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So Libyan huntsmen, on some sandy plain,
From shady coverts rous'd, the lion chase : The kingly beast roars out with loud disdain,
And slowly moves, unknowing to give place.
As in a drought the thirsty creatures cry,
And gape upon the gather'd clouds for rain : And first the marilet meets it in the sky,
And with wet wings joys all the feather'd train :
But if some one approach to dare his force, With such glad hearts did our despairing men
He swings his tail, and swiftly turns him round: Salute th' appearance of the prince's fleet; With one paw seizes on his trembling horse, And each ambitiously would claim the ken,
And with the other tears him to the ground. That with first eyes did distant safety meet.
Amidst these toils succeeds the balmy night;
Now hissing waters the quench'd guns restore ; And weary waves, withdrawing from the fight,
Lie lull'd and panting on the silent shore.
The Dutch, who came like greedy hinds before,
To reap the harvest their ripe ears did yield, Now look like those, when rolling thunders roar,
And sheets of lightning blast the standing field.
The Moon shone clear on the becalmed flood, Full in the prince's passage, hills of sand,
Where, while her beams like glittering silver play, And dangerous Nats, in secret ambush lay, Upon the deck our careful general stood,
Where the false tides skim o'er the cover'd land, And deeply mus'd on the succeeding day. And seamen with dissembled depths betray.
For now brave Rupert from afar appears,
Thus reinforc'd, against the adverse fleet, Whose waving streamers the glad general knows: Still doubling ours, brave Rupert leads the way. With full-spread sails his eager navy steers, With the first blushes of the morn they meet,
And every ship in swift proportion grows. And bring night back upon the new-born day. The anxious prince had heard the cannon long.. His presence soon blows up the kindling fight,
And from that length of time dire omens drew, And his loud guns speak thick like angry men: Of English overmatch'd, and Dutch too strong, It seem'd as slaughter had been breath'd all night,
Who never fought three days, but to pursue. And Death new-pointed his dull dart again.
Then, as an eagle, who with pious care
Was beating widely on the wing for prey, To her now silent eyry does repair,
And finds her callow infants forc'd away:
The Dutch too well his mighty conduct knew,
And matchless courage, since the former fight; Whoso navy like a stiff-stretch'd cord did show,
Till he bore in and bent them into flight.
Stung with her love, she stoops upon the plain, The wind he shares, while half their fleet offends
The broken air loud whistling as she flies : His open side, and high above him shows : She stops and listens, and shoots forth again, Upon the rest at pleasure he descends,
And guides her pinions by her young ones' cries. And doubly harm'd he double harms bestowa. With such kind passion hastes the prince to fight, Behind the general mends his weary pace,
And spreads his flying canvas to the sound : And sullenly to his revenge he sails : Him, whom no danger, were he there, could fright, So glides some trodden serpent on the grass, Now absent every little noise can wound. And long behind his wounded volume trails.
Th' increasing sound is borne to either shore, Return'd, he with the fleet resolv'd to stay ;
And for their stakes the throwing nations fear: No tender thoughts of home his heart divide; Their passions double with the cannons' roar, Domestic joys and cares he puts away; [guide
And with warm wishes each man combats there. For realms are households which the great must
Already batter'd, by his lee they lay,
In burthen'd vessels first, with speedy care, In vain upon the passing winds they call : His plenteous stores do season'd timber send : The passing winds through their torn canvas play, Thither the brawny carpenters repair,
And flagging sails on heartless sailors fall. And as the surgeons of maim'd ships attend.
Their open'd sides receive a gloomy light, With cord and canvas, from rich Hamburgh sent, Dreadful as day let into shades below;
His navy's moulted wings he imps once more : Without grim Death rides barefac'd in their sight, Tall Norway fir, their masts in battle spent, And urges entering billows as they flow.
And English oak, sprung leaks and planks, restore When one dire shot, the last they could supply, All hands employ'd, the royal work grows warm:
Close by the board the prince's main-mast bore : Like laboring bees on a long summer's day, All three now helpless by each other lie,
Some sound the trumpet for the rest to swarm, And this offends not, and those fear no more. And some on bells of tasted lilies play.
This lucky hour the wise Batavian takes, Some the gallid ropes with dauby marline bind,
And warns his tatter'd feet to follow home : Or sear-cloth masts with strong tarpawling coats. Proud to have so got off with equal stakes, To try new shrouds one mounts into the wind, Where 'twas a triumph not to be o'ercome.
