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Repenting England this revengeful day
To Philip's manes did an offering bring: England, which first by leading them astray, Hatch'd rebellion to destroy her king.
199. Our fathers bent their baneful industry,
To check a monarchy that slowly grew; But did not France or Holland's fate foresee,
Whose rising power to fwift dominion flew.
In fortune's empire blindly thus we go,
And wander after pathless destiny ; Whose dark resorts fince prudence cannot know,
In vain it would provide for what shall be.
But whate'er English to the bless'd shall go,
And the fourth Harry or first Orange meet ; Find him disowning of a Bourbon foe,
And him detesting a Batavian fleet.
Now on their coasts our conquering navy
rides, Waylays their merchants, and their land besets; Each day new wealth without their care provides ;
They lie asleep with prizes in their nets.
203 So close behind some promontory lie
The huge leviathans to attend their prey; And give no chace, but swallow in the frie, Which through their gaping jaws mistake the way.
204 Nor was this all : in ports and roads remote,
Destructive fires among whole fleets we send ; Triumphant flames upon the water float, And out bound ships at home their
205 Those various squadrons variously design'd,
Each vessel freighted with a several load, Each squadron waiting for a several wind, All find but one, to burn them in the road.
206. Some bound for Guiney golden sand to find,
Bore all the gauds the simple natives wear : Some for the pride of Turkish courts design’d,
For folded turbants finest Holland bear.
207 Some English wool vex'd in a Belgian loom,
And into cloth of spungy softness made, Did into France or colder Denmark doom, To ruin with worse ware our staple trade.
208. Our greedy seamen rummage every hold,
Smile on the booty of each wealthier chest ; And as the priests who with their gods make bold, Take what they like, and sacrifice the rest.
209. But ah ! how insincere are all our joys ! Which fent from heaven, like lightning make
no stay : Their palling taste the journey's length destroys,
Or grief fent post o’ertakes them on the way.
Swell’d with our late successes on the foe,
Which Franceand Holland wanted power to cross, We urge an unseen fate to lay us low, And feed their envious
eyes with English loss.
Each element his dread command obeys,
Who makes or ruins with a smile or frown; Who, as by one he did our nation raise,
So now he with another pulls us down.
Yet London, empress of the northern clime,
By an high fate thou greatly didst expire ; Great as the world's, which, at the death of time
Must fall, and rise a nobler frame by fire.
213. As when some dire usurper heaven provides,
To scourge his country with a lawless sway; His birth perhaps some petty village hides, And sets his cradle out of fortune's way.
214 Till fully ripe his swelling fate breaks out,
And hurries him to mighty mischiefs on : His prince surpriz'd at first no ill could doubt, And wants the pow'r to meet it when ʼtis known.
215 Such was the rise of this prodigious fire,
Which in mean buildings first obscurely bred, From thence did soon to open streets aspire, And straight to palaces and temples spread.
216. The diligence of trades and noiseful gain,
And luxury more late, asleep were laid : All was the night's ; and in her silent reign No found the rest of nature did invade.
217 In this deep quiet from what source unknown,
Those feeds of fire their fatal birth disclose ; And first few scattering sparks about were blown, Big with the flames that to our ruin rose.
218. Then in some close-pent room it crept along,
And smouldering as it went, in filence fed ; Till th' infant monster, with devouring strong, Walk'd boldly upright with exalted head.
219. Now like some rich or mighty murderer,
Too great for prison, which he breaks with gold; Who fresher for new mischiefs does appear,
And dares the world to tax him with the old :
So scapes th’insulting fire his narrow jail,
And makes small outlets into open air : There the fierce winds his tender force assail,
And beat him downward to his first repair.
The winds like crafty courtezans with-held
more : And
every fresh attempt he is repellid With faint denials weaker than before.
And now no longer letted of his prey,
He leaps up at it with enrag'd desire: O'erlooks the neighbors with a wide survey,
And nods at every house his threatning fire.