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ON THE DEATH OF OLIVER CROMWELL.
WRITTEN AFTER HIS FUNERAL
AND now 'tis time: for their officious haste
Who would before have borne him to the sky, Like eager Romans, ere all rites were past,
Did let too soon the sacred eagle fly.
Though our best notes are treason to his fame,
Join'd with the loud applause of public voice; Since Heav'n, what praise we offer to his name,
Hath renderd too authentic by its choice.
Though in his praise no arts can liberal be,
Since they, whose Muses have the highest flown, Add not to his immortal memory,
But do an act of friendship to their own:
Yet 'tis our duty, and our interest too,
Such monuments as we can build to raise; Lest all the world prevent what we should do,
And claim a title in hiin by their praise.
How shall I then begin, or where conclude,
To draw a fame so truly circular?
Where all the parts so equal perfect are?
His grandeur he deriv’d from Heav'n alone;
For he was great ere Fortune made him so: And wars, like mists that rise against the sun,
Made him but greater seem, not greater grow.
No borrow'd bays his temples did adorn,
But to our crown he did fresh jewels bring; Nor was his virtue poison’d, soon as born,
With the too early thoughts of being king.
Fortune, that easy mistress to the young,
But to her ancient servants coy and hard, Him at that age her favourites rank'd among,
When she her best-lov'd Pompey did discard.
He private mark'd the fault of others' sway,
And set as sea-marks for himself to shun; Not like rash monarchs, who their youth betray
By acts their age too late would wish undone.
And yet dominion was not his design; . We owe that blessing not to him, but Heav'n, Which to fair acts unsought rewards did join
Rewards that less to him than us were giv'n.
Our former chiefs, like sticklers of the war,
First sought to' inflame the parties, then to poise; The quarrel lov'd, but did the cause abhor, And did pot strike to hurt, but make a noise.
War, our consumption, was their gainfil trade:
We inward bled whilst they prolong'd our pain; He fonght to end our fighting, and essay'd
To staanch the blood by breathing of the vein.
Swift and resistless through the land he past,
Like that bold Greek who did the East subdue ; And made to battles such heroic haste,
As if on wings of victory he flew.
He fought secure of fortune as of fame:
Still by new maps the island might be shown Of conquests, which he strew'd where'er he came,
Thick as the Galaxy with stars is sown.
His palms, though under weights they did not stand,
Still thriv'd; no winter could his laurels fade; Heav'n in his portrait show'd a workman's hand,
And drew it perfect, yet without a shade.
Peace was the prize of all his toil and care,
Which War had banish’d, and did now restore: Bologna's walls thus mounted in the air,
To seat themselves more surely than before.
Her safety rescued Ireland to him owes ;
And treacherous Scotland, to no interest true, Yet bless'd that fate which did his arms dispose
Her land to civilize, as to subdue.
Nor was he like those stars which only shine
When to pale mariners they storms portend; He had his calmer influence, and his mien
Did love and majesty together blend.
'Tis true his countenance did imprint an awe,
And naturally all souls to his did bow, As wands of divination downward draw, And point to beds where sovereign gold dothi
When past all offerings to Feretrian Jove,
He Mars depos’d, and arms to gowns made yield; Successful councils did him soon approve
As fit for close intrigues as open field.
To suppliant Holland he vonchsaf'd a peace,
Our once bold rival of the British main, Now tamely glad her unjust claim to cease,
And buy our friendship with ber idol, gain.
Fame of the asserted sea through Europe blown,
Made France and Spain ambitious of his love; Each knew that side must conquer he would own,
And for him fiercely, as for empire, strove.
No sooner was the Frenchman's cause embrac'd, Than the light Monsieur the grave Don out
weigh'd; His fortune turn’d the scale where'er 'twas cast,
Thongh Indian mines were in the other laid.
When absent, yet we conquer'd in his right;
For though some meaner artist's skill were shown In mingling colours, or in placing light,
Yet still the fair designment was his own.
For from all tempers he could service draw;
The worth of each with its alloy he knew, And, as the confident of Nature, saw
How she complexions did divide and brew.
Or he their single virtues did survey,
By intuition in his own large breast, Where all the rich ideas of them lay,
That were the rule and measure to the rest.