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The Meuse and Sambre here united flow,
Nearer to view: her beating heart foretels
THE HOUSE OF NASSAU. A Pindaric ode. 1702.
—Coelo demittitur alto
Chara Deûm soboles. Virg.
To his GRAce CHARLES DUKE OF SOMERSET.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR CRACE,
Though the great loss we suffered in the death of the king has been so happily supplied by her majesty's accession to the throne, and her late coromation justly filled the hearts of her subjects with joy: yet so glorious a reign as the last will always be remembered with admiration by all good and wise men; and your grace has given sufficient proofs, that you are of that number. It can never therefore be thought too late to offer a just tribute to his late majesty's memory, and to that of his great ancestors, a race so illustriously distinguished in Europe; though this indeed might sooner have been attempted, but for many interruptions, too inconsiderable for your grace's notice. How I have performed is humbly submitted to your grace's judgment, and to the judgment of all those gentlemen who are used to entertain themselves with writings of this sort. But if, through the author's want of genius, the poem itself should be thought inconsiderable, I am sure it will have some distinction from the great mames it celebrates, and the great patron it is inscribed to. And to whom should the praises of eminent virtue be addressed, but to such as are possessed of great virtues themselves? To whom can I better present the chief characters of a noble and ancient family, than to your grace, whose family is so ancient and so noble? And here lam proud to acknowledge, that some of my relations have been honoured with marks of favour from your grace's illustrious ancestors. This I confess has long given me the ambition of offering my duty to your grace; but chiefly that valuable character your grace has obtained among all worthy persons. I have not room to enlarge here, nor is there any need of it on a subject so well known as your grace's merits. Therefore I conclude with my humble request, that your grace would favour this ode with your acceptance, and do ine the honour of believing, that, among the crowd of your admirers, there is not one who is more passionately or sincerely so, than your grace's most humble, and most obedient servant,
TTHE HOUSE OF NASSAU.
Goddess of numbers, and of thoughts sublime !
Can fix heroic acts, that glide along
And all the gilded images can stay,
Begin—the spring of virtue trace, That, from afar descending, flow'd Through the rich veins of all the godlike race, And fair renown on all the godlike race bestow'd' This ancient source of noble blood Through thee, Germania, wandering wide, Like thy own Rhine's enriching tide, In numerous branches long diffus'd its flood. Rhine, scarce more ancient, never grac'd thee more, Though mantling vines his comely headsurround, And all along his sunny shore Eternal plenty 's found.
From Heaven itself the illustrious line began;
• Adolphus the emperor, of the House of Nassau. * Rene of Nassau. * Charles W.
See next, majestically great, The founder of the Belgic state! The Sun of glory, which so bright Beam'd on all the darling line, Did, from its golden urn of light, On William's head redoubled shine; His youthful looks diffus'd an awe. Charles, who had try'd the race before, And knew great merits to explore, When he his rising virtue saw, He put in friendship's noble claim; To his imperial court the hero brought, And there by early honours sought Alliance with his future fame. O generous sympathy, that binds In chains unseen the bravest minds! Olove to worthy deeds, in all great souls the same !
But time at last brought forth th' amazing day,
Thus Belgia's Liberty expiring lay, And almost gasp'd her generous life away, Till Orange hears her moving cries; He hears, and, marching “from afar, Brings to her aid the sprightly War. At his approach, reviv'd with fresh supplies, Of gather'd strength, she on her murderers flies. But Heaven, at first, resolv'd to try By proofs adverse his constancy. Four armies lost, two gallant brothers’ slain, Will he the desperate war maintain? Though rolling tempests darken all the sky, And thunder breaks around his head, Will he again the faithless sea explore, And, oft driven back, still quit the shore ? He will—his soul averse to dread, Unwearied, still the spite of Fortune braves, Superior, and serene”, amidst the stormy waves
The happy brothers with a long success—
By the vile hand of a bold ruffian fell.
Maurice, for martial greatness, far His father's glorious fame exceeds: Henry alone can match his brother's deeds; Both were, like Scipio's sons, the thunderbolts of war. None e'er, than Maurice, better knew, Camps, sieges, battles, to ordain; None e'er, than Henry, fiercer did pursue The flying foe, or earlier conquests gain. For scarce sixteen revolving years he told, When, eager for the fight, and bold, Inflam'd by Glory's sprightly charms, His brother brought him to the field; Taught his young hand the truncheon well to wield, And practis'd him betimes to arms.
