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OF PLANTS, BOOK VI
Translated by Aphra Behn

Cease, o my Muse, the soft delights to sing
Of flowry gardens in their fragrant spring,
And trace the rougher paths of obscure woods,
All gloom aloft, beneath o’rgrown with shrubs,
Where Phoebus, once thy guide, can dart no ray 5
T’ inspire thy flight, and make the scene look gay.
Courage, my huntress, let us range the glades,
And search the inmost grottos of the shades.
Even to the lone recesses let us pass,
Where the green goddess rests on bed of moss. 10
Let loose, my fancy, swift of foot to trace
With a sagacious scent the noble chase,
And with a joyful cry pursue the prey,
’Tis hidden nature we must rouse today.
Set all your gins, let every toil be plac’d, (snares 15
Through all her tracks let flying truth be chas’d,
And seize her panting with her eager hast.
Nor yet disdain, my Muse, in groves to range,
Or humbler woods for nobler orchards change.
Here deities of old have made abode, 20
And once secur’d great Charles our earthly god.
The royal youth, born to out-brave his fate,
Within a neighbouring oak maintain’d his state.
The faithful boughs in kind allegiance spread
Their sheltring branches round his awful head, 25
Twin’d their rough arms, and thicken’d all the shade.
To thee, belov’d of heaven, to thee we sing
Of sacred groves blooming perpetual spring.
Mayst thou be to my rural verse and me
A present and assisting deity. 30
Disdain not in this leafy court to dwell,
Who its lov’d monarch did secure so well.
Th’ eternal oak now consecrate to thee
No more thy refuge, but thy throne shall be.
We’ll place thee conqueror now, and crown thy brows 35
With garlands made of its young gayest boughs,
While from our oaten pipes the world shall know
How much they to this sacred shelter owe.
And you, the soft inhabitants of the groves,
You Wood-Nymphs, Hamadryades and Loves, 40
Satyrs and Fauns, who in these arbors play,
Permit my song, and give my Muse her way.
She tells of ancient woods the wondrous things,
Of groves long veil’d in sacred darkness sings,
And a new light into your gloom she brings. 45
Let it be lawful for me to unfold
Divine decrees that never yet were told,
The harangues of the wood-gods to rehearse,
And sing of flowry senates in my verse.
Voices unknown to Man he now shall hear, 50
Who always ignorant of what they were,
Have pass’d ’em by with a regardless ear,
Thought ’em the murmurings of the ruffled trees,
That mov’d and wanton’d with the sporting breeze.
But Daphne knew the mysteries of the wood, 55
And made discoveries to her amorous god. (revelations
Apollo me inform’d, and did inspire
My soul with his divine prophetic fire,
And I, the priest of plants, their sense expound.
Hear, o ye worlds, and listen all around. 60
’Twas now when royal Charles, that prince of peace
(That pious offspring of the olive race),
Sway’d Englands scepter with a god-like hand,
Scattering soft ease and plenty o’r the land,
Happy ’bove all the neighbouring kings, while yet 65
Unruffled by the rudest storms of Fate.
More fortunate the people, till their pride
Disdain’d obedience to the sovereign guide,
And to a base plebeian senate gave
The arbitrary priv’lege to enslave; 70
Who through a sea of noblest blood did wade,
To tear the diadem from the sacred head.
Now above envy, far above the clouds,
The martyr sits triumphing with the gods.
While peace before did o’r the ocean fly 75
On our blest shore to find security,
In British groves she built her downy nest,
No other climate could afford her rest.
For warring winds o’r wretched Europe range,
Threatning destruction, universal change. 8o
The raging tempest tore the aged woods,
Shook the vast earth, and troubl’d all the floods.
Nor did the fruitful goddess brood in vain,
But here in safety hatch’d her golden train.
Justice and faith one cornucopia fill, 85
Of useful med’cines known to many an ill.
Such was the Golden Age in Saturn’s sway,
Easie and innocent it pass’d away.
But too much luxury and good fortune cloys,
And virtues she should cherish she destroys. 90
What we most wish, what we most toil to gain
Enjoyment palls, and turns the bliss to pain.
Possession makes us shift our happiness
From peaceful wives to noisie mistresses.
The repetition makes the pleasure dull, 95
’Tis only change that’s gay and beautiful.
O notion false! O appetite deprav’d,
That has the nobler part of Man enslav’d!
Man, born to reason, does that safety quit,
To split upon the dangerous rock of wit. 100
Physicians say there’s no such danger near
As when, though no signs manifest appear,
Self-tir’d and dull, Man knows not what he ails,
And without toil his strength and vigor fails.
Such was the state of England, sick with ease, 105
Too happy, if she knew her happiness.
Their crime no ignorance for excuse can plead,
That wretched refuge for ingratitude.
’Twas then that from the pitying gods there came
A kind admonishing anger to reclaim 110
In dreadful prodigies, but, alas, in vain.
So rapid thunder-bolts before the flame
Fly, the consuming vengeance to proclaim.
I, then a boy, arriv’d to my tenth year,
And still those horrid images I bear. 115
The mournful signs are present to my eyes.
I saw o’r all the region of the skies
The history of our approaching wars
Writ in the heav’ns in wondrous characters.
The vaulted firmament with lightning burns, 120
And all the clouds were kindled into storms,
And form’d an image of th’ infernall Hell
(I shake with the portentious things I tell).
Like sulph’rous waves the horrid flames did roll,
Whose raging tides were hur’d from pole to pole. 125
Then suddenly the bursting clouds divide,
A fire-like burning mounts on either side,
Discovering (to th’ astonished world) within
At once a dreadful and a beauteouis scene.
Two mighty armies claid in battle-array, 130
Ready by combat to dispute the day:
Their waving plumes and glittering armour shone,
Mov’d by the winds and guilded by the sun.
So well in order seem’d each fearless rank
As they’d been marshall’d by our hero, Monk, 135
Monk, born for mighty things and great command,
The glorious pillar of our falling land.
Perhaps his genius on the royal side
One of those heav’nly figures did describe,
Here pointed out to us his noble force, 140
And form’d him conqueror on a flaming horse.
We hard, or fancy’d that we heard, around,
The signal giv’n by drum and trumpet sound.
We saw the fire-wing’d horses fiercely meet,
And with their fatal spears each other greet. 145
Here shining brandish’d pikes like lightning shook,
While from ethereal guns true thunder broke.
With gloomy mists th’ involv’d the plains of heaven,
And to the cloud-begotten men was given
A memorable fate — 150
By the dire splendor which their arms display’d,
And dreadful lightning that from cannons play’d,
We saw extended o’re the aereal plain
The wounded bodies of the numerous slain
(Their faces fierce with anger understood) 155
Turning the sky red with their gushing blood.
At last that army we the just esteem’d,
And which adorn’d by noblest figures seem’d
Of arms and men, alas! was put to flight.
The rest was veil’d in the deep shades of night, 160
And Fates to come secur’d from humane sight.
But stupid England, touch’d with no remorse,
Beholds these prodigies as things of course
(With many more, which to the just appear’d
As ominous presages). Then who fear’d 165
The monsters of the Caledonian woods,
Or the hid ferments of schismatic crowds?
Nor had the impious Cromwel then a name,
For England’s ruin, and for England’s shame.
Nor were the gods pleas’d only to exhort 170
By signs the restive city and the court.
Th’ impending Fates o’r all the thickets reign’d,
And ruin to the Engish wood proclaim’d.
We saw the sturdy oaks of monstrous growth,
Whose spreading roots fix’d in their native earth, 175
Where for a thousand years in peace they grew,
Torn from the soil, though none but Zeph’rus blew.
But who such violent outrages could find
To be th’ effects of the soft western wind?
The Dryads saw the right hand of the gods 180
O’rturn the noblest shelters of the woods.
Others their arms with baneful leaves were clad,
That new unusual forms and colours had,
Whence now no aromatic moisture flows,
Or noble misseltoe enrich the boughs, 185
But bow’d with galls, within whose boding hulls
Lurk’d flies, diviners of ensuing ills,
Whose fatal buz did future slaughters threat,
And confus’d murmurs, full of dread, repeat.
When no rude winds disturb’d the ambient air, 190
The trees, as weary of repose, made war,
With horrid noise grappling their knotty arms,
Like meeting tides they ruffle into storms.
But when the winds to ratling tempests rise,
Instead of warring trees we heard the cries 195
Of warring men, whose dying groans around
The woods and mournful echo’s did resound.
The dismal shades with birds obscene were fill’d,
Which, spight of Phoebus, he himself beheld.
On the wild ashes tops the bats and owls, 200
With all night, ominous and baneful fowls
Sate brooding, while the scrieches of these droves
Prophan’d and violated all the groves.
If ought that poets do relate be true,
The strange Spinturnix led the feather’d crew. 205
Of all the monsters of the earth and air,
Spinturnix bears the cruelest characeter.
The barbarous bird, to mortal eyes unknown,
Is seen but by the goddesses alone,
And then they tremble. For she always bodes 210
Some fatal discord, even among the gods.
