[Page 3]



[ed.] John Robinson (1650-1723), clergyman and diplomat, who had spent 30 years in the diplomatic service, mainly in Sweden, was on his return to England appointed Bishop of Bristol (1710) and Lord Privy Seal (1711). He was first British plenipotentiary in the peace negotiations to end the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713) and the first to sign the treaty of Utrecht in June 1713, which formally ended the war. See also DNB. (AH)

Fronde super Mitram, et faelici comptus olivâ.
[ed.] after Virgil, Aeneid 7.750f., "a priest, his mitre decked with leaves of the fruitful olive." See also dedicatory verses l. 13, "mitred Bristol". (AH)
1 COntending kings, and fields of death, too long
2 Have been the subject of the British song,
3 Who hath not read of fam'd Ramilia's plain,
4 Bavaria's fall, and Danube choak'd with slain?
5 Exhausted themes! A gentle note I raise,
6 And sing returning Peace in softer lays.
[Page 4]
7 Their fury quell'd, and martial rage allay'd,
8 I wait our heroes in the sylvan shade:
9 Disbanding hosts are imag'd to my mind,
10 And warring pow'rs in friendly leagues combin'd;
11 While ease and pleasure make the nations smile,
12 And heav'n and Anna bless Britannia's isle.
13 Well sends our Queen her mitred Bristol forth,
14 For early counsels fam'd, and long-try'd worth,
15 Who, thirty rolling years, had oft with-held
16 The Suede and Saxon from the dusty field;
17 Compleatly form'd, to heal the Christian wounds,
18 To name the kings, and give each kingdom bounds;
19 The face of ravag'd nature to repair,
20 By leagues to soften earth, and heav'n by pray'r;
21 To gain by love, where rage and slaughter fail,
22 And make the crosier o'er the sword prevail.
23 So when great Moses, with Jehovah's wand,
24 Had scatter'd plagues o'er stubborn Pharaoh's land,
25 Now spread an host of locusts round the shore,
26 Now turn'd Nile's fatt'ning streams to putrid gore;
27 Plenty and gladness mark'd the priest of God,
28 And sudden almonds shot from Aaron's rod.
29 O thou, from whom these bounteous blessings flow,
30 To whom, as chief, the hopes of peace we owe,
31 (For next to thee, the man whom kings contend
32 To stile companion, and to make their friend,
33 Great Strafford, rich in every courtly grace,
34 With joyful pride accepts the second place)
[Page 5]
35 From Britain's isle, and Isis' sacred spring
36 One hour, oh! listen while the muses sing.
37 Tho' ministers of mighty monarchs wait,
38 With beating hearts, to learn their masters' fate,
39 One hour forbear to speak thy Queen's commands,
40 Nor think the world, thy charge, neglected stands;
41 The blissful prospects, in my verse display'd,
42 May lure the stubborn, the deceiv'd persuade,
43 Ev'n thou to peace shalt speedier urge the way,
44 And more be hasten'd by this short delay.
[ed.] The half-title "A Poem on the Prospect of Peace" originally inserted after the dedicatory verses to the Lord Privy Seal was omitted in Dodsley (1763). (AH)
1 The haughty Gaul, in ten campaigns o'erthrown,
2 Now ceas'd to think the western world his own.
3 Oft had he mourn'd his boasting leaders bound,
4 And his proud bulwarks smoaking on the ground;
5 In vain with pow'rs renew'd he fill'd the plain,
6 Made tim'rous vows, and brib'd the saints in vain;
7 As oft his legions did the fight decline,
8 Lurk'd in the trench, and skulk'd behind the line.
9 Before his eyes the fancy'd jav'lin gleams;
10 At feasts he starts, and seems dethron'd in dreams;
11 On glory past reflects with secret pain,
12 On mines exhausted, and on millions slain.
13 To Britain's Queen the scepter'd suppliant bends,
14 To her his crowns and infant race commends,
15 Who grieves her fame with christian blood to buy,
16 Nor asks for glory at a price so high.
17 At her decree the war suspended stands,
18 And Britain's heroes hold their lifted hands:
[Page 6]
19 Their open brows no threat'ning frowns disguise,
20 But gentler passions sparkle in their eyes.
21 The Gauls, who never in their courts could find
22 Such temper'd fire with manly beauty join'd,
23 Doubt if they're those, whom dreadful to the view
24 In forms so fierce their fearful fancies drew,
25 At whose dire names ten thousand widows press'd
26 Their helpless orphans clinging to the breast.
27 In silent rapture each his foe surveys,
28 They vow firm friendship, and give mutual praise.
