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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Edmund Waller
To The King
9 June

    Thomason dated his copy of Waller's poem on Saturday, 9 June; Cowley's Ode had already appeared on Thursday 31 May, but Dryden's Astraea Redux would not appear for another ten days, on Tuesday 19 June.


THe rising Sun complies with our weak sight,
First guilds the Clouds, then shews his globe of light
At such a distance from our eyes, as though
He knew what harm his hasty Beams would do.

5: But Your full MAJESTY at once breaks forth
In the Meridian of Your Reign, Your worth,
Your youth, and all the splendor of Your State,
Wrapt up, till now, in clouds of adverse fate,
With such a floud of light invade our eyes,
10: And our spread Hearts with so great joy surprise,
That, if Your Grace incline that we should live,
You must not (SIR) too hastily forgive.
Our guilt preserves us from th'excess of joy,
Which scatters spirits, and would life destroy.

15: All are obnoxious, and this faulty Land
Like fainting Hester doth before you stand,
Watching Your Scepter, the revolted Sea
Trembles to think she did Your Foes obey.

Great Britain, like blind Polipheme, of late
20: In a wild rage became the scorne and hate
Of her proud Neighbours, who began to think,
She, with the weight of her own force, would sink:
But You are come, and all their hopes are vain,
This Gyant-Islle has got her Eye again; 1
25: Now she might spare the Ocean, and oppose
Your conduct to the fiercest of her Foes:
Naked, the Graces guarded You from all
Dangers abroad, and now Your Thunder shall.
Princes, that saw you, different passions prove,
30: For now they dread the Object of their love;
Nor without envy can behold His height,
Whose Conversation was their late delight.
So Semele contented with the rape
Of Jove, disguised in a mortal shape,
35: When she beheld his hands with lightning fill'd,
And his bright rayes, was with amazement kill'd.

And though it be our sorrow and our crime
To have accepted life so long a time
Without you here, yet does this absence gain
40: No small advantage to Your present Reign:
For, having view'd the persons and the things,
The Councils, State and strength of Europe's Kings,
You know your work; Ambition to restrain,
And set them bounds, as Heav'n does to the Main.
45: We have you now with ruling wisdom fraught,
Not such as Books, but such as Practice taught:
So the lost Sun, while least by us enjoy'd,
Is the whole night, for our concern imploy'd:
He ripens spices, fruit, and precious Gums,
50: Which from remotest Regions hither comes.

This seat of Yours, from th'other world remov'd,
Had Archimedes known, he might have prov'd
His Engine's force, fixt here, your power and skill
Make the worlds motion wait upon your will.

55: Much-suffering Monarch, the first English born
That has the Crown of these three Nations worn,
How has Your patience, with the barbarous rage
Of Your own soyl, contended half an Age?
Till (Your try'd virtue, and Your sacred word,
60: At last preventing Your unwilling Sword)
Armies and Fleets, which kept You out so long,
Own'd their great Sovereign, and redrest His wrong;
When straight the People, by no force compell'd,
Nor longer from their inclination held,
65: Break forth at once, like Powder set on fire,
And with a noble rage their KING require.

So th'injur'd Sea, which from her wonted course,
To gain some rich ground, avarice did force,
If the new Banks, neglected once, decay,
70: No longer will from her old Channel stay,
Raging the late-got Land, she overflowes,
And all that's built upon't to ruine goes.

Offenders now, the chiefest, do begin 2
To strive for Grace, and expiate their sin:
75: All winds blow fair, that did the world imbroyle, 3
Your Vipers Treacle yield, and Scorpions Oyle. 4

If then such praise the Macedonian got,
For having rudely cut the Gordian Knot;5
What glory's due to him that could divide
80: Such ravell'd interests, has the knot unty'd,
And without stroke so smooth a passage made,
Where craft and malice such impeachments laid?

But while we praise You, You ascribe it all
To his high hand, which through the untouch't wall
85: Of self-demolisht Jerico so low:
His Angel 'twas that did before You go.
Tam'd salvage hearts, and made affections yield,
Like Ears of Corn when wind salutes the field.

Thus patience crown'd 6 like Job's, your trouble ends,
90: Having your Foes to pardon 7 and your Friends:
For, though your Courage were so firm a rock,
What private vertue could endure the shock?
Like your great Master you the storm withstood,
And pitied those which Love with Frailty shew'd.

95: Rude Indians torturing all the Royal race,
Him with the Throne and dear-bought Scepter grace
That suffers best: what Region could be found 8
Where your heroick Head had not been crown'd?

The next experience of Your mighty mind,
100: Is, how You combate Fortune now she's kind;
And this way too, you are victorious found,
She flatters with the same successe, she frown'd;
While to Your Self severe, to others kind
With power unbounded, and a will confin'd.
105: Of this vast Empire you possess the care,
The softer part falls to the Peoples share:
Safety and equal Government are things
Which Subjects make, as happy, as their Kings.

Faith, Law and Piety, that banisht train;
110: Justice and Truth, with You return again:
The Cities Trade, and Countries easie life
Once more shall flourish without fraud or strife.
Your Reign no less assures the Ploughmans peace,
Than the warm Sun advances his increase:
115: And does the Shepheards as securely keep
From all their fears, as they preserve their sheep.

But above all, the Muse-inspired train
Triumph, and raise their drooping heads again;
Kind Heav'n at once has in Your Person sent
120: Their sacred Judge, their Guard, and Argument.



Printed for Richard Marriot, in St. Dunstans Church-yard, Fleetstreet.


[2]chiefest, do] 01, 02, OW; chiefest; doe LT, O3

[3]imbroyle,] O1, O2, OW; imbroyl, LT, O3

[4]yield, ...Oyle] O1, O2, OW; yeeld, ... Oyl LT, O3

[5]Knot] O1, O2, OW; knot LT, O3

[6]crown'd/] O1, O2, OW; crown'd: LT, O3

[7]pardon/] O1, O2; pardon, LT, O3, OW

[8]found/] O1, O2; found, LT, O3, OW