« PreviousContinue »
A right to feast, and drain immortal bowls Thus cruel ages pass'd ; and rare appear'd
Then set entire in Hastings't bloody field.
“Compendious war! (on Britain's glory bent, Wisdom was likewise theirs, indulgent laws, So Fate ordain'd) in that decisive day, The calm gradations of art-nursing peace, The haughty Norman seiz'd at once an isle, And matchless order, the deep basis still
From which, through many a century, in vain, On which ascends my British reign. Untam'd The Roman, Saxon, Dane, had toil'd and bled. To the refining subtleties of slaves,
of Gothic nations this the final burst;
Here the rich tide of English blood grew full.
All prostrate lay; and, in the secret shade, Prevail'd their general-king, and chieftain-thanes. Deep-stung, but fearful, Indignation gnash'd "In many a field, by civil fury stain'd,
His teeth. Of freedom, property, despoil'd, Bled the discordant heptarchy ,* and long
And of their bulwark, arms; with castles crush’d, (Educing good irom ill) the battle groan'd; With ruffians quarter'd o'er the bridled land; Ere, blood-cemented, Anglo-Saxons saw
The shivering wretches, at the curfew sound $ Egbertt and Peace on one united throne.
Dejected shrunk into their sordid beds, “No sooner dawn'd the fair disclosing calm And, through the mournful gloom, of ancient times Of brighter days, when, lo! the North anew, Mus'd sad, or dreamt of better. Ev'n to feed With stormy nations black, on England pour'd A tyrant's idle sport the peasant starv'd: Woes the severest e'er a people felt.
To the wild herd, the pasture of the tame, The Danish raven,t lur'd by annual prey,
The cheerful hamlet, spiry town, was given, Hung o'er the land incessant. Fleet on fleet And the brown forest || roughen'd wide around. Of barbarous pirates unremitting tore
“But this so dead, so vile submission, long The miserable coast. Before them stalk'd, Endur'd not. Gathering force, my gradual flame Far-seen, the demon of devouring flame;
Shook off the mountain of tyrannic sway. Rapine, and murder, all with blood besmear'd, Unus'd to bend, impatient of control, Without or ear, or eye, or feeling heart;
Tyrants themselves the common tyrant check’d. While close behind them march'd the sallow power The church, by kings intractable and fierce, Of desolating famine, who delights
Denied her portion of the plunder'd state, In grass-grown cities, and in desert fields ; Or, tempted, by the timorous and weak, And purple-spotted pestilence, by whom
To gain new ground, first taught their rapine law, Ev'n friendship scard, in sickening horror sinks The barons next a nobler league began, Each social sense and tenderness of life.
Both those of English and of Norman race, Fixing at last, the sanguinary race
In one fraternal nation blended now, Spread, from the Humber's loud-resounding shore, The nation of the free !T press'd by a band To where the Thames devolves his gentle maze, Of patriots, ardent as the Summer's noon And with superior arm the Saxon awd.
That looks delighted on, the tyrant see! But superstition first, and monkish dreams, Mark! how with feign'd alacrity he bears And monk-directed cloister-seeking kings,
His strong reluctance down, his dark revenge, Had ate away his vigor, ate away His edge of courage, and depress'd the soul
Alfred the Great, renowned in war, and no less fa. Of conquering freedom, which he once respir'd. mous in peace for his many excellent institutions, par.
ticularly that of juries.
† The battle of Hastings, in which Harold II., the last skulls of their enemies they had slain ; according to the of the Saxon kings, was slain, and William the Con. number of whom, every one in these mansions of plea- queror made himself master of England. sure was the most honored and best entertained.
† Edward III, the Confessor, who reduced the West. Sir William Temple's Essay on Heroic Virtue. Saxon, Mercian, and Danish laws, into one body, which * The seven kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons, considered from that time became common to all England, under the as being united into one common government, under a
name of the Laws of Edward. general in chief, or monarch, and by the means of an
$ The curfew bell (from the French couvrefeu,) which assembly general, or Wittenagemot.
was rung every night at eight of the clock, to warn the | Egbert, king of Wessex, who, after having reduced alty of a severe fine.