29 Brave minds, howe'er at war, are secret friends,
30 Their gen'rous discord with the battle ends;
31 In peace they wonder whence dissention rose,
32 And ask how souls so like could e'er be foes.
33 Methinks I hear more friendly shouts rebound,
34 And social clarions mix their sprightly sound;
35 The British flags are furl'd, her troops disband,
36 And scatter'd armies seek their native land.
37 The hardy veteran, proud of many a scar,
38 The manly charms and honours of the war,
39 Who hop'd to share his friend's illustrious doom,
40 And in the battle find a soldier's tomb,
41 Leans on his spear to take his farewel view,
42 And sighing bids the glorious camp adieu.
43 Ye generous fair, receive the brave with smiles,
44 O'erpay their sleepless nights, and crown their toils;
45 Soft beauty is the gallant soldier's due,
46 For you they conquer, and they bleed for you.
[Page 7]
47 In vain proud Gaul with boastul Spain conspires,
48 When English valour English beauty fires;
49 The nations dread your eyes, and kings despair
50 Of chiefs so brave, till they have nymphs so fair.
51 See the fond wife, in tears of transport drown'd,
52 Hugs her rough lord, and weeps o'er ev'ry wound;
53 Hangs on the lips, that fields of blood relate,
54 And smiles and trembles, at his various fate.
55 Near the full bowl he draws the fancied line,
56 And marks feign'd trenches in the flowing wine,
57 Then sets th' invested fort before her eyes,
58 And mines that whirl'd battalions to the skies;
59 His little list'ning progeny turn pale,
60 And beg again to hear the dreadful tale.
61 Such dire atchievements sings the bard that tells
62 Of palfrey'd dames, bold knights, and magic spells;
63 Where whole brigades one champion's arms o'erthrow,
64 And cleave a giant at a random blow;
65 Slay panyms vile, that force the fair; and tame
66 The goblin's fury, and the dragon's flame.
67 Our eager youth to distant nations run,
68 To visit fields their valiant fathers won;
69 From Flandria's shore their country's fame they trace,
70 Till far Germania shews her blasted face.
71 Th' exulting Briton asks his mournful guide,
72 Where his hard fate the lost Bavaria try'd;
73 Where Stepney grav'd the stone to Anna's fame:
74 He points to Blenheim, once a vulgar name;
[Page 8]
75 Here fled the Houshold, there did Tallard yield,
76 Here Malb'rough turn'd the fortune of the field;
77 On those steep banks, near Danube's raging flood,
78 The Gauls thrice started back, and trembling stood;
79 When, Churchill's arm perceiv'd, they stood not long,
80 But plung'd amidst the waves, a desperate throng;
81 Crowds whelm'd on crowds dash'd wide the watry bed,
82 And drove the current to its distant head.
83 As when by Raphael's, or by Kneller's hands
84 A warlike courser on the canvas stands,
85 Such as on Landen bleeding Ormond bore,
86 Or set young Ammon on the Granic shore;
87 If chance a gen'rous steed the work behold,
88 He snorts, he neighs, he champs the foamy gold:
89 So, seen, tumultuous passions roll,
90 And hints of glory fire the Briton's soul;
91 In fancy'd fights he sees the troops engage,
92 And all the tempest of the battle rage.
93 Charm me, ye pow'rs, with scenes less nobly bright,
94 Far humbler thoughts th' inglorious muse delight,
95 Content to see the horrors of the field
96 By plough-shares levell'd, or in flow'rs conceal'd.
97 O'er shatter'd walls may creeping ivy twine,
98 And grass luxuriant cloath the harmless mine,
99 Tame flocks ascend the breach without a wound,
100 Or crop the bastion, now a fruitful ground;
101 While shepherds sleep, along the rampart laid,
102 Or pipe beneath the formidable shade,
[Page 9]
103 Who was the man? (Oblivion blast his name,
104 Torn out and blotted from the list of fame!)
105 Who, fond of lawless rule, and proudly brave,
106 First sunk the filial subject to a slave;
107 His neighbour's realms by frauds un-kingly gain'd,
108 In guiltless blood the sacred ermine stain'd;
109 Laid schemes for death, to slaughter turn'd his heart,
110 And fitted murder to the rules of art.
111 Ah! curs'd ambition, to thy lures we owe
112 All the great ills that mortals bear below.
113 Curs'd by the hind, when to the spoil he yields
114 His year's whole sweat and vainly-ripen'd fields;
115 Curs'd by the maid, torn from her lover's side,
116 When left a widow, though not yet a bride:
