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When thy * young Muse invok’d the tuneful Nine, To say how Louis did not pass the Rhine ; What work had we with Wageninghen, Arnheim, Places that could not be reduc'd to rhyme ! And, though the Poet made his last efforts, Wurts—who could mention in heroic-Wurts? But, tell me, hadst thou reason to complain Of the rough triumphs of the last campaign ? The Danube rescued, and the Empire fav’d, Say, is the majesty of verse retriev'd ? And would it prejudice thy softer vein, To sing the princes, Louis and Eugene ? Is it too hard in happy verse to place The Vans and Vanders of the Rhine and Maese? Her warriors Anna sends from Tweed and Thames, That France may fall by more harmonious names ? Canst thou not Hamilton or Lumley bear? Would Ingoldsby or Palmes offend thy ear? And is there not a sound in Marlborough's name, Which thou and all thy brethren ought to claim, Sacred to verse, and sure of endless fame?
Cutts is in metre something harsh to read; Place me the valiant Gouran in his stead : Let the intention make the number good : Let generous Sylvius speak for honest Wood. And though rough Churchill scarce in verse will stand, So as to have one rhyme at his command;
a found brethrenlefs fame reads
With ease the bard, reciting Blenheim's plain,
May close the verse, remembering but the Dane.
I grant, old friend, old foe (for such we are
Alternate as the chance of peace and war),
· That we poetic folks, who must restrain
Our measur'd sayings in an equal chain,
Have troubles utterly unknown to those,
Who let their fancy loose in rambling profe.
For instance now, how hard is it for me To make my matter and my verse agree ! “ In one great day on Hochftet's fatal plain, “ French and Bavarians twenty thousand Nain : “ Push'd through the Danube to the shores of Styx “ Squadrons eighteen, battalions twenty-fix: « Officers captive made, and private men, “ Of these twelve hundred, of those thousands ten. “ Tents, ammunition, colours, carriages, “ Cannon, and kettle drums !”_sweet numbers these! But is it thus you English bards compose ? With Runic lays thus tag insipid profe? And, when you should your Hero's deeds rehearse, Give us a commissary's lift in verse ?
Why, faith! Despreaux, there's sense in what you say: I told you where my difficulty lay : So vast, so numerous, were great Blenheim's spoils, They scorn the bounds of verse, and mock the Muse's
toils. To make the rough recital aptly chime, Or bring the sum of Gallia's loss to rhyme,
"Tis mighty hard: what Poet would essay
To count the streamers of my lord mayor's day?
To number all the several dishes drest
By honest Lamb, last coronation feast ?
Or make Arithmetic and Epic meet,
And Newton's thoughts in Dryden's style repeat ? .
O Poet, had it been Apollo's will,
That I had shar'd a portion of thy skill;
Had this poor breast receiv’d the heavenly beam;
Or could I hope my verse might reach my theme;
Yet, Boileau, yet the labouring Muse should strive
Beneath the shades of Marlborough’s wreaths to live ;
Should call aspiring Gods to bless her choice,
And to their favourite strains exalt her voice,
Arms and a Queen to sing ; .who, great and good,
From peaceful Thames to Danube's wondering flood
Sent forth the terror of her high commands,
To save the nations from invading hands,
To prop fair Liberty's declining cause,
And fix the jarring world with equal laws.
The queen should fit in Windsor's facred grove,
Attended by the Gods of War and Love :
Both should with equal zeal her smiles implore,
To fix her joys, or to extend her power.
Sudden, the Nymphs and Tritons should appear ;
And, as great Anna's smiles dispel their fear,
With active dance should her observance claim ;
With vocal shell should found her happy name ;
Their master Thames should leave the neighbouring shore,
By his strong anchor known, and silver oar ;
Should lay his enfigns at his sovereign's feet';
And audience mild with humble grace intreat.
To her, his dear defence, he should complain,
That, while he blesses her indulgent reign,
Whilft furthest seas are by his fleets survey’d,
And on his happy banks each India laid;
His brethren Maese, and. Waal, and Rhine, and Saar,
Feel the hard burthen of oppressive war ;
That Danube scarce retains his rightful course
Against two rebel armies neighbouring force ;
And all must weep fad captives to the Seine,
Unless unchain'd and freed by Britain's queen.
The valiant sovereign calls her general forth ;
Neither recites her bounty, nor his worth :
She tells him, he must Europe's fate redeem,
And by that labour merit her esteem:
She bids him wait her to the sacred hall ;
Shows him prince Edward, and the conquer'd Gaul;
Fixing the bloody cross upon his breast,
Says, he must die, or succour the distress’d;
Placing the Saint an emblem by his side,
She tells him, Virtue arm’d must conquer lawless Pride.
The Hero bows obedient, and retires :
The queen’s commands exalt the warrior's fires ;
His steps are to the silent woods inclin’d,
The great design revolving in his mind ;
When to his fight a heavenly form appears :
Her hand a palm, her head a laurel wears.
Me, she begins, the fairest child of Jove,
Below for ever fought, and bless'd above;
Me, the bright source of wealth, and power, and fame
(Nor need I say, Victoria is my name);
Me the great father down to thee has sent :
He bids me wait at thy distinguish'd tent,
To execute what Anna's wish would have :
Her subject thou, I only am her slave.
Dare then, thou much belov’d by smiling Fate,
For Anna's fake, and in her name be great :
Go forth, and be to distant nations known
My future favourite, and my darling fon :
At Schellenbergh I'll manifest sustain
Thy glorious cause; and spread my wings again,
Conspicuous o'er thy helm, in Blenheim's plain.
The Goddess said, nor would admit reply ;
But cut the liquid air, and gain’d the sky.
His high commission is through Britain known,
And thronging armies to his standard run ;
He marches thoughtful, and he speedy fails :
(Bless him, ye seas! and prosper him, ye gales !)
Belgia receives him welcome to her shores ;
And William's death with lessen'd grief deplores :
His presence only must retrieve that loss ;
Marlborough to her must be what William was.
So when great Atlas, from these low abodes
Recall'd, was gather'd to his kindred gods ;
Alcides, respited by prudent Fate,
Sustain'd the ball, nor droop'd beneath the weight.
Secret and swift behold the Chief advance;
Sees half the empire join'd and friend to France :