English to put out their fires and candles, under the pen. all the other kingdoms of the heptarchy under his domin. ion, was the first king of England.
|| The New Forest, in Hampshire, t) make which the
country for above thirty miles in compass was laid | A famous Danish standard, called reafan, or raven.-waste. The Danes imagined that, before a battle, the raven wrought upon this standard clapt its wings or hung ons on Runnemede, signed the great charter of liberties,
1 On the 5th of June, 1215, King John, met by the bar. down its head, in token of victory or defeat.
or Magna Charta.
And gives the charter, by which life indeed By counsels weak and wicked, easy rous'd
To paltry schemes of absolute command, Through this and through succeeding reigns To seek their splendor in their sure disgrace, affirm'd
And in a broken ruin'd people wealth : These long-contested rights, the wholesome winds When such o'ercast the state, no bond of love, of opposition* hence began to blow,
No heart, no soul, no unity, no nerve, And ofien since have lent the country life. Combin'd the loose disjointed public, lost Before their breath corruption's insect blights, To fame abroad, to happiness at home. The darkening clouds of evil counsel, fly;
But when an Edward and an Ilenry* breath'd Or, should they sounding swell, a putrid court, Through the charm'd whole one all-exerting soul : A pestilential ministry, they purge,
Drawn sympathetic from his dark retreat, And ventilated states renew their bloom.
When wide-attracted merit round them glow'd : “ Though with the temper'd monarchy here mir’d When counsels just, extensive, generous, firm, Aristocratic sway, the people still,
Amid the maze of state, determind kept Flatter'd by this or that, as interest lean'd,
Some ruling point in view : when, on the stock
When legal state, pre-eminence of place,
The busy hive: as in distinction, power,
Superior rank; with equal hand, prepar'd To Libyan deserts, swarm protruding swarm, To guard the subject, and to quell the foe : And pour'd new spirit through a slavish world. When such with me their vital influence shed, Yet, o'er these Gothic states, the king and chiefs No mutter'd grievance, hopeless sigh, was heard ; Retain’d the high prerogative of war,
No foul distrust through wary senates ran, And with enormous property engross'd
Confin’d their bounty, and their ardor quench'd : The mingled power. But on Britannia's shore On aid, unquestion d, liberal aid was given: Now present, I to raise my reign began
Safe in their conduct, by their valor fir'd, By raising the democracy, the third disclos'd Fond where they led victorious armies rush'd; And broadest bulwark of the guarded state. And Cressy, Poitiers, Agincourtt proclaim Then was the full, the perfect plan disclos'd What kings supported by almighty love, Of Britain's matchless constitution, mixt
And people fir'd with liberty, can do. Of mutual checking and supporting powers,
“ Be veil'd the savage reigns, when kindred rage King, lords, and commons; nor the name of free The numerous once Plantagenets devour'd, Deserving, while the vassal-many droop'd :
A race to vengeance vow'd! and when, oppress'd For since the moment of the whole they form, By private feuds, almost extinguish'd lay So, as depress'd or rais'd, the balance they
My quivering flame. But, in the next, behold! of public welfare and of glory cast.
A cautious lyranty lent it oil anew. Mark from this period the continual proof.
Proud, dark, suspicious, brooding o'er his gold " When kings of narrow genius, minion-rid, As how to fix his throne he jealous cast Neglecting faithful worth for fawning slaves ; His crafty views around; pierc'd with a ray, Proudly regardless of their people's plaints, Which on his timid mind I darted full, And poorly passive of insulting foes;
He mark'd the barons of excessive sway, Double, not prudent, obstinate, not firm,
At pleasure making and unmaking kings ; Il Their mercy fear, necessity their faith ;
And hence, to crush these petty tyrants, plann'd Instead of generous fire, presumptuous, hot, A law, I that let them, by the silent waste Rash to resolve, and slothful to perform ;
Of luxury, their landed wealth diffuse, Tyrants at once, and slaves, imperious, mean,
And with that wealth their implicated power. To want rapacious joining shameful waste; By soft degrees a mighty change ensued,
Ev'n working to this day. With streams, deduc'd
From these diminish'd floods, the country smil’d. * The league formed by the barons, during the reign of As when impetuous from the snow-heap'd Alps, John, in the year 1213, was the first confederacy made in To vernal suns relenting, pours the Rhine ; Engiand in defence of the nation's interest against the While undivided, oft, with wasteful sweep, king
He foams along ; but, through Batavian meads, + The Commons are generally thought to have been first represented in parliament towards the end of Henry the Third's reign. To a parliament called in the year
* Edward III. and Henry V. 1204, each county was ordered to send four knights, as † Three famous battles, gained by the English over the representatives of their respective shires; and to a parlia.
