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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James Bernard Upon His Sacred Majesties Distresses
[undated: after 29 May]
Titlepage: A / POEM / UPON HIS / SACRED MAJESTIES / DISTRESSES, / AND LATE / HAPPY RESTAURATION. / [rule] / [design] / [rule] / LONDON, / Printed for R. Marriot, and are to be sold at his shop in / St. Dunstans Church-yard, Fleetstreet. 1660.
Date: Bernard's welcome is composed in very general terms that imagine Charles has recently arrived in England: so place in late May.
The publisher Richard Marriot also issued the large paper reissue of Waller's poem in early June (Thomason's is dated 9 June).
Bernard's heroic verses welcome the king in the guise of a warrior whose recent fate has been of some considerable concern to the Titans and gods of Olympus. Bernard's imagination is exhuberant to say no more.
UPON HIS SACRED MAJESTIES DISTRESSES, AND LATE Happy Restauration.
CEase, Phancie, cease, thus to disturb my Muse
With strange Chymera's, not for any use
But barren subjects, or some aiery theam,
The issue of A Non ens, or a Dream,
5: Which scrued up to the most tow'ring strain.
Its former nothing strait resumes again:
My Muse denies to bate one scruples right,
Back forty foot, for thou'rt a grain too light.
Armes, and the Prince, I sing, whose generous vain,
10: Pregnant with sacred purple, knows no stain
But that he's Albions Prince, which may put on
A title more significant, Rubicon.
Nor can the factious Rhetorick of the Times
Nose forth a Canting glosse, t'excuse the Crimes,
15: The horrid treason of a vip'rous Brood
That slue their Countries Father, who then stood
The Pilot of their Faith; but since he fell
Their Faith was shipwreckt, and they sunk to Hell.
Just so a sturdie Oake, which climb'd so high,
20: Its vertex seemed to gore the azure skie,
Through the complaint of an ambitious Brier,
Humbl'd upon the Earth, doth there expire:
But blustring Boreas through distended Cheeks
Empties his Belching lungs, the bramble seeks
25: For shelter, as before, but cannot find
Its spatious Friend to fan away the wind.
What Phlegra's this, whose Typhon scales the skies?
Will not such crimes awake heaven's Deities?
Hath Ganimedes (Nectar not profuse)
30: Sophisticated Jove with Lethe's juice?
Sure jealous Vulcan, searching for his Dame,
Doth disappoint the Gods, and lets his flame
Faint for a new supplie.
But, harke what sound!
What horrid object's this! see how the Ground
35: Blusheth with scarlet, whilst the thundering Gun
Disputes the Business, and th' affrighted Sun
Sweats to drive up his steeds: But, Muse, declare
What high-sould Prince is that, who, thus, doth dare
Doe wonders at each motion? have ye heard
40: Niles Deep-base Cataracts? or the crackling beard
Of domineering flames? heard ye the winds
Break from Eolian Caves, whilst Boreas finds
Resistance from the foaming brine? his steel
So stormes at every passe, till his foes reel:
45: Since wonders are so cheap, that every blow
Must be so prodigall, Let Heaven bestow
One on my trembling Muse, that she may see
Her Prince's miracles in a simile.
-- -- -- Have ye 'ere seen
50: A roaring Lion, big with rage, whose spleen
Durst venture on the Gods, when his proud foe
On solitarie Cliffs, presumes his Bow
With his dividing steel, sufficient force
To beard his highnesse with, whose voice is hoarce
55: Already with his boyling rage, whose eyes
Shootforth contracted flame, his shag doth rise,
His tallons all unsheath, whilst a deep groan
(Like Gorgons head,) would fright his foe to stone;
But yet the generous Archer speeds amain
60: His well-taught shafts, though still they light in vain
Upon his Royall fur: The Rampant King
Unites his furie 'cause he faild a spring,
With open mouth receives the bolder Dart,
First spits it forth, and then his generous heart
65: Kindles a double flame; his spirits rise,
Dart naught but vengeance from his blazing eyes,
Seizeth his foe, and then his rending paw
Teares up his bosome, for his grinding jaw
To craunch his vanquisht heart: So, just so
70: Our Royall Lion doth entreat his foe,
With equall courage and with equall flame,
But with unequall stars, which seems to shame
And make Olympus blush: But Atlas frownd,
Swore Heaven should sink for him to th' Stygian sound,
75: If its more favouring aspect did not look
Upon the just designs; then Phebus took
The deep-divining rowles of Fate, and read
As great deliverance on my Soveraign's head,
As ever cop'd with danger: thus appeas'd
80: Thick-shouldred Atlas was again well pleas'd
Had you been there you might have heard a shout,
A suddain tempest, loud enough to rout
Joves thunder to a whisper; Th'army flyes,
And Save-the-King runs Clambering up the skies:
85: But he, brave soul, rather then think of save,
Incircled by the dead, doth court his grave;
Yet is preserv'd, and gone, Jove best knows how,
But, by Joves favour, I'l goe beat the bough.
