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Our watchful General had discerned from far
This mighty succour, which made glad the foe; He sighed, but, like a father of the war, 291 His
face spake hope, while deep his sorrows flow.
His wounded men he first sends off to shore,
294 They not their wounds but want of strength deplore
And think them happy who with him can stay. Then to the rest, “Rejoice," said he, "to-day!
In you the fortune of Great Britain lies; Among so brave a people you are they 299
Whom Heaven has chose to fight for such a prize.
So these but wait the owners' last despair
And what's permitted to the flames invade; Even from their jaws they hungry morsels tear
And on their backs the spoils of Vulcan lade. The days were all in this lost labour spent; 1009
And when the weary King gave place to night, His beams he to his royal brother lent,
And so shone still in his reflective light. Night came, but without darkness or repose,
A dismal picture of the general doom; Where souls distracted, when the trumpet blows,
And half unready, with their bodies come. 1016 Those who have homes, when home they do repair,
To a last lodging call their wandering friends; Their short uneasy sleeps are broke with care,
To look how near their own destruction tends:
“If number English courages could quell, We should at first have shunned, not met our
foes, Whose numerous sails the fearful only tell; Courage from hearts and not from numbers grows."
Those who have none sit round where once it was
And with full eyes each wonted room require, Haunting the yet warm ashes of the place, 1023
As murdered men walk where they did expire. Some stir up coals and watch the vestal fire,
Others in vain from sight of ruin run 1026 And, while through burning labyrinths they retire,
With loathing eyes repeat what they would shun.
He said, nor needed more to say: with haste
To their known stations cheerfully they go;
Solicit every gale to meet the foe.
But bold in others, not themselves, they stood, So thick our navy scarce could sheer their way,
But seemed to wander in a moving wood. 312 Our little fleet was now engaged so far
That like the sword-fish in the whale they fought; The combat only seemed a civil war, 315
Till through their bowels we our passage wrought. Never had valour, no, not ours before,
Done aught like this upon the land or main; Where not to be o'ercome was to do more
Than all the conquests former kings did gain.
The most in fields like herded beasts lie down,
To dews obnoxious on the grassy floor; 1030 And while their babes in sleep their sorrows drown,
Sad parents watch the remnants of their store. While by the motion of the flames they guess
What streets are burning now, and what are near, An infant, waking, to the paps would press
And meets instead of milk a falling tear. 1036 No thought can ease them but their Sovereign's care
Whose praise the afflicted as their comfort sing; Even those whom want might drive to just despair
Think life a blessing under such a King. 1040
FROM ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL
No help avails; for, hydra-like, the fire
Lifts up his hundred heads to aim his way; And scarce the wealthy can one half retire
Before he rushes in to share the prey. The rich grow suppliant and the poor grow proud:
Those offer mighty gain and these ask more; So void of pity is the ignoble crowd,
When others' ruin may increase their store. As those who live by shores with joy behold
Some wealthy vessel split or stranded nigh, And from the rocks leap down for shipwrecked gold
And seek the tempest which the others fly: 1004
Of these the false Achitophel was first,
For governed by the moon, the giddy Jews
Pleased with the danger, when the waves went high,
A numerous host of dreaming saints succeed
530 'Gainst form and order they their power employ, Nothing to build and all things to destroy. But far more numerous was the herd of such Who think too little and who talk too much. These out of mere instinct, they knew not why, Adored their fathers' God and property,
536 And by the same blind benefit of Fate The Devil and the Jebusite did hate: Born to be saved even in their own despite, Because they could not help believing right. 540 Such were the tools; but a whole Hydra more Remains of sprouting heads too long to score. Some of their chiefs were princes of the land; In the first rank of these did Zimri stand, A man so various that he seemed to be 545 Not one, but all mankind's epitome: Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong, Was everything by starts and nothing long; But in the course of one revolving moon Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon; 550 Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking, Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking. Blest madman, who could every hour employ With something new to wish or to enjoy! Railing and praising were his usual themes, 555 And both, to show his judgment, in extremes: So over violent or over civil That every man with him was God or Devil. In squandering wealth was his peculiar art; Nothing went unrewarded but desert. 560 Beggared by fools whom still he found too late, He had his jest, and they had his estate. He laughed himself from Court; then sought
relief By forming parties, but could ne'er be chief: For spite of him, the weight of business fell 565 On Absalom and wise Achitophel; Thus wicked but in will, of means bereft, He left not faction, but of that was left.
FROM RELIGIO LAICI
Which doctrine, this or that, does best agree
FROM THE HIND AND THE PANTHER
Oh, but, says one, Tradition set aside, Where can we hope for an unerring guide ? For since the original Scripture has been lost All copies disagreeing, maimed the most, Or Christian faith can have no certain ground Or truth in Church tradition must be found. 281
Such an omniscient Church we wish indeed; 'Twere worth both Testaments, and cast in the
Creed; But if this mother be a guide so sure As can all doubts resolve, all truth secure, 285 Then her infallibility as well Where copies are corrupt or lame can tell; Restore lost canon with as little pains, As truly explicate what still remains; Which yet no Council dare pretend to do, 290 Unless, like Esdras, they could write it new; Strange confidence, still to interpret true, Yet not be sure that all they have explained Is in the blest original contained. More safe and much more modest 'tis to say, 295 God would not leave mankind without a way; And that the Scriptures, though not everywhere Free from corruption, or entire, or clear, Are uncorrupt, sufficient, clear, entire, In all things which our needful faith require. 300 If others in the same glass better see, 'Tis for themselves they look, but not for me; For my salvation must its doom receive, Not from what others, but what I, believe.
