On The Queen’s Visit To London. The Night Of The Seventeenth Of March 1789.

A poem by William Cowper

When, long sequester’d from his throne,
George took his seat again,
By right of worth, not blood alone,
Entitled here to reign,


Then loyalty, with all his lamps
New trimm’d, a gallant show!
Chasing the darkness and the damps,
Set London in a glow.


‘Twas hard to tell, of streets or squares
Which form’d the chief display,
These most resembling cluster’d stars,
Those the long milky way.


Bright shone the roofs, the domes, the spires,
And rockets flew, self-driven,
To hang their momentary fires
Amid the vault of heaven.


So, fire with water to compare,
The ocean serves, on high
Up-spouted by a whale in air,
To express unwieldy joy.


Had all the pageants of the world
In one procession join’d,
And all the banners been unfurl’d
That heralds e’er design’d,


For no such sight had England’s queen
Forsaken her retreat,
Where George, recover’d, made a scene
Sweet always, doubly sweet.


Yet glad she came that night to prove,
A witness undescried,
How much the object of her love
Was loved by all beside.


Darkness the skies had mantled o’er
In aid of her design—
Darkness, O Queen! ne’er called before
To veil a deed of thine!


On borrow’d wheels away she flies,
Resolved to be unknown,
And gratify no curious eyes
That night except her own.


Arrived, a night like noon she sees,
And hears the million hum;
As all by instinct, like the bees,
Had known their sovereign come.


Pleased she beheld, aloft portray’d
On many a splendid wall,
Emblems of health and heavenly aid,
And George the theme of all.


Unlike the enigmatic line,
So difficult to spell,
Which shook Belshazzar at his wine
The night his city fell.


Soon watery grew her eyes and dim,
But with a joyful tear,
None else, except in prayer for him,
George ever drew from her.


It was a scene in every part
Like those in fable feign’d,
And seem’d by some magician’s art
Created and sustain’d.


But other magic there, she knew,
Had been exerted none,
To raise such wonders in her view,
Save love of George alone.


That cordial thought her spirit cheer’d,
And, through the cumbrous throng,
Not else unworthy to be fear’d,
Convey’d her calm along.


So, ancient poets say, serene
The sea-maid rides the waves,
And fearless of the billowy scene,
Her peaceful bosom laves.


With more than astronomic eyes
She view’d the sparkling show;
One Georgian star adorns the skies,
She myriads found below.


Yet let the glories of a night
Like that, once seen, suffice,
Heaven grant us no such future sight,
Such previous woe the price!

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