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*Ere vengeance left the stubborn foes,
Or William's labours found repose!
When his troops faltered, stepped not he between?
Restored the dubious fight again;
Marked 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 back!
By his keen sword did not the boldest fall;
Was he not king, commander, soldier, all!
His dangers such as, with becoming dread,
His subjects yet unborn shall weep to read;
And were not those the only days that e'er
The pious prince refused to hear
His friends' advices, or his subjects' prayer?
Where'er old Rhine his fruitful water turns,
Or fills his vassals' tributary urns;
To Belgia’s saved dominions, and the sea,
Whose righted waves rejoice in William's sway;
Is there a town where children are not taught,
Here Holland prospered, for here Orange fought; 210
Through rapid waters, and through flying fire,
Here rushed the prince, here made whole France retire?
By different nations be his valour blessed,
In different languages confessed;
And then let Shannon speak the rest. Let Shannon speak, how on her wondering shore, When conquest hovering on his arms did wait, And only asked some lives to bribe her o'er; The godlike man, the more than conqueror, With high contempt sent back the specious bait; 220 And, scorning glory at a price too great, With so much power, such piety did join,
As made a perfect virtue soar
A pitch unknown to man before;
And lifted Shannon's waves o'er those of Boyne.
Nor do his subjects only share
The prosperous fruits of his indulgent reign;
His enemies approve the pious war,
Which, with their weapon, takes away their chain,
More than his sword his goodness strikes his foes; 230
They bless his arms, and sigh they must oppose,
Justice and freedom on his conquests wait;
And ’tis for man's delight that he is great:
Succeeding times shall long with joy contend,
If he were more a victor, or a friend;
So much his courage and his mercy strive,
He wounds to cure, and conquers to forgive.
Ye heroes, that have fought your country's cause,
Redressed her injuries, or formed her laws,
adventurous song just witness bear, Assist the pious muse, and hear her swear; That 'tis no poet's thought, no flight of youth,
But solid story, and severest truth;
That William treasures up a greater name,
Than any country, any age can boast.
And all that ancient stock of fame
He did from his forefathers take,
He has improved, and gives with interest back;
And in his constellation does unite
Their scattered rays of fainter light.
Above or envy's lash, or fortune's wheel
That settled glory shall for ever dwell;
Above the rolling orbs, and common sky,
Where nothing comes that e'er shall die. Where roves the muse? Where, thoughtless to return,
Is her, shortlived vessel borne,
By potent winds too subject to be tossed,
And in the sea of William's praises lost!
Nor let her tempt that deep, nor make the shore,
Where our abandoned youth she sees,
Shipwrecked in luxury, and lost in ease;
Whom nor Britannia's danger can alarm,
Nor William's exemplary virtue warm.
Tell them, howe'er, the king can yet forgive
Their guilty sloth, their homage yet receive,
And let their wounded honour live:
But sure and sudden be their just remorse;
Swift be their virtue's rise, and strong its course;
For though for certain years and destined times,
Merit has lain confused with crimes;
Though Jove seemed negligent of human cares,
Nor scourged our follies, nor returned our prayers,
His justice now demands the equal scales,
Sedition is suppressed, and truth prevails:
Fate its great ends by slow degrees attains,
And Europe is redeemed, and William reigns!
SPOKEN BY LORD BUCKHURST,
IN WESTMINSTER SCHOOL, AT A REPRESENTATION OF DRYDEN'S
CLEOMENES, AT CHRISTMAS, MDCXCV.
Pish, lord, I wish this prologue was but Greck,
Then young Cleonidas would boldly speak;
But can Lord Buckhurst in poor English say,
Gentle spectators, pray excuse the play!
No, witness all ye gods of ancient Greece,
Rather than condescend to terms like these,
to school six hours on Christmas-day, .
Or construe Persius while my comrades play.
Such work by hireling actors should be done,
Who tremble when they see a critic frown;
Poor rogues, that smart like fencers for their bread,
And, if they are not wounded, are not fed.
But, sirs, our labour has more noble ends,
We act our tragedy to see our friends;
Our generous scenes are for pure love repeated,
And if you are not pleased, at least you're treated.
The candles and the clothes ourselves we bought,
Our tops neglected, and our balls forgot.
To learn our parts, we left our midnight bed,
Most of you snored whilst Cleomenes read;
Not that from this confession we would sue
Praise undeserved; we know ourselves and
Resolved to stand or perish by our cause,
We neither censure fear nor beg applause;
For these are Westminster's and Sparta's laws.
Yet, if we see some judgment well inclined,
young desert, and growing virtue kind,
That critic by ten thousand marks should know,
That greatest souls to goodness only bow;
And that your little hero does inherit
Not Cleomenes' more than Dorset's spirit.
No memoirs to compose, and no postboy to move,
That on Sunday may hinder the softness of love.
For her, neither visits, nor parties at tea,
Nor the long-winded cant of a dull refugee.
This night and the next shall be hers and be mine,
To good or ill-fortune the third we resign:
Thus scorning the world, and superior to fate,
I drive on my car in processional state.
So with Phia through Athens Pisistratus rode;
Men thought her Minerva, and him a new god.
But why should I stories of Athens rehearse,
Where people knew love, and were partial to verse;
Since none can with justice my pleasures oppose,
In Holland half drowned in interest and prose?
By Greece and past ages what need I be tried,
When the Hague and the present are both on my side! 20
And is it enough for the joys of the day,
To think what Anacreon or Sappho would say?
When good Vandergoes and his provident Vrow,
As they gaze on my triumph, do freely allow,
That, search all the province, you 'll find no man dar is
So blest as the Englishen Heer Secretar' is.