Must all tradition then be set aside ? 305 This to affirm were ignorance or pride. Are there not many points, some needful sure To saving faith, that Scripture leaves obscure, Which every sect will wrest a several way? For what one sect interprets, all sects may. 310 We hold, and say we prove from Scripture plain, That Christ is God; the bold Socinian From the same Scripture urges he's but man. Now what appeal can end the important suit? Both parts talk loudly, but the rule is mute. 315
Shall I speak plain, and in a nation free Assume an honest layman's liberty? I think, according to my little skill," To my own mother Church submitting still, That many have been saved, and many may, 320 Who never heard this question brought in play. The unlettered Christian, who believes in gross, Plods on to Heaven and ne'er is at a loss; For the strait gate would be made straiter yet, Were none admitted there but men of wit.
325 The few by Nature formed, with learning fraught, Born to instruct, as others to be taught, Must study well the sacred page; and see
A milk-white Hind, immortal and unchanged,
Not so her young; for their unequal line
passed. Panting and pensive now she ranged alone, 25 And wandered in the kingdoms once her own. The common hunt, though from their rage re
strained By sovereign power, her company disdained, Grinned as they passed, and with a glaring eye Gave gloomy signs of secret enmity.
30 'Tis true she bounded by and tripped so light, They had not time to take a steady sight; For truth has such a face and such a mien As to be loved needs only to be seen.
The bloody Bear, an Independent beast. 35 Unlicked to form, in groans her hate expressed. Among the timorous kind the quaking Hare Professed neutrality, but would not swear. Next her the buffoon Ape, as atheists use, Mimicked all sects and had his own to choose; 40 Still when the Lion looked, his knees he bent, And paid at church a courtier's compliment. The bristled Baptist Boar, impure as he, But whitened with the foam of sanctity, With fat pollutions filled the sacred place, 45
A SONG FOR ST. CECILIA'S DAY,
NOVEMBER 22, 1687
And mountains levelled in his furious race:
But if they think at all, 'tis sure no higher
316 Than matter put in motion may aspire; Souls that can scarce ferment their mass of clay, So drossy, so divisible are they As would but serve pure bodies for allay, 320 Such souls as shards produce, such beetle things As only buzz to heaven with evening wings, Strike in the dark, offending but by chance, Such are the blindfold blows of ignorance. They know not beings, and but hate a name; 325 To them the Hind and Panther are the same.
The Panther, sure the noblest next the Hind, And fairest creature of the spotted kind; Oh, could her inborn stains be washed away, She were too good to be a beast of prey! 330 How can I praise or blame, and not offend, Or how divide the frailty from the friend? Her faults and virtues lie so mixed, that she Nor wholly stands condemned nor wholly free. Then, like her injured Lion, let me speak; 335 He cannot bend her and he would not break. Unkind already, and estranged in part, The Wolf begins to share her wandering heart. Though unpolluted yet with actual ill, She half commits who sins but in her will.
340 If, as our dreaming Platonists report, There could be spirits of a middle sort, Too black for heaven and yet too white for
hell, Who just dropped half-way down, nor lower
fell; So poised, so gently she descends from high, 345 It seems a soft dismission from the sky. Her house not ancient, whatsoe'er pretence Her clergy heralds make in her defence; A second century not half-way run, Since the new honours of her blood begun. 350
The trumpet's loud clangour
25 Excites us to arms With shrill notes of anger
And mortal alarms.
Of the thundering drum
Cries, hark! the foes come;
The soft complaining flute
The woes of hopeless lovers, 35 Whose dirge is whispered by the warbling
The song began from Jove,
25 Who left his blissful seats above, (Such is the power of mighty love) A dragon's fiery form belied the god: Sublime on radiant spires he rode, When he to fair Olympia pressed; 30
And while he sought her snowy breast, Then round her slender waist he curled, And stamped an image of himself, a sovereign of
the world. The listening crowd admire the lofty
sound, A present deity, they shout around;
35 A present deity, the vaulted roofs rebound:
With ravished ears
Affects to nod,
ALEXANDER'S FEAST; OR, THE
POWER OF MUSIC
A SONG IN HONOUR OF ST. CECILIA'S DAY,
'Twas at the royal feast for Persia won
By Philip's warlike son:
5 His valiant peers were placed around; Their brows with roses and with myrtles bound:
(So should desert in arms be crowned.)
Happy, happy, happy pair!
None but the brave,
None but the brave,
The praise of Bacchus then the sweet musician
The jolly god in triumph comes;
Flushed with a purple grace
He shows his honest face: Now give the hautboys breath; he comes, he