The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

Upon His Majesties Restoration and Return.

Virgil.--Quod optanti Divûm promittere nemo
Auderet, volvenda dies, en, attulit ultro.
NOw Blessings on you all, ye peacefull Starrs,
Which meet at last so kindly, and dispence
Your universal gentle Influence,
To calm the stormy World, and still the rage of Warrs.
      Nor whilst around the Continent,
Plenipotentiary Beams ye sent,
      Did your Pacifick Lights disdain,
      In their large Treaty, to contain
The world apart, o're which do reign
Your seven fair Brethren of great Charles his Wane;  10
No Star amongst ye all did, I beleeve,
      Such vigorous assistance give,
      As that which thirty years ago,
      At ** Charls his Birth, did, in despight
      Of the proud Sun's Meridian Light,
His future Glories, and this Year foreshow,
      No lesse effects than these we may
      Be assur'd of from that powerful Ray,
Which could out-face the Sun, and overcome the Day.
** The Star that appeared at Noon, the day of the King's Birth, just as the King His Father was riding to St. Pauls to give thanks to God for that Blessing.
      Auspicious Star again arise,  20
And take thy Noon-tide station in the skies,
Again all Heaven prodigiously adorn;
      For loe! thy Charls again is Born.
      He then was Born with, and to pain:
      With, and to Joy he's born again.
      And wisely for this second Birth,
      By which thou certain wert to bless
The Land with full and flourishing Happiness
      Thou mad'st of that fair Month thy choice,
      In which Heaven, Air, and Sea, and Earth,  30
And all that's in them all does smile, and does rejoyce.
'Twas a right Season, and the very Ground
Ought with a face of Paradise to be found,
      Then when we were to entertain  [Than 1660 etc.
Felicity and Innocence again.
Shall we again (good Heaven!) that Blessed Pair behold,
Which the abused People fondly sold
For the bright Fruit of the Forbidden Tree,
      By seeking all like gods to be?
Will Peace her Halcyon Nest venture to build  40
      Upon a Shore with Shipwracks fill'd?
And trust that Sea, where she can hardly say,
Sh'has known these twenty years one calmy day?
      Ah! mild and gaulless Dove,
Which dost the pure and candid Dwellings love:
      Canst thou in Albion still delight?
      Still canst thou think it White?
Will ever fair Religion appear
In these deformed Ruins? will she clear
Th'Augæan Stables of her Churches here?  50
      Will Justice hazard to be seen
Where a High Court of Justice e're has been?
      Will not the Tragique Scene,
And Bradshaw's bloody Ghost affright her there,
      Her who should never fear?
Then may White-hall for Charles his Seat be fit.
If Justice shall endure at Westminster to sit.
      Of all, methinks, we least should see
The chearful looks again of Liberty.
That Name of Crumwell, which does freshly still  60
The Curses of so many sufferers fill,
      Is still enough to make her stay,
      And jealous for a while remain,
Lest as a Tempest carried him away,
Some Hurican should bring him back again.
      Or she might justlier be afraid
Lest that great Serpent, which was all a Tayl,
(And in his poys'nous folds whole Nations Prisoners made)
      Should a third time perhaps prevail
To joyn again, and with worse sting arise,  70
As it had done, when cut in pieces twice.
      Return, return, ye Sacred Fower,
And dread your perisht Enemies no more,
      Your fears are causeless all, and vain
      Whilst you return in Charls his train,
For God does Him, that He might You restore,
      Nor shall the world him only call,
Defender of the Faith, but of ye All.
Along with you Plenty and Riches go,
With a full Tide to every Port they flow,  80
With a warm fruitful wind o're all the Country blow.
Honour does as ye march her Trumpet sound,
      The Arts encompass you around,
      And against all Alarms of Fear,
      Safety it self brings up the Rear.
And in the head of this Angelique band,
Lo, how the Goodly Prince at last does stand
(O righteous God!) on his own happy Land.
'Tis Happy now, which could, with so much ease
Recover from so desperate a Disease,  90
      A various complicated Ill,
Whose every Symptome was enough to kill,
In which one part of Three Frenzey possest,
      And Lethargy the rest.
'Tis Happy, which no Bleeding does indure
      A Surfet of such Blood to cure.
      'Tis Happy, which beholds the Flame
In which by hostile hands it ought, to burn,
      Or that which if from Heaven it came
It did but well deserve, all into Bonfire turn.  100
We fear'd (and almost toucht the black degree
      Of instant Expectation)
      That the three dreadfull Angels we
Of Famine, Sword and Plague should here establisht see,
(God's great Triumvirate of Desolation)
To scourge and to destroy the sinfull Nation.
Justly might Heav'n Protectors such as those,
And such Commitees for their Safety' impose,
Upon a Land which scarsely Better Chose.
      We fear'd that the Fanatique war   110
Which men against God's Houses did declare,
Would from th' Almighty Enemy bring down
      A sure destruction on our Own.
We read th' Instructive Histories which tell
Of all those endless mischiefs that befell,
The Sacred Town which God had lov'd so well,
After that fatal Curse had once been said,
His Blood be upon ours, and on our Childrens head.
We knew, though there a greater Blood was spilt,
      'Twas scarcely done with greater Guilt.  120
We know those miseries did befall
Whilst they rebell'd against that Prince whom all
The rest of Mankind did the Love, and Joy, of Mankind call.
      Already was the shaken Nation
Into a wild and deform'd Chaos brought.
      And it was hasting on (we thought)
Even to the last of Ills, Annihilation.
When in the midst of this confused Night,
Loe, the blest Spirit mov'd, and there was Light.
For in the glorious General's previous Ray,  130
      We saw a new created Day.
We by it saw, though yet in Mists it shone,
The beauteous Work of Order moving on. 
Where are the men who bragg'd that God did bless,
      And with the marks of good success
Signe his allowance of their wickedness?
Vain men! who thought the Divine Power to find
In the fierce Thunder and the violent Wind:
      God came not till the storm was past,
In the still voice of Peace he came at last.  140
The cruel business of Destruction,
May by the Claws of the great Fiend be done.
Here, here we see th' Almighty's hand indeed,
Both by the Beauty of the Work, we see't, and by the Speed.
He who had seen the noