A Poem, Addressed to the Lord Privy Seal, on the Prospect of Peace

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To The Lord Privy SealContending kings, and fields of death, too long,Have been the subject of the British song.Who hath not read of fam'd Ramillia's plain,Bavaria's fall, and Danube chok'd with slain!Exhausted themes! A gentler note I raise,And sing returning peace in softer lays.Their fury quell'd, and martial rage allay'd,I wait our heroes in the sylvan shade:Disbanding hosts are imag'd to my mind,And warring pow'rs in friendly leagues combin'd,While ease and pleasure make the nations smile,And Heav'n and Anna bless Britannia's isle. Well sends our Queen her mitred Bristol forth,For early counsels fam'd, and long try'd worth,Who, thirty rolling years, had oft withheldThe Swede and Saxon ftom the dusty field;Completely form'd to heal the Christian wounds,To name the kings, and give each kingdom bounds,The face of ravag'd nature to repair,By leagues to soften Earth, and Heav'n by pray'r,To gain by law, where rage and slaughter fail,And make the crosier o'er the sword prevail. So when great Moses, with Jehovah's wand,Had scatter'd plagues o'er stubborn Pharaoh's land,Now spread an host of locusts round the shore,Now turn'd Nile's fatt'ning streams to putrid gore;Plenty and gladness mark'd the priest of God,And sudden almonds shot from Aaron's rod. O thou, from whom these bounteous blessings flow,To whom, as chief, the hopes of peace we owe,(For next to thee, the man whom kings contendTo style companion, and to make their friend,Great Strafford, rich in ev'ry courtly grace,With joyful pride accepts the second place.)From Britain's isle, and Isis' sacred springOne hour, oh! listen while the muses sing.Though ministers of mighty monarchs wait,With beating hearts, to learn their masters' fate,One hour forbear to speak thy Queen's commands,Not think the world, thy charge, neglected stands;The blissful prospects, in my verse display'd,May lure the stubborn, the deceiv'd persuade,Ev'n thou to peace shall speedier urge the way,And more be hasten'd by this short delay.A Poem on The Prospect of PeaceThe haughty Gaul, in ten campaigns o'erthrown,Now ceas'd to think the western world his own.Oft had he mourn'd his boasting leaders bound,And his proud bulwarks smoking on the ground;In vain with pow'rs renew'd he fill'd the plain,Made tim'rous vows, and brib'd the saints in vain;As oft his legions did the fight decline,Lurk'd in the trench, and skulk'd behind the line.Before his eyes the fancy'd javelin gleams,At feasts he starts, and seems dethron'd in dreams,On glory past reflects with secret pain,On mines exhausted, and on millions slain. To Britain's Queen the sceptred suppliant bends,To her his crowns and infant race commends,Who grieves her fame with Christian blood to buy,Nor asks for glory at a price so high.At her decree the war suspended stands,And Britain's heroes hold their lifted hands,Their open brows no threat'ning frowns disguise,But gentler passions sparkle in their eyes.The Gauls, who never in their courts could findSuch temper'd fire with manly beauty join'd,Doubt if they're those, whom dreadful to the viewIn forms so fierce their fearful fancies drew,At whose dire names ten thousand widows press'dTheir helpless orphans clinging to the breast.In silent rapture each his foe surveys,Firm friendship vows, and gives alternate praise.Brave minds, howe'er at war, are secret friends,Their gen'rous discord with the battle ends;In peace they wonder whence dissention rose,And ask how souls so like could e'er be foes, Methinks I hear more friendly shouts rebound,And social clarions mix their sprightly sound,The British flags are furl'd, her troops disband,And scatter'd armies seek their native land.The hardy vet'ran, proud of many a scar,The manly charms and honours of the war,Who hop'd to share his friends' illustrious doom,And in the battle find a soldier's tomb,Leans on his spear to take a farewell view,And sighing bids the glorious camp adieu. Ye gen'rous fair, receive the brave with smiles,O'er-pay their sleepness nights, and crown their toils;Soft beauty is the gallant solder's due,For you they conquer, and they bleed for you.In vain proud Gaul with boastful Spain conspires,When English valour English beauty fires;The nations dread your eyes, and kings despairOf chiefs so brave, till they have nymphs so fair. See the fond wife, in tears of transport drown'd,Hugs her rough lord, and weeps o'er ev'ry wound,Hangs on the lips that fields of blood relate,And smiles, or trembles at his