Let Flandrian Newport tell of wonders wrought Before her walls, that memorable day, When the victorious youths in concert fought, And matchless valour did display ! How, ere the battle join'd, they strove With emulous honour, and with mutual love; How Maurice, touch'd with tender care Of Henry's safety, begg'd him to remove; Henry refus’d his blooming youth to spare, Łut with his much-lov’d Maurice vow'd to prove Th' extreines of war, and equal dangers share. 0 generous strife' and worthy such a pair How dear did Albert this contention pay ! Witness the tioods of streaming gore; Witness the trampled heaps, that chok'd the plain, And stopp'd the victors in their way; Witness the neighbouring sea, and sandy shore, Drunk with the purple life of twice three thousand slain'
Furtune, that on her wheel capricious stands,
Maurice, the first resign'd to fate: The youngest had a longer date, And fiv'd the space appointed to complete The great republic, rais'd so high before; Finish’d by him, the stately fabric bore Its lofty top aspiring to the sky: in vain the winds and rains around it boat; In vain, below, the waves tempestuous roar, They dash themselves, and break, and backward fly, Dispers'd and murmuring at his feet. Insulting Spain the fruitless strife gives o'er, And claims dominion there no more. Then Henry, ripe for immortality, His fight to Heaven eternal springs, swings. Aad, o'er his quiet grave, Peace spreads her downy
His son, a second William, fills his place, And climbs to manhood with so swift a pace,
As if he knew, he had not long to stay: Such young Marcellus was, the hopeful grace Of ancient Rome, but quickly snatch'd away. Breda beheld th' adventurous boy, His tender limbs in shining armour dress'd, Where, with his father, the hot siege he press'd. His father saw, with pleasing joy, [press'd. His own reflected worth, and youthful charms exBut, when his country breath'd from war's alarms, His martial virtues lay obscure; Nor could a warrior, form'd for arms, Th' inglorious rest endure; But sicken'd soon, and sudden dy'd, And left in tears his pregnant bride, His bride, the daughter of Britannia's king; Nor saw th’ auspicious pledge of nuptial love, Which from that happy marriage was to spring, But with his great fore-fathers gain’d a blissiul seat above.
Here pause, my Muse! and wind w higher The strings of thy Pindaric lyre : Then with bold strains the lofty song pursue; And bid Britannia once again review The numerous worthies of the line. See, like immortals, how they shine! Fach life a history alone! And last, to crown the great design, . Look forward, and behold them all in one' Look, but spare thy fruitless tears— 'Tis thy own William next appears. Advance, celestial form ' let Britain see Th’ accomplish’d glory of thy race in thee!
So, when some splendid triumph was to come, In long procession through the streets of Rome, The crowd beheld, with vast surprise, The glittering train in awful order move, To the bright temple of Feretrian Jove, seves: And trophies borne along employ'd their dazzled But when the laurel'd emperor, mounted high Above the rest, appear'd to sight, In his proud car of victory, Shining with rays excessive bright, He put the long preceding pomp to flight; Their wonder could no higher rise, With joy they throng his chariot wheels, and rend with shouts the skies.
To thee, great prince' to thy extensive mind, Not by thy country's narrow bounds confin'd, The Fates an ample scene afford; And injur'd nations claim the succour of thy sword. No respite to thy toiis is given, Till thou ascend thy native Heaven: One Hydra-head cut off, still more abound, And twins sprout up to fill the wound. So endless is the task that heroes find To tame the monster Vice, and to reform mankiad. For this, Alcides heretofore, And mighty Theseus, travell'd o'er Vast tracts of sea and land, and slew Wild beasts and serpents gorg'd with human prey: From stony dens fierce lurking robbers drew, And bid the cheerful traveller pass on his peaceful way. Yet, though the toilsome work they long pursue, To rid the world's wild pathless tield, Still poisonous weeds and thorms in clusters grew. And large unwholesome crops did yield,
* Maurice and Henry. WOL X.
To exercise their hands with labours cver new. .
Thou, like Alcides, early didst begin, And ev’n a child didst laurels win. Two snaky plagues around his cradle twin'd, Sent by the jealous wife of Jove, In speckled wreaths of Death they strove, The mighty babe to bind: And twisted Faction, in thy infancy, Darted her forked tongue at thee. But, as Jove's offspring slew his hissing foes; So thou, descended from a line Of patriots no less divine, Didst quench the brutal rage of those, Who durst thy dawning worth oppose. The viper Spite, crush'd by thy virtue, shed Its yellow juice, and at thy feet lay dead. Thus, like the Sun, did thy great Genius rise, With clouds around his sacred head, Yet soon dispell'd the dropping mists, and gilded all the skies.