A stately Pallace 'tis, 'tis large and tall,
90: My Leidge hath turn'd his White to a Greenhall!
His father purpl'd it! the Phancie's rare,
Since Purple, White and Green his Colours are.
But lo the Crescent-crowned Queen of Night
Spangles the double Poles with borrowed light,
95: And decks with wanton rayes her gamesome hair,
Whilst shooting stars run trick about the Aire:
And wonder much to see the sifters loome
Spin a long thread withing the strutting womb
Of a comsumptive Oake, which had not teem'd
100: An hundred years before: but yet it seem'd
Latora must be fetcht, though't be in vain,
For now my King's secured by a Lane:
A raritie indeed, since when, I'm sure
The via Regia nere was thought secure.
105: -- -- -- But heark, the Capering brine
Doth call my Muse, to frisk a nimble twine
With it, for joy my Soveraign doth daine
T'accept the service of the prouder maine,
Whilst Zephir' whispers-forth a softer gail,
110: Whose wanton sporting swells the pregnant sail;
The furrow break in silver foam all o're,
And straight, the stout Keel plows the Norman shore;
Which Eccoeth welcome, and, repleat with joy,
Doth storm Olympus with a viv' le Roy:
115: But fortune still, as various as before,
Ventures to dally with his stars once more;
And, as an Ignis Fatuus doth climbe
Sometimes aloft, then courts its mother-slime:
So she unconstant paces foots amaine,
120: First wantons with her flattery, then disdain;
And 'cause the French, of all men, sympathize
Her most transcendent rare varieties,
She makes them be the racket that must toss
My Soveraign (like a ball,) into a loss,
125: Or band' him to an hazard, whilst his foes
Are courted for a league, a rebell nose?
Makes them forget their honour, and their blood,
For fear it should take snuffe; thus, in the bud
My Princes hopes are nipt, whilst Fiends, not men;
130: First entertain, then turn him out agen.
So have I often seen a greedy Cur
To cramb his spacious gut make a great stir,
With eager haste swallow the pleasing bit,
And then at length his paunch disgorged it.
135: But now the storm is past, the Day is fair,
French complements evaporate to aire,
While th'Austrian Prince exceedeth France as far
As substance doth a shadow, Sol a star,
Yet still there doth some chequer'd clouds appear,
140: Like beautie-spots, within his hemisphear;
But are dispersed; and a Monck, whose hood
Vaild his designe, prevents a purple flood;
And by a Labyrinth of windings, brings
Phanatick Gustes up to rellish Kings:
145: But now the stars with better aspects crown'd
Distill rich influence, and forget they fround,
The whilst our Prince doth gradually scale
Up Fortunes wheel by steps, that doe not fail.
So have I seen Apollo's radient eye,
150: Peeping through sable Curtains of the skie:
First powder it with Argent, Or it next,
And after comment largely on the text.
But then arose a grand dispute, what Fee
The Senat held by; some would have it be
155: Fee-simple, but the greater vogue prevail,
And all conclude at last it was Fee-tail.
At whose decease no issue did succeed,
So the Reversion, as is due, must need
Fall to my Soveraign.
But, methinks, I hear
160: That Charlemaine moves in his proper sphear;
Whose harmonie exceeds Apollo's lire,
Or Orpheus crystall sphears, though all conspire
To ravish with their accents. Plato's true,
Th'old Realme of England is become a new;
165: 'Tis its Platonick year, then let my soul
Extract the spirits of joy, and crown my bowle
Brimfull with wishes, whilst the Sun keeps time,
And ecchoing shouts do foot the measured rime.
Melpomene no more, come, come, and twine
170: About our, Olive merriest of the nine,
And, when thy jolly store is emptied, then
Its quintescence extract, and that agen.
Europa's Bull went wading by degrees,
First dipt his golden hoofes, anon his knees;
175: So hath our Soveraign done, yet still we see
He is to us, as Jove to Semele.
Thus have we seen a swelling Cloud arise,
Whose spacious bulk did Lord it o're the skies,
And golden Phebus did a Prisoner doom
180: To the black conclave of it's sooty womb,
But thanks to Heaven, a more refulgent beam
Turn'd the Usurper to it's former steam.
And since our glittering Sun, with rayes full grown,
On high Olympus top hath fixt his Throne,
185: If any ambitious meteors shall appear,
Let them prove falling-stars in's hemisphear.
By James Bernard.