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Starves in the midst of Nature's bounty curst,
And in the loaden vineyard dies for thirst.
O Liberty, thou goddess heavenly bright,
Profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight!
Eternal pleasures in thy presence reign,
And smiling Plenty leads thy wanton train;
Eas'd of her load, Subjection grows more light,
And Poverty looks cheerful in thy sight;
Thou mak'st the gloomy face of Nature gay,
Giv'st beauty to the Sun, and pleasure to the day.
Thee, goddess, thee, Britannia's isle adores;
How has she oft exhausted all her stores,
How oft in fields of death thy presence sought,
Nor thinks the mighty prize too dearly bought!
On foreign mountains may the Sun refine
The grape's soft juice, and mellow it to wine,
With citron groves adorn a distant soil,
And the fat olive swell with floods of oil:
We envy not the warmer clime, that lies
In ten degrees of more indulgent skies,
Nor at the coarseness of our Heaven repine,
Though o'er our heads the frozen Pleiads shine:
'Tis Liberty that crowns Britannia's isle,
And makes her barren rocks and her bleak moun-
Others with towering piles may please the sight, And in their proud aspiring domes delight; A nicer touch to the stretcht canvas give, Or teach their animated rocks to live: 'Tis Britain's care to watch o'er Europe's fate, And hold in balance each contending state,
To threaten bold presumptuous kings with war,
And answer her afflicted neighbour's prayer.
The Dane and Swede, rous'd up by fierce alarms,
Bless the wise conduct of her pious arms:
Soon as her fleets appear, their terrours cease,
And all the northern world lies hush'd in peace.
Th' ambitious Gaul beholds with secret dread Her thunder aim'd at his aspiring head, And fain her god-like sons would disunite By foreign gold, or by domestic spite: But strives in vain to conquer or divide, Whom Nassau's arms defend and counsels guide.
Fir'd with the name, which I so oft have found The distant climes and different tongues resound, I bridle-in my struggling Muse with pain,' That longs to launch into a bolder strain.
But I've already troubled you too long, Nor dare attempt a more adventurous song. My humble verse demands a softer theme, A painted meadow, or a purling stream; Unfit for heroes: whom immortal lays, And lines, like Virgil's, or like yours, should praise.
TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF Marlborough, 1705.
-Rheni pacator et Istri.
Omnis in hoc uno variis discordia cessit Ordinibus; lætatur eques, plauditque senator, Votaque patricio certant plebeia favori.
CLAUD. de Laud. Stilic.
Esse aliquam in terris gentem quæ suâ impensâ, suo labore ac periculo, bella gerat pro libertate aliorum. Nec hoc finitimis, aut propinquæ vicinitatis hominibus, aut terris continenti junctis præstet. Maria trajiciat: ne quod toto orbe terrarum injustum imperium sit, et ubique jus, fas, lex, potentissima sint. LIV. Hist. lib. 33.
WHILE crowds of princes your deserts proclaim,
Proud in their number to enrol your name;
While emperors to you commit their cause,
And Anna's praises crown the vast applause;
Accept, great leader, what the Muse recites,
That in ambitious verse attempts your fights.
Fir'd and transported with a theme so new,
Ten thousand wonders opening to my view
Shine forth at once; sieges and storms appear,
And wars and conquests fill th' important year:
Rivers of blood I see, and hills of slain,
An Iliad rising out of one campaign.
The haughty Gaul beheld, with towering pride, His ancient bounds enlarg'd on every side; Pyrene's lofty barriers were subdued, And in the midst of his wide empire stood;
Ausonia's states, the victor to restrain,
Oppos'd their Alps and Apennines in vain, Nor found themselves, with strength of rocks immur'd,
Behind their everlasting hills secur'd;
The rising Danube its long race began,
And half its course through the new conquests ran;
Amaz'd and anxious for her sovereign's fates,
Germania trembled through a hundred states;
Great Leopold himself was seiz'd with fear;
He gaz'd around, but saw no succour near;
He gaz'd, and half-abandon'd to despair
His hopes on Heav'n, and confidence in prayer.
To Britain's queen the nations turn their eyes, On her resolves the western world relies, Confiding still, amidst its dire alarms,
In Anna's councils, and in Churchill's arms.
Thrice happy Britain, from the kingdoms rent,
To sit the guardian of the continent !
That sees her bravest son advanc'd so high,
And flourishing so near her prince's eye;
Thy favourites grow not up by fortune's sport,
Or from the crimes or follies of a court;
On the firm basis of desert they rise,
From long-try'd faith, and friendship's holy ties : Their sovereign's well-distinguish'd smiles they share,
Her ornaments in peace, her strength in war;
The nation thanks them with a public voice;
By showers of blessings Heaven approves their
Envy itself is dumb, in wonder lost,
And factions strive who shall applaud them most.
Soon as soft vernal breezes warm the sky.
Britannia's colours in the zephyrs fly;
Her chief already has his march begun,
Crossing the provinces himself had won,
Till the Moselle, appearing from afar,
Retards the progress of the moving war.
Delightful stream, had Nature bid her fall
In distant climes far from the perjur'd Gaul;
But now a purchase to the sword she lies,
Her harvests for uncertain owners rise,
Each vineyard doubtful of its master grows,
And to the victor's bowl each vintage flows.
The discontented shades of slaughter'd hosts,
That wander'd on her banks, her heroes' ghosts,
Hop'd, when they saw Britannia's arms appear,
The vengeance due to their great deaths was near.
Our godlike leader, ere the stream he past,
The mighty scheme of all his labours cast,
Forming the wondrous year within his thought;
His bosom glow'd with battles yet unfought.
The long laborious march he first surveys,
And joins the distant Danube to the Maese,
Between whose floods such pathless forests grow,
Such mountains rise, so many rivers flow :
The toil looks lovely in the hero's eyes,
And danger serves but to enhance the prize.
Big with the fate of Europe, he renews
His dreadful course, and the proud foe pursues!
Infected by the burning Scorpion's heat,
The sultry gales round his chaf'd temples beat,