Dennis, John, 1657-1734. The monument: a poem sacred to the immortal memory of the best and greatest of kings, William the Third. ... By Mr. Dennis. London: printed for D. Brown, and A. Bell, 1702. xii,48p.; 4⁰. (ESTC T135780; Foxon D224; OTA K107395.000)
- TO THE Most Noble and Mighty PRINCE, WILLIAM Duke of DEVONSHIRE, Lord STEWARD of Her Majesty's Houshold, AND Knight of the most Noble Order of the GARTER, &c.
- THE PREFACE.
- The MONUMENT: A POEM Sacred to the IMMORTAL MEMORY OF William the Third.
The MONUMENT: A POEM Sacred to the IMMORTAL MEMORY of the Best and Greatest of Kings, William the Third King of Great Britain, &c.
By Mr. DENNIS.
LONDON; Printed for D. Brown at the Black-Swan and Bible without Temple-Bar, and A. Bell at the Cross-Keys and Bible in Cornhil: MDCCII.
IF the following POEM had been written by a Person who had a Genius equal to the Subject, it would in a peculiar manner have belong'd to Your Grace: For to whom should a Poet sooner address the Praises of a King, who will be eternally Glorious for the Restoring and Maintaining our Liberties,[Page iv] and the common Liberties of Europe, than to Your Grace, who has always appear'd so Great a Defender of them, and has ventur'd, and done, and suffer'd for them more than any Subject in England? The ardent Love of Liberty and of Your Country, are some of the many Heroick Qualities which You have inherited from Your Noble Ancestors, and some of the many which Your Grace has the Happiness to see deriv'd from Your Noble Self by the other Hope of Your August Family. The Wisdom, Foresight, Resolution, and Greatness of Soul that the Brave Lord Candish so constantly shew'd in the last Parliaments of K. Charles the Second, will never be forgotten as long as an Englishman remains alive. Ev'n then when it was esteem'd by some an unpardonable Crime to be thought one, even then Your Grace and that Illustrious Friend, whose Memory shall always be Dear to all the faithful Lovers of their Country, both of You heroically dar'd to appear at the Head of Englishmen resolv'd to assert their Privileges. He gloriously seal'd the Love of his Country with his Blood; but even after the Loss of the best of Friends, Your Grace persever'd with an undaunted Spirit in the Noble Cause of Liberty. Nor could the just Grief which You paid to his Memory, hinder You from paying that Duty which You ow'd to Your Country, which has always deservedly been Your first Affection. If some other Persons at that time would have entred into the Wisdom[Page v] of both Your Counsels, You your selves had saved us without the Help of the King; Your Noble Friend, as Your Grace's Self, had been one of the living Ornaments of Your delivered Country, and there had been no need of the Revolution, nor perhaps of the long War that succeeded it. It was neither His nor Your Grace's Fault that You were not then sufficiently seconded, and consequently that You did not save these Nations all that Blood and Treasure which the War has cost them. But when afterwards things were brought to that Extremity that a Revolution was absolutely necessary, no Man did more than Your Grace towards the bringing it about, and working our Deliverance that way. Your Grace was then the most Glorious Instrument of establishing the best of Kings upon the Throne of England, and defending her present Majesty at so dangerous a Juncture as that of the Revolution. She wisely thought that She could have no where recourse to a better Place for Her Safety, than where Your Grace was known to direct by Your Counsels, and to animate by Your Courage the Brave Assertors of Liberty.
I have a long time design'd to lay something of mine at Your Grace's Feet, that it might live, and grow and flourish under so Illustrious a Patronage. But the Awe that I stood in of the Force of Your Judgment, and the Fineness of Your Discernment, made me wait for this Opportunity: For I know very well, that I either[Page vi] ought never to approach You this way at all or to do it when I can be most secure of my self. And tho what I offer You now is far from meriting so High a Protection, yet I have less Mistrust of it than of any thing I have done in Poetry. Besides, the Design and the Immortal Subject may supply in some measure the Weakness of my Performance: For I am confident that Your Grace will not refuse to grant that Protection to the Vindication of the King's Memory, which the King at Your Grace's Request granted to the Rights and Privileges of every Englishman. I am,
THE following Poem was writ without any manner of Design of obliging or offending a Party. For in all my Life-time I never designed either to please or offend any, and was always of Opinion that he who makes his Court to any, is sure to do it to the wrong; for if all Men were for the Publick Good, there never could be any Party, because a Patriot designs the Good of his Country, but one of a Party intends his own.