French. ment called in the year following, each county was or. I During the civil wars betwixt the families of York dered to send, as their representatives, two knights, and and Lancaster. each city and borough as many citizens and burgesses. § Henry VII. Till then, history makes no mention of them ; whence a | The famous Earl of Warwick, during the reigns of very strong argument may be drawn, to fix the original Henry VI and Edward IV., was called the King-maker. of the House of Commons to that era.
1 Permitting the barons to alienale their lands. 63
Branch'd into fair canals, indulgent flows;
Meantime, peace, plenty, justice, science, arts, Waters a thousand fields; and culture, trade, With softer laurels crown'd her happy reign. Towns, meadows, gliding ships, and villas mix'd, “ As yet uncircumscrib'd, the regal power, A rich, a wondrous landscape rises round.
And wild and vague prerogative remain'd, “ His furious son* the soul-enslaving chain,t A wide voracious gulf, where swallow'd oft Which many a doting venerable age
The helpless subject lay. This to reduce
By means that evil seem to narrow man,
“ The gathering tempest, Heaven-commission'd of blood, and horror. The returning light,
came, That first through Wickliffs streak'd the priestly Came in the prince,* who, drunk with flattery, dreamı, gloom,
His vain pacific counsels rul’d the world ; Now burst in open day. Bard to the blaze, Though scorn'd abroad, bewilder'd in a maze Forth from the haunts of superstition ♡ crawld Of fruitless treaties; while at home enslav'd, Her motley sons, fantastic figures all ;
And by a worthless crew insatiate drain'd, And, wide-dispersd, their useless fetid wealth He lost his people's confidence and love; In graceful labor bloom d, and fruits of peace. Irreparable loss! whence crowns become Trade, join'd to these, on every sea display'd
An anxious burden. Years inglorious pass'd : A daring canvas, pour'd with every tide
Triumphant Spain the vengeful draught enjoy'd A golden flood. From other worlds!! were rollid Abandon'd Frederickt pin'd, and Raleigh bled. The guilty glittering stores, whose fatal charms, But nothing that to these internal broils, By the plain Indian happily despis d,
That rancor, he began ; while lawless sway Yet work'd his woe; and to the blissful groves,
He, with his slavish doctors, tried to rear Where Nature livd herself among her sons, On metaphysic, on enchanted ground, And innocence and joy for ever dwelt,
And all the mazy quibbles of the schools : Drew rage unknown to Pagan climes before, As if for one, and sometimes for the worst, The worst the zeal-inflam'd barbarian drew. Heaven had mankind in vengeance only made. Be no such horrid commerce, Britain, ihine! Vain the pretence! not so the dire effect, But want for want, with mutual aid, supply. The fierce, the foolish discord thence deriv’d,
“ The commons thus enrich'd, and powerful grown, That tears the country still, by party-rage Against the barons weigh'd. Eliza then,
And ministerial clamor kept alive.
In action weak, and for the wordy war
Content to teach the subject herd, how great,
“ But his unyielding son || these doctrines drank,
Warm and tenacious, into practice push'd. And raging seas repress'd, the Belgic states, Senates, in vain, their kind restraint applied : My bulwark on the Continent, arose.
The more they struggled to support the laws, Matchless in all the spirit of her days!
His justice-dreading ministers the more With confidence, unbounded, fearless love Drove him beyond their bounds. Tird with the Elate, her fervent people waited gay,
Free, cordial, large, of never-failing source,
of the worst ruffians, those of tyrant power.
Oppression walk'd at large, and pour'd abroad * Henry VIII.
