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: Astr'a Redux. / A / POEM / On the Happy / Restoration & Return / Of His Sacred Majesty / Charles the Second. / [rule] / By John Driden. / [rule] / Iam Redit & Virgo, Redeunt Saturnia Regna. Virgil. / [rule] / LONDON, / Printed by J. M. for Henry Herringman, and are to be sold at / his Shop, at the Blew-Anchor, in the lower Walk of the New-/ Exchange, 1660.
Dryden's poem was advertized in Mercurius Publicus for 21-28 June. Thomason dated his copy on Tuesday, 19 June but since this is the second state of the poem, it may have appeared some days before this. Standard scholarly editions in Kinsley and Swedenberg contain full textual histories with historical collations to subsequent editions.
Paul Hammond reckons that D knew poems by Lluelyn (24 May), Higgons (10 June), Cowley (31 May), Waller (9 June) "But many of D.'s images are the common stock of other panegyrics, notably in the two university collections"
On the Happy Restoration and Return of His
Charles the Second.
NOW with a general Peace the World was blest,
While Ours, a World divided from the rest,
A dreadful Quiet felt, and worser farre
Then Armes, a sullen Intervall of Warre:
5: Thus when black Clouds draw down the lab'ring Skies,
Ere yet abroad the winged Thunder flyes
An horrid Stillness first invades the ear,
And in that silence Wee the Tempest fear.
Th' Ambitious Swede like restless Billowes tost,
10: On this hand gaining what on that he lost,
Though in his life he Blood and Ruine breath'd,
To his now guideless Kingdome Peace bequeath'd.
And Heaven that seem'd regardless of our Fate,
For France and Spain did Miracles create,
15: Such mortal Quarrels to compose in peace
As Nature bred and Int'rest did encrease.
We sigh'd to hear the fair Iberian Bride
Must grow a Lilie to the Lilies side,
While Our cross Stars deny'd us Charles his Bed
20: Whom Our first Flames and Virgin Love did wed.
For his long absence Church and State did groan;
Madness the Pulpit, Faction seiz'd the Throne:
Experienc'd Age in deep despair was lost
To see the Rebel thrive, the Loyal crost:
25: Youth that with Joys had unacquainted been
Envy'd gray hairs that once good days had seen:
We thought our Sires, not with their own content,
Had ere we came to age our Portion spent.
Nor could our Nobles hope their bold Attempt
30: Who ruin'd Crowns would Coronets exempt:
For when by their designing Leaders taught
To strike at Pow'r which for themselves they sought,
The Vulgar gull'd into Rebellion, arm'd,
Their blood to action by the Prize was warm'd.
35: The Sacred Purple then and Scarlet Gown
Like sanguine Dye to Elephants was shown.
Thus when the bold Typhoeus scal'd the Sky,
And forc'd great Jove from his own Heaven to fly,
(What King, what Crown from Treasons reach is free,
40: If Jove and Heaven can violated be?)
The lesser Gods that shar'd his prosp'rous State
All suffer'd in the Exil'd Thund'rers Fate.
The Rabble now such Freedom did enjoy,
As Winds at Sea that use it to destroy:
45: Blind as the Cyclops, and as wild as he,
They own'd a lawless salvage Libertie,
Like that our painted Ancestours so priz'd
Ere Empires Arts their Breasts had Civiliz'd.
How Great were then Our Charles his Woes, who thus
50: Was forc'd to suffer for Himself and us!
He toss'd by Fate, and hurried up and down,
Heir to his Fathers Sorrows, with his Crown,
Could tast no sweets of youths desired Age,
But found his life too true a Pilgrimage.
55: Unconquer'd yet in that forlorne Estate
His Manly Courage overcame his Fate.
His wounds he took like Romans on his brest,
Which by his Vertue were with Lawrells drest.
As Souls reach Heav'n while yet in Bodies pent,
60: So did he live above his Banishment.
That Sun which we beheld with cous'ned eyes
Within the water, mov'd along the skies.
How easie 'tis when Destiny proves kind
With full spread Sails to run before the wind,
65: But those that 'gainst stiff gales laveering go
Must be at once resolv'd and skilful too.
He would not like soft Otho hope prevent
But stay'd and suffer'd Fortune to repent.
These Vertues Galba in a stranger sought;
70: And Piso to Adopted Empire brought.
How shall I then my doubtful thoughts express
That must his suff'rings both regret and bless!
For when his early Valour Heav'n had crost,
And all at Worc'ster but the honour lost,
75: Forc'd into exile from his rightful Throne
He made all Countries where he came his own.
And viewing Monarchs secret Arts of sway
A Royal Factor for their Kingdomes lay.
Thus banish'd David spent abroad his time,
80: When to be Gods Anointed was his Crime
And when restor'd made his proud Neighbours rue
Those choice Remarques he from his Travels drew,
Nor is he onely by afflictions shown
To conquer others Realms but rule his own:
85: Recov'ring hardly what he lost before
His right indears it much, his purchase more.
Inur'd to suffer ere he came to raigne
No rash procedure will his actions stain.