Great Julius, who with generous envy view'd The statue of brave Philip's braver son, And wept to think what such a youth subdued, While, more in age, himself had yet so little done, Had wept much more, if he had liv'd to see The glorious deeds achiev'd by thee; To see thee, at a beardless age, Stand arm'd against th' invader's rage, And bravely fighting for thy country's liberty; While he inglorious laurels sought, And not to save his country fought; While he—O stain upon the greatest name, Thate'er before was known to fame! When Rome, his awful mother, did demand The sword from his unruly hand, The sword she gave before, Enrag'd, he spurn’d at her command. Hurl’d ather breast the impious steel, and bath'ditin her gore.
Far other battles thou hast won, Thy standard still the public good: Iavish of thine, to save thy people's blood: And when the hardy task of war was done, With what a mild well-temper'd mind, (A mind unknown to Rome's ambitious son) Thy powerful armies were resign'd; This victory o'er thyself was more, Than all thy conquests gain'd before: 'Twas more than Philip's son could do, When for new worlds the madman cry'd; Nor in his own wild breast had spy'd Towers of ambition, hills of boundless pride, Too great for armies to subdue.
O savage lust of arbitrary sway! Insatiate fury, which in man we find, In barbarous man, to prey upon his kind, And make the world, enslav'd, his vicious will obey! How has this fiend, Ambition, long defac'd Heaven's works, and laid the fair creation waste! Ask silver Rhine, with springing rushes crown'd, As to the sea his waters flow, Where are the numerous cities now, That once he saw, his honour’d banks around? Scarce are their silent ruins found; But, in th’ ensuing age, Trampled into common ground, sing rage. Will hide the horrid monuments of Gaul's destroyAll Europe too had shar'd this wretched fate, And mourn'd her heavy woes too late,
Had not Britannia's chief withstood The threaten’d defluge, and repell’d, To its forsaken banks, th' unwilling flood, And in his hand the scales of balanc'd kingdoms held. Well was this mighty trust repos'd in thee, Whose faithful soul, from private interest free, (Interests which vulgar princes know) O'er all its passions sat exalted high, As Teneriff's top enjoys a purer sky, And sees the moving clouds at distance fly below.
Whoe'er thy warlike annals reads, Behold reviv'd our valiant Edward's deeds. Great Edward and his glorious son " Will own themselves in thee outdone, Though Crecy's desperate fight eternal honours won. Though the fifth Henry too does claim A shining place among Britannia's kings, And Agincourt has rais'd his lofty name; Yet the loud voice of ever-living Fame Of thee more numerous triumphs sings. But, though no chief contends with thee, In all the long records of history, Thy own great deeds together strive, Which shall the fairest light derive, On thy immortal memory; Whether Seneft's amazing field To celebrated Mons shall yield; Or both give place to more amazing Boyne; Or if Namur's well-cover'd siege must all the rest outshine!
While in Hibernia's fields the labouring swain Shall pass the plough o'er skulls of warriors slain, And turn up bones, and broken spears, Amaz'd, he'll show his fellows of the plain, The reliques of victorious years; And tell, how swift thy arms that kingdom did reFlandria, a longer witness to thy glory, [gain. With wonder too repeats thy story; How oft the foes thy lifted sword have seen In the hot battle, when it bled At all its open veins, and oft have fled, As if their evil genius thou hadst been : How, when the blooming Spring began to appear, And with new life restor'd the year, Confederate princes us’d to cry; “Call Britain's king—the sprightly trumpet sound, And spread the joyful summons round ! Call Britain's king, and Victory!” So when the flower of Greece, to battle led In Beauty's cause, just vengeance swore Upon the foul adulterer's head, That from her royal lord the ravish'd Helen bore, The Grecian chiefs, of mighty faine, . Impatient for the son of Thetis wait : At last the son of Thetis came ; Troy shook her nodding towers, and mourn'd th’im. pending fate.
O sacred Peace goddess serene' Adorn'd with robes of spotless white, Fairer than silver floods of light! How short has thy mild empire been" When pregnant Time broughtforth this new-bor At first we saw thee gently smile [age On the young birth, and thy sweet voice awhile Sung a soft charm to martial rage:
* Edward III. and the Black Prince.
Rut soon the lion wak'd again, [mane.
But Heaven its hero can no longer spare,
Whene Babylon's proud walls, erected high