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John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
 
Astræa Redux.
A Poem on the Happy Restoration and Return of His Sacred Majesty Charles the Second
 
NOW 1 with a general Peace the World was blest,
While Ours, a World divided from the rest,
A dreadful Quiet felt, and worser far
Than Armes, a sullen Interval of War:
Thus, when black Clouds draw down the lab’ring Skies,        5
Ere yet abroad the winged Thunder flies,
An horrid Stillness first invades the ear,
And in that silence We the Tempest fear.
Th’ ambitious Swede like restless Billows tost
On this hand gaining what on that he lost,        10
Though in his life he Blood and Ruine breath’d,
To his now guideless Kingdom Peace bequeath’d;
And Heaven, that seem’d regardless of our Fate,
For France and Spain did Miracles create,
Such mortal Quarrels to compose in Peace        15
As Nature bred and Int’rest did encrease.
We sigh’d to hear the fair Iberian Bride
Must grow a Lilie to the Lilies side,
While Our cross Stars deny’d us Charles his bed
Whom Our first Flames and Virgin Love did wed.        20
For his long absence Church and State did groan;
Madness the Pulpit, Faction seiz’d the Throne:
Experienc’d Age in deep despair was lost
To see the Rebel thrive, the Loyal crost:
Youth that with Joys had unacquainted been        25
Envy’d gray hairs that once good Days had seen:
We thought our Sires, not with their own content,
Had ere we came to age our Portion spent.
Nor could our Nobles hope their bold Attempt
Who ruined Crowns would Coronets exempt:        30
For when by their designing Leaders taught
To strike at Pow’r which for themselves they sought,
The vulgar gull’d into Rebellion, arm’d,
Their blood to action by the Prize was warm’d;
The Sacred Purple then and Scarlet Gown,        35
Like sanguine Dye, to Elephants was shewn.
Thus when the bold Typhocus scal’d the Sky
And forc’d great Jove from his own Heaven to fly,
(What King, what Crown from Treasons reach is free,
If Jove and Heaven can violated be?),        40
The lesser Gods that shar’d his prosp’rous State
All suffer’d in the Exil’d Thunderer’s Fate.
The Rabble now such Freedom did enjoy,
As Winds at Sea, that use it to destroy:
Blind as the Cyclops, and as wild as he,        45
They own’d a lawless savage 2 Libertie,
Like that our painted Ancestors so priz’d
Ere Empire’s Arts their Breasts had Civiliz’d.
How Great were then Our Charles his woes, who thus
Was forc’d to suffer for Himself and us!        50
He toss’d by fate, and hurried up and down,
Heir to his Fathers Sorrows, with his Crown,
Could taste no sweets of Youths desired Age,
But found his Life too true a Pilgrimage.
Unconquer’d yet in that forlorn Estate,        55
His Manly Courage overcame his Fate.
His Wounds he took like Romans on his Breast,
Which by his Vertue were with Laurels drest.
As Souls reach Heav’n, while yet in Bodies pent,
So did he live above his Banishment.        60
That Sun, which we beheld with couz’ned eyes
Within the Water, mov’d along the Skies.
How easie ’tis when Destiny proves kind,
With full spread Sails to run before the Wind,
But those that ’gainst stiff Gales laveering go        65
Must be at once resolv’d and skilful too.
He would not like soft Otho hope prevent,
But stay’d and suffer’d Fortune to repent.
These Virtues Galba in a Stranger sought;
And Piso to Adopted Empire brought.        70
How shall I then my doubtful Thoughts express
That must his Suff’rings both regret and bless.!
For when his early Valour Heav’n had crost,
And all at Worc’ster but the honour lost,
Forc’d into exile from his rightful Throne,        75
He made all Countries where he came his own,
And viewing Monarchs secret Arts of sway
A Royal Factor for their Kingdoms lay.
Thus banish’d David spent abroad his time,
When to be Gods Anointed was his Crime,        80
And when restor’d, made his proud Neighbours rue
Those choise Remarks he from his Travels drew:
Nor is he only by Afflictions shown
To conquer others Realms, but rule his own:
Recov’ring hardly what he lost before,        85
His Right indears it much, his Purchase more.
Inur’d to suffer ere he came to raign,
No rash procedure will his Actions stain.
To bus’ness ripened by digestive thought,
His future rule is into Method brought:        90
As they who first Proportion understand,
With easie Practice reach a Master’s hand.
Well might the Ancient Poets then confer
On Night, the honour’d name of Counseller,
Since struck with rayes of prosp’rous Fortune blind,        95
We Light alone in dark Afflictions find.
In such adversities to Scepters train’d,
The name of Great his famous Grandsire gain’d:
Who yet a King alone in Name and Right,
With hunger, cold and angry Jove did fight;        100
Shock’d by a Covenanting Leagues vast Pow’rs,
As holy and as Catholick as ours:
Till Fortunes fruitless spight had made it known
Her blows not shook but riveted his Throne.
  Some lazy Ages, lost in Sleep and Ease        105
No action leave to busie Chronicles;
Such, whose supine felicity but makes
In story Casmes, 3 in Epoche’s mistakes;
O’re whom Time gently shakes his wings of Down,
Till with his silent Sickle they are mown:        110
Such is not Charles his too too active age,
Which govern’d by the wild distemper’d rage
Of some black Star infecting all the Skies,
Made him at his own cost like Adam wise.
Tremble ye Nations who secure before,        115
Laught at those Arms that’ gainst our selves we bore;
Rous’d by the lash of his own stubborn Tail,
Our Lion now will foreign Foes assail.
With Alga who the sacred Altar strows?
To all the Sea-Gods Charles an Offering owes;        120
A Bull to thee Portunus shall be slain
A Lamb to you the Tempests of the Main:
For those loud Storms that did against him rore
Have cast his shipwrack’d Vessel on the shore.
