To see the Latin text, click on a green square. To see a textual note, click on a blue square. “G” = see Glossary
THE ENGLISH PARAPHRASE
Pierid Nymphs, and Gods I you require,
Grant me such loftie style as I desire,
And fron your cunning Cabinets proceedes
Of mighty Princes when you praise the deeds:
Because with praise my Prince I would instore, G5
Like until whom non age brought out before,
And who can shew, if afterward shall bring
So worthie and so well deserving King?
Begin my Muse, his cradle-countrey tell:
His parents next: and what a one himsel: 10
What lucky lot from water, aire, and land,
Fortune hath hatcht, and put into his hand:
What mind, what strength, what sundry sorts of grace
Forth-shew themselves into his royall face:
And last, my Muse, I wish I might be led 15
To tell what kinde of Queene came to his bed.
Scotland in cradle first received thee,
And glories of so great a Progenee,
Thy Kingdome old, invaded oft by many,
Yet standing sure, and unsubdu’d by any. 20
So fertile, that (in season) both it will
Such food affoord, as hungry men may fill:
If Mightier more daintie dishes crave,
For banquetting abundance they shall have.
Fleeces of wooll well dy’d would men desire, 25
Scotland will strive with Sidon and with Tyre:
Vesture with silver, silk, or golden lace,
Ilk ornament can give the body grace: G
In fire all other countries it exceedes,
To give, to sell, conserve so much as needes. 30
Great flocks, and pleasant horses it out-brings:
Beasts both for work, and sundry other things.
Fowles of all sorts it breeds abundantly,
Part fed for food, part pleasant to the eye,
For chaunting some, whose voyce the sky doth tack, G 35
Or echo from the rocks repels a-back:
Go where it will, the singing is so sweet,
For melancholick minds it may be meet.
Wilde beasts in troups go forth from woods and glens,
Feeds on the mountains, then turns to their dens: 40
Chase them with dogs; if you will not so do,
With arrows, darts, or traps ye may goe to.
The fecund coasts Fish frequently brings out,
To serve the selfe, and Kingdomes round about.
Stout Souldiers, and courageous Captains bears, 45
Who wounds, and cruell weapons never fears,
And will not flye like faserts out of fight, G
But call on Mars to come with all his might.
Such cunning Clerks it yearly doth out-send,
As might in skill with Athens old contend. 50
This is the soyle, whereon thy foot first came,
Shame not, O mighty Monarch, of the same,
Till life thee leave, death hateful come, and so
Thou to the grave, and senslesse shadows go.
Tell next, my Muse, what Parents him begat, 55
And how great honour he hath gain’d of that.
Up from the dead, King James, returne, and see
What blessed Brood proceedeth hath of thee,
King Charles, with gifts endu’d that Kings effeires, G
When he is now out-passed thirtie yeares. 60
Father, thy fame no place, no time shall tyne, G
Till Muses and Apollo want engyne. G
After sev’n and one hundred crowned Kings,
Three Kingdomes Fates to thy fourth Kingdome brings.
By sword, by fraud thou didst them not procure, 65
To thy Successours then they may be sure.
Phoebus gave wit, and Mercure eloquence,
All kinde of skill Minerva’s influence.
What first? What last? What way shalt thou have praise?
It cannot flow from any humane phrase. 70
Heart, hand, nor tongue can give thy due to thee,
Be dumb therefore, my Muse, and let it be.
Fair Anna, mother of a Birth so great,
Should I in silence from thine honour sit?
Descended of the noble Danick race, G75
Thee heartily did blest King James imbrace:
To bed and Kingdome he did thee promove; G
What further shall I say for thy behove?
As English Elspeth’s Crown thou did attene,
Should not thy years with hers have equall bene? 80
Calliope, paint out Charles pleasant sprite,
Voyd of ilke vice, with vertues all replete. G
Bid me not false and flattring fables feynea, G
Which may my selfe, and all the matter steinyea. G
No luxurie in mind, no peevish lust 85
Moves him to filthy facts, or things unjust: G
Not Cytherea traps him with her talk,
Nor Bromius may make him no to walk.
