Edmund Waller.

The poems of Edmund Waller; online

. (page 13 of 21)
Online LibraryEdmund WallerThe poems of Edmund Waller; → online text (page 13 of 21)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


EDMUND WALLER. 175



TO A FAIR LADY, PLAYING WITH A
SNAKE.

STRANGE ! that such horror and such grace
Should dwell together in one place ;
A fury's arm, an angel's face !

Tis innocence, and youth, which makes

In Chloris" fancy such mistakes, 5

To. start at love, and play with snakes.

By this and by her coldness barred,
Her servants have a task too hard ;
The tyrant has a double guard !

Thrice happy snake ! that in her sleeve 10

May boldly creep ; we dare not give
Our thoughts so uncon fined a leave.

Contented in that nest of snow

He lies, as he his bliss did know,

And to the wood no more would go. 15

Take heed, fair Eve ! you do not make

Another tempter of this snake ;

A marble one so warmed would speak.



176 POEMS OF



INSTRUCTIONS TO A PAINTER,

FOR THE DRAWING OF THE POSTURE AND PRO-
GRESS OF HIS MAJESTY'S FORCES AT SEA, UNDER

THE COMMAND OF HIS HIGHNESS-ROYAL; TO-
GETHER WITH THE BATTLE AND VICTORY
OBTAINED OVER THE DUTCH, JUNE 3, 1665.

FIRST draw the sea, that portion which between
The greater world and this of ours is seen ;
Here place the British, there the Holland fleet,
Vast floating armies ! both prepared to meet.
Draw the whole world, expecting who should 1 reign,
After this combat, o'er the conquered main. [5

Make Heaven concerned, and an unusual star
Declare the importance of the approaching war.
Make the sea shine with gallantry, and all
The English youth flock to their Admiral, 10

The valiant Duke ! whose early deeds abroad,
Such rage in fight, and art in conduct showed.
His bright sword now a dearer interest draws,
His brother's glory, and his country's cause.

Let thy bold pencil hope and courage spread 1 5
Through the whole navy, by that hero led ;

i. Folio, sltalL



EDMUND WALLER. 177

Make all appear, where such a Prince is by,

Resolved to conquer, or resolved to die.

With his extraction, and his glorious mind,

Make the proud sails swell more than with the wind ;

Preventing cannon, make his louder fame [20

Check the Batavians, and their fury tame.

So hungry wolves, though greedy of their prey,

Stop when they find a lion in their way.

Make him bestride the ocean, and mankind 25

Ask his consent to use the sea and wind.

While his tall ships in the barred channel stand,

He grasps the Indies in his armed hand.

Paint an east wind, and make it blow away
The excuse of Holland for their navy's stay ; 30

Make them look pale, and, the bold Prince to shun,
Through the cold north and rocky regions run.
To find the coast where morning first appears,
By the dark pole the wary Belgian steers ;
Confessing now he dreads the English more 35

Than all the dangers of a frozen shore ;
While from our arms, security to find,
They fly so far, they leave the day behind.
Describe their fleet abandoning the sea,
And all their merchants left a wealthy prey ; 40

Our first success in war make Bacchus crown,
And half the vintage of the year our own.
The Dutch their wine, and all their brandy lose,
Disarmed of that from which their courage grows ;
While the glad English, to relieve their toil, 45

N



1 78 POEMS OF

In healths to their great leader drink the spoil.

His high command to Afric's coast extend,
And make the Moors before the English bend ;
Those barbarous pirates willingly receive
Conditions, such as we are pleased to give. 5

Deserted by the Dutch, let nations know
We can our own and their great business do ;
False friends chastise, and common foes restrain,
Which, worse than tempests, did infest the main.
Within those Straits, make Holland's Smyrna fleet 55
With a small squadron of the English meet ;
Like falcons these, those like a numerous flock
Of fowl, which scatter to avoid the shock. 1
There paint confusion in a-various shape ;
Some sink, some yield ; and, flying, some escape. 60
Europe and Africa, from either shore,
Spectators are, and hear our cannon roar ;
While the divided world in this agree,
Men that fight so, deserve to rule the sea.

