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Heroes in heaven's peculiar mould are cast;
They, and their poets, are not formed in haste; Man was the first in God's design, and man was made the last.
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 ripened 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;
As after Numa's peaceful reign,
The martial Ancus* did the sceptre wield, Furbished the rusty sword again,
Resumed the long-forgotten shield,
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 Pompi lius as king of Rome.
For once, O heaven, unfold thy adamantine book; And let his wondering senate see,
If not thy firm immutable decree,
At least the second page of strong contingency,
Let them with glad amazement look
Let them not still be obstinately blind,
To starve the royal virtues of his mind.
Oh give them to believe, and they are surely blest.
In orderly array, a martial, manly train.
The British cannon formidably roars,
The asserted Ocean rears his reverend head,
The fasces of the main.
* Note VIII.
An unexpected burst of woes.-P. 62.
Charles II. enjoyed excellent health, and was particularly careful to preserve it by constant exercise. His danger, therefore, fell like a thunderbolt on his people, whose hearts were gained by his easy manners and good humour, and who considered, that the worst apprehensions they had ever entertained during his reign, arose from the religion and disposition of his successor. mingled passions of affection and fear produced a wonderful sensation on the nation. The people were so passionately concerned, that North says, and appeals to all who recollected the time for the truth of his averment, that it was rare to see a person walking the street with dry eyes. Examen. P. 647.
The second causes took the swift command,
All eager to perform their part.-P. 64.
If there is safety in the multitude of counsellors, Charles did not find it in the multitude of physicians. Nine were in attendance, all men of eminence; the presence of the least of whom, Le Sage would have said, was fully adequate to account for the subsequent catastrophe. They were Sir Thomas Millington, Sir Thomas Witherby, Sir Charles Scarborough, Sir Edmund King, Doctors Berwick, Charlton, Lower, Short, and Le Fevre. They signed a declaration, that the king had died of an apoplexy.
The joyful short-lived news soon spread around.—P. 65.
An article was published in the Gazette, on the third day of the king's illness, importing, "That his physicians now conceived him to be in a state of safety, and that in a few days he would be freed from his indisposition." North tells us, however, on the authority of his brother, the Lord Keeper, that the only hope which the physicians afforded to the council, was an assurance, (joyfully communicated,) that the king was ill of a violent fever. The council seeing little consolation in these tidings, one of the medical gentlemen explained, by saying, that they now knew what they had to do, which was to administer the cortex. This was done while life lasted, † although some of the physicians seem to have deemed the prescription improper; in which case, Charles, after escaping the poniards and pistols of the Jesuits, may be said to have fallen a victim to their bark.
And he who most performed, and promised less,
Even Short himself, forsook the unequal strife.-P. 67.
Dr Thomas Short, an eminent physician, who came into the court practice when Dr Richard Lower, who formerly enjoyed it, embraced the political principles of the Whig party. Short, a Roman Catholic, and himself a Tory, was particularly acceptable to the Tories. To this circumstance he probably owes the compliment paid him by our author, and another from Lord Mulgrave to the same purpose. Otway reckons, among his selected friends,
Short, beyond what numbers can commend. +
Duke has also inscribed to him his translation of the eleventh Idyllium of Theocritus; beginning,
O Short! no herb nor salve was ever found,
Dr Short, as one of the king's physicians, attended the deathbed of Charles, and subscribed the attestation, that he died of an apoplexy. Yet there has been ascribed to him an expression of dubious import, which caused much disquisition at the time;
RALPH, Vol. I. p. 834.
Life of Lord Keeper Guilford, p. 253.
Epistle to Mr Duke.