No greed, no pride, no fraud, or foul offences,
Nor shamefull crimes infected have his senses. 90
Stand, Hercules, a little space, and see
If thou can finde antagonist for thee:
Though thou admire thy strength, and doughty deeds,
Think not but strength into King Charles resides,
And pith hath all his leiths compactly knit, G95
Whereby for any fact he may bee fit. G
Long armes, broade shoulders, comely brans he bends, G
Swift-foot almost with swiftest Hart contends.
Boldly upon his ramping horses rides, G
With golden spurs he punges all their sides: G100
In his right hand iron-pointed spears he takes,
And soupilly them here and there he shakes. G
Hadst thou, King Charles, striv’n at Anchises shryne,
Palme, chyre, lyre, aure, and armour had bene thine. G G
Avoid Pandora, though thy face forth-show 105
Thy gifts, one found that will thee overgo.
His stretchd-up front, great name, and fame portends,
A mighty minde his pregnant eyes out sends:
Haire shews the brain complete at ev’ry part:
Quick-smelling Nares portend a prudent heart: G 110
The most sweet breath that from his mou th out-fares,
The ground of meek and modest voyce declares:
His patent ears give out a signe most sure
That he will heare oppres’d complaining poore.
Thee mighty Monarch in such portrait than 115
Half-God, God-like or who shall call a man?
Go to, Apollo, grant some better thing,
Make me more holy sentences to sing:
How far the soule the body doth exceede,
I pray, right so that thou my verses lead. 120
O soule, deer soule o’re-breath’d with divine sprite,
O’re-laid with holy dewe, and heavnly wet,
So that thou dost break out in fruit and flowers,
By such calme ayre, and sweet refreshing showers.
All comely, both with glistering Gem inroll’d 125
With Ostre, Peple, Monile of good mold, G G G
And also with a party-colour’d pall
And diademe that mountes above them all. G
This glansing gem Religion is to thee, G
To soules profane a mortall enemie. 130
Having this Captain, thou needs no to ken G
The proud, nor any sacrilegious men:
Thereby break boldly in the Romane camp,
And under-foot the three-fold crown may stamp.
Thy Pall is justice, tyrants to restraine, 135
And peart oppressors putting poore to paine: G
And that the poore, in hope of clemencie,
Defraud, nor steale, nor trap with treacherie.
Goddesse of justice, fair Astrea, thou
To Britain Kingdome art returned now. 140
Thy Peple is Gods worship, and his fear, G
Holds holiness within his heart intere. G
No feast, no sport may make king Charles inclyne,
That he should any sacred service tyne, G
No private purpose him with-hold, nor yet 145
A publike weale will him refraine from it.
Organes and musick voyces give a sound,
His repercussing Chappels gars redound. G
The Liturgie it hath the greater grace,
Bishops and divine doctors in the place. 150
For twinkling Ostre is his charitie, G
From ire, envie, and hatred keeping free,
And suffers not from a perturbed minde,
Offensive speech to passe in any kinde.
In golden Monile beams of soule so bright, 155
That Midas votes are nothing in thy sight:
Not Indian gifts, and jewels thou respects,
Nor all that Tagus golden sands ejects.
Content thou art thine own that thou possesse,
And to bestow on others who have lesse; 160
Who for thy weale in all thy life will pray,
And Nestors years before thou passe away.
Faith for thine armes-commanding Diademe, G
That further must advance thy noble name.
For Satans fatall wounds it will not feare, 165
Nor contrar’ force controle it to retere: G
Not on enticements of the world it stands,
Nor any fleshly fancie it commands:
Through craig, through clough, through fire it forces back, G
And flight infernall Furies it garres tack. G G 170
This, this is it, that can with peace and joy
Thee unto heav’nly happinesse convoy.
Come, Venus chaste, come Juno who commands
The marraiges, and the wedding bands:
Tell how Prince Charles lost his first liked love, 175
For which so many perils he did prove.
With mighty mind the seas he past into,
And did what sailes and winds dought gar him do, G G
By cruell coasts, by rocks, by banks of sand,
Till he came to the Spanish inward land, 180
Ev’n mis-regarding the great Ocean God,
With all his fearfull, and three-forked rod.
Of false infecting tongues he took no care,
Nor panst on poyson, though it oft be there. G
All he thought well, in heart as he would wish, 185
If he should not th’ Iberian Ladie misse.
