« PreviousContinue »
Our ille has
younger titles still in store, And when th'exhausted land can yield no more, Your line can force them from a foreign shore.
The name of great your martial mind will suit; But justice is your darling attribute : Of all the Greeks, 'twas but one hero's due, And, in him, Plutarch prophefyd of you. A prince's favors but on few can fall, But justice is a virtue shar'd by all. Some kings the name of conqu’rors have af
fum'd, Some to be great, fome to be Gods presum'd ; But boundless power,
power, and arbitrary lust Made tyrants still abhor the name of just; They shun'd the praise this godlike virtue gives, And fçar'd a title that reproach'd their lives.. The power, from which all kings derive their
Whom they pretend, at least, to imitate,
Is equal both to punish and reward ;
For few would love their God, unless they fear'd.
Resistless force and immortality
Make but a lame, imperfect, deity :
Tempests have force unbounded to destroy,
And deathless being even the damn'd enjoy;
And yet heaven's attributes, both last and first,
One without life, and one with life accurft :
But justice is heaven's self, so strictly he,
That could it fail, the Godhead could not be.
This virtue is your own; but life and state
Are one to fortune subject, one to fate :
Equal to all, you justly frown or smile;
Nor hopes nor fears your steady hand beguile ;
Yourself our balance hold, the world's our ille.
L L human things are subject to decay,
And when fate summons, monarchs must
This Flecknoe found, who, like Augustus, young
Was call’d to empire, and had govern'd long;
In prose and verse, was own'd, without dispute,
Thro all the realms of Nonsense, absolute.
This aged prince, now flourishing in peace,
And blest with issue of a large increase ;
Worn out with business, did at length debate
To settle the succession of the state :
And, pond'ring, which of all his sons was fit
To reign, and
wage immortal war with wit,
Cry’d, 'tis resolv’d; for nature pleads, that he
Should only rule, who most resembles me.
Shadwell alone my perfect image bears,
Mature in dullness from his tender years:
Shadwell alone, of all my sons, is he,
Who stands confirm'd in full stupidity.
The rest to some faint meaning make pretence,
But Shadwell never deviates into sense.
Some beams of wit on other fouls may fall,
Strike thro, and make a lucid interval;
But Shadwell's genuine night admits no ray,
His rising fogs prevail upon the day.
Besides, his goodly fabric fills the eye,
And seems design’d for thoughtless majesty :
Thoughtless as monarch oaks, that shade the plain,
And spread in solemn state supinely reign.
Heywood and Shirley were but types
Thou last great prophet of tautology.
Even I, a dunce of more renown than they,
Was sent before but to prepare thy way;
And, coarsely clad in Norwich drugget, came
To teach the nations in thy greater name.
My warbling lute, the lute I whilom strung,
When to king John of Portugal I fung,