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1 OF blissful Groves I sing, and flow'ry Plains:
2 Ye Sylvan Nymphs, assist my rural Strains.
3 Shall Windsor Forest gain a deathless Fame,
4 And grow immortal, as the Poet's Name;
5 While not a Bard, of all the tuneful Throng,
6 With these delightful Fields adorns his
* This was writ in the Year 1731; since when, great Alterations and Improvements have been made in the Gardens, and several Poems publish'd on the same Subject.
7 Thy Gardens, Richmond, boast an equal Theme,
8 And only ask an equal Muse's Flame.
9 What, tho' no Virgin Nymphs, of CYNTHIA's Train,
10 With Belt and Quiver grace the verdant Plain?
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11 What, tho' no fabled consecrated Floods
12 Flow o'er thy Fields, or murmur thro' thy Woods?
13 My Song thy real Beauties shall pursue,
14 And paint the lovely Scenes, and paint 'em true;
15 A pleasing Task! Nor slight shall be the Praise,
16 If Royal CAROLINE accept the Lays.
17 DELIGHTED, often thro' the mazy Groves,
18 The Muse, in pensive Contemplation, roves;
19 Or climbs the slow ascending
* Richmond Hill.
Hill, whose Brow
20 Hangs o'er the silver Stream, which rolls below;
21 Where all around me shining Prospects rise,
22 And various Scenes invite my gazing Eyes;
23 And, while I view one Object with Delight,
24 New pleasing Wonders charm the feasted Sight:
25 Now this allures, now that attracts it most;
26 And the first Beauty's in the second lost.
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27 THUS, in a grateful Concert, may we hear
28 The Sounds at once surprize, and charm our Ear;
29 The trembling Notes, in hasty Fugues, arise;
30 And this advances, ere the former flies;
31 All seem to be confus'd, yet all agree,
32 To perfect the melodious Harmony.
33 BENEATH the Mount, with what Majestic Pride
34 The Sire of Rivers rolls his silver Tide!
35 Let Poets sing of Hermus' golden Shore,
36 His amber Foam, and Sands of shining Ore:
37 Nor Tagus envy we, nor fruitful Nile,
38 Whose fatt'ning Floods enrich the thirsty Soil:
39 Happy BRITANNIA boasts as fair a Stream,
40 As great in Bounties, and as great in Fame;
41 Since DENHAM's deathless Muse has sung his Tide,
42 And India's Riches o'er his Surface glide.
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43 OBSEQUIOUS River, when my Eyes survey
44 Thy Waves, or East, or West, pursue their Way;
45 Now swiftly roll, to meet the briny Main,
46 At stated Periods, now return again;
47 How vain the Schemes of Infidels appear!
48 How weak their Reas'nings, and the GOD how clear!
49 Say, Atheists, since you own, by Nature's Laws,
50 There's no Effect produc'd without a Cause;
51 Why should the restless Stream run to and fro,
52 And, with alternate Motion, ebb and flow;
53 Did not some Being, of superior Force,
54 Rule the wild Waves, and regulate their Course?
55 HENCE lofty Windsor to the Sight appears;
56 And, high in Air, her pompous Turrets rears:
57 Wide, round her Domes, the spacious Forest shines.
58 Tho' brighter much in POPE's harmonious Lines:
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59 O! would his tuneful Muse my Breast inspire,