The gods and fates gain-stand, they both pretend, G
That they to him a meeter Mate should send,
And happily in wedlock should conjoyn,
Goe to his royall bed when that were done: 190
Of Burbon great, and Florent Nymph, who thee
Should blesse, King Charles, with blest posterity.
Fair France her bred, till years made her complete,
That she were able with a match to meet;
Ev’n France, which which I wish our league may last, 195
While Sun from East doth fall into the West.
Increase, O King, in gifts, and ev’ry grace,
That should beseeme a great heroick race.
What can us harme if we have thee? Or who
In hostile maner dare to Britan go? 200
What war-engine, what battring bullet shall,
Or bands of men break down great Britain wall?
Who may thy castles, and thy strengths assey?
Thy palaces may spoyle and make a prey?
For great marmorean fossie fenses fast, G205
On which no man on foot or horse hath past.
None other way unfriends to us can finde, G
Lesse Aeolus them help with happy winde, G
And send them safe by ships for our distresse.
Yet must they know that Thames good shipping hes, G 210
With thundring canons playing here and there,
To make them flee, alb’it they wot not where,
And not perhaps turn back where they came fro,
Or ever to their kindly countrey go.
Hale mighty God, hale blessed Trinitie, 215
With how great thanks are we now bound to thee,
Who made our King his wonted Kingdome view,
And in that sight doth all our joyes renew.
Eternall peace the heav’ns to us promits, G
And more than we could wish with words or wits, 220
When English shall not Scottish countrey spoile,
Nor Scottish unto English give the foile.
Live, mighty Monarch, long, they seed for ay,
Till heav’n, and earth, and water passe away.
A MODERN TRANSLATION
Answer my entreaty, you peaceful Pierians, you pious goddesses, by supplying me with your inspiration for an Aeonian song, such as is worthy of issuing forth from your Muses, and which may adorn our excellent king with well-deserved praises. Olden times did not give us his equal, nor is it likely that future ages will, and it is him that I am minded to celebrate for the benefit of our posterity, showing he can match the victory-trophies of the gods.
Speak first of the cradle of his ancestral nation, the father from whom he was born, what endowments he has gained thanks to the mercy of the gods, and how Fortune has smiled on him, blessing him with every good fortune; tell what land produced him, what sea and sky, and tell of every bright virtue of his mind, the powers of his body, what grace adorns his royal countenance, and lastly what worthy marriage has dignified this noble man.
Scotland proclaims itself blessed for being your origin, Scotland, which perpetually endures with its long line of kings, being invincible in war: it has often been attacked, but never gained by cruel tyrants. What does its land not produce for mankind’s use, whether it chooses to supply modest suppers, or lavish feasts for its great men? Nor do Scotsmen lack for wool steeped in Tyrian dye, which can shine as vestments tricked out with ruddy gold. How many gifts of Vulcan does it produce, to be cast in foreign furnaces as well as its own? This land breeds many kinds of sheep, noble horses, and has a sufficiency of cattle fit for various chores, and likewise birds, some of are fed with grain, and others dazzle the eyes with their painted feathers. There are those which send their voices into the thin air, and Echo makes them resound from the rocks, soothing mortal minds with their sweetness. Beasts issue forth from the forests, countless of them range the hills, and then hide themselves again in their lairs, and these you may either hunt with dogs and shoot with arrows, or by stealthy stalking take them unawares in your nets. Everywhere the scaly race swims about our wet shores, supplied by the bounty of the sea for our consumption, and enriching our peoples by the great revenue they produce. This land has given birth to sturdy men, stout-hearted in war, who confidently hope to rush against their foemen, savage though they may be, and with their prayers hope to inflame their martial spirit. It is also plentiful in learned men, yearly producing many swarms of them, and is not to be bested even by the Lyceum itself. This is your ancestral land, your majesty, let it never give you cause for regret or shame, as long as you live and hateful death has not yet mingled you with the silent shades.
