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OCEAN: AN ODE,

OCCASIONED BY HIS MAJESTY'S ROYAL ENCOURAGK

MENT OF THE SEA SERVICE.

TO WHICH IS PREFIXED AN ODE TO THE KING ;

AND A DISCOURSE ON ODE.

I THINK myself obliged to recommend to you a considera. tion of the greatest importance; and I should look upon it as a great happiness, if, at the beginning of my reign, I could see the foundation laid of so great and necessary a work, as the increase and encouragement of our seamen in general; that they may be invited, rather than compelled by force and violence, to enter into the service of their country, as oft as occasion shall require it : a consideration worthy the representatives of a people great and flourishing in trade and navigation. This leads me to mention to you the case of Greenwich Hospital, that care may be taken, by some addition to that fund, to render comfortable and effectual that charitable provision, for the support and maintenance of our seamen, worn out, and become decrepit by age and infirmities, in the service of their country.

[Speech, Jan, 27, 1727-8.]

TO THE KING.–1728.

OLD ocean's praise

Demands my lays ;
A truly British theme I sing;

A theme so great,

I dare complete,
And join with ocean, ocean's king.

The Roman ode

Majestic flow'd : Its stream divinely clear, and strong;

In sense, and sound,

Thebes roll'd profound; The torrent roar'd, and foam'd along.

Let Thebes, nor Rome,

So fam'd, presume
To triumph o'er a northern isle ;

Late time shall know

The north can glow,
If dread Augustus deign to smile.

The naval crown

Is all his own! Our fleet, if war, or commerce, call,

His will performs

Through waves and storms, And rides in triumph round the ball.

No former race,

With strong embrace,
This theme to ravish durst aspire ;

With virgin charms

My soul it warms,
And melts melodious on my lyre.

My lays I file

With cautious toil; Ye graces ! turn the glowing lines;

On anvils neat

Your strokes repeat;
At every stroke the work refines !

How music charms!

How metre warms !
Parent of actions, good and brave !

How vice it tames !

And worth inflames ! And holds proud empire o'er the grave!

Jove mark'd for man

A scanty span,
But lent him wings to fly his doom;

Wit scorns the grave;

To wit he gave
The life of gods! immortal bloom !

Since years will fly,

And pleasures die,
Day after day, as years advance;

Since, while life lasts,

Joy suffers blasts
From frowning fate, and fickle chance;

Nor life is long;

But soon we throng, Like autumn leaves, death's pallid shore ;

We make, at least,

Of bad the best,
If in life's phantom, fame, we soar.

Our strains divide

The laurel's pride;
With those we lift to life, to live;

By fame enrollid

With heroes bold,
And share the blessings which we give.

What hero's praise

Can fire my lays,
Like his, with whom my lay begun?

Justịce sincere,

And courage clear,
Rise the two columns of his throne.

6. How form'd for sway!

Who look, obey;
They read the monarch in his port:

Their love and awę
Supply the law

;
And his own lustre makes the court;"

On yonder height,

What golden light Triumphant shines ? and shines alone ?

Unrivall’d blaze!

The nations gaze! 'Tis not the sun; 'tis Britain's throne.

Our monarch, there,

Rear'd high in air, Should tempests rise, disdains to bend;

Like British oak,

Derides the stroke;
His blooming honours far extend !

Beneath them lies,

With lifted eyes,
Fair Albion, like an amorous maid;

While interest wings

Bold foreign kings
To fly, like eagles, to his shade.

At his proud foot

The sea, pour'd out,
Immortal nourishment supplies ;

Thence wealth and state,

And power and fate,
Which Europe reads in George's eyes.

From what we view,

We take the clue,
Which leads from great to greater things:

Men doubt no more,

But gods adore,
When such resemblance shines in kings.

ON LYRIC POETRY.

How imperfect soever my own composition may be, yet am I willing to speak a word or two, of the nature of lyric poetry; to show that I have, at least, some idea of perfection in that kind of poem in which I am engaged; and that I do not think myself poet enough entirely to rely on inspiration for success in it.

To our having, or not having, this idea of perfection in the poem we undertake, is chiefly owing the merit or demerit of our performances, as also the modesty or vanity of our opinions concerning them. And in speaking of it I shall show how it unavoidably comes to pass, that bad poets, that is, poets in general, are esteemed, and really are, the most vain, the most irritable, and most ridiculous

VOL. II.

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