MacLean, Gerald, editor. The Return of the King : An Anthology of English Poems Commemorating the Restoration of Charles II / edited by Gerald MacLean
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Robert Howard
A Panegyrick To the King

   Titlepage: POEMS, / viz. / 1. A PANEGYRICK to the KING. / 2. SONGS and SONNETS. / 3. The BLIND LADY, a COMEDY. / 4. The Fourth Book of VIRGIL, / 5. STATIUS his ACHILLEIS, / with ANNOTATIONS. / 6. A PANEGYRICK to GENERALL / MONCK / [rule] / By the Honorable / Sr ROBERT HOWARD. / [rule] / [design] / [rule] / LONDON, / Printed for Henry Herringman, and are to be sold at his / shop at the sign of the Anchor on the lower Walk / of the New Exchange. 1660.

    Thomason dated his copy June, 1660. Dryden wrote dedicatory poem at unsigned sigs [A6-A8].

    Sir Robert Howard (1626-98) a younger son of the Earl of Berkshire, was a career MP from 1661 until his death.

To the

THE true Parnassus (Sir) which Muses know,
Are Subjects which they choose; to whom they owe
Their Inspirations, differing as the times,
Unhappy Vertues, or successfull Crimes.
5: The greatest Choyce is, where the most Successe
Makes Fears as great, nor their Ambitions lesse.
With the Usurped Crowns they strive for Bays;
Those readier not to Act than These to Praise.
My Muse (Great Sir) has no such fears, or knows
10: A better Inspiration than your Woes.
To sing those Vertues which are all your own,
Not brought you by Successes or a Throne;
But by the malice of the world withstood:
So much 'tis easier to be Great than Good.
15: Which knows no end, or change by human things,
But like the world (Eternall) whence it springs.
Greatness is, as forbidden Pleasures are,
Reach'd by th'impious hands, that will but dare
Attempt all Crimes, still scorning a retreat:
20: Onely the Bad can be unjustly Great.
By Falls from Thrones, such, and the vertuous know
What Fate to them, or they to Fortune owe.
By courage nor by vertue can be staid
Fortune, which tired grows by lending aid.
25: So, when all Thrones on C'sar were bestow'd,
Not Fate to him, but he to Fortune ow'd,
And paid her back the vastest Principall
She ever lent, in his too-wretched Fall;
To whose successfull Courage once she gave
30: The Mistress of the World to be his Slave.1
To fair days, storms succeed; to storms, the fair:
We know but what we are by what we were.
And Mans condition's valu'd more or lesse,
By what he had, not what he does possesse.
35: For no Extreams could ever gain a Height
From their own natures, but each other's weight.
So Lucan made the flying Pompey blame,2
Not present Woes, but his too-early Fame.
Great Scipio, whose too happy courage made 3
40: His Country free, and Hannibal's enslav'd,
Had been more happy, had he been but lesse,
And not fear'd want of glory, but excesse.
Whose Countrie-men's ungrateful fears were more,
For his successe, than Hannibal's before.
45: So much Plebeian Souls from Nature's School,
Are fitted more for Servitude than Rule.
Would such Examples had been onely known;
But we have felt a greater of our own,
In your Great Father seen; whose Sunshine-days
50: Deserves not more our wonder than our praise:
Nor did his days of Tempests lesse proclaim,
But taught us more of Miracle and Fame.
And equal'd all the miseries it brought;
By vertues, which unequal'd sufferings taught.
55: Frailty affliction brings; and yet a friend,
In giving those afflictions too an end.
Yet immortality can no blessing give,
But make that perfect, which must ever live.
His soul, refin'd so by Celestiall heat,
60: One could not hurt; and t'other ha's made great.
He pay'd his scores of Frailty, and of Joy's,
To live, where nothing that's enjoy'd destroy's.
And fell, lest this frail World like Heaven might be,
At once admitting Him, and Constancy.
Happy were we, had we but understood.
None were too great, nor we our selves too good!
Within our selves, and by our selves confin'd:
One by our Ocean; t'other by our Mind.
Whilst the obliged World, by War unsought,
70: Was willingly by gentler Traffick brought.
Secure and Rich; whilst every swelling Tide,
That brought us safety, brought us Wealth beside.
Above the reach of the World's power grown,
And had been safe, had we but fear'd our owne.
75: What the Grave Spaniard, and the Belgian too,
The active French, by power could not do,
Our passions did; and quickly made it known,
We could be Conquered by our selves alone.
And acting that which others could not do,
80: Are now fit for their Scorn, and Conquest too.
How just, and sure Heaven's revenges are!
We slighted peace, and grow despis'd by War.
Like Mad men then, possest with Lunacy;
We now must find a Cure in misery.
85: And by our suffering, to our wits redeem'd,
Our long-lost peacefull temper grows esteem'd.
For man does most, by the Comparative,
At the true knowledge of Extreams arrive.
And in affliction's ready to adore,
90: That which he hardly could indure before.
How fatally this Nation proves it true,
In mourning for our banish't Peace; and You!
To You, Great Sir, Fortune's in debt alone,
Who can be no way pai'd, but by your owne.
95: Your Vertues have not more made Crowns your due,
Than sufferings taught you how to use them too.
Stroaks upon solid bodies do provoke
A secret brightnesse free, unmixt with smoak:
No grossnesse mingled; but bright sparks declare,
100: What mighty firmnesse their Composures are.
So whilst the stroaks of Fortune on You light,
Your mighty frame appears more firm and bright.
Affliction often by its powerfull weight,
Is the Case-shot of Destiny and Fate.
105: Routing faint principles together brought
By prosperous vertues; not by hazards taught.
Whilst the weak man is too much understood,
His frailty more, than his substantiall good.
As in the low declining of the day,
110: Mens shaddows more enlarged shew, than they;
