Edmund Waller.

The poems of Edmund Waller; online

. (page 12 of 21)
Online LibraryEdmund WallerThe poems of Edmund Waller; → online text (page 12 of 21)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

With greater hazard than they fought, they dive. 1 IOO

With these, returns victorious Montague,
With laurels in his hand, and half Peru.
Let the brave generals divide that bough,
Our great Protector hath such wreaths enow ;
His conquering head has no more room for bays ; 105
Then let it be as the glad nation prays ;
Let the rich ore forthwith be melted down,
And the state fixed by making him a crown ;
With ermine clad, and purple, let him hold
A royal sceptre, made of Spanish gold. I IO

i. The poem, as reprinted in the editions of his poems pub-
lished during Waller's life, ends with this line ; the remaining
lines appeared in Beimel's edition of " The Second Part,"
headed, Some Verses belonging to a Copy in tht First Part of
his Potms, entitled L'fon a War with Spain, and a Fi%ht at

Sea. The close of it -JHIS originally thus. They were again

omitted in the edition of 1705.




THE winged lion's not so fierce in fight,

As Liberi's hand presents him to our sight ;

Nor would his pencil make him half so fierce,

Or roar so loud, as Businello's verse ;

But your translation does all three excel, 5

The fight, the piece, and lofty Businel.

As their small galleys may not hold compare

With our tall ships, whose sails employ more air ;

So does the Italian to your genius vail,

Moved with a fuller and a nobler gale. IO

Thus, while your muse spreads the Venetian story,

You make all Europe emulate her glory ;

You make them blush weak Venice should defend

The cause of Heaven, while they for words contend ;

Shed Christian blood, and populous cities raze, 1 5

Because they're taught to use some different phrase.

If, listening to your charms, we could our jars

Compose, and on the Turk discharge these wars,

Our British arms the sacred tomb might wrest

From Pagan hands, and triumph o'er the East ; 20

And then you might our own high deeds recite,

And with great Tasso celebrate the fight.




.... Talesque mi->errima fletus
Fertque refertque soror

A nd ending with
Adnix! torquent spumas, et caerula verrunt.

ALL this her weeping sister does repeat

To the stern man, whom nothing could entreat ;

Lost were her prayers, and fruitless were her tears !

Fate, and great Jove, had stopped his gentle ears.

As when loud winds a well-grown oak would rend 5

Up by the roots, this way and that they bend

His reeling trunk ; and with a boisterous sound

Scatter his leaves, and strew them on the ground ;

He fixed stands ; as deep his root doth lie

Down to the centre, as his top is high ; 10

No less on every side the hero pressed,

Feels love and pity shake his noble breast,

And down his cheeks though fruitless tears do roll,

Unmoved remains the purpose of his soul.

Then Dido, urged with approaching fate, 15

Begins the light of cruel Heaven to hate ;

Her resolution to dispatch and die,

Confirmed by many a horrid prodigy !

The water, consecrate for sacrifice,

Appears all black to her amazed eyes ; 2C


The wine to putrid blood converted flows,

Which from her none, not her own sister, knows.

Besides, there stood, as sacred to her lord,

A marble temple which she much adored,

With snowy fleeces and fresh garlands crowned ; 25

Hence every night proceeds a dreadful sound ;

Her husband's voice invites her to his tomb,

And dismal owls presage the ills to come.

Besides, the prophecies of wizards old

Increased her terror and her fall foretold ; 30

Scorned, and deserted, to herself she seems,

And finds .^Eneas cruel in her dreams.

So to mad Pentheus, double Thebes appears,
And furies howl in his distempered ears ;
Orestes so, with like distraction tossed, 35

Is made to fly his mother's angry ghost.

Now grief and fury at their height arrive ;
Death she decrees, and thus does it contrive.
Her grieved sister, with a cheerful grace,
(Hope well dissembled shining in her face) 40

She thus deceives. " Dear sister ! let us prove
The cure I have invented for my love.
Beyond the land of Ethiopia lies
The place where Atlas does support the skies,
Hence came an old magician, that did keep 45

The Hesperian fruit, and made the dragon sleep ;
Her potent charms do troubled souls relieve,
And, where she lists, make calmest minds to grieve :
The course of rivers, or of heaven, can stop,


And call trees down from the airy mountain's top. 50
Witness, ye Gods ! and thou, my dearest part !
How loath I am to tempt this guilty art.
Erect a pile, and on it let us place
That bed where I my ruin did embrace ;
With all the reliques of our impious guest, 55

Arms, spoils, and presents, let the pile be dressed ;
(The knowing woman thus prescribes) that we
May rase the man out of our memory."

