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Thus, in alternate course,
The tyrant passions, hope and fear,
Did in extremes appear,
Returns, and wins upon the shore;
The watery herd, affrighted at the roar,
At prodigies but rarely seen before,
Such were our counter-tides at land, and so
An evening light
Soon shut in night;
Hurls up the scaly ooze, and makes the scaly brood
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.
With emulation each essayed
Never was losing game with better conduct played.
The extremest ways they first ordain,
Beneath whate'er their pious rigour could invent.
More, infinitely more, than he,
A traitor, or twice pardoned enemy.
The vain insurancers of life,
Even Short* himself, forsook the unequal strife.
* 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.
So cheerfully he took the doom
But, with unaltered pace, kept on,
When he resigned the throne.
All that on earth he held most dear,
To whom both heaven
The right had given,
Which could, in peace, secure his reign;
power maintain; That hand on which no plighted vows were ever
A prince, who never disobeyed;
Nor want, nor exile, with his duty weighed:t A prince on whom, if heaven its eyes could close, The welfare of the world it safely might repose.
Yet less serenely died than he;
Charles left behind no harsh decree,
To save from cruelty :$
* Note V.
+ Alluding to the Duke's banishment to Flanders. See note on “ Absalom and Achitophel," Vol. IX.
1 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
The monarch who triumphant went,
The type of him above,
Of clemency and love,
consent. Oh how much rather had that injured chief
Repeated all his sufferings past,
Than hear a pardon begged at last,
Disdained, or was ashamed to show,
So weak, so womanish a woe, Which yet the brother and the friend so plenteous