So in the worlds great, last, adversity,
When every Element their power must try;
To dissolution they must all retire,
And leave but one pure Element of fire.
115: All that was grosse, which from weak nature flows,
In your great trialls, so expiring shows.
And all unto your Nobler Soul resign'd,
Nothing seems left in you, but what's refin'd.
No longer, now, subject to what is frail,
120: But have from Nature, cut off the entail.
Nor yet could Fortune with her pow'r or frowns,
Ravish your Father's Vertues, though his Crowns;
So little was th'esteem of human things,
To that once best, and now most blest, of Kings.
125: One that in all his time, was never known,
Greedy of Lives, though weary of his own.
Peace Crown'd his thoughts, though not his wretched time,
His Nature was his fate, his Crown his crime:
Despis'd by his own people, first; because,
130: He stoop't below his power, and their laws.
His easie gifts seem'd all but debts; when they,
Had nothing left to ask, nor he to pay.
Yet that he might unjust, or mean, appear,
For what his nature gave, they thank't his fear.
135: All the fair vertues of his Halcyon-times
Instead of gratitude contracted crimes
In those, who from the fears he ever had,
Of being ill, took boldnesse to be bad.
Such as on peace, the name of [idle] fling,
140: And make their Prince a Tyrant or no King;
So fell that Prince, too good for such bad times,
By his own Vertues, and by others Crimes.
Now against you, Great Sir, their swords are turn'd,
And joy in what the World besides has mourn'd.
145: Still constant in their Crimes and Cruelty,
All Conscience turn'd into Necessity.
Which by the view of acted sins before,
Does safe appear, onely by doing more:
As those who quit firm shores, when the wind raves,
150: Must not retire, but bustle still in waves.
The wandring Needle so can never stay,
Till it finds out the Point it should obey.
Our Constitution toucht by Monarchy,
Till it rests there, must always wandring bee;
155: And that must fix in You: None could convay
True light, but He that ought to rule the day.
When Phaeton did to that heighth aspire,
He brought not influence to the world, but fire:
So those led by Ambition to your Throne,
160: Have brought us ruine, and have found their own.
Whilst thus our Sphear is over-cast with Clowds,
You The Sun can be. No offer you neglect,
To warm us with your lustre, and protect
From such foggs of mean Souls, which still will flie
165: O're us, till all's dispell'd by Majesty.
Once for your Kingdome's sake you durst oppose
Your Laurel'd Enemies with your conquer'd foes. 4
Yet Heaven from your assistance then was staid,
Lest the ill Act the good had over-weigh'd;
170: And in the Victory those Scots had found
Their Crimes together with your Vertues crown'd.
Then 'twas You did attempt your debt to pay
To Us or Nature, by a noble way.
The bold 'neas so, having left Troy 5
175: In its own funerall flames, scorn'd to enjoy
Safety alone; but, led by Vertues great
As were the Dangers he was to repeat,
Return'd among his ruin'd Friends and State,
To bring them safety, or to fetch their fate.
180: Whilst our dull souls all nobler warmth deny'd,
The Coward and th'Insensible divide
Our woes made habits by the use, or dare
Not think we know how great our sufferings are.
Like those who dwell in full-resounding Caves,
185: Where Nile sends headlong down his rapid waves,
Are deaf, because the Clamors constant are,
The Water not out-thundered by the Air.
So, still oppress'd, Custom at last denies
Unto our Souls the use of Faculties.
190:       Thus is Your case in forlorn habits drest,
Rob'd of your friends by fear and interest.
Whilst Princes little think (since change is sure)
To pitty others is to be secure;
Like those, who neither dying men deplore,
195: Nor have more thoughts of frailty than before.
But HE above, to make his Power known,
What exceeds ours, has fitted for his own;
And can by those bad Instruments restore
Your Crowns, that were their ravishers before.
200: By Jealousie, and their ambitious Pride,
Which may their Crimes among themselves divide;
Till in each others guilty bosome too,
They sheath their Swords more justly than they drew.
Like Cadmus children that were born with strife,
205: Their quarrell's not lesse antient than their life,
Which never in successive mischief dyes,
And factions still on other's ruines rise.
So a swell'd Wave in all its pride appears,
Whose certain fate the following billow bears.
210: In Storms, ruine on ruine still depends,
Till want of giddy waves the quarrell ends.
So Justice your returning Throne prolongs,
Till they upon themselves revenge your wrongs.
That without Vict'ry you may Conquest find,
215: And without Blood your peacefull Brows may bind
With all those Crowns, which are as much your due
As Birth and Vertue can contribute to.
Thus the great Power of all, having first chose
To make your Vertues great and safe by Woes,
220: Will, by as unexpected ways, restore
Your ravish'd Crowns, as they were lost before.

[1] Rome, call'd by Livie, Totius Orbis Dominatrix.

[2] -- -- -- -- -- Sed longi po/enas Fortuna favoris
Exigit a misero, qu' tanto pondere fame
Res premit adversas, fatisque prioribus urget.
{Lucan.Phar.lib. 8.

[3]Hannibal, in his excellent Speech to Scipio between their Armies, then ready to fight, set down by Livie; among other motives to Scipio for peace, by his own example, advises him to be secure from the Ingratitude of his Country; which afterwards was too largely evi- dent by their reducing him to Privacy as great as his for- mer Glories, and render'd themselves unworthy of his Ashes, which to this day lie in an unknown Grave.

Comming in with the Scots, who were before
Conquer'd by the English at Dunbar.

Stat casus renovare omneis, omnemque reverti
Per Trojam, et rursus caput objectare periclis.
Virg. lib. 2. 'neid.