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THREN ODIA AUGUSTALIS: A FUNERAL PINDARIC POEM, facred to the happy Memory of King CHARLES II.
HUS long my grief has kept me dumb :
Sure there's a lethargy in mighty woe,
Tears ftand congeal'd, and cannot flow;
And the fad foul retires into her inmoft room:
Tears, for a stroke foreseen, afford relief;
But, unprovided for a fudden blow,
Like Niobé we marble grow;
And petrify with grief.
Our British heaven was all ferene,
No threatening cloud was nigh,
Not the leaft wrinkle to deform the fky;
We liv'd as unconcern'd and happily
As the firft age in nature's golden fcene;
Supine amidst our flowing ftore,
We flept fecurely, and we dreamt of more :
When fuddenly the thunder-clap was heard,
It took us unprepar'd and out of guard,
Already loft before we fear'd.
Th' amazing news of Charles at once were fpread,
At once the general voice declar'd,
"Our gracious prince was dead."
No fickness known before, no flow difeafe,
To foften grief by just degrees :
But like an hurricane on Indian feas,
The tempeft rose;
An unexpected burst of woes :
With scarce a breathing space betwixt,
This now becalm'd, and perishing the next.
As if great Atlas from his height
Should fink beneath his heavenly weight,
And with a mighty flaw, the flaming wall
As once it fhall,
Should gape immense, and rushing down, o'erwhelm this nether ball;
So fwift and so surprising was our fear :
Our Atlas fell indeed; but Hercules was near.
His pious brother, fure the best
Who ever bore that name,
Was newly risen from his rest,
And, with a fervent flame,
His usual morning vows had just addrest
For his dear fovereign's health;
And hop'd to have them heard,
In long increase of years,
In honour, fame, and wealth:
Guiltlefs of greatness thus he always pray'd,
Nor knew nor wish'd thofe vows he made,
On his own head fhould be repay'd.
Soon as th' ill-omen'd rumour reach'd his ear,
Ill news is wing'd with fate, and flies apace,
Who can defcribe th' amazement of his face!
Horror in all his pomp was there,
Mute and magnificent without a tear:
And then the hero firft was feen to fear.
Half unarray'd he ran to his relief,
So hafty and so artless was his grief : Approaching greatnefs met him with her charms and future ftate;
But look'd fo ghaftly in a brother's fate,
He fhook her from his arms.
Arriv'd within the mournful room, he faw
A wild distraction, void of awe,
And, arbitrary grief unbounded by a law.
God's image, God's anointed, lay
Without motion, pulfe, or breath,
A fenfelefs lump of facred clay,
An image now of death.
Amidft his fad attendants groans and cries,
The lines of that ador'd forgiving face,
Distorted from their native grace;
An iron flumber fat on his majestic eyes.
The pious duke-Forbear, audacious Mufe!
No terms thy feeble art can use
Are able to adorn fo vaft a woe:
The grief of all the reft like fubject-grief did fhow,
His like a fovereign did tranfcend;
No wife, no brother, fuch a grief could know,
Nor any name but friend.
O wondrous changes of a fatal fcene,
Still varying to the last!
Heaven, though its hard decree was past,
Seem'd pointing to a gracious turn again :
And death's uplifted arm arrefted in its haste.
Heaven half repented of the doom,
And almost griev'd it had foreseen,
What by forefight it will'd eternally to come. Mercy above did hourly plead
For her refemblance here below;
And mild forgiveness intercede
To ftop the coming blow.
New miracles approach'd th' etherial throne,
Such as his wondrous life had oft and lately known,
And urg'd that still they might be fhown.
On earth his pious brother pray'd and vow'd,
Renouncing greatness at fo dear a rate,
Himself defending what he could,
From all the glories of his future fate. With him th' innumerable crowd,
Of armed prayers
Knock'd at the gates of heaven, and knock'd aloud; The first well-meaning rude petitioners.
All for his life affail'd the throne,
All would have brib'd the skies by offering up their own.
So great a throng not heaven itself could bar;
'Twas almoft borne by force as in the giants' war.
The prayers at least for his reprieve were heard ;
His death, like Hezekiah's, was deferr'd:
Against the fun the fhadow went ;
Five days, thofe five degrees, were lent
To form our patience and prepare th' event.
The fecond caufes took the swift command,
The medicinal head, the ready hand,
All eager to perform their part;
All but eternal doom was conquer'd by their art
Once more the fleeting foul came back
T' inspire the mortal frame;
And in the body took a doubtful stand,
Doubtful and hovering like expiring flame,
That mounts and falls by turns, and trembles o'er the brand.
The joyful fhort-liv'd news foon spread around,
Took the fame train, the fame impetuous bound :
The drooping town in fmiles again was dreft,
Gladness in every face exprest,
Their eyes before their tongues confeft.
Men met each other with erected look,
The fteps were higher that they took,
Friends to congratulate their friends made hafte;
And long-inveterate foes faluted as they paft:
Above the rest heroic James appear'd
Exalted more, because he more had fear'd:
His manly heart, whose noble pride
Was ftill above
Diffembled hate or varnish'd love,
Its more than common transport could not hide;
But like an eagre rode in triumph o'er the tide.
Thus, in alternate course,
The tyrant paffions, hope and fear,
Did in extremes appear,
And flash'd upon the foul with equal force,