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TO "THE EARL OF ESSEX."
[BY MR. J. BANKS, 1682.] SPOKEN TO THE KING AND THE
QUEEN AT THEIR COMING TO THE HOUSE.
WHEN first the ark was landed on the shore,
And Heaven had vow'd to curse the ground no more;
When tops of hills the longing patriarch saw,
And the new scene of earth began to draw,
The dove was sent to view the waves' decrease,
And first brought back to man the pledge of peace.
'Tis needless to apply, when those appear,
Who bring the olive, and who plant it here.
We have before our eyes the royal dove,
Still innocent, as harbinger to love:
The ark is open'd to dismiss the train,
And people with a better race the plain.
Tell me, ye Powers, why should vain man pursue,
With endless toil, each object that is new,
And for the seeming substance leave the true?
Why should he quit for hopes his certain good,
And loathe the manna of his daily food?
Must England still the scene of changes be,
Toss'd and tempestuous, like our ambient sea?
Must still our weather and our wills agree?
Without our blood our liberties we have:
Who that is free would fight to be a slave?
Or, what can wars to after-times assure,
Of which our present age is not secure?
All that our monarch would for us ordain,
Is but to enjoy the blessings of his reign.
Our land's an Eden, and the main's our fence,
While we preserve our state of innocence:
That lost, then beasts their brutal force employ,
And first their lord, and then themselves destroy.
What civil broils have cost, we know too well;
Oh, let it be enough that once we fell!
And every heart conspire, and every tongue,
Still to have such a king, and this king long.
TO "THE LOYAL BROTHER; OR, THE PERSIAN
[BY MR. SOUTHERN, 1682.]
POETS, like lawful monarchs, ruled the stage,
Till critics, like damn'd Whigs, debauch'd our age.
Mark how they jump: critics would regulate
Our theatres, and Whigs reform our state:
Both pretend love, and both (plague rot them!) hate.
The critic humbly seems advice to bring;
The fawning Whig petitions to the king:
But one's advice into a satire slides;
T'other's petition a remonstrance hides.
These will no taxes give, and those no pence;
Critics would starve the poet, Whigs the prince.
The critic all our troops of friends discards ;
Just so the Whig would fain pull down the guards.
Guards are illegal, that drive foes away,
As watchful shepherds, that fright beasts of prey.
Kings, who disband such needless aids as these,
Are safe as long as e'er their subjects please:
And that would be till next queen Bess's night:
Which thus grave penny chroniclers indite.
Sir Edmondbury first, in woful wise,
Leads up the show, and milks their maudlin eyes.
There's not a butcher's wife but dribs her part,
And pities the poor pageant from her heart;
Who, to provoke revenge, rides round the fire,
And, with a civil congé, does retire:
But guiltless blood to ground must never fall;
There's Antichrist behind, to pay for all.
The punk of Babylon in pomp appears,
A lewd old gentleman of seventy years:
Whose age in vain our mercy would implore ;
For few take pity on an old cast whore.
The devil, who brought him to the shame, takes part;
Sits cheek by jowl, in black, to cheer his heart;
Like thief and parson in a Tyburn-cart.
The word is given, and with a loud huzza
The mitred puppet from his chair they draw:
On the slain corpse contending nations fall:
Alas! what's one poor Pope among them all!
He burns; now all true hearts your triumphs ring:
And next, for fashion, cry, God save the king,
A needful cry in 'midst of such alarms,
When forty thousand men are up in arms.
But after he 's once saved, to make amends,
In each succeeding health they damn his friends:
So God begins, but still the Devil ends.
What if some one, inspired with zeal, should call,
Come, let's go cry, God save him, at Whitehall?
His best friends would not like this over-care,
Or think him e'er the safer for this prayer.
Five praying saints are by an act allow'd;
But not the whole church-militant in crowd.
Yet, should Heaven all the true petitions drain
Of Presbyterians who would kings maintain,
Of forty thousand, five would scarce remain.