Thus speaks the Queen, but hides the fatal end
For which she doth those sacred rites pretend. 60
Nor worse effects of grief her sister thought
Would follow, than Sichseus' murder wrought ;
Therefore obeys her ; and now, heaped high,
The cloven oaks and lofty pines do lie ;
Hung all with wreaths and flowery garlands round, 65
So by herself was her own funeral crowned !
Upon the top the Trojan's image lies,
And his sharp sword, wherewith anon she dies.
They by the altar stand, while with loose hair
The magic prophetess begins her prayer : 70

On Chaos, Erebus, and all the gods,
Which in the infernal shades have their abodes,
She loudly calls, besprinkling all the room
With drops, supposed from Lethe's lake to come.
She seeks the knot which on the forehead grows 75
Of new-foaled colts, and herbs by moonlight mows.
A cake of leaven in her pious hands
Holds the devoted Queen, and barefoot stands ;


One tender foot was bare, the other shod.

Her robe ungirt, invoking every god, 80

And every power, if any be above,

Which takes regard of ill-requited love !

Now was the time when weary mortals steep
Their careful temples in the dew of sleep ;
On seas, on earth, and all that in them dwell, 85

A death-like quiet, and deep silence fell ;
But not on Dido ! whose untamed mind
Refused to be by sacred night confined ;
A double passion in her breast does move,
Love, and fierce anger for neglected love. 90

Thus she afflicts her soul : " What shall I do ?
With fate inverted, shall I humbly woo ?
And some proud prince, in wild Numidia born,
Pray to accept me, and forget my scorn ?
Or shall I with the ungrateful Trojan go, 95

Quit all my state, and wait upon my foe ?
Is not enough, by sad experience ! known
The perjured race of false Laomedon ?
With my Sidonians shall I give them chase,
Bands hardly forced from their native place ? loo

No ; die ! and let this sword thy fury tame ;
Nought but thy blood can quench this 1 guilty flame.
Ah, sister ! vanquished with my passion, thou
Betray'dst me first, dispensing with my vow.
Had I been constant to Sichaeus still, 105

And single-lived, I had not known this ill ! "

I. 1658, thy.


Such thoughts torment the Queen's enraged breast,
While the Dardanian does securely rest
In his tall ship, for sudden flight prepared ;
To whom once more the son of Jove appeared ; 1 10
Thus seems 1 to speak the youthful deity,
Voice, hair, and colour, all like Mercury.

" Fair Venus' seed ! canst thou indulge thy sleep,
Nor better guard in such great danger keep ?
Mad, by neglect to lose so fair a wind ! 115

If here thy ships the purple morning find,
Thou shall behold this hostile harbour shine
With a new fleet, and fire, to ruin thine ;
She meditates revenge, resolved to die ; 120

Weigh anchor quickly, and her fury fly."

This said, the god in shades of night retired.
Amazed yEneas, with the warning fired,
Shakes off dull sleep, and, rousing up his men,
11 Behold ! the gods command our flight again
Fall to your oars, and all your canvas spread ; 125
What god soe'er that thus vouchsafst to lead,
We follow gladly, and thy will obey ;
Assist us still, smoothing our happy way,
And make the rest propitious ! " With that word
He cuts the cable with his shining sword ; 130

Through all the navy doth like ardour reign,
They quit the shore, and rush into the main ;
Placed on their banks, the lusty Trojans sweep
Neptune's smooth face, and cleave the yielding deep.

i. 1658, stttn'd.




WE must resign ! Heaven his great soul does claim

In storms, as loud as his immortal fame ;

His dying groans, his last breath, shakes our isle,

And trees uncut fall for his funeral pile ;

About his palace their broad roots are tossed 5

Into the air. So Romulus was lost !

New Rome in such a tempest missed her king,

And from obeying fell to worshipping.

On CEta's top thus Hercules lay dead,

With ruined oaks and pines about him spread ; 10

The poplar, too, whose bough he wont to wear

On his victorious head, lay prostrate there ; 1

Those his last fury from the mountain rent :

Our dying hero from the continent

Ravished whole towns ; and forts from Spaniards reft,

As his last legacy to Britain left. [15

The ocean, which so long our hopes confined,

Could give no limits to his vaster mind ;

i. This and the preceding line do not occur in the broad-
side, or in Wither's Salt upon Salt (1659), where Waller's lines
are quoted "according to the Author's printed copy."