Yet, as wise Artists mix their Colours so        125
That by degrees they from each other go,
Black steals unheeded from the neighb’ring white
Without offending the well couz’ned sight,
So on us stole our blessed change; while we
Th’ effect did feel but scarce the manner see.        130
Frosts that constrain the ground, and birth deny
To Flow’rs that in its womb expecting lie,
Do seldom their usurping Pow’r withdraw,
But raging Floods persue their hasty Thaw:
Our Thaw was mild, the Cold not chas’d away,        135
But lost in kindly heat of lengthned day.
Heav’n would no bargain for its Blessings drive,
But what we could not pay for, freely give.
The Prince of Peace would, like himself, confer
A Gift unhop’d without the price of war.        140
Yet, as he knew his Blessings worth, took care
That we should know it by repeated Pray’r,
Which storm’d the skies and ravish’d Charles from thence,
As Heav’n itself is took by violence.
Booth’s forward Valour only serv’d to shew        145
He durst that duty pay we all did owe:
Th’ Attempt was fair; but Heav’n’s prefixed hour
Not come; so like the watchful Travellor, 4
That by the Moons mistaken light did rise,
Lay down again and clos’d his weary eyes.        150
’Twas MONK, 5 whom Providence design’d to loose
Those real bonds false Freedom did impose.
The blessed Saints that watch’d this turning Scene
Did from their Stars with joyful wonder lean,
To see small Clues draw vastest weights along,        155
Not in their bulk but in their order strong.
Thus Pencils can by one slight touch restore
Smiles to that changed face that wept before.
With ease such fond Chymæra’s we persue
As Fancy frames for Fancy to subdue;        160
But when ourselves to action we betake,
It shuns the Mint, like Gold that Chymists make:
How hard was then his Task, at once to be,
What in the body natural we see;
Mans Architect distinctly did ordain        165
The charge of Muscles, Nerves, and of the Brain.
Through viewless Conduits Spirits to dispense,
The Springs of Motion from the Seat of Sense.
’Twas not the hasty product of a day,
But the well ripened Fruit of wise delay.        170
He like a patient Angler er’e he stroak, 6
Would let them play a while upon the hook.
Our healthful food the Stomach labours thus,
At first embracing what it strait doth crush.
Wise Leeches will not vain Receipts obtrude,        175
While growing Pains pronounce the Humors crude;
Deaf to complaints they wait upon the Ill,
Till some safe Crisis authorize their Skill.
Nor could his Acts too close a Vizard wear
To scape their Eyes whom Guilt had taught to fear,        180
And guard with caution that polluted nest,
Whence Legion twice before was dispossest.
Once Sacred house, which when they entr’d in,
They thought the place could sanctifie a sin;
Like those that vainly hop’d kind Heav’n would wink,        185
While to excess on Martyrs Tombs they drink.
And as devouter Turks first warn their Souls
To part, before they taste forbidden Bowls,
So these when their black Crimes they went about,
First timely charm’d their useless Conscience out.        190
Religions Name against it self was made;
The Shadow serv’d the Substance to invade:
Like Zealous Missions they did Care pretend
Of Souls in shew, but made the Gold their end.
The incensed Powr’s beheld with scorn from high        195
An Heaven so far distant from the Sky,
Which durst, with horses hoofs that beat the Ground
And Martial Brass bely the Thunders Sound.
’Twas hence at length just Vengeance thought it fit
To speed their Ruin by their impious wit.        200
Thus Sforza curs’d with a too fertile brain,
Lost by his wiles the Pow’r his Wit did gain.
Henceforth their Fogue must spend at lesser rate,
Than in its flames to wrap a Nations Fate.
Suffer’d to live, they are like Helots set        205
A virtuous Shame within us to beget.
For by example most we sinn’d before
And glass-like clearness mixt with frailty bore,
But since, reform’d by what we did amiss,
We by our suff’rings learn to prize our bliss.        210
Like early Lovers, whose unpractis’d hearts
Were long the May-game of malicious arts,
When once they find their Jealousies were vain,
With double heat renew their Fires again.
’Twas this produc’d the Joy, that hurried o’re        215
Such swarms of English to the Neighb’ring shore
To fetch that Prize, by which Batavia made
So rich amends for our impoverish’d Trade
Oh had you seen from Schevelines barren Shore,
(Crowded with troops, and barren now no more,)        220
Afflicted Holland to his Farewel bring
True sorrow, Holland to regret a King;
While waiting him his Royal Fleet did ride,
And willing Winds to their lowr’d Sails denied.
The wavering Streamers, Flags, and Standart out,        225
The merry Seamens rude but chearful Shout;
And last the Cannons voice that shook the Skies,
And, as it fares in sudden Extasies,
At once bereft us both of Ears and Eyes.
The Naseby now no longer Englands shame,        230
But better to be lost in Charles his name
(Like some unequal Bride in nobler sheets)
Receives her Lord: The joyful London meets
The Princely York, himself alone a freight;
The Swift-sure groans beneath great Glouc’sters weight.        235
Secure as when the Halcyon breeds, with these,
He that was born to drown might cross the Seas.
Heav’n could not own a Providence, and take
The wealth three Nations ventur’d at a stake.
The same indulgence Charles his Voyage bless’d,        240
Which in his right had Miracles confess’d.
The Winds that never Moderation knew,
Afraid to blow too much, too faintly blew;
Or out of breath with joy could not enlarge
Their straightned Lungs, or conscious of their Charge.        245
The British Amphitryte smooth and clear
In richer Azure never did appear;
Proud her returning Prince to entertain
With the submitted Fasces of the Main.
 
  And welcom now (Great Monarch) to your own;        250
Behold th’ approaching Cliffes of Albion;
It is no longer Motion cheats your view,
As you meet it, the Land approacheth you.
The Land returns, and in the white it wears
The marks of Penitence and Sorrow bears.        255
But you, whose Goodness your Descent doth show,
Your Heav’nly Parentage and Earthly too;
By that same mildness which your Fathers Crown
Before did ravish, shall secure your own.
Not ty’d to rules of Policy, you find        260
Revenge less sweet than a forgiving mind.
Thus, when th’ Almighty would to Moses give
A sight of all he could behold and live;
A voice before his Entry did proclaim
Long-Suffring, Goodness, Mercy in his Name.        265
Your Pow’r to Justice doth submit your Cause,
Your Goodness only is above the Laws;
Whose rigid Letter, while pronounc’d by you,
Is softer made. So winds that tempests brew
When through Arabian Groves they take their flight        270
Made wanton with rich Odours, lose their spight.
And as those Lees, that trouble it, refine
The agitated Soul of Generous Wine,
So tears of Joy for your returning spilt,
Work out and expiate our former Guilt.        275
Methinks I see those Crowds on Dover’s Strand.
Who in their haste to welcom you to Land
Choak’d up the Beach with their still growing store,
And made a wilder Torrent on the Shore:
While, spurr’d with eager thoughts of past Delight,        280
Those who had seen you court a second sight;
Preventing still your Steps and making hast
To meet you often whereso-e’re you past.
How shall I speak of that triumphant Day
When you renew’d the expiring Pomp of May!        285
(A month that owns an Interest in your Name:
You and the Flow’rs are its peculiar Claim.)
That Star, that at your Birth shone out so bright,
It stain’d the duller Suns Meridian light,
Did once again its potent Fires renew,        290
Guiding our Eyes to find and worship you.
  And now times whiter Series is begun,
Which in soft Centuries shall smoothly run;
Those Clouds that overcast your Morn shall fly,
Dispell’d to farthest corners of the Sky.        295
Our nation, with united Int’rest blest,
Not now content to poize, shall sway, the rest.
Abroad your Empire shall no Limits know,
But like the Sea in boundless Circles flow.
Your much lov’d Fleet shall with a wide Command        300
Besiege the petty Monarchs of the Land:
And as Old Time his Off-spring swallow’d down,
Our Ocean in its depths all Seas shall drown.
Their wealthy Trade from Pyrate’s Rapine free,
Our Merchants shall no more Advent’rers be:        305
Nor in the farthest East those Dangers fear
Which humble Holland must dissemble here.
Spain to your gift alone her Indies owes;
For what the Pow’rful takes not he bestows.
And France that did an Exiles presence Fear        310
May justly apprehend you still too near.
At home the hateful names of Parties cease
And factious Souls are weary’d into peace.
The discontented now are only they
Whose Crimes before did your Just Cause betray:        315
Of those your Edicts some reclaim from sins,
But most your Life and Blest Example wins.
Oh happy Prince whom Heav’n hath taught the way
By paying Vows to have more Vows to pay!
Oh Happy Age! Oh times like those alone,        320
By Fate reserv’d for great Augustus throne!
When the joint growth of Arms and Arts foreshew
The World a Monarch, and that Monarch You.
 
Note 1. Text from the second edition, 1688. The first edition was in 1660. [back]
Note 2. savage] salvage 1660. [back]
Note 3. Casmes] Chasmes 1660. [back]
Note 4. Travellor] Travellour 1660. [back]
Note 5. MONK] MONCK 1660. [back]
Note 6. stroak] strooke 1660. [back]
 
 
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