To the King -

Spain's num'rous fleet, that perish'd on our coast,
Could scarce a longer line of battle boast,
The winds could hardly drive 'em to their fate,
And all the ocean labour'd with the weight.
Where'er the waves in restless errors roll,
The sea lies open now to either pole;
Now may we safely use the northern gales,
And in the Polar Circle spread our fails;
Or deep in southern climes, secure from wars,
New lands explore, and sail by other stars;
Fetch uncontroll'd each labour of the sun,
And make the product of the world our own.
At length, proud Prince! ambitious Louis! cease
To plague mankind, and trouble Europe's peace;
Think on the structures which thy pride has ras'd,
On towns unpeopled, and on fields laid waste;
Think on the heaps of corpse' and streams of blood,
On every guilty plain and purple flood
Thy arms have made, and cease an impious war,
Nor waste the lives entrusted to thy care:
Or if no milder thought can calm thy mind,
Behold the great avenger of mankind!
See mighty Nassau thro' the battle ride,
And see thy subjects gasping by his side!
Fain would the pious prince refuse th' alarm,
Fain would he check the fury of his arm,
But when thy cruelties his thoughts engage,
The hero kindles with becoming rage,
Then countries stol'n, and captives unrestor'd,
Give strength to ev'ry blow, and edge his sword.
Behold with what resistless force he falls
On towns besieg'd, and thunders at thy walls!
Ask Villeroy, for Villeroy beheld
The town surrender'd and the treaty seal'd,
With what amazing strength the forts were won,
Whilst the whole pow'r of France stood looking on.
But stop not here: behold where Berkeley stands,
And executes his injur'd King's commands;
Around thy coast his bursting bombs he pours
On flaming citadels and falling tow'rs;
With hissing streams of fire the air they streak,
And hurl destruction round 'em where they break;
The skies with long ascending flames are bright,
And all the sea reflects a quivering light.
Thus Ætna, when in fierce eruptions broke,
Fills heav'n with ashes and the earth with smoke;
Here crags of broken rocks are twirl'd on high,
Here molten stones and scatter'd cinders fly;
Its fury reaches the remotest coast,
And strows the Asiatic shore with dust.
Now does the sailor from the neighb'ring main
Look after Gallic towns and forts in vain;
No more his wonted marks he can descry,
But sees a long unmeasur'd ruin lie,
Whilst, pointing to the naked coast, he shows
His wondring mates where towns and steeples rose,
Where crowded citizens he lately view'd,
And singles out the place where once St. Maloes stood.
Here Russel's actions should my Muse require,
And would my strength but second my desire,
I'd all his boundless bravery rehearse,
And draw his cannons thund'ring in my verse;
High on the deck should the great leader stand,
Wrath in his look, and lightning in his hand,
Like Homer's Hector, when he flung his fire
Amidst a thousand ships, and made all Greece retire.
But who can run the British triumphs o'er,
And count the flames disperst on ev'ry shore?
Who can describe the scatter'd victory,
And draw the reader on from sea to sea?
Else who could Ormond's godlike acts refuse?
Ormond! the theme of ev'ry Oxford Muse.
Fain would I here his mighty worth proclaim,
Attend him in the noble chase of fame,
Thro' all the noise and hurry of the fight
Observe each blow, and keep him still in sight.
Oh! did our British peers thus court renown,
And grace the coats their great forefathers won,
Our arms would then triumphantly advance,
Nor Henry be the last that conquer'd France.
What might not England hope, if such abroad
Purchas'd their country's honour with their blood?
When such, detain'd at home, support our state
In William's stead, and bear a kingdom's weight,
The schemes of Gallic policy o'erthrow,
And blast the counsels of the common foe,
Direct our armies, and distribute right,
And render our Maria's loss more light?
But stop, my Muse, th' ungrateful sound forbear,
Maria's name still wounds each British ear;
Each British heart Maria still does wound,
And tears burst out unbidden at the sound;
Maria still our rising mirth destroys,
Darkens our triumphs, and forbids our joys.
But see, at length, the British ships appear!
Our Nassau comes! and, as his fleet draws near,
The rising masts advance, the fails grow white,
And all his pompous navy flotes in sight.
Come, mighty Prince! desir'd of Britain! come;
May Heav'n's propitious gales attend thee home!
Come, and let longing crowds behold that look
Which such confusion and amazement strook
Thro' Gallic hosts; but, oh! let us descry
Mirth in thy brow, and pleasure in the eye;
Let nothing dreadful in thy face be found,
But for a while forget the trumpet's sound;
Well pleas'd, thy people's loyalty approve,
Accept their duty, and enjoy their love:
For as, when lately mov'd with fierce delight,
You plung'd amidst the tumult of the fight,
Whole heaps of death encompass'd you around,
And steeds o'erturn'd lay foaming on the ground;
So, crown'd with laurels now, where'er you go,
Around you blooming joys and peaceful blessings flow.
Rate this poem: 

Reviews

No reviews yet.