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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:

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.

“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."

304

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.

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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.

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

319 Than all the conquests former kings did gain.

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

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FROM ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL

996

150

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,

999 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 Ay: 1004

Of these the false Achitophel was first,
A name to all succeeding ages curst:
For close designs and crooked counsels fit,
Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit,
Restless, unfixed in principles and place,
In power unpleased, impatient of disgrace:
A fiery soul, which, working out its way,
Fretted the pigmy body to decay
And o'er-informed the tenement of clay.
A daring pilot in extremity,

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220

For governed by the moon, the giddy Jews
Tread the same track when she the prime renews;
And once in twenty years their scribes record,
By natural instinct they change their lord.
Achitophel still wants a chief, and none
Was found so fit as warlike Absalon.
Not that he wished his greatness to create,
For politicians neither love nor hate;
But, for he knew his title not allowed
Would keep him still depending on the crowd,
That kingly power, thus ebbing out, might be
Drawn to the dregs of a democracy.

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536

Pleased with the danger, when the waves went high,
He sought the storms; but, for a calm unfit, 161
Would steer too nigh the sands to boast his wit.
Great wits are sure to madness near allied
And thin partitions do their bounds divide;
Else, why should he, with wealth and honour blest,
Refuse his age the needful hours of rest? 166
Punish a body which he could not please,
Bankrupt of life, yet prodigal of ease ?
And all to leave what with his toil he won
To that unfeathered two-legg'd thing, a son, 170
Got, while his soul did huddled notions try,
And born a shapeless lump, like anarchy.
In friendship false, implacable in hate,
Resolved to ruin or to rule the state;
To compass this the triple bond he broke, 175
The pillars of the public safety shook,
And fitted Israel for a foreign yoke;
Then, seized with fear, yet still affecting fame,
Usurped a patriot's all-atoning name.
So easy still it proves in factious times 180
With public zeal to cancel private crimes.
How safe is treason and how sacred ill,
Where none can sin against the people's will,
Where crowds can wink and no offence be known,
Since in another's guilt they find their own! 185
Yet fame deserved no enemy can grudge;
The statesman we abhor, but praise the judge.
In Israel's courts ne'er sat an Abbethdin
With more discerning eyes or hands more clean,
Unbribed, unsought, the wretched to redress, 190
Swift of despatch and easy of access.
Oh! had he been content to serve the crown
With virtues only proper to the gown,
Or had the rankness of the soil been freed
From cockle that oppressed the noble seed, 195
David for him his tuneful harp had strung
And Heaven had wanted one immortal song.
But wild ambition loves to slide, not stand,
And fortune's ice prefers to virtue's land.
Achitophel, grown weary to possess
A lawful fame and lazy happiness,
Disdained the golden fruit to gather free
And lent the crowd his arm to shake the tree.
Now, manifest of crimes contrived long since,
He stood at bold defiance with his prince, 205
Held up the buckler of the people's cause
Against the crown, and skulked behind the laws.
The wished occasion of the plot he takes;
Some circumstances finds, but more he makes;
By buzzing emissaries fills the ears
Of listening crowds with jealousies and fears
Of arbitrary counsels brought to light,
And proves the king himself a Jebusite.
Weak arguments! which yet he knew full well
Were strong with people easy to rebel. 215

A numerous host of dreaming saints succeed
Of the true old enthusiastic breed:

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,
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.

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210

276

Which doctrine, this or that, does best agree
With the whole tenour of the work divine, 330
And plainliest points to Heaven's revealed design;
Which exposition flows from genuine sense,
And which is forced by wit and eloquence.

333

FROM THE HIND AND THE PANTHER

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FROM RELIGIO LAICI 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

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A milk-white Hind, immortal and unchanged,
Fed on the lawns and in the forest ranged;
Without unspotted, innocent within,
She feared no danger, for she knew no sin.
Yet had she oft been chased with horns and hounds
And Scythian shafts, and many wingèd wounds 6
Aimed at her heart; was often forced to fly,
And doomed to death, though fated not to die.

Not so her young; for their unequal line
Was hero's make, half human, half divine.
Their earthly mould obnoxious was to fate,
The immortal part assumed immortal state.
Of these a slaughtered army lay in blood,
Extended o'er the Caledonian wood,
Their native walk; whose vocal blood arose 15
And cried for pardon on their perjured foes.
Their fate was fruitful, and the sanguine seed,
Endued with souls, increased the sacred breed.
So captive Israel mụltiplied in chains,
A numerous exile, and enjoyed her pains.
With grief and gladness mixed, their mother viewed
Her martyred offspring and their race renewed;
Their corps to perish, but their kind to last,
So much the deathless plant the dying fruit sur-

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. '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 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,

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35

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A SONG FOR ST. CECILIA'S DAY,

NOVEMBER 22, 1687

And mountains levelled in his furious race:
So first rebellion founded was in grace.
But, since the mighty ravage which he made
In German forests had his guilt betrayed,
With broken tusks and with a borrowed name, 50
He shunned the vengeance and concealed the

shame,
So lurked in sects unseen. With greater guile
False Reynard fed on consecrated spoil;
The graceless beast by Athanasius first
Was chased from Nice, then by Socinus nursed,
His impious race their blasphemy renewed, 56
And nature's king through nature's optics viewed;
Reversed they viewed him lessened to their eye,
Nor in an infant could a God descry.
New swarming sects to this obliquely tend, 60
Hence they began, and here they all will end.

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But if they think at all, 'tis sure no higher
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.
The double, double, double beat
Of the thundering drum

30 Cries, hark! the foes come; Charge, charge, 'tis too late to retreat!

The soft complaining flute
In dying notes discovers

The woes of hopeless lovers, 35 Whose dirge is whispered by the warbling

lute.

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Orpheus could lead the savage race,
And trees unrooted left their place,

Sequacious of the lyre;
But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher;
When to her organ vocal breath was given,
An angel heard, and straight appeared,

Mistaking earth for heaven.

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GRAND CHORUS

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;

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

admire the lofty sound, A present deity, they shout around;

35 A present deity, the vaulted roofs rebound:

With ravished ears
The monarch hears,
Assumes the god,

Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.

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CHORUS

ALEXANDER'S FEAST; OR, THE

POWER OF MUSIC

A SONG IN HONOUR OF ST. CECILIA'S DAY,

1697

With ravished ears
The monarch hears,
Assumes the god,

Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.

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'Twas at the royal feast for Persia won

By Philip's warlike son:
Aloft in awful state
The godlike hero sate
On his imperial throne;

5 His valiant peers were placed around; Their brows with roses and with myrtles bound:

(So should desert in arms be crowned.)
The lovely Thais, by his side,
Sate like a blooming Eastern bride,
In flower of youth and beauty's pride.

Happy, happy, happy pair !

None but the brave,

None but the brave,
None but the brave deserves the fair. 15

The praise of Bacchus then the sweet musician

sung,
Of Bacchus ever fair, and ever young.

The jolly god in triumph comes;
Sound the trumpets, beat the drums; 50

Flushed with a purple grace

He shows his honest face: Now give the hautboys breath; he comes, he

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CHORUS

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CHORUS

Happy, happy, happy pair!

None but the brave,

None but the brave, None but the brave deserves the fair.

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Timotheus, placed on high

Amid the tuneful quire, With flying fingers touched the lyre: The trembling notes ascend the sky,

And heavenly joys inspire.

Soothed with the sound the king grew vain;

Fought all his battles o'er again;

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