Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
From ‘A Panegyric to My Lord Protector’
By Edmund Waller (1606–1687)
WHILE with a strong and yet a gentle hand,
You bridle faction, and our hearts command,
Protect us from ourselves, and from the foe;
Make us unite, and make us conquer too.
Let partial spirits still aloud complain,        5
Think themselves injured that they cannot reign,
And own no liberty, but where they may
Without control upon their fellows prey.
Above the waves, as Neptune showed his face,
To chide the winds and save the Trojan race,        10
So has your Highness, raised above the rest,
Storms of ambition tossing us repressed.
Your drooping country, torn with civil hate,
Restored by you, is made a glorious State;
The seat of empire, where the Irish come,        15
And the unwilling Scots, to fetch their doom.
The sea’s our own: and now all nations greet,
With bending sails, each vessel of our fleet;
Your power extends so far as winds can blow,
Or swelling sails upon the globe may go.        20
Heaven, that hath placed this island to give law,
To balance Europe, and its States to awe,
In this conjunction doth on Britain smile,
The greatest leader and the greatest isle!
Whether this portion of the world were rent        25
By the rude ocean from the continent,
Or thus created, it was sure designed
To be the sacred refuge of mankind.
Hither the oppressèd shall henceforth resort,
Justice to crave, and succor at your court;        30
And then your Highness, not for ours alone,
But for the world’s Protector, shall be known….
Still as you rise, the State exalted too,
Finds no distemper while ’tis changed by you;
Changed like the world’s great scene! when, without noise,        35
The rising sun night’s vulgar lights destroys.
Had you, some ages past, this race of glory
Run, with amazement we should read your story;
But living virtue, all achievements past,
Meets envy still to grapple with at last.        40
This Cæsar found; and that ungrateful age,
With losing him, went back to blood and rage;
Mistaken Brutus thought to break their yoke,
But cut the bond of union with that stroke.
That sun once set, a thousand meaner stars        45
Gave a dim light to violence and wars,—
To such a tempest as now threatens all,
Did not your mighty arm prevent the fall.
If Rome’s great Senate could not wield that sword
Which of the conquered world had made them lord,        50
What hope had ours, while yet their power was new,
To rule victorious armies, but by you?
You, that had taught them to subdue their foes,
Could order teach, and their high sp’rits compose;
To every duty could their minds engage,        55
Provoke their courage, and command their rage.
So when a lion shakes his dreadful mane,
And angry grows, if he that first took pain
To tame his youth approach the haughty beast,
He bends to him, but frights away the rest.        60
As the vexed world, to find repose, at last
Itself into Augustus’s arms did cast,
So England now does, with like toil opprest,
Her weary head upon your bosom rest.
Then let the Muses, with such notes as these,        65
Instruct us what belongs unto our peace.
Your battles they hereafter shall indite,
And draw the image of our Mars in fight:
Tell of towns stormed, and armies overrun,
And mighty kingdoms by your conduct won;        70
How, while you thundered, clouds of dust did choke
Contending troops, and seas lay hid in smoke.
Illustrious acts high raptures do infuse,
And every conqueror creates a Muse!
Here, in low strains, your milder deeds we sing,        75
But there, my lord, we’ll bays and olives bring
To crown your head: while you in triumph ride
O’er conquered nations, and the sea beside;
While all your neighbor princes unto you,
Like Joseph’s sheaves, pay reverence and due.        80

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