To the DUKE of MARLBOROUGH.
1 PARDON, great Duke, if Britain's stile delights;
2 Or if th' Imperial title more invites;
3 Pardon, great Prince, the failings of a Muse,
4 That dares not hope for more than your excuse,
5 Forc'd at a distance to attempt your praise,
6 And sing your victories in mournful lays,
7 To cast in shadows, and allay the light,
8 That wounds, with nearer rays, the dazled sight,
9 Nor durst in a direct and open strain
10 Such acts, with her unhallow'd notes, prophane:
11 In tow'ring verse let meaner heroes grow,
12 And to elab'rate lines their greatness owe,
13 Your actions, own'd by ev'ry nation, want
14 Praises, no greater than a foe may grant.
15 Oh! when shall Europe, by her MARLBRO'S sword,
16 To lasting peace and liberty restor'd,[Page 131]
17 Allow her weary champion a retreat,
18 To his lov'd country and his rising seat?
19 Where your soft partner, far from martial noise,
20 Your cares shall sweeten with domestic joys:
21 Your conquests she with doubtful pleasure hears,
22 And in the midst of ev'ry triumph fears;
23 Betwixt her queen and you divides her life,
24 A friend obsequious, and a faithful wife.
25 Hail Woodstock! hail ye celebrated glades!
26 Grow fast ye woods, and flourish thick ye shades!
27 Ye rising tow'rs for your new lord prepare,
28 Like your old Henry come from Gallia's war.
29 The gen'ral's arms as far the king's o'erpow'r,
30 As this new structure does surpass the bow'r.
31 The pleasing prospects and romantic scite,
32 The spacious compass, and the stately height;
33 The painted gardens, in their flow'r prime,
34 Demand whole volumes of immortal rhime,
35 And if the Muse would second the design,
36 Mean as they are, should in my numbers shine,
37 There live, the joy and wonder of our isles,
38 Happy in Albion's love, and ANNA'S smiles.
39 While from the godlike race of CHURCHILL born,
40 Four beauteous Rosamonds this bow'r adorn,
41 Who with the ancient syren of the place
42 In charms might vie, and ev'ry blooming grace;
43 But bless'd with equal virtues had she been,
44 Like them she had been favour'd by the QUEEN,[Page 132]
45 Whom your high merit, and their own, prefers
46 To all the worthiest beds of England's peers.
47 Thus the great eagle, when heav'n's wars are o'er,
48 And the loud thunder has forgot to roar,
49 Jove's fires laid by, with those of Venus burns,
50 To his forsaken mate and shades returns;
51 On some proud tree, more sacred than the rest,
52 With curious art he builds his spacious nest;
53 In the warm sun lies basking all the day,
54 While round their sire the gen'rous eaglets play;
55 Their sire, well-pleas'd to see the noble brood
56 Fill all the loftiest cedars of the wood.