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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Samuel Willes To the Kings Most Sacred Majesty
Titlepage: TO THE / KINGS / MOST SACRED / MAJESTY, / Upon his Happy and Glorious / RETURN / An endeavoured / POEM. / [rule] / BY / SAMUEL WILLES. / [rule] / Cressa ne careat pulcra dies nota. Horat. / [rule] / LONDON, / Printed by T. R. for John Baker at the sign of the / Peacock in St. Pauls Church-yard 1660. / [within double ruled box]
Thomason dated his copy on Friday, 15 June 1660.
Opens with some rather curious images of the national landscape and fauna welcoming back the king; noone else tells of the "shelled inhabitants" coming ashore to witness his landing.
Presents a rather bloodthirsty version of Charles at the battle of Worcester; compare "S. W." who also sees Charles battling away at Worcester.
COme, now the greater Muses all have done,
And with majestick steps measur'd the story,
Now Cowley, 1 and the rest the race have run,
And in their way swallow'd up all the glory,
I'le pump a rime or two, come Muse, we'l go,
Iove loves a true devotion though't be slow.
Welcome Great Charles! Heark, how the British Isle
Bellow's the gallant Echo, ev'ry Sea
Changes his angry Frown into a smile,
10: And tells th'enquiring winds 'tis Holyday.
Charles is return'd, and every thing must be
Cloathed with brisk and sweet serenity.
Stay! speak of Charles, what vent'rous tongue dares say
What that important Name doth signifie?
15: Like the Philosopher; I'de ask a day,
Then ten, or more. So great a Majesty
Perplexes humane reason to define,
And like a Gulph, swallows up all the Line.
His high auspicious Birth did plainly shew
20: That bounteous Heav'n some mighty Prince design'd:
Angels could scarce keep Counsel; big they grew,
Yet none durst venture to unload his mind.
Only one loving Star, in spight o'th'day
Came t'us at noon, and told us where he lay.
25: ALL England now one 'tna seems to be,
Beset with joyfull Bonefires every where:
Like dam'd Enceladus benath't I see
The conquer'd Rump strugling to see what's here,
Heaves up the flaming Burd'n, but in vain,
It gives him breath to take't away again.
Great Charles! That very name when't reach our Land
Sounded deliverance and quick supply:
Dagon, our trembling Monster here did stand,
Amaz'd at th'very thoughts of Majesty,
Cursing his ugly Tail, which mark't him out
For one of Desolations branded Rout.
Thus when the other Dagon did but see
The glorious dawning of the Ark, he fled;
And tumbling down with fatal piety,
40: Against the Threshold dasht his ugly head,
Glad that his Godship's ruines might but be
The Tomb of Him and his deformity.
Come heavy Muse, let's try if we can sing,
And scrue our frozen notes, until they meet,
45: As th' fashion is, in verse wee'll meet the King,
Although we limping go with gowty feet.
What though we have no wit? Let's blame the Fate,
That frighted's out of it in -- 48.
WHat mean those guilded Streamers there so high,
50: Dancing like Lightning through the chearful air,
As if they meant to sweep and brush the Sky
From all the misty Cobwebs that hang there.
See how Heaven decks his Azure Canopy
With shoals of stars, and bright serenity.
55: Heark how the list'ning winds creep gently by,
And whisper Charles unto the crowded shore,
Old Time stands still, and quite forgets to fly,
Surpriz'd with wonder, for he ne're before
In the whole worlds voluminous Book did see
So great, so good, so just a Majesty.
Great is thy charge, O Sea; be true, and bring
Thy wealthy Burden to the longing Land;
Thy happy waves that bear so great a King
Are richer far than all the wealthy sand,
Though every grain were turned into a gem,
And both the wealthy Indies thrown to them.
See how the Deep levels his curled brow
To a smooth glassy plain , for Charles is there:
Not any churlish billow grumbles now,
70: But melts his sullen rage to quiet fear;
Each loyal wave crowds with his wat'ry lip,
And dies in close embraces of the Ship.
The scalie Dolphins mount their loyal heads,
And by th' adored ship they stoutly swim,
75: Forgetting, all the while, their wat'ry Beds;
And when their expectation spyes but Him ,
See how one laughing there cageol's another,
And whispers his content unto his brother.
And all those shell'd Inhabitants of th'sand,
80: That never yet forsook the gloomy shore,
That cloyster'd up in Water , dwell o'th'Land ,
They ope their shops, and bring their sparkling store,
Such brisk eradiations with them came,
You'd swear the very Sea were choak't in flame.
