Page images

Our greedy seamen rummage every hold,

Smile on the booty of each wealthier chest And, as the priests who with their gods make bold, Take what they like, and sacrifice the rest.

But ah! how insincere are all our joys! [stay:
Which, sent from Heaven like lightning make no
Their palling taste the journey's length destroys,
Or grief sent post o'ertakes them on the way.

Swell'd with our late successes on the foe,
Which France and Holland wanted power to cross,
We urge an unseen fate to lay us low,

And feed their envious eyes with English loss.

Each element his dread command obeys,

Who makes or ruins with a smile or frown; Who, as by one he did our nation raise,

So now he with another pulls us down.

Yet, London, empress of the northern clime,
By an high fate thou greatly didst expire;
Great as the world's, which, at the death of Time,
Must fall, and rise a nobler frame by Fire.

As when some dire usurper Heaven provides,
To scourge his country with a lawless sway;
His birth, perhaps, some petty village hides,
And sets his cradle out of Fortune's way:

Till, fully ripe, his swelling fate breaks out,
And hurries him to mighty mischiefs on:
His prince, surpris'd at first, no ill could doubt,
And wants the power to meet it when 'tis known.

Such was the rise of this prodigious Fire,

Which in mean buildings first obscurely bred, From thence did soon to open streets aspire, And straight to palaces and temples spread.

The diligence of trades and noiseful gain, And luxury more late, asleep were laid: All was the Night's; and in her silent reign No sound the rest of Nature did invade.

In this deep quiet, from what source unknown,
Those seeds of Fire their fatal birth disclose;
And first few scattering sparks about were blown,
Big with the flames that to our ruin rose.

Then in some close-pent room it crept along,
And, smouldering as it went, in silence fed;
Till th' infant monster, with devouring strong,
Walk'd boldly upright with exalted head.

Now like some rich or mighty murderer,
Too great for prison, which he breaks with gold;
Who fresher for new mischiefs does appear,
And dares the world to tax him with the old :

So scapes th' insulting Fire his narrow jail,
And makes small outlets into open air:
There the fierce winds his tender force assail,
And beat him downward to his first repair.

The winds, like crafty courtesans, withheld
His flames from burning, but to blow them more:
And every fresh attempt, he is repell'd
With faint denials weaker than before.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

At length the crackling noise and dreadful blaze
Call'd up some waking lover to the sight;
And long it was ere he the rest could raise,
Whose heavy eyelids yet were full of night.
The next to danger, hot pursued by Fate,
Half-cloth'd, half-naked, hastily retire:
And frighted mothers strike their breasts too late
For helpless infants left amidst the fire.

Their cries soon waken all the dwellers near;
Now murmuring noises rise in every street:
The more remote run stumbling with their fear,
And in the dark men justle as they meet.

So weary bees in little cells repose;

But if night-robbers lift the well-stor'd hive, An humming through their waxen city grows, And out upon each other's wings they drive.

Now streets grow throng'd and busy as by day: Some run for buckets to the hallow'd quire Some cut the pipes, and some the engines play; And some more bold mount ladders to the fire

In vain: for from the east a Belgian wind

His hostile breath through the dry rafters sent, The flames impell'd soon left their foes behind, And forward with a wanton fury went.

A key of fire ran all along the shore,
And lighten'd all the river with a blaze:
The waken'd tides began again to roar,

And wondering fish in shining waters gaze

Old father Thames rais'd up his reverend head But fear'd the fate of Simois would return : Deep in his ooze he sought his sedgy bed,

And shrunk his waters back into his urn.

The Fire, meantime, walks in a broader gross;
To either hand his wings he opens wide:
He wades the streets, and straight he reaches cross
And plays his longing flames on th' other side.

At first they warm, then scorch, and then they take Now with long necks from side to side they feed At length grown strong, their mother Fire forsake And a new colony of Flames succeed.

To every nobler portion of the town

The curling billows roll their restless tide. In parties now they straggle up and down, As armies unoppos'd for prey divide.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

"Thy threatenings, Lord, as thine thou may'st re- As when sharp frosts had long constrain'd the earth,


But if immutable and fix'd they stand, Continue still thyself to give the stroke,

And let not foreign foes oppress thy land."

Th' Eternal heard, and from the heavenly quire Chose out the cherub with the flaming sword; And bade him swiftly drive th' approaching Fire From where our naval magazines were stor'd.

The blessed minister his wings display'd,

And like a shooting star he cleft the night:
He charg'd the flames, and those that disobey'd
He lash'd to duty with his sword of light.

The fugitive Flames, chastis'd, went forth to prey
On pious structures, by our fathers rear'd;
By which to Heaven they did affect the way,
Ere faith in churchmen without works was heard.

The wanting orphans saw, with watery eyes,
Their founders' charity in dust laid low;
And sent to God their ever-answer'd cries,
For he protects the poor, who made them so.

Nor could thy fabric, Paul's, defend thee long,
Though thou wert sacred to thy Maker's praise:
Though made immortal by a poet's song;
And poets' songs the Theban walls could raise.

The daring flames peep'd in, and saw from far
The awful beauties of the sacred quire:
But, since it was profan'd by civil war,
Heav'n thought it fit to have it purg'd by fire.