TO THE KING AND QUEEN,
UPON THE UNION OF THE TWO COMPANIES IN 1682.
SINCE faction ebbs, and rogues grow out of fashion,
Their penny scribes take care to inform the nation,
How well men thrive in this or that plantation:
How Pennsylvania's air agrees with Quakers,
And Carolina's with Associators:
Both e'en too good for madmen and for traitors.
Truth is, our land with saints is so run o'er,
And every age produces such a store,
That now there's need of two New-Englands more.
What's this, you'll say, to us and our vocation?
Only thus much, that we have left our station,
And made this theatre our new plantation.
The factious natives never could agree;
But aiming, as they call'd it, to be free,
Those play-house Whigs set up for property.
Some say, they no obedience paid of late
But would new fears and jealousies create;
Till topsy-turvy they had turn'd the state.
Plain sense, without the talent of foretelling,
Might guess 'twould end in downright knocks and quelling,
For seldom comes there better of rebelling.
When men will, needlessly, their freedom barter
For lawless power, sometimes they catch a Tartar;
There's a damn'd word that rhymes to this, call'd Charter.
But, since the victory with us remains,
You shall be call'd to twelve in all our gains;
If you'll not think us saucy for our pains.
Old men shall have good old plays to delight 'em :
And you, fair ladies and gallants, that slight 'em,
We'll treat with good new plays; if our new wits can write 'em.
We'll take no blundering verse, no fustian tumour,
No dribbling love, from this or that perfumer;
No dull fat fool shamm'd on the stage for humour.
For, faith, some of 'em such vile stuff have made,
As none but fools or fairies ever play'd;
But 'twas, as shopmen say, to force a trade.
We've given you tragedies, all sense defying,
And singing men, in woful metre dying;
This 'tis when heavy lubbers will be flying.
All these disasters we well hope to weather;
We bring you none of our old lumber hither:
Whig poets and Whig sheriffs may hang together.
TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.
SPOKEN AT THE ACTING OF THE SILENT WOMAN."
WHAT Greece, when learning flourish'd, only knew,
Athenian judges, you this day renew.
Here too are annual rites to Pallas done,
And here poetic prizes lost or won.
Methinks I see you, crown'd with olives, sit,
And strike a sacred horror from the pit.
A day of doom is this of your decree,
Where even the best are but by mercy free :
A day, which none but Jonson durst have wish'd to see Here they, who long have known the useful stage,
Come to be taught themselves to teach the age.
As your commissioners our poets go,
To cultivate the virtue which you sow;
In your Lyceum first themselves refined,
And delegated thence to human-kind.
But as ambassadors, when long from home,
For new instructions to their princes come;
So poets, who your precepts have forgot,
Return, and beg they may be better taught:
Follies and faults elsewhere by them are shown,
But by your manners they correct their own.
The illiterate writer, empiric-like, applies
To minds diseased, unsafe, chance, remedies:
The learn'd in schools, where knowledge first began,
Studies with care the anatomy of man;
Sees virtue, vice, and passions in their cause,
And fame from science, not from fortune, draws.
So Poetry, which is in Oxford made
An art, in London only is a trade.
There haughty dunces, whose unlearned pen
Could ne'er spell grammar, would be reading men.
Such build their poems the Lucretian way;
So many huddled atoms make a play;
And if they hit in order by some chance,
They call that nature, which is ignorance.
To such a fame let mere town-wits aspire,
And their gay nonsense their own cits admire.
Our poet, could he find forgiveness here,
Would wish it rather than a plaudit there.
He owns no crown from those Prætorian bands,
But knows that right is in the senate's hands,
Not impudent enough to hope your praise,
Low at the Muses' feet his wreath he lays,
And, where he took it up, resigns his bays.
Kings make their poets whom themselves think fit,
But 'tis your suffrage makes authentic wit.
TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.
DISCORD and plots, which have undone our age,
With the same ruin have o'erwhelm'd the stage.
Our house has suffer'd in the common woe,
We have been troubled with Scotch rebels too.