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To Dorset he directs his artful Muse,
In numbers such as Dorset's self might use.
How negligently graceful he unreins
His verse, and writes in loose familiar strains !
How Nassau’s godlike acts adorn his lines,
And all the hero in full glory shines !
We see his army set in just array,
And Boyne's dy'd waves run purple to the sea.
Nor. Simois, chok'd with men, and arms, and blood,
Nor rapid Xanthus' celebrated flood,
Shall longer be the poet's highest themes,
Though gods and heroes fought promiscuous in
their streams :
But now, to Nassau's secret councils raised,
He aids the hero whom before he prais'd.
I've done, at length; and now, dear friend! re-
The last poor present that my Muse can give.
I leave the arts of poetry and verse
To them that practise 'em with more success.
Of greater truths I'll now prepare to tell ;
And so at once, dear Friend and Muse! farewell.
RIGHT HON. SIR JOHN SOMERS,
LORD-KEEPER OF THE GREAT SEAL.
The author's age twenty-four.
If yet your thoughts are loose from state affairs,
Nor feel the burden of a kingdom's cares;
If yet your time and actions are your own,
Receive the present of a Muse unknown;
A Muse that in adventrous numbers sings
The rout of armies and the fall of kings,
Britain advanc'd, and Europe's peace restored,
By Somers' counsels and by Nassau's sword.
To you, my Lord, these daring thoughts belong,
Who help'd to raise the subject of my song;
To you the hero of my verse reveals
His great designs, to you in council tells
His inmost thoughts, determining the doom
Of towns unstorm’d and battles yet to come.
And well could you, in your immortal strains,
Describe his conduct and reward his pains;
But since the state has all your cares engrost,
And poetry in higher thoughts is lost,
Attend to what a lesser Muse indites,
Pardon her faults, and countenance her fights.
On you, my Lord, with anxious fear I wait, And from your judgment must expect my fate
Who, free from vulgar passions, are above
Degrading envy or misguided love.
If you, well pleas'd, shall smile upon my lays,
Secure of fame, my voice I'll boldly raise,
For next to what you write is what you praise.
WHEN now the business of the field is o’er,
The trumpets sleep and cannons cease to roar;
When every dismal echo is decay'd,
And all the thunder of the battle laid,
Attend, auspicious Prince! and let the Muse
In humble accents milder thoughts infuse.
Others, in bold prophetic numbers skill'd,
Set thee in arms, and led thee to the field ;
My Muse, excepting, on the British strand
Waits thy return, and welcomes thee to land:
She oft has seen thee pressing on the foe,
When Europe was concern'd in every blow,
But durst not in heroic strains rejoice;
The trumpets, drums, and cannons, drown'd her
voice : She saw the Boyne run thick with human gore, And floating corpse' lie beating on the shore ; She saw thee climb the banks, but tried in vain To trace her hero through the dusty plain, When through the thick embattled lines he broke, Now plung'd amidst the foes, now lost in clouds of
smoke. O that some Muse, renown'd for lofty verse, In daring numbers would thy toils rehearse!
Draw thee, belov'd in peace and fear'd, in wars,
Inur'd to noonday sweats and midnight cares!
But still the godlike man, by some hard fate,
Receives the glory of his toils too late :
Too late the verse the mighty act succeeds ;
One age the hero, one the poet breeds.
A thousand years in full succession ran
Ere Virgil rais'd his voice, and sung the man
Who, driv'n by stress of Fate, such dangers bore
On stormy seas and a disastrous shore ;
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 towering Muse began her flight,
And drew the hero raging in the fight,
Engag'd in tented fields and rolling floods,
Or slaughtering 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 advancd,
The guiltless bullet on thy shoulder glanc'd,
The race of Nassaus was by Heaven design'd
To curb the proud oppressors of mankind,
To bind the tyrants of the earth with laws,
And fight in every 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, unwarm’d, the martial trumpet blow;
But now, inspird by thee, with fresh delight,
Their swords they brandish, and require the fight;
Renew their ancient conquest on the main,
And act their fathers' triumphs o'er again ;
Fir'd when they hear how Agincourt was strow'd
With Gallic corpse', 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 widows' tears :
Oppress’d 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.