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When he that patron chofe, in whom are join'd
Soldier and martyr, and his arms confin'd
Within the azure circle, he did feem
But to foretel, and prophesy of him,
Who to his realms that azure round hath join'd,
Which Nature for their bound at first design'd.
That bound which to the world's extreameft ends,
Endless itself, its liquid arms extends.
Nor doth he need thofe emblems which we paint,
But is himself the foldier and the faint.
Here should my wonder dwell,' and here my praife,
But my fix'd thoughts my wandering eye betrays,
Viewing a neighbouring hill, whofe top of late
A chapel crown'd, till in the common fate
Th' adjoining abbey fell: (may no such storm
Fall on our times, where ruin must reform!)
Tell me, my Mufe, what monitrous dire offence,
What crime could any Christian king incenfe
To fuch a rage? Was't, luxury, or lust ?
Was he fo temperate, so chafte, so just?
Were thefe their crimes? They were his own much more:
But wealth is crime enough to him that's poor;
Who, having spent the treasures of his crown,
Condemns their luxury to feed his own.
And yet this act, to varnish o'er the shame
Of facrilege, muft bear Devotion's name.
No crime fo bold, but would be understood
A real, or at leaft a feeming good:
Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the name,.
And free from conscience, is a flave to fame :
Thus he the church at once protects, and spoils :
But princes' fwords are sharper than their styles.
And thus to th' ages past he makes amends,
Their charity destroys, their faith defends.
Then did religion in a lazy cell,
In empty, airy contemplations dwell;
And like the block, unmoved lay: but ours,
As much too active, like the stork devours.
Is there no temperate region can be known,
Betwixt their frigid, and our torrid zone?
Could we not wake from that lethargic dream,
But to be reftlefs in a worse extreme?
And for that lethargy was there no cure,
But to be caft into a calenture?
Can knowledge have no bound, but muft advance
So far, to make us wish for ignorance;
And rather in the dark to grope our way,
Than led by a falfe guide to err by day?
Who fees these dismal heaps, but would demand
What barbarous invader fack'd the land?
But when he hears, no Goth, no Turk did bring
This defolation, but a Christian king;
When nothing, but the name of zeal, appears
'Twixt our best actions and the worst of theirs ;
What does he think our facrilege would spare,
When fuch th' effects of our devotions are?
Parting from thence 'twixt anger, fhame, and fear,
Those for what's past, and this for what's too near,
My eye defcending from the hill, furveys
Where Thames among the wanton vallies strays.
Thames, the most lov'd of all the Ocean's fons
By his old fire, to his embraces runs ;
Hafting to pay his tribute to the sea,
Like mortal life to meet eternity.
Though with those streams he no resemblance hold,
Whose foam is amber, and their gravel gold;
His genuine and less guilty wealth t' explore,
Search not his bottom, but furvey his shore;
O'er which he kindly spreads his fpacious wing,
And hatches plenty for th' enfuing spring.
Nor then destroys it with too fond a stay,
Like mothers which their infants overlay.
Nor with a fudden and impetuous wave,
Like profufe kings, refumes the wealth he gave.
No unexpected inundations spoil
The mower's hopes, nor mock the plowman's toil :
But god-like his unweary'd bounty flows;
First loves to do, then loves the good he does.
Nor are his bleffings to his banks confin'd,
But free, and common, as the sea or wind;
When he, to boast or to disperse his stores
Full of the tributes of his grateful shores,
Vifits the world, and in his flying towers
Brings home to us, and makes both Indies ours;
Finds wealth where 'tis, beftows it where it wants,
Cities in defarts, woods in cities plants.
So that to us no thing, no place is strange,
While his fair bofom is the world's exchange.
O could I flow like thee, and make thy ftream
My great example, as it is my theme!
Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull ;
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.
Heaven her Eridanus no more fhall boast,
Whofe fame in thine, like leffer current, 's loft;
Thy nobler ftreams fhall vifit Jove's abodes,
To fhine among the * stars, and bathe the gods.
Here nature, whether more intent to please
Us for herself, with ftrange varieties,
(For things of wonder give no less delight,
To the wife maker's, than beholder's fight."
Though these delights from several caufes move;
For fo our children, thus our friends we love)
Wifely the knew, the harmony of things,
As well as that of founds, from difcord fprings.
Such was the difcord, which did first disperse
Form, order, beauty, through the universe ;
While drynefs moisture, coldness heat refifts,
All that we have, and that we are, fubfifts.
While the steep horrid roughness of the wood
Strives with the gentle calmnefs of the flood.
Such huge extremes when nature doth unite,
Wonder from thence refults, from thence delight.
The stream is fo tranfparent, pure, and clear,
That had the felf-enamour'd youth gaz'd here,
So fatally deceiv'd he had not been,
While he the bottom, not his face had feen.
But his proud head the airy mountain hides
Among the clouds; his fhoulders and his fides
A fhady mantle cloaths; his curled brows
Frown on the gentle ftream, which calmly flows;
While winds and ftorms his lofty forehead beat:
The common fate of all that's high or great.
Low at his foot a spacious plain is plac'd,
Between the mountain and the ftream embrac'd:
Which shade and shelter from the hill derives,
While the kind river wealth and beauty gives;
And in the mixture of all these appears
Variety, which all the reft endears.
This fcene had fome bold Greek, or British bard
Beheld of old, what ftories had we heard
Of fairies, satyrs, and the nymphs their dames,
Their feafts, their revels, and their amorous flames?
'Tis ftill the fame, although their airy fhape
All but a quick poetic fight efcape.
There Faunus and Sylvanus keep their courts,
And thither all the horned hoft reforts
To graze the ranker mead, that noble herd,
On whofe fublime and fhady fronts is rear'd
Nature's great mafter-piece; to fhew how soon
Great things are made, but fooner are undone,
Here have I feen the king, when great affairs
Gave leave to flacken and unbend his cares,
Attended to the chafe by all the flower
Of youth, whofe hopes a nobler prey devour:
Pleasure with praife, and danger they would buy,
And with a foe that would not only fly.
The ftag now confcious of his fatal growth,
At once indulgent to his fear and floth,