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An ODE. Inscribed to the Memory of the Honble Col. George Villiers, Drowned in the River Piava, in the Country of Friuli. 1703.

In Imitation of Horace, Ode 28. Lib. 1.

Te Maris & Terræ numeroque carentis arenæ Mensorem cohibent, Archyta, &c.
1 Say, dearest Villiers, poor departed Friend
2 (Since fleeting Life thus suddenly must end)
3 Say, what did all thy busie Hopes avail,
4 That anxious Thou from Pole to Pole didst sail;
5 E'er on thy Chin the springing Beard began
6 To spread a doubtful Down, and promise Man?
7 What profited thy Thoughts, and Toils, and Cares,
8 In Vigour more confirm'd, and riper Years?
9 To wake e'er Morning-dawn to loud Alarms,
10 And march 'till close of Night in heavy Arms?
11 To scorn the Summer Suns and Winter Snows,
12 And search thro' ev'ry Clime thy Country's Foes?
13 That Thou might'st Fortune to thy Side ingage;
14 That gentle Peace might quell Bellona's Rage;
15 And Anna's Bounty crown Her Soldier's hoary Age?
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16 In vain We think, that free-will'd Man has Pow'r
17 To hasten or protract th' appointed Hour.
18 Our Term of Life depends not on our Deed:
19 Before our Birth our Funeral was decreed.
20 Nor aw'd by Foresight, nor mis-led by Chance,
21 Imperious Death directs His Ebon Lance;
22 Peoples great Henry's Tombs, and leads up Holben's Dance.
23 Alike must ev'ry State, and ev'ry Age
24 Sustain the universal Tyrant's Rage:
25 For neither William's Pow'r, nor Mary's Charms
26 Could or repel, or pacifie his Arms:
27 Young Churchill fell, as Life began to bloom:
28 And Bradford's trembling Age expects the Tomb.
29 Wisdom and Eloquence in vain would plead
30 One Moment's Respite for the learned Head:
31 Judges of Writings and of Men have dy'd;
32 Mecænas, Sackville, Socrates, and Hyde:
33 And in their various Turns the Sons must tread
34 Those gloomy Journeys, which their Sires have led.
35 The ancient Sage, who did so long maintain,
36 That Bodies die, but Souls return again,
37 With all the Births and Deaths He had in Store,
38 Went out Pythagoras, and came no more.
39 And modern A—l, whose capricious Thought
40 Is yet with Stores of wilder Notion fraught,
41 Too soon convinc'd, shall yield that fleeting Breath,
42 Which play'd so idly with the Darts of Death.
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43 Some from the stranded Vessel force their Way:
44 Fearful of Fate, they meet it in the Sea:
45 Some who escape the Fury of the Wave,
46 Sicken on Earth, and sink into a Grave:
47 In Journeys or at home, in War or Peace,
48 By Hardships Many, Many fall by Ease.
49 Each changing Season does it's Poison bring:
50 Rheums chill the Winter; Agues blast the Spring:
51 Wet, Dry, Cold, Hot, at the appointed Hour,
52 All act subservient to the Tyrant's Pow'r:
53 And when obedient Nature knows His Will,
54 A Fly, a Grape-stone, or a Hair can kill.
55 For restless Proserpine for ever treads
56 In Paths unseen, o'er our devoted Heads;
57 And on the spacious Land, and liquid Main
58 Spreads slow Disease, or darts afflictive Pain:
59 Variety of Deaths confirms her endless Reign.
60 On curst Piava's Banks the Goddess stood;
61 Show'd her dire Warrant to the rising Flood;
62 When What I long must love, and long must mourn,
63 With fatal Speed was urging his Return;
64 In his dear Country to disperse his Care,
65 And arm himself by Rest for future War;
66 To chide his anxious Friend's officious Fears,
67 And promise to their Joys his elder Years.
68 Oh! destin'd Head; and oh! severe Decree:
69 Nor native Country Thou, nor Friend shalt see;
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70 Nor War hast thou to wage, nor Year to come:
71 Impending Death is thine, and instant Doom.
72 Hark! the imperious Goddess is obey'd:
73 Winds murmur; Snows descend; and Waters spread:
74 Oh! Kinsman, Friend, O! vain are all the Cries
75 Of human Voice; strong Destiny replies:
76 Weep You on Earth; for He shall sleep below:
77 Thence None return; and thither All must go.
78 Whoe'er Thou art, whom Choice or Business leads
79 To this sad River, or the neighb'ring Meads;
80 If Thou may'st happen on the dreary Shoars
81 To find the Object which This Verse deplores;
82 Cleanse the pale Corps with a religious Hand
83 From the polluting Weed and common Sand;
84 Lay the dead Hero graceful in a Grave;
85 (The only Honor He can now receive)
86 And fragrant Mould upon his Body throw;
87 And plant the Warrior Lawrel o'er his Brow:
88 Light lye the Earth; and flourish green the Bough.
89 So may just Heav'n secure thy future Life
90 From foreign Dangers, and domestic Strife:
91 And when th' Infernal Judges dismal Pow'r
92 From the dark Urn shall throw Thy destin'd Hour;
93 When yielding to the Sentence, breathless Thou
94 And pale shalt lye, as what Thou buriest now;
95 May some kind Friend the piteous Object see,
96 And equal Rites perform to That which once was Thee.


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Title (in Source Edition): An ODE. Inscribed to the Memory of the Honble Col. George Villiers, Drowned in the River Piava, in the Country of Friuli. 1703. In Imitation of Horace, Ode 28. Lib. 1.
Author: Matthew Prior
Genres: 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. 177-180. [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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