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ODE TO KING WILLIAM,*
ON HIS SUCCESSES IN IRELAND.
To purchase kingdoms, and to buy renown,
Are arts peculiar to dissembling France; You, mighty monarch, nobler actions crown,
And solid virtue does your name advance. Your matchless courage with your prudence joins
The glorious structure of your fame to raise; With its own light your dazzling glory shines,
And into adoration turns our praise.
(Cowards are monarchs by that title made), Part of your merit Chance would call her own, And half
virtues had been lost in shade. But now your worth its just reward shall have :
What trophies and what triumphs are your due! Who could so well a dying nation save,
At once deserve a crown, and gain it too! You saw how near we were to ruin brought,
You saw th' impetuous torrent rolling on ; And timely on the coming danger thought,
Which we could neither obviate nor shun.
* This Ode, which had been long sought after without success, was first ascertained to be Swift's in Nichols's “ Select Collection of Poems, 1778," Vol. IV. p. 303. That it is the Dean's, there is not the least doubt. He refers to it in the second stanza of his “ Ode to the Athenian Society,” and expressly marks it by a marginal note, under the title of “The Ode I writ to the King in Jreland;" see p. 24; and see also “ The Gentleman's Journal, July, 1692,” p. 13. N.
Britannia stripp'd of her sole guard, the laws,
Ready to fall Rome's bloody sacrifice; You straight stepp'din, and from the monster'sjaws
Did bravely snatch the lovely, helpless prize. Nor this is all ; as glorious is the care
To preserve conquests, as at first to gain : In this your virtue claims a double share,
Which, what is bravely won, does well maintain. Your arm has now your rightful title show'd,
An arm on which all Europe's hopes depend, To which they look as to some guardian God,
That must their doubtful liberty defend. Amaz'd, thy action at the Bayne we see !
When Schomberg started at the vast design: The boundless glory all redounds to thee,
Th’impulse, the fight, th’event, were whollythine. The brave attempt does all our foes disarm;
You need but now give orders and command, Your name shall the remaining work perform, And
spare the labour of your conquering hand, France does in vain her feeble arts apply,
To interrupt the fortune of your course : Your influence does the vain attacks defy Of secret malice, or of open
force. Boldly we hence the brave commencement date
Of glorious deeds, that must all tongues employ; William's the pledge and earnest given by fate Of England's glory, and her lasting joy.*
ODE “Sometimes a man of genius, in bis first effusions, is so far from revealing his future powers, that, on the contrary, no reasonable hope can be formed of his success. In the violent struggle of his mind, he may give a wrong direction to his talents, as Swift
ODE TO THE ATHENIAN SOCIETY.*
Moor Park, Feb. 14, 1691.
As when the deluge first began to fall,
That mighty ebb, never to flow again,
It quite o’ercame the vital heat;
It be as great as ’tis in fame,
And nigh to Heaven as is its name;
At the first ebb of noise and fear,
And now a laurel wreath she brings from far,
To shew the flood begins to cease, And brings the dear reward of victory and peace.
in two Pindaric Odes." D'Israeli's Dissertation on Anecdotes, p. 32—From this severe remark the present Ode is an excellent appeal. N.
*"I have been told, that Dryden having perused these verses, said, “Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet;' and that this denunciation was the motive of Swift's perpetual malevolence to Dryden.” Johnson.
The eager Muse took wing upon the waves'decline.
When war her cloudy aspect just withdrew,
When the bright sun of peace began to shine, And for a while in heavenly contemplation sat,
On the high top of peaceful Ararat: And pluck'd a laurel branch (for laurel was the
first that grew, The first of plants after the thunder-storm and rain)
And thence, with joyful nimble wing,
Flew dutifully back again,
And the Dove-Muse is fled once more, (Glad of the victory, yet frighten’d at the var)
And now discovers from afar
No sooner did she land
Where fatal Neptune rul'd erewhile, Scatter'd with flow'ry vales, with fruitful gardens
crown'd, And many a pleasant wood ! As if the universal Nile
Had rather water'd it than drown'd: It seems some floating piece of Paradise,
Preserv'd by wonder from the flood,
Fam'd Delos did of old;
Or the much-talk'd oracular grove; When, with amazing joy, she hears * The Ode I writ to the king in Ireland. SWIFT.-See this in
An An unknown music all around,
Charming her greedy ears,
With many a heavenly song, Of nature and of art, of deep philosophy and love; While angels tune the voice, and God inspires the
tongue. In vain she catches at the empty sound, In vain pursues the music with her longing eye,
And courts the wanton echoes as they fly.
Pardon, ye great unknown, and far-exalted men, The wild excursions of a youthful pen;
Forgive a young, and (almost) virgin Muse, Whom blind and eager curiosity
(Yet curiosity, they say, Is in her sex a crime needs no excuse)
Has forced to grope her uncouth way, After a mighty light that leads her wandering eye. No wonder then she quits the narrow path of sense
For a dear ramble through impertinence;
Impertinence! the scurvy of mankind. And all we fools, who are the greater part of it, Though we be of two different factions still,
Both the good-natur’d and the ill,
In me, who am of the first sect of these,
Of my own dazzled scanty sense,
Of admiration and of praise. And our good brethren of the surly sect, Must e'en all herd us with their kindred fools :