117 By mothers curs'd, when floods of tears they shed,
118 And scatter useless roses on the dead.
119 Oh sacred Bristol! then what dangers prove
120 The arts, thou smil'st on with paternal love?
121 Then, mix'd with rubbish by the brutal foes,
122 In vain the marble breathes, the canvas glows;
123 To shades obscure the glitt'ring sword pursues
124 The gentle poet and defenceless muse.
125 A voice, like thine alone, might then asswage
126 The warrior's fury, and controul his rage;
127 To hear thee speak might the fierce Vandal stand,
128 And fling the brandish'd fabre from his hand.
129 Far hence be driv'n to Scythia's stormy shore
130 The drum's harsh musick, and the cannon's roar;
[Page 10]
131 Let grim Bellona haunt the lawless plain,
132 Where Tartar-clans and grisly Cossacks reign;
133 Let the steel'd Turk be deaf to matrons' cries,
134 See virgins ravish'd with relentless eyes;
135 To death grey heads and smiling infants doom,
136 Nor spare the promise of the pregnant womb;
137 O'er wasted kingdoms spread his wide command,
138 The savage lord of an unpeopled land.
139 Her guiltless glory just Britannia draws
140 From pure religion, and impartial laws:
141 To Europe's wounds a mother's aid she brings,
142 And holds in equal scales the rival kings:
143 Her gen'rous sons in choicest gifts abound,
144 Alike in arms, alike in arts renown'd.
145 As when sweet Venus, (so the fable sings)
146 Awak'd by Nereids from the Ocean springs;
147 With smiles she sees the threat'ning billows rise,
148 Spreads smooth the surge, and clears the louring skies;
149 Light, o'er the deep, with flutt'ring Cupids crown'd,
150 The pearly couch and silver turtles bound;
151 Her tresses shed ambrosial odours round.
152 Amidst the world of waves so stands serene
153 Britannia's isle, the Ocean's stately queen;
154 In vain the nations have conspir'd her fall,
155 Her trench the sea, and fleets her floating wall;
156 Defenceless barks, her powerful navy near,
157 Have only waves and hurricanes to fear.
[Page 11]
158 What bold invader, or what land oppress'd
159 Hath not her anger quell'd, her aid redress'd?
160 Say, where have e'er her union-crosses sail'd,
161 But much her arms, her justice more prevail'd?
162 Her labours are to plead th' Almighty's cause,
163 Her pride to teach th' untam'd barbarian laws:
164 Who conquers, wins by brutal strength the prize;
165 But 'tis a godlike work to civilize.
166 Have we forgot how from great Russia's throne,
167 The king, whose pow'r half Europe's regions own,
168 Whose scepter waving, with one shout rush forth
169 In swarms the harness'd millions of the north;
170 Through realms of ice pursu'd his tedious way,
171 To court our friendship, and our fame survey!
172 Hence the rich prize of useful arts he bore,
173 And round his empire spread the learned store,
174 (T' adorn old realms is more than new to raise,
175 His country's parent is a monarch's praise.)
176 His bands now march in just array to war,
177 And Caspian gulphs unusual navies bear;
178 With Runic lays Smolensko's forests ring,
179 And wond'ring Volga hears the muses sing.
180 Did not the painted kings of India greet
181 Our Queen, and lay their scepters at her feet?
182 Chiefs who full bowls of hostile blood had quaff'd,
183 Fam'd for the javelin, and invenom'd shaft;
184 Whose haughty brows made savages adore,
185 Nor bow'd to less than stars, or sun before:
[Page 12]
186 Her pitying smile accepts their suppliant claim,
187 And adds four monarchs to the Christian name.
188 Blest use of pow'r! O virtuous pride in kings!
189 And like his bounty, whence dominion springs!
190 Which o'er new worlds makes heaven's indulgence shine,
191 And ranges myriads under laws divine!
192 Well bought with all that those sweet regions hold,
193 With groves of spices, and with mines of gold.
194 Fearless our merchant now pursues his gain,
195 And roams securely o'er the boundless main.
196 Now o'er his head the polar bear he spies,
197 And freezing spangles of the Lapland skies;
198 Now swells his canvas to the sultry line,
199 With glitt'ring spoils where Indian grottoes shine;
200 Where fumes of incense glad the southern seas,
201 And wafted citron scents the balmy breeze.
202 Here nearer suns prepare the rip'ning gem,
203 To grace great Anne's imperial diadem;
204 And here the ore, whose melted mass shall yield