But, nearer home, thy pencil use once more, 65
And place our navy by the Holland shore ;
The world they compassed, while they fought with

Spain,

But here already they resign the main ;
Those greedy mariners, out of whose way
Diffusive Nature could no region lay, 70



i. Of scatter 1 d Fowl, which would avoid the shock. Col.
Cunningham's copy.



EDMUND WALLER. 179

At home, preserved from rocks and tempests, lie,

Compelled, like others, in their beds to die.

Their single towns, the Iberian armies pressed ;

We all their provinces at once invest ;

And, in a month, ruin their traffic more 75

Than that long war could in an age before.

But who can always on the billows lie ?
The watery wilderness yields no supply.
Spreading our sails, to Harwich we resort,
And meet the beauties of the British court. 80

The illustrious Duchess, and her glorious train,
(Like Thetis with her nymphs) adorn the main.
The gazing sea-gods, since the Paphian Queen
Sprung from among them, no such sight had seen.
Charmed with the graces of a troop so fair, 85

Those deathless powers for us themselves declare,
Resolved the aid of Neptune's court to bring,
And help the nation where such beauties spring ;
The soldier here his wasted store supplies,
And takes new valour from the ladies' eyes. 90

Meanwhile, like bees, when stormy winter's gone,
The Dutch (as if the sea were all their own)
Desert their ports, and, falling in their way,
Our Hamburg merchants are become their prey.
Thus flourish they, before the approaching fight ; 95
As dying tapers give a blazing light.

To check their pride, our fleet half-victualled goes,
Enough to serve us till we reach our foes ;
Who now appear so numerous and bold,

N 2



i8o POEMS OF

The action worthy of our arms we hold. IOO

A greater force than that which here we find,
Ne'er pressed the ocean, nor employed the wind.
Restrained a while by the unwelcome night,
The impatient English scarce attend the light.
But now the morning (heaven severely clear !) 105
To the fierce work indulgent does appear ;
And Phoebus lifts above the waves his light,
That he might see, and thus record, the fight.

As when loud winds from different quarters rush,
Vast clouds encountering one another crush ; 1 10

With swelling sails so, from their several coasts,
Join the Batavian and the British hosts.
For a less prize, with less concern and rage,
The Roman fleets at Actium did engage ;
They, for the empire of the world they knew, 115
These, for the Old contend, and for the New.
At the first shock, with blood and powder stained,
Nor heaven, nor sea, their former face retained ;
Fury and art produce effects so strange,
They trouble Nature, and her visage change, 1 20

Where burning ships the banished sun supply,
And no light shines but that by which men die,
There York appears ! so prodigal is he
Of royal blood, as ancient as the sea !
Which down to him, so many ages told, 125

Has through the veins of mighty monarchs rolled !
The great Achilles marched not to the field
Till Vulcan that impenetrable shield,



EDMUND WALLER. 181

And arms, had wrought ; yet there no bullets flew,
But shafts and darts which the weak Phrygians

threw. 1 30

Our bolder hero on the deck does stand
Exposed, the bulwark of his native land ;
Defensive arms laid by as useless here,
Where massy balls the neighbouring rocks do tear.
Some power unseen those princes does protect, 135
Who for their country thus themselves neglect.

Against him first Opdam his squadron leads,
Proud of his late success against the Swedes ;
Made by that action, and his high command,
Worthy to perish by a prince's hand. 140

The tall Batavian in a vast ship rides,
Bearing an army in her hollow sides ;
Yet, not inclined the English ship to board,
More on his guns relies, than on his sword ;
From whence a fatal volley we received ; 145

It missed the Duke, but his great heart it grieved ;
Three worthy persons from his side it tore,
And dyed his garment with their scattered gore.
Happy ! to whom this glorious death arrives,
More to be valued than a thousand lives ! 150

On such a theatre as this to die,
For such a cause, and such a witness by !
Who would not thus a sacrifice be made,
To have his blood on such an altar laid ?
The rest about him struck with horror stood, 155
To see their leader covered o'er with blood.