60 With equal Warmth, with her sublimer Fire;
61 Then Richmond Hill renown'd in Verse should grow,
62 And Thames reecho to the Song below;
63 A second Eden in my Page should shine,
64 And MILTON's Paradise submit to mine.
65 OFT, lost in Thought, forgetful of my Way,
66 I, o'er the Park, thro' Wilds of Beauty, stray;
67 Where sportive Nature wantons at her Will,
68 And lavishes her Bloom, uncheck'd by Skill.
69 Old venerable Trees, majestic, rise,
70 Sublime in Air, and brave the vaulted Skies;
71 Which, free from cruel Steel, or Lab'rer's Hand,
72 In peaceful Age, and hoary Honour, stand.
73 Here, when AURORA first begins to dawn,
74 The wakeful Larks spring mounting from the Lawn;
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75 Pois'd by their Plumes, in lofty Flights they play;
76 With joyful Warblings hail th'approaching Day:
77 But, when the Sun displays a purple Scene,
78 And drinks the pearly Dew, that deck'd the Green;
79 A thousand tuneful Birds in Concert meet,
80 A thousand tuneful Notes the Groves repeat;
81 And, when their Music ceases with the Day,
82 Sweet PHILOMELA chants her pensive Lay.
83 BUT, hark! I hear a louder Music sound;
84 From Woods and Vales the various Notes rebound:
85 'Tis Albion's KING pursues the Royal Chace;
86 The nimble Stag skims o'er th'unbending Grass:
87 The Way which Fear directs, he trembling tries;
88 Nor knows, where Fear directs, or where he flies:
89 A hundred diff'rent Sounds assail his Ears;
90 A Death, in ev'ry diff'rent Sound, he fears:
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91 And now he faintly moves a slower Pace,
92 And closer now the Hounds pursue the Chace;
93 Till, in Despair, back on his Foes he turns;
94 Makes feeble Efforts with his branchy Horns;
95 Short is the Combat, soon he yields his Breath,
96 And gasping falls, and trembling pants in Death.
97 Now to a softer Theme descends my Muse;
98 Thro' artful Walks her pleasing Path pursues;
99 Where lofty Elms, and conic Lindens rise,
100 Or where th'extensive Terras charms her Eyes;
101 Where Elegance and noble Grandeur meet,
102 As the Ideas of its Mistress, great,
103 Magnificently fair, majestically sweet.
104 See, on its Margin, Fields of waving Corn;
105 These bearded Crops, and Flow'rets this, adorn;
106 CERES and FLORA lovingly embrace,
107 And gay Varieties the Landscape grace.
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108 HENCE lead me, Muses, thro' yon arched Grove,
109 Adorn'd with Sand below, and Leaves above;
110 Or let me o'er the spacious Oval trace,
111 Where verdant Carpets spread the lovely Place;
112 Where Trees in regular Confusion stand,
113 And sylvan Beauties rise on ev'ry Hand:
114 Or bear me, Nymphs, to the sequester'd Cell,
115 Where BOYLE and NEWTON, mighty Sages! dwell;
116 Whose Fame shall live, altho' the Grot decay,
117 Long as those sacred Truths their Works display.
118 HOW sweetly pleasing is this cool Retreat,
119 When PHOEBUS blazes with meridian Heat!
120 In vain the fervid Beams around it play;
121 The rocky Roof repels the scorching Ray;
122 Securely guarded with a sylvan Scene,
123 In Nature's Liv'ry drest, for ever green.
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124 TO visit this, the curious Stranger roves,
125 With grateful Travel, thro' a Wild of Groves;
126 And, tho' directed, oft mistakes his Way,
127 Unknowing where the winding Mazes stray;
128 Yet still his Feet the magic Paths pursue,
129 Charm'd, tho' bewilder'd, with the pleasing View.
130 NOT so attractive lately shone the Plain,
131 A gloomy Waste, not worth the Muses Strain;
132 Where thorny Brakes the Traveller repell'd,
133 And Weeds and Thistles overspread the Field;
134 Till Royal GEORGE, and Heav'nly CAROLINE,
135 Bid Nature in harmonious Lustre shine;
136 The sacred Fiat thro' the Chaos rung,
137 And Symmetry from wild Disorder sprung.
138 SO, once, confus'd, the barb'rous Nations stood;
139 Unpolish'd were their Minds, their Manners rude;
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140 Till Rome her conqu'ring Eagles wide display'd,
