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He drain'd from all, and all they knew ;
Amidst the peaceful triumphs of his reign,
If science raised her head,
And soft humanity, that from rebellion fled. Our isle, indeed, too fruitful was before; But all uncultivated lay
Out of the solar walk, and heaven's high way ;*
With rank Geneva weeds run o'er,
And cockle, at the best, amidst the corn it bore: The royal husbandman appear'd,
And plough'd, and sow'd, and till'd;
The thorns he rooted out, the rubbish clear'd,
When straight a double harvest rose,
Or paradise manured, and drest by hands divine.
As when the new-born phoenix takes his way, His rich paternal regions to survey,
Of airy choristers a numerous train
Attend his wonderous progress o'er the plain;
So glorious did our Charles return;
* A similar line occurs in the Annus Mirabilis, St. 160.
Beyond the year, and out of heaven's high-way.
The expression is originally Virgil's:
Extra anni, solisque vias.
The officious muses came along,
A gay harmonious quire, like angels ever young; The muse, that mourns him now, his happy triumph sung.*
Even they could thrive in his auspicious reign; And such a plenteous crop they bore
Of purest and well-winnow'd grain, As Britain never knew before.
Though little was their hire, and light their gain,
Live blest above, almost invoked below;
Our patron once, our guardian angel now!
Who didst by wise delays divert our fate,
In death's most hideous form,
Not quitting thy supreme command,
Oh frail estate of human things,
And slippery hopes below!
Now to our cost your emptiness we know ;
*See the Astræa Redux.
For 'tis a lesson dearly bought,
When scarce he had escaped the fatal blow
Death did his promised hopes destroy;
So saints, by supernatural power set free,
Twice twelve we number'd since his blest return: So strictly wer't thou just to pay,
Even to the driblet of a day.*
Yet still we murmur, and complain
The quails and manna should no longer rain :
Those miracles 'twas needless to renew;
The chosen flock has now the promised land in view.
A warlike prince ascends the regal state,
A prince long exercised by fate:
Long may he keep, though he obtains it late!
*Reckoning from the death of his father, Charles had reigned thirty-six years and eight days; and, counting from his restoration, twenty-four years, eight months, and nine days.
Heroes in heaven's peculiar mould are cast;
False heroes, made by flattery so,
Heaven can strike out, like sparkles, at a blow;
With hardening cold, and forming heat,
Before 'twas tried and found a master-piece.
View then a monarch ripen'd for a throne. Alcides thus his race began,
O'er infancy he swiftly ran;
The future God at first was more than man :
Even o'er his cradle lay in wait,
And there he grappled first with fate;
In his young hands the hissing snakes he prest,
Thus, by degrees, he rose to Jove's imperial seat;
And to his infant arms oppose
His father's rebels, and his brother's foes;
The hydra of the many-headed hissing crew.
As after Numa's peaceful reign,
The martial Ancus* did the sceptre wield, Furbish'd the rusty sword again,
Resumed the long-forgotten shield, And led the Latins to the dusty field; So James the drowsy genius wakes Of Britain long entranced in charms, Restiff and slumbering on its arms; "Tis roused, and, with a new-strung nerve, the spear already shakes.
No neighing of the warrior steeds,
His voice, his sole appearance, makes them bold.
Long may they fear this awful prince,
And not provoke his lingering sword; Peace is their only sure defence,
Their best security his word.
In all the changes of his doubtful state,
His valour can triumph o'er land and main ;
* Ancus Martius, who succeeded the peaceful Numa Pompilius as King of Rome.