† of papal dominion. 1 John Wickliff, doctor of divinity, who, towards the * James I. close of the fourteenth century, published doctrines very
| Elector Palatine, and who had been chosen King of contrary to those of the church of Rome, and particular. Bohemia, but was stript of all his dominions and digni ly denying the papal authority. His followers grew very ties by the Emperor Ferdinand, while James the First numerous, and were called Lollards.
his father-in-law, being amused from time to time, en § Suppression of monasteries.
deavored to mediate a peace. | The Spanish West Indies.
| The monstrous, and till then unhcard-of docrines of 1 The dominion of the House of Austria.
divine indefeasible hereditary right, passive obedience, ** The Spanish Armada.
Rapin says, that after &c. proper measures had been taken, the enemy was expected
$ The parties of Whig and Tory. with uncommon alacrity.
| Charles I.
Her unrelenting train: informers, spies,
This wild delusive cant; the rash cabal Blood-hounds, that sturdy freedom to the grove Of hungry courtiers, ravenous for prey ; Pursue; projectors of aggrieving schemes
The bigot, restless in a double chain Commerce to load for unprotected seas, *
To bind anew the land ; the constant need To sell the starving many to the few,t
Of finding faithless means, of shifting formas, And drain a thousand ways th' exhausted land. And flattering senates, to supply his waste; Ev'n from that healing place, whence peace should These tore some moments from the careless prince, flow,
And in his breast awak'd the kindred plan.
By dangerous softness long he min’d his way;
By sharing what corruption shower'd, profuse; And violence the sword. Afflicted years,
By breathing wide the gay licentious plague,
“At last subsided the delirious joy,
Against his country brib'd by Gallic gold;
And fell Charybdis of the British seas;
Beneath its wing Freedom attack'd abroad,t with surer blow
The millions, by a generous people given,
Or squander'd vile, or to corrupt, disgrace, Strung every nerve, and flam'd in every eye, And awe the land with forces not their own.ll Had e'er beheld such light and heat combin'd! Employ'd ; the darling church herself betray'd ; Such heads and hearts ! such dreadful zeal, led on All these, broad-glaring, op'd the general eye, By calm majestic wisdom, taught its course And wak'd my spirit, the resisting soul. What nuisance to devour; such wisdom fir'd
“Mild was, at first, and half asham'd, the check With unabating zeal, and aim'd sincere
Of senates, shook from the fantastic dream
Which slaves would blush to own, and which, reduc'd “ This then the purpose of my mildest sons. To practice, always honest Nature shock. But man is blind. A nation once inflam'd
Not ev'n the mask remov'd, and the fierce front (Chief, should the breath of factious fury blow Of tyranny disclos'd ; nor trampled laws; With the wild rage of mad enthusiasts swellid) Nor seiz'd each badge of freedom through the Not easy cools again. From breast to breast,
land; From eye to eye, the kindling passions mix Nor Sidney bleeding for the unpublish'd page; In heighten'd blaze ; and, ever wise and just, Nor on the bench avow'd corruption plac'd, High Heaven to gracious ends directs the storm. And murderous rage itself, in Jeffries' form; Thus, in one conflagration Britain wrapt,
Nor endless acts of arbitrary power, And by confusion's lawless sons despoil'd,
Cruel and false, could raise the public arm. King, lords, and commons, thundering to the ground, Distrustful, scatter'd, of combining chiefs Successive rush'd-LO! from their ashes rose, Devoid, and dreading blind rapacious war, Gay-beaming radiant youth, the Phænix-state. The patient public turns not, till impellid
“ The grievous yoke of vassalage, the yoke To the near verge of ruin. Hence I rous'd Of private life, lay by those flames dissolv’d; The bigot king, ** and hurried fated on And, from the wasteful, the luxurious king.Il His measures immature. But chief his zeal, Was purchas'd that which taught the young to Out-flaming Rome herself, portentous scar'd bend.
The troubled nation : Mary's horrid days Stronger restor'd, the commons tax'd the whole, To fancy bleeding rose, and the dire glare And built on that eternal rock their power.
Of Smithfield lighten'd in his eyes anew. The crown, of its hereditary wealth
Yet silence reign'd. Each on another scowl'd Despoil'd, on senates more dependent grew, Rueful amazement, pressing down his rage : And they more frequent, more assur'd. Yet liv'd, As, mustering vengeance, the deep thunder frowns, And in full vigor spread that bitter root,
Awfully still, waiting the high command The passive doctrines, by their patrons first To spring. Straight from his country, Europe sav' Oppos'd ferocious, when they touch themselves.
