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Its days too short for labours they designed: 29
All night beneath hard heavy arms to watch,
All day to mount the trench, to storm the breach;
And all the rugged paths to tread,
Where William and his virtue lead.
Silence is the soul of war;
Deliberate counsel must prepare
The mighty work, which valour must complete.
Thus William rescued, thus preserves the state;
Thus teaches us to think and dare.
As whilst his cannon just prepared to breathe
Avenging anger and swift death, 40
In the tried metal the close dangers glow,
And now, too late, the dying foe
Perceives the flame, yet cannot ward the blow.
So whilst in William's breast ripe counsels lie,
Secret and sure as brooding fate,
No more of his design appears,
Than what awakens Gallia's fears;
And, though guilt's eye can sharply penetrate,
Distracted Lewis can descry
Only a long unmeasured ruin nigh. 50
On Norman coasts and banks of frighted Seine
Lo! the impending storms begin;
Britannia safely through her master's sea
Ploughs up her victorious way.
The French Salmoneus throws his bolts in vain,
Whilst the true thunderer asserts the main.
'Tis done; to shelves and rocks his fleets retire,
Swift victory in vengeful flames
Burns down the pride of their presumptuous names;
They run to shipwreck to avoid our fire, 60
And the torn vessels that regain their coast
Are but sad marks to show the rest are lost. 61 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, 70 Whilst Russel strikes the blow thy queen ordains; Thus rescued, thus revered, for ever stand, And bless the counsel, and reward the hand, Io 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. 80
The mighty years begin, the day draws nigh,
In which that one of Lewis' many wives,”
Who, by the baleful force of guilty charms,
Has long enthralled him in her withered arms,
Shall o'er the plains, from distant towers on high,
Cast around her mournful eye,
And with prophetic sorrow cry:
‘Why does my ruined lord retard his flight,
Why does despair provoke his age to fight?
As well the wolf may venture to engage 90
The angry lion's generous rage;
The ravenous vulture, and the bird of night, 92
As safely tempt the stooping eagle's flight;
As Lewis to unequal arms defy
Yon hero, crowned with blooming victory,
Just triumphing o'er rebel rage restrained,
And yet unbreathed from battles gained.
See! all yon dusty field's quite covered o'er
With hostile troops, and Orange at their head.
Orange, destined to complete 100
The great designs of labouring fate;
Orange the name that tyrants dread;
He comes, our ruined 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, 1 10
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 transfixed with a dishonest wound;
While through the fiercest troops, and thickest press,
Virtue carries on success;
Whilst equal heaven guards the distinguished brave,
And armies cannot hurt whom angels save.
Virtue to verse immortal lustre gives, 120
Each by the other's mutual friendship lives;
AEneas suffered, and Achilles fought,
The hero's acts enlarged the poet's thought,
Or Virgil's majesty, and Homer's rage, 124
Had ne'er like lasting nature vanquished age.
Whilst Lewis then his rising terror drowns
With drums' alarms, and trumpets' sounds,
Whilst hid in armed retreats and guarded towns,
From danger as from honour far,
He bribes close murder against open war; 130
In vain you Gallic muses strive
With laboured 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 offered to Prometheus' man
That had no soul from heaven.
Against his will you chain your frighted king
On rapid Rhine's divided bed: 140
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 reared,
And virtue is her own reward;
With solid beams and native glory bright,
She neither darkness dreads, nor covets light;
True to herself, and fixed to inborn laws,
Nor sunk by spite, nor lifted by applause, 150
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 buoyed up her sinking state,
And virtue laboured against Fate;
When fortune basely with ambition joined, 157
And all was conquered but the patriot's mind;
When storms let loose, and raging seas,
Just ready the torn vessel to o'erwhelm,
Forced not the faithful pilot from his helm,
Nor all the syren songs of future peace,
And dazzling prospect of a promised 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, 170
As when he at the altar stood
In all his types and robes of power,
Whilst at his feet religious Britain bowed,
And owned him next to what we there adore.
Say, joyful Maese, and Boyne's victorious flood,
For each has mixed his waves with royal blood,
When William's armies passed, did he retire,
Or view from far the battle's distant fire!
Could he believe his person was too dear,
Or use his greatness to conceal his fear? 180
Could prayers or sighs the dauntless hero move,
Armed with Heaven's justice, and his people's love!
Through the first waves he winged his venturous way,
And on the adverse shore arose,
(Ten thousand flying deaths in vain oppose.)
Like the great ruler of the day,
With strength and swiftness mounting from the sea;
Like him all day he toiled; but long in night
The god had eased his wearied light,