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Who, free from vulgar passions, are above
Degrading envy, or misguided love;
If you, well-pleas’d, shall smile upon my lays,
Secure of fame, my voice I'll boldly raise,
For next to what you write, is what you praise.
When now the business 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 Boyne run thick with human gore,
And floating corps lie beating on the shore:
She saw thee climb the banks, but try'd in vain
To trace her hero through the dusty plain,
When through the thick embattled lines he broke,
amidst the foes, now lost in clouds of smoke.
O that some muse, renown'd for lofty verse,
In daring numbers would thy toils rehearse!
Draw thee belov'd in peace, and fear'd in wars,
Inur’d to noon-day 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 Boyne be sung, when it has ceas'd to flow;
Here Gallic labours shall advance thy fame,
And here Seneffe 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 unwarnd 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 corps, and Cressy 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 through all, for William leads the way,
Where fires rage most, and loudest engines play.
Namur'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 widow's tears.
Opprest religion gives the first alarms,
And injur'd justice sets him in his arms;
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 conspire to make him great.
Thy navy rides on seas before unprest, And strikes a terror through 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 entgage; Still they remember that destructive rage Which lately made their trembling host retire, Stunn'd with the noise, and wraps in smoke and fire
The waves with wide unnumber'd wrecks were strow'd, And planks, and arms, and men, promiscuous flow'd.
Spain's numerous fleet, that perish'd on our coast,
Could scarce a longer line of battle boast,
The winds could hardly drive them 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 sails;
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 Lewis, 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 corps, and streams of blood,
On every guilty plain, and purple flood,
Thy arms have made, and cease an impious war,
Nor waste the lives intrusted to thy care.
Or if no milder thought can calm thy mind,
Behold the great avenger of mankind,
See mighty Nassau through 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 unrestorid,
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.