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From thy sleepy mansion rise,
I feed a flame within, which so torments me
Yet he for whom I grieve shall never know it;
Thus, to prevent my love from being cruel,
On his eyes will I gaze, and there delight me;
THE WAR WITH HOLLAND
And now, reduced on equal terms to fight,
Their ships like wasted patrimonies show, Where the thin scatt'ring trees admit the light
And shun each other's shadows as they grow.
The warlike Prince had severed from the rest
Two giant ships, the pride of all the main; Which with his one so vigorously he pressed,
And flew so home, they could not rise again.
Already battered by his lee they lay;
In vain upon the passing winds they call;
And flagging sails on heartless sailors fall.
Their opened sides receive a gloomy light,
Dreadful as day let in to shades below; Without, grim Death rides barefaced in their sight,
And urges ent'ring billows as they flow:
When one dire shot, the last they could supply,
Close by the board the Prince's mainmast bore; All three now helpless by each other lie,
And this offends not and those fear no more.
So ve I seen some fearful hare maintain
A course, till tired before the dog she lay, Who, stretched behind her, pants upon the plain,
Past pow'r to kill, as she to get away:
With his lolled tongue he faintly licks his prey;
His warm breath blows her Aix up as she lies; She, trembling, creeps upon the ground away,
And looks back to him with beseeching eyes. 1666.
THE GREAT LONDON FIRE
The diligence of trades, and noiseful gain,
And luxury, more late, asleep were laid; All was the Night's, and in her silent reign
No sound the rest of Nature did invade.
In this deep quiet, from what source unknown,
Those seeds of fire their fatal birth disclose; And, first, few scatt'ring sparks about were blown,
Big with the flames that to our ruin rose.
Then in some close-pent room it crept along,
And, smould'ring as it went, in silence fed; Till th' infant monster, with devouring strong,
Walked boldly upright with exalted head.
Now, like some rich or mighty murderer,
Too great for prison, which he breaks with gold, Who fresher for new mischiefs does appear,
And dares the world to tax him with the old,
So 'scapes th' insulting fire his narrow jail,
And makes small outlets into open air; There the fierce winds his tender force assail,
And beat him downward to his first repair.
The winds, like crafty courtezans, withheld
His flames from burning but to blow them more; And, every fresh attempt, he is repelled
With faint denials weaker than before.
And now, no longer letted of his prey,
He leaps up at it with enraged desire; O'erlooks the neighbours with a wide survey,
And nods at every house his threat’ning fire.
The ghosts of traitors from the bridge descend,
With bold fanatic spectres to rejoice; About the fire into a dance they bend,
And sing their Sabbath notes with feeble voice.
Our guardian angel saw them where they sate
Above the palace of our slumb'ring King; He sighed, abandoning his charge to Fate,
And, drooping, oft looked back upon the wing.
At length the crackling noise and dreadful blaze
Called up some waking lover to the sight; And long it was ere he the rest could raise,
Whose heavy eyelids yet were full of night.
The next to danger, hot pursued by Fate,
Half-clothed, half-naked, hastily retire;
For helpless infants left amidst the fire.
Their cries soon waken all the dwellers near.
Now murmuring noises rise in every street; The more remote run stumbling with their fear,
And in the dark men jostle as they meet.
So weary bees in little cells repose;
But if night-robbers lift the well-stored hive, An humming through their waxen city grows,
And out upon each other's wings they drive.
Now streets grow thronged and busy as by day:
Some run for buckets to the hallowed quire; Some cut the pipes, and some the engines play;
And some more bold mount ladders to the fire.
In vain: for from the east a Belgian wind
His hostile breath through the dry rafters sent; The flames, impelled, soon left their foes behind,
And forward with a' wanton fury went. 1666.
PROLOGUE TO “AURENG-ZEBE"
Our author, by experience, finds it true
The fate which governs poets thought it fit