AN EPISTLE from a Lady in England, to a GENTLEMAN at Avignon.
1 TO thee, dear rover, and thy vanquish'd friends,
2 The health she wants, thy gentle Chloe sends;
3 Though much you suffer, think I suffer more,
4 Worse than an exile on my native shore.
5 Companions in your master's flight you roam,
6 Unenvy'd by your haughty foes at home;
7 For-ever near the royal out-law's side,
8 You share his fortunes, and his hopes divide;
9 On glorious schemes, and thoughts of empire dwell,
10 And with imaginary titles swell.
11 Say, (for thou know'st I own his sacred line,
12 The passive doctrine, and the right divine)
13 Say, what new succours does the chief prepare?
14 The strength of armies? or the force of pray'r?
15 Does he from heav'n or earth his hopes derive?
16 From saints departed? or from priests alive?[Page 62]
17 Nor saints nor priests can Brunswick's troops withstand,
18 And beads drop useless through the zealot's hand;
19 Heav'n to our vows may future kingdoms owe,
20 But skill and courage win the crowns below.
21 Ere to thy cause, and thee, my heart inclin'd,
22 Or love to party had seduc'd my mind,
23 In female joys I took a dull delight,
24 Slept all the morn, and punted half the night;
25 But now, with fears and publick cares possess'd,
26 The church, the church, for-ever breaks my rest.
27 The Post-boy on my pillow I explore,
28 And sift the news of ev'ry foreign shore,
29 Studious to find new friends, and new allies;
30 What armies march from Sweden in disguise;
31 How Spain prepares her banners to unfold,
32 And Rome deals out her blessings, and her gold:
33 Then o'er the map my finger taught to stray,
34 Cross many a region marks the winding way;
35 From sea to sea, from realm to realm I rove,
36 And grow a mere geographer by love.
37 But still Avignon, and the pleasing coast
38 That holds Thee banish'd, claims my care the most;
39 Oft on the well-known spot I fix my eyes,
40 And span the distance that between us lies.
41 Let not our James, tho' foil'd in arms, despair,
42 Whilst on his side he reckons half the fair:
43 In Britain's lovely isle a shining throng
44 War in his cause, a thousand beauties strong.[Page 63]
45 Th' unthinking victors vainly boast their pow'rs;
46 Be theirs the musket, while the tongue is ours.
47 We reason with such fluency and fire,
48 The beaux we baffle, and the learned tire,
49 Against the prelates plead the church's cause,
50 And from our judges vindicate the laws.
51 Then mourn not, hapless prince, thy kingdoms lost,
52 A crown, tho' late, thy sacred brow may boast;
53 Heav'n seems through us thy empire to decree,
54 Those who win hearts, have giv'n their hearts to thee.
55 Hast thou not heard that, when profusely gay,
56 Our well-dress'd rivals grace their sov'reign's day,
57 We stubborn damsels met the publick view
58 In loathsome wormwood, and repenting rue?
59 What whig but trembled, when our spotless band
60 In virgin roses whiten'd half the land!
61 Who can forget what fears the foe possess'd,
62 When oaken boughs mark'd ev'ry loyal breast!
63 Less scar'd near Medway's stream the Norman stood,
64 When cross the plain he spy'd a marching wood,
65 'Till near at hand, a gleam of swords betray'd
66 The youth of Kent beneath its wand'ring shade.
67 Those, who the succours of the fair despise,
68 May find that we have nails as well as eyes.
69 The female bands, O prince by Fortune cross'd,
70 At least more courage than thy men may boast;
71 Our sex has dar'd the mug-house chiefs to meet,
72 And purchase fame in many a well-fought street.[Page 64]
73 From Drury-lane, the region of renown,
74 The land of love, the Paphos of the town,
75 Fair patriots sallying oft have put to flight
76 With all their poles the guardians of the night,
77 And borne, with screams of triumph, to their side
78 The leader's staff in all its painted pride.
79 Nor fears the hawker in her warbling note
80 To vend the discontented statesman's thought.
81 Tho' red with stripes, and recent from the thong,
82 Sore smitten for the love of sacred song,
83 The tuneful sisters still pursue their trade,
84 Like Philomela darkling in the shade.
85 Poor Trott attends, forgetful of a fare,
86 And hums in concert o'er his empty chair.
87 Mean while, regardless of the royal cause,
88 His sword for James no brother sovereign draws.
89 The Pope himself surrounded with alarms,
90 To France his bulls, to Corfu sends his arms,
91 And though he hears his darling son's complaint,
92 Can hardly spare one tutelary saint;
93 But lists them all to guard his own abodes,
94 And into ready money coins his gods.
95 The dauntless Swede, pursu'd by vengeful foes,
96 Scarce keeps his own hereditary snows;
97 Nor must the friendly roof of kind Lorrain
98 With feast regale our garter'd youth again:
99 Safe, Bar-le-duc, within thy silent grove
100 The pheasant now may perch, the hare may rove:[Page 65]
101 The knight, who aims unerring from afar,
102 Th' advent'rous knight, now quits the sylvan war:
103 The brinded boars may slumber un-dismay'd,