Speak next, my Muse, of the great parents who produced such a man, and what honor was conferred on him by his birth. Arise from the dead once more, oh James, and see how blessed you are in your offspring, now that Charles has completed thirty years. You admirable father, a father of whom no century will remain silent, as long as the Muses thrive, as long as Apollo lives. You, the heir of a hundred and seven ancestors, during your happy years combined three realms into one, three realms destined to be bequeathed to your late-born ancestors, unconquered by cruel Bellona or by deceit. You were wonderfully gifted with wisdom by Apollo, with eloquence by Mercury, and endowed with every manner of art by Pallas. What should I mention first? Since a great task confronts me, which neither my mind nor my pen could celebrate as it deserves, even were I to write in prose, you must fall silent, my Muse.
Am I to keep silent regarding you, Anne, born of great parents on both sides, bred of great Danish ancestors? Burning with love of you, fair Anne, James fetched you and installed you in his bedchamber and his realm. Why say more? That you should have perished — Lachesis, and you, her savage sisters! That Clotho did not furnish the woman who succeeded Elizabeth in wielding the scepter of England with the like number of years!
And then relate, my goddess, how is his mind is immune from every vice, how it abounds with the love of virtue. But you must not supply unworthy words steeped in caressing flattery, to my own disgrace and that of your high subject .
No manner of wantonness or depraved lust ever exercises your mind, nor has dared entrust itself to a place deep within your veins. Neither mother Cytherea enchants you with her enticements, nor does Bromius stretch his nets for you. Neither gold, pride, the pronouncements of Loxius, or any unspeakable sins have sullied your senses.
Tell me, Alcides (you who surpass other men with your indomitable strength), whether there is might in Charles’ young body, and that power which firmly knits the limbs together? His arms are long, his shoulders wide, and his calves of a comely thickness. With his feet he can compete against a stag. He is brilliant when riding a bridled horse, as he pricks its flanks with his spurs when eager to reach his goal, wielding an iron-shod lance in his robust hand. If you had competed in the funeral-games of Anchises, you would have gained the palm, the tripod, the laurel, the gold, and the armor.
Next, Pandora, you must cease using your countenance to show off your gifts, for there is one who can best you and carry off the prize. His lofty brow tells forth his choice character and his noble name. His eyes tell of a lofty mind, his long hair speaks of a steady brain, his keen-scenting nostrils bespeak a prudent intellect, the sweetest breath of his righteous mouth tells of the secret court of a noble heart, portending kindness, and words without reproach. His ears are readily open to the complaints of the wretched. Here you have yourself depicted, mighty monarch: who could say whether such a demigod is human or divine?
Come now, Phoebus, ply your strength with a pious tune. Be friendly, and supply me with divine verses telling how how much, thanks to heaven’s gift, how greatly the endowments of his mind surpass those of his body, which has an admixture of foul earthly dust.
Oh excellent. Dear soul, you are inspired with an inspiration of the best of thread, and are abounding in much heavenly dew, thanks to which you may bear timely fruit. Your soul is wholly decorous with a precious gem, bright with royal purple, noble in a robe of state, wears a fair necklace, is wrapped in a mantle distinguished by various markings, and is set off by a proud crown unconquerable by its enemies.
For you, the gem, by the love of which you are first entranced, is sincere religion, the enemy of profane minds. With it for your guide, you scorn the Typhoeus-like darts of the sacrilegious, and are bold in bursting into Roman camps and ejecting unhappy papists from their dwellings.
And for your covering mantle, from head to foot, you have holy justice, thanks to which tyrants cannot boast they have injured the humble, nor the lowly that they have cheated tyrants unawares. Thus Astraea returns to British lands. As a robe of state you have worship and fear of God Almighty, because of which your pious palace ever resounds with pious prayers, and assaults Olympus itself with its humble entreaties. Neither banquets, games, or affairs private or public can distract your mind from its devotions. There is no lack of instruments plied with the plectrum, or of an air thick with voices singing in their numbers, and there is a happy throng of priests.
Your love shines bright, glowing like royal purple, settling hearts swollen with wrath, hatred, and envy, nor does it suffer the darts of a tongue bent on damage to go a-flying to the air, poisoned with their viper’s stinging poison.
Your neck rejoices to be encircled by a golden collar, thanks to which you scorn the aspirations of Midas and the gifts of the Indus, and all that Tagus yields from its thirsty sands: you are content with what you own, and are ready to bestow wealth on others who pray for your prosperity as long as you live, and that you do not depart from this life until you have lived out the years of a Nestor.
