To the King -

When now the bus'ness of the field is o'er,
The trumpets sleep and cannons cease to roar,
When ev'ry dismal echo is decay'd,
And all the thunder of the battle laid,
Attend, auspicious Prince! and let the Muse
In humble accents milder thoughts infuse.
Others, in bold prophetic numbers skill'd,
Set thee in arms, and led thee to the field;
My Muse, expecting, on the British strand
Waits thy return, and welcomes thee to land:
She oft' has seen thee pressing on the foe,
When Europe was concern'd in ev'ry blow,
But durst not in heroic strains rejoice;
The trumpets, drums, and cannons, drown'd her voice:
She saw the Boyn run thick with human gore,
And floting corpse' lie beating on the shore;
She saw thee climb the banks, but try'd in vain
To trace her hero thro' the dusty plain,
When thro' the thick embattled lines he broke,
Now plung'd amidst the foes, now lost in clouds of smoke.
O that some Muse, renown'd for softy verse,
In daring numbers would thy toils rehearse!
Draw thee belov'd in peace and fear'd in wars,
Inur'd to noonday sweats and midnight cares!
But still the godlike man, by some hard fate,
Receives the glory of his toils too late;
Too late the verse the mighty act succeeds;
One age the hero, one the poet, breeds.
A thousand years in full succession ran
Ere Virgil rais'd his voice, and sung the man
Who, driv'n by stress of Fate, such dangers bore
On stormy seas and a disastrous shore,
Before he settled in the promis'd earth,
And gave the empire of the world its birth.
Troy long had found the Grecians bold and fierce
Ere Homer muster'd up their troops in verse;
Long had Achilles quell'd the Trojans' lust,
And laid the labour of the gods in dust,
Before the tow'ring Muse began her flight,
And drew the hero raging in the fight,
Engag'd in tented fields and rolling floods,
Or slaught'ring mortals, or a match for gods.
And here, perhaps, by Fate's unerring doom,
Some mighty bard lies hid in years to come,
That shall in William's godlike acts engage,
And with his battles warm a future age.
Hibernian fields shall here thy conquests show,
And Boyn be sung when it has ceas'd to flow;
Here Gallic labours shall advance thy fame,
And here Senesse shall wear another name.
Our late posterity, with secret dread,
Shall view thy battles, and with pleasure read
How, in the bloody field, too near advanc'd,
The guiltless bullet on thy shoulder glanc'd.
The race of Nassaus was by Heav'n design'd
To curb the proud oppressors of mankind,
To bind the tyrants of the earth with laws,
And fight in ev'ry injur'd nation's cause,
The world's great patriots; they for justice call,
And as they favour kingdoms rise or fall.
Our British youth, unus'd to rough alarms,
Careless of fame, and negligent of arms,
Had long forgot to meditate the foe,
And heard unwarm'd the martial trumpet blow;
But now, inspir'd by thee, with fresh delight
Their swords they brandish, and require the fight,
Renew their ancient conquests on the main,
And act their fathers' triumphs o'er again;
Fir'd when they hear how Agincourt was strow'd
With Gallic corpse', and Cressi swam in blood,
With eager warmth they fight, ambitious all
Who first shall storm the breach or mount the wall.
In vain the thronging enemy by force
Would clear the ramparts and repel their course;
They break thro' all, for William leads the way
Where fires rage most and loudest engines play.
Namure's late terrors and destruction show
What William, warm'd with just revenge, can do:
Where once a thousand turrets rais'd on high
Their gilded spires, and glitter'd in the sky,
An undistinguish'd heap of dust is found,
And all the pile lies smoking on the ground.
His toils, for no ignoble ends design'd,
Promote the common welfare of mankind;
No wild ambition moves, but Europe's fears,
The cries of orphans, and the widows' tears:
Oppress'd Religion gives the first alarms,
And injur'd Justice sets him in his arms;
His conquests freedom to the world afford,
And nations bless the labours of his sword.
Thus when the forming Muse would copy forth
A perfect pattern of heroic worth,
She sets a man triumphant in the field,
O'er giants cloven down and monsters kill'd,
Reeking in blood, and smear'd with dust and sweat,
Whilst angry gods conspite to make him great.
Thy navy rides on seas before unprest,
And strikes a terror thro' the haughty East;
Algiers and Tunis, from their sultry shore,
With horror hear the British engines roar;
Fain from the neighb'ring dangers would they run,
And wish themselves still nearer to the sun.
The Gallic ships are in their ports confin'd,
Deny'd the common use of sea and wind,
Nor dare again the British strength engage;
Still they remember that destructive rage
Which lately made their trembling host retire,
Stunn'd with the noise, and wrapt in smoke and fire;
The waves with wide unnumber'd wrecks werestrow'd,
And planks, and arms, and men, promiscuous flow'd.
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