But that which gave more wonder than the rest,
Within an ash a serpent built her nest,
And laid her eggs, when once to come beneath
The very shadow of an ash was death. 215
Rather, if chance should force, she through the fire
From its faln leaves so baneful would retire.
But none of all the sylvan prodigies
Did more surprise the rural deities
Than when the lightning did the laurel blast, 220
The lightning their lov’d laurels all defac’d,
The laurel, which by Jove’s divine decree
Since ancient time from inuring tempests free.
No angry threats from the celestial powers
Could make her fear the ruin of her bowers, 225
But always she enjoy’d a certain fate,
Which she cou’d ne’r secure the victor yet.
In vain these signs and monsters were not sent
From angry heav’n, the wise knew what they meant.
Their coming by conjectures understood, 230
As did the Dryads of the British wood.
There is an ancient forest known to fame
On this side separate from the Cambrian plain
By wandering Wye, whose winding current glides,
And murmuring leaves behind its flowry side. 235
On that’ tis wash’d by noble Severn’s streams,
Whose beauties scarce will yield to famous Thames.
Of yore ’twas Arden call’d, but that great name,
As like herself, diminsh’d into Dean.
The cursed weapons of destructive war 240
In all their cruelties have made her share.
The iron has its noblest shades destroy’d,
Then to melt iron is its wood employ’d.
And so unhappy ’tis as it presents
Of its own death the fatal instruments. 245
With industry its ruin to improve
Bears minerals below and trees above.
Oh poverty! thou happiness extreme
(When no afflicting want can intervene),
And oh thou subtle treasure of the earth, 250
From whence all rapes and michiefs take their birth,
And you, triumphing woods, secur’d from spoil
By the safe blessing of your barren soil.
Here, unconsum’d, how small a part remains
Of that rich store that once adorn’d the plains. 255
Yet that small part that has escap’d the ire
Of lawless steel and avaritious fire,
By many Nymphs and deities possesst
Of all the British shades continues still the best.
Here the long reverend Dryas (who had been 260
Of all the shady verdant regions queen,
To which by conquest she had forc’d the sea
His constant tributary waves to pay)
Proclaim’d a general council through her court,
To which the sylvan Nymphs shou’d all resort. 265
All the wood-goddesses do straight appear,
At least who cou’d the British climate bear,
And on a soft ascent of rising ground
Their queen, the charming Dryas, they surround,
Who all adorn’d was in the middle plac’d, 270
And by a thousand awful beauties grac’d.
These goddesses alike were drest in green,
The ornaments and liveries of their queen.
Had travellers at any distance view’d
The beauteous order of this stately crowd, 275
They wou’d not guess they’d been divinities,
But groves all sacred to the deities.
Such was the image of this leafy scene,
On one side water’d by a cooling stream,
Upon whose brink the poplar took her place, 280
The poplar whom Alcides once did grace,
Whose double colour’d shadow’d leaves express
The labours of her hero Hercules,
Whose upper sides are black, the under white,
To represent his toil and his delight. 285
The Phaetonian adler next took place,
Still sensible of the burnt youths disgrace.
She loves the purling streams, and often laves
Beneath the floods, and wantons with the waves.
Close by her side the pensive willows join’d, 290
Chast sisters all, to lovers most unkind.
Olesicarpians call’d, in youth severe
Before the winter age had snow’d their hair.
In rivers take delight, whose chilling strreams,
Mixt with the native coldness of their veins, 295
Like salamanders can all heat remove,
And quite extinguish the quick fire of love.
Firm lasting bonds they yield to all beside,
But take delight the lovers to divide.
The elders next, who, though they waters love, 300
The same from humane bodies yet remove,
And quite disperse the humid moisture thence,
And parly with the dropsie in this sense:
“Why do you linger here, o lazy flood?
This soil belongs to rivolets of blood. 305
Why do you men torment, when many a shade,
And honest trees and plants do want your aid?
Begon, from humane bodies quick begon,
And back into your native channels run
By every pore, by all the ways you can.” 310
The moisture frightened flies at the command,
And awful terror of her powerful want.
The hospitable birch does next appear,
Joyful and gay in hot or frigid air,
Flowing her hair, her garments soft and white, 315
And yet in cruelty she takes delight,
No wild inhabitant of the woods can be
So quick in wrath and in revenge as she.
In houses great authority assumes,
And’s the sole punisher of petty crimes. 320
But most of all her malice she employs
In schools, to terrifie and awe young boys.
If she chastise, ’tis for the patients good,
Though oft she blushes with their tender blood.
Not so the generous maples: the present 325
Whate’r the city luxury can invent,
Who with industrious management and pains
Divide the labyrinth of their curious grains,
And many necessary things produce,
That serve at once for ornament and use. 330
But thou, o Pteleas, to the swain allows (the elm
Shades to his cattel, timber for his plows.
Ennobled thou above the leafie race
In that an amorous god does thee embrace. (Bacchus, or the vine
Next the Oxias of herself a grove, (the birch 335
Whose spreading shade the flocks and shepherds love,
Whether thy murmurs to do sleep invite,
Or thy soft noise inspire the rural pipe.
Alike thou’rt grateful, and canst always charm,
In summer cooling, and in winter warm. 340
Tityrus of yore the Nymph with garlands hung,
And all his love-lays in her shadow sung.
When first the infant world her reign began,
Ere pride and luxury had corrupted Man,
Before for gold the earth they did invade, 345
The useful household-stuff of beech was made.
No other plate the humble side-board drest,
No other bowls adorn’d the wholesome feast,
Which no voluptuous cookery cou’d boast,
The home-bred kid or lamb was all the cost. 350
The mirth, the innocence, and little care
Surpast the loaded boards of high-priz’d fare.
There came no guest for interest or design,
For guilty love, fine eating or rich wine.
The beechen-bowl without debauch went round, 355
And was with harmless mirth and roses crown’d.
In these ancients in their happy state
Their feasts and banquets us’d to celebrate.
Fill’d to the brim with uncorrupted wine,
They made libations to the powers divine 360
To keep ’em still benign, no sacrifice
They need perform the angry gods t’ appease.
They knew no crimes the deities to offend,
But all their care was still to keep ’em kind.
No poyson ever did those bowls infest, 365
Securely here the shepherd quench’d his thirst.
’Twas not that any vertue in the wood
Against the baneful liquor was thought good,
But poverty and innocence was here
The antidotes against all ills and fear. 370
Such was the ash, the Nymph was Melias nam’d,
For peaceful use and liberal virtues fam’d.
But when Achilles spear was of her wood
Fatally form’d, and drank of Hector’s blood,
O wretched glory! O unhappy power! 375
She loves the rain and neighbouring floods no more,
No more the falling showers delight her now,
She only thirsts to drink of bloody dew.
Philyra, not inferiour to her race, (lime tree
For her bel-taille, good mien and handsome grace, 380
For pious use and noblest studies fit,
Minerva here might excercise her wit,
And on the lasting vellum which she brings
May in small volumes write seraphic things.
’Mongst all the Nymphs and Hamadryades 385
There’s none so fair, and so adorn’d as this.
All soft her body, innocent and white,
In her green flowing hair she takes delight.
Proud of her perfum’d blossoms, far she spreads
Her lovely, charming, odoriferous shades. 390
Her native beauties, even excelling art,
Her vertues many medicines still impart.
The dowry of each plant in her does rest,
And she deserv’dly triumphs o’er the best.
Next her Orcimelis and Achras stood, (wood-pear, crab-apple 395
Whose off-spring is a sharp and rigid brood,
A fruit no season e’er cou’d work upon,
Nor to be mellow’d by th’ all-ripening sun.
Hither the fair amphibious Nymphs resort,
Who both in woods and gardens keep their court, 400
The Ovas, but of no ignoble fame, (service-tree
Although she bears a base and servile name.
Sharp Oxyantha next the mulberry stood, (barberry
The Mulberry dy’d in hapless lovers blood.
Craneia, a Nymph too lean to be admir’d, (mulberry405
But hard-grain’d Carya is by all desir’d.
The pretty Corylus so neat and trim, (cornelian-berry
And Castanis with rough ungrateful skin. (wall-nut
These Nymphs of all their race live rich and high, (small nuts
They taste the city garden luxury,
And woods their country villas do supply. 410
Nor was the hawthorn absent from this place,
All soils are native to her harden’d race.
Though her the fields and gardens to reject,
She with a thorny hedge does both protect.
Helvetia, rough with cold and stones, first bred (Switzerland415
The Nymph, who thence to other climates fuled.
Of her a warlike sturdy race was born,
Whose dress nor court nor city can adorn,
But with a faithful hand they both defend
While they upon no garison depend, 420
Nor show nor noisie grandeur they affect,
But to their trust they’r constant and exact.
Should you behold ’em rang’d in battel-array,
All muster’d in; due order, you wou’d say
That no militia were so fine and gay. 425
Let none the ancients rashly then reproach,
Who cut from hence the hymeneal torch,
Since they such safeguards were ’gainst thieves and beasts,
Which with an equal force their charge molests.
And ’twas commanded they should always bear 430
Their watchful twigs before the married pair.
With the Helvetian Nymph a pretty train,
All her companions to the circle came.