182 POEMS OF

So trembled Jacob, when he thought the stains

Of his son's coat had issued from his veins.

He feels no wound but in his troubled thought ;

Before, for honour, now, revenge he fought ; 160

His friends in pieces torn, (the bitter news

Not brought by Fame) with his own eyes he views.

His mind at once reflecting on their youth,

Their worth, their love, their valour, and their truth,

The joys of court, their mothers, and their wives, 165

To follow him, abandoned, and their lives !

He storms and shoots, but flying bullets now,

To execute his rage, appear too slow ;

They miss, or sweep but common souls away ;

For such a loss Opdam his life must pay. 170

Encouraging his men, he gives the word,

With fierce intent that hated ship to board,

And make the guilty Dutch, with his own arm,

Wait on his friends, while yet their blood is warm.

His winged vessel like an eagle shows, 175

When through the clouds to truss a swan she goes ;

The Belgian ship unmoved, like some huge rock

Inhabiting the sea, expects the shock.

From both the fleets men's eyes are bent this way,

Neglecting all the business of the day ; 1 80

Bullets their flight, and guns their noise suspend ;

The silent ocean does the event attend,

Which leader shall the doubtful victory bless,

And give an earnest of the war's success ;

When Heaven itself, for England to declare, 185



EDMUND WALLER. 183

Turns ship, and men, and tackle, into air.

Their new commander from his charge is tossed,
Which that young prince had so unjustly lost,
Whose. great progenitors, with better fate,
And better conduct, swayed their infant state. 190
His flight towards heaven the aspiring Belgian took,
But fell, like Phaeton, with thunder strook ;
From vaster hopes than his he seemed to fall,
That durst attempt the British Admiral ;
From her broad sides a ruder flame is thrown 195
Than from the fiery chariot of the sun ;
That, bears the radiant ensign of the day,
And she, the flag that governs in the sea.

The Duke, (ill pleased that fire should thus prevent
The work which for his brighter sword he meant) 200
Anger still burning in his valiant breast,
Goes to complete revenge upon the rest,
So on the guardless herd, their keeper slain,
Rushes a tiger in the Libyan plain.
The Dutch, accustomed to the raging sea, 205

And in black storms the frowns of heaven to see,
Never met tempest which more urged their fears,
Than that which in the Prince's look appears.
Fierce, goodly, young ! Mars he resembles, when
Jove sends him down to scourge perfidious men ; 2IO
Such as with foul ingratitude have paid,
Both those that led, and those that gave them aid.
Where he gives on, disposing of their fates,
Terror and death on his loud cannon waits,



184 POEMS OF

With which he pleads his brother's cause so well, 215

He shakes the throne to which he does appeal.

The sea with spoils his angry bullets strow,

Widows and orphans making as they go ;

Before his ship fragments of vessels torn,

Flags, arms, and Belgian carcasses are borne ; 220

And his despairing foes, to flight inclined,

Spread all their canvas to invite the wind.

So the rude Boreas, where he lists to blow,

Makes clouds above, and billows fly below,

Beating the shore ; and, with a boisterous rage, 225

Does heaven at once, and earth, and sea engage.

The Dutch, elsewhere, did through the watery field
Perform enough to have made others yield ;
But English courage, growing as they fight,
In danger, noise, and slaughter, takes delight ; 230
Their bloody task, unwearied still, they ply,
Only restrained by death, or victory.
Iron and lead, from earth's dark entrails torn,
Like showers of hail from either side are borne ;
So high the rage of wretched mortals goes, 235

Hurling their mother's bowels at their foes !
Ingenious to their ruin, every age
Improves the arts and instruments of rage.
Death-hastening ills Nature enough has sent,
And yet men still a thousand more invent ! 240

But Bacchus now, which led the Belgians on,
So fierce at first, to favour us begun ;
Brandy and wine, (their wonted friends) at length



EDMUND WALLER. 185

Render them useless, and betray their strength.

