dread?
The hostile troops, I ween, almost prevail,
And the pursuers only not recede!
Alas! their lessened rage proclaims their grief!
For, anxious, lo! they crowd around their falling chief.
I thank thee, Fate, exclaims the fierce Bavar:
Let Boya's trumpet grateful Iö’s sound:
I saw him fall, their thunderbolt of war;
Ever to vengeance sacred be the ground.
Wain wish! short joy! the hero mounts again
In greater glory, and with fuller light;
The evening-star so falls into the main,
To rise at morn more prevalently bright.
He rises safe," but near, too near his side,
A good man's grievous loss, a faithful servant died.
Propitious Mars! the battle is regained,
The foe with lessened wrath disputes the field,
The Briton fights, by favouring gods sustained,
Freedom must live, and lawless power must yield.
Vain now the tales which fabling poets tell,
That wavering Conquest still desires to rove!
In Marlborough's camp the goddess knows to dwell;
Long as the hero's life remains her love.
Again France flies, again the duke pursues,
And on Ramilia's plains he Blenheim's fame renews.
Great thanks, O captain great in arms! receive From thy triumphant country's public voice;
Thy country greater thanks can only give
To Anne, to her who made those arms her choice.
Recording Schellenberg's and Blenheim's toils,
We dreaded lest thou shouldst those toils repeat;
We viewed the palace charged with Gallic spoils,
And in those spoils we thought thy praise complete.
For never Greek we deemed, nor Roman knight,
In characters like these did eer his acts indite.
19 Yet, mindless still of ease, thy virtue flies
A pitch to old and modern times unknown;
Those goodly deeds which we so highly prize
Imperfect seem, great chief, to thee alone.
Those heights, where William's virtue might have staid,
And on the subject world looked safely down,
By Marlborough passed, the props and steps were
Sublimer yet to raise his queen's renown;
Still gaining more, still slighting what he gained,
Nought done the hero deemed, while aught undone
20 When swift-winged rumour told the mighty Gaul,
How lessened from the field Bavar was fled;
He wept the swiftness of the champion's fall,
And thus the royal treaty-breaker said:
And lives he yet, the great, the lost Bavar,
Ruin to Gallia in the name of friend;
Tell me, how far has Fortune been severe;
Has the foe's glory, or our grief, an end!
Remains there of the fifty thousand lost,
To save our threatened realm, or guard our shattered
To the close rock the frightened raven flies,
Soon as the rising eagle cuts the air;
The shaggy wolf unseen and trembling lies,
When the hoarse roar proclaims the lion near.
Ill-starred did we our forts and lines forsake,
To dare our British foes to open fight;
Our conquest we by stratagem should make;
Our triumph had been founded in our flight.
'Tis ours, by craft and by surprise to gain;
'Tis theirs, to meet in arms, and battle in the plain.
The ancient father of this hostile brood,
Their boasted Brute, undaunted snatched his gods
From burning Troy, and Xanthus red with blood,
And fixed on silver Thames his dire abodes:
And this be Troynovante, he said, the seat
By Heaven ordained, my sons, your lasting place:
Superior here to all the bolts of fate
Live, mindful of the author of your race,
Whom neither Greece, nor war, nor want, nor flame,
Nor great Pelides' arm, nor Juno's rage could
Their Tudors hence, and Stuart's offspring flow:
Hence Edward, dreadful with his sable shield,
Talbot, to Gallia's power eternal foe,
And Seymour, famed in council or in field:
Hence Nevil, great to settle or dethrone,
And Drake and Cavendish, terrors of the sea;
Hence Butler's sons, o'er land and ocean known,
Herbert's and Churchill's warring progeny:
Hence the long roll which Gallia should conceal:
For, oh! who, vanquished, loves the victor's fame to
Envied Britannia, sturdy as the oak,
Which on her mountain-top she proudly bears,
Eludes the axe, and sprouts against the stroke;
Strong from her wounds, and greater by her wars.
And as those teeth, which Cadmus sowed in earth,
Produced new youth, and furnished fresh supplies:
So with young vigour, and succeeding birth,
Her losses more than recompensed arise;
And every age she with a race is crowned,
For letters more polite, in battles more renowned.
Obstinate power, whom nothing can repel;
Not the fierce Saxon, nor the cruel Dane,
Nor deep impression of the Norman steel,
Nor Europe's force amassed by envious Spain,
Nor France on universal sway intent,
Oft breaking leagues, and oft renewing wars;
Nor (frequent bane of weakened government)
Their own intestine feuds and mutual jars:
Those feuds and jars, in which I trusted more,
Than in my troops, and fleets, and all the Gallic
To fruitful Rheims, or fair Lutetia's gate,
What tidings shall the messenger convey;
Shall the loud herald our success relate,
Or mitred priest appoint the solemn day!
Alas! my praises they no more must sing;
They to my statue now must bow no more:
Broken, repulsed is their immortal king:
Fall’n, fall’n for ever, is the Gallic power.
The woman chief is master of the war;
Earth, she has freed by arms, and vanquished
Heaven by prayer.