Our bounds' enlargement was his latest toil,

Nor hath he left us prisoners to our isle ; 20

Under the tropic is our language spoke,

And part of Flanders hath received our yoke.

From civil broils he did us disengage,

Found nobler objects for our martial rage ;

And, with wise conduct, to his country showed 25

Their ancient way of conquering abroad.

Ungrateful then ! if we no tears allow

To him, that gave us peace and empire too.

Princes, that feared him, grieve, concerned to see

No pitch of glory from the grave is free. 30

Nature herself took notice of his death,

And, sighing, swelled the sea with such a breath,

That, to remotest shores her billows rolled,

The approaching fate of her great ruler told.


THE rising sun complies with our weak sight,
First gilds the clouds, then shows his globe of light
At such a distance from our eyes, as though
He knew what harm his hasty beams would do.

But your full majesty at once breaks forth
In the meridian of your reign. Your worth,
Your youth, and all the splendour of your state,

M 2


(Wrapped up, till now, in clouds of adverse fate ! )

With such a flood of light invade our eyes,

And our spread hearts with so great joy surprise, 10

That if your grace incline that we should live,

You must not, sir ! too hastily forgive.

Our guilt preserves us from the excess of joy,

Which scatters spirits, and would life destroy.

All are obnoxious ! and this faulty land, 15

Like fainting Esther, does before you stand,

Watching your sceptre. The revolted sea

Trembles to think she did your foes obey.

Great Britain, like blind Polypheme, of late,
In a wild rage, became the scorn and hate 20

Of her proud neighbours, who began to think
She, with the weight of her own force, would sink.
But you are come, and all their hopes are vain ;
This giant isle has got her eye again.
Now she might spare the ocean, and oppose 25

Your conduct to the fiercest of her foes.
Naked, the Graces guarded you from all
Dangers abroad ; and now your thunder shall.
Princes that saw you, different passions prove,
For now they dread the object of their love; 30

Nor without envy can behold his height,
Whose conversation was their late delight.
So Semele, contented with the rape
Of Jove disguised in a mortal shape,
When she beheld his hands with lightning filled, 35
And his bright rays, was with amazement killed.


And though it be our sorrow, and our crime,
To have accepted life so long a time
Without you here, yet does this absence gain
No small advantage to your present reign ; 40

For, having viewed the persons and the things,
The councils, state, and strength of Europe's kings,
You know your work ; ambition to restrain,
And set them bounds, as Heaven does to the main.
We have you now with ruling wisdom fraught, 45
Not such as books, but such as practice, taught.
So the lost sun, while least by us enjoyed,
Is the whole night for our concern employed ;
He ripens spices, fruits, and precious gums,
Which from remotest regions hither comes. 50

This seat of yours (from the other world removed)
Had Archimedes known, he might have proved
His engine's force fixed here. Your power and skill
Make the world's motion wait upon your will.

Much suffering monarch ! the first English born 55
That has the crown of these three nations worn !
How has your patience, with the barbarous rage
Of your own soil, contended half an age?
Till (your tried virtue, and your sacred word,
At last preventing your unwilling sword) 60

Armies and fleets which kept you out so long,
Owned their great sovereign, and redressed his wrong.
When straight the people, by no force compelled,
Nor longer from their inclination held,
Break forth at once, like powder set on fire, 65


And, with a noble rage, their King require ;

So the injured sea, which from her wonted course,

To gain some acres, avarice did force,

If the new banks, neglected once, decay,

No longer will from her old channel stay ; 70

Raging, the late got land she overflows,

And all that's built upon't, to ruin goes.

Offenders now, the chiefest, do begin
To strive for grace, and expiate their sin.
All winds blow fair, that did the world embroil ; 75
Your vipers treacle yield, and scorpions oil.

If then such praise the Macedonian got,
For having rudely cut the Gordian knot,
What glory's due to him that could divide
Such ravelled interests ; has the knot untied, 80

And without stroke so smooth a passage made,
Where craft and malice such impeachments laid ?

But while we praise you, you ascribe it all
To His high hand, which threw the untouched wall
Of self-demolished Jericho so low ; 85

His angel 'twas that did before you go,
Tamed savage hearts, and made affections yield,
Like ears of corn when wind salutes the field.

Thus patience crowned, like Job's, your trouble ends,
Having your foes to pardon, and your friends ; 90
For, though your courage were so firm a rock,
What private virtue could endure the shock ?
Like your Great Master, you the storm withstood,
And pitied those who love with frailty showed.