And one below their ease or stiffness notes. The general's force, as kept alive by fight,
Our careful monarch stands in person by, Now, not oppos’d, no longer can pursue :
His new-cast cannons' firmness to explore : Lasting till Heaven had done his courage right; The strength of big-corn'd powder loves to try,
When he had conquer'd he his weakness knew. And ball and cartridge sorts for every bore.
He casts a frown on the departing foe,
And sighs to see him quit the watery field : His stern fix'd eyes no satisfaction show,
For all the glories which the fight did yield.
Each day brings fresh supplies of arms and men,
And ships which all last winter were abroad; And such as fitted since the fight had been,
Or new from stocks, were fall'n into the road.
Though, as when fiends did miracles avow, The goodly London in her gallant trim,
He stands confess'd ev'n by the boastful Dutch : The Phenix, daughter of the vanish'd old, He only does his conquest disavow,
Like a rich bride does to the ocean swim, And thinks too little what they found too much. I And on her shadow rides in floating gold.
Her flag aloft spread ruffling to the wind,
O truly royal! who behold the law And sanguine streamers seem the flood to fire : And rule of beings in your Maker's mind : The weaver, charmd with what his loom design'd, And thence, like limbecs, rich ideas draw, Goes on to sea, and knows not to retire.
To fit the leveli'd use of human-kind.
With roomy decks, her guns of mighty strength, But first the toils of war we must endure, Whose low-laid mouths each mounting billow And from th' injurious Dutch redeem the seas: laves :
War makes the valiant of his right secure, Deep in her draught, and warlike in her length, And gives up fraud to be chastis'd with ease. She seems a sea-wasp flying on the waves.
Already were the Belgians on our coast, This martial present, piously design’d,
Whose feet more mighty every day became The loyal city give their best-lov'd king: By late success, which they did falsely boast, And with a bounty ample as the wind,
And now by first appearing seem'd to claim. Built, fitted, and maintain'd, to aid him bring.
Designing, subtle, diligent, and close, By viewing Nature, Nature's handmaid, Art, They knew to manage war with wise delay :
Makes mighty things from small beginnings grow: Yet all those arts their vanity did cross, Thus fishes first to shipping did impart,
And by their pride their prudence did betray. Their tail the rudder, and their head the prow.
Nor staid the English long; but well supplied, Some log perhaps upon the waters swam,
Appear as numerous as th' insulting foe: An useless drift, which, rudely cut within, The combat now by courage must be tried, And hollow'd first, a floating trough became,
And the success the braver nation show. And cross some rivulet passage did begin.
There was the Plymouth squadron now come in, In shipping such as this, the Irish kern
Which in the Straits last winter was abroad; And untaught Indian on the stream did glide: Which twice on Biscay's working bay had been, Ere sharp-keeld boats to stem the flood did learn, And on the midland sea the French had aw'd. Or fin-like oars did spread from either side.
Old expert Allen, loyal all along, Add but a sail, and Saturn so appear'd,
Fam'd for his action on the Smyrna fleet: When from lost empire he to exile went, And Holmes, whose name shall live in epic song, And with the golden age to Tyber steerd,
While music numbers, or while verse has feet. Where coin and commerce first he did invent.
Holmes, the Achates of the general's fight; Rude as their ships was navigation then;
Who first bewitch'd our eyes with Guinea gold No useful compass or meridian known; As once old Cato in the Roman sight Coasting, they kept the land within their ken,
The tempting fruits of Afric did unfold. And knew no north but when the Pole-star shone.
With him went Sprag, as bountiful as brave, or all who since have us'd the open sea,
Whom his high courage to command had brought: Than the bold English none more fame have won: Harman, who did the twice-fir'd Harry save, Beyond the year, and out of Heaven's high way, And in his burning ship undaunted fought. They make discoveries where they see no Sun.
Young Hollis on a Muse by Mars begot, But what so long in vain, and yet unknown, Born, Cæsar-like, to write and act great deeds :
By poor mankind's benighted wit is sought, Impatient to revenge his fatal shot, Shall in this age to Britain first be shown,
His right hand doubly to his left succeeds. And hence be to admiring nations taught.
