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Dear penfive nymph, the tender thought
And deep research is thine ;
'Tis thine to heal the tortur'd breast,
And form the great defign.
URE there are poets which did never dream
Upon Parnaffus, nor did tafte the stream
Of Helicon; we therefore may fuppofe
Those made not poets, but the poets thofe :
And as courts make not kings, but kings the court,
So where the Mufes and their train refort,
Parnaffus ftands; if I can be to thee
A poet, thou Parnaffus art to me:
Nor wonder, if (advantag'd in my flight,
By taking wing from thy aufpicious height)
Through untrac'd ways and airy paths I fly,
More boundless in my fancy than my eye;
My eye, which swift as thought contfacts the space
That lies between, and first falutes the place
Crown'd with that facred pile, so vast, so high,
That whether 'tis a part of earth, or fky,
Uncertain feems, and may be thought a proud
Aspiring mountain, or descending cloud.
Paul's, the late theme of fuch a Muse * whose flight
Has bravely reach'd and foar'd above thy height:
Now fhalt thou ftand, tho' fword, or time, or fire,
Or zeal more fierce than they, thy fall confpire,
Secure, whilft thee the best of poets fings,
Preferv'd from ruin by the best of kings,
Under his proud furvey the city lies,
And like a mist beneath a hill doth rife;
Whose state and wealth, the business and the crowd,
Seems at this distance but a darker cloud;
And is to him who rightly things efteems,
No other in effect than what it seems:
Where, with like hafte, tho' fev'ral ways, they run,
Some to undo, and fome to be undone ;
While luxury and wealth, like war and peace,
Are each the others ruin, and increase;
As rivers lost in seas, some secret vein
Thence re-conveys, there to be loft again,
Oh, happiness of fweet retir'd content!
To be at once fecure, and innocent.
Windfor the next (where Mars with Venus dwells,
Beauty with strength) above the valley fwells
Into my eye, and doth itself present
With fuch an eafy and unforc'd afcent,
That no ftupendous precipice denies
Access, no horror turns away our eyes;
But fuch a rife, as doth at once invite
A pleasure and a reverence from the fight.
Thy mighty mafter's emblem, in whose face
Sate meeknefs, heighten'd with majestick grace;
Such feems thy gentle height, made only proud
To be the bafis of that pompous load,
Than which, a nobler weight no mountain bears,
But Atlas only which fupports the fpheres.
When Nature's hand this ground did thus advance,
'Twas guided by a wifer pow'r than chance;
Mark'd out for fuch an use, as if 'twere meant
T' invite the builder, and his choice prevent.
Nor can we call it choice, when what we chuse,
Folly or blindness only cou'd refuse.
A crown of fuch majestick tow'rs does grace
The gods great mother, when her heav'nly race
Do homage to her, yet she cannot boast
Among that num'rous, and celeftial hoft,
More heroes than can Windfor, nor doth fame's
Immortal book record more noble names.
Not to look back fo far, to whom this isle
Owes the first glory of so brave a pile,
Whether to Cæfar, Albanact, or Brute,
The British Arthur, or the Danish Knute,
(Tho' this of old no lefs conteft did move,
Than when for Homer's birth fev❜n cities strove)
(Like him in birth, thou fhould't be like in fame,
As thine his fate, if mine had been his flame)
But whofoe'er it was, Nature design'd
First a brave place, and then as brave a mind.
Not to recount those sev'ral kings, to whom
It gave a cradle, or to whom a tomb;
But thee, great Edward, and thy greater fon,
(The lilies which his father wore, he won)
And thy Bellona †, who the confort came
Not only to thy bed, but to thy fame,
She to thy triumph led one captive king t,
And brought that fon, which did the fecond bring.
Then didst thou found that order (whether love
Or victory thy royal thoughts did move)
Each was a noble cause, and nothing less
Than the defign, has been the great fuccefs;
Which foreign kings, and emperors esteem
The fecond honour to their diadem.
Had thy great deftiny but giv'n thee skill
To know, as well as pow'r to act her will,
That from those kings, who then thy captives were,
In after-times fhould fpring a royal-pair
Who fhould poffefs all that thy mighty pow'r,
Or thy defires more mighty, did devour:
To whom their better fate referves whate'er
The victor hopes for, or the vanquish'd fear;
Edward III. and the Black Prince.
The Kings of France and Scotland.
That blood, which thou and thy great grandfire fhed,
And all that fince these fifter nations bled,
Had been unfpilt, had happy Edward known
That all the blood he fpilt, had been his own.
When he that patron chose in whom are join'd
Soldier and martyr, and his arms confin'd
Within the azure circle, he did feem
But to foretel, and prophefy of him,
Who to his realms that azure round hath join'd,
Which Nature for their bound at first design’d.
That bound, which to the world's extremeft ends,
Endless itself, it's liquid arms extends.
Nor doth he need those emblems which we paint,
But is himself the foldier and the faint.
Here should my wonder dwell, and here my praife,
But my fix'd thoughts my wand'ring eye betrays,
Viewing a neighb'ring hill, whofe top of late
A chapel crown'd, till in the common fate
Th' adjoining abbey fell: (may no such storm
Fall on our times, where ruin must reform !)
Tell me, my Mufe, what monftrous dire offence,
What crime could any Christian king incenfe
To fuch a rage? Was't luxury, or luft?
Was he fo temperate, fo chafte, so juft?
Were these their crimes? They were his own much more:
But wealth is crime enough to him that's
Who having spent the treasures of his crown,
Condemns their luxury to feed his own.
And yet this act, to varnish o'er the shame
Of facrilege, must bear devotion's name.
No crime fo bold, but would be understood
A real, or at least a feeming good:
Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the name,
And free from confcience, is a flave to fame :
Thus he the church at once protects, and spoils:
But princes fwords are sharper than their styles.