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HIS SACRED MAJESTY,
PANEGYRIC ON HIS CORONATION.
The ceremony of Charles the Second's coronation was deferred until the year succeeding his Restoration, when it was solemnized with extreme magnificence, on the 22d April, 1661, being St George's day. Charles moved from the Tower to Whitehall, through a series of triumphal arches, stages, and pageants, all of which presented, at once, the joy and wealth of his people before the
eyes of the monarch. The poets, it may readily be believed, joined in the general gratulation; but, from the rudeness of their style, and puerility of their conceits, Charles, whose taste was undoubted, must have soon distinguished our author's superior energy of diction, and harmony of language. In most respects we may consider this piece as written in the style of the preceding, yet with less affectation of witty and far-fetched allusion. The description of the spring, beginning, “ Now our sad ruins are removed from sight,” is elegantly fancied, and so smoothly expressed, that even the flow of the language seems to mark the mild and delightful influence of the season it describes. Much quaintness remains to be weeded out. The name of the king is sent on high, wrapped soft and warm in music, like flames on the wings of incense; and, anon, music has found a tomb in Charles, and lies drowned in her own sweetness ; while the fragrant scent, begun from the royal person, and confined within the hallowed dome, fies round and descends on him in richer dew. Above all, we are startled to hear of
A queen, near whose chaste womb, ordained by fate,
The souls of kings unborn for bodies wait. Neither, if we read (with the first edition) from instead of near, is the intelligibility, or decorum of the passage much improved. If any of the souls of these unborn monarchs waited for bodies from Queen Catharine, they waited long in vain. But with all these defects, there is in this little piece that animation of language and idea, which always affords the most secure promise of genius.
The first edition is printed for Henry Herringman, 1661.
In that wild deluge where the world was drowned,
your kind beams, by their continued stay,
your powerful influence dries, Then soonest vanish when they highest rise. Had greater haste these sacred rites prepared,
Some guilty months had in your triumphs shared; *
Now our sad ruins are removed from sight,
your own pomp yourself the greatest part: Loud shouts the nation's happiness proclaim, And heaven this day is feasted with your name. Your cavalcade the fair spectators view, From their high standings, yet look up to you. From your brave train each singles out a prey, And longs to date a conquest from your day. Now charged with blessings while you seek repose, Officious slumbers haste your eyes to close ; And glorious dreams stand ready to restore The pleasing shapes of all you saw before. Next to the sacred temple you are led, Where waits a crown for your more sacred head, How justly from the church that crown is due, Preserved from ruin, and restored by you! The grateful choir their harmony employ, Not to make greater, but more solemn joy. Wrapt soft and warm your name is sent on high, As flames do on the wings of incense fly.
Music herself is lost; in vain she brings
your rest. Good actions still must be maintained with good, As bodies nourished with resembling food. You have already quenched sedition's brand; And zeal, which burnt it, only warms the land. The jealous sects, that dare not trust their cause So far from their own will as to the laws, You for their umpire and their synod take, And their appeal alone to Cæsar make.
* The first edition reads and for all.
† Note II.
Kind heaven so rare a temper did provide,
* Note III.
+ Note IV.
I Note V.