So corn in fields, and in the garden, flowers, 245

Revive and raise themselves with moderate showers ;

But overcharged with never-ceasing rain,

Become too moist, and bend their heads again.

Their reeling ships on one another fall,

Without a foe, enough to ruin all. 250

Of this disorder, and the favouring wind,

The watchful English such advantage find,

Ships fraught with fire among the heap they throw,

And up the so-entangled Belgians blow.

The flame invades the powder-rooms, and then, 255

Their guns shoot bullets, and their vessels men.

The scorched Batavians on the billows float,

Sent from their own, to pass in Charon's boat.

And now, our royal Admiral success
(With all the marks of victory) does bless ; 260

The burning ships, the taken, and the slain,
Proclaim his triumph o'er the conquered main.
Nearer to Holland, as their hasty flight
Carries the noise and tumult of the fight,
His cannons' roar, forerunner of his fame, 265

Makes their Hague tremble, and their Amsterdam ;
The British thunder does their houses rock,
And the Duke seems at every door to knock.
His dreadful streamer (like a comet's hair,
Threatening destruction) hastens their despair ; 270
Makes them deplore their scattered fleet as lost,
And fear our present landing on their coast.



1 86 POEMS OF

The trembling Dutch the approaching Prince be-
hold,

As sheep a lion leaping towards their fold ;
Those piles, which serve them to repel the main, 275
They think too weak his fury to restrain.
" What wonders may not English valour work,
Led by the example of victorious York ?
Or, what defence against him can they make,
Who, at such distance, does their country shake ? 280
His fatal hand their bulwarks will o'erthrow,
And let in both the ocean, and the foe ; "
Thus cry the people ; and, their land to keep,
Allow our title to command the deep ;
Blaming their States' ill conduct, to provoke 285

Those arms, which freed them from the Spanish yoke.

Painter ! excuse me, if I have awhile
Forgot thy art, and used another style ;
For, though you draw armed heroes as they sit,
The task in battle does the Muses fit ; 290

They, in the dark confusion of a fight,
Discover all, instruct us how to write ;
And light and honour to brave actions yield,
Hid in the smoke and tumult of the field,
Ages to come shall know that leader's toil, 295

And his great name, on whom the Muses smile ;
Their dictates here let thy famed pencil trace,
And this relation with thy colours grace.

Then draw the parliament, the nobles met,
And our great monarch high above them set ; 300



EDMUND WALLER. 187

Like young Augustus let his image be,

Triumphing for that victory at sea,

Where Egypt's Queen, and Eastern Kings o'erthrown,

Made the possession of the world his own.

Last draw the Commons at his royal feet, 305

Pouring out treasure to supply his fleet ;

They vow with lives and fortunes to maintain

Their King's eternal title to the main ;

And with a present to the Duke, approve

His valour, conduct, and his country's love. 310

TO THE KING.

GREAT Sir ! disdain not in this piece to stand,

Supreme commander both of sea and land.

Those which inhabit the celestial bower,

Painters express with emblems of their power ;

His club Alcides, Phoebus has his bow, 315

Jove has his thunder, and your navy you.

But your great providence no colours here
Can represent ; nor pencil draw that care,
Which keeps you waking to secure our peace,
The nation : s glory, and our trade's increase ; 320

You, for these ends, whole days in council sit,
And the diversions of your youth forget.

Small were the worth of valour and of force,
If your high wisdom governed not their course ;
You as the soul, as the first mover you, 325

Vigour and life on every part bestow ;



1 88 POEMS OF

How to build ships, and dreadful ordnance cast,
Instruct the artists, and reward their haste.