Bue fruitful bullace first, whose off-spring are,
Though harsh and sharp, yet moderately fair. 435
The prickly bramble, neat and lovely rose,
So nice and coy, they never will dispose
Their valu’d flavours, but some wounds they give
To those who will their guarded joys receive.
No less a troop of those gay Nymphs were seen, 440
Who nobly flourish in eternal green,
Unsubject to the laws o’ th’ changing year,
They want no aids of kindly beams or air,
But, happy in their own perculiar spring
While the pole weeps in showers, they laugh and sing. 445
The generous Pyxias, who a conquest gains (the box-tree
O’r armed winter with her host of rains,
All ages she subdues. Devouring Time
In vain endeavours to destroy her prime.
Still in her youth and beauty she survives, 450
When all the spring is dead she smiles and lives.
Yet though she’s obstinate to time and storms,
She’s kindly pliable to all curious forms.
To artful masters she obedience lends,
And to th’ ingenious hand with ease she bends. 455
Into a thousand true-loves knots she twines,
And with a verdant wall the flowers confines,
Still looking up with gay and youthful love
To the triumphing flow’rs that reign above.
Or, if you please, she will advance on high, 460
And with the lofty trees her stature vie,
And chearfully will any figure take,
Whether man, or lyon, or a bird you make,
Or on her trunk like a green parrot show,
Or sometimes like a Hercules she grow. 465
And hence Praxiteles fair statues forms,
When with green gods the gardens he adorns.
Nor yet being dead does of less use appear
To the industious artificer.
From her the noblest figures do arise, 470
And almost are immortal deities.
Of her the Berecynthian pipe is made,
That charms its native mountain and its shade,
That in such tuneful harmonies express
The praises of their goddess Cibeles. 475
With this the lovely females dress their hair,
That not least powerful beauty of the fair,
Their noblest ornament and th’ lovers snare.
This into form the beauteous nets still lay
That the poor heedless gazer does betray. 480
Agrias is content with easier spoils, (the holly
Onely for silly birds she pitches toyls.
The wanton bird she stops upon the wing,
And can forbid the insolence of men.
With a defence the garden she supplys, 485
And does perpetually delight the eyes.
Her shining leaves a lovely green produce,
And serve at once for ornament and use.
Deform’d December by her posie-boughs
All deck’d and drest like joyful April shows, 490
While she her constant springing livery wears.
Camaris, who in winter give their birth, (stawberry tree
Not humbly creeping on the servile earth,
But rear aloft their nobler fruitful heads,
Whose sylvan food unhappy Janus feeds. 495
His hungry appetite he here destroys,
And both his ravenous mouths at once destroys
Phillyrea here and Pyracantha rise, (ever-green privet and
Whose beauty onely gratifies the eyes prickly coral-tree
Of gods and men. No banquets they afford, 500
But to the welcome unbidden bird
Where gratefully in winter they repay
For all the summer songs that made their groves so gay.
Next come the melancholy yew, who mourns
With silent languor at the warriers urns. 505
See where she comes all in black shadow veil’d,
Ah too unhappy Nymph on every side assail’d!
Whom the Greek poets and historians blame
(Deceiv’d by easie faith and common fame).
Thee as a guilty poisoner they present. 510
Oh false aspersers of the innocent!
If poets may find credit when they speak
(At least all those who are not of the Greek),
No bandful poison, no malignant dew
Lurks in, or hangs about, the harmless yew. 515
No secret mischief dares the Nymphs invade,
And those are safe that sleep beneath her shade.
Nor thou, Arceuthis, art an enemy (juniper tree
To the soft notes of charming harmony.
Falsly the chief of poets would persuade 520
That evil’d lodg’d in thy eternal shade,
Thy aromatick shade, whose verdant arms
Even thy own useful fruits secures from harms.
Many false crimes to thee they attribute,
Wou’d no false virtues too they wou’d to thee impute! 525
But thou, Sabina, my impartial Muse (savin
Cannot with any honesty excuse.
By thee, the first new sparks of life, not yet
Struck up to shining flame to mature heat,
Sprinkled by thy moist poison fade and die, 530
Fatal Sabina, Nymph of infamy.
For this the cypress thee companion calls,
Who piously attends at funerals.
But thou, more barbarous, dost thy pow’r employ,
And even the unborn innocent destroy. 535
Like Fate destructive thou, without remorse,
While she the death of even the ag’d deplores.
Such Cyparrisus was, that bashful boy,
Who was belov’d by the bright god of day.
Of such a tender mind, so soft a breast, 540
With so compassionate a grief opprest,
For wounding his lov’d dear, that down he lay
And wept, and pin’d his sighing soul away.
Apollo, pitying it, renew’d his fate
And to the cypress did the boy translate, 545
And gave his hapless life a longer date.
Then this decreed the god: “and thou, oh tree,
Chief mourner at all funerals shall be.
And since so small a cause such grief cou’d give,
Be’t still thy talent (pitying youth) to grieve. 550
Sacred be thou in Pluto’s dark abodes,
Forever sacred to th’ infernal gods!”
This said, well skill’d in truth, he did bequeath
Eternal life to the dire tree of death,
A substance that no worm can e’r subdue, 555
Whose never-dying leaves each day renew,
Whose figures like aspiring flames still rise,
And with a noble pride salute the skies.
Next the fair Nymph that Phaebus does adore, (laurel
But yet as nice and cold as heretofore. 560
She hates all fires, and with aversion still
She chides and crackles if the flame she feel.
Yet though she’s chast, the burning god no less
Adores, and makes his love his prophetess.
And even the murmurs of her scorn do now 565
For joyful sounds and happy omens go.
Nor does the humble, though the sacred tree,
Fear wounds from any earthly enemy.
For she beholds, when loudest storms abound,
The flying thunder of the gods around. 570
Let all the flaming heav’ns threat as they will,
Unmov’d th’ undaunted Nymph out-braves it still.
Oh thou! —
Of all the woody nations happiest made,
Thou greatest princess of the fragrant shade. 575
But shou’d the goddess Dryas not allow
That royal title to thy vertue due,
At least her justice must this truth confess:
If not a princess, thou’rt a prophetess,
And all the glories of immortal fame 580
Which conquering monarchs so much strive to gain
Is but at best from thy triumphing boughs
To reach a garland to adorn their brows.
And after monarchs, poets claim a share
As the next worthy thy priz’d wreaths to wear. 585
Among that number do not me disdain,
Me, the most humble of that glorious train.
I by a double right thy bounties claim,
Both from my sex, and in Apollo’s name.
Let me with Sappho and Orinda be,
590
Oh ever sacred Nymph, adorn’d by thee,
And give my verse immortality.

The tall Elate next, and Peuce stood,
The stateliest sister-Nymphs of all the good.
The flying winds sport with their flowing hair, 595
While to the dewy clouds their lofty heads they rear.
As mighty hills above the valleys show,
And look with scorn on the descent below,
So do these view the mountains where they grow.
So much above their humbler tops they rise, 600
So stood the Giants that besieg’d the skies,
The terror of the gods, they having thrown
Huge Ossa on the leafy Pelion.
The firr with the proud pine thus threatning stands,
Lifting to heav’n two hundred warring hands. 605
In this vast prospect they with ease survey
The various figur’d land and boundless sea,
With joy behold the ships their timber builds,
How they’ve with cities stor’d once spacious fields.
This grove of English Nymphs, this noble train 610
In a large circle compass their queen,
The scepter-bearing Dryas —
Her throne-arising hillock where she sat
With all the charms of majesty and state,
With awful grace the numbers she survey’d, 615
Dealing around the favours of her shade.
If I the voice of the loud winds cou’d take,
Which the re-echoing oaks do agitate,
’Twou’d not suffice to celebrate thy name,
Oh sacred Dryas of immortal fame. 620
If we a faith can give antiquity
That sings of many miracles, from thee
In the worlds infant-age mankind broke forth,
From thee the noble race receiv’d their birth.
Thou then in a green tender bark wert clad, 625
But in Deucalion’s age a rougher covert had,
More hard and warm, with crusted white all o’r,
As noble authors sung in times of yore.
Approv’d by some, condemn’d and argu’d down
By the vain troop of sophists and the gown, 630
The scoffing academy and the schools
Of Pyrrho, who traditions over-rule.
But let ’em doubt, yet they must grant this truth:
Those brawny men that then the earth brought forth
Did on thy acorns feed, and feast and thrive, 635
And with this wholsome nourishment survive
In health and strength an equal age with thee,
Secur’d from all the banes of luxury.
Oh happy age! Oh Nymph divinely good,
That mak’st thy shade Man’s house, thy fruit his food,! 640
When onely apples of the wood did pass
For noble banquets spread on beds of grass,
Tables not yet by any art debauch’d,
And fruit that ne’r the grudgers hand reproach’d!
Thy bounties, Ceres, were of little use, 645
And thy sweet food ill manners did produce.
Unluckily they did thy virtues find
With that of the wild boar and hunted hind,
With all wild beasts on which their luxury prey’d,
While new desires their appetites invade. 650
The nature they partake of what they eat,
And salvage they become as was their meat.
