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When such heroic virtue heaven sets out,

The stars, like commons, sullenly obey;
Because it drains them when it comes about,
And therefore is a tax they seldom pay.

From this high spring our foreign conquests flow,

Which yet more glorious triumphs do portend;
Since their commencement to his arms they owe,
If springs as high as fountains may ascend.

He made us freemen of the continent,

Whom nature did like captives treat before ;
To nobler preys the English lion sent,
And taught him first in Belgian walks to roar.t

That old unquestioned pirate of the land,

Proud Rome, with dread the fate of Dunkirk heard;
And, trembling, wished behind more Alps to stand,
Although an Alexander were her guard. #

By his command we boldly crossed the line. S

And bravely fought where southern stars arise;
We traced the far-fetched gold unto the mine,

And that, which bribed our fathers, made our prize.

* The author seems to allude to the old proverb, Sapiens dominabitur astris.The influence of the stars yielded reluctantly to Cromwell's heroic virtues, as the commons submit sullenly to be taxed.

† Note XIV.

| Note XV.

§ Note XVI.



XXXII. Such was our prince; yet owned a soul above

The highest acts it could produce to show :
Thus, poor mechanic arts in public move,
Whilst the deep secrets beyond practice go.

Nor died he when his ebbing fame went less,

But when fresh laurels courted him to live: He seemed but to prevent some new success, As if above what triumphs earth could give.

His latest victories still thickest came,

As near the centre motion doth increase ;
Till he, pressed down by his own weighty name,
Did, like the vestal, under spoils decease.

But first the ocean as a tribute sent

The giant prince of all her watry herd;
And the isle, when her protecting Genius went,
Upon his obsequies loud sighs conferred.t

No civil broils have since his death arose,

But faction now by habit does obey;
And wars have that respect for his repose,
As winds for halcyons when they breed at sea.

His ashes in a peaceful urn shall rest;

His name a great example stands, to show, How strangely high endeavours may be blessed,

Where piety and valour jointly go.

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Note XIX.




Note I.
And now 'tis time ; for their officious haste,

Who would before have borne him to the sky,
Like eager Romans, ere all rites were past,
Did let too soon the sacred eagle fly.

St. I. p. 8. Cromwell's disease, a fever and tertian ague, was accompanied by fits of swooning, which occasioned, more than once, a premature report of his death. It was probably this circumstance, which made some of his fanatical chaplains doubt the fact, after it had actually taken place. “Say not he is dead,” exclaimed one of them, like Omar over the corpse of Mahomet; “ for, it ever the Lord heard my prayers, he has assured me of the life of the Protector." The two last lines of the stanza allude to the Roman custom of letting an eagle fly from the funeral pile of a deceased emperor, which represented his spirit soaring to the regions of bliss, or his guardian genius convoying it thither. It is described at length in the fourth book of Herodian, who says, that, after this ceremony of consecration, the deceased emperor was enrolled among the Roman deities.

Note II.
Fortune, (that easy mistress to the young,

But to her ancient servants coy and hard,)
Him at that age her favourites ranked among,
When she her best-loved Pompey did discard.

St. VIII. p. 9. Cromwell was upwards of forty before he made any remarkable figure; and Pompey, when he had attained the same period of life, was deserted by the good fortune which had accompanied his more early career,

Note III.
Our former chiefs, like sticklers of the war,

First sought to inflame the parties, then to puise :
The quarrel loved, but did the cause abhor;
And did not strike to hurt, but make a noise.

St. XI. p. 10. Essex, Manchester, Sir William Waller, and the earlier generals of the Parliament, were all of the Presbyterian party, who, though they had drawn the sword against the king, had no will to throw away the scabbard. They were disposed so to carry on the war, that, neither party being too much weakened, a sound and honourable peace might have been accomplished on equal terms. But the Independants flew at higher game; and, as the more violent party usually prevail during times of civil discord, they attained their object. Cromwell openly accused the Earl of Manchester of having refused to put an end to the war, after the last battle at Newbury, when a single charge upon the King's rear might have dissipated his

for " I offered," he averred, " to perform the work with my own brigade of horse; let Manchester and the rest look on, if they thought fit: but he obstinately refused to permit the attempt, alleging, that, if the king's army was beaten, he would find another; but if that of the Parliament was overthrown, there would be an end of their cause, and they would be all punished as traitors.” This suspicion of the compromising temper of the Presbyterian leaders, led to the famous self-denying ordinance, by which all members of both houses were declared incapable of holding a military command. By this new model, all the power of the army was thrown, nominally, into the hands of Fairfax, but, really and effectually, into that of Cromwell, who was formally excepted from the operation of the act, and of the Independants ; men determined to push the war to extremity, and who at length triumphed over both King and Parliament.



Note IV.
He fought to end our fighting, and essayed
To staunch the blood, by breathing of the rein.

St. XII.


10. This passage, which seems to imply nothing farther than that Cromwell conducted the war so as to push it to a conclusion, was afterwards invidiously interpreted by Dryden's enemies, as containing an explicit approbation of the execution of Charles I.

Thus, in the panegyric quoted in the introductory remarks to

this poem,

Such wonders have thy powerful raptures shewn,
Pythagoras' transmigration thou'st outdone ;

His souls of heroes and great chiefs expired,
Down into birds and noble beasts retired :
But thou en savages and monsters dire,
Canst infuse sparks even of celestial fire;
Make treason glory, murderers heroes live,
And even to regicides canst godhead give.
Thus in thy songs the yet warm bloody dart,
Fresh reeking in a martyred monarch's heart,
Burnished by verse, and polished by thy lines,
The rubies in imperial crowns outshines;
Whilst in applause to that sad day's success,
So black a theme in so divine a dress,
Thy soaring flights Prometheus' thefts excel,
Whilst thou steal’st fire from heaven to enlighten hell.

The same accusation is urged in another libel, called “The Laureat:"

Nay, had our Charles, by Heaven's severe decree,
Been found, and murdered in the royal tree,
Even thou hadst praised the fact. His father slain,
Thou call'dst but gently breathing of a vein.
Impious and villainous, to bless the blow
That laid at once three lofty nations low,

And gave the royal cause a fatal overthrow!
Another witling, to add to the heinousness of this expression,
Assures us, that Dryden had at first declared for the king, then for
the parliament, and, finally, for Cromwell :


I for the Royal Martyr first declared,
But, ere his head was off, I was prepared
To own the Rump, and for that cause did rhime;
But, those kicked out, next moment turned to him
Who routed them : called him my sovereign,
And praised his opening of the kingly vein.

Dialogue in Bedlam between Oliver's Porter, Fidler, and Poet.

These are examples of the inveteracy, with which Dryden's enemies were ready to wrest his expressions from the common interpretation into one more strong and unwarrantable. Dryden, sufficiently embarrassed by the praises he had bestowed on the Usurper, a charge from which he could not vindicate himself, book no notice of the uncandid lengths to which it was carried.

Note V.
He fought, secure of fortune as of fame,

Till by new mups the island might be shewn ;
Of conquests, which he strewed where'er he came,
Thick as the galaxy with stars is sown.

St. XIV. p. 10.

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