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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Titlepage: Epinicia Carolina, / OR AN / ESSAY / Upon the Return of His / SACRED MAJESTY, / Charles the Second. / [rule] / By S. W. of the Inner Temple. / [rule] / [design] / LONDON, / Printed for Robert Gibbs, at the Golden Ball in Chan-/ cery Lane. 1660.
Thomason dated his copy on Thursday, 7 June 1660.
Although signed by initials only, it seems likely that these verses were composed by Samuel Woodford (1636-1700). After leaving Wadham College, Oxford in 1659, Woodford entered the Inner Temple and shared chambers with Thomas Flatman. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1664 and took orders in 1669. Although he was an almost exact contemporary of Dryden, Woodford took his lead as a poet from Cowley, as can be seen in his Paraphrase upon the Psalms, which appeared in 1667 . 1 Wood knew that Woodford had written a poem on the Restoration, but was unable to find it.
Note the impacted style, contorted syntax,
The poem makes the conceited claim that Charles had to lose the battle of Worcester since victory in a civil war would have been dishonourable: contrast Willes, who imagines Charles at Worcester heroically slaughtering his way through the enemy.
[Wing B2491; L O C LW OQ OW CM CM AU EN DM: CH CLC CU IU MH NU WF Y]
Upon the Happy Return of His
Charles the Second.
1: Hee's come! -- See there Else. -- There again.
Hee's just now landed with his Train;
Just now hath changed for loyal ground, th' unfaithful Main.
Hee's come! -- Heark how the forward Aire
Resounds his Welcome to the Shoar,
Redoubling all the Eccho's ore.
When the unloaded Guns can do no more,
Volleys with thunder may compare;
Volleys that thunder far excel;
For when rag'd Heav'n in such a language speaks,
With fiery tongues, & silence through the darkness breaks.
(Clouds that are dark as night, or hell)
Showr's to allay the flame
That just now came;
And unexpected fell
Poure down, the sky with stormes is dull,
Of tempests, and thick weather full;
Each clap is follow'd with its band of hail,
Squadrons that will prevail;
Above, engaging Armes appear,
Below the Earth doth groan to hear
The shock, and quakes at some sad fate it sees not, in the Rear.
Quite different is this Peal, this Noise,
Is but the repetition of our joyes.
25: Continued Acclamations from a louder voyce,
Cannons that so well imitate,
Encourage, not amate,
Tell us a most desired calm is nigh,
And without help of following tempests clear the sky.
A calm great Prince, such as none else could say
Beside Your 2 Self, and ne're to late,
To a distracted and tumultuous State;
To a divided Land,
That never could without such help command,
Or know till now what truly 'twas t'obey;
A calm Your Name brings, and a certain bay: [sic: DAY??]
Nor is't less welcome, cause so long defer'd,
(That very Name hath rais'd the price,3
Encreas'd the weight, and made it twice)
The thing for what before't appear'd;
So Expectation almost gone,
Makes us too much esteem a certain one!
And ev'n despairing to be free,
We can Your Self no other See,
Than one that hath procur'd us double liberty.
45: And as i'th troubled deep in spight of hope,
When th' burdened Ship with thousand billows tost,
Is to it Self and Convoy lost:
And Mariners i'th dark their Tackling grope,
Ready to be devour'd by every wave
Which threatens and prepares a grave,
If there appear one glimps of day,
And a faint thought the storme may steal away,
Though at the greatest distance set,
And scarce discerned yet,
Courage returns and check't Despair,
Be it with loss of half the Fare,
Is buried in a Nobler Care.
Y'have done all this, a greater thing,
Deliverance giv'n, Heav'n could not bring,
By any means, but such a King.
Y'have don't, and with't return'd Our Light,
Almost forgotten through a twelve-years Night;
Dispel'd Our fears, to th' Haven brought
A prize inestimable, and unsought;
And beside, what was Ours before,
Return'd Your Self, which makes ten thousand prizes more.
Pardon, Great Name, if one so mean aspire,
And to your Sun, expose his humbler fire;
(Amongst the many flames to rise)
Not to encrease Your light
(Beyond expression bright,
And never to be greater made,
By an additional and borrowed aide)
But to consume his Sacrifice.