141 And bid the World reform The World obey'd.
142 HOW bless'd the Man in these delightful Fields!
143 New Pleasures each indulgent Moment yields.
144 Let gayer Minds in Town pursue their Joys,
145 Exchanging Quietness for Crowds and Noise;
146 Consume the Night at Masquerade or Play;
147 Or waste, in busy Idleness, the Day:
148 I envy not Augusta's pompous Piles,
149 Since rural Solitude more pleasing smiles.
150 O Solitude! the Sage's chief Delight!
151 What Numbers can thy lovely Charms recite!
152 Hail, peaceful Nymph! thou eldest Thing on Earth!
153 Nay, like Eternity, thou hadst no Birth:
154 The Heav'ns alone can thy Commencement tell,
155 Ere MICHAEL fought, or peccant Angels fell;
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156 Before the Skies with radiant Light were clad,
157 In awful Gloom, and venerable Shade,
158 The FATHER thee his sole Companion made.
159 When to Creation first his Thoughts inclin'd,
160 And future Worlds were rising in his Mind;
161 He sat with thee, and plann'd the mighty Scheme;
162 With thee adjusted the stupendous Frame;
163 Contriv'd how Globes, self-balanc'd in the Air,
164 With restless Rounds should rule the circling Year;
165 How Orbs o'er Orbs in mystic Dance should roll,
166 What Laws support, and regulate the Whole:
167 Nor art thou yet impair'd, celestial Dame;
168 Thy Charms are still attractive, still the same;
169 With thee the Mind, abstracted from the Crew,
170 May study Nature, and her Ends pursue;
171 With thee I hear the feather'd Warblers sing;
172 With thee survey the Beauties of the Spring,
173 When Blossoms, Leaves, and Fruits the Branches yield,
174 And Eden's Glory crowns the happy Field.
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175 HERE first the Muse (auspicious was the Place!)
176 Rejoic'd to see her Royal Guardian's Face:
177 How mild, yet how majestic, was her Look!
178 How sweetly condescending all she spoke!
179 On ev'ry pleasing Accent Wisdom hung,
180 And Truth and Virtue dwelt upon her Tongue.
181 O! were I equal to the glorious Theme,
182 Then should my Lays immortalize her Fame;
183 Or paint Great GEORGE in peaceful Laurels drest,
184 With Albion's Safety lab'ring in his Breast;
185 Who (while contending Nations round him jar,
186 And Subjects Wealth supports their Monarchs War)
187 Guards happy Britain, with his floating Tow'rs,
188 From purple Slaughter, and invading Pow'rs;
189 No plund'ring Armies rob our fruitful Plain;
190 But, bless'd with Peace and Plenty, smiles the Swain.
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191 NOT so he smiles upon the foreign Shores;
192 But starving walks thro' Nature's lavish Stores;
193 Poor Peasants with their rigid Burdens groan,
194 And Till the Glebe for Harvests not their own.
195 What, tho' their more propitious PHOEBUS shines
196 With warmer Rays, and chears the curling Vines?
197 What, tho' rich Olives grace the fertile Soil,
198 And the hot Climate teems with fatt'ning Oil?
199 The hungry Farmer views his Crops in vain,
200 In vain the Vineyard tempts the thirsty Swain;
201 While their stern Tyrant's arbitrary Pow'r
202 Rifles the Plains, and ravages their Store:
203 Thy Sons, BRITANNIA, from such Evils free,
204 Enjoy the Sweets of Peace and Liberty;
205 A gracious Sov'reign smiles upon the Throne,
206 And Heav'n confirms the happy Realm his own.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): On RICHMOND PARK, and ROYAL GARDENS.
Author: Stephen Duck
Themes: glory of the British nation
Genres: heroic couplet; topical verse

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Source edition

Duck, Stephen, 1705-1756. Poems on several occasions: By Stephen Duck. London: printed for the author, 1736, pp. 72-84. xl,334,[2]p. ; 4⁰. (ESTC T90234; OTA K073280.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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