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Did I not know my humble verse must be
But ill-proportion'd to the height of thee,
Thou and the world should see
How much my Muse, the foe of flattery,
Does make true praise her labour and design;
An Iliad or an AEneid should be thine.
And ill should we deserve this happy day,
If no acknowledgments we pay
To you, great patriots of the two
Most truly Other Houses now;
Who have redeem'd from hatred and from shame
A Parliament's once venerable name;
And now the title of a House restore,
To that which was but Slaughter-house before.
If my advice, ye worthies! might be ta'en,
Within those reverend places,
Which now your living presence graces,
Your marble-statues always should remain,
To keep alive your useful memory,
And to your successors th' example be
Of truth, religion, reason, loyalty:
For, though a firmly-settled peace
May shortly make your publick labours cease,
The grateful nation will with joy consent
That in this sense you should be said
(Though yet the name sounds with some dread)
To be the Long, the Endless, Parliament. -
QUEEN'S REPAIRING SOMERSET-HOUSE.
WHEN God (the cause to me and men unknown)
Forsook the royal houses, and his own,
And both abandon'd to the common foe;
How near to ruin did my glories go!
Nothing remain'd t'adorn this princely place
Which covetous hands could take, or rude deface.
In all my rooms and galleries I found
The richest figures torn, and all around
Dismember'd statues of great heroes lay;
Such Naseby's field seem'd on the fatal day !
And me, when nought for robbery was left,
They starv'd to death: the gasping walls were cleft,
The pillars sunk, the roofs above me wept,
No sign of spring, or joy, my garden kept;
Nothing was seen which could content the eye,
Till dead the impious tyrant here did lie.
See how my face is chang'd and what I am
Since my true mistress, and now foundress, came !
It does not fill her bounty to restore
Me as I was (nor was I small before):
She imitates the kindness to her shown;
She does, like Heaven (which the dejected throne
At once restores, fixes, and higher rears),
Strengthen, enlarge, exalt, what she repairs.
And now I dare (though proud I must not be,
Whilst my great mistress I so humble see
In all her various glories) now I dare
Ev’n with the proudest palaces compare.
My beauty and convenience will, I’m sure,
So just a boast with modesty endure;
And all must to me yield, when I shall tell
How I am plac'd, and who does in me dwell.
Before my gate a street's broad channel goes,
Which still with waves of crowding people flows;
And every day there passes by my side,
Up to its western reach, the London tide,
The spring-tides of the term: my front looks down
On all the pride and business of the town;
My other front (for, as in kings we see
The liveliest image of the Deity,
We in their houses should heaven's likeness find,
Where nothing can be said to be Behind)
My other fair and more majestic face
(Who can the fair to more advantage place :)
For ever gazes on itself below,
In the best mirror that the world can show.
And here behold, in a long bending row,
How two joint-cities make one glorious bow !
The midst, the noblest place, possest by me,
Best to be seen by all, and all o'er-see 1
Which way soe'er I turn my joyful eye,
Here the great court, there the rich town, I spy;
On either side dwells safety and delight;
Wealth on the left, and power upon the right.
T’assure yet my defence, on either hand,
Like mighty forts, in equal distance stand
Two of the best and stateliest piles which eer
Man's liberal piety of old did rear;
Where the two princes of th’Apostles' band,
My neighbours and my guards, watch and command.
My warlike guard of ships, which farther lie,
Might be my object too, were not the eye
Stopt by the houses of that wondrous street
Which rides o'er the broad river like a fleet.
The stream's eternal siege they fixt abide,
And the swoln stream's auxiliary tide,
Though both their ruin with joint power conspire;
Both to out-brave, they nothing dread but fire.
And here my Thames, though it more gentle be
Than any flood so strengthen’d by the sea,
Finding by art his natural forces broke,
And bearing, captive-like, the arched yoke,
Does roar, and foam, and rage, at the disgrace,
But re-composes straight, and calms his face;
Is into reverence and submission strook,
As soon as from afar he does but look
Tow'rds the white palace, where that king does reign
Who lays his laws and bridges o'er the main.
Amidst these louder honours of my seat,
And two vast cities, troublesomely great,
In a large various plain the country too
Opens her gentler blessings to my view:
In me the active and the quiet mind,
By different ways, equal content may find.
If any prouder virtuoso's sense
At that part of my prospect take offence,
By which the meaner cabins are descry'd,
Of my imperial river's humbler side—
If they call that a blemish—let them know,
God, and my godlike mistress, think not so;
For the distress'd and the afflicted lie
Most in their care, and always in their eye.
And thou, fair river! who still pay'st to me
Just homage, in thy passage to the sea,
Take here this one instruction as thou go'st—
When thy mixt waves shall visit every coast;
When round the world their voyage they shall make,
And back to thee some secret channels take;
Ask them what nobler sight they e'er did meet,
Except thy mighty master's sovereign fleet,
Which now triumphant o'er the main does ride,
The terror of all lands, the ocean's pride.
From hence his kingdoms, happy now at last,
(Happy, if wise by their misfortunes past !)
From hence may omens take of that success
Which both their future wars and peace shall bless.
The peaceful mother on mild Thames does build;
With her son's fabricks the rough sea is fill’d.