Presented To The King, At His Arrival In Holland, After The Discovery Of The Conspiracy. 1696

A poem by Matthew Prior

Ye careful Angels, whom eternal Fate
Ordains, on Earth and human Acts to wait;
Who turn with secret Pow'r this restless Ball,
And bid predestin'd Empires rise and fall:
Your sacred Aid religious Monarchs own;
When first They merit, then ascend the Throne:
But Tyrants dread Ye, lest your just Decree
Transfer the Pow'r, and set the People free:
See rescu'd Britain at your Altars bow:
And hear her Hymns your happy Care avow:
That still her Axes and her Rods support
The Judge's Frown, and grace the awful Court:
That Law with all her pompous Terror stands,
To wrest the Dagger from the Traitor's Hands;
And rigid Justice reads the fatal Word;
Poises the Ballance first, then draws the Sword.

Britain Her Safety to your Guidance owns,
That She can sep'rate Parricides from Sons;
That, impious Rage disarm'd, She lives and Reigns,
Her Freedom kept by Him, who broke Her Chains.

And Thou, great Minister, above the rest
Of Guardian Spirits, be Thou for ever blest:
Thou, who of old wert sent to Israel's Court,
With secret Aid great David's strong Support;
To mock the frantick Rage of cruel Saul;
And strike the useless Jav'lin to the Wall.
Thy later Care o'er William's Temples held,
On Boyn's propitious Banks, the heav'nly Shield;
When Pow'r Divine did Sov'reign Right declare;
And Cannons mark'd, Whom They were bid to spare.

Still, blessed Angel, be thy Care the same;
Be William's Life untouch'd, as is his Fame:
Let Him own Thine, as Britain owns His Hand:
Save Thou the King, as He has sav'd the Land.

We Angels Forms in pious Monarchs view:
We reverence William; for He acts like You;
Like You, Commission'd to chastize and bless,
He must avenge the World, and give it Peace.

Indulgent Fate our potent Pray'r receives;
And still Britannia smiles, and William lives:
The Hero dear to Earth, by Heav'n belov'd,
By Troubles must be vex'd, by Dangers prov'd:
His Foes must aid to make his Fame compleat,
And fix his Throne secure on their Defeat.

So, tho' with sudden Rage the Tempest comes;
Tho' the Winds roar; and tho' the Water foams;
Imperial Britain on the Sea looks down,
And smiling sees her Rebel Subject frown:
Striking her Cliff the Storm confirms her Pow'r:
The Waves but whiten her Triumphant Shore:
In vain They wou'd advance, in vain retreat:
Broken They dash, and perish at her Feet.

For William still new Wonders shall be shown:
The Pow'rs that rescu'd, shall preserve the Throne.
Safe on his Darling Britain's joyful Sea,
Behold, the Monarch plows his liquid Way:
His Fleets in Thunder thro' the World declare,
Whose Empire they obey, whose Arms they bear.
Bless'd by aspiring Winds He finds the Strand
Blacken'd with Crowds; He sees the Nations stand
Blessing his Safety, proud of his Command.
In various Tongues He hears the Captains dwell
On their great Leader's Praise: by Turns They tell,
And listen, each with emulous Glory fir'd,
How William conquer'd, and how France retir'd;
How Belgia freed the Hero's Arm confess'd,
But trembl'd for the Courage which She blest.

O Louis, from this great Example know,
To be at once a Hero, and a Foe:
By sounding Trumpets, Hear, and ratl'ing Drums,
When William to the open Vengeance comes:
And See the Soldier plead the Monarch's Right,
Heading His Troops, and Foremost in the Fight.

Hence then, close Ambush and perfidious War,
Down to your Native Seats of Night repair.
And Thou, Bellona, weep thy cruel Pride
Restrain'd, behind the Victor's Chariot ty'd
In brazen Knots, and everlasting Chains.
(So Europe's Peace, so William's Fate ordains.)
While on the Iv'ry Chair, in happy State
He sits, Secure in Innocence, and Great
In regal Clemency; and views beneath
Averted Darts of Rage, and pointless Arms of Death.

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