Rude Indians, torturing all the royal race, 95


Him with the throne and dear-bought sceptre grace
That suffers best. What region could be found,
Where your heroic head had not been crowned ?

The next experience of your mighty mind
Is how you combat fortune, now she's kind. 100

And this way, too, you are victorious found ;
She flatters with the same success she frowned.
While to yourself severe, to others kind,
With power unbounded, and a will confined,
Of this vast empire you possess the care, 105

The softer part falls to the people's share.
Safety, and equal government, are things
Which subjects make as happy as their kings.

Faith, law, and piety, (that banished train ! )
Justice and truth, with you return again. no

The city's trade, and country's easy life,
Once more shall flourish without fraud or strife.
Your reign no less assures the ploughman's peace,
Than the warm sun advances his increase ;
And does the shepherds as securely keep 115

From all their fears, as they preserve their sheep.

But, above all, the Muse-inspired train
Triumph, and raise their drooping heads again !
Kind Heaven at once has, in your person, sent
Their sacred judge, their guard, and argument. 120

Nee magis express! vultus per aenea signa,
< Juam per vatis opus mores, animique, virorum
Clarorum apparent l . . . .

i. This quotation (Horace, Ep. II. i. 248) was added when
the poem was reprinted in the edition of 1664.




OF the first Paradise there's nothing found ;
Plants set by Heaven are vanished, and the ground ;
Yet the description lasts ; who knows the fate
Of lines that shall this paradise relate ?

Instead of rivers rolling by the side 5

Of Eden's garden, here flows, in the tide ;
The sea, which always served his empire, now
Pays tribute to our Prince's pleasure too.
Of famous cities we the founders know ;
But rivers, old as seas, to which they go, 10

Are nature's bounty ; 'tis of more renown
To make a river, than to build a town.

For future shade, young trees upon the banks
Of the new stream appear in even ranks ;
The voice of Orpheus, or Amphion's hand, 1 5

In better order could not make them stand ;
May they increase as fast, and spread their boughs,
As the high fame of their great owner grows !
May he live long enough to see them all
Dark shadows cast, and as his palace tall ! 20

Methinks I see the love that shall be made,
The lovers walking in that amorous shade ;
The gallants dancing by the river's side ;
They bathe in summer, and in winter slide.
Methinks I hear the music in the boats, 25

And the loud echo which returns the notes ;


While overhead a flock of new-sprung fowl

Hangs in the air, and does the sun control,

Darkening the sky ; l they hover o'er, and shroud

The wanton sailors with a feathered cloud. 30

Beneath, a shoal of silver fishes glides,

And plays about the gilded barges' sides ;

The ladies, angling in the crystal lake,

Feast on the waters 3 with the prey they take ;

At once victorious with their lines, and eyes, 35

They make the fishes, and the men, their prize.

A thousand Cupids on the billows ride,

And sea-nymphs enter with the swelling tide ;

From Thetis sent as spies, to make report,

And tell the wonders of her sovereign's court. 40

All that can, living, feed the greedy eye,

Or dead, the palate, here you may descry ;

The choicest things that furnished Noah's ark,

Or Peter's sheet, inhabiting this park ;

All with a border of rich fruit-trees crowned, 45

Whose loaded branches hide the lofty mound.

Such various ways the spacious alleys lead,

My doubtful Muse knows not what path to tread.

Yonder, the harvest of cold months laid up,

Gives a fresh coolness to the royal cup ; 50

There ice, like crystal firm, and never lost,

i. Folio, at re. 1664 and subsequent editions, Darkening
the tky thty hover o'rt.

2. This and the preceding line do not occur in the folio.
3. Folio, water.


Tempers hot July with December's frost ;
Winter's dark prison, whence he cannot fly,
Though the warm spring, his enemy, draws 1 nigh.
Strange ! that extremes should thus preserve the snow,
High on the Alps, or in deep caves below. [55

Here, a well-polished Mall gives us the joy
To see our Prince his matchless force employ ;
His manly posture, and his graceful mien,
Vigour and youth, in all his motions seen ; 60

His shape so lovely, 2 and his limbs so strong,
Confirm our hopes we shall obey him long.
No sooner has he touched the flying ball,
But 'tis already more than half the Mall ;
And such a fury from his arm 3 has got, 65

As from a smoking culverin 'twere shot.

