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Amidst that silent shower, the royal mind
An easy passage found,
And left its sacred earth behind;
Nor murmuring groan expressed, nor labouring
sound, Nor any least tumultuous breath; Calm was his life, and quiet was his death.
Soft as those gentle whispers were, In which the Almighty did appear; By the still voice the prophet knew him there. That peace which made thy prosperous reign to
That peace thou leav'st to thy imperial line,
peace, Oh happy shade, be ever thine!
For all those joys thy restoration brought,
For all the miracles it wrought,
For all the healing balm thy mercy poured
Into the nation's bleeding wound, *
And care, that after kept it sound,
For numerous blessings yearly showered,
And property with plenty crowned;
For freedom, still maintained alive,
Freedom, which in no other land will thrive,
Freedom, an English subject's sole prerogative,
Without whose charms, even peace would be
But a dull quiet slavery ;
For these, and more, accept our pious praise ; 'Tis all the subsidy
The present age can raise,
The rest is charged on late posterity.
King Charles' first parliament, from passing the Act of Indemnity, and taking other measures to drown all angry recollection of the civil wars, was called the Healing Parliament.
Posterity is charged the more,
Because the large abounding store To them, and to their heirs, is still entailed by thee.
Succession of a long descent, Which chastely in the channels ran, And from our demi-gods began,
Equal almost to time in its extent, Through hazards numberless and great,
Thou hast derived this mighty blessing down, And fixed the fairest gem that decks the imperial
Not faction, when it shook thy regal seat,
Not senates, insolently loud,
Those echoes of a thoughtless crowd,
Not foreign or domestic treachery,
Could warp thy soul to their unjust decree.
So much thy foes thy manly mind mistook,
Who judged it by the mildness of thy look;
Like a well-tempered sword, it bent at will,
But kept the native toughness of the steel.
Be true, O Clio, to thy hero's name;
But draw him strictly so,
That all who view the piece may know, He needs no trappings of fictitious fame.
The load's too weighty; thou may'st chuse
Some parts of praise, and some refuse ;
Write, that his annals may be thought more lavish
than the muse.
In scanty truth thou hast confined
The virtues of a royal mind,
Forgiving, bounteous, humble, just, and kind :
His conversation, wit, and parts,
His knowledge in the noblest useful arts,
Were such, dead authors could not give;
But habitudes of those who live,
Who, lighting him, did greater lights receive:
He drained from all, and all they knew;
His apprehension quick, his judgment true,
That the most learned, with shame, confess
His knowledge more, his reading only less.
Amidst the peaceful triumphs of his reign,
What wonder, if the kindly beams he shed
Revived the drooping arts again,
If science raised her head,
And soft humanity, that from rebellion fled. Our isle, indeed, too fruitful was before;
But all uncultivated lay
Out of the solar walk, and heaven's high way; With rank Geneva weeds run o'er, And cockle, at the best, amidst the corn it bore: The royal husbandman appeared,
And ploughed, and sowed, and tilled; The thorns he rooted out, the rubbish cleared, And blest the obedient field. When strait a double harvest rose, Such as the swarthy Indian mows, Or happier climates near the Line, Or paradise manured, and drest by hands divine.
XIII. As when the new-born phænix takes his way, His rich paternal regions to survey, Of airy choristers a numerous train Attend his wonderous progress o'er the plains So, rising from his father's urn, So glorious did our Charles return;
* A similar line occurs in the Annus Mirabilis, St. 160 :
Beyond the year, and out of heaven's high-way. The expression is originally Virgii's :
Extra anni, solisque vias.
The officious muses came along,
A gay harmonious quire, like angels ever young ;
The muse, that mourns him now, his happy triumph
Even they could thrive in his auspicious reign; And such a plenteous crop they bore
Of purest and well-winnowed grain, As Britain never knew before.
Though little was their hire, and light their gain,
Yet somewhat to their share he threw;
Fed from his hand, they sung and flew,
Like birds of paradise, that lived on morning dew.
Oh never let their lays his name forget !
The pension of a prince's praise is great.
Live then, thou great encourager of arts,
Live ever in our thankful hearts;
Live blest above, almost învoked below ;
Live and receive this pious vow,
Our patron once, our guardian angel now!
Thou Fabius of a sinking state,
Who didst by wise delays divert our fate,
When faction like a tempest rose,
In death's most hideous form,
Then art to rage thou didst oppose,
To weather out the storm;
Not quitting thy supreme command,
Thou heldst the rudder with a steady hand,
Till safely on the shore the bark did land;
The bark, that all our blessings brought,
Charged with thyself and James, à doubly-royal
Oh frail estate of human things,
And slippery hopes below!
Now to our cost your emptiness we know 3
+ See the Astræa Redux.
For ’tis a lesson dearly bought,
Assurance here is never to be sought.
The best, and best beloved of kings,
And best deserving to be so,
When scarce he had escaped the fatal blow
Of faction and conspiracy,
Death did his promised hopes destroy ;
He toiled, he gained, but lived not to enjoy.
What mists of Providence are these
Through which we cannot see!
So saints, by supernatural power set free,
Are left at last in martyrdom to die;
Such is the end of oft repeated miracles.
Forgive me, heaven, that impious thought,
'Twas grief for Charles, to madness wrought,
That questioned thy supreme decree !
Thou didst his gracious reign prolong,
Even in thy saints and angels wrong,
His fellow-citizens of immortality :
For twelve long years of exile born,
Twice twelve we numbered since his blest return :
So strictly wer't thou just to pay,
Even to the driblet of a day.
Yet still we murmur, and complain
The quails and manna should no longer rain :
Those miracles 'twas needless to renew;
The chosen flock has now the promised land in view.
A warlike prince ascends the regal state,
A prince long exercised by fate :
Long may he keep, though he obtains it late !
* Reckoning from the death of his father, Charles had reigned thirty-six years and eight days; and, counting from his restoration, twenty-four years, eight months, and nine days.