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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 unwarn'd 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;
His 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 engage;
Still they remember that destructive rage
Which lately made their trembling host retire,
Stunn'd with the noise, and wrapt 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 unrestor'd,
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.
But stop not here: behold where Berkley stands,
And executes his injur'd king's commands;
Around thy coasts his bursting bombs he pours
On flaming citadels, and falling tow'rs;
With hissing streams of fire the air they streak,
And hurl destruction round them where they break;
The skies with long ascending flames are bright,
And all the sea reflects a quivering light.
Thus Ætna, when in fierce eruptions broke, ́
Fills heav'n with ashes, and the earth with smoke;
Here crags of broken rocks are twirl'd on high,
Here molten stones and scatter'd cinders fly:
Its fury reaches the remotest coast,
And strews the Asiatic shore with dust.
Now does the sailor from the neighb'ring main
Look after Gallic towns and forts in vain;
No more his wonted marks he can descry,
But sees a long unmeasur'd ruin lie;
Whilst, pointing to the naked coast, he shows
His wond'ring mates where towns and steeples rose,
Where crowded citizens he lately view'd,
And singles out the place where once St. Maloes stood.
Here Russel's actions should my muse require;
And would my strength but second my desire,
I'd all his boundless bravery rehearse,
And draw his cannons thund'ring in my verse:
High on the deck should the great leader stand,
Wrath in his look, and lightning in his hand;
Like Homer's Hector when he flung his fire
Amidst a thousand ships, and made all Greece retire.
But who can run the British triumphs o'er,
And count the flames disperst on every shore?
Who can describe the scatter'd victory,
And draw the reader on from sea to sea?
Else who could Ormond's godlike acts refuse,
Ormond, the theme of every Oxford muse?
Fain would I here his mighty worth proclaim,
Attend him in the noble chase of fame,
Through all the noise and hurry of the fight,
Observe each blow, and keep him still in sight.
Oh, did our British peers thus court renown,
And grace the coats their great forefathers won!
Our arms would then triumphantly advance,
Nor Henry be the last that conquer'd France.
What might not England hope, if such abroad
Purchas'd their country's honour with their blood:
When such, detain'd at home, support our state
In William's stead, and bear a kingdom's weight,
The schemes of Gallic policy o'erthrow,
And blast the counsels of the common foe;
Direct our armies, and distribute right,
And render our Maria's loss more light.
But stop, my muse, th' ungrateful sound forbear,
Maria's name still wounds each British ear:
Each British heart Maria still does wound,
And tears burst out unbidden at the sound;
Maria still our rising mirth destroys,
Darkens our triumphs, and forbids our joys.
But see, at length, the British ships appear!
Our Nassau comes! and as his fleet draws near,
The rising masts advance, the sails grow white,
And all his pompous navy floats in sight.
Come, mighty prince, desir'd of Britain, come!
May heav'n's propitious gales attend thee home!
Come, and let longing crowds behold that look,
Which such confusion and amazement strook
Through Gallic hosts: but, oh! let us descry
Mirth in thy brow, and pleasure in thy eye;
Let nothing dreadful in thy face be found;
But for awhile forget the trumpet's sound;
Well pleas'd, thy people's loyalty approve,
Accept their duty, and enjoy their love.
For as, when lately mov'd with fierce delight,
You plung'd amidst the tumult of the fight,
Whole heaps of dead encompass'd you around,
And steeds o'erturn'd lay foaming on the ground:
So crown'd with laurels now, where'er you go,
Around you blooming joys, and peaceful blessings flow,