THE following Poem was writ with an Intention to do what Service I could to my Country at this Conjuncture; which, as Mr. Waller, has truly observed, is a Duty incumbent upon the Muses Friend.[Page viii]
THIS is certain, that the late King delivered us from a de ¦ plorable State. Now we who were once in a condition to want Deliverer, may hereafter be in such a Condition again; for who has happened may happen. But since, as Mr. Waller observes most Heroes are incited to the noble Acts they perform by a De ¦ sire of Praise, who will be at the Trouble to save or defend People so ingrateful as to refuse them that?
I DESIRE that the Reader would take two Cautions along with him: The one that he would not interpret that Love of Libe ¦ ty which will be found in the following Poem, for an Aversion Monarchy; for Liberty is as consistent with the Government[Page ix] of One as with that of a Thousand. The other is, that he would by no means mistake the Reflexions upon the Army which he Dutch had in 1672. for a Satyr upon the Nation in general. For I have a long time known the Dutch to be a Vaiant, a Wise and a Great People, and their Country to be one of the strongest Bulwarks of the Liberties of Europe.
IF any one happens to wonder that I have employed so many Verses in describing the Battel of Seneffe, without dwelling afterwards upon any other of the Glorious Actions of the King, as the Battel of Mons, or that of the Boyn, or the Siege of Namur: I desire him to consider that in Descriptions of all Fights, there is something resembling; and by consequence, that one such Description for so short a work is enough; and that from among all the Actions of the King I chose the Battel of Seneffe, because of the Brave Army opposed to Him, and the Great Prince of Conde who headed them; and because it is the greatest of all the Actions in which the King, or perhaps any other Captain ever has been engaged; and above all, because the Success of the Allies was undeniably due to the King's Valour and Conduct.
THE following Poem was writ with a Design of showing the King and not my self, and written in the Language not of the Head but the Heart. 'Tis written in Blank Verse, and not in Ryme, not only because I thought that the former would[Page x] give me the more Liberty, but for several other Reasons which will offer themselves immediately to all who are Judges of Poetry, and which signify nothing to the rest. I will only put the Reader in mind that Mr. Milton looked upon Ryme as a Bondage, and my Lord Roscommon and Mr. Dryden as a Barbarity. Mr. Milton tells us in his Preface to Paradise lost, that Ryme is trivial to Judicious Ears, and of no true Musical Delight; and Mr. Dryden in his Verses before the Essay upon translated Verse, that Poetry flourished in Greece and Rome,
Mr. Dryden threw it off in Dramatick Poetry, as Mr. Milton had done in Heroick, and as my Lord Roscommon would have done, if he had lived to write any more; of which the following Lines in the Essay upon translated Verse, may be sufficient to satisfy us.
FROM what has been said it is plain, that three of our Poets, who have been deservedly celebrated for the Fineness of their Ears, have condemned and exploded Ryme, not only as an Enemy to Art, and a Clog to Genius, and a Debaser of the Majesty of Verse; but as a thing of barbarous Sound, and contrary to true Musical Delight. And I am confident, that those three Gentlemen, if they had been alive, would have been pleased to have seen in the following Poem, an attempt to second that generous Design, which the first of them began, and which the two others approved of; a Design to shake off a barbarous Custom, and to shew the Harmony of our Mother Tongue (contrary to Vulgar received Opinion) above that of our Neighbours the French, which is utterly incapable of producing any thing like Poetical Musick without the assistance of Ryme.