various fate.Near the full bowl he draws the fancy'd line,And marks feign'd trenches in the flowing wine,He sets th' invested fort before her eyes,And mines, that whirl'd whole squadrons to the skies;His little list'ning progeny turn pale,And beg again to hear the dreadful tale. Such dire achievements sings the bard, that tellsOf palfrey'd dames, bold knights, and magic spells,Where whole brigades one champion's arms o'erthrow,And cleave a giant at a random blow,Slay paynims vile, that force the fair, and tameThe goblin's fury, and the dragon's flame. Our eager youth to distant nations runs,To visit fields, their valiant fathers won;From Flandria's shore their country's fame they traceTill far Germania shows her blasted face;Th' exulting Briton asks his mournful guide,Where his hard fate the lost Bavarian try'd,Where Stepney grav'd the stone to Anna's fame:He points to Blenheim, once a vulgar name;Here fled the Household, there did Tallard yield,Here Marlb'rough turn'd the fortune of the field,On those steep banks, near Danube's raging floodThe Gauls thrice started back, and trembling stood:When, Churchill's arm perceiv'd, they stood not long,But plung'd amidst the waves, a desp'rate throng,Crowds whelm'd on crowds dash'd wide the wat'ry bed,And drove the current to its distant head. As when by Raphael's, or by Kneller's handsA warlike courser on the canvas stands,Such as on Landen bleeding Ormond bore,Or set young Ammon on the Granic shore;If chance a gen'rous steed the work behold,He snorts, he neighs, he champs the foamy gold:So, Hocstet seen, tumultuous passions roll,And hints of glory fire the Briton's soul,In fancy'd fights he sees the troops engage,And all the tempest of the battle rage. Charm me, ye pow'rs, with scenes less nobly bright,Far humbler thoughts th' inglorious muse delight,Content to see the horrors of the fieldBy plough-shares level'd, or in flow'rs conceal'd.O'er shatter'd walls may creeping ivy twine,And grass luxuriant clothe the harmless mine,Tame flocks ascend the breach without a wound,Or crop the bastion, now a fruitful ground;While shepherds sleep, along the rampart laid,Or pipe beneath the formidable shade. Who was the man? Oblivion blast his name,Torn out, and blotted from the list of fame!Who fond of lawless rule, and proudly brave,First sunk the filial subject to a slave,His neighbour's realm by frauds un-kingly gain'd,In guiltless blood the sacred ermine stain'd,Laid schemes for death, to slaughter turn'd his heart,And fitted murder to the rules of art. Ah! curst Ambition, to thy lures we oweAll the great ills, that mortals bear below.Curs'd by the hind, when to the spoil he yieldsHis year's whole sweat, and vainly ripen'd fields;Curs'd by the maid, torn from her lover's side,When left a widow, though not yet a bride;By mothers curs'd, when floods of tears they shed,And scatter useless roses on the dead.Oh sacred Bristol! then what dangers proveThe arts, thou smil'st on with paternal love?Then, mix'd with rubbish by the brutal foes,In vain the marble breathes, the canvas glows;To shades obscure the glitt'ring sword pursuesThe gentle poet, and defenceless muse.A voice, like thine alone, might then assuageThe warrior's fury, and control his rage;To hear thee speak might the fierce Vandal stand,And fling the brandish'd sabre from his hand. Far hence be driv'n to Scythia's stormy shoreThe drum's harsh music, and the cannon's roar;Let grim Bellona haunt the lawless plain,Where Tartar clans, and grisly Cossacks reign;Let the steel'd Turk be deaf to matrons' cries,See virgins ravish'd with relentless eyes,To death grey heads and smiling infants doom,Nor spare the promise of the pregnant womb,O'er wasted kingdoms spread his wide command,The savage lord of an unpeopled land. Her guiltless praises just Britannia drawsFrom pure religion, and impartial laws,To Europe's wounds a mother's aid she brings,And holds in equal scales the rival kings:Her gen'rous sons in choicest gifts abound,In arms alike, alike in arts renown'd. As when sweet Venus (so the fable sings)Awak'd by Nereids, from the ocean springs,With smiles she sees the threat'ning billows rise,Spreads smooth the surge, and clears the low'ring skies,Light, o'er the deep, with flutt'ring Cupids crown'd,The pearly conch and silver turtles bound;Her tresses shed ambrosial odours round. Amidst the world of waves so stands sereneBritannia's isle, the ocean's stately queen;In vain the nations have conspir'd her fall,Her trench the sea, and fleets her floating wall:Defenceless barks, her pow'rful navy near,Have only waves and