« EelmineJätka »
Had long forgot to meditate the foe,
And heard unwarm'd the martial trumpet blow;
But now, inspired by thee, with fresh delight,
Their swords they brandish, and require the fight,
Renew their ancient conquests on the main,
And act their fathers' triumphs o'er again;
Fir'd when they hear how Agincourt was strow'd
With Gallic corps, and Cressi swam in blood,
With eager warmth they fight, ambitious all
Who first shall storm the breach, or mount the wall.
In vain the thronging enemy by force
Would clear the ramparts, and repel their course;
They break through all, for William leads the way,
Where fires rage most, and loudest engines play.
Namure's late terrors1 and destruction show,
What William, warm'd with just revenge, can do.
Where once a thousand turrets rais'd on high
Their gilded spires, and glitter'd in the sky,
An undistinguish'd heap of dust is found,
And all the pile lies smoking on the ground.
His toils for no ignoble ends design'd,
Promote the common welfare of mankind;
No wild ambition moves, but Europe's fears,
The cries of orphans, and the widow's tears;
Opprest religion gives the first alarms,
And injur'd justice sets him in his arms;
His conquests freedom to the world afford,
And nations bless the labors of his sword.
1 Namure's late terrors, &c. The town of Namur had been taken by Louis XIV. in person, June, 1692, in eight days, and the citadel in twentytwo. William retook them in 1695-the town after thirty-five days' siege, the citadel sixty-eight.-G.
Thus when the forming muse would copy forth
A perfect pattern of heroick worth,
She sets a man triumphant in the field,
O'er giants cloven down, and monsters kill'd,
Reeking with blood, and smeer'd with dust and sweat,
Whilst angry gods conspire to make him great.
Thy navy rides on seas before unprest,
And strikes a terror through the haughty east;
Algiers and Tunis from their sultry shore
With horrour hear the British engines roar,
Fain from the neighb'ring dangers would they run,
And wish themselves still nearer to the sun.
The Gallick ships are in their ports confin'd,
Deny'd the common use of sea and wind,
Nor dare again 1 the British strength engage;
Still they remember that destructive rage
Which lately made their trembling host retire,
Stunn'd with the noise, and wrapt in smoke and fire;
The waves with wide unnumber'd wrecks were strow'd,
And planks, and arms, and men, promiscuous flow'd.
Spain's numerous fleet that perisht on our coast,
Could scarce a larger line of battel boast,
The winds could hardly drive 'em to their fate,
And all the ocean labour'd with the weight.
Nor dare again. The battle of la Hogue, 28th May, 1692, one of the most brilliant pages in the history of the French navy. Admiral Tourville, with only 44 ships, attacked the English and Dutch fleet of 85, and fought them till night, without losing a ship or breaking his line. After this spir ited answer to an unjust sarcasm of the Minister of War, he retreated, and his fleet, becoming scattered, was blockaded and destroyed in different ports. A literal verification, though hardly a justification, of our Poet's boastful lines.-G.
Where-e'er the waves in restless errors rowle,
The sea lies open now to either pole:
Now may we safely use the northern gales,
And in the Polar Circle spread our sails;
Or deep in southern climes, secure from wars,
New lands explore, and sail by other stars;
Fetch uncontroll'd each labour of the sun,
And make the product of the world our own.
At length, proud prince, ambitious Lewis, cease
To plague mankind, and trouble Europe's peace;
Think on the structures which thy pride has rase'd,
On towns unpeopled, and on fields laid waste;
Think on the heaps of corps, and streams of blood,
On every guilty plain, and purple flood,
Thy arms have made, and cease an impious war,
Nor waste the lives entrusted to thy care.
Or if no milder thought can calm thy mind,
Behold the great avenger of mankind,
See mighty Nassau through the battel ride,
And see thy subjects gasping by his side:
Fain would the pious prince refuse th' alarm,
Fain would he check the fury of his arm;
But when thy cruelties his thoughts engage,
The hero kindles with becoming rage,
Then countries stoln, and captives unrestor'd,
Give strength to every blow, and edge his sword.
Behold with what resistless force he falls
On towns besieg'd, and thunders at thy walls!
Ask Villeroy,' for Villeroy beheld
The town surrender'd, and the treaty seal'd;
1Ask Villeroy. When, a few years after the publication of this piece,
With what amazing strength the forts were won,
Whilst the whole pow'r of France stood looking on.
But stop not here: behold where Berkley stands,
And executes his injur'd King's commands;
Around thy coast his bursting bombs he pours
On flaming cittadels and falling tow'rs;
With hizzing streams of fire the air they streak,
And hurl destruction round 'em where they break;
The skies with long ascending flames are bright,
And all the sea reflects a quivering light.
Thus Etna, when in fierce eruptions broke,
Fills heav'n with ashes, and the earth with smoke;
Here crags of broken rocks are twirl'd on high,
Here molten stones and scatter'd cinders fly:
Addison met Boileau, he may have recalled, perhaps, a celebrated ode of the French poet, and particularly the following lines:
Accourez, Nassau, Bavière,
De ces murs l'unique espoir !
A couvert d'une rivière,
Venez, vous pouvez tout voir.
Considérez ces approches!
Voyez grimper sur ces roches
Ces athlètes belliqueux;
Et dans les eaux, dans la flamme
Louis, à tout donnant l'âme,
Marcher, courir avec eux.
Racine, who, as royal historiographer, was present at the first siege of Namur, has given many interesting details of it in his letters to Boileau. -G.
Berkley. Lord Berkley's bombardment of Havre, Dieppe, &c., and his repulse before Brest, would hardly seem to be a fit subject of panegyric for a gentle nature like Addison's. The English endeavored to throw the blame of this mode of warfare upon the French and struck a medal, alluding to the use of bombs as a French invention by the inscription, Suis perit ignibus auctor; upon which a philosophic historian justly remarks, "L'exemple du crime ne justifie point celui qui l'imite.”—G.
Its fury reaches the remotest coast,
And strews the Asiatick shore with dust.
Now does the sailor from the neighbouring main
Look after Gallick towns and forts in vain ;
No more his wonted marks he can descry,
But sees a long unmeasur'd ruine lie;
Whilst, pointing to the naked coast, he shows
His wond'ring mates where towns and steeples rose,
Where crowded citizens he lately view'd,
And singles out the place where once St. Maloes stood.
Here Russel's actions should my muse require;'
And would my strength but second my desire,
I'd all his boundless bravery rehearse,
And draw his cannons thund'ring in my verse:
High on the deck shou'd the great leader stand,
Wrath in his look, and lightning in his hand;
Like Homer's Hector when he flung his fire
Amidst a thousand ships, and made all Greece retire.
But who can run the British triumphs o'er,
And count the flames disperst on ev'ry shore?
Who can describe the scatter'd victory,
And draw the reader on from sea to sea?
Else who could Ormond's god-like acts refuse,
Ormond the theme of ev'ry Oxford muse?
Fain wou'd I here his mighty worth proclaim,
Attend him in the noble chase of fame,
Through all the noise and hurry of the fight,
Observe each blow, and keep him still in sight.
1 Here Russel's actions, &c. Russel commanded at the battle of the Hogue, though he was at the time, like Marlborough and several other leading men, engaged in a secret, and therefore, traitorous correspondence with James.-G.