To bus'ness ripened by digestive thought
90: His future rule is into Method brought:
As they who first Proportion understand
With easie Practice reach a Masters hand.
Well might the Ancient Poets then confer
On Night the honour'd name of Counseller,
95: Since struck with rayes of prosp'rous fortune blind
We light alone in dark afflictions find.
In such adversities to Scepters train'd
The name of Great his famous Grandsire gain'd:
Who yet a King alone in Name and Right,
100: With hunger, cold and angry Jove did fight;
Shock'd by a Covenanting Leagues vast Pow'rs
As holy and as Catholique as ours:
Till Fortunes fruitless spight had made it known
Her blowes not shook but riveted his Throne.
Some lazy Ages lost in sleep and ease
No action leave to busie Chronicles;
Such whose supine felicity but makes
In story Chasmes, in Epoche's mistakes;
O're whom Time gently shakes his wings of Down
110: Till with his silent sickle they are mown:
Such is not Charles his too too active age,
Which govern'd by the wild distemper'd rage
Of some black Star infecting all the Skies,
Made him at his own cost like Adam wise.
115: Tremble ye Nations who secure before
Laught at those Armes that 'gainst our selves we bore;
Rous'd by the lash of his own stubborn tail
Our Lyon now will forraign Foes assail.
With Alga who the sacred altar strowes?
120: To all the Sea-Gods Charles an Off'ring owes:
A Bull to thee Portunus shall be slain,
A Lamb to you the Tempests of the Main:
For those loud stormes that did against him rore
Have cast his shipwrack'd Vessel on the shore.
125: Yet as wise Artists mix their colours so
That by degrees they from each other go,
Black steals unheeded from the neighb'ring white
Without offending the well cous'ned sight:
So on us stole our blessed change; while we
130: Th' effect did feel but scarce the manner see.
Frosts that constrain the ground, and birth deny
To flow'rs, that in its womb expecting lye,
Do seldom their usurping Pow'r withdraw,
But raging floods pursue their hasty thaw:
135: Our thaw was mild, the cold not chas'd away
But lost in kindly heat of lengthned day.
Heav'n would no bargain for its blessings drive
But what we could not pay for, freely give.
The Pince of Peace would like himself confer
140: A gift unhop'd without the price of war.
Yet as he knew his blessings worth, took care
That we should know it by repeated pray'r;
Which storm'd the skies and ravish'd Charles from thence
As Heav'n it self is took by violence.
145: Booth's forward Valour only serv'd to show
He durst that duty pay we all did owe:
Th' Attempt was fair; but Heav'ns prefixed hour
Not come; so like the watchful travellour
That by the Moons mistaken light did rise,
150: Lay down again, and clos'd his weary eyes.
'Twas MONCK whom Providence design'd to loose
Those real bonds false freedom did impose.
The blessed Saints that watch'd this turning Scene
Did from their Stars with joyful wonder leane,
155: To see small clues draw vastest weights along,
Not in their bulk but in their order strong.
Thus Pencils can by one slight touch restore
Smiles to that changed face that wept before.
With ease such fond Chym'ra's we pursue
160: As fancy frames for fancy to subdue,
But when our selves to action we betake
It shuns the Mint like gold that Chymists make:
How hard was then his task, at once to be
What in the body natural we see
165: Mans Architect distinctly did ordain
The charge of Muscles, Nerves, and of the Brain;
Through viewless Conduits Spirits to dispense,
The Springs of Motion from the Seat of Sense.
'Twas not the hasty product of a day,
170: But the well ripened fruit of wise delay.
He like a patient Angler, e're he strooke
Would let them play a while upon the hook.
Our healthful food the Stomach labours thus
At first embracing what it strait doth crush.
175: Wise Leeches will not vain Receipts obtrude,
While growing pains pronounce the humours crude;
Deaf to complaints they wait upon the ill
Till some safe Crisis authorise their skill.
Nor could his Acts too close a vizard wear
180: To scape their eyes whom guilt had taught to fear,
And guard with caution that polluted nest
Whence Legion twice before was dispossest.
Once sacred house which when they enter'd in
They thought the place could sanctifie a sin;
185: Like those that vainly hop'd kind Heav'n would wink
While to excess on Martyrs tombs they drink.
And as devouter Turks first warn their souls
To part, before they tast forbidden bowls,
So these when their black crimes they went about
190: First timely charm'd their useless conscience out.
Religions name against it self was made;
The shadow serv'd the substance to invade:
Like Zealous Missions they did care pretend
Of souls in shew, but made the Gold their end.
195: Th'incensed Pow'rs beheld 1 with scorn from high
An Heaven so far distant from the sky,
Which durst with horses hoofs that beat the ground
And Martial brass bely the thunders sound.
'Twas hence at length just Vengeance thought it fit
200: To speed their ruine by their impious wit.
Thus Sforza curs'd with a too fertile brain
Lost by his wiles the Pow'r his wit did gain.
Henceforth their Fogue must spend at lesser rate
Then in its flames to wrap a Nations Fate.
205: Suffer'd to live, they are like Helots set
A vertuous shame within us to beget.
