The Speeches Of Gratulations Poem by Ben Jonson

The Speeches Of Gratulations

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Time, Fate, and Fortune have at length conspir'd,
To give our Age the day so much desir'd.
What all the minutes, houres, weekes, months, and yeares,
That hang in file upon these silver haires,
Could not produce, beneath the Britaine stroke,
The Roman, Saxon, Dane, and Norman yoke,
This point of Time hath done. Now London, reare
Thy forehead high, and on it strive to weare
Thy choisest gems; teach thy steepe Towres to rise
Higher with people: set with sparkling eyes
Thy spacious windowes; and in every street,
Let thronging joy, love, and amazement meet.
Cleave all the ayre with shouts, and let the cry
Strike through as long, and universally,
As thunder; for, thou now art blist to see
That sight, for which thou didst begin to bee.
When Brutus plough first gave thee infant bounds,
And I, thy Genius walkt auspicious rounds
In every furrow; then did I fore-looke,
And saw this day mark't white in Clotho's booke.
The severall circles, both of change and sway,
Within this Isle, there also figur'd lay:
Of which the greatest, perfectest, and last
Was this, whose present happinesse we tast.
Why keepe you silence daughters? What dull peace
Is this inhabits you? Shall office cease
Upon th'aspect of him, to whom you owe
More than you are, or can be? Shall Time know
That article, wherein your flame stood still,
And not aspir'd? Now heaven avert an ill
Of that black looke. Ere pause possesse your brests
I wish you more of plagues: 'Zeale when it rests,
Leaves to be zeale. Up thou tame River, wake;
And from thy liquid limbes this slumber shake:
Thou drown'st thy selfe in inofficious sleepe;
And these thy sluggish waters seeme to creepe,
Rather than flow. Up, rise, and swell with pride
Above thy bankes. 'Now is not every tide.

To what vaine end should I contend to show
My weaker powers, when seas of pompe o'reflow
The Cities face: and cover all the shore
With sands more rich than Tagus wealthy ore?
When in the floud of joy, that comes with him,
He drownes the world; yet makes it live and swimme,
And spring with gladnesse: not my fishes here,
Though they be dumbe, but doe expresse the cheere
Of these bright streames. No lesse may these, and I
Boast our delights, albe't we silent lie.


Indeed, true gladnesse doth not alwayes speake?
Joy bred, and borne but in the tongue, is weake.
Yet (lest the fervour of so pure a flame
As this my Citie beares, might lose the name,
Without the apt eventing of her heat)
Know greatest James (and no lesse good, than great,)
In the behalfe of all my vertuous sonnes,
Whereof my eldest there, thy pompe fore-runnes,
(A man without my flattering, or his Pride,
As worthy, as he's blest to be thy guide)
In his grave name, and all his brethrens right,
(Who thirst to drink the nectar of thy sight)
The Councell, Commoners, and multitude;
(Glad, that this day so long deny'd, is view'd)
I tender thee the heartiest welcome, yet
That ever King had to his Empires seat:
Never came man, more long'd for, more desir'd:
And being come, more reverenc'd, lov'd, admir'd:
Heare, and record it: 'In a Prince it is
'No little vertue, to know who are his.

With like devotions, doe I stoope t'embrace
This springing glory of thy god-like race;
His Countries wonder, hope, love, joy and pride:
How well doth hee become the royall side
Of this erected, and broad spreading Tree,
Under whose shade, may Britaine ever be.
And from this Branch, may thousand Branches more
Shoot o're the maine, and knit with every shore
In bonds of marriage, kinred, and increase;
And stile this land, the navill of their peace.
This is your servants wish, your Cities vow,
Which still shall propagate it selfe, with you;
And free from spurres of hope, that slow minds move:
'He seekes no hire, that owes his life to love.

And here shee comes that is no lesse a part
In this dayes greatnesse, than in my glad heart.
Glory of Queenes, and glory of your name,
Whose graces doe as farre out-speak your fame,
As Fame doth silence, when her trumpet rings
You daughter, sister, wife of severall Kings:
Besides alliance, and the stile of mother,
In which one title you drowne all your other.
Instance, be that faire shoot, is gone before,
Your eldest joy, and top of all your store,
With those, whose sight to us is yet deny'd,
But not our zeale to them, or ought beside
This Citie can to you: For whose estate
Shee hopes you will be still good advocate
To her best Lord. So, whilst you mortall are,
No taste of sowre mortalitie once dare
Approach your house; nor fortune greet your Grace,
But comming on, and with a forward face.


Stay, what art thou, that in this strange attire,
Dar'st kindle stranger, and un-hallowed fire
Upon this Altar?

Rather what art thou
That dar'st so rudely interrupt my vow?
My habit speakes my name.

A Flamen?

And Martialis call'd.

I so did ghesse
By my short view; but whence didst thou ascend
Hither? or how? or to what mystick end?

The noyse, and present tumult of this day,
Rowsd me from sleep, and silence, where I lay
Obscur'd from light; which when I wakt to see,
I wondring thought what this great pompe might bee.
When (looking in my Kalender) I found
The Ides of March were entred, and I bound
With these, to celebrate the geniall feast
Of Anna still'd Perenna, Mars his guest,
Who, in this month of his, is yearely call'd
To banquet at his altars; and instal'd
A goddesse with him, since she fils the yeare,
And knits the oblique scarfe that girts the spheare.
Whilest fourefac'd Janus turnes his vernall look
Upon their meeting houres, as if he took
High pride and pleasure.

Sure thou still dost dreame,
And both thy tongue, and thought rides on the streame
Of phantasie: Behold here he nor she,
Have any altar, fane, or deity.
Stoope: read but this inscription: and then view
To whom the place is consecrate. 'Tis true
That this is Janus temple, and that now
He turnes upon the yeare his freshest brow:
That this is Mars his month; and these the Ides,
Wherein his Anne was honor'd; both the tides,
Titles, and place, we know: but these dead rites
Are long since buryed, and new power excites
More high and hearty flames. Loe, there is he,
Who brings with him a greater Anne than she:
Whose strong and potent vertues have defac'd
Sterne Mars his statues, and upon them plac'd
His, and the Worlds blest blessings: This hath brought
Sweet peace to sit in that bright State she ought,
Unbloody, or untroubled; hath forc'd hence
All tumults, feares, or other dark portents
That might invade weak minds; hath made men see
Once more the face of welcome liberty:
And doth (in all his present acts) restore
That first pure World, made of the better ore.
Now innocence shall cease to be the spoyle
Of ravenous greatnesse, or to steep the soyle
Of raysed pesantry with teares, and blood;
No more shall rich men (for their little good)
Suspected to be made guilty; or vile spies
Enjoy the lust of their so murdring eyes:
Men shall put off their yron minds, and hearts;
The time forget his old malicious arts
With this new minute; and no print remaine
Of what was thought the former ages staine.
Back, Flamen, with thy superstitious fumes,
And cense not here; Thy ignorance presumes
Too much, in acting any Ethnick rite
In this translated temple: here no wight,
To sacrifice, save my devotion comes,
That brings in stead of those thy masculine gums.
My Cities heart; which shall for ever burne
Upon this Altar, and no time shall turne
The same to ashes: here I fixe it fast,
Flame bright, flame high, and may it ever last.
Whilst I, before the figure of thy peace,
Still tend the fire; and give it quick increase
With prayers, wishes, vows; whereof be these
The least, and weakest: that no age may leese
The memory of this so rich a day;
But rather, that it henceforth yearely may
Begin our spring, and with our spring the prime,
And first accompt of yeares, of months, of time:
And may these Ides as fortunate appeare
To thee, as they to Cæsar fatall were.
Be all thy thoughts borne perfect, and thy hopes
In their events still crown'd beyond their scopes.
Let not wide heav'n that secret blessing know
To give, which she on thee will not bestow.
Blind Fortune be thy slave; and may her store
(The lesse thou seek'st it) follow thee the more.
Much more I would: but see, these brazen gates
Make haste to close, as urged by thy fates;
Here ends my Cities office, here it breakes:
Yet with my tongue, and this pure heart, she speakes
A short farewell; and lower than thy feet,
With fervent thankes, thy Royall paines doth greet.
Pardon, if my abruptnesse breed disease;
'He merits not t'offend, that hastes to please.

Ben Jonson

Ben Jonson

London / England
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