* Dunkirk. * Ship-money.
† The war, in conjunction with France, against the | The raging high-church sermons of these times, in. Dutch. spiring at once a spirit of slavish submission to the court, I The triple alliance. and of bitter persecution against those whom they call $ Under Lewis XIV. Church and State Puritans.
|| A standing army, raised without the consent of par § At the Restoration.
liament. | Charles II.
1 The charters of corporations. 1 Court of wards.
** James II.
To save Britannia, lo! my darling son,
With starving labor pampering idle waste.
To clothe the naked, feed the hungry, wipe
Direct the thunder of an injur'd state,
Which lights up British soul: for deeds like these, And sweet contempt of death, my streaming flag. The dazzling fair career unbounded lies; Ev'n adverse navies ý bless'd the binding gale, While (still superior bliss !) the dark abrupt Kept down the glad acclaim, and silent joy'd. Is kindly barr’d, the precipice of ill. Arriv'd, the pomp, and not the waste of arms Oh, luxury divine! Oh, poor to this, His progress mark’d. The faint opposing host || Ye giddy glories of despotic thrones ! For once, in yielding, their best victory found, By this, by this indeed, is imag'd Heaven, And by desertion prov'd exalted faith;
By boundless good, without the power of ill While his the bloodless conquest of the heart, “And now behold! exalted as the cope Shouts without groan, and triumph without war. That swells immense o'er many-peopled earth
“ Then dawn’d the period destin’d to confine And like it free, my fabric stands complete, The surge of wild prerogative, to raise
The Palace of the Laws. To the four Heavens A mound restraining its imperious rage,
Four gates impartial thrown, unceasing crowds, And bid the raving deep no farther flow.
With kings themselves the hearty peasant mix’d Nor were, without that fence, the swallow'd state Pour urgent in.. And though to different ranks Better than Belgian plains without their dykes, Responsive place belongs, yet equal spreads Sustaining weighty seas. This, often sav'd The sheltering roof o'er all; while plenty flows, By more than human hand, the public saw, And glad contentment echoes round the whole. And seiz'd the white-wing'd moment. Pleas'd to Ye floods, descend! ye winds, confirming, blow! yield
Nor outward tempest, nor corrosive time,
BEING THE FIFTH PART OF
The Contents of Part V.
ing the happiness and grandeur of Great Britain, * The Prince of Orange, in his passage to England,
as arising from her influence. She resumes her though his fleet had been at first dispersed by a storm,
discourse, and points out the chief virtues which was afterwards extremely favored by several changes of
are necessary to maintain her establishment there. wind.
Recommends, as its last ornament and finishing, | Rapin, in his History of England. “The third of
sciences, fine arts, and public works. The enNovember the fleet entered the Channel, and lay between
couragement of these urged from the example of Calais and Dover, to stay for the ships that were behind.
France, though under a despotic government. Here the Prince called a council of war. It is not easy
The whole concludes with a prospect of future to imagine what a glorious show the fleet made. Five or
times, given by the goddess of Liberty: this desix hundred ships in so narrow a channel, and both the scribed by the author, as it passes in vision before English and French shores covered with numberlegs spec
him. tators, are no common sight. For my part, who was then on board the fleet, I own it struck me extremely." HERE interposing, as the goddess pausid !
1 The Prince placed himself in the main body, carrying “Oh, blest Britannia! in thy presence blest, a flag with English colors, and their highnesses' arms Thou guardian of mankind! whence spring, alone, surrounded with this motto: “ The Protestant Religion All human grandeur, happiness, and fame : and the Liberties of England:” and underneath the mot. For toil, by thee protected, feels no pain ; to of the House of Nassau, Je Maintiendrai, I will main. The poor man's lot with milk and honey flows; tain.-Rapin.
And, gilded with thy rays, ev'n death looks gay. $ The English fleet. | The king's army.
Let other lands the potent blessings boast 11 By the bill of rights, and the act of succession. Of more exalting suns. Let Asia's woods, ** William III.
Untended, yield the vegetable fleece :