205 On faithful coins each memorable field;
206 Which mix'd with medals of immortal Rome,
207 May clear disputes, and teach the time to come.
208 In circling beams shall godlike Anna glow,
209 And Churchill's sword hang o'er the prostrate foe;
210 In comely wounds shall bleeding worthies stand,
211 Webb's firm platoon, and Lumly's faithful band!
212 Bold Mordaunt in Iberian trophies dress'd,
213 And Campbell's dragon on his dauntless breast;
[Page 13]
214 Great Ormond's deeds on Vigo's spoils enroll'd,
215 And Guiscard's knife on Harley's Chili gold.
216 And if the muse, O Bristol, might decree,
217 Here Granville noted by the lyre should be,
218 The lyre for Granville, and the cross for thee.
219 Such are the honours grateful Britain pays,
220 So patriots merit, and so monarchs praise.
221 O'er distant times such records shall prevail,
222 When English numbers, antiquated, fail:
223 A trifling song the muse can only yield,
224 And sooth her soldiers panting from the field;
225 To sweet retirements see them safe convey'd,
226 And raise their battles in the rural shade.
227 From fields of death to Woodstock's peaceful glooms
228 (The poet's haunt) Britannia's hero comes
229 Begin, my muse, and softly touch the string:
230 Here Henry lov'd; and Chaucer learn'd to sing.
231 Hail fabled grotto! hail Elysian soil;
232 Thou fairest spot of fair Britannia's isle!
233 Where kings of old conceal'd forgot the throne,
234 And beauty was content to shine unknown;
235 Where love and war by turns pavilions rear,
236 And Henry's bow'rs near Blenheim's dome appear;
237 The weary'd champion lull in soft alcoves,
238 The noblest boast of thy romantic groves.
239 Oft, if the muse presage, shall he be seen
240 By Rosamonda fleeting o'er the green,
[Page 14]
241 In dreams be hail'd by heroes' mighty shades;
242 And hear old Chaucer warble through the glades:
243 O'er the fam'd echoing vaults his name shall bound;
244 And hill to hill reflect the favourite sound.
245 Here, here at least thy love for arms give o'er,
246 Nor, one world conquer'd, fondly wish for more.
247 Vice of great souls alone! O thirst of fame!
248 The muse admires it, while she strives to blame;
249 Thy toils be now to chase the bounding deer,
250 Or view the coursers stretch in wild career;
251 This lovely scene shall sooth thy soul to rest,
252 And wear each dreadful image from thy breast;
253 With pleasure, by thy conquests shalt thou see
254 Thy Queen triumphant, and all Europe free;
255 No cares henceforth shall thy repose destroy,
256 But what thou giv'st the world, thyself enjoy.
257 Sweet solitude! when life's gay hours are past,
258 Howe'er we range, in thee we six at last;
259 Toss'd through tempestuous seas (the voyage o'er)
260 Pale we look back, and bless the friendly shore.
261 Our own strict judges, our past life we scan,
262 And ask if glory hath enlarg'd the span;
263 If bright the prospect, we the grave defy,
264 Trust future ages, and contented die.
265 When strangers from far-distant climes shall come;
266 To view the pomp of this triumphant dome;
267 Where rear'd aloft dissembled trophies stand,
268 And breathing labours of the sculptor's hand,
[Page 15]
269 Where Kneller's art shall paint the flying Gaul,
270 And Bourbon's woes shall fill the story'd wall;
271 Heirs of thy blood shall o'er their bounteous board
272 Fix Europe's guard, thy monumental sword;
273 Banners that oft have wav'd on conquer'd walls,
274 And trumps, that drown'd the groans of gasping Gauls.
275 Fair dames shall oft, with curious eye, explore
276 The costly robes that slaughter'd gen'rals wore,
277 Rich trappings from the Danube's whirlpools brought,
278 (Hesperian nuns the gorgeous broid'ry wrought)
279 Belts stiff with gold, the Boian horseman's pride,
280 And Gaul's fair flow'rs, in human crimson dy'd.
281 Of Churchill's race perhaps some lovely boy
282 Shall mark the burnish'd steel that hangs on high;
283 Shall gaze transported on its glitt'ring charms,
284 And reach it struggling with unequal arms;
285 By signs the drum's tumultuous sound request,
286 Then seek, in starts, the hushing mother's breast.
287 So, in the painter's animated frame,
288 Where Mars embraces the soft Paphian dame,
289 The little loves in sport the faulchion wield,
290 Or join their strength to heave his pond'rous shield;