75: 'Tis true, You need not what such things can do,
Nor can Your praise by such loe praises grow,
It being not You that want, but we that owe;
We ow't, and if that Theam wont give
To an officious duty, and return,
80: 'Tis our ambition in the common flame to burn:
Nor will we that survive,
If Salamander like i'th flames we cannot live;
We are ennobled by this service done,
To our selves, and not to Thee,
Making it harder to be known,
Whether more proud or dutiful we be:
If we refuse, Thou'rt still the same,
Great by thy birth, and greater by thy Fame,
None by the choice of Heaven and Us more freely came.
Should we refuse, 'twere but to be
Fond Heralds of our slavery,
And how unwillingly we are made free,
We should bely our interest, and give way
To others to prevent us in our joyes:
And the same Acclamations pay
Before us, through a false delay,
As eqully concerned in our voyce.
No! No! we ne're will yield,
'Tis too too much, 't hath been defer'd so long;
100: Nor will we make anothers title strong,
By entring last, or never in the Field;
Though our Engagment only can descry
Not what we would, but what we can't deny.
Our pens shall do their duty first,
Though hitherto to silence curst,
Or Tyranny, of Theams the worst;
Not by recanting, for thus how to sin,
Like others we ne're knew,
Who must their pardon sue,
110: Before they can with confidence again begin,
Our uninfected reach the KING.
'Tis but a poor disguise to say 'twas done,
with th' multitiude to th' rising Sun, [sic
At least to him that went for one,
Meteors may be admir'd till faln and gone.
If Persian like we superstitious are,
Thou art the Sun, the Tyrant, but a blazing star.
You are alone a Sun, Your very Name
Gives a new life and birth to everything,
Gives a new and perpetual spring, 120
Like that above in Qualities the same;
For as to that we all distinctions owe,
Of times and seasons, night and day,
By You that very thing we know,
And go more satisfied away,
You are the greater Sun o'th two.
For as i'th objects that doth shew
The pleasures which they have,
To take the greedy sight,
130: Are from themselves, not from his light;
And don't by his addition beauteous grow:
But were before thus beautiful, and crave
Assistance from his beams to tell, not make 'um so.
You at the same time light and object bring,
What is, and how 'tis to be seen,
The medium, and the very thing,
Without the caution of design between:
You make the Prospect, and that done,
Are what we see it by the Sun:
140: So that to say you are like the Sun, won't do,
'Tis mean, You are not like the Sun, the Sun's like You.
Since then so great a miracle You are,
That nothing can resemble or come near,
We other Similes shall spare,
145: And to Your Self alone Your Self compare: 145
And as the likeness of the Painters draught
Is to be judg'd no other way,
Then by the Pattern which before him lay,
And matter for his Pensil brought;
150: Then by the life, how far the Features be
The very same, where hard, and where more free:
We have it all in You; one Scet'h hath all,
Your Self the Copy and Original;
So like which either is that none dare say:
155: But as two postures by the self-same face
May have a different Aire, and sev'ral Grace
From the relection of the light and place;
When with a languishing Aspect the One,
As some sad Mourner beareth down;
The Other with a livelier Eye,
Intends a Crown and Majesty:
Both are unlike to other, as the hand
Of Artist, and the passions can command.
You have a different Meene as Prince
And Exile, what You were before, 165
And what Y'are since;
Yet like Your Self in both so much, that nothing can be more.
A perfect wonder in Your several State,
Whether we count Your Cross, or better Fate,
Th' adventures that have run
From th'Cradle to the Throne.
If Princes have their Infancy,
And can be born, though they can't dye;
When for twelve years Th'hast known,
175: What 'tis to be a KING, and to be None;
When Majesty disguis'd did lie
I'th Visord of a private one;
The safest and the best retreit
For Him that's destin'd to be great.
180: Nay in a lower Sphere Thou seem'dst to move,
As if degrading's not enough
Thy patience, and thy heart to prove,
A banishment, shall lead the way
To an unconstant and unsetled stay;
185: To save the life that else had been a prey:
As if 'twas equal fault to, Be [sic
As hold the reins of Soveraignty.
Under so great an heap our fire was laid,
And part o'th common rubbish made,
Almost unminded, and quite spent,
Till by the smoak it upward sent,
We knew it liv'd, and on a gentle turn,
Could reassume its former flames, and burn.
This we experienc't when thy forward zeal,
195: Made Thee to us at Worcester fight appeal,
More for thy Countries good, than for thy own;
Thy Countrey which insensible was grown,
And by continu'd slavery,
Thought it a burden to be free;
We saw there, (and who could not see?)
The little price You put on Majesty,
When undistinguish't with the Rout,
Had not Your actions mark't You out,
You as some under-Captain wheel'd about,
Charg'd up, Retreited, Lead the Van,
Fac't the Cromwellians like a private man;
And though in You that time there lay
Concenter'd Happiness and Peace,
Our future joy and present ease,
They unregarded were that day,
And as rich nothings put away:
Breaking first through the Armed Rancks,
Now on the Front, then in the Rear;
Upon the guarded, and well-bodied Flancks,
215: You over-ran all, ere You could be judged near.
You were too prodigal of life and blood,
When scarce to be withstood,
You'd Publique Victime for proud Rebels dye;
Would scarce prevail'd with be to live,
And wait a better destiny.
"So much 'twas not to get the victory,
"To be ore-powr'd, and yet survive!
Though no less by't was thy renown,
'Tis equal to deserve, and wear a Crown!
You did Your share, and more,
Than any Prince ere did before,
Only Fates would with triumph you restore:
Fates that for better times thy fortune knew,
Unwilling were that Bout thou shouldst subdue,
230: And from the Conquest CHARLES with-drew;
So that 'twas they were routed, and not You:
Who by your happy 'scape away,
And Parthian like in flight, didst get the day;
Making the Oaken Garland far exceed the Bay.
Had You that time o'recome in fight,
That very Name had spoil'd the shew,
'Twas more consulted in Your flight;
The Notion of a Countries overthrow,
Less pleasure, greater hurt will do.
240: Blood that from streams like these doth spout,
Encreaseth not the Royal Dy, but rots it out;
The purple loseth by the stain,
If possible to get it up again.
In civil broyles the Lawrel won,
Is but a pale and withered one; 245
Hath more of Cypress in't, and Thorn,
So purchased and worn.
C'sar in triumph, when he led
Great Pompy's children, lost more praise,
Then's Victory did Trophies raise; 250
His Crown did not defend, but more expose his head.
But should we every Scene present,
Deliver every Act of thine,
'Twere to exhaust a Mine:
255: And not a scanty and consumed Mint:
Full of new wonders every houre was seen
The least, that nothing Vulgar came between;
An houre can subject to a Volume give,
A day to an whole History;
A month and year can ne're subsist and live,
But with their own weight prest, must sink and dye.
And as the light that in a mean,
Renders the Object better seen:
If it exceed its wonted ray,
Takes what before it gave, away.
Y'have done too much, all words out-done;
Your Self, and the most lavish tongue;
By giving too great a Theam have given none,
Y'have done beyond all gone before;
270: Had you done less great Prince, we had done more.
Yet though we can't express, we may admire
Thy condescension, when thou didst retire,
And in a Straiter orb confine,
Lustre would else break out and shine.
275: Yet though envelopt in a cloud, even there,
It all enlightned that were near:
A cloud may hide, not chase the Day,
Obscure the Sun, not tak't away.
The Suns the same, when it don't, as when it doth appear;
'Twas ill for us when private walls did feel
Your power, when laying by the warlike steel,
You all regrets, but ours could heal;
Resolved for us, Your Exile to forgo,
And something more than Exile know
To suffer double banishment.
First, from Your Country, than the place
Where You had covert got i'th'Chase,
And by a Fate more grievous went:
"So great a power had Usurpation gain'd,
"That by less crimes it could not be maintaind;
"A little spot appears till the whole Fleece is stain'd.
