Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
Cromwell and King Charles
By Andrew Marvell (1621–1678)
’TIS madness to resist or blame
The force of angry heaven’s flame;
    And if we would speak true,
    Much to the man is due,
Who from his private gardens, where        5
He lived reservèd and austere,
    As if his highest plot
    To plant the bergamot,
Could by industrious valor climb
To ruin the great work of Time,        10
    And cast the kingdoms old,
    Into another mould.
What field of all the civil war,
Where his were not the deepest scar?
    And Hampton shows what part        15
    He had of wiser art;
Where, twining subtile fears with hope,
He wove a net of such a scope,
    That Charles himself might chase
    To Carisbrook’s narrow case;        20
That thence the royal actor borne,
The tragic scaffold might adorn.
    While round the armèd bands,
    Did clap their bloody hands,
He nothing common did, or mean,        25
Upon that memorable scene,
    But with his keener eye
    The axe’s edge did try;
Nor called the gods, with vulgar spite,
To vindicate his helpless right;        30
    But bowed his comely head
    Down, as upon a bed.

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