Now down the narrow streets it swiftly came,
And widely opening did on both sides prey:
This benefit we sadly owe the flame,
If only ruin must enlarge our way.

[blocks in formation]

Now frequent trines the happier lights among,

And high-raised Jove from his dark prison freed, Those weights took off that on his planet hung, Will gloriously the new-laid work succeed.

Methinks already from this chymic flame,

I see a city of more precious mould:
Rich as the town which gives the Indies name,
With silver pav'd, and all divine with gold.

Already laboring with a mighty fate,

She shakes the rubbish from her mounting brow, And seems to have renew'd her charter's date,



"Twas at the royal feast for Persia won
By Philip's warlike son:
Aloft in awful state
The godlike hero sate

On his imperial throne:

His valiant peers were plac'd around;

Their brows with roses and with myrtles bound
(So should desert in arms be crown'd)
The lovely Thais, by his side,

Which Heaven will to the death of Time allow. Sate, like a blooming eastern bride,

More great than human now, and more august,
Now deified she from her fires does rise:
Her widening streets on new foundations trust,
And opening into larger parts she flies.

Before she like some shepherdess did show,
Who sat to bathe her by a river's side;
Not answering to her fame, but rude and low,
Nor taught the beauteous arts of modern pride.

Now like a maiden queen she will behold,

From her high turrets, hourly suitors come; The East with incense, and the West with gold, Will stand like suppliants to receive her doom.

The silver Thames, her own domestic flood,

Shall bear her vessels like a sweeping train; And often wind, as of his mistress proud,

With longing eyes to meet her face again.

The wealthy Tagus, and the wealthier Rhine,
The glory of their towns no more shall boast,
And Seyne, that would with Belgian rivers join,
Shall find her lustre stain'd, and traffic lost.

The venturous merchant, who design'd more far,
And touches on our hospitable shore,
Charm'd with the splendor of this northern star,
Shall here unlade him, and depart no more.

Our powerful navy shall no longer meet,

The wealth of France or Holland to invade ; The beauty of this town without a fleet,

From all the world shall vindicate her trade.

And while this fam'd emporium we prepare,

The British ocean shall such triumphs boast, That those, who now disdain our trade to share, Shall rob like pirates on our wealthy coast.

Already we have conquer'd half the war,

And the less dangerous part is left behind: Our trouble now is but to make them dare,

And not so great to vanquish as to find.

Thus to the eastern wealth through storms we go,
But now, the Cape once doubled, fear no more;

A constant trade-wind will securely blow,
And gently lay us on the spicy shore.

In flower of youth and beauty's pride.
Happy, happy, happy pair!

None but the brave,

None but the brave,

None but the brave deserves the fair.

[blocks in formation]

With ravish'd ears
The monarch hears,
Assumes the god,
Affects to nod,

And seems to shake the spheres.

The praise of Bacchus then the sweet musician sung
Of Bacchus ever fair and ever young:

The jolly god in triumph comes;
Sound the trumpets; beat the drums,
Flush'd with a purple grace,

He shows his honest face;

Now give the hautboys breath: he comes, he comes
Bacchus, ever fair and young,

Drinking joys did first ordain;
Bacchus' blessings are a treasure,
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure.

Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure;

Sweet is pleasure after pain


Bacchus' blessings are a treasure,
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure;

Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure ;

Sweet is pleasure after pain.

Sooth'd with the sound, the king grew vain;

Fought all his battles o'er again;

[the slain.

And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew
The master saw the madness rise;
His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes;
And, while he Heaven and Earth defied,
Chang'd his hand, and check'd his pride.
He chose a mournful Muse,
Soft pity to infuse :

He sung Darius great and good,
By too severe a fate,
Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
Fallen from his high estate,

And weltering in his blood;
Deserted, at his utmost need,
By those his former bounty fed:
On the bare earth expos'd he lies,
With not a friend to close his eyes.
With downcast looks the joyless victor sate,
Revolving in his alter'd soul

The various turns of Chance below;
And, now and then, a sigh he stole;
And tears began to flow.


Revolving in his alter'd soul

The various turns of Chance below; And, now and then, a sigh he stole, And tears began to flow.

The mighty master smil'd, to see
That love was in the next degree:
"Twas but a kindred sound to move,
For pity melts the mind to love.

Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,
Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasures.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble;
Honor but an empty bubble;

Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying;

If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, O think, it worth enjoying :
Lovely Thais sits beside thee,

Take the good the gods provide thee.
The many rend the skies with loud applause;
So Love was crown'd, but Music won the cause.
The prince, unable to conceal his pain,
Gaz'd on the fair

Who caus'd his care,

And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd, Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again:

At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd, The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.


The prince, unable to conceal his pain, Gaz'd on the fair

Who caus'd his care,

And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd, Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again :

At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd
The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.

Now strike the golden lyre again :

A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
Break his bands of sleep asunder,

And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder
Hark, bark, the horrid sound

Has rais'd up his head!

As awak'd from the dead,

And, amaz'd, he stares around.

Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries,
See the Furies arise:

See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their hair,

And the sparkles that flash from their eyes!
Behold a ghastly band,

Each a torch in his hand!

Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain, And unburied remain

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »