Albion's Triumph. An Ode. - Poem by Samuel Boyse
Immortal Maid, fair Daughter of the Skies!
FREEDOM! thou dearest Blessing of Mankind!
For whom the Captive pines, — the Soldier dies,
And the bold Sailor braves the wintry Wind:
Britannia's Boast! — say Goddess wilt thou deign
Thy Warmth to animate the feeble Muse!
That on the ensanguin'd Banks of distant Maine
With an attentive Eye thy Footsteps views;
And make with joyful Admiration pleas'd
To long succeeding Time, thy deathless Trophies rais'd.
'Twas Heaven and you to GEORGE'S martial Breast
Imparted first the truly great Design,
States to relieve by Perfidy distress'd,
And chase Oppression from the Banks of Rhine.
For this thy Britons at their King's Command;
O'er Snows, thro' Forests urged their chearful Way;
Led by experienc'd STAIR'S conducting Hand,
Southward they march, and gain upon the Day:
Till lo! the Pride of GAUL with hostile Threat
Advancing, seem to warn — that BRITAIN must retreat.
Vain Menace! while new Life to British Hearts
Their Royal Sovereign's happy Presence gave;
New Spirits to the Camp his Smile imparts,
Inspires the timid, and confirms the brave:
Around their KING the faithful Army crowd,
With native Ardour every Bosom glows;
To Heav'n they raise their Acclamations loud,
And burn impatient to engage their Foes:
Eager to vindicate their Country's Fame
And shew that Britons still are worthy of the Name.
Mean Time confounded with the Shouts that rise,
Repeated by the ecchoing River's Shore,
'What means (Noailles demands) this empty Noise?
And is it thus the British Cannons roar?'
Too soon his trembling Spies the Answer bring
That dyes his haughty Cheek with sudden pale,
''Tis at his Camp arriv'd BRITANNIA'S King,
Hence the wild Tumult wafted on the Gale!
And Germans now an alter'd Aspect wear,
As if they joy'd to see — some new Deliverer near!'
Yes — yes GERMANIA may remind the Day,
She prostrate saw on Blenheim's glorious Plain;
Their mutual Foe to Marlboro' Vengeance pay,
For all the Woes she felt — a countless Train!
Nor less she hopes from British Valour now,
Then that the fair Event shall be the same,
That soon all Fears shall vanish from her Brow
And Peace once more diffuse her healing Beam:
Peace, which to violate no Pow'r shall dare,
Establish'd on the Base of Honorable War.
But different Cares the Gallic Chief oppress,
Pensive the dubious Chance of War he weigh'd,
Eastward he views advancing ill Success,
Northward the Storm is gathering round his Head.
He studies then to intercept the Foe,
Ere by the Troops auxiliar fully joyn'd,
At Britain aims the meditated Blow,
And vainly hopes an easy Prey to find:
With early Dawn his Forces pass the Maine,
And shine in rich Array — embattled on the Plain.
Quick the hoarse Drum proclaims the known Alarm;
Quick the shrill Trumpet speaks the Foe is near!
As quick, rejoyc'd, the valiant Britons arm,
And ready at their Leader's Call appear:
Fir'd at their Sov'reign's all enlivening Sight,
Th' auspicious Word of Victory they wait,
Resolv'd to prove in the approaching Fight,
That generous Courage dares the Shafts of Fate:
When Liberty and Justice warm the Brave,
Not arbitrary Pow'r the Tyrant's Head can save!
Now fierce Destruction waves her ruddy Brand,
With Havock to pollute the crimson'd Field;
The Gallic Squadrons rush on every Hand,
In vain they urge the British Ranks to yield;
Repuls'd, — impetuous they recharge again,
Again compell'd inglorious to retreat:
As the firm Rock deep rooted in the Main,
Resists the Waves that threaten round its Feet,
So, STAIR! thy pleas'd attentive Eye beheld
Thrice the proud Foe advance — as oft Shame repell'd.
But, Goddess, say, what British Warrior shines
Distinguish'd by his Motions from afar!
See, how he animates the steady Lines,
And seems the ruling Spirit of the War!
'Tis CLAYTON! — who for lov'd BRITANNIA'S Fame,
Devotes with Pleasure his Remains of Breath;
Too soon shall Fate suppress the Hero's Flame,
Too soon consign thee to the Arms of Death!
Yet midst her Joy — thy Country steals a Tear,
As if thy Loss had made her Conquest seem too dear!
Nor was thy Death less worthy than thy Life,
Nor ought of Boasting yielded to the Gaul;
The Britons urg'd with doubled Force the Strife,
Resolv'd to perish, or revenge thy Fall:
As when the Lyon wounded sees the Blood,
The generous Savage brindles up his Mane,
Issues majestic from his native Wood,
And with resistless Fury scow'rs the Plain;
So rous'd, the Britons now attack the Foe,
Nor fails to follow soon — their total Overthrow!
Yet for a while they shew'd a warlike Mien,
As willing to repair their late Disgrace;
'Till Campbell with his hardy Greys came in,
And taught them to retire with brisker Pace:
Yet here, alas! a second Loss we prov'd,
(Conquest, like Gold, must suffer some Allay)
Here fell the Youth — lamented and belov'd;
Here Honeywood beheld his last of Day!
Yet BRITAIN's rising Glory beam'd a Joy,
That sooth'd the deathfelt Pang, and made him pleas'd to die!
'Tis over now — fair Conquest sheds her Rays!
The flying Gauls with Speed the River gain;
Confusion reigns around — and wild Amaze,
And Death sits silent o'er the Heaps of Slain!
While Maine affrighted in his oozy Bed
The dying with the Dead in Crowds receives,
Hears the mix'd Tumult rolling o'er his Head,
And feels the purple Stream pollute his Waves:
Atoning Blood! — that from his verdant Shore
Shall drive the treacherous Gaul, to vex his Peace no more!
But how, blest Sov'reign! shall th' unpractic'd Muse
These recent Honours of thy Reign rehearse!
How to thy Virtues turn her dazzled Views,
Or consecrate thy Deeds in equal Verse!
Amidst the Field of Horrors wide display'd,
How paint the Calm that smil'd upon thy Brow!
Or speak that Thought which every Part survey'd,
'Directing where the Rage of War should glow':
While watchful Angels hover'd round thy Head,
And Victory on high the Palm of Glory spread.
Nor Royal YOUTH reject the artless Praise,
Which due to Worth like thine the Muse bestows,
Who with prophetic Extasy surveys
These early Wreaths of Fame adorn thy Brows.
Aspire like NASSAU in the glorious Strife,
Keep thy great SIRE'S Examples full in Eye;
But oh for BRITAIN'S Sake consult a Life,
The noblest Triumphs are too mean to buy:
And while you purchase Glory — bear in Mind,
A Prince's truest Fame, is to protect Mankind.
Alike in Arts and Arms acknowledg'd great,
Let STAIR accept the Lays he once could own!
Nor CARTERET, thou the Column of the State!
The Friend of Science! on the Labour frown!
Nor shall, unjust to foreign Worth, the Muse
In Silence Austria's valiant Chiefs conceal;
While AREMBERG'S heroic Line she views,
And NEIPERG'S Conduct strikes even Envy pale:
Names, Gallia yet shall further learn to fear,
And BRITAIN, grateful still, shall treasure up as dear!
Go busy Fame, to Augshourg's Towers convey,
The News of what BRITANNIA's King has done;
And thus to the Imperial Exile say,
'Are such the boasted Honours thou hast won?
Unhappy Prince — the Dupe of faithless Gaul,
What Sorrows have the fatal Union crown'd!
Thrice has devouring War consum'd thy All,
And Desolation spread thy Realms around!
Awake! — unseal thy Eyes! — nor still rely,
On a perfidious Pow'r — no Leagues could ever tye!'
Or if thou bend thy Flight to proud Versailles,
In Lewis's astonish'd Ear relate,
That before Britain's King retires Noailles,
Unwilling to sustain a Tallard's Fate!
Then bid the mighty Monarch timely yet
From Germany his shatter'd Legions call,
His visionary Schemes of Empire quit,
And leave in Quiet the distracted Ball:
E're George, victorious George, from distant Maine,
Chastis'd Ambition drive, behind the Banks of Seine.
And thou fair Queen adorn'd with every Charm,
That Reverence or Affection can inspire,
In whose Defence even savage Nations arm,
And force disarm'd Invasion to retire!
Unshaken Princess! while with graceful Pride
You smile, — as the proud Foe repell'd withdraws,
While Heav'n and BRITAIN combat on thy Side,
And BELGIA arms to aid thy righteous Cause:
A Cause! than which a juster never joyn'd
Nations ally'd in Arms — the Cause of human Kind!
But oh! acknowledg'd Victor in the Field,
What thanks, dread Sovereign, shall thy Toils reward!
Such Honours as deliver'd Nations yield,
Such for thy Virtues justly stand prepar'd:
When 'erst on Oudenarde's decisive Plain,
Before thy Youth, the Gaul defeated fled,
The Eye of Fate, foresaw on distant Maine,
The Laurels now that shine around thy Head:
Oh should entwin'd with these fresh Olives Bloom!
Thy Triumphs then would shame, the Pride of antient ROME.
Mean Time, while from this fair Event we view
That British Valour happily survives,
And cherish'd by the KING'S propitious View,
The rising Plant of Glory sweetly thrives!
Let all domestic Faction learn to cease,
Till humbled, Gaul no more the World alarms,
Till GEORGE procures to Europe solid Peace,
A Peace secur'd by his victorious Arms:
And binds in Iron Fetters to his Car,
Ambition, Rapine, Havock, and Despair,
With all the ghostly Fiends of desolating War.
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