« PreviousContinue »
No toils are painful that can danger show,
No climes unlovely, that contain a foe.
The roving Gaul, to his own bounds restrain'd,
Learns to incamp within his native land,
But soon as the victorious host he spies,
From hill to hill, from stream to stream he flies: Such dire impressions in his heart remain
Of Marlborough's sword and Hochtste's fatal plain:
In vain Britannia's mighty chief besets
Their shady coverts, and obscure retreats;
They fly the conqueror's approaching fame,
That bears the force of armies in his name.
's young monarch, whose imperial sway
Sceptres and thrones are destin'd to obey,
Whose boasted ancestry so high extends
That in the pagan gods his lineage ends,
Comes from afar, in gratitude to own
The great supporter of his father's throne:
What tides of glory to his bosom ran,
Clasp'd in th' embraces of the godlike man!
How were his eyes with pleasing wonder fixt
To see such fire with so much sweetness mixt,
Such easy greatness, such a graceful port,
So turn'd and finish'd for the camp or court!
Achilles thus was form'd with ev'ry grace,
And Nireus shone but in the second place;
Thus the great father of almighty Rome
(Divinely flusht with an immortal bloom,
That Cytherea's fragrant breath bestow'd)
In all the charms of his bright mother glow'd.
The royal youth by Marlborough's presence charm'd,
Taught by his counsels, by his actions warm'd,
On Landau with redoubled fury falls,
Discharges all the thunder on its walls,
O'er mines and caves of death provokes the fight,
And learns to conquer in the hero's sight.
The British chief, for mighty toils renown'd,
Increas'd in titles, and with conquests crown'd,
To Belgian coasts his tedious march renews,
And the long windings of the Rhine pursues,
Clearing its borders from usurping foes,
And blest by rescued nations as he goes.
Treves fears no more, freed from its dire alarms;
And Traerbach feels the terrour of his arms:
Seated on rocks her proud foundations shake,
While Marlborough presses to the bold attack.
Plants all his batteries, bids his cannon roar,
And shows how Landau might have fall'n before,
Scar'd at his near approach, great Louis fears
Vengeance reserv'd for his declining years.
Forgets his thirst of universal sway,
And scarce can teach his subjects to obey;
His arms he finds on vain attempts employ'd,
Th' ambitious projects for his race destroy'd,
The works of ages sunk in one campaign,
And lives of millions sacrific'd in vain.
Such are th' effects of Anna's royal cares : By her, Britannia, great in foreign wars, Ranges through nations, wheresoe'er disjoin'd, Without the wonted aid of sea and wind.
By her th' unfetter'd Ister's states are free,
And taste the sweets of English liberty:
But who can tell the joys of those that lie
Beneath the constant influence of her eye!
Whilst in diffusive showers her bounties fall
Like Heaven's indulgence, and descend on all,
Secure the happy, succour the distrest,
Make every subject glad, and a whole people blest.
Thus would I fain Britannia's wars rehearse,
In the smooth records of a faithful verse;
That, if such numbers can o'er time prevail,
May tell posterity the wondrous tale.
When actions, unadorn'd, are faint and weak,
Cities and countries must be taught to speak;
Gods may descend in factions from the skies,
And rivers from their oozy beds arise;
Fiction may deck the truth with spurious rays,
And round the hero cast a borrow'd blaze.
Marlborough's exploits appear divinely bright,
And proudly shine in their own native light, [boast,
Rais'd of themselves their genuine charms they
And those who paint them truest praise them most.
TO SIR GODFREY KNELLER,
ON HIS PICTURE OF THE KING.
KNELLER, with silence and surprise
We see Britannia's monarch rise,
A godlike form, by thee display'd
In all the force of light and shade;
And, aw'd by thy delusive hand,
As in the presence-chamber stand.
The magic of thy art calls forth
His secret soul and hidden worth,
His probity and mildness shows,
His care of friends, and scorn of foes:
In every stroke, in every line,
Does some exalted virtue shine,
And Albion's happiness we trace
Through all the features of his face.
O may I live to hail the day,
When the glad nation shall survey
Their sovereign, through his wide command,
Passing in progress o'er the land!
Each heart shall bend, and every voice
In loud applauding shouts rejoice,
Whilst all his gracious aspect praise,
And crowds grow loyal as they gaze.
The image on the medal plac'd,
With its bright round of titles grac'd,
And stampt on British coins shall live,
To richest ores the value give,
Or, wrought within the curious mold,
Shape and adorn the running gold.
To bear this form, the genial Sun
Has daily since his course begun
Rejoic'd the metal to refine,
And ripen'd the Peruvian mine.
Thou, Kneller, long with noble pride,
The foremost of thy art, hast vy'd
With nature in a generous strife,
And touch'd the canvas into life.
Thy pencil has, by monarchs sought,
From reign to reign in ermine wrought,
And, in the robes of state array'd,
The kings of half an age display'd.
Here swarthy Charles appears, and there
His brother with dejected air:
Triumphant Nassau here we find,
And with him bright Maria join'd;
There Anna, great as when she sent
Her armies through the continent,
Ere yet her hero was disgrac'd:
O may fam'd Brunswick be the last,
(Though Heaven should with my wish agree,
And long preserve thy art in thee)
The last, the happiest British king,
Whom thou shalt paint, or I shall sing!
Wise Phidias thus, his skill to prove,
Through many a god advanc'd to Jove,
And taught the polish'd rocks to shine
With airs and lineaments divine;
Till Greece, amazʼd, and half-afraid,
Th' assembled deities survey'd.
Great Pan, who wont to chase the fair, And lov'd the spreading oak, was there; Old Saturn too with upcast eyes
Beheld his abdicated skies;
And mighty Mars, for war renown'd,
In adamantine armour frown'd;
By him the childless goddess rose,
Minerva, studious to compose
Her twisted threads; the web she strung,
And o'er a loom of marble hung: