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Behold two nations then, engag'd so far,
That each seven years the fit must shake each land: Where France will side to weaken us by war,
Who only can his vast designs withstand.
See how he feeds th' Iberian with delays,
Such deep designs of empire does he lay
O'er them, whose cause he seems to take in hand; And prudently would make them lords at sea,
To whom with ease he can give laws by land.
This saw our king; and long within his breast
His generous mind the fair ideas drew
of fame and honour, which in dangers lay; Where wealth, like fruit on precipices, grew, Not to be gather'd but by birds of prey.
The loss and gain each fatally were great;
He first survey'd the charge with careful eyes,
At length resolv'd t' assert the watery ball,
He in himself did whole armadoes bring:
It seems as every ship their sovereign knows,
To see this fleet upon the ocean move,
Angels drew wide the curtains of the skies; And Heaven, as if there wanted lights above, For tapers made two glaring comets rise.
Whether they unctuous exhalations are,
Fir'd by the Sun, or seeming so alone;
Or one, that bright companion of the Sun,
New influence from his walks of light did bring. Victorious York did first with fam'd success,
To his known valour make the Dutch give place: Thus Heaven our monarch's fortune did confess, Beginning conquest from his royal race.
But since it was decreed, auspicious king,
In Britain's right that thou shouldst wed the main, Heaven, as a gage, would cast some precious thing, And therefore doom'd that Lawson should be slain.
Lawson amongst the foremost inet his fate,
He first was kill'd who first to battle went.
Their chief blown up in air, not waves, expir'd, To which his pride presum'd to give the law: The Dutch confess'd Heaven present, and retir'd, And all was Britain the wide ocean saw.
To nearest ports their shatter'd ships repair,
When thunder speaks the angry gods abroad.
And now approach'd their fleet from India fraught, With all the riches of the rising Sun :
And precious sand from southern climates brought,
Like hunted castors, conscious of their store, [bring:
By the rich scent we found our perfum'd prey,
Fiercer than cannon, and than rocks more hard,
Besiege the Indies, and all Denmark dare.
These fight like husbands, but like lovers those :
Amidst whole heaps of spices lights a ball,
And though by tempests of the prize bereft,
Nor wholly lost we so deserv'd a prey;
The British ocean sent her mighty lord.
Go, mortals, now and vex yourselves in vain
For wealth, which so uncertainly must come : When what was brought so far, and with such pain, Was only kept to lose it nearer home.
The son, who twice three months on th' ocean tost,
Now sees in English ships the Holland coast,
This careful husband had been long away,
Whom his chaste wife and little children mourn : Who on their fingers learn'd to tell the day On which their father promis'd to return.
Such are the proud designs of human-kind,
Who in the night of Fate must blindly steer!
The undistinguish'd seeds of good and ill,
Heaven in his bosom from our knowledge hides: And draws them in contempt of human skill, Which oft for friends mistaken foes provides.
Let Munster's prelate ever be accurst,
In whom we seek the German faith in vain : Alas, that he should teach the English first, That fraud and avarice in the church could reign!
Happy, who never trust a stranger's will,
Whose friendship's in his interest understood! Since money given but tempts him to be ill, When power is too remote to make him good.
Till now, alone the mighty nations strove;
The rest, at gaze, without the lists did stand; And threatening France, plac'd like a painted Jove, Kept idle thunder in his lifted hand.
That eunuch guardian of rich Holland's trade,
Offended that we fought without his leave,
He takes this time his secret hate to show: Which Charles does with a mind so calm receive, As one that neither seeks nor shuns his foe.