For by example most we sinn'd before,
And glass-like 2 clearness mixt with frailty bore.
But since reform'd by what we did amiss,
210: We by our suff'rings learn to prize our bliss.
Like early Lovers whose unpractis'd hearts
Were long the May-game of malicious arts,
When once they find their Jealousies were vain
With double heat renew their fires again.
215: 'Twas this produc'd the joy that hurried o're
Such swarmes of English to the Neighb'ring shore,
To fetch that prize, by which Batavia made
So rich amends for our impoverish'd Trade.
Oh had you seen from Schevelines barren shore
220: (Crowded with troops, and barren now no more,)
Afflicted Holland to his farewell bring
True Sorrow, Holland to regret a King;
While waiting him his Royal Fleet did ride
And willing winds to their low'rd sayles deny'd.
225: The wavering Streamers, Flags, and Standart out,
The merry Seamens rude but chearful shout,
And last the Cannons voice that shook the skies}
And, as it fares in sudden Extasies}
At once bereft us both of ears and eyes.}
230: The Naseby now no longer Englands shame
But better to be lost in Charles his name
(Like some unequal Bride in nobler sheets)
Receives her Lord: the joyful London meets
The Princely York, himself alone a freight;
235: The Swift-sure groans beneath Great Gloc'sters weight.
Secure as when the Halcyon breeds, with these
He that was born to drown might cross the Seas.
Heav'n could not own a Providence and take
The wealth three Nations ventur'd at a stake.
240: The same indulgence Charles his Voyage bless'd
Which in his right had Miracles confess'd.
The winds that never Moderation knew
Afraid to blow too much, too faintly blew;
Or out of breath with joy could not enlarge
245: Their straightned lungs, or conscious of their Charge.
The British Amphitryte smooth and clear
In richer Azure never did appear;
Proud her returning Prince to entertain
With the submitted Fasces of the Main.
250: ANd welcome now (Great Monarch) to your own;
Behold th' approaching cliffes of Albion;
It is no longer Motion cheats your view,
As you meet it, the Land approacheth you.
The Land returns, and in the white it wears
255: The marks of penitence and sorrow bears.
But you, whose goodness your discent doth show,
Your Heav'nly Parentage and earthly too;
By that same mildness which your Fathers Crown
Before did ravish, shall secure your own.
260: Not ty'd to rules of Policy, you find
Revenge less sweet then a forgiving mind.
Thus when th' Almighty would to Moses give
A sight of all he could behold and live;
A voice before his entry did proclaim
265: Long-Suff'ring, Goodness, Mercy in his Name.
Your Pow'r to Justice doth submit your Cause,
Your Goodness only is above the Laws;
Whose rigid letter while pronounc'd by you
Is softer made. So winds that tempests brew
270: When through Arabian Groves they take their flight
Made wanton with rich Odours, lose their spight.
And as those Lees that trouble it, refine
The agitated Soul of Generous Wine,
So tears of joy for your returning spilt,
275: Work out and expiate our former guilt.
Methinks I see those Crowds on Dovers Strand
Who in their hast to welcome you to Land
Choak'd up the Beach with their still growing store,
And made a wilder Torrent on the shore.
280: While spurr'd with eager thoughts of past delight
Those who had seen you, court a second sight;
Preventing still your steps, and making hast
To meet you often where so e're you past.
How shall I speak of that triumphant Day
285: When you renew'd the expiring Pomp of May!
(A Month that owns an Intrest in your Name:
You and the Flow'rs are its peculiar Claim.)
That Star that at your Birth shone out so bright
It stain'd the duller Suns Meridian light,
290: Did once again its potent Fires renew
Guiding our eyes to find and worship you.
And now times whiter Series is begun
Which in soft Centuries shall smoothly run;
Those Clouds that overcast your Morne shall fly
295: Dispell'd to farthest corners of the sky.
Our Nation with united Int'rest blest
Not now content to poize, shall sway the rest.
Abroad your Empire shall no Limits know,
But like the Sea in boundless Circles flow.
300: Your much lov'd Fleet shall with a wide Command
Besiege the petty Monarchs of the Land:
And as Old Time his Off-spring swallow'd down
Our Ocean in its depths all Seas shall drown.
Their wealthy Trade from Pyrates Rapine free
305: Our Merchants shall no more Advent'rers be:
Nor in the farthest East those Dangers fear
Which humble Holland must dissemble here.
Spain to your Gift alone her Indies owes;
For what the Pow'rful takes not he bestowes.
310: And France that did an Exiles presence fear
May justly apprehend you still too near.
At home the hateful names of Parties cease
And factious Souls are weary'd into peace.
The discontented now are only they
315: Whose Crimes before did your Just Cause betray:
Of those your Edicts some reclaim from sins,
But most your Life and Blest Example wins.
Oh happy Prince whom Heav'n hath taught the way
By paying Vowes, to have more Vowes to pay!
320: Oh Happy Age! Oh times like those alone
By Fate reserv'd for Great Augustus Throne!
When the joint growth of Armes and Arts foreshew
The World a Monarch, and that Monarch You.
beheld] 2nd state; behold 1st state