85: Hee's come! See what a crowd surrounds the ship,
Men, Beasts and Birds; nothing did stay behind;
Each one preparing his obsequious lip
To give a faint expression of his mind :
Noah not half so well bethronged stood,
When he was King o'th'floating world i'th'flood. 2
HE's come! 'twas when the mighty storms had call'd
The roaring Thunders out and cracking hail,
When th'panting winds i'th'furrow'd sea were stall'd,
And we no sign saw but the Scorpions Tayl:
He like the Sun broke forth, and frighted They
Trembled to heaps, and sneaking steer'd away.
They sneakt away, and great Astr'a came
To repossess her long-usurped seat,
And blusht (as well she might) with pious shame
100: To see her Courts reeking with bloody sweat.
When Justice dies at Court, then how can we
Obscurer Mortals look for equity?
The fiercest Beasts meet Him, and shivering come
To do abeysance at his royal feet:
105: Their silent duties bid him welcome home,
So the great Nomenclator they did greet
With trembling reverence, when to him they came,
In Eden's groves each one to take a name.
The frolick Rocks pluck up their heavy feet,
110: And dance about; the aged nodding oak
Gets loose, and comes; fain would they build a street:
Thus when the sweet Orphean Harp but spoke,
The joylly woods and stones forgat that they [sic
Were ty'd by th'feet, and nimbly tript away.
115: THen from th'united Throng a mighty shout,
(Louder than any Thunders roaring voice)
With zealous acclamations burst out,
With so stupendious and great a voice,
That the amazed shades all fled for fear,
And let the willing day stay longer here.
The sturdy sky throws the loud Echo back
To the low gloomy vaults o'th'silent earth;
The deep foundations of the rocks do crack,
The Infant-springs struggle to find a Birth
That they may hope at least to kiss his feet,
And by that sacred Touch learn to be sweet.
Down to the great Abyss the sacred Name,
The Name of Charles broke down, and with a voice,
Louder than all the Cryes that rend the flame,
130: Layes a dumb silence upon every noise.
Then to all Hell defiance thrice he cries,
To Heaven's and Mine infernal enemies.
The started Furies drop their flaming whips,
And sweep the sweat from off their scalded brows,
135: Dangling their broyling tongues upon their lips,
Each mouth like a great burning Furnace shows;
Where Blasphemy with ragefull anger snarls
Both 'gainst the sacred Names of God and Charles.
O mighty influence of great Charles his Name,
140: That makes the very Gates of Hell to shake,
The damned souls get strength against the flame,
And by the intermission Breath they take.
But stay (sad souls!) a Troop of Fiends comes there,
The Legions routed now from Westminster.
145: King Satan comes, and with a surly brow
Examines every Face, they trembling stand,
Expecting all some sad tormenting blow,
Now staring here, and then o'th'other hand,
I'me come (said he) and that I might not fail
To come in State, look, I have brought my Tail.
With that out of his scaly Bosome he
Pluckt forth a Rowl, scrall'd o're with bloody Names:
My Rump of Agitatours, here they be,
He cry'd, the Heirs apparent of my Flames,
And justly 3 too: they wrought the Tragedy
Of Charles, that mighty foe of Mine and Me.
In Worc'ster's bloody Fields me think I see,
What noble resolution fill'd his Heart,
What low account He made of Majesty:
160: So great Apollo acted once a part
I'th'Trojan Camp, laying aside his Bays,
Decking a steely Helmet with his Rays.
Methinks I see Cromwel's seduced crouds
Moving, like iron-statues, o're the fields,
165: Whilst his proud Banners kiss the gloomy clouds,
Each face of Brass supplies the want of sheilds;
Brass must those faces be, that dare defie
Heaven, and its great Lieutenant's Majesty.
See how th'enraged Horses tear the way,
170: And fling a cloud of dust about their ears,
A cloud so thick that't almost stifled day.
See how his foaming neck one proudly rears;
Another neighs, tossing his curled main,
And swiftly scours along the trembling plain.
175: What throngs of sharp'ned Pikes and Halberts there
March o're th'enraged Rebel's head so thick
And close, that th'very winds intangled are,
And can't get through them but are forc't to stick:
Like some great wood upon a hill they show,
Where there's scarce room for 'nother tree to grow.
MEan while the Royal souls themselves prepare,
Armed with innocence and loyalty:
Not any Breast is stain'd with guilty fear,
Rather than live with shame they choose to dye.