So Jove himself, when Typhon heaven does brave,
Descends to visit Vulcan's smoky cave, 330

Teaching the brawny Cyclops how to frame
His thunder, mixed with terror, wrath, and flame.
Had the old Greeks discovered your abode,
Crete had not been the cradle of their god ;
On that small island they had looked with scorn, 335
And in Great Britain thought the thunderer born.



EDMUND WALLER. 189



UPON HER MAJESTY'S NEW BUILDINGS
AT SOMERSET HOUSE

GREAT Queen ! that does our island bless

With princes and with palaces ;

Treated so ill, chased from your throne,

Returning, you adorn the town ;

And, with a brave revenge, do show 5

Their glory went and came with you.

While Peace from hence, and you were gone,
Your houses in that storm o'erthrown,
Those wounds which civil rage did give,
At once you pardon, and relieve. 10

Constant to England in your love,
As birds are to their wonted grove,
Though by rude hands their nests are spoiled,
There the next spring again they build.

Accusing some malignant star, 15

Not Britain, for that fatal war,
Your kindness banishes your fear,
Resolved to fix for ever here.
But what new mine this work supplies ?
Can such a pile from ruin rise ? 2O

This, like the first creation, shows
As if at your command it rose



190 POEMS OF

Frugality and bounty too,
(Those differing virtues) meet in you ;
From a confined, well-managed store, 25

You both employ and feed the poor. 1

Let foreign princes vainly boast
The rude effects of pride and cost ;
Of vaster fabrics, to which they
Contribute nothing but the pay ; 30

This, by the Queen herself designed,
Gives us a pattern of her mind ;
The state and order does proclaim
The genius of that royal dame.
Each part with just proportion graced, 35

And all to such advantage placed,
That the fair view her window yields,
The town, the river, and the fields,
Entering, beneath us we descry,
And wonder how we came so high. 40

She needs no weary steps ascend ;
All seems before her feet to bend ;
And here, as she was born, she lies ;
High, without taking pains to rise.



i. After this line,

Like him which once desird to know
For what good deed men us'd him so.

Col. Cunningham's copy.



EDMUND WALLER. 191



EPITAPH TO BE WRITTEN UNDER THE
LATIN INSCRIPTION

UPON THE TOMB OF THE ONLY SON OF THE
LORD ANDOVER.

'Tis fit the English reader should be told,

In our own language, what this tomb does hold.

'Tis not a noble corpse alone does lie

Under this stone, but a whole family.

His parents' pious care, their name, their joy, 5

And all their hope, lies buried with this boy ;

This lovely youth ! for whom we all made moan,

That knew his worth, as he had been our own.

Had there been space and years enough allowed,
His courage, wit, and breeding to have showed, 10
We had not found, in all the numerous roll
Of his famed ancestors, a greater soul ;
His early virtues to that ancient stock
Gave as much honour, as from thence he took.

Like buds appearing ere the frosts are passed, 15
To become man he made such fatal haste,
And to perfection laboured so to climb,
Preventing slow experience and time,
That 'tis no wonder Death our hopes beguiled ;
He's seldom old that will not be a child. 20



192 POEMS OF



TO MR. KILLIGREW,

UPON HIS ALTERING HIS PLAY, " PANDORA," FROM A

TRAGEDY INTO A COMEDY, BECAUSE NOT APPROVED

ON THE STAGE.

SIR, you should rather teach our age the way

Of judging well, than thus have changed your play ;

You had obliged us by employing wit,

Not to reform Pandora, but the pit ;

For as the nightingale, without the throng 5

Of other birds, alone attends her song,

While the loud daw, his throat displaying, draws

The whole assembly of his fellow-daws ;

So must the writer, whose productions should

Take with the vulgar, be of vulgar mould ; 10

Whilst nobler fancies make a flight too high

For common view, and lessen as they fly.



EDMUND WALLER. 193

EPIGRAM UPON THE GOLDEN MEDAL.

OUR guard upon the royal side !

On the reverse our beauty's pride !

Here we discern the frown and smile,

The force and glory of our isle.