291 One strokes the plume in Tityon's gore embru'd,
292 And one the spear, that reeks in Typhon's blood;
293 Another's infant brows the helm sustain,
294 He nods his crest, and frights the shrieking train.
295 Thus, the rude tempest of the field o'er-blown,
296 Shall whiter rounds of smiling years roll on:
[Page 16]
297 Our victors, blest in peace, forget their wars,
298 Enjoy past dangers, and absolve the stars.
299 But oh! what sorrows shall bedew your urns,
300 Ye honour'd shades, whom widow'd Albion mourns?
301 If your thin forms yet discontented moan,
302 And haunt the mangled mansions once your own;
303 Behold what flow'rs the pious muses strow,
304 And tears, which in the midst of triumph flow;
305 Cypress and bays your envy'd brows surround,
306 Your names the tender matron's heart shall wound,
307 And the soft maid grow pensive at the sound.
308 Accept, great Anne, the tears their mem'ry draws,
309 Who nobly perish'd in their sov'reign's cause:
310 For thou in pity bid'st the war give o'er,
311 Mourn'st thy slain heroes, nor wilt venture more.
312 Vast price of blood on each victorious day!
313 (But Europe's freedom doth that price repay.)
314 Lamented triumphs! when one breath must tell
315 That Marlborough conquer'd, and that Dormer fell.
316 Great Queen! whose name strikes haughty monarchs pale,
317 On whose just scepter hangs Europa's scale;
318 Whose arm like mercy wounds, decides like fate,
319 On whose decree the nations anxious wait;
320 From Albion's cliffs thy wide extended hand
321 Shall o'er the main to far Peru command,
322 So vast a tract whose wide domain shall run,
323 Its circling skies shall see no setting sun.
324 Thee, thee an hundred languages shall claim,
325 And savage Indians swear by Anna's name;
[Page 17]
326 The line and poles shall own thy rightful sway,
327 And thy commands the sever'd globe obey.
328 Round the vast ball thy new dominions chain
329 The wat'ry kingdoms, and controul the main;
330 Magellan's streights to Gibraltar they join,
331 Across the seas a formidable line;
332 The sight of adverse Gaul we fear no more,
333 But pleas'd see Dunkirk, now a guiltless shore.
334 In vain great Neptune tore the narrow ground,
335 And meant his waters for Britannia's bound;
336 Her giant Genius takes a mighty stride,
337 And sets his foot beyond th' incroaching tide;
338 On either bank the land its master knows,
339 And in the midst the subject ocean flows.
340 So near proud Rhodes, across the raging flood,
341 Stupendous form! the vast Colossus stood,
342 (While at one foot their thronging gallies ride,
343 A whole hour's sail scarce reach the farther side)
344 Betwixt his brazen thighs, in loose array,
345 Ten thousand streamers on the billows play.
346 By Harley's counsels Dunkirk now restor'd
347 To Britain's empire, owns her ancient lord.
348 In him transfus'd his godlike father reigns,
349 Rich in the blood which swell'd that patriot's veins,
350 Who boldly faithful met his sov'reign's frown,
351 And scorn'd for gold to yield th' important town.
352 His son was born the ravish'd prey to claim,
353 And France still trembles at an Harley's name.
[Page 18]
354 A fort so dreadful to our English shore,
355 Our fleets scarce fear'd the sands or tempests more,
356 Whose vast expences to such sums amount,
357 That the tax'd Gaul scarce furnish'd out th' account:
358 Whose walls such bulwarks, such vast tow'rs restrain,
359 Its weakest ramparts are the rocks and main;
360 His boast great Louis yields, and cheaply buys
361 Thy friendship, Anna, with the mighty prize.
362 Holland repining and in grief cast down,
363 Sees the new glories of the British crown:
364 Ah! may they ne'er provoke thee to the fight,
365 Nor foes more dreadful than the Gauls invite,
366 Soon may they hold the olive, soon asswage
367 Their secret murmurs, nor call forth thy rage
368 To rend their banks, and pour, at one command
369 Thy realm the sea o'er their precarious land.
370 Henceforth be thine, vice-gerent of the skies,
371 Scorn'd worth to raise, and vice in robes chastise;
372 To dry the orphan's tears, and from the bar
373 Chase the brib'd judge, and hush the wordy war;
374 Deny the curs'd blasphemer's tongue to rage,
375 And turn God's fury from an impious age.
376 Blest change! the soldier's late destroying hand
377 Shall rear new temples in his native land;