Near this my Muse, what most delights her, sees
A living gallery of aged trees ;
Bold sons of earth, that thrust their arms so high,
As if once more they would invade the sky. 70

In such green palaces the first kings reigned,
Slept in their shades, and angels entertained ;
With such old counsellors they did advise,
And, by frequenting sacred groves, grew wise.
Free from the impediments of light and noise, 75
Man, thus retired, his nobler thoughts employs.
Here Charles contrives the ordering of his states,
Here he resolves his neighbouring princes' fates ;

i. Folio, grows. 2. Folio, comely. 3. 1664, aim.


What nation shall have peace, where war be made,

Determined is in this oraculous shade ; 80

The world, from India to the frozen north,

Concerned in what this solitude brings forth.

His fancy, objects from his view receives ;

The prospect, thought and contemplation gives.

That seat of empire here salutes his eye, 85

To which three kingdoms do themselves apply ;

The structure by a prelate raised, Whitehall,

Built with the fortune of Rome's capitol ;

Both, disproportioned to the present state

Of their proud founders, were approved by Fate. 1 90

From hence he does that antique pile behold,

Where royal heads receive the sacred gold ;

It gives them crowns, and does their ashes keep ;

There made like gods, like mortals there they sleep ;

Making the circle of their reign complete, 95

Those suns of empire ! where they rise, they set. 2

When others fell, this, standing, did presage

The crown should triumph over popular rage ;

Hard by that house, where all our ills were shaped,

The auspicious temple stood, and yet escaped. 100

So snow on ALtna. does unmelted lie,

Whence rolling flames and scattered cinders fly ;

The distant country in the ruin shares ;

What falls from heaven the burning mountain spares.

i. Folio, states and Pates.

3. This and the preceding line are not in the folio.


Next, that capacious hall he sees, the room 105

Where the whole nation does for justice come ;

Under whose large roof flourishes the gown,

And judges grave, on high tribunals, frown.

Here, like the people's pastor he does go, 1

His flock subjected to his view below ; 1 10

On which reflecting in his mighty mind,

No private passion does indulgence find ;

The pleasures of his youth suspended are,

And made a sacrifice to public care.

Here, free from court compliances, he walks, 115

And with himself, his best adviser, talks ;

How peaceful olive may his temples shade,

For mending laws, and for restoring trade ;

Or, how his brows may be with laurel charged,

For nations conquered, and our bounds enlarged. 1 20

Of ancient prudence here he ruminates, 2

Of rising kingdoms, and of falling states ;

What ruling arts gave great Augustus fame,

And how Alcides purchased such a name.

His eyes, upon his native palace bent, 125

Close by, suggest a greater argument.

His thoughts rise higher, when he does reflect

On what the world may from that star expect

Which at his birth appeared, to let us see

Day, for his sake, could with the night agree ; 130

i. Folio, Here he does like the people' s pastor go.
2. Folio, meditates.


A prince, on whom such different lights did smile,
Born the divided world to reconcile !
Whatever Heaven, or high extracted blood
Could promise, or foretell, he will make good ;
Reform these nations, and improve them more, 135
Than this fair park, from what it was before.



FAREWELL the year I which threatened so

The fairest light the world can show.

Welcome the new ! whose every day,

Restoring what was snatched away

By pining sickness from the fair, 5

That matchless beauty does repair

So fast, that the approaching spring,

(Which does to flowery meadows bring

What the rude winter from them tore)

Shall give her all she had before. 10

But we recover not so fast
The sense of such a danger past ;
We that esteemed you sent from heaven,
A pattern to this island given,
To show us what the blessed do there 1 5


And what alive they practised here,

When that which we immortal thought,

We saw so near destruction brought,

Felt all which you did then endure,

And tremble yet, as not secure. 20

So though the sun victorious be,

And from a dark eclipse set free,

The influence, which we fondly fear,

Afflicts our thoughts the following year.

But that which may relieve our care 25

Is, that you have a help so near
For all the evil you can prove,
The kindness of your royal love ;
He that was never known to mourn,
So many kingdoms from him torn, 30

His tears reserved for you, more dear,
More prized, than all those kingdoms were !
For when no healing art prevailed,
When cordials and elixirs failed,
On your pale cheek he dropped the shower, 35
Revived you like a dying flower.

Nunc i toque et versus et coetera ludicra pono,

Quid verum, atque decens, euro et rogo, et ontnis in hoc sum. 1

i. Horace, Ep. I. i. 10.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryEdmund WallerThe poems of Edmund Waller; → online text (page 12 of 21)