104 Or grunt secure beneath the chesnut shade.
105 Inconstant Orleans (still we mourn the day
106 That trusted Orleans with imperial sway)
107 Far o'er the Alps our helpless monarch sends,
108 Far from the call of his desponding friends.
109 Such are the terms to gain Britannia's grace!
110 And such the terrors of the Brunswick race!
111 Was it for this the sun's whole lustre fail'd,
112 And sudden midnight o'er the noon prevail'd!
113 For this did heav'n display to mortal eyes
114 Aërial knights and combats in the skies?
115 Was it for this Northumbrian streams look'd red,
116 And Thames driv'n backward show'd his secret bed!
117 False auguries! th' insulting victors scorn!
118 Ev'n our own prodigies against us turn!
119 O portents constru'd on our side in vain!
120 Let never Tory trust eclipse again!
121 Run clear, ye fountains! be at peace, ye skies!
122 And, Thames, henceforth to thy green borders rise!
123 To Rome then must the royal wand'rer go,
124 And fall a suppliant at the papal toe?
125 His life in sloth inglorious must he wear,
126 One half in luxury, and one in pray'r?
127 His mind perhaps at length, debauch'd with ease,
128 The proffer'd purple and the hat may please.[Page 66]
129 Shall he, whose ancient patriarchal race
130 To mighty Nimrod in one line we trace,
131 In solemn conclave sit, devoid of thought,
132 And poll for points of faith his trusty vote!
133 Be summon'd to his stall in time of need,
134 And with his casting suffrage fix a creed!
135 Shall he in robes on stated days appear,
136 And English hereticks curse once a year!
137 Garnet and Faux shall he with pray'rs invoke,
138 And beg that Smithfield piles once more may smoak!
139 Forbid it heav'n! my soul, to fury wrought,
140 Turns almost Hanoverian at the thought.
141 From James and Rome I feel my heart decline,
142 And fear, O Brunswick, 'twill be wholly thine;
143 Yet still his share thy rival will contest,
144 And still the double claim divides my breast:
145 The fate of James with pitying eyes I view,
146 And wish my homage were not Brunswick's due;
147 To James my passions and my weakness guide,
148 But reason sways me to the victor's side.
149 Though griev'd I speak it, let the truth appear;
150 (You know my language, and my heart, sincere.)
151 In vain did falshood his fair fame disgrace;
152 What force had falshood, when he show'd his face!
153 In vain to war our boastful clans were led;
154 Heaps driven on heaps, in the dire shock they fled:
155 France shuns his wrath, nor raises to our shame
156 A second Dunkirk in another name:[Page 67]
157 In Britain's funds their wealth all Europe throws,
158 And up the Thames the world's abundance flows:
159 Spite of feign'd fears, and artificial cries,
160 The pious town sees fifty churches rise:
161 The hero triumphs as his worth is known,
162 And sits more firmly on his shaken throne.
163 To my sad thought no beam of hope appears
164 Through the long prospect of succeeding years;
165 The son aspiring to his father's fame,
166 Shows all his sire: another and the same.
167 He blest in lovely Carolina's arms,
168 To future ages propagates her charms:
169 With pain and joy at strife, I often trace
170 The mingled parents in each daughter's face;
171 Half sick'ning at the sight, too well I spie
172 The father's spirit through the mother's eye:
173 In vain new thoughts of rage I entertain,
174 And strive to hate their innocence in vain.
175 O princess! happy by thy foes confess'd!
176 Blest in thy husband! in thy children blest!
177 As they from thee, from them new beauties horn,
178 While Europe lasts, shall Europe's thrones adorn.
179 Transplanted to each court, in times to come,
180 Thy smile celestial and un-fading bloom
181 Great Austria's sons with softer lines shall grace,
182 And smooth the frowns of Bourbon's haughty race.
183 The fair descendents of thy sacred bed
184 Wide-branching o'er the western world shall spread,[Page 68]
185 Like the fam'd Banian tree, whose pliant shoot
186 To earthward bending of itself takes root,
187 Till like their mother plant, ten thousand stand
188 In verdant arches on the fertile land;
189 Beneath her shade the tawny Indians rove,
190 Or hunt at large through the wide echoing grove.
191 O thou, to whom these mournful lines I send,
192 My promis'd husband, and my dearest friend;
193 Since heav'n appoints this favour'd race to reign,
194 And blood has drench'd the Scottish fields in vain;
195 Must I be wretched, and thy flight partake?
196 Or wilt not thou, for thy lov'd Chloe's sake,
197 Tir'd out at length, submit to Fate's decree?
198 If not to Brunswick, O return to me!
199 Prostrate before the victor's mercy bend:
200 What spares whole thousands, may to thee extend.
201 Should blinded friends thy doubtful conduct blame,
202 Great Brunswick's virtues will secure thy fame:
203 Say, these invite thee to approach his throne,
204 And own the monarch heav'n vouchsafes to own.
205 The world, convinc'd, thy reasons will approve;
206 Say this to Them; but swear to Me 'twas love.