378 Mistaken zealots shall with fear behold,
379 And beg admittance in our sacred fold;
380 On her own works the pious Queen shall smile,
381 And turn her cares upon her fav'rite isle.
[Page 19]
382 So the keen bolt a warrior angel aims,
383 Array'd in clouds, and wrapt in mantling flames,
384 He bears a tempest on his sounding wings,
385 And his red arm the forky vengeance flings;
386 At length, heav'n's wrath appeas'd, he quits the war,
387 To roll his orb, and guide his destin'd star,
388 To shed kind fate, and lucky hours bestow,
389 And smile propitious on the world below.
390 Around thy throne shall faithful nobles wait,
391 These guard the church, and those direct the state,
392 To Bristol, graceful in maternal tears,
393 The church her tow'ry forehead gently rears,
394 She begs her pious son t' assert her cause,
395 Defend her rights, and reinforce her laws,
396 With holy zeal the sacred work begin,
397 To bend the stubborn and the meek to win.
398 Our Oxford's earl in careful thought shall stand,
399 To raise his Queen, and save a sinking land,
400 The wealthiest glebe to rav'nous Spaniards known
401 He marks, and makes the golden world our own:
402 Content with hands unsoil'd to guard the prize,
403 And keep the store with undesiring eyes.
404 So round the tree, that bore Hesperian gold,
405 The sacred watch lay curl'd in many a fold,
406 His eyes up-rearing to th' untasted prey,
407 The sleepless guardian wasted life away.
408 Beneath the peaceful olives, rais'd by you,
409 Her ancient pride shall ev'ry art renew;
[Page 20]
410 (The arts with you, fam'd Harcourt, shall defend,
411 And courtly Bolingbroke, the Muse's friend)
412 With piercing eye some search where nature plays,
413 And trace the wanton through her darksome maze;
414 Whence health from herbs; from seeds how groves begun,
415 How vital streams in circling eddies run.
416 Some teach, why round the sun the spheres advance,
417 In the fix'd measures of their mystick dance:
418 How tides, when heav'd by pressing moons, o'erflow,
419 And sun-born Iris paints her flow'ry bow.
420 In happy chains our daring language bound,
421 Shall sport no more in arbitrary sound,
422 But buskin'd bards henceforth shall wisely rage,
423 And Grecian plans reform Britannia's stage:
424 'Till Congreve bids her smile, Augusta stands,
425 And longs to weep when flowing Rowe commands:
426 Britain's Spectators shall their strength combine
427 To mend our morals, and our taste refine,
428 Fight virtue's cause, stand up in wit's defence,
429 Win us from vice, and laugh us into sense.
430 Nor, Prior, hast thou hush'd the trump in vain,
431 Thy lyre shall now revive her mirthful strain,
432 New tales shall now be told; if right I see,
433 The soul of Chaucer is restor'd in thee.
434 Garth, in majestick numbers, to the stars
435 Shall raise mock-heroes, and fantastick wars;
436 Like the young spreading laurel, Pope, thy name
437 Shoots up with strength, and rises into fame;
[Page 21]
438 With Phillips shall the peaceful vallies ring,
439 And Britain hear a second Spenser sing;
440 That much-lov'd youth, whom Utrecht's walls confine,
441 To Bristol's praises shall his Strafford's join:
442 He too, from whom attentive Oxford draws
443 Rules for just thinking, and poetick laws,
444 To growing bards his learned aid shall send,
445 The strictest critick, and the kindest friend.
446 Ev'n mine, a bashful Muse, whose rude essays
447 Scarce hope for pardon, not aspire to praise,
448 Cherish'd by you in time may grow to fame,
449 And mine survive with Bristol's glorious name.
450 Fir'd with the views this glitt'ring scene displays,
451 And smit with passion for my country's praise,
452 My artless reed attempts this lofty theme,
453 Where sacred Isis rolls her ancient stream;
454 In cloister'd domes, the great Philippa's pride,
455 Where learning blooms, while fame and worth preside,
456 Where the fifth Henry arts and arms was taught,
457 And Edward form'd his Cressy, yet unfought;
458 Where laurel'd bards have struck the warbling strings,
459 The seat of sages, and the nurse of kings.
460 Here thy commands, O Lancaster, inflame
461 My eager breast to raise the British name;
462 Urge on my soul, with no ignoble pride,
463 To woo the Muse whom Addison enjoy'd;
464 See that bold swan to heav'n sublimely soar,
465 Pursue at distance, and his steps adore.