hurricanes to fear.What bold invader, or what land oppress'dHath not her anger quell'd, her aid redress'd!Say, where have e'er her union-crosses sail'd,But much her arms, her justice more prevail'd!Her labours are to plead th'Almighty's cause,Her pride of teach th' untam'd barbarian laws:Who conquers, wins by brutal strength the prize;But 'tis a godlike work to civilize. Have we forgot how from great Russia's throneThe King, whose pow'r half Europe's regions own,Whose sceptre waving, with one shout rush forthIn swarms the harness'd millions of the north,Through realms of ice pursu'd his tedious wayTo court our friendship, and our fame survey!Hence the rich prize of useful arts he bore,And round his empire spread the learned store:(T' adorn old realms is more than new to raise,His country's parent is a monarch's praise.)His bands now march in just array to war,And Caspian gulfs unusual navies bear;With runic lays Smolensko's forests ring,And wond'ring Volga hears the muses sing.Did not the painted kings of India greetOur Queen, and yield their sceptres at her feet!Chiefs who full bowls of hostile blood had quaff'd.Fam'd for the javelin, and invenom'd shaft,Whose haughty brows made savages adore,Nor bow'd to less than stars, or sun before.Her pitying smile accepts their suppliant claim,And adds four monarchs to the Christian name. Bless'd use of pow'r! O virtuous pride in kings!And like His bounty, whence dominion springs!Which o'er new worlds makes Heav'n's indulgence shine,And ranges myriads under laws divine!Well bought with all that those sweet regions hold,With groves of spices, and with mines of gold. Fearless our merchant now may fetch his gain,And roam securely o'er the boundless main.Now o'er his head the polar bear he spies,And freezing spangles of the Lapland skies,Now swells his canvas to the sultry line,With glitt'ring spoils where Indian grottoes shine,Where fumes of incense glad the southern seas,And wafted citron scents the balmy breeze.Here nearer suns prepare the rip'ning gem,To grace great Anne's imperial diadem,And here the ore, whose melted mass shall yieldOn faithful coins each memorable field,Which, mix'd with medals of immortal Rome,May clear disputes, and teach the times to come. In circling beams shall godlike Anna glow,And Churchill's sword hang o'er the prostrate foe,In comely wounds shall bleeding worthies stand,Webb's firm platoon, and Lumley's faithful band,Bold Mordaunt in Iberian trophies dress'd,And Campbell's dragon on his dauntless breast,Great Ormond's deeds on Vigo's spoils enroll'd,And Guiscard's knife on Harley's Chile gold.And if the Muse, O Bristol, might decree,Her Granville noted by the lyre should be,The lyre for Granville, and the cross for thee. Such are the honours grateful Britain pays,So patriots merit, and so monarchs praise.O'er distant times such records shall prevail,When English numbers, antiquated, fail:A trifling song the muse can only yield,And soothe her soldiers panting from the field,To sweet retirements see them safe convey'd,And raise their battles in the rural shade.From fields of death to Woodstock's peaceful glooms(The poet's haunt) Britannia's hero comes---Begin, my muse, and softly touch the string:Here Henry lov'd; and Chaucer learn'd to sing. Hail fabled grotto! hail Elysian soil!Thou fairest spot of fair Britannia's isle!Where kings of old conceal'd forgot the throne,And beauty was content to shine unknown,Where love and war by turns pavilions rear,And Henry's bow'rs near Blenheim's dome appear;Thy weary'd champion lull in soft alcoves,The noblest boast of thy romantic groves.Oft, if the muse presage, shall he be seenBy Rosamonda fleeting o'er the green,In dreams be hail'd by heroes' mighty shades,And hear old Chaucer warble through the glades,O'er the fam'd echoing vaults his name shall bound,And hill to hill reflect the fav'rite sound. Here, here at least thy love for arms give o'er,Nor, one world conquer'd, fondly wish for more.Vice of great souls alone! O thirst of fame!The muse admires it, while she strives to blame.Thy toils be now to chase the bounding deer,Or view the coursers stretch in wild career;This lovely scene shall soothe thy soul to rest,And wear each dreadful image from thy breast,With pleasure, by thy conquests shalt thou seeThy Queen triumphant, and all Europe free,No cares henceforth shall thy repose destroy,But what thou giv'st the world, thy self enjoy. Sweet solitude! when life's gay hours are past,Howe'er we range, in thee we fix at last,Toss'd through tempestuous seas (the voyage o'er)Pale we look back, and