Hence the republick of the world did cease,
Hence they might date the forfeit of their peace.
The common good was now peculiar made, 655
A generous int’rest now became a trade,
And men began their neighbour’s rights t’ invade.
For now they measur’d out their common ground,
And outrages commit t’ inlarge their bound.
Their own seem’d despicable, poor and small, 660
Each wants more room and wou’d be lord of all.
The plowman with disdain his field surveys,
Forsakes the land, and plows the faithless seas.
The fool in these deep furrows seeks his gain,
Despising dangers, and induring pain. 665
The sacred oak her peaceful mansion leaves,
Transplanted to the mountains of the waves.
Oh Dryas, patron to th’ industrious kind,
If Man were wide and wou’d his safety find,
What perfect bliss thy happy shade wou’d give, 670
And houses that their masters wou’d out-live!
All necessaries thou afford’st alone
For harmless innocence to live upon.
Strong yokes for oxen, handles for the plow,
What husbandry requires thou doest allow. 675
But if the madness of desiring gain,
Or wild ambition agitate the brain,
Straight to a wandering ship they thee transfer,
And none more justly serves the mariner.
Thou cutst the air, dost on the waves rebound, 680
Wild death and fury raging all around,
Disdaining to behold the manag’d wood,
Out-brave the storms and baffle the rude flood.
To swine, o richest oak, thy acorns leave,
And search for Man whate’er the earth can give, 685
All that the spacious universe brings forth,
What land and sea conceals of any worth.
Bring aromaticks from the distant east,
Andf gold so dangerous from the rifl’d west,
Whate’r the boundless appetite can feast. 690
With thee the utmost bounds of earth w’ invade,
By thee the unlockt orb is common made.
By thee —
The great republique of the world revives,
And o’er the earth luxurious traffick thrives. 695
If Argos ship were valued at that rate
(Which ancient poets so much celebrate),
From neighbouring Colchos only bringing home
The Golden Fleece from seas whose tracts were known,
If of the dangers they so much have spoke 700
(More worthy smiles) of the Cyanean Rock,
What oceans then of fame shall thee suffice?
What waves of eloquence can sing thy praise?
O sacred oak that great Columbus bore,
Io! thou bearer of a happier ore 705
Then celebrated Argo did before.
And Drake’s brave oak, that past to worlds unknown,
Whose toils, o Phoebus, were so like thy own,
Who round the earths vast globe triumphant rode,
Deserves the celebration of a god. 710
O let the Pegasean ship no more
Be worshipt on the too unworthy shore.
After her watery life, let her become
A fixt star shining equal with the Ram.
Long since the duty of a star she’s done, 715
And round the earth with guiding light has shone.
Oh how has Nature blest the British land,
Who both the valued Indies can command!
What tho thy banks the cedars do not grace,
Those lofty beauties of fam’d Libanius. 720
The pine, or palm of Idumean plaines,
Arabs rich wood or its sweet-smelling greens,
Or lovely plantan, whose large leafy boughs (banana
A pleasant and a noble shade allows.
She has thy warlike groves and mountains blest 725
With sturdy oaks, ore all the world the best,
And for the happy islands sure defence
Has wall’d with a mote of seas immense,
While to declare her safety and thy pride
With oaken ships that sea is fortifi’d. 730
Nor was that adoration vainly made
Which to the oak the ancient Druids paid,
Who reasonably believed a god within
Where such vast wonders were produc’d and seen.
Nor was it the dull piety alone 735
And superstition of our Albion,
Nor ignorance of the future age, that paid
Honours divine to thy surprising shade.
But they foresaw the empire of the sea,
Great Charles, should hold from the triumphant thee. 740
No wonder then that age should the adore,
Who gav’st our sacred oracles heretofore.
The hidden pleasure of the gods was then
In a hoarse voice deliver’d out to men.
So vapors from Cyrrhean caverns broke 745
Inspir’d Apollo’s priestess when she spoke.
While ravished the fair enthusiastic stood
Upon her tripos, raging with the god.
So priest inspir’d with sacred fury shook,
When the winds ruffld the Dodonian oak 750
And tost their branches, till a dreadful sound
Of awful horror they proclaim around,
Like frantic Bacchanals, and while they move
Possess with trembling all the sacred grove.
Their rifl’d leaves the tempest bore away, 755
And their town boughs scatter’d on all sides lay.
The tortur’d thicket knew not that there came
A god triumphant in the hurricane,
Till the wing’d winds with an amazing cry
Deliver’d down the pressing deity, 760
Whose thundering voice strange secrets did unfold,
And wond’rous things of worlds to come he told.
But truths so veil’d in obscure eloquence,
They ’maze the adoring crowd with double sense.
But by divine decree the oak no more 765
Declares security as heretofore
With words or voice, yet to the listening wood
Her differing murmurs still are understood.
For sacred divinations while the sound
Informs all but humanity around, 770
Nor e’er did Dryas murmur awful truth
More clear and plan from her prophetic mouth,
Than when she spoke to the Chaonian wood,
While all the groves with eager silence stood.
And with erected leaves themselves dispose, 775
To listen to the language of her boughs.
“You see (oh my companions) that the gods
Threaten a dire destruction to he woods,
And to all human kind. The black portents
Are seen of many sinister events. 780
But lest their quickapproach too much should press
(Oh my astonish’d Nymphs) your tenderness,
The gods command me to fortel your doom,
And prepossess ye with the fate to come.
With heedful reverence then their will observe, 785
And in your barks deep chinks my words preserve.
Believe me, Nymphs, nor is your faith in vain,
This oaken trunk in which conceal’d I am
From a long-honored ancient age came,
Who in the fam’d Dodonian grove first spoke, 790
When with astonish’d awe the sacred valley shook.
Know then that Brutus, by unlucky fate
Murdering his sire, did bear an immortal hate
To his own kingdom, whos ungrateful shore
He leaves with vows ne’er to revisit more. 795
Then to Epirus a sad exile came
(Unhappy son who hast a father slain,
But happy father of the British name).
There by victorious arms he did restore
Those scepters once the race of Priam bore. 800
In their paternal thrones his kindred plac’d,
And by that piety his fatal crime defac’d.
There Jupiter disdain’d not to relate
Thorough an oaken mouth his future fate. (Through
Who for his grandsire’s, great Aeneas, sake 805
Upon the royal youth will pity take,
Whose toils to his shall this resemblance bear,
A long and tedious wandring to endure.
’Tis said the deity-retaining oak,
Bursting her bark, thus to the hero spoke, 810
Whose voice the Nymphs surpriz’d with awful dread,
Who in Chaonian groves inhabited.
“‘Oh noble Trojan of great Sylvia’s blood,
Haste from the covert of this threatening wood.
A mansion here the Fates will not permit, 815
Vast toils and dangers thou’rt to conquer yet,
Ere for a murder’d father thou canst be
Absolv’d, tho innocently slain by thee,
But much must bear by land, and much by sea.
Then arm thy solid mind, thy virtues raise, 820
And thro’ thy rough adventures cut new Ways,
Whose end shall crown thee with immortal bays.
Tho Hercules so great a fame atchiev’d,
His conquests but to th’ western Cales arrived. (Cadiz
There finish’d all this glories and his toils, 825
He wish’d no more, nor sought more distant spoils.
But the great labors which thou hast begun
Must, fearless of the oceans threats, go on.
And this remember, at thy launching forth
To set thy full spread sails against the north. 830
In Charles’ Wain thy fates are born above,
Bright stars descended from thy grandsire Jove,
Of motion certain, tho they slowly move.
The Bear too shall assist thee in thy course
With all her constellations glittering force. 835
And as thou goest, thy right hand shall destroy
Twice six Gomeristish tyrants in thy way.
Tho exil’d from the world, disdain all fear,
The gods another world for thee prepare,
Which in the bosom of the deep conceal’d 840
From ages past, shall be to thee reveal’d.
Reserv’d, o Brutus, to renown thy fame,
And shall be bless’d still with thy race and name.
All that the air surrounds the Fates decree
To Brutus and Aeneas progeny, 845
Aeneas all the land, and Brutus all the sea.’
“This said the god from the prophetick oak,
Who, stretching out her branches, further spoke.
‘Here fill thy hands with acorns from my tree,
Which in thy tedious toils of use shall be, 850
And witnesses of all I promise thee.
And when thy painful wandring shall be o’er,
And thou arriv’d on happy Britains shore,
Then in her fruitful soil these acorns sow,
Which to vast woods of mighty use shall grow. 855
Not their Chaonian mother’s sacred name
Shall o’er the world be sung with greater fame.
Then holy Druids thou shalt consecrate,
My honour and my rites to celebrate.
Teutates in the sacred oak shall go 860
To give bless’d omens of the mistletoe.’
“Thus spake the oak, with reverend awe believ’d,
And in no one prediction was deceiv’d.
My lineage from Chaonian acorns came,
I two descents from that first parent am, 865
And now oraculous truths to you proclaim.
