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Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna.'-VIRGIL. (Eclog. iv, 6.]
Now with a general peace the world was blest,
While ours, a world divided from the rest,
A dreadful quiet felt, and worser far
Than arms, a sullen interval of war.
Thus, when black clouds draw down the labouring skies, 5
Ere yet abroad the winged thunder flies,
An horrid stillness first invades the ear
And in that silence we the tempest fear.
The ambitious Swede like restless billows tost,
On this hand gaining what on that he lost,
Though in his life he blood and ruin breathed,
To his now guideless kingdom peace bequeathed;
And Heaven, that seemed regardless of our fate,
For France and Spain did miracles create
Such mortal quarrels to compose in peace
As nature bred and interest did increase.
We sighed to hear the fair Iberian bride
Must grow a lily to the Lily's side;
While our cross stars denied us Charles his bed
Whom our first flames and virgin love did wed.
For his long absence Church and State did groan;
Madness the pulpit, faction seized the throne.
Experienced age in deep despair was lost
To see the rebel thrive, the loyal crost:
Youth that with joys had unacquainted been
Envied gray hairs that once good days had seen:
We thought our sires, not with their own content,
Had, ere we came to age, our portion spent.
Nor could our nobles hope their bold attempt
Who ruined crowns would coronets exempt:
For when, by their designing leaders taught
To strike at power which for themselves they sought,
The vulgar, gulled into rebellion, armed,
Their blood to action by the prize was warmed;
The sacred purple then and scarlet gown,
Like sanguine dye to elephants, was shown.
Thus, when the bold Typhoeus scaled the sky
And forced great Jove from his own heaven to fly,
(What king, what crown from treason's reach is free,
If Jove and heaven can violated be?)
The lesser gods that shared his prosperous state
All suffered in the exiled Thunderer's fate.
The rabble now such freedom did enjoy
As winds at sea that use it to destroy:
Blind as the Cyclops and as wild as he,
They owned a lawless savage liberty,
Like that our painted ancestors so prized,
Ere empire's arts their breasts had civilized.
How great were then our Charles his woes who thus
Was forced to suffer for himself and us!
He, tossed by fate and hurried up and down,
Heir to his father's sorrows with his crown,
Could taste no sweets of youth's desired age,
But found his life too true a pilgrimage.
Unconquered yet in that forlorn estate,
His manly courage overcame his fate.
His wounds he took, like Romans, on his breast,
Which by his virtue were with laurels drest.
As souls reach Heaven, while yet in bodies pent,
So did he live above his banishment.
That sun, which we beheld with cozened eyes
Within the water, moved along the skies.
How easy 'tis, when Destiny proves kind,
With full-spread sails to run before the wind !
But those that 'gainst stiff gales laveering go
Must be at once resolved and skilful too.
He would not, like soft Otho, hope prevent,
But stayed and suffered fortune to repent.
These virtues Galba in a stranger sought
And Piso to adopted empire brought.
How shall I then my doubtful thoughts express
That must his sufferings both regret and bless ?
For when his early valour Heaven had crost,
And all at Worcester but the honour lost,
Forced into exile from his rightful throne,
He made all countries where he came his own,
And, viewing monarchs' secret arts of sway,
A royal factor for their kingdoms lay.
Thus banished David spent abroad his time,
When to be God's anointed was his crime,
And, when restored, made his proud neighbours rue
Those choice remarks he from his travels drew.
Nor is he only by afflictions shown
To conquer others' realms, but rule his own;
Recovering hardly what he lost before,
His right endears it much, his purchase more.
Inured to suffer ere he came to reign,
No rash procedure will his actions stain.
To business ripened by digestive thought,
His future rule is into method brought,
As they who first proportion understand
With easy practice reach a master's hand.
Well might the ancient poets then confer
On Night the honoured name of Counseller;
Since, struck with rays of prosperous fortune blind,
We light alone in dark afflictions find.
In such adversities to sceptres trained,
The name of Great his famous grandsire gained :
Who, yet a king alone in name and right,
With hunger, cold, and angry Jove did fight;
Shocked by a covenanting League's vast powers,
As holy and as Catholic as ours :
Till Fortune's fruitless spite had made it known
Her blows not shook but riveted his throne.
Some lazy ages, lost in sleep and ease,
No action leave to busy chronicles: