1. OCCASIONAL STANZAS, &c.
Dear is the face of cloudleſs night,
And dear each radiant ſtarry guide,
To men whom ſcience and renown invite
To ſteer the venturous bark thro' ſeas untried;
So dear to every generous race
The luſtre beaming from their fires,
Whoſe diſtant deeds 'tis ecſtacy to trace,
Whoſe fame, re-echoing from unnumber'd lyres,
Grows with increaſing time, and every age inſpires.
Amid wild nature's rudeſt reign,
That dauntleſs COOK's keen eye ſurvey'd,
The verieſt ſavage of the Southern main
The debt of juſt commemoration paid;
He ſung of buried Chiefs, in whom
Young valour might a model ſee:
Britain! bleſt iſle, where ſocial virtues bloom,
Reflect what honours muſt be due from thee
To thoſe who knew thee brave, and taught thee to be free.
Is it an art of curious care
To guard the rights deriv'd from God?
And will not Valour's native impulſe tear
From Tyranny's weak graſp Oppreſſion's rod?
Thus ardent youth, perchance, may aſk:
But patient toil from age to age,
When Fortitude and Wiſdom plied the taſk,
The toil of many a chief and many a ſage,
Secur'd not Freedom's Fane from Superſtition's rage.
In vain the Barons bravely fix'd
The ground-work of that glorious Fane;
In vain, when Faith, with Papal art unmix'd,
Shed Heav'n's pure radiance on this fair domain,
Th' enlighten'd ſpirits of our iſle,
True heirs of Freedom's ancient race,
With ardour added to her ſtately pile
Columns of clearer vein and firmer grace;
The dome their virtue deck'd was ſhaken to its baſe.
Recall'd by an apoſtate King,
The fiends, long baniſh'd hence, return,
To poiſon Liberty's life-feeding ſpring,
And taint the ſtream of Truth's celeſtial urn:
The baſeſt of the helliſh horde,
Barbarity, with pride aſſumes
From fainting Juſtice her polluted ſword;
While Superſtition, mad with Fortune's fumes,
Shakes on the darken'd throne her blood-diſtilling plumes.
O'erwhelm'd where moſt her bounty ſmil'd,
Aſtoniſh'd Freedom gaſp'd for breath,
And her ſunk voice was feeble as a child.
In its firſt ſtruggle with untimely death;
But the ſafe infant's vital ſound
To the fond parent loſt in fear,
Leſt haply new-imparted life be drown'd,
Is not more welcome, more ſublimely dear,
Than Freedom's ſuppliant voice to Virtue's generous ear.
For Britain, and for human kind,
To raiſe the proſtrate form of Law,
Attentive Virtue held her ſeat, enſhrin'd
In thy unconquerable ſoul, NASSAU!
Heroes, by victory more careſt,
The fiery bolts of war have hurl'd,
And conquerors have liv'd of earth the peſt;
But Glory's ſelf, from all her flags unfurl'd,
Counts not a name like thine a bleſſing to the world.
Depreſs'd, diſhonour'd, wrong'd, enthrall'd,
Withering in ſhame's ſoul-blighting ſhade,
To thee our deeply-ſuffering Country call'd,
As innocence to Heaven, ſecure of aid:
For well ſhe knew thy ſpirit's force,
Which, firm as a defenſive tower,
Checking outrageous devaſtation's courſe,
Stood, in thy Nation's dark deſpairing hour,
The champion of Diſtreſs, the ſcourge of lawleſs power.
Pureſt of princely names! unſway'd
By baſe ambition's ſordid ſprings,
In thee the reſcued world was richly paid
For the oppreſſive crimes of prouder kings:
The Gallic deſpot, in his dreams
Of wide unlimited controul,
Tho' flattery, rich in fancy's magic beams,
Blazon'd him high on Glory's gorgeous roll,
Sunk into dim eclipſe beneath thy brighter ſoul.
As in the ſeas, where ſultry air
The wildly-tortuous wave imples,
Hideous, and hoſtile to the ſeaman's prayer,
The watery column of perdition ſwells:
Yet haply a corrective power
The vex'd and maddening waters feel;
Tho' in their ſpiral force Fate ſeems to lower,
The maſs, portentous to the veſſel's weal,
Diſſolves at the approach of ſcience-pointed ſteel.
So, rais'd by Bigotry's hot breath,
And pregnant with unnumber'd woes,
With every form of danger and of death,
Here the ſtrange bulk of Tyranny aroſe;
And ſo, when Freedom's darken'd iſle
The baleful prodigy deplor'd,
So, brave NASSAU! this ſudden upſtart pile,
This public miſery's tempeſtuous hoard,
Diſpers'd before the point of thy preſerving ſword.
Science, Religion, every power
Friendly to earth and true to Heaven,
Exulted in the bleſt and bloodleſs hour,
When Freedom's ſceptre to thy ſway was given:
The probity that rul'd thy heart,
And taught the fearful to rejoice,
Scorning to awe with force or lure with art,
Left reſcu'd Liberty's reviving voice
To fix in free debate the ſovereign of her choice.
Conſcious of all a monarch's care,
And firm his duties to fulfil,
Thy generous ſpirit, with a guardian's air,
Receiv'd the gift of her unbiaſs'd will:
By Freedom crown'd, for her thy life,
That never fear'd the ſtorms of Fate,
Was freely ſtak'd in peril's diſtant ſtrife,
When, arm'd with Gallic war's preſumptuous weight,
The recreant JAMES reclaim'd his abdicated ſtate.
The Boyne's proud banks with triumph ring,
With ſounds that tell to every land,
That Freedom, happy in her choſen king,
Truſted her battle to no feeble hand:
Nor victory's ſhouts, that round thee roſe,
Nor flying terror's ſuppliant call,
Prais'd thee, NASSAU I like paeans from thy foes,
When France, who heard of one inſidious ball,*
Indulg'd a coward's joy on thy imagin'd fall.
While bleeding on Ierne's ſhore,
England, thy brave Deliverer fought,
What various doubts thy anxious boſom tore!
With what juſt fears was every moment fraught!
But, to preſerve thee from diſmay,
He left a Regent pure and bright;
And, like the abſent ruler of the day,
That his ſoſt delegate might chear the ſight,
Fill'd her benignant ſoul with his reflected light.
MARY, ſweet partner of his throne,
So truly to his ſpirit join'd,
With mutual aid your mingled virtues ſhone,
Like ſocial talents in one perfect mind;
To thee, whom, with thy martial Lord,
Heav'n form'd to gild our darkeſt days,
May tender Truth ſtrike Honour's tuneful chord,
As long as Freedom to her friends ſhall raiſe
Her high heroic hymn of heart-ſuggeſted praiſe.
And O! while crown'd with ſilvery clifts,
Symbols of her commercial reign,
Britain her fair imperial preſence lifts
Above the billows of the ſubject main;
So long, array'd in Honour's robe,
May Freedom hail each favourite name,
Who taught this ſpeck of earth to awe the globe;
So long may Glory, in her ſongs, proclaim
The Champions of our Rights, the Founders of our Fame.
Whether, in Fortune's evil hour,
They ſhar'd the martyr'd RUSSELL's fall;
Or call'd, like CA'NDISH, to heroic power,
And ſaw felicity ſucceed the call;
Still, Britain, bleſs, through every age,
Each ardent friend of equal laws,
And moſt the generous Chief, and perfect Sage,
NASSAU and SOMERS, who, in Freedom's cauſe,
Toil'd to befriend mankind, unbrib'd by their applauſe.
That tranſient honour might be gain'd,
How oft, by Falſehood's ſubtle vow,
Has thy pure name, O Freedom! been profan'd,
Tho' Heaven abhors not falſehood more than thou!—
Thro' every clime thy feet have trod,
In this abuſe thy power we ſee;
Miſcreants who injur'd man, and mock'd their God,
The ſlaves of Hell, affecting to be free,
Have ever loudly feign'd a reverence for thee.
