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Thus, in alternate course,

The tyrant passions, hope and fear,
Did in extremes appear,
And flashed upon the soul with equal force.
Thus, at half ebb, a rolling sea

Returns, and wins upon the shore;

The watery herd, affrighted at the roar,
Rest on their fins awhile, and stay,
Then backward take their wondering way:
The prophet wonders more than they,
At prodigies but rarely seen before,

And cries, a king must fall, or kingdoms change their sway.

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Such were our counter-tides at land, and so
Presaging of the fatal blow,

In their prodigious ebb and flow.

The royal soul, that, like the labouring moon,
By charms of art was hurried down,
Forced with regret to leave her native sphere,
Came but a while on liking* here:
Soon weary of the painful strife,
And made but faint essays of life:
An evening light
Soon shut in night;

A strong distemper, and a weak relief,
Short intervals of joy, and long returns of grief.

Hurls up the scaly ooze, and makes the scaly brood

Leap madding to the land affrighted from the flood;
O'erturns the toiling barch whose steersman does not launch,
And thrust the furrowing beak into her ravening paunch.

Poly-Albion, Song VII.

* To engage upon liking, (an image rather too familiar for the occasion,) is to take a temporary trial of a service, or business, with licence to quit it at pleasure.


The sons of art all med'cines tried,
And every noble remedy applied;
With emulation each essayed
His utmost skill; nay, more, they prayed:
Never was losing game with better conduct played.
Death never won a stake with greater toil,
Nor e'er was fate so near a foil:

But, like a fortress on a rock,

The impregnable disease their vain attempts did mock;

They mined it near, they battered from afar
With all the cannon of the medicinal war;
No gentle means could be essayed,

Twas beyond parley when the siege was laid.
The extremest ways they first ordain,
Prescribing such intolerable pain,
As none but Cæsar could sustain:
Undaunted Cæsar underwent
The malice of their art, nor bent

Beneath whate'er their pious rigour could invent.
In five such days he suffered more
Than any suffered in his reign before;
More, infinitely more, than he,

Against the worst of rebels could decree,
A traitor, or twice pardoned enemy.
Now art was tired without success,

No racks could make the stubborn malady confess.
The vain insurancers of life,

And he who most performed, and promised less,

Even Short* himself, forsook the unequal strife. Death and despair was in their looks,

No longer they consult their memories or books; Like helpless friends, who view from shore

* Note IV.

The labouring ship, and hear the tempest roar;
So stood they with their arms across,
Not to assist, but to deplore

The inevitable loss.


Death was denounced; that frightful sound
Which even the best can hardly bear;
He took the summons void of fear,
And unconcernedly cast his eyes around,
As if to find and dare the grisly challenger.
What death could do he lately tried,
When in four days he more than died.
The same assurance all his words did grace;
The same majestic mildness held its place;
Nor lost the monarch in his dying face.
Intrepid, pious, merciful, and brave,

He looked as when he conquered and forgave.


As if some angel had been sent
To lengthen out his government,
And to foretel as many years again,
As he had numbered in his happy reign;
So cheerfully he took the doom
Of his departing breath,

Nor shrunk nor stept aside for death;
But, with unaltered pace, kept on,
Providing for events to come,

When he resigned the throne.
Still he maintained his kingly state,
And grew familiar with his fate.
Kind, good, and gracious, to the last,
On all he loved before his dying beams he cast:

Oh truly good, and truly great,

For glorious as he rose, benignly so he set!

All that on earth he held most dear,
He recommended to his care,
To whom both heaven

The right had given,

And his own love bequeathed supreme command:
He took and prest that ever-loyal hand,

Which could, in peace, secure his reign;
Which could, in wars, his power maintain;
That hand on which no plighted vows were ever


That king, who lived to God's own heart,
Yet less serenely died than he;
Charles left behind no harsh decree,

For schoolmen, with laborious art,

Well, for so great a trust, he chose

A prince, who never disobeyed;

Not when the most severe commands were laid; Nor want, nor exile, with his duty weighed:† A prince on whom, if heaven its eyes could close, The welfare of the world it safely might repose.

To save from cruelty:

Those, for whom love could no excuses frame,
He graciously forgot to name.


* Note V.

+ Alluding to the Duke's banishment to Flanders. See note on "Absalom and Achitophel," Vol. IX. p. 384.

The testament of king David, by which he bequeathed to his son the charge of executing vengeance on those enemies whom he had spared during his life, has been much canvassed by divines. I indulge myself in a tribute to a most venerable character, when I state, that the most ingenious discourses I ever heard from the pulpit, were upon this and other parts of David's conduct, in a series of lectures by the late Reverend Dr John Erskine, one of the ministers of the Old Greyfriars church in Edinburgh.

Thus far my muse, though rudely, has designed
Some faint resemblance of his godlike mind;
But neither pen nor pencil can express
The parting brothers' tenderness;
Though that's a term too mean and low;
The blest above a kinder word may know:
But what they did, and what they said,
The monarch who triumphant went,
The militant who staid,

Like painters, when their heightening arts are
I cast into a shade.
That all-forgiving king,

The type of him above,
That inexhausted spring

Of clemency and love,
Himself to his next self accused,

And asked that pardon which he ne'er refused;
For faults not his, for guilt and crimes

Of godless men, and of rebellious times;
For an hard exile. kindly meant,

When his ungrateful country sent
Their best Camillus into banishment,

And forced their sovereign's act, they could not his


Oh how much rather had that injured chief
Repeated all his sufferings past,
Than hear a pardon begged at last,
Which, given, could give the dying no relief!
He bent, he sunk beneath his grief;
His dauntless heart would fain have held
From weeping, but his eyes rebelled.
Perhaps the godlike hero, in his breast,
Disdained, or was ashamed to show,
So weak, so womanish a woe,

Which yet the brother and the friend so plenteously confest.

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