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Thus, at half ebb, a rolling sea
Returns and wins upon the shore ;
The watery herd, affrighted at the roar,
Rest on their fins a while, and stay,
Then backward take their wondering way:
The prophet wonders more than they,
At prodigies but rarely seen before,
And cries, a king must fall, or kingdoms change their
Such were our counter-tides at land, and so
Presaging of the fatal blow,
In their prodigious ebb and flow.
The royal soul, that, like the labouring moon,
By charms of art was hurried down,
Forc'd with regret to leave her native sphere,
Came but a while on liking here :
Soon weary of the painful strife,
And made but faint essays of life :
And evening light
Soon shut in night;
A strong diftenper, and a weak relief,
Short intervals of joy, and long returns of grief.
The sons of art all medicines try'd,
And every noble remedy apply'd ;
With emulation each eslay'd
His utmost skill, nay more, they pray'd :
Never was losing game with better conduct play'd.
Death never won a stake with greater toil,
Nor ere was fate so near a foil;
But like a fortress on a rock,
Th’impregnable disease their vain attempts did mock;
They min’d it near, they batter'd from afar
With all the cannon of the medicinal war;
No gentle means could be essay'd,
'Twas beyond parly when the fiege was laid :
Th’extremest ways they first ordain,
Prescribing such intolerable pain,
As none but Cæfar could sustain :
Undaunted Cæsar underwent
The malice of their art, nor bent
Beneath whate'er their pious rigour could invent:
In five such days he suffer’d more
Than any suffer'd in his reign before;
More, infinitely more, than he,
Against the worst of rebels, could decree,
A traitor or twice-pardon d enemy.
Now art was tird without success,
No racks could make the stubborn malady confess.
The vain insurancers of life,
And he who most perform’d and promis'd less,
Ev'n Short himself forsook th' unequal strife.
Death and despair were in their looks,
No longer they consult their memories or books;
Like helpless friends, who view from thore
The labouring thip, and hear the tempest roar ;
So stood they with their arms across ;
Not to affift, but to deplore
Death was denounc'd; that frightful found
Which ev’n the best can hardly bear,
He took the summons void of fear;
And unconcern’dly cast his eyes around ;
As if to find and dare the griesly challenger.
What death could do he lately try'd,
When in four days he more than dy'd.
The fame assurance all his words did grace :
The same majestic mildness held its place :
Nor lost the monarch in his dying face.
Intrepid; pious, merciful, and brave,
He look'd as when he conquer'd and forgave.
As if some angel had been sent
To lengthen out his government,
And to foretel as many years again,
As he had number'd in his happy reign,
So chearfully he took the doom
Of his departing breath ;
Nor shrunk nor stept aside for death :
But with unalter'd pace kept on ;
Providing for events to come,
When he resign’d the throne.
Still he maintain’d his kingly state ;
And grew familiar with his fate.
Kind, good, and gracious, to the last,
On all he lov'd before his dying beams he cast :
Oh truly good, and truly great,
For glorious as he rose benignly so he set!
All that on earth he held most dear,
He recommended to his care,
To whom both heaven,
The right had given
And his own love bequeath'd supreme command :
He took and prest that ever-loyal hand,
Which could in peace secure his reign,
Which could in wars his power maintain,
That hand on which no plighted vows were ever vain.
Well, for so great a trust he chose
A prince who never disobey'd :
Not when the most severe commands were laid;
Nor want, nor exile, with his duty weigh'd :
A prince on whom, if heaven its eyes could close,
The welfare of the world it safely might repose.
That king who liv'd to God's own heart,
Yet less serenely died than he :
Charles left behind no harsh decree
For schoolmen with laborious art
To salve from cruelty :
Those, for whom love could no excuses frame,
He graciously forgot to name.
Thus far my Muse, though rudely, has design'd
Some faint resemblance of his godlike mind :
But neither pen nor pencil can express
The parting brothers' tenderness:
Though that 's a term too mean and low;
The blest above a kinder word may know:
But what they did, and what they said,
The monarch who triumphant went,
The militant who staid,
Like painters, when their heightening arts are spent,
I cast into a shade.
That all-forgiving king,
of him above,
That unexhausted spring
Of clemency and love ;
Himself to his next felf accus'd,
And ask'd that pardon which he ne'er refus'd :
For faults not his, for guilt and crimes
Of godless men, and of rebellious times :
For an hard exile, kindly meant,
When his ungrateful country sent
Their best Camillus into banillment:
And forc'd their sovereign's act, they could not his
Oh how much rather had that injur'd chief
Repeated all his sufferings past !
Than hear a pardon begg’d at last,
Which given could give the dying no relief:
He bent, he sunk beneath his grief :
His dauntless heart would fain have held
From weeping, but his eyes
rebell’d. Perhaps the godlike hero in his breast Disdain'd, or was asham'd to mow So weak, so womanish a woe, Which yet the brother and the friend fo plenteously confett.