Edmund Waller

(3 March 1606 – 21 October 1687 / Coleshill / Buckinghamshire / England)

To The King - Poem by Edmund Waller

[Upon His Majesty's Happy Return.]

The rising sun complies with our weak sight,
First gilds the clouds, then shows his globe of light
At such a distance from our eyes, as though
He knew what harm his hasty beams would do.

But your full majesty at once breaks forth
In the meridian of your reign. Your worth,
Your youth, and all the splendour of your state,
(Wrapped up, till now, in clouds of adverse fate!)
With such a flood of light invade our eyes,
And our spread hearts with so great joy surprise,
That if your grace incline that we should live,
You must not, sir! too hastily forgive.
Our guilt preserves us from the excess of joy,
Which scatters spirits, and would life destroy.
All are obnoxious! and this faulty land,
Like fainting Esther, does before you stand,
Watching your sceptre. The revolted sea
Trembles to think she did your foes obey.

Great Britain, like blind Polypheme, of late,
In a wild rage, became the scorn and hate
Of her proud neighbours, who began to think
She, with the weight of her own force, would sink.
But you are come, and all their hopes are vain;
This giant isle has got her eye again.
Now she might spare the ocean, and oppose
Your conduct to the fiercest of her foes.
Naked, the Graces guarded you from all
Dangers abroad; and now your thunder shall.
Princes that saw you, different passions prove,
For now they dread the object of their love;
Nor without envy can behold his height,
Whose conversation was their late delight.
So Semele, contented with the rape
Of Jove disguised in a mortal shape,
When she beheld his hands with lightning filled,
And his bright rays, was with amazement killed.

And though it be our sorrow, and our crime,
To have accepted life so long a time
Without you here, yet does this absence gain
No small advantage to your present reign;
For, having viewed the persons and the things,
The councils, state, and strength of Europe's kings,
You know your work; ambition to restrain,
And set them bounds, as Heaven does to the main.
We have you now with ruling wisdom fraught,
Not such as books, but such as practice, taught.
So the lost sun, while least by us enjoyed,
Is the whole night for our concern employed;
He ripens spices, fruits, and precious gums,
Which from remotest regions hither comes.

This seat of yours (from the other world removed)
Had Archimedes known, he might have proved
His engine's force fixed here. Your power and skill
Make the world's motion wait upon your will.

Much suffering monarch! the first English born
That has the crown of these three nations worn!
How has your patience, with the barbarous rage
Of your own soil, contended half an age?
Till (your tried virtue, and your sacred word,
At last preventing your unwilling sword)
Armies and fleets which kept you out so long,
Owned their great sovereign, and redressed his wrong.
When straight the people, by no force compelled,
Nor longer from their inclination held,
Break forth at once, like powder set on fire,
And, with a noble rage, their King required;
So the injured sea, which from her wonted course,
To gain some acres, avarice did force,
If the new banks, neglected once, decay,
No longer will from her old channel stay;
Raging, the late got land she overflows,
And all that's built upon't, to ruin goes.

Offenders now, the chiefest, do begin
To strive for grace, and expiate their sin.
All winds blow fair, that did the world embroil;
Your vipers treacle yield, and scorpions oil.

If then such praise the Macedonian got,
For having rudely cut the Gordian knot,
What glory's due to him that could divide
Such ravelled interests; has the knot untied,
And without stroke so smooth a passage made,
Where craft and malice such impeachments laid?

But while we praise you, you ascribe it all
To His high hand, which threw the untouched wall
Of self-demolished Jericho so low;
His angel 'twas that did before you go,
Tamed savage hearts, and made affections yield,
Like ears of corn when wind salutes the field.

Thus patience crowned, like Jobs's, your trouble ends,
Having your foes to pardon, and your friends;
For, though your courage were so firm a rock,
What private virtue could endure the shock?
Like your Great Master, you the storm withstood,
And pitied those who love with frailty showed.

Rude Indians, torturing all the royal race,
Him with the throne and dear-bought sceptre grace
That suffers best. What region could be found,
Where your herioc head had not been crowned?

The next experience of your mighty mind
Is how you combat fortune, now she's kind.
And this way, too, you are victorious found;
She flatters with the same success she frowned.
While to yourself severe, to others kind,
With power unbounded, and a will confined,
Of this vast empire you possess the care,
The softer part falls to the people's share.
Safety, and equal government, are things
Which subjects make as happy as their kings.

Faith, law, and piety, (that banished train!)
Justice and truth, with you return again.
The city's trade, and country's easy life,
Once more shall flourish without fraud or strife.
Your reign no less assures the ploughman's peace,
Than the warm sun advances his increase;
And does the shepherds as securely keep
From all their fears, as they preserve their sheep.

But, above all, the Muse-inspired train
Triumph, and raise their drooping heads again!
Kind Heaven at once has, in your person, sent
Their sacred judge, their guard, and argument.


Comments about To The King by Edmund Waller

There is no comment submitted by members..



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: rape, power, happy, justice, success, joy, people, sun, courage, heaven, sea, angel, world, city, hate, ocean, faith, strength, fate, sorrow



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



[Report Error]