Henry James Pye
Prologue To The Second Part Of Henry Iv - Poem by Henry James Pye
To-night our scene once more from Shakespear's page
Shows the dire factions of a former age,
Shows when the noble fierce, and prelate proud,
To rash rebellion urg'd the maddening crowd,
Perfidious Gaul in treacherous league combin'd,
Sedition's banners with her legions join'd.—
In vain she join'd—in vain she brought relief,
On Cambria's shores to Cambria's rebel chief;
From the steep mountain's height in vain, Glendower
Threw many a glance to meet the hostile power;
No recreant Briton join'd the invading train,
Borne back disgraceful on the refluent main.—
Oh! ever may Britannia's naval host
Drive fell Invasion from her happy coast!
But should a warlike foe be wafted o'er
By favouring tempests to our sea-girt shore,
An adamantine fortress would he find
In every British arm and British mind;
The threatening storm would faction's fire assuage,
And general danger kindle general rage.
Ev'n age would glow with youthful ardour warm,
And manhood's vigour nerve the stripling's arm;
Vengeance would fiercer blaze at Beauty's tear,
And dauntless courage spring from female fear.
Such ever be of Albion's sons the pride,
When swells of ruthless war the sanguine tide.—
But, lo! where radiant through the sinking storm
Shines, of celestial Peace the seraph form;
And, the green laurel from his brow unbound,
See with the olive wreath our Sovereign crown'd,
While grateful Europe owns her states restor'd
To peace and safety by his victor sword.
Beneath her palm Judea's tears no more
Barbarian conquest's cruel sway deplore.
Nile views no longer his redundant stream
With Desolation's iron harvests gleam;
No longer Lusitania's vine-clad coast
Shrinks from the Gallic and the Iberian host.
Hesperia smiles through all her fragrant vales,
And saving Albion's guardian genius hails!
While her proud city, whose imperial sway
A subject world once gloried to obey,
Like Veia's conqueror sees our friendly powers
Free from the Gallic yoke her lofty towers.
As happy England with exulting voice
Hails either statesman of her monarch's choice,
Who drove, with arm undaunted, Glory's car
Through the loud thunder of unequal war,
Or bade the fury of the battle cease,
And reach'd the blest abode of Fame and Peace:
'While Concord blesses with celestial smiles
'The favour'd empire of the British isles,'
Berkshire! tho' Honour twines the fairest bough
To grace her Addington's illustrious brow,
Proud that awhile her genial fields could claim,
Enroll'd among her sons his glorious name;
His absence long shall mourn.—Though scenes more bright,
And plains more fertile, now may charm his sight;
Ne'er shall he find, through all the race of earth,
Bosoms more conscious of his patriot worth.
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