An English BALLAD,

On the Taking of NAMUR By the King of Great Britain, 1695.

Dulce est desipere in loco.
I. and II.
1 Some Folks are drunk, yet do not know it:
2 So might not Bacchus give You Law?
3 Was it a Muse, O lofty Poet,
4 Or Virgin of St. Cyr, You saw?
5 Why all this Fury? What's the Matter,
6 That Oaks must come from Thrace to dance?
7 Must stupid Stocks be taught to flatter?
8 And is there no such Wood in France?
9 Why must the Winds all hold their Tongue?
10 If they a little Breath should raise;
11 Would that have spoil'd the Poet's Song;
12 Or puff'd away the Monarch's Praise?
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13 Pindar, that Eagle, mounts the Skies;
14 While Virtue leads the noble Way:
15 Too like a Vultur Boileau flies,
16 Where sordid Interest shows the Prey.
17 When once the Poet's Honour ceases,
18 From Reason far his Transports rove:
19 And Boileau, for eight hundred Pieces,
20 Makes Louis take the Wall of Jove.
21 Neptune and Sol came from above,
22 Shap'd like Megrigny and Vauban:
23 They arm'd these Rocks; then show'd old Jove
24 Of Marli Wood, the Wond'rous Plan.
25 Such Walls, these three wise Gods agreed,
26 By Human Force could ne'er be shaken:
27 But You and I in Homer read
28 Of Gods, as well as Men, mistaken.
29 Sambre and Maese their Waves may join;
30 But ne'er can William's Force restrain:
31 He'll pass them Both, who pass'd the Boyn:
32 Remember this, and arm the Sein.
33 Full fifteen thousand lusty Fellows
34 With Fire and Sword the Fort maintain:
35 Each was a Hercules, You tell us;
36 Yet out they march'd like common Men.
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37 Cannons above, and Mines below
38 Did Death and Tombs for Foes contrive:
39 Yet Matters have been order'd so,
40 That most of Us are still alive.
41 If Namur be compar'd to Troy;
42 Then Britain's Boys excell'd the Greeks:
43 Their Siege did ten long Years employ:
44 We've done our Bus'ness in ten Weeks.
45 What Godhead does so fast advance,
46 With dreadful Pow'r those Hills to gain?
47 'Tis little Will, the Scourge of France;
48 No Godhead, but the first of Men.
49 His mortal Arm exerts the Pow'r,
50 To keep ev'n Mons's Victor under:
51 And that same Jupiter no more
52 Shall fright the World with impious Thunder.
53 Our King thus trembles at Namur,
54 Whilst Villeroy, who ne'er afraid is,
55 To Bruxelles marches on secure,
56 To bomb the Monks, and scare the Ladies.
57 After this glorious Expedition,
58 One Battle makes the Marshal Great:
59 He must perform the King's Commission:
60 Who knows, but Orange may retreat?
61 Kings are allow'd to feign the Gout,
62 Or be prevail'd with not to Fight:
63 And mighty Louis hop'd, no doubt,
64 That William wou'd preserve that Right.
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65 From Seyn and Loyre, to Rhone and Po,
66 See every Mother's Son appear:
67 In such a Case ne'er blame a Foe,
68 If he betrays some little Fear.
69 He comes, the mighty Vill'roy comes;
70 Finds a small River in his Way:
71 So waves his Colours, beats his Drums;
72 And thinks it prudent there to stay.
73 The Gallic Troops breath Blood and War:
74 The Marshal cares not to march faster:
75 Poor Vill'roy moves so slowly here,
76 We fancy'd all, it was his Master.
77 Will no kind Flood, no friendly Rain
78 Disguise the Marshal's plain Disgrace?
79 No Torrents swell the low Mehayne?
80 The World will say, he durst not pass.
81 Why will no Hyades appear,
82 Dear Poet, on the Banks of Sambre?
83 Just as they did that mighty Year,
84 When You turn'd June into December.
85 The Water-Nymphs are too unkind
86 To Vill'roy; are the Land-Nymphs so?
87 And fly They All, at Once Combin'd
88 To shame a General, and a Beau?
89 Truth, Justice, Sense, Religion, Fame
90 May join to finish William's Story:
91 Nations set free may bless his Name;
92 And France in Secret own his Glory.
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93 But Ipres, Mastrich, and Cambray,
94 Besançon, Ghent, St. Omers, Lysle,
95 Courtray, and Dole Ye Criticks, say,
96 How poor to this was Pindar's Style?
97 With Eke's and Also's tack thy Strain,
98 Great Bard; and sing the deathless Prince,
99 Who lost Namur the same Campaign,
100 He bought Dixmude, and plunder'd Deynse.
101 I'll hold Ten Pound, my Dream is out:
102 I'd tell it You, but for the Rattle
103 Of those confounded Drums: no doubt
104 Yon' bloody Rogues intend a Battel.
105 Dear me! a hundred thousand French
106 With Terror fill the neighb'ring Field;
107 While William carries on the Trench,
108 'Till both the Town and Castle yield.
109 Vill'roy to Boufflers should advance,
110 Says Mars, thro' Cannons Mouths in Fire;
111 Id est, one Mareschal of France
112 Tells t'other, He can come no nigher.
113 Regain the Lines the shortest Way,
114 Vill'roy; or to Versailles take Post:
115 For, having seen it, Thou can'st say
116 The Steps, by which Namur was lost.
117 The Smoke and Flame may vex thy Sight:
118 Look not once back: but as thou goest,
119 Quicken the Squadrons in their Flight;
120 And bid the D—l take the slowest.
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121 Think not what Reason to produce,
122 From Louis to conceal thy Fear:
123 He'll own the Strength of thy Excuse;
124 Tell him that William was but there.
125 Now let us look for Louis' Feather,
126 That us'd to shine so like a Star:
127 The Gen'rals could not get together,
128 Wanting that Influence, great in War.
129 O Poet! Thou had'st been discreeter,
130 Hanging the Monarch's Hat so high;
131 If Thou had'st dubb'd thy Star, a Meteor,
132 That did but blaze, and rove, and die.
133 To animate the doubtful Fight,
134 Namur in vain expects that Ray:
135 In vain France hopes, the sickly Light
136 Shou'd shine near William's fuller Day.
137 It knows Versailles, it's proper Station;
138 Nor cares for any foreign Sphere:
139 Where You see Boileau's Constellation,
140 Be sure no Danger can be near.
141 The French had gather'd all their Force;
142 And William met them in their Way:
143 Yet off they brush'd, both Foot and Horse.
144 What has Friend Boileau left to say?
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145 When his high Muse is bent upon't,
146 To sing her King, that Great Commander,
147 Or on the Shores of Hellespont,
148 Or in the Valleys near Scamander;
149 Wou'd it not spoil his noble Task,
150 If any foolish Phrygian there is,
151 Impertinent enough to ask,
152 How far Namur may be from Paris?
153 Two Stanza's more before we end,
154 Of Death, Pikes, Rocks, Arms, Bricks, and Fire:
155 Leave 'em behind You, honest Friend:
156 And with your Country-Men retire.
157 Your Ode is spoilt; Namur is freed;
158 For Dixmuyd something yet is due:
159 So good Count Guiscard may proceed;
160 But Boufflers, Sir, one Word with you.
161 'Tis done. In Sight of these Commanders,
162 Who neither Fight, nor raise the Siege,
163 The Foes of France march safe thro' Flanders;
164 Divide to Bruxelles, or to Liege.
165 Send, Fame, this News to Trianon;
166 That Boufflers may new Honours gain:
167 He the same Play by Land has shown,
168 As Tourville did upon the Main.
169 Yet is the Marshal made a Peer:
170 O William, may thy Arms advance;
171 That He may lose Dinant next Year,
172 And so be Constable of France.


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Title (in Source Edition): An English BALLAD, On the Taking of NAMUR By the King of Great Britain, 1695.
Author: Matthew Prior
Genres: ballad metre; ode

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Prior, Matthew, 1664-1721. Poems on Several Occasions [English poems only]. London: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over against Katharine-Street in the Strand, and JOHN BARBER upon Lambeth-Hill. MDCCXVIII., 1718, pp. []-65. [42],506,[6]p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [H 6.8 Art.].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. 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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