Charls is their noble val'rous pattern, they
Are taught by His, what face becomes the day.
See here they sally out, and there they meet:
Hark how the thund'ring Drums torment the sky:
Here mangled arms and legs, there hands and feet,
190: Parted from their unwilling bodies fly.
The overflowing Brooks swell with a flood,
And stain their frighted banks with streams of blood.
See where a wide-mouth'd Canons burning load
Comes roaring out, wrap't up in raging flame,
195: And through the thickest crouds it cuts a road,
Scorning by all resistance to be tame.
Ne're did the trembling corn fall half so fast
Before the angry Mower's sharpest haste.
Torn limbs of men and horses smear'd with gore,
200: In heaps do lie. There one doth stumbling fall,
Snar'd in his fellow's bowels, o're and o're.
Thousands of New-created kindred, all
Mangled with gaping wounds do strow the Earth,
Mixing their blood at death, though not at Birth.
205: BUt stay! who's he, that through the armed rout,
So unresistably doth run? what's he
That deals so many deaths to those about:
See with what mighty force undaunted He
Doth hew his passage through, whilst trembling they,
Crommel's poor Sneakes, crowd up to make him way.
It must be Charles, who (though he shrouded be
In a disguises humble privacy,)
Cannot contract his beams of Majesty,
No more than th'other Sun can hidden lye
Under a dusky cloud at noon: for still
His Light all corners of the world must fill.
'Tis, tis the mighty Prince: there doth he thrust
His slaughtering Arm into the stoutest troops,
See there he comes, 4 reeking with blood and dust,
220: Whilst every Object of his Fury stoops
To's angry sword's strong force; no blow doth need
A second to assist its murd'ring speed.
Before Him still they fall, and still they fly,
(Tumbling in dying Heaps they stop his way)
225: Thousands of panting Corpses, 5 that fain would dye,
Breath out their souls with curses of the day,
Gnawing the ground with rage; unweary'd He
Send's thousands more t'attend their destiny.
Heaven smil'd, and saw an easie victory
230: Following his mighty Arm: but thought it fit
That Charles (that glorious Name) should raised be
B'another Conquest, far more great than it,
Which, like strong Light'ning without wound or smart,
Should leave the Body whole and melt the Heart.
235: Heaven sounded his Retreat, and ready He
Obey'd e'ne to his loss, and left the field:
Cromwel mistook it for a victory,
And thought it possible that Charles could yield:
Stay ragefull Tyrant, stay! Heaven thinks that He
Better deserv's to live than all thy Host and Thee.
HE lives and GOD WITH HIM, His Exile's force
Could ne're create to Him so great a loss,
Though th'frantick Common-wealth strove to divorce
King, Heaven and Him; whilst round their silver Cross
Run GOD WITH US, Heaven left them all for One
And rather chose to live with Charles alone.
They'r all mistook that say his quiet Breast
Was clouded and disturbed with fretting care,
There alwayes dwelt Serenity and rest,
250: As in the upper Region of the Air,
Above those stormy Passions, jealous fears,
Which scall'd our minds with grief, and eyes with tears.
'Tis true, a loving watch did alwayes dwell
In his sweet Eye, which kindly still did bend
255: To poor distracted Albion, and did tell
His royal heart what Tyranyes did rend
His tott'ring Kingdomes; whilst we guiltless lay
Pris'ners that fear'd, but not deserv'd the day.
Nor can I blame those crafty cares that wrought
260: Their Subtle selves into His royal mind,
Where they the mighty things that pass his thought
And his great soul's sublime productions find.
I'de wish my self transform'd into a Care,
If, without Treason's guilt I might dwell there.
265: Long maist Thou live Great Prince, and still mayst be
A terrour to thy Foes, as thou hast been
To every vice that hath assaulted Thee:
Whilst the discover'd Plots of crafty Sin,
Though all contriv'd in deepest policy,
Are not more known than they are shunn'd by Thee.
Under thy potent Influence I trust
Some condescending Muse will visit me,
And lift my groveling Phansie out o'th'dust,
Stretching my dwarfish Rimes to Poetry;
Then the first Theme divine, of which I'le sing
Shall be a Panegyrick to the KING.
Cowley's Ode appeared on 31 May.
i'th'flood.] i'th'flood, ä
justly] jnstly O
comes,] ed. comes, ä
Corpses] ed; Corpse ä
III.] ed; II. ä
IV.] ed; VI. ä