Your indomitable crown is your faith, which knows not how to be swayed, which is undeterred by savage Satan’s cruel woundings, and is unmoved by the poisons of this world. It compels the biting stings of the flesh retreat and pursues the throngs of those Furies through rocky places and fire, eager to lay them low with its victorious hand. This the thing that can set you secure in heaven.
And now, chaste Venus, be at hand, and you too, Juno of marriage Tell me how Charles was first baffled in love, having confronted perils by land and on the deep sea.
By a noble feat of daring, not hesitating to entrust his brave self to the sea, he sailed past unknown, untrustworthy, inhospitable shores, until he entered the haven of longed-for Spain, not quailing at nocturnal floods in the murky darkness, undeterred by waves crashing against reefs, smiling at the savage gales of the trident-wielding god, quailing at the poisoned tongues of that sacrilegious nation, nor dreading their draughts, infused with deadly venom, regarding everything as safe, as long as the gods favored his enterprises and he returned home, having been granted a Spanish bride.
But the Fates and the gods opposed him, promising a girl in better years, with happy auspices and a favorable omen, whom the king might deem worthy of his kingdom and royal bread, whom the Fates had produced from a great Bourbon and his Florentine bride, who might bestow on Charles a scion of noble breeding. France was rearing her until she was of marriageable years, France, who for her security had entered into a league with us, and may she keep it always unsullied as long as the sun runs its swift course from east to west! Bless you, you pious offspring! As long as you are safe, what can harm us? What enemy can trouble your territories? What harsh soldier, what machine can beat down your walls, or what man bent on depredation can enter your lofty fortresses? For you have realms surrounded by the vast sea, which hostile ranks cannot overcome on foot, nor can squadrons of horse overrun at a gallop. If blasts let loose from Aeolus’ caverns carry them, and refuse to sink them in the racing tide, but bring them on their fragile craft to do us harm, gunfire let loose from the ship-bearing Thames will scatter their ranks and compel them to seek their native shores, not destined to invade the sturdy Britons, and not, perhaps, fated to return to their own homes.
Oh God, how much must we thank You, oh Three in One? You have granted our king to revisit his peoples and ancient kingdom, and rejoice in his native fields. This is a spectacle that fills our hearts with gladness.
Now the stars promise us enduring peace, when neither the fierce Englishman will ravage Scottish fields, nor will any Scotsman sate himself with Saxon blood.
Great Father of the universe, Thou Who wieldst a celestial scepter above the winding turns of the immense sky, Thou Who hastens on the etherial globes and the stars in Thy winged chariot, and in Thy car sweeps along the darkling clouds, bold to swim in the heaving storms of the sea and scan the earth and whatever Hell possesses, Thou Who seek out mankind’s thoughts with Thy secret inquisition, Thou Who openest the locked doors of my mind, Thou Who grantest me my life, and takest it away, Thou, the judge of my life, without Thee I neither come nor go. Now, wearied of my affairs, having lived out so many years of my frail life, I address my prayers to heaven. Oh, if I had back the spent years of my life! Oh how my barque has become a shipwreck!. Oh, if I had back the youth I once enjoyed, which led me headlong into foul sins! Loathing the faults and blemishes of my previous life, I would cleanse it, as much as my lot and the Fates permit, and I would stoutly fight bloody battles against the seductions of this world and Satan’s stealthy wiles. Nor would joys or mad desire use their bewitchment to lead me naively into their erstwhile nets. Supported by Thy defence and having Thy strong hand as my protection, against what armies may I not go with confidence? Being their unequal in strength, how can I endure combat with them, if Thou come to regret having given me Thy support? Let Thy invincible shield protect me in my innocence, let Thy terrible right hand rout my hostile foe. Should I abandon Thy encampment, which has for so long been my salvation, in whose camp would I find safety as a deserter? How would royal courts or sky-scraping towers avail me? What good would the protection of generals and iron-clad armies do me, without Thee? Or many battalions of cruel soldiers and a legion drawn up for battle? Great Commander, I march under Thy auspices, and with a happy omen; I obey and venerate Thee alone. Take my hand as I follow Thee through a thousand twists and turns, and through unfriendly wastelands. I have prayed, thus grant me my prayers.