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Title (in Source Edition): ON THE PROSPECT OF PEACE, A POEM.
Themes: politics; patriotism; glory of the British nation
Genres: heroic couplet; dedication
Headnote: First published 28 October 1712.
References: DMI 27159

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Source edition

Dodsley, Robert, 1703-1764. A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. I. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. [3]-21. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.001) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

First printing

A Poem, to His Excellency the Lord Privy-Seal, on the Prospect of Peace. By Mr. Tickell. London: printed for J. Tonson, at Shakespear’s-Head over-against Catherine-Street in the Strand, 1713 [28 October 1712]. [4],20p.; 2⁰. (Foxon, T303; ESTC T1016)

Editorial principles

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.

Secondary literature

  • Rogal, Samuel J. Thomas Tickell's Prospect of Peace. Illinois Quarterly 35.3 (Feb. 1973): 31-40. Print.

Introductory essay

On the Prospect of Peace by Thomas Tickell

[screenshot showing facsimile of poem]

The poet and politician Thomas Tickell (1685-1740), a near exact contemporary of Alexander Pope's, is probably best known today as Addison's literary executor and editor of his Works. Tickell's poetry has largely dropped out of the modern canon, he is not now widely read or even studied at university. Despite the availability of his poems in a historical-critical edition, prepared by Helgard-Stöver-Leidig in 1981, Roger Lonsdale was possibly the last modern editor to anthologize one of his poems (for his ground-breaking 1984 anthology).

Tickell's On the Prospect of Peace was first published on 28 October 1712, two months before the Utrecht peace negotiations commenced to end the 14-year War of the Spanish Succession. One of many celebratory poems written at the time, Tickell's poem was one of the more popular contributions. It went through six editions within two years of publication and was widely anthologized in miscellanies throughout the eighteenth century. Tickell, who attended The Queen's College and later acted as Joseph Trapp's deputy as Professor of Poetry, wrote On the Prospect of Peace while still at Oxford, where he made a name for himself with a topographical poem of the same name in 1706.

In On the Prospect of Peace both the topographical and political dimensions become immediately obvious and can be easily visualized in ECPA by enabling the display of named entities in the pragmatic analytical layer. Nearly 200 references to over 100 geographical and personal names (in a 500-line poem) highlight the richness of the political, geographic, and historical tapestry laid out in the poem. This simple colour-coded visualization draws the reader's attention and focus to investigate the many rich references and allusions to warring factions, battles, kings and queens, or famous generals, and provide the sense of history in the making that made the poem popular across the contemporary political spectrum.

[screenshot showing analysis options]

Alexander Pope's praise for Tickell's versification (he saw his own Windsor-Forest partly as a response to and in dialogue with Tickell's poem), can serve as a second example of how ECPA's presentation of analytical results in a visual and interactive manner can help with the exploratory analysis of the poem. By enabling "sentencing" in the syntactic layer we can see that Tickell's poem, written in heroic couplets, shows almost complete regularity with regard to stanzaic and syntactic alignment. The few irregularities promptly draw attention to instances of heightened emotional expression, in the form of rhetorical devices such as apostrophe, exclamatio, and rhetorical questions. Similar levels of regularity can be identified with regard to rhyme (nature of similarity) and metre, although the significance of individual deviations can only be assessed by paying close attention to their concrete function in the text.

ECPA's integrated display of core analytical layers not only allows for insights on each of these levels but more importantly prompts the closer examination of their interrelatedness over time. It is through analysis of some of these aspects that we hope that even a poem as deeply rooted in the intricacies of the contemporary political situation as On the Prospect of Peace will become not only more accessible but will also encourage the reader to explore the literary, historical, and political landscape that prompted its composition.