bless thy friendly shore.Our own strict judges our past life we scan,And ask if glory hath enlarg'd the span;If bright the prospect, we the grave defy,Trust future ages, and contented die. When strangers from far distant climes come,To view the pomp of this triumphant dome,Where rear'd aloft dissembled trophies stand,And breathing labours of the sculptor's hand,Where Kneller's art shall paint the flying Gaul,And Bourbon's woes shall fill the story'd wall;Heirs of thy blood shall o'er their bounteous boardFix Europe's guard, thy monumental sword,Banners that oft had wav'd on conquer'd walls,And trumps, that drown'd the groans of gasping Gauls.Fair dames shall oft, with curious eye, exploreThe costly robes that slaughter'd gen'rals wore,Rich trappings from the Danube's whirlpools brought,(Hesperian nuns the gorgeous broid'ry wrought)Belts stiff with gold, the Boian horseman's pride,And Gaul's fair flow'rs, in human crimson dy'd.Of Churchill's race perhaps some lovely boyShall mark the burnish'd steel, that hangs on high,Shall gaze transported on its glitt'ring charms,And reach it struggling with unequal arms,By signs the drum's tumultuous sound request,Then seek, in starts, the hushing mother's breast. So, in the painter's animated frame,Where Mars embraces the fair Paphian dame,The little Loves in sport his fauchion wield,Or join their strength to heave his pond'rous shield:One strokes the plume in Tityon's gore embru'd.And one the spear, that reeks with Typhon's blood,Another's infant-brows the helm sustain,He nods his crest, and frights the shrieking train. Thus, the rude tempest of the field o'erblown,Shall whiter rounds of smiling years roll on,Our victors, blest in peace, forget their wars,Enjoy past dangers, and absolve the stars.But oh! what sorrows shall bedew your urns,Ye honour'd shades, whom widow'd Albion mourns!If your thin forms yet discontented moan,And haunt the mangled mansions, once your own,Behold what flow'rs the pious muses strow,And tears, which in the midst of triumph flow,Cypress and bays your envy'd brows surround,Your names the tender matron's heart shall wound,And the soft maid grow pensive at the sound. Accept, great Anne, the tears their mem'ry draws,Who nobly perish'd in their sov'reign's cause:For thou in pity bid'st the war give o'er,Mourn'st thy slain heroes, nor wilt venture more.Vast price of blood on each victorious day!(But Europe's freedom doth that price repay.)Lamented triumphs! when one breath must tellThat Marlborough conquer'd, and that Dormer fell. Great Queen! whose name strikes haughty monarchs pale,On whose just sceptre hangs Europa's scale,Whose arm like mercy wounds, decides like fate,On whose decree the nations anxious wait:From Albion's cliffs thy wide-extended handShall o'er the main to far Peru command.So vast a tract whose wide domain shall run,Its circling skies shall see no setting sun.Thee, thee an hundred languages shall claim,And savage Indians swear by Anna's name,The line and poles shall own thy rightful sway,And thy commands the sever'd globe obey. Round the vast ball thy new dominions chainThe wat'ry kingdoms, and control the main,Magellan's straits to Gibraltar they join,Across the seas a formidable line;The sight of adverse Gaul we fear no more,But pleas'd see Dunkirk, now a guiltless shore;In vain great Neptune tore the narrow ground,And meant his waters for Britannia's bound,Her giant Genius takes a mighty stride,And sets his foot beyond th' encroaching tide,On either bank the land its master knows,And in the midst the subject ocean flows. So near proud Rhodes, across the raging flood,Stupendous form! the vast Colossus stood,(While at one foot the thronging galleys ride,A whole hour's sail scarce reach'd the further side)Betwixt his brazen thighs, in close array,Ten thousand streamers on the billows play. By Harley's counsels Dunkirk now restor'dTo Britain's empire, owns her ancient lord.In him transfus'd his godlike father reigns,Rich in the blood which swell'd that patriot's veins,Who boldly faithful met his sov'reign's frown,And scorned for gold to yield th' important town.His son was born the ravish'd prey to claim,And France still trembles at an Harley's name. A fort so dreadul to our English shore,Our fleets scarce fear'd the sands or tempest more,Whose vast expenses to such sums amount,That the tax'd Gaul scarce furnish'd out th' account,Whose walls such bulwarks, such vast tow'rs restrain,Its weakest ramparts are the rocks and main,His boast great Louis yields, and cheaply buysThy friendship, Anna, with the mighty prize.Holland