My grandam oak her blooming beauties wore,
When first the Danish fleet surpriz’d our shore,
When Thor and Tuisco and the Saxon gods
Were angry with their once belov’d abodes, 870
Her age two hundred years, a small amount
To what our long-lived numbers do amount,
Such prodigies then she saw as we behold,
And such our ruins as their signs foretold.
Now from the Caledonian mountains came 875
New risen clouds that cover’d all the plaint.
The quiet Tweed regards her bounds no more,
But, driv’n by popular winds, usurps the shore.
In her wild course a horrid murmur yields
And frightens with her sound the English fields. 880
Nor did they heat in vain, or vainly fear
Those raging prologues to approaching war.
But silver showers did soon the foe subdue,
Weapons the noble English never knew.
The people, who for peace so lavish were, 885
Did after buy the merchandise more dear.
Curst civil war even peace betray’d to guilt,
And made her blush with the virst blood was spilt.
O cruel omens of those future woes,
Which now sate brooding in the Senate House, 890
That den of mischief, where obscur’d she lyes,
And hides her purple face from human eyes!
The working Furies there lay unreveal’d,
Beneath the privilege of the House conceal’d.
There, by the malice of the great and proud, 895
And unjust clamors of the frantick crowd,
The great, the learned Strafford met his fate.
O sacred innocence! What can expiate
For guiltless blood, but blood? And much must flow
Both from the guilty and the faultless too. 900
O Worcester, condemn’d by Fate to be
The mournful witness of our misery,
And to bewail our first intestine wars
By thy soft Severn’s murmurs and her tears,
Wars that more formidable did appear 905
Even at their end, than their beginnings were.
“Me to Kintonian hills some god convey,
That I the horrid valley may survey,
Which like a river seem’d of human blood,
Sweell’d with the numerous bodies of the dead. 910
What slaughters make fierce Rupert round the field,
Whose conquests pious Charles with sighs beheld,
And had not Fate the course of things forbade,
This day an end of all our woes had made.
But our success the angry gods controul, 915
And stopt our race of glory near the goal.
The tyrant War with barbarous rigor reign’d,
From the remoted parts it rifled peace,
From the Belerian horn even to the Orcades.
The fields opprest, no joyful harvests bear, 920
War ruin’d all the product of that year.
Unhappy Albion! By what Fury stung?
What serpent of Eumenides has flung
His poison thro’ thy veins? Thou bleed’st all o’er,
Art all one wound, one universal gore. 925
Unhappy Newberry, I thy fatal field
(Covered with mighty slaughters, thrice beheld),
In horrors thou Philippi’s fields outvi’d,
Which twice the civil gore of Romans di’d.
Long mutual loss, and the alternate weight 930
Of equal slaughters, pois’d each others fate.
Uncertain ruin waver’d to and fro,
And knew not where to fix the deadly blow.
At last in northern fields like lightening broke,
And Naseby doubl’d every fatal stroke. 935
But, oh ye gods, permit me not to tell
The woes that after this the land befel.
Oh, keep ’em to yourselves, lest they shou’d make
Humanity your rites, and shrines forsake.
To future ages let ’em not be known, 940
For wretched England’s credit, and your own.
“And take from me, ye gods, futurity,
And let my oracles all silent lye,
Rather than by my voice they shou’d declare
The dire events of England’s Civil War 945
And yet my sight a confus’d prospect fills,
A Chaos all deform’d, a heap of ills,
Such as no mortal eyes cou’d e’r behold
Such as no human language can unfold.
But now — 950
The conquering evil genius of the wars,
The impious victor all before him bears.
And oh, behold the sacred vanquish’d flies,
And tho in a plebean’s mean disguise,
I know his god-like face. The monarch sure 955
Did ne’er dissemble till this fatal hour.
But oh he flies, distrest, forlorn he flies,
And seeks his safety ’mong his enemies.
His kingdoms all he finds hostile to be,
No place to th’ vanquish’d proves a sanctu’ry. 960
Thus royal Charles —
From his own people cou’d no safety gain,
Alas, the king (their guest) implores in vain.
The pilot thus the burning vessel leaves,
And trusts what most he fears, the threatning waves. 965
But oh the cruel flood with rude disdain
Throws him all struggling to the flames again.
So did the Scots, alas, what shou’d they do,
That prize of war (the soldiers interest now)
By prayers and threatnings back they strive to bring, 970
But the wise Scot will yield to no such thing,
And England to retrieve him buys her king.
Oh shame to future worlds! Who did command,
As powerful lord of all the sea and land,
Is not a captive slave exposed to sale, 975
And villany o’er virtue must prevail.
The servant his bought master bears away,
Oh shameful purchase of so glorious prey!
But yet, o Scotland, far be it from me
To charge thee wholly with this infamy. 980
Thy nations virtues shall reverse that fate,
And for the criminal few shall expiate.
Yet for these few the innocent rest must feel
The dire effects of the avenging steel.
“But now, by laws to God and Man unknown, 985
Their sovereign, Gods anointed, they dethrone,
Who to the Isle of Wight is prisoner sent.
What tongue, what cruel hearts do not lament?
That thee, o Scotland, with just anger moves,
And Kent, who valued liberty so loves, 990
And thee, o Wales, of still as noble fame
As were the ancient Britains whence ye came.
But why should I distinctly here relate
All I behold, the many battels fought
Under the conduct still of angry stars, 995
Their new-made wounds and old ones turn’d to scars,
The blood that did the trembling Ribla ty,
Stopping its frighted stream that strove to fly,
Or thou, o Medway, swell’d with slaughters born
Above the flowery banks that did thee once adorn? 1000
Or why, o Colchester, shou’d I rehearse
They brave united courage and thy force,
Or deaths of those illustrious men relate
Who did with thee deserve a kinder fate?
Or why the miserable murders tell 1005
Of captives who by cooler malice fell?
Nor to your griefs will this addition bring,
The sad ideas of a martyred king,
A king who all the wounds of Fortune bore,
Nor will his mournful funerals deplore, 1010
Lest that celestial piety (of fame
O’er all the world) should my sad accents blame.
Since death he still esteem’d, howe’er ’twas given,
The greatest good and noblest gift of heaven.
But I deplore Man’s wretched wickedness 1015
(Oh horrid to be heard, or to express!)
Whom even Hell can ne’er enough torment
With her eternal pains and punishment.
“But oh what do I see! Alas they bring
Their sacred master forth, their god-like king, 1020
There on a scaffold rais’d in solemn state
And plac’d before the royal palace gate,
’Midst of his empire, the black deed was done,
While day and all the world were looking on.
By common hangman’s hands — ” Here stopt the oak, 1025
When from the bottom of its root there broke
A thousand sighs, which to the sky she lifts,
Bursting her solid bark into a thousand clefts.
Each branch her tributary sorrow gives,
And tears run trickling from her mournful leaves. 1030
Such numbers after rainy nights they shed,
When showering clouds that did surround her head
Are by the rising goddess of the morn
Blown off, and flit before the approaching sun.
At which the troop of the green Nymphs around, 1035
Ecchoing her sighs, in wailing accents groan’d,
Whose piercing sounds from far were understood,
And the loud tempest shook the wondering wood.
And then a cruel silence did succeed,
As in the gloomy mansions of the dead. 1040
But after a long awful interval
Dryas assum’d her sad prophetick tale.
“Now Britany, o’erwhelm’d with many a wound,
Her head lopt off, in her own blood lies drown’d.
A horrid carcase, without mind or soul, 1045
A trunk not to be known, deform’d and foul.
And now who wou’d not hope there shou’d have been,
After so much death, a quiet scene,
Or rather, with their monarch’s funeral,
Eternal sleep shou’d not have seis’d em all? 1050
But nothing less, for in the room of one,
Who govern’d justly on his peaceful throne,
A thousand heads sprung up, deform’d and base,
With a tumultuous and ignoble race.
The vile, the vulgar off-spring of the earth, 1055
Insects of poisonous kinds, of monsterous birth,
And ravenous serpents now the land infest,
And Cromwel, viler yet than all the rest.
That serpent even upon the marrow preys,
Devouring kingdoms with insatiate jaws. 1060
Now right and wrong mere words confounded ly,
Rage sets no bounds to her impiety,
And having once transgrest the rules of shame,
Honor or justice counts an empty name.
In every street, as pastime for the crowd, 1065
Erected scaffolds reek’d with noble blood.
Prisons were now th’ apartments of the brave,
Whom tyranny commits, and only death retrieve,
Whose paths were crowded ere the morning drawn,
Some to the dungeons, some to gibbets drawn. 1070
But tir’d-out cruelty pauses for a while,
To take new breath amidst her barbarous toil.
So does not Avarice: she, unwearied still,
Ne’er stops her greedy hand from doing ill.
The warrior may a while his spear forsake, 1075
But sequestators will no respit take. (confiscators
What a long race of kings laid up with care,
The gifts of happy peace and spoils of war,
Whatever liberal piety did present,
Or the religion (all magnificent) 1080
Of our fore-fathers to the Church had given,
And consecrated to the pow’rs of heav’n,
Altars, or whatso’er cou’d guilty be
Of tempting wealth or fatal loyalty,
Was not enough to satisfie the rage 1085
Of a few earth-begotten tyrants of the age.
