MacLean, Gerald, editor. The Return of the King : An Anthology of English Poems Commemorating the Restoration
of Charles II / edited by Gerald MacLean
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
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H. H. B.
A Poem to his Maiestie
on His Landing
Descriptions of crowds eagerly travelling to Dover to meet Charles were not uncommon in works published during the days immediately following his return. Here most of the commonplaces are well represented, especially the emphasis on a general desire to see this spectacular occasion. This version opens with a cosmogenic analogy -- Charles creates the world by his return -- which develops into a series of biblical references that, in turn, slide into analogies with classical mythology and Virgilian georgic. This displacement of biblical by classical allusions is singularly apt since the interregnum governments had legitimated their authority by constant reference to, and use of, the Old Testament. Against this tendency, Charles's return reintroduces the neo-classicism associated with the culture of the Stuarts. Writers who supported Cromwell had commonly identified him with the olive-branch of peace, so the careful conditional usage in l. 18 neatly marks the structural transition from biblical to classical while also suggesting how the Restoration really began with the protector's death in 1658. Severalo other poets explained that the years which Charles had spent abroad were a providentially ordained education in foreign politics that could only benefit him and his kingdom now he had returned to rule.
Only one copy of this poem seems to have survived. I have been unable to identify the author.
THe Spirit that inform'd this Soul-lesse Frame,
We read, first on the face oth'Waters came;
And You our Quickning Spirit Heaven sent
This sad Nation by the same Element.
5: With eyes upheld, Knees bow'd, glad hearts, clasp'd hands
Upon the shore as numerous as its sands
People stand, and your unseen Fleet descrie,
So much their joyes, see further than their Eie.
The City's empti'd, all towards Dover strive,
10: And like starv'd Bees for sun-shine leave their hive.
Some panting up to the proud Cliff ascend,
And being too low still there, on tip-toes stand:
Nor will that serve, upon this Castle lie
Perspectives planted,425 stilts too for the eie.
15: The Arke when in the Deluge toss'd design'd
The swift-wing'd Dove, the long-lost Land to find.
Had we the Bird, This Land without all doubt
Would send her forth, your Ark for to find out.
The Olive Branch that should this Nation shade
20: With Peace, growes now at Sea about Your head.
The floting world once of each kind held two,
Yet now grown bigger can not follow You.
See your long-captiv'd People ready stand
To loose their Fetters by your Sacred hand.
25: The fair Andromeda thus hopelesse stood.
Allotted for the cruell Monsters food:
When she espi'd her God-like Persius come
And by that Monsters death reverse her Doom.
Your Harbingers, your Acts of grace, were here
30: Long since, And told the Guilty You were near.
'Twas to our Saviour's comming then not long
Men knew, when once good will and peace were sung.
One year of Grace Heav'n did to all allow,
But this unhappy Land stood need of two.426
35: Think (Injur'd Prince) your wrongs were all well ment,
You were to Travail, not to Exile sent.
With sev'ral Countries wisdoms fraught you'r come
Like the glad Bee from flours with honey home.
For common good the Subject Bees perhaps thus drive
40: Rudely sometimes their Master from the Hive.
Alasse your Enemies did but for You
What fondest Parents for their Children doe;
Tis true, your woods they sold,427 your Lands, your Lead,
But yet they'l leave you all when they are dead.
F I N I S.
.úú13. i.e. telescopes. I have not been able to find out whether there really were optical devices made available to the public.
.úúOliver Cromwell -- the "Monster" of line 28 -- had died in 1658.
.úúThe House of Commons put an end to the public use of royal woodlands; 18 June 1660.