repining, and in grief cast down,Sees the new glories of the British crown:Ah! may they ne'er provoke thee to the fight,Nor foes, more dreadful than the Gaul, invite,Soon may they hold the olive, soon assuageTheir secret murmurs, nor call forth thy rageTo rend their banks, and pour, at one command,Thy realm the sea o'er their precious land. Henceforth be thine, vice-gerent of the skies,Scorn'd worth to raise, and vice in robes chastise,To dry the orphan's tears, and from the barChase the brib'd judge, and hush the wordy war,Deny the curst blasphemer's tongue to rage,And turn God's fury from an impious age.Blest change! the soldier's late destroying handShall rear new temples in his native land,Mistaken zealots shall with fear behold,And beg admittance in our sacred fold;On her own works the pious Queen shall smile,And turn her cares upon her fav'rite isle. So the keen bolt a warrior angel aims,Array'd in clouds , and wrapp'd in mantling flames,He bears a tempest on his sounding wings,And his red arm the forky vengeance flings;At length, Heav'n's wrath appeas'd, he quits the war,To roll his orb, and guide his destin'd star,To shed kind fate, and lucky hours bestow,And smile propitious on the world below. Around thy throne shall faithful nobles wait,These guard the Church, and those direct the state.The Church her tow'ry forehead gently rears,She begs her pious son t' assert her cause,Defend her rights, and re-inforce her laws,With holy zeal the sacred work begin,To bend the stubborn, and the meek to win. Our Oxford's Earl in careful thought shall stand,To raise his Queen, and save a sinking land.The wealthiest glebe to rav'nous Spaniards known,He marks, and makes the golden world our own,Content with hands unsoil'd to guard the prize,And keep the store with undesiring eyes. So round the trees, that bore Hesperian gold,The sacred watch lay curl'd in many a fold,His eyes up-rearing to th' untasted prey,The sleepless guardian wasted life away. Beneath the peaceful olives, rais'd by you,Her ancient pride shall ev'ry art renew,(The arts with you fam'd Harcourt shall defend,And courtly Bolingbroke the muse's friend.)With piercing eye some search where nature plays,And trace the wanton through her darksome maze,Whence health from herbs; from seeds how groves begun,How vital streams in circling eddies run.Some teach why round the sun the spheres advance,In the fix'd measures of their mystic dance,How tides, when heav'd by pressing moons, o'erflow,And sun-born Iris paints her show'ry bow.In happy chains our daring language bound,Shall sport no more in arbitrary sound,But buskin'd bards henceforth shall wisely rage,And Grecian plans reform Britannia's stage:Till Congreve bids her smile, Augusta standsAnd longs to weep when flowing Rowe commands.Britain's Spectators shall their strength combineTo mend our morals, and our taste refine,Fight virtue's cause, stand up in wit's defence,Win us from vice, and laugh us into sense.Nor, Prior, hast thou hush'd the trump in vain,Thy lyre shall now revive her mirthful strain,New tales shall now be told; if right I see,The soul of Chaucer is restor'd in thee.Garth, in majestic numbers, to the starsShall raise mock-heroes, and fantastic wars.Like the young spreading laurel, Pope, thy nameShoots up with strength, and rises into fame;With Philips shall the peaceful valleys ring,And Britain hear a second Spenser sing.That much-lov'd youth, whom Utrecht's walls confine,To Bristol's praises shall his Strafford's join:He too, from whom attentive Oxford drawsRules for just thinking, and poetic laws,To growing bards his learned aid shall lend,The strictest critic, and the kindest friend.Ev'n mine, a bashful muse, whose rude essaysScarce hope for pardon, not aspire to praise.Cherish'd by you in time may grow to fame,And mine survive with Bristol's glorious name. Fir'd with the views this glitt'ring scene displays,And smit with passion for my country's praise,My artless reed attempts this lofty theme,Where sacred Isis rolls her ancient stream;In cloister'd domes the great Philippa's pride,Where learning blooms, while fame and worth preside,Where the Fifth Henry arts and arms was taught,And Edward form'd his Cressy, yet unfought,Where laurel'd bards have struck the warbling strings,The seat of sages, and the nurse of kings.Here thy commands, O Lancaster, inflameMy eager breast to raise the British name,Urge on my soul, with no ignoble pride,To woo the muse, whom Addison enjoy'd,See that bold swan to Heav'n sublimely soar,Pursue at distance, and his steps adore.

© Thomas Tickell