Be known to unſuſpecting youth,
Both by thy fruits, and by thy ſource;
Thy parents, Fortitude and Heavenly Truth!
Thy offspring, Safety, Honour, Wealth, and Force!—
A century has now confirm'd
The bleſſings that in thee we find;
Then, Freedom I be this ſeaſon ever term'd
Thy Jubilee, where no illuſions blind,
But juſtly-founded joy invigorates the mind.
Britain! dear parent, if to thee
My voice, unſtain'd by ſervile art,
Pays reverence due, and, proud to hail thee free,
Pours the true fervour of a filial heart;
If thou haſt ever rul'd my lyre,
Thus let thy inſpiration run;
Let each who hears it, catching Patriot fire,
Prize, above all by ſlaviſh intereſt won,
The bleſſing to be prov'd thy undegenerate ſon.
1. QUEEN MARY TO KING WILLIAM.
Once more reliev'd, by midnight's welcome hour,
From all the buſy train of anxious power,
My ſoul, O WILLIAM! from their bondage free,
Joys in that freedom, and is flown to thee;
Like the poor Martyr in religion's cauſe,
Who, if the hand of Perſecution pauſe,
With Love devout, with warmth of Prayer intenſe,
Strains every thought, and each recovering ſenſe,
Humbly to aſk new ſpirit from his God,
To bear each future pang of torture's rod:
To thee I bend, my ſuccour and my pride,
Whoſe love ſuſtains me, and whoſe counſels guide.
While War, that turns from hence his tide of blood,
Bears thy great ſpirit on his ſwelling flood,
Eager to end, regardleſs of thy life,
The waſting ſtorm of ſanguinary ſtrife;
While compaſs'd round with growing fears I ſtand,
The trembling Guardian of this troubled land;
While robb'd of thee, whoſe animating ſight
Turns doubt to joy, and terror to delight,
I feel, inſtead of thy protecting care,
Fear for thy life—the worſt of fears to bear—
O! may thy letters, Miniſters of Peace,
Bid my vain terror for thy ſafety ceaſe;
O! let them frequent, fraught with love, impart
Thy noble ſpirit to this weaker heart,
Which yet, too conſcious of its failing power,
Strains every nerve, in each oppreſſive hour,
To keep thy precious eſtimation ſtill;
Eager to find and happy to fulfil,
(Since from that ſource alone my pleaſures ſpring)
The deareſt wiſhes of my diſtant King.
In theſe hard ſcenes, O! give me to rejoice
In the kind ſanction of thy partial voice;
O! grant my ſoul its honeſt pride to raiſe,
On the ſtrong baſis of my WILLIAM's praiſe:
From that alone my little ſtrength I draw,
Thy ſmile my glory, and thy will my law.
Think how this boſom at thy ſignet glows,
Which I in agony of haſte uncloſe!
How to thy letter my fond eyes I glue,
Till tears of tranſport intercept their view!
Then to my heart thoſe vital lines are preſt,
Which breathe new being thro' my fainting breaſt,
In which thy ſoul, from human fears refin'd,
(The brighteſt copy of th' Almighty mind)
Yet kindly melts with reconciling care,
In generous pity of the load I bear.
Alas! the burden of th' unbalanc'd ſtate
Sinks my faint ſoul with its increaſing weight;
'Tis hard to keep the helm with this frail form,
While men of ſterner ſpirit dread the ſtorm:
Too weak this trembling hand that helm to guide,
When ſmiling ocean ſpreads his ſmootheſt tide;
Think then what agony my boſom rends,
When the ſky darkens, when the ſtorm deſcends;
When each great effort of the crew is croſt,
And frantic terror cries, "The veſſel's loſt!"
Yet, yet, I mount theſe cruel waves above,
Buoy'd up by duty and ſuperior love;
Tho' icy terror freeze my female heart,
Thy Conſort yet ſuſtains her trying part;
Her features yet her Country's fears beguile,
Caſt o'er their doubts a confidential ſmile,
Bid them the firmneſs of this boſom ſhare,
And boaſt of courage—which I feel not there.
Dear, native Britain, noble, generous Land,
Proud of that reſcue which thy virtue plann'd;
As yet but half redeem'd, I mourn thy doom,
To ſee thy glories ſhaken in their bloom;
To ſee proud France with fatal power ſuſpend
Thy great redemption and its peaceful end;
While He, whoſe ſaving hand thy laws proclaim,
(Whoſe ſight is ſafety, whoſe protection fame)
By diſtant ſlaughter from thy ſhores debarr'd,
Muſt leave thy honour to ſo weak a guard;
Who, tho' her ſoul thy ſacred rights revere,
Is ſtill a feeble Being, born to fear.
E'en thoſe, O WILLIAM! whom thy care aſſign'd
To ſooth my terror and to ſhield my mind,
Forget the weakneſs of my ſofter ſex,
With doubts alarm me, with diſſenſions vex;
And ſhew, diſcolour'd by their dark ſurmiſe,
Tremendous proſpects to theſe aching eyes.
Yet think not tamely I this breaſt reſign
To Fear's ſuggeſtions, ſo remote from thine:
No; when th' infernal ſpirit of Deſpair
Would ſeize my heart, and fix his fetters there,
I ſtrive that circle from his power to free,
And break his baleful ſpells by naming Thee:
Thoſe ſcenes, more dreadful, I recall to view
In which my Hero's infant glory grew,
When trembling Holland firſt with tranſport ſaw
The ſtern atchievments of her young NASSAU:
I ſee the moment when her proſtrate ſhore
Heard, all in vain, her guardian waters roar,
Above thoſe bulwarks ſaw her fate advance,
Her ſhame, her ruin, in the hoſt of France;
When all her ſons would o'er th' Atlantic fly,
And bear their Freedom to a brighter ſky,
Leaving thoſe ſeats, their fathers form'd of yore,
In ocean buried, and their name no more:
When thus of every human aid bereft,
E'en then thy Valour ſaid—it ſtill was left,
To bid deſpotic Deſolation ſtrike,
And fall with Freedom on her lateſt dyke!
E'en then I ſee Thee, undiſmay'd, oppoſe
The riſing deluge of thy Country's foes,
Oppreſſion's torrent ſtem with nobler force,
And bid her flood roll backward to its ſource;
See reſcued millions on thy triumph wait,
And hail thee Saviour of a ſinking ſtate!
While this bright image of thy riſing fame
Warms my fond heart, and animates my frame,
My melting ſoul thus pours, with warmth like thine,
Its adorations to the Throne Divine:—
Thou God of Juſtice, whoſe ſuſtaining power
Has watch'd my WILLIAM from his natal hour,
O! ſince thy mercy mark'd him at his birth
The juſt Avenger of the groaning earth—
Since thy decrees, to ſtrike the world with awe,
Have rais'd him Guardian of thy pureſt law,
While injur'd nations, in thy ſervant bleſt,
Revive, and ſee their wrongs by him redreſt—
Complete thy mercies, and ſuſtain him ſtill,
The glorious Agent of thy gracious will!
And O! ſince, bleſt with his connubial care,
'Tis mine the fortunes of his life to ſhare;
Since thy unqueſtionable mandates place
My weakneſs in a ſcene that aſks thy grace,
O! let that grace with kind profuſion flow,
And teach this boſom with new life to glow;
Heal every cruel wound of nature there,
And bid my heart, a ſtranger to deſpair,
While the ſtorm rages, like the frighted Dove,
Reſt in the ſacred ark of WILLIAM's love!—
Thus rapt in ſolitude, in prayer retir'd,
I find that ſuccour which my ſoul requir'd;
Peace, in ſoft viſions, bids me ſigh no more,
And brings her olive-wreath, unſtain'd with gore.
But ah! in vain theſe flattering viſions riſe,
For other ſeenes ſalute my waking eyes;
Men now, when Sleep, benignant Power, would ſhed
His healing opiate on Aſſliction's head,
Our citizens terrific vigils keep,
And find that Tourville's name has murder'd ſleep:
England, diſhonour'd by her guardian fleet,
With ſhame, with anger, feels her boſom beat;
Our city's growing fears, by rumour nurſt,
Riſe into folly, into frenzy burſt;
And frantic Fancy ſees her captive ſpires
Sink in the blaze of Tourville's ſpreading fires.
But fear, O WILLIAM! in my heart gives place
To keen ſenſations of this deep diſgrace;
Warm'd in thy boſom, I from thence have caught
Some little portion of thy glorious thought,
Of Honour's ſpirit, Freedom's holy flame,
Contempt of cowardice, and ſcorn of ſhame!
Unhappy England! who haſt mourn'd in vain,
Thy coaſt diſhonour'd by this naval ſtain;
May thy white cliffs, that tinge the ſilv'ry flood,
Behold the ſtain effac'd in Gallic blood!
And thou, proud veſſel of ſtupendous mould,
Emblazing ocean with thy breadth of gold,
Thou France's naval pride, Imperial Sun,*
Swift o'er thy ſhrouds may flames of vengeance run!
Thy boaſted bulk may Engliſh thunders rend,
And thy pale ſtreamers to the deep deſcend!
May Britons ſee, while ſhouts of joy they raiſe,
Thy gorgeous fabric in their lightnings blaze;
And, blazing, ſhed on their illumin'd ſhore,
Glories more bright than it eclips'd before!
My boſom thus with love of England fraught,
My ſpirits mount in that ennobling thought;
Tho' a juſt God may check our erring pride,
I ſtill, O WILLIAM! in his care confide:
Life, ſafety, peace, from this idea ſprings,
That thou art Soldier to the King of Kings;
That thy great actions make his mercies known,
Thy fame his glory, and thy cauſe his own!—
But ſhould that God, a guilty world to awe,
His choſen Warrior from its aid withdraw;
Should He—But hence, diſtracting image! hence,
Nor ſhed thy poiſon on my wounded ſenſe.
Yet in theſe minutes, that ſo ſlowly roll,
When expectation fills the buſy ſoul,
And thinks each moment, with our King, to ſhare
Conqueſt or ruin, triumph or deſpair,
Impatient Doubt, with ſtronger Fear combin'd,
Strikes from its center the unbalanc'd mind;
Yet e'en theſe hours I labour to beguile,
To make Suſpence's frozen features ſmile,
And from diſquietude my heart to free,
By thus unfolding all that heart to thee.
He comes! thy Courier!—on affection's wing
I fly to catch the tidings of my King!—
O joy! O bounteous Heaven! O bleſſed hour!
Delight that drowns expreſſion's feeble power!—
Great God of Battles! whoſe high will has ſhed
This ſignal glory round my Hero's head,
O! while thy praiſe, in hymns of triumph ſung,
Fills the glad earth, forgive my faltering tongue,
Survey my ſoul, accept its ſilent prayer,
And ſee thy mercies all engraven there!—
And thou, my Lord, my Life, dear Victor, ſay,
What words my tranſport can to thee convey:
I write, but tears th' imperfect line deſtroy,
And every thought diſſolves in floods of joy!
What aweful ſcenes, what images ariſe,
In ſwift ſucceſſion to my wond'ring eyes!
Thy wound now ſhakes my ſhudd'ring heart with fear,
Thy ſhouts of victory now ſtrike my ear;
I ſee afflicted Angels ſtaunch thy blood,
I ſee thee plunge in Boyne's immortal flood,
I ſee thee lift thy leading ſword on high,
The cruel ſons of perſecution fly;
I ſee the rout;—but, in that flying band,
One ſacred head—O! ſtretch thy ſaving hand!
O! for thy MARY's ſake, in mercy ſpare!—
Forgive this vain unneceſſary prayer,
The weakneſs of that heart with pity ſee,
Which recommends Humanity to thee:
As well might Man, proud offspring of the duſt,
Enjoin the God of Juſtice to be juſt;
For O! my WILLIAM! in thy godlike breaſt
Celeſtial Mercy is a conſtant gueſt:
No vain, ambitious, fanguinary pride,
No bigot fury is thy frantic guide;
Heaven's pureſt law, and Man's moſt ſacred right,
Lead thy mild ſpirit to the waſting fight:
Like ſome pure Seraph, who, by Heaven enjoin'd
To ſearch, to puniſh, to correct mankind,
With ſweet reluctance wields his flaming blade,
With pity views the waſte by Juſtice made;
And, pleas'd the voice of Penitence to hear,
Drops on each wound a ſalutary tear:
Such, in the ſtorm of war, thy virtues ſhine;
The welfare of the world thy great deſign.
While Mercy bids admiring nations own,
Thy ſword her weapon, and thy heart her throne,
My love need only to thy thought commend
One dearer life, which, mighty God! defend;
For, of the many lives that aſk my prayer,
None but thy own will want thy conſtant care:
Learn from thy wound—Alas! its terrors ſtill
Thro' Triumph's glowing boſom ſtrike their chill.
From thee, protecting Heaven! this boon I crave—
From one, the worſt of woes, thy ſervant ſave;
Ne'er let me ſee, condemn'd to loſe my all,
The Pillar of the Public Safety fall;
Condemn'd to weep my guardian ſpirit flown,
And wander thro' an empty world alone.
Sooner, much ſooner, let ſome kind diſeaſe
This yielding frame with baleful fury ſeize;
Theſe terms will reconcile my ſtruggling breath
To the dread ſummons of impending death:
Perchance, when all my lateſt pangs have ceas'd,
When this ſoft ſpirit is from earth releas'd,
Perchance thy Guardian Angel may reſign
The life of WILLIAM to a love like mine;
O [...] kindly deign ſo dear a charge to ſhare,
And own I watch thee with a fonder care.
O [...] ſhou'd th' all-wiſe, all-gracious God decree
To rend, by early death, this frame from thee,
To early death this conſolation give,
Say that I ſtill ſhall in thy memory live;
Nor there, O WILLIAM! not e'en there alone,
O! bid my fondneſs, like thy fame, be known;
Let diſtant ages—(if not ſunk in ſhame,
Ages moſt diſtant muſt revere thy name)—
Let diſtant ages, by thy virtue free,
My love engrafted on thy glory ſee,
Preſerv'd from Time and Envy's hoſtile ſhock,
To bloom immortal on that ſacred ſtock.
But Heaven yet ſeems indulgent to beſtow
A laſting union on our loves below;
Our promis'd meeting of dear-bought delight
Fills my fond ſoul, and dawns upon my ſight;
Thy foes diſpers'd, thy fainting friends reliev'd,
All the great duties of thy ſword atchiev'd,
Thou haſt no cauſe in diſtant realms to ſtay,
And wound expecting fondneſs by delay:
Come then, bleſt Victor! come, our dear Defence!
While ſtrong impatience ſtrains our aching ſenſe,
Soon let me claſp, in thy embraces bleſt,
My glorious Warrior to my glowing breaſt!
Hang on thy lips, and with delight explore
Thy great atchievments on Ierne's ſhore!
Come, thou prime care of the propitious Sky!
Hither on Victory's rapid pinions fly!
Fly to theſe arms! and, while from them disjoin'd,
Still let this truth be preſent to thy mind—
Th' all-ſearching Spirit in no heart can ſee,
A love ſurpaſſing what I bear to thee.