Thousands were there in darker fame that dwell, The ebbs of tides and their mysterious flow,
Whose deeds some nobler poem shall adorn : We, as Art's elements, shall understand, And though to me unknown, they sure fought well, And as by line upon the ocean go,
Whom Rupert led, and who were British bom. Whose paths shall be familiar as the land.
Of every size an hundred fighting sail : Instructed ships shall sail to quick commerce, So vast the navy now at anchor rides, By which remotest regions are allied ;
That underneath it the press'd waters fail, Which makes one city of the universe,
And with its weight it shoulders off the tides. Where some may gain, and all may be supplied.
Now, anchors weigh'd, the seamen shout so shrill, Then we upon our globe's last verge shall go, That Heaven and Earth and the Wide Ocean And view the ocean leaning on the sky :
rings : From thence our rolling neighbors we shall know, A breeze from westward waits their sails to fill, And on the lunar world securely pry.
And rests in those high beds his downy wings. This I foretell from your auspicious care, The wary Dutch this gathering storm foresaw,
Who great in search of God and Nature grow; And durst not bide it on the English coast : Who best your wise Creator's praise declare, Behind their treacherous shallows they withdraw,
Since best to praise his works is best to know. And there lay snares to catch the British host
So the false spider, when her nets are spread, O famous leader of the Belgian fleet,
Deep ambush'd in her silent den does lie: Thy monument inscrib'd such praise shall wear And feels far off the trembling of her thread, As Varro timely Aying once did meet,
Whose filmy cord should bind the struggling fly. Because he did not of his Rome despair.
Then if at last she find him fast beset,
She issues forth, and runs along her loom : She joys to touch the captive in her net,
And drags the little wretch in triumph home.
Behold that navy, which a while before
Provok'd the tardy English close to fight; Now draw their beaten vessels close to shore,
As larks lie dar'd to shun the hobby's fight.
The Belgian's hoped that, with disorder'd haste, Whoe'er would English monuments survey
Our deep-cut keels upon the sands might run: In other records may our courage know: Or if with caution leisurely were past,
But let them hide the story of this day, Their numerous gross might charge us one by one. Whose fame was blemish'd by too base a foe.
But with a fore-wind pushing them above, Or if too busily they will inquire
And swelling tide that heav'd them from below, Into a victory, which we disdain;
And with spread sails to welcome battle go. Before the patron saint of injur'd Spain.
At length the adverse admirals appear;
But whate'er English to the blessed shall go, The two bold champions of each country's right: And the fourth Harry or first Orange meet; Their eyes describe the lists as they come near, Find him disowning of a Bourbon foo,
And draw the lines of death before they fight. And him detesting a Batavian fleet.
The distance judg'd for shot of every size, Now on their coasts our conquering navy rides,
The linslocks touch, the ponderous ball expires : Waylays their merchants, and their land besets ; The vigorous seaman every port-hole plies, Each day new wealth without their care provides ; And adds his heart to every gun he fires !
They lie asleep with prizes in their nets. Fierce was the fight on the proud Belgians' side, So close behind some promontory lie
For honor, which they seldom sought before : The huge leviathans t'attend their prey ; But now they by their own vain boasts were tied, And give no chase, but swallow in the fry,
And forc'd at least in show to prize it more. Which through their gaping jaws mistake the way
But sharp remembrance on the English part,
And shame of being match'd by such a foe, Rouse conscious virtue up in every heart,
And seeming to be stronger makes them so.
Nor was this all : in ports and roads remote,
Destructive fires among whole fleets we send ; Triumphant flames upon the water float,
And out-bound ships at home their voyage end
Nor long the Belgians could that fleet sustain, Those various squadrons variously design'd,
Which did two generals' fates, and Cæsar's, bear : Each vessel freighted with a several load, Each several ship a victory did gain,
Each squadron waiting for a several wind, As Rupert or as Albemarle were there.
All find but one, to burn them in the road.
Their batter'd admiral too soon withdrew, Some bound for Guinea, golden sand to find,
Bore all the gauds the simple natives wear: But he the minds of his Dutch masters knew, Some for the pride of Turkish courts design'd,
Who call'd that providence which we call’d flight. For folded turbans finest Holland bear.
Never did men more joyfully obey,
Or sooner understood the sign to fly : With such alacrity they bore away,
As if, to praise them, all the States stood by.
