An Ode - Presented To The King, On His Majesty's Arrival In Holland, After The Queen's Death

A poem by Matthew Prior

At Mary's tomb (sad sacred place!)
The Virtues shall their vigils keep,
And every Muse and every Grace
In solemn state shall ever weep.

The future pious mournful fair,
Oft as the rolling years return,
With fragrant wreaths and flowering hair
Shall visit her distinguish'd urn.

For her the wise and great shall mourn,
When late records her deeds repeat;
Ages to come and men unborn
Shall bless her name and sigh her fate.

Fair Albion shall, with faithful trust,
Her holy Queen's sad relics guard,
Till Heaven awakes the precious dust,
And gives the saint her full reward.

But let the King dismiss his woes,
Reflecting on his fair renown,
And take the cypress from his brows,
To put his wonted laurels on.

If press'd by grief our monarch stoops,
In vain the British lions roar:
If he whose hand sustain'd them droops,
The Belgic darts will wound no more.

Embattled princes wait the chief
Whose voice should rule, whose arm should lead,
And in kind murmurs chide that grief
Which hinders Europe being freed.

The great example they demand
Who still to conquest led the way,
Wishing him present to command,
As they stand ready to obey.

They seek that joy which used to glow
Expanded on the hero's face,
When the thick squadrons press'd the foe,
And William led the glorious chase.

To give the mournful nations joy
Restore them thy auspicious light,
Great Sun! with radiant beams destroy
Those clouds which keep thee from our sight.

Let thy sublime meridian course
For Mary's setting rays atone;
Our lustre, with redoubled force,
Must now proceed from thee alone.

See, pious King! with different strife
Thy struggling Albion's bosom torn:
So much she fears for William's life
That Mary's fate she dare not mourn.

Her beauty, in thy softer half
Buried and lost, she ought to grieve,
But let her strength in thee be safe;
And let her weep, but let her live.

Thou, guardian angel! save the land
From thy own grief, her fiercest foe,
Lest Britain, rescued by thy hand,
Should bend, and sink beneath thy wo.

Her former triumphs all are vain
Unless new trophies still be sought,
And hoary Majesty sustain
The battles which thy youth has fought.

Where now is all that fearful love
Which made her hate the war's alarms?
That soft excess with which she strove
To keep her hero in her arms?

While still she chid the coming spring,
Which call'd him o'er his subject seas,
While for the safety of the king,
She wish'd the victor's glory less.

'Tis changed; 'tis gone: sad Britain now
Hastens her lord to foreign wars:
Happy if toils may break his wo,
Or danger may divert his cares.

In martial din she drowns her sighs,
Lest he the rising grief should hear;
She pulls her helmet o'er his eyes,
Lest she should see the falling tear.

Go, mighty prince! let France be taught
How constant minds by grief are tried,
How great the land that wept and fought,
When William led and Mary died!

Fierce in the battle make it known,
Where Death with all his darts is seen,
That he can touch thy heart with none
But that which struck the beauteous Queen.

Belgia indulged her open grief,
While yet her master was not near,
With sullen pride refused relief,
And sate obdurate in despair.

As waters from her sluices flow'd
Unbounded sorrow from her eyes;
To earth her bended front she bow'd,
And sent her wailings to the skies.

But when her anxious lord return'd,
Raised is her head, her eyes are dried;
She smiles as William ne'er had mourn'd:
She looks as Mary ne'er had died.

That freedom which all sorrows claim
She does for thy content resign;
Her piety itself would blame
If her regrets should weaken thine.

To cure thy wo she shows thy fame,
Lest the great mourner should forget
That all the race whence Orange came
Made Virtue triumph over Fate.

William his country's cause could fight,
And with his blood her freedom seal;
Maurice and Henry guard that right
For which their pious parents fell.

How heroes rise, how patriots set,
Thy father's bloom and death may tell;
Excelling others these were great;
Thou, greater still, must these excel.

The last fair instance thou must give
Whence Nassaus's virtue can be tried,
And show the world that thou canst live
Intrepid as thy consort died.

Thy virtue, whose resistless force
No dire event could ever stay,
Must carry on its destined course
Though Death and Envy stop the way.

For Britain's sake, for Belgia's, live;
Pierced by their grief, forget thy own;
New toils endure, new conquest give,
And bring them ease, though thou hast none.

Vanquish again, though she be gone
Whose garland crown'd the victor's hair;
And reign, though she has left the throne
Who made thy glory worth thy care.

Fair Britain never yet before
Breathed to her king a useless prayer;
Fond Belgia never did implore
While William turn'd averse his ear.

But should the weeping hero now
Relentless to their wishes prove,
Should he recal, with pleasing wo,
The object of his grief and love;

Her face with thousand beauties bless'd,
Her mind with thousand virtues stored,
Her power with boundless joy confess'd,
Her person only not adored.

Yet ought his sorrow to be check'd;
Yet ought his passions to abate;
If the great mourner would reflect,
Her glory in her death complete.

She was instructed to command,
Great king, by long obeying there;
Her sceptre, guided by thy hand,
Preserved the isles, and ruled the sea.

But oh! 'twas little, that her life
O'er earth and water bears thy fame:
In death, 'twas worthy William's wife,
Amidst the stars to fix his name.

Beyond where matter moves, or place
Receives its forms, thy virtues roll;
From Mary's glory, angels trace
The beauty of her partner's soul.

Wise fate, which does its heaven decree
To heroes, when they yield their breath,
Hastens thy triumph. Half of thee
Is deified before thy death.

Alone to thy renown 'tis given,
Unbounded through all worlds to go:
While she, great saint, rejoices heaven;
And thou sustain'st the orb below.

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