Mean while we languish't with the rotting pain
Of Forreign hatred, and disdain;
'Twas death or prison to return again;
295: Those whom the publick ruine forc't to shore,
And for some shelter fly
To other Lands, and unknown lie;
If but their names were heard,
They were as an infection fear'd,
To be an English-man was plague enough.
At home we knew no other peace,
But continued War; no health, but a disease:
And since we could no better be
By our Physitians mystery;
305: Always to be so, and no worse, was all our ease.
So that if expectation gone,
And buried with thee in oblivion,
Some for the base Usurper pray'd,
And in their forc't Devotions stray'd;
'Twas out of Dread, not Duty paid:
So much of a worse power we were afraid!
The same was for Sicilian Tyrant done,
Not out of love to him, but fear of a more cruel one.
And as the Romans in their superstitious care
To several Deities did Temples rear,
Ridiculous to all but them that worship't there:
When they made Feavers Fanes resound,
To Paleness Altars Crown'd;
And Tempest that whole Fleets had drown'd:
'Twas not that from their influence
They good expected, but to drive 'um thence.
If we this thing for others did, then you,
'Twas not because we reckon'd it their due:
But we our selves no other thing could do,
Our worship was constrain'd; constraint did bring
Almost a Fate our Soveraign to deny,
Whil'st every Pulpit still did ring
With this impossibility,
At once to serve God, and pray for the KING;
'Tis easie now, and unperplext;
Without a Comment we can read the Text;
And the most partial man must say,
What 'ere 'twas heretofore, 'tis treason now not to obey.
Till you return'd, the thought of joy
Was banisht from these sad retreits;
And the few fires we had prov'd but unnatural heats,
Ne're throughly warm'd, but forc'd colder sweats,
And with their clamminess did more annoy.
Our fires were like those which from Aetna rise,
340: Ne're seen, but after some strange Prodigies,
Flames that don't lighten, but obscure the Skies.
Yours have a greater power, restore the day;
And when 'tis sunk, and lost in a decay,
Renue it with a brighter ray.
The Islands one continued fire,
Is terrible to all that see it round;
And those that know the reason and the ground,
O'recome with heat, already ev'n expire:
Saylors I fear that pass by this way'l mistake,
350: And a new Countrey in their Sea Chards make:
For as towards us they forward steer,
And with the Compass round us Veer,
They scarce know whether Pole they'r near,
Like a new Terr' del fogo, we so much appear.
We're truly now the Happy Isle,
Beyond all else on which the Sun doth smile:
But you are He hath made us so,
This happiness could from our selves ne're flow;
Or any thing that we could do;
You are the gift, and giver too.
'Tis true, Thou might'st have us'd some other hand,
That might have laid it as a just command;
The Spanish and the German aid,
That to such plunder willingly had come,
365: And with the same facility o're-come,
And made us dearly for refusal paid.
Thou mightst have done this, something more,
Made blood and wounds thy right restore;
But resolute to stay
Till something greater made the way;
Till the whole Land should see,
Not thou of them, till they'd need of thee:
Thou more than any Prince hast done,
Com'st by a double title to the Throne;
375: The choice they Peoples is, the right thy own.
And since th'art come, mays'st thou still finde
Those pleasures such a welcome brings:
Where Loyalty and Dutie's joyn'd
To serve and own the best of KINGS!
380: May with thy Reign, thy happiness increase,
And ne're know what 'tis to grow less!
Or if Ecclips it suffers with the Sun,
Let it like that before hand known,
Not be a total, or a sudden one;
But such as when 'tis past and gone,
May make you re-assume this light,
Thy pristine beams, and be more bright:
Make the whole world thy rayes adore,
Obscuring that small star, that thee obscur'd before.
390: May'st thou be like thy Self, none equal know,
To heaven alone thy Scepter owe!
"To be within comparison is to be low.
MONCK the mean time (while to the Sky
Thy Name is mounted by wing'd victory,
395: That doth in Ambush for that honour lie)
I'th Sky shall also have a Memory, And by some brighter Constellation known,
Attend thy Grandure, and increase his own:
So while Your Self we must to CHARLES his Wain refer,
400: MONCK with another title shall be call'd the Waggoner.
 Your] Yout O
 opening parenthesis supplied