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O Poet ! thou hadst been discreeter,
Hanging the monarch's hat so high;
If thou hadst dubbed thy star a meteor,
That did but blaze, and rove, and die.
To animate the doubtful fight,
Namur in vain expects that ray:
In vain France hopes, the sickly light
Should shine near William's fuller day;
It knows Versailles, its proper station,
Nor cares for any foreign sphere;
Where you see Boileau's constellation,
Be sure no danger can be near.
The French had gathered all their force,
And William met them in their way;
Yet off they brushed, both foot and horse.
What has friend Boileau left to say!
When his high Muse is bent upon’t,
To sing her king—that great commander,
Or on the shores of Hellespont,
Or in the valleys near Scamander;
Would it not spoil his noble task,
If any foolish Phrygian there is
Impertinent enough to ask,
How far Namur may be from Paris?
Two stanzas more before we end,
Of death, pikes, rocks, arms, bricks, and
Leave them behind you, honest friend,
And with your countrymen retire.
Your ode is spoiled; Namur is freed;
For Dixmuyd something yet is due:
So good Count Guiscard may proceed;"
But Boufflers, sir, one word with you:
16 Tis done. In sight of these commanders,
Who neither fight, nor raise the siege,
The foes of France march safe through Flanders;
Divide to Bruxelles, or to Liege.
Send, Fame, this news to Trianon,
That Boufflers may new honours gain;
He the same play by land has shown,
As Tourville did upon the main.”
Yet is the Marshal made a peer
O William, may thy arms advance;
That he may lose Dinant next year,
And so be constable of France.
AT HIS ARRIVAL IN HOLLAND, AFTER THE DISCOVERY OF THE CONSPIRACY 3 MDCXCVI.
Serus in coelum redeas; diuque
Laetus intersis populo Quirini:
Neve te nostris vitiis iniquum
YE careful angels, whom eternal Fate
Ordains, on earth and human acts to wait;
Who turn with secret power this restless ball,
And bid predestined empires rise and fall;
Your sacred aid religious monarchs own,
When first they merit, then ascend the throne:
But tyrants dread ye, lest your just decree 7
Transfer the power, and set the people free.
See rescued Britain at your altars bow;
And hear her hymns your happy care avow;
That still her axes and her rods support
The judge's frown, and grace the awful court;
That Law with all her pompous terror stands,
To wrest the dagger from the traitor's hands;
And rigid justice reads the fatal word, -
Poises the balance first, then draws the sword.
Britain her safety to your guidance owns,
That she can sep'rate parricides from sons;
That, impious rage disarmed, she lives and reigns,
Her freedom kept by him, who broke her chains. 20
And thou, great minister, above the rest
Of guardian spirits, be thou for ever blest;
Thou, who of old wert sent to Israel's court,
With secret aid, great David's strong support,
To mock the frantic rage of cruel Saul,
And strike the useless javelin to the wak;
Thy later care o'er William's temples held,
On Boyne's propitious banks, the heavenly shield;
When power divine did sovereign right declare,
And cannons marked whom they were bid to spare. 30
Still, blessed angel, be thy care the same;
Be William's life untouched, as is his fame!
Let him own thine, as Britain owns his hand:
Save thou the king, as he has saved the land!
We angels' forms in pious monarchs view;
We reverence William; for he acts like you;
Like you, commissioned to chastise and bless,
He must avenge the world, and give it peace.
Indulgent Fate our potent prayer receives;
And still Britannia smiles, and William lives. 40
The hero dear to earth, by Heaven beloved, 41
By troubles must be vexed, by dangers proved:
His foes must aid to make his fame complete,
And fix his throne secure on their defeat.
So, though with sudden rage the tempest comes;
Though the winds roar, and though the water foams,
Imperial Britain on the sea looks down,
And smiling sees her rebel subject frown;
Striking her cliff, the storm confirms her power;
The waves but whiten her triumphant shore; 50
In vain they would advance, in vain retreat;
Broken they dash, and perish at her feet.
For William still new wonders shall be shown:
The powers that rescued, shall preserve the throne.
Safe on his darling Britain's joyful sea,
Behold, the monarch ploughs his liquid way;
His fleets in thunder through the world declare,
Whose empire they obey, whose arms they bear.
Blessed by aspiring winds, he finds the strand
Blackened with clouds; he sees the nations stand 60
Blessing his safety, proud of his command.
In various tongues he hears the captains dwell
On their great leader's praise; by turns they tell,
And listen, each with emulous glory fired,
How William conquered, and how France retired;
How Belgia freed the hero's arm confessed,
But trembled for the courage which she blessed.
O Louis, from this great example know,
To be at once a hero, and a foe;
By sounding trumpets, hear, and rattling drums, 70
When William to the open vengeance comes;
And see the soldier plead the monarch's right,
Heading his troops, and foremost in the fight.
Hence then, close Ambush and perfidious War,
Down to your native seats of Night repair. 75
And thou, Bellona, weep thy cruel pride
Restrained, behind the victor's chariot tied
In brazen knots, and everlasting chains,
(So Europe's peace, so William's fate ordains).
While on the ivory chair, in happy state, 80
He sits, secure in innocence, and great
In regal clemency; and views beneath
Averted darts of rage, and pointless arms of death.
SEE, whilst thou weep'st, fair Cloe, see
The world in sympathy with thee!
The cheerful birds no longer sing,
Each droops his head, and hangs his wing;
The clouds have bent their bosom lower,
And shed their sorrows in a shower;
The brooks beyond their limits flow;
And louder murmurs speak their woe;
The nymphs and swains adopt thy cares,
They heave thy sighs, and weep thy tears; 10
Fantastic nymph! that grief should move
Thy heart obdurate against Love.
Strange tears! whose power can soften all,
But that dear breast on which they fall.
TO MR HOWARD."
1 DEAR Howard, from the soft assaults of Love,
Poets and painters never are secure;