Some English wool vex'd in a Belgian loom,
And into cloth of spungy softness made,
To ruin with worse ware our staple trade
Our greedy seamen rummage every hold, And now no longer letted of his prey,
Smile on the booty of each wealthier chest, He leaps up at it with enrag'd desire : And, as the priests who with their gods make bold, O’erlooks the neighbors with a wide survey,
Take what they like, and sacrifice the rest. And nods at every house his threatening fire.
But ah! how insincere are all our joys! [stay: The ghosts of traitors from the bridge descend,
Which, sent from Heaven like lightning make no With bold fanatic spectres to rejoice : Their palling taste the journey's length destroys, About the fire into a dance they bend,
Or grief sent post o'ertakes them on the way. And sing their sabbath notes with feeble voice.
Swell’d with our late successes on the foe, Our guardian angel saw them where they sate
Which France and Holland wanted power to cross, Above the palace of our slumbering king : We urge an unseen fate to lay us low,
He sigh’d, abandoning his charge to Fate, And feed their envious eyes with English loss. And drooping, oft look'd back upon the wing.
Each element his dread command obeys,
Who makes or ruins with a smile or frown; Who, as by one he did our nation raise,
So now he with another pulls us down.
At length the crackling noise and dreadful blaze
Call'd up some waking lover to the sight;
Whose heavy eyelids yet were full of night.
Yet, London, empress of the northern clime, The next to danger, hot pursued by Fate,
By an high fate thou greatly didst expire ; Half-cloth’d, half-naked, hastily retire : Great as the world's, which, at the death of Time, And frighted mothers strike their breasts too late
Must fall, and rise a nobler frame by Fire. For helpless infants left amidst the fire.
As when some dire usurper Heaven provides, Their cries soon waken all the dwellers near;
To scourge his country with a lawless sway; Now murmuring noises rise every street: His birth, perhaps, some petty village hides, The more remote run stumbling with their fear,
And sets his cradle out of Fortune's way : And in the dark men justle as they meet.
But if night-robbers lift the well-stor'd hive, His prince, surpris'd at first, no ill could doubt, An humming through their waxen city grows,
And wants the power to meet it when 'tis known. And out upon each other's wings they drive.
Such was the rise of this prodigious Fire,
Which in mean buildings first obscurely bred, From thence did soon to open streets aspire,
And straight to palaces and temples spread.
Now streets grow throng'd and busy as by day:
Some run for buckets to the hallow'd quire : Some cut the pipes, and some the engines play ;
And some more bold mount ladders to the fire.
The diligence of trades and noiseful gain,
And luxury more late, asleep were laid : All was the Night's; and in her silent reign
No sound the rest of Nature did invade.
In vain: for from the east a Belgian wind
His hostile breath through the dry rafters sent; The flames impellid soon left their foes behind,
And forward with a wanton fury went.
In this deep quiet, from what source unknown, A key of fire ran all along the shore,
Those seeds of Fire their fatal birth disclose; And lighten'd all the river with a blaze :
And wondering fish in shining waters gaze.
Then in some close-pent room it crept along,
And, smouldering as it went, in silence fed ; Till th' infant monster, with devouring strong,
Walk'd boldly upright with exalted head.
Old father Thames rais'd up his reverend head,
But fear'd the fate of Simois would return : Deep in his ooze he sought his sedgy bed,
And shrunk his waters back into his urn.
Now like some rich or mighty murderer,
The Fire, meantime, walks in a broader gross ; Too great for prison, which he breaks with gold; To either hand his wings he opens wide: Who fresher for new mischiefs does appear, He wades the streets, and straight he reaches cross,
And dares the world to tax him with the old : And plays his longing flames on th' other side.
So scapes th' insulting Fire his narrow jail,
And makes small outlets into open air : There the fierce winds his tender force assail,
And beat him downward to his first repair.
At first they warm, then scorch, and then they take;
Now with long necks from side to side they feed; At length grown strong, their mother Fire forsake,
And a new colony of Flames succeed.
The winds, like crafty courtesans, withheld To every nobler portion of the town
His flames from burning, but to blow them more : The curling billows roll their restless tide : And every fresh attempt, he is repellid
In parties now they straggle up and down, With faint denials weaker than before.
As armies unoppos'd for prey divide.