The impious rout thought it a trivial thing
To rob the houses of their God and king.
Their sacrilege, admitting of no bound,
Rejoyc’d to see ’em levell’d with the ground, 1090
As if the nation (wicked and unjust)
Had even in ruin found a certain lust.
On every side the labouring hammers sound,
And strokes from mighty hatchets do rebound.
On every side the groaning earth sustains 1095
The ponderous weight of stones and wonderous beams.
Fiercely they ply their work, with such a noise
As if some mighty structure they would raise
For the proud tyarnt. No, this clamorous din
Is not from building, but demolishing. 1100
“When (my companions) these sad things you see,
And each beholds the dead beams of her parent tree,
Long since repos’d in palaces of kings,
Torn down by furious hands as sueless things,
Then know your fate is come. Those hands that cou’d 1105
From houses tear dead beams and long-hewn wood,
Those cruel hands by unresisted force
Will for your living trunks find no remorse.
Religion, which was great of old, commands
No woods shou’d be profaned by impious hands. 1110
Those noble seminaries for the fleet,
Plantations that make towns and cities great,
Those hopes of war and ornaments of peace
Shou’d live secure from any outrages,
Which now the barbarous conqueror will invade, 1115
Tear up your roots, and rifle all your shade.
For gain they’ll sell you the covetous buyers,
A sacrifice to every common fire.
They’ll spare no race of trees of any age,
But murder infant branches in their rage. 1120
Elms, beeches, tender ashes shall be fell’d,
And even the grey and reverend bark must yield.
The soft, the murmuring troop shall be no more,
Nor more with musick charm as heretofore,
No more each little bird shall build her house, 1125
And sing in her hereditary boughs,
But only Philomel shall celebrate
In mournful notes a new unhappy fate.
The banish’d Hamadryads must be gone,
And take their flight with sad but silent moan. 1130
For a celestial being ne’er complains,
Whatever be her grief, in noisie strains.
The wood-gods fly, and whither shall they go?
Not all the British orb can scarce allow (world
A trunk secure for them to rest in now. 1135
“But yet these wild Saturnals shall not last,
Oppressing vengeance follows on too fast.
She shakes her brandish’’d steel, and still denies
Length to immoderate rage and cruelties.
Do not despond, my Nymphs. That wicked birth 1140
Th’ avenging powers wil chase from off the earth.
Let ’em hew down the woods, destroy and burn,
And all the lofty groves to ashes turn,
Yet still there will not want a tree to yield
Timber enough old Tiburn to rebuild, 1145
Where they may hang at last. And this kind one
Shall then revenge the woods of all their wrong.
In the mean time (For Fate not always shows
A swift complyance to our wish and vows)
The off-spring of great Charles, forlorn and poor, 1150
And exil’d from their cruel native shore,
Wander in foreign kingdoms, where in vain
They seek those aids, alas, they cannot gain.
For still their pressing fate pursues ’em hard,
And scarce a place of refuge will afford. 1155
O pious son of such a holy sire,
Who can enough thy fortitude admire?
How often tost by storms of land and sea,
Yet unconcern’d thy fate thou didst survey,
And her fatigues still underwent with joy. 1160
Oh royal youth, pursue thy just disdain,
Let Fortune and her Furies frown in vain,
Till tir’d with her injustice she give out,
And leaves her giddy wheel for thee to turn about.
Then that great scepter which no human hand 1165
From the tenacious tyrant can command,
Scorning the bold usurper to adorn,
Shall ripe and falling to thy hand be born.
“But oh, he rowses now before his time!
Illustrious youth, whose bravery is a crime, 1170
Alas, what wilt thou do? Ah, who so fast?
The dice of Fate, alas, are not yet cast,
While thou, all fire, feareless of future harms,
And prodigal of life, assumest thy arms.
And even provoking fame he cuts his way 1175
Through hostile fleets and a rude winters sea.
But neither shall his daring course oppose,
Even to those shores so very late his foes,
And still to be suspected. But meanwhile
The Oliverian demons of the isle, 1180
With all Hells deities, with fury burn
To see great Charles preparing to return.
They call up all their winds of dreadful force
In vain to stop his sacred vessels course.
In vain their storms a ruine do prepare, 1185
For what Fate means to take peculiar care,
And trembling find great Caesar safe at land,
By heav’n conducted, not by Fortunes hand.
“But, Scotland, you your king recal in vain,
While you your unchang’d principles retain. 1190
But yet the time shall come when some small share
Of glory that great honor shall confer,
When you a conquering hero forth shall guide,
While heav’n and all the stars are on his side,
Who shall the exil’d king in peace recal, 1195
And England’s genius be esteem’d by all.
But this, not yet my Nymphs — But now’s the time
When the illustrious heir of Fergus line,
From full a hundred kings, shall mount the throne,
Who now the temple enters, and at Scone 1200
After the ancient manner he receives the crown.
But, oh, with no auspicious omens done,
The left hand of the kingdom put it on.
“But now th’ insulting conqueror draws nigh,
Disturbing the august solemnity, 1205
When with revenge and indignation fir’d,
And by a father’s murder well inspir’d,
The brave, the royal youth for war prepares,
O heir most worthy of thy hundred scepter’d ancestors!
With thoughts all glorious now he sallies forth, 1210
Nor will he trust his fortune in the North,
That corner of his realms, nor will his haste
Lazily wait till coming winter’s past.
He scorns that aid, nor will he hope t’ oppose 1215
High mountains ’gainst the fury of his foes,
Nor their surrounding force will here engage,
Or stay the pressures of a shameful siege,
But boldly further on resolves t’ advance,
And give a generous loose to Fortunes chance. (opportunity
And, shut from distant Tay, he does essay 1220
To Thames, even with is death to force his way.
Behind he leaves his trembling enemies,
Amaz’d at this stupendous enterprise.
“And now the wish’d-for happy day appears,
Sought for so long by Britain’s prayers and tears. 1225
The king returns, and with a mighty hand,
Avow’d revenger of his native land.
And though a thousand dangers and extremes
Marches a conqueror to Sabrinas streams (Severn’s
(Ah, wou’d to heavn Sabrina had been Thames!) 1230
So wish’d the king, but the persuasive force
Of kind mistaken councils stopt his course.
“Now, warlike England, rouze at these alarms,
Provide your horses and assume your arms,
And fall on the usurper now for shame, 1235
If piety be not pretence and name.
Advance the work heaven has so well begun,
Revenge the father and restore the son.
No more let that old cant destructive be,
Religion, Liberty, and Property. 1240
No longer let that dear-bought cheat delude
(Oh you too credulous, senseless multitude),
Words only form’d more easily to enslave
By every popular and pretending knave.
But now your bleeding land expects you shou’d 1245
Be side, at the expence of so much blood.
Rouze then, and with awaken’d sense prepare
To reap the glory of this holy war,
In which your king and heaven have equal share.
His right divine let every voice proclaim, 1250
And a just ardor every soul inflame.
“But England’s evil genius, watchfull still
To ruin and incourage ill,
Industious, even as Cromwel, to subvert
Honor and loyalty in every heart, 1255
A baneful drug of four-fold poison makes,
And an infernal sleepy asp he takes
Of cold and fearful nature, adds to this
Opium that binds the nerves with laziness,
Mixt with the venom of vile avarice, 1260
Which all the spirits benum, as when y’ approach
The chilling wonderful torpedo’s touch. (electric eel
Next drops from Lethe’s stream he does infuse,
And every brest besprinkles with the juice,
Till a deep lethargy o’er all Britain came 1265
Who now forgot their safety and their fame.
YEt still great Charles’ valour stod the test,
By Fortune tyho forsaken and opprest,
Witness the purple of Sabrina’s stream,
And the Red Hill, not call’d so now in vain. 1270
And, Worster, thou who dist the misery bear,
And saw’st the end of a long fatal war.
“The king, tho vanquish’d, still his fate outbraves,
And was the last the captiv’d city leaves,
Which from the neighbouring hills he does survey, 1275
While round about his bleeding numbers lay.
He saw ’em rifled by th’ insulting foe,
And sighs for those he cannot rescue now.
But yet his troops will rally once again,
Those few escap’d, all scatter’d o’er the pain. 1280
Disdain and anger now resolves to try
How to repair this days fatality.
The king has sworn to conquer or to dye.
Darby and Willmot, chiefs of mighty fame,
With that bold lovely youth, great Buckingham, 1285
Fiercer than lightning, to his monarch dear,
That brave Achates worth Aeneas care,
Applaud his great resolve! There’s no delay,
“But toward the foe in haste they take their way,
Not by vain hopes of a new victory fir’d, 1290
But by a kind of despair alone inspir’d.
This was the king’s resolve, and those great few
Whom glory taught to die, as well as to subdue,
Who knew that death and the reposing grave
No foes were to the wretched or the brave. 1295
But oh this noble courage did not rest
In each ungenerous unconsidering brest.
They fearfully forsake their general,
Who now in vain the flying cowards call,
Deaf to his voice will no obedience yield, 1300
But in their hasty flight scowr o’er the dreadful field.
Oh vainly gallant youth, what pitying God
Shall free thee from this soul-oppressing load
Of grief and shame, abandon’d and betray’d
By purjur’d slaves, who thou hast fed and pay’d, 1305
Prest with more woes than mortal force could bear,
And Fortune still resolv’d to be severe?
But yet that God —
To Whom no wonders are impossible
Will, to preserve thee, work a miracle, 1310
And for the sacred father’s martyrdom
Will with a crown reward the injur’d son,
While thou, great Charles, with a prevailing pray’r
Dost to the gods commend the safety of thy heir,
And the celestial court of powers divine 1315
With one consent do in the chorus joyn.
“But why, oh why must I reveal the doom
(Oh my companions) of the years to come?
And why divulge the mysteries that lye
Inroll’d long since in heav’ns vast treasury, 1320
In characters which no dreamer can unfold,
Nor ever yet prophetick rapture told,
Nor the small fibres of the victim’d beast, (entrails
Or birds which sacred auguries have exprest,
No stars, or any divination shows 1325
Made mystick by the murmurs of the boughs?
Yet I must on, with a divine presage,
And tell the wonders of the coming age.
“In that far part where the rich Salop gains (Shropshire
An ample view o’er all the western plains, 1330
A grove appears which Boscobel they name,
Not known to maps, a grove of scanty fame.
Scarce any human thing does there intrude,
But it enjoys itself in its own solitude.
And yet henceforth no celebrated shade 1335
Of all the British groves shall be more glorious made.
Near this obscure and destin’d happy wood,
A sacred house of lucky omen stood,
White Lady call’d, and old records relate
’Twas once — 1340
To men of holy orders consecrate,
But to a king a refuge now is made,
The first that gives a wearied monarch bread.
Oh present of a wonderous excellence,
That can relieve the hunger of a prince! 1345
Fortune shall here a better face put on,
And here the king shall first the king lay down.
Here he dismisses all his mourning friends
Whom to their kinder stars he recommends,
With eyes all drown’d in tears their fate to see, 1350
But unconcern’d at his own destiny.
Here he puts off those ornaments he wore
Through all the splendor of his life before.
Even his blew Garter now he will discharge,
Nor keep the warlike figure of Saint George. 1355
That holy champion now is vanquish’d quite,
Alas, the dragon has subdu’d the knight!
His crown, that restless weight of glory, now
Divests a while from his more easie brow.
And all those charming curls that did adorn 1360
His royal head, those jetty curls are shorn. (dark
Himself he cloaths in a coarse russet weed,
Nor was the poor man feign’d, but so indeed.
And now the greatest king the world e’er saw
Is subject to the houses ancient law 1365
(A convent once, which poverty did profess,
Here, here puts off all worldly pomp and dress),
And, like a monk, a sad adieu he takes
Of all his friends, and the false world forsakes.
But yet ere long even this humble state, 1370
Alas, shall be denied him by his fate.
She drives him forth even from this mean abode,
Who wanders now a hermit in the wood,
Hungry and tir’d, to rest and seek his food.
The dark and lonely shade conceals the king, 1375
Who feeds on flowers and drinks the murmuring spring,
More happy here than on a restless throne,
Cou’d he but call’d those shades and springs his own.
No longer Fate will that repose allow,
Who even of earth itself deprives him now. 1380
A tree will hardly here a seat afford,
Amidst her boughs, to her abandon’d lord.
“Then (o my nymphs) you who your monarch love,
To save your darling hasten to that grove
(Nor think I vain propheticks do express). 1385
In silence let each Nymph her trunk possess,
O’er all the woods and plains let not a tree
Be uninhabited by a deity,
While I the largest forest-oak inspire,
And with you to this leafy court retire. 1390
There keep a faithful watch each night and day,
And with erected heads the fields survey,
Lest any impious soldier pass that way
And shou’d profanely touch that pledge of heaven,
Which to our guarding shade in charge was given. 1395
“Here then, my Nymphs, your king you shall receive,
And safety in your darkest coverts give.
But ha, what rustick swain is that I see
Sleeping beneath the shade of yonder tree,
Upon whose knotty root he leans his head, 1400
And on the mossy ground has made his bed?
And why alone? Alas, some spy I fear,
For only such a wretch would wander here,
Who even the winds and showers of rain defies,
Out-daring all the anger of the skies. 1405
Observe his face, see his disordered hair
Is ruffl’d by the tempest-beaten air.
Yet look what tracts of grief have ag’d his face,
Where hardly twenty years have run their race,
Worn out with numerous toils. And even in sleep 1410
Sighs seem to heave his breast, his eyes to weep.
Nor is that color of his face is own,
That sooty veil for some disguise put on,
To keep the nobler part from being known.
For ’midst of all something of sacred light 1415
Beams forth and does inform my wondering sight,
And now arises to my view more bright.
Ha — can my eyes deceive me, or am I
At last no true presaging deity?
Yet if I am, that wretched rustick thing, 1420
O heavens, and all your powers, must be the king.
Yes, ’tis the king! His image all divine
Breaks thro’ that cloud of darkness, and a shine
Gilds all the sooty vizar! But alas,
Who is’t approaches him with such a pace? 1425
Oh, ’tis no traytor, the just gods, I find,
Have still a pitying care of human kind.
This the gallant, loyal Carles, thrown
By the same wreck by which his king’d undone
Beneath our shades. He comes in pious care 1430
(Oh happy man! than Cromwel happier far,
On whom his ill fate this honor does confer),
He tells the king the woods are overspread
With villains arm’d to search that prize, his head,
Now poorly set to sale. The foe is nigh, 1435
What shall they do? Ah whither shall they fly?
They from the danger hasty counsel took
And, by some god inspir’d, ascend my oak,
My oak, the largest in the faithful wood,
Whom to receive I my glad branches bow’d, 1440
And for the king a throne prepar’d, and spread
My thickest leaves a canopy o’er his head.
The misseltoe commanded to ascend
Around his sacred person to attend
(Oh happy omen!) straight it did obey, 1445
The sacred misseltoe attends with joy.
Here without fear their prostrates heads they bow,
The king is safe beneath my shelter now,
And you, my Nymphs, with awful silence may
Your adorations to your sovereign pay 1450
And cry all hail, thou most belov’d of heaven,
To whom its chiefest attributes are given.
But above all that god-like fortitude,
That has the malice of thy fate subdu’d,
All hail! 1455
“Thou greatest now of kings indeed, while yet
With all the miseries of life beset,
Thy mighty mind cou’d death nor danger fear,
Nor yet even then of safety cou’d despair.
This is the virtue of a monarch’s soul, 1460
Who above Fortunes reach an all her turns controul.
Thus if Fate rob you of your empires sway,
You by this fortitude take hers away.
O brave reprisal! Which the gods prefer,
That makes you triumph o’er the conqueror. 1465
The gods who one day will this justice do,
Both make you victor and triumpher too.
That day’s at hand. O let that day come on,
Wherein that wonderous miracle shall be shown!
May its gay morn be more than usual bright, 1470
And rise upon the world with new created light,
Or let that star, whose dazling beams were hurl’d
Upon his birth-day, now inform the world,
That brave bold constellation, which in sight
Of mid-days’ sun durst lift its lamp of light. 1480
Now, happy star, again at mid-day rise,
And with new prodigies adorn the skies.
Great Charles again is born, Monk’s valiant hand
At last delivers the long labouring land.
This is the month, great prince, must bring you forth, 1485
May pays her fragrant tributes at your birth.
This is the month that’s due to you by fate,
O month most glorious, month most fortunate,
When you between your royal brothers rode,
Amidst your shining train attended like some god! 1490
One would believe that all the world were met
To pay their homage at your sacred feet.
The wandering gazers, numberless as these,
Or as the leaves on the vast forest trees.
He comes! He comes! thy cry, while the loud din 1495
Resounds to heaven, and then long live the king!
And sure the shores of their re-ecchoed joys
Reach’d to the utmost bounds of distant seas,
Born by the flying winds thro’ yielding air,
And strike the foreign shores with awful fear. 1500
O ’tis a wonderous pleasure to be mad,
Such frantick turns our nation oft has had.
Permit it now, ye Stoicks, ne’er till now
The frenzy you more justly might allow,
Since ’tis a joyful fit that ends the fears 1505
And wretched fury of so many years.
Nor will the night her sable wings display
T’ obscure the lustre of so bright a day.
At least the much-transported multitude
Permits not the dark goddess to intrude. 1510
The whole isle seem’d to burn with joyful flames,
Whose rays gilt all the face of neighbouring Thames.
“But how shall I express the vulgar joys,
Their songs, their feasts, their laughter and their cries,
How fountains run with the vines precious juice, 1515
And such the flowing rivers shou’d produce,
Their streams the richest nectar should afford,
The Golden Age seems now again restor’d.
See, smiling Peace does her bright face display,
Down thro’ the air serene she cuts her way, 1520
Expels the clouds, and rises on the day.
