« PrécédentContinuer »
By prayers the mighty blessing was implored,
To prayers was granted, and by prayers restored.
So, ere the Shunamite a son conceived,
The prophet promised, and the wife believed;
A son was sent, the son so much desired,
But soon upon the mother's knees expired.
The troubled seer approached the mournful door,
Ran, prayed, and sent his pastoral staff before,
Then stretched his limbs upon the child, and mourned,
Till warmth, and breath, and a new soul returned.*
Thus mercy stretches out her hand, and saves
Desponding Peter, sinking in the waves.
As when a sudden storm of hail and rain
Beats to the ground the yet unbearded grain,
Think not the hopes of harvest are destroyed
On the flat field, and on the naked void;
The light, unloaded stem, from tempest freed,
Will raise the youthful honours of his head;
And, soon restored by native vigour, bear
The timely product of the bounteous year.
Nor yet conclude all fiery trials past,
For heaven will exercise us to the last;
Sometimes will check us in our full career,
With doubtful blessings, and with mingled fear,
That, still depending on his daily grace,
His every mercy for an alms may pass;
With sparing hands will diet us to good,
Preventing surfeits of our pampered blood.
So feeds the mother bird her craving young
With little morsels, and delays them long.
True, this last blessing was a royal feast; But where's the wedding-garment on the guest? Our manners, as religion were a dream, Are such as teach the nations to blaspheme.
In lusts we wallow, and with pride we swell,
And injuries with injuries repel;
Prompt to revenge, not daring to forgive,
Our lives unteach the doctrine we believe.
Thus Israel sinned, impenitently hard,
And vainly thought the present ark their guard;*
But when the haughty Philistines appear,
They fled, abandoned to their foes and fear;
Their God was absent, though his ark was there.
Ah! lest our crimes should snatch this pledge away,
And make our joys the blessings of a day!
For we have sinned him hence, and that he lives,
God to his promise, not our practice, gives.
Our crimes would soon weigh down the guilty scale,
But James and Mary, and the church prevail.
Nor Amalek† can rout the chosen bands,
While Hur and Aaron hold up Moses' hands.
By living well, let us secure his days,
Moderate in hopes, and humble in our ways.
No force the free-born spirit can constrain,
But charity, and great examples gain.
Forgiveness is our thanks for such a day;
'Tis godlike God in his own coin to pay.
But you, propitious queen, translated here,
mild heaven, to rule our rugged sphere,
Beyond the sunny walks, and circling year;
You, who your native climate have bereft
Of all the virtues, and the vices left;
Whom piety and beauty make their boast,
Though beautiful is well in pious lost;
So lost as star-light is dissolved away,
And melts into the brightness of the day;
Or gold about the royal diadem,
Lost, to improve the lustre of the gem,—
* 1 Samuel, chap. iv. v. 10.
+ Exodus, chap. xvii. v. 8.
What can we add to your triumphant day?
Let the great gift the beauteous giver pay;
For should our thanks awake the rising sun,
And lengthen, as his latest shadows run,
That, though the longest day, would soon, too
soon be done.
Let angels' voices with their harps conspire,
But keep the auspicious infant from the choir;
Late let him sing above, and let us know
No sweeter music than his cries below.
Nor can I wish to you, great monarch, more
Than such an annual income to your store;
The day, which gave this unit, did not shine
For a less omen, than to fill the trine.
After a prince, an admiral beget;
The Royal Sovereign wants an anchor yet.
Our isle has younger titles still in store,
And when the exhausted land can yield no more,
Your line can force them from a foreign shore.
The name of great your martial mind will suit; But justice is your darling attribute: Of all the Greeks, 'twas but one hero's due, * And, in him, Plutarch prophesied of you. A prince's favours but on few can fall, But justice is a virtue shared by all.
Some kings the name of conquerors have assumed, Some to be great, some to be gods presumed; But boundless power, and arbitrary lust, Made tyrants still abhor the name of just; They shunned the praise this godlike virtue gives, And feared a title that reproached their lives.
The power, from which all kings derive their state, Whom they pretend, at least, to imitate,
*Aristides. See his Life in Plutarch.
Is equal both to punish and reward;
For few would love their God, unless they feared.
Resistless force and immortality
Make but a lame, imperfect deity;
Tempests have force unbounded to destroy,
And deathless being even the damned enjoy;
And yet heaven's attributes, both last and first,
One without life, and one with life accurst;
But justice is heaven's self, so strictly he,
That could it fail, the godhead could not be.
This virtue is your own; but life and state
Are, one to fortune subject, one to fate:
Equal to all, you justly frown or smile;
Nor hopes nor fears your steady hand beguile;
Yourself our balance hold, the world's our isle.
Hail, son of prayers! by holy violence
Drawn down from heaven!
We have noticed, in the introduction, that the birth of a Prince of Wales, at a time of such critical importance to the Catholic faith, was looked upon, by the Papists, as little less than miraculous. Some talked of the petition of the Duchess of Modena to Our Lady of Loretto; and Burnet affirms, that, in that famous chapel, there is actually a register of the queen's conception, in consequence of her mother's vow. But, in that case, the good duchess's intercession must have been posthumous; for she died upon the 19th July, and the queen's time run from the 6th of October. Others ascribed the event to the king's pilgrimage to St Winifred's Well; and others, among whom was the Earl of Melfort, suffered their zeal to hurry them into profaneness, and spoke of the angel of the Lord moving the Bath waters, like the Pool of Bethsaida. But the Jesuits claimed to their own prayers the principal merit of procuring this blessing, which, indeed, they had ventured to prophecy; for, among other devices which that order exhibited to the English ambassador from James to the Pope, there was, according to Mr Misson, one of a lily, from whose leaves distilled some drops of water, which were once supposed, by