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The sea's our own: and now, all nations greet,
With bending sails, each vessel of our fleet:
Your power extends as far as winds can blow,
Or swelling sails upon the globe may go.
Heaven (that hath plac'd this island to give law,
To balance Europe, and her states to awe,)
In this conjunction doth on Britain smile,
The greatest leader, and the greatest isle!
Whether this portion of the world were rent,
By the rude ocean, from the continent,
Or thus created; it was sure design'd
To be the sacred refuge of mankind.
Hither th' oppress'd shall henceforth resort,
Justice to crave, and succour, at your court;
And then your highness, not for our's alone,
But for the world's protector shall be known.
Fame, swifter than your winged navy, flies
Through every land, that near the ocean lies;
Sounding your name, and telling dreadful news
To all that piracy and rapine use.
With such a chief the meanest nation blest,
Might hope to lift her head above the rest:
What may be thought impossible to do
By us, embraced by the sea and you?
Lords of the world's great waste, the ocean, we
Whole forests send to reign upon the sea;
And every coast may trouble, or relieve :
But none can visit us without your leave.
Angels and we have this prerogative,
That none can at our happy seats arrive :
While we descend at pleasure, to invade
The bad with vengeance, and the good to aid.
Our little world, the image of the great,
Like that, amidst the boundless ocean set,
Of her own growth hath all that nature craves,
And all that's rare, as tribute from the waves.
As Egypt does not on the clouds rely,
But to the Nile owes more than to the sky;
So, what our Earth, and what our Heaven, denies, Our ever-constant friend, the sea, supplies.
The taste of hot Arabia's spice we know,
Free from the scorching sun that makes it grow :
Without the worm, in Persian silks we shine;
And, without planting, drink of every vine,
To dig for wealth, we weary not our limbs ;
Gold, though the heaviest metal, hither swims.
Ours is the harvest where the Indians mow,
We plough the deep, and reap what others sow.
Things of the noblest kind our own soil breeds;
Stout are our men, and warlike are our steeds:
Rome, though her eagle through the world had flown,
Could never make this island all her own.
Here the third Edward, and the Black Prince too,
France-conquering Henry flourish'd, and now you;
For whom we stay'd, as did the Grecian state,
Till Alexander came to urge their fate.
When for more worlds the Macedonian cry'd,
He wist not Thetis in her lap did hide
Another yet: a world reserv'd for you,
To make more great than that he did subdue.
He safely might old troops to battle lead,
Against th' unwarlike Persian and the Mede,
Whose hasty flight did, from a bloodless field,
More spoils than honour to the victor yield.
A race unconquer'd, by their clime made bold,
The Caledonians, arm'd with want and cold,
Have, by a fate indulgent to your fame,
Been from all ages kept for you to tame.
Whom the old Roman wall, so ill confin'd,
With a new chain of garrisons you bind:
Here foreign gold no more shall make them come;
Our English iron holds them fast at home.
They, that henceforth must be content to know
No warmer region than their hills of snow,
May blame the sun; but must extol your grace,
Which in our senate hath allow'd them place.
Prefer'd by conquest, happily o'erthrown,
Falling they rise, to be with us made one:
So kind dictators made, when they came home,
Their vanquish'd foes free citizens of Rome.
Like favour find the Irish, with like fate
Advanc'd to be a portion of our state;
While by your valour, and your bounteous mind,
Nations divided by the sea are join'd
Holland, to gain your friendship, is content
To be our out-guard on the continent:
She from her fellow-provinces would go,
Rather than hazard to have you her foe.
In our late fight, when cannons did diffuse,
Preventing posts, the terrour and the news,
Our neighbour princes trembled at their roar :
But our conjunction makes them tremble more.
Your never-failing sword made war to cease,
And now you heal us with the acts of peace;
Our minds with bounty and with awe engage,
Invite affection, and restrain our rage.
Less pleasure take brave minds in battles won,
Than in restoring such as are undone :
Tigers have courage, and the rugged bear,
But man alone can, whom he conquers, spare.
To pardon, willing, and to punish, loth,
You strike with one hand, but you heal with both; Lifting up all that prostrate lie, you grieve
You cannot make the dead again to live.
When Fate or errour had our age misled,
And o'er this nation such confusion spread;
The only cure, which could from Heaven come down, Was so much power and piety in one.
One! whose extraction from an ancient line
Gives hope again, that well-born men may shine:
The meanest in your nature, mild and good;
The noblest rest secured in your blood.
Oft have we wonder'd, how you hid in peace
A mind proportion'd to such things as these;
How such a ruling sp'rit you could restrain,
And practise first over yourself to reign.
Your private life did a just pattern give,
How fathers, husbands, pious sons, should live;
Born to command, your princely virtues slept,
Like humble David's, while the flock he kept.
But when your troubled country call'd you forth,
Your flaming courage and your matchless worth,
Dazzling the eyes of all that did pretend,
To fierce contention gave a prosperous end.
Still, as you rise, the state, exalted too,
Finds no distemper while 'tis chang'd by you;
Chang'd like the world's great scene! when without
The rising sun night's vulgar lights destroys.
Had you, some ages past, this race of glory
Run, with amazement we should read your story:
But living virtue, all achievements past,
Meets envy still, to grapple with at last.
This Cæsar found; and that ungrateful age,
With losing him, went back to blood and rage;
Mistaken Brutus thought to break their yoke,
But cut the bond of union with that stroke.
That sun once set, a thousand meaner stars
Gave a dim light to violence and wars;
To such a tempest as now threatens all,
Did not your mighty arm prevent the fall.