Long exil’d from our shores, new joy she brings,
Embracing Albion with her snowy wings, nor
Comes she unattended, but a throng
Of noble British matrons brings along. 1525
Plenty, fair Fame, and charming Modesty,
Religion, long since fled with Loyalty,
And in a decent garb the lovely Piety,
Justice from fraud and perjury forc’d to fly,
Learning, Fine Arts, and generous Liberty, 1530
Blest Liberty, thou fairest in the train,
And most esteem’d in a just prince’s reign.
“With these, as lov’d, great Mary too return’d,
In her own country who long exile mourn’d.
You, royal mother! You, whose only crime 1535
Was loving Charles and sharing woes with him.
Now heaven repays, tho slow, yet just and true,
For him revenge, and just rewards for you.
Hail, mighty queen, form’d by the pow’rs divine,
The shame of our weak sex, and pride of thine, 1540
How well have you in either fortune shown,
In either still your mind was all your own.
The giddy world roll’d round you long in vain,
Who fix’d in virtues center still remain.
“And now, just prince! thou thy great mind shalt bring 1545
To the true weighty office of a king.
The gaping wounds of war thy hand shall cure,
The royal hand, gentle alike and sure,
And by insensible degrees efface
Of foregone ill the very scars and trace. 1550
Force to the injur’d law thou shalt restore,
And all that majesty it own’d before.
Thou long corrupted manners shalt reclaim,
And faith and honor to the English name.
Thus long-neglected gardens entertain 1555
Their banish’d master, when return’d again.
All over-run with weeds he finds, but soon
Luxuriant branches carefully will prune,
The weaken’d arms of the sick vine he’ll raise,
And with kind bands sustain the loosen’d sprays. 1560
Much does he plant, and much extirpate too, (uproot
And with his art and skill make all things new.
A work immense yet sweet, and which in future days,
When the fair trees their blooming glories raise,
The happy gard’ners labor over-pays. 1565
Cities and towns, great prince, thy gardens be,
With labor cultivated, worthy thee.
In decent order thou doest all dispose,
Nor are the woods nor rural groves disdain’d.
He who our wants, who all our breaches knows, 1570
He all our drooping fortunes has sustain’d,
As young colonies of trees thou dost replace
I’ th’ empty realms of our arboreal race.
Nay, dost our reign extend to future days,
And blest posterity, supinely laid, 1575
Shall feast and revel underneath thy shade.
Cool summer arbors then thy gift shalt be,
And their bright winter fires they’ll owe to thee.
To thee those beams their palaces sustain,
And all their floating castles on the main. 1580
Who knows, great prince, but thou this happy day
For towns and navies mayst foundations lay
After a thousand years are roll’d away.
Reap thou those mighty triumphs then which for thee grow,
And mighty triumphs for succeeding ages sow. 1585
Thou glory’s craggy top shalt first essay,
Divide the clouds, and mark the shining way.
To Fame’s bright temples shalt thy subjects guide,
The Britains bold, almost of night deny’d.
The foaming waves thy dread commands shall stay, 1590
Thy dread commands the foaming waves obey.
The watry world no Neptune owns but thee,
And thy three kingdoms shall thy trident be.
“What madness, o Batavians! you possest, (Dutch
That the sea’s scepter you’d from Britain wrest, 1595
Which Nature gave, whom she with floods has crown’d,
And fruitful Amphitrite celebrates round?
The rest o’ th’ world’s just kiss’d by Amphitrite,
Albion sh’ embraces, all her dear delight.
You scarce th’ insulting ocean can restrain, 1600
Nor bear the assaults of the besieging main,
Your graafts and mounds and trenches all in vain. (dikes
And yet what fond ambition spurs you on?  (silly
You dare attempt to make the seas your own,
O’er the vast ocean, which no limit knows, 1605
The narrow laws of ponds and fens impose.
But Charles his lively valour this defies,
And this the sturdy British oak denies.
O’er empty seas the fierce Batavian fleet
Sings triumphs, while there was no foe to meet. 1610
But fear not, Belgian, he’ll not tarry long,
He’ll soon be here and interrupt thy song.
Too late thou’lt of thy hasty joys complain,
And to thy native shores look back in vain.
Great James, as soon as the first whisper came, 1615
Prodigal of his life, and greedy but of fame,
With eager haste returns, as fast as they
After the dreadful fight will run away.
“And now the joyful English, from far
Approaching, saw the floating Belgian war. 1620
Hark what a shout they give, like those who come
From long East-Indy voyage rich loaden home,
When first they make the happy British land,
The dear white rocks, and Albion’s chalky strand.
“The way to all the rest brave Rupert show’d, 1625
And thro’ their fleet cuts out his flaming road,
Rupert, who now had stubborn Fate inclin’d,
Heaven on his side engaging, and the wind,
Famous by land and sea, whose valor soon
Blunts both the horns of the Batavian moon. 1630
“Next comes illustrious James, and where he goes,
To cowards leaves the crowd of vulgar foes,
To th’ Royal Sovereign’s deck he seems to grow,
Shakes his broad sword, and seeks an equal foe.
Nor did bold Opdam’s mighty mind refuse 1635
The dreadful honor which ’twas death to chuse.
Both admirals with haste for fight prepare,
The rest might stand and gaze, themselves a war.
“O whither, whither, Opdam, dost thou flie?
Can this rash valor please the pow’rs on high? 1640
It can’t, it won’t — Or woud’st thou proudly die
By which a mighty hand? No, Opdam, no,
Thy fate’s to perish b’ yet a nobler foe.
Heav’n only, Optam, shall thy conqu’ror be,
A labor worth its while to conquer thee. 1645
Heav’n shall be there to guard its best lov’d House,
And just revenge inflict on all your broken vows.
The mighty ship a hundred canons bore,
A hundred canons which like thunder roar.
Six times as many men in shivers torn, 1650
E’er one broadside or single shot’t had born,
Is with a horrid crack blown up to th’ sky
In smoak and flames, o’er all the ocean nigh
Torn, half-burnt limbs of ships and seamen scatter’d lie.
Whether a real bolt from heav’n was thrown 1655
Among the guilty wretches is not known,
Tho likely ’tis: Amboina’s wickedness,
And broken peace and oaths, deserv’d no less,
Or whether fatal gunpowder it were
By some unlucky spark enkindled there. 1660
Even chance, by heaven directed, is the rod,
The fiery shaft of an avenging God.
The flaming wrack the hissing deep floats o’er,
Far, far away, almost to either shore,
Which ev’n from pious foes wou’d pity draw, 1665
A trembling pity, mixt with dreadful aw.
But pity yet scarce any room can find.
What noise, what horror still remains behind?
On either side does wild confusion reign,
Ship grapples ship, and sink into the main. 1670
The Orange, careless of lost Opdam’s fate,
Will next to attack victorious James prepare,
Worthy to perish at the self-same rate.
But English guns sufficient thunder bear,
By English guns and human fire o’erpowr’d, 1675
’Tis quickly in the hissing waves devour’d.
Three ships besides are burnt, if fame says true,
None of whose baser names the goddess knew.
As many more the Dolphin did subdue,
Their decks in show’rs of kindred sulphur steep, 1680
And send ’em flaming to th’ affrighted deep.
So burns a city, storm’d and fir’d by night,
The shades are pierc’d with such a dreadful light.
Such dusky globes of flame around ’em broke
Through the dark shadow of the guns and smoke. 1685
“Can fire in water then such licence claim?
Justly the water hides itself for shame.
The dreadful wrack, outstretching far away,
Vast ruins o’er its trembling bosom lay.
Here masts and rudders from their vessels torn, 1690
There sails and flags across the waves are born,
A thousand floating bodies there appear,
As many half-dead men lie groaning here.
If anywhere the sea itself’s reveal’d,
With horrid purple tracks the azure wave’s conceal’d. 1695
All sunk or took, ’twere tedious to relate,
And all the sad variety of Fate
One day produces. With what art and skill
Ev’n Chance ingenious seems, to save or kill,
To spare, or to torment whoe’er she will. 1700
The vulgar deaths below the Muse to heed,
Not only faith, but number too exceed.
Three noble youths by the same sudden death
A brave example to the world bequeath.
Fam’d for high birth, but merits yet more high, 1705
All at one fatal moment’s warning die,
Torn by one shot, almost one body they,
Three brothers in one death confounded lay.
Who wou’d not Fortune harsh and barbarous call?
Yet Fortune was benign and kind withal, 1710
For next to these — I tremble still with fear,
My joys disturb’d while such a danger near.
Fearless, unhurt, the royal Adm’ral stood,
Stunn’d with the blow, and sprinkled with their blood.
Fiercer he presses on while they retir’d, 1715
He presses on with grief and anger fir’d,
Nor longer can the Belgian force engage.
The English valor, warm’d with double rage,
Breaks with their losses, and a cause so ill.
Their shatter’d fleet all the wide ocean fill, 1720
Till trembling Rhine opens his harbors wide,
Seeing the wretches from our thunder fly.
From our hot chase their shatter’d fleet he’d hide,
And bends his conquer’d horns as we go by.”
In sacred rage the Dryad this reveal’d, 1725
Yet many future wond’rous things conceal’d.
But this to grace some future bard will serve,
For better poets this the gods reserve.

Finis