In the rich medal, both so like 5

Immortals stand, it seems antique ;

Carved by some master, when the bold

Greeks made their Jove descend in gold,

And Danae wondering at that shower,

Which falling, stormed her brazen tower. 10

Britannia there, the fort in vain

Had battered been with golden rain ;

Thunder itself had failed to pass ;

Virtue's a stronger guard than brass.



THE NIGHT-PIECE;

OR, A PICTURE DRAWN IN THE DARK.

DARKNESS, which fairest nymphs disarms,
Defends us ill from Mira's charms ;
Mira can lay her beauty by,
Take no advantage of the eye,
Quit all that Lely's art can take,
And yet a thousand captives make.

Her speech is graced with sweeter sound
Than in another's song is found ;
And all her well-placed words are darts,
Which need no light to reach our hearts.

As the bright stars, and Milky Way,

o



194 POEMS OF

Showed by the night, are hid by day ;

So we, in that accomplished mind,

Helped by the night, new graces find,

Which, by the splendour of her view, 1 5

Dazzled before, we never knew.

While we converse with her, we mark
No want of day, nor think it dark ;
Her shining image is a light
Fixed in our hearts, and conquers night. 20

Like jewels to advantage set,
Her beauty by the shade does get ;
There blushes, frowns, and cold disdain,
All that our passion might restrain,
Is hid, and our indulgent mind 25

Presents the fair idea kind.

Yet, friended by the night, we dare
Only in whispers tell our care ;
He that on her his bold hand lays,
With Cupid's pointed arrows plays ; 30

They with a touch, (they are so keen !}
Wound us unshot, and she unseen.

All near approaches threaten death ;
We may be shipwrecked by her breath ;
Love, favoured once with that sweet gale, 35
Doubles his haste, and fills his sail,
Till he arrive where she must prove
The haven, or the rock, of love.

So we the Arabian coast do know
At distance, when the spices blow ; 40

By the rich odour taught to steer,
Though neither day nor stars appear



EDMUND WALLER. 195



ON THE PICTURE OF A FAIR YOUTH,

TAKEN AFTER HE WAS DEAD.

As gathered flowers, while their wounds are new,

Look gay and fresh, as on the stalk they grew ;

Torn from the root that nourished them, awhile

(Not taking notice of their fate) they smile,

And, in the hand which rudely plucked them, show 5

Fairer than those that to their autumn grow ;

So love and beauty still that visage grace ;

Death cannot fright them from their wonted place.

Alive, the hand of crooked Age had marred

Those lovely features, which cold death has spared.

No wonder then he sped in love so well, [10

When his high passion he had breath to tell ;
When that accomplished soul, in this fair frame,
No business had but to persuade that dame,
Whose mutual love advanced the youth so high, 1 5
That, but to heaven, he could no higher fly.



O 2



196 POEMS OF



OF A TREE CUT IN PAPER.

FAIR hand ! that can on virgin paper write,

Yet from the stain of ink preserve it white ;

Whose travel o'er that silver field does show

Like track of leverets in morning snow.

Love's image thus in purest minds is wrought, 5

Without a spot or blemish to the thought.

Strange that your fingers should the pencil foil,

Without the help of colours or of oil !

For though a painter boughs and leaves can make,

'Tis you alone can make them bend and shake ; 10

Whose breath salutes your new-created grove,

Like southern winds, and makes it gently move.

Orpheus could make the forest dance ; but you

Can make the motion and the forest too.

A poet's fancy when he paints a wood, 15

By his own nation only understood,

Is as in language so in fame confined ;

Not like to yours, acknowledged by mankind.

All that know Nature and the trees that grow,

Must praise the foliage expressed by you, 20

Whose hand is read wherever there are men :

So far the scissor goes beyond the pen.



EDMUND WALLER. 197

TO A LADY,

FROM WHOM HE RECEIVED THE FOREGOING COPY
WHICH FOR MANY YEARS HAD BEEN LOST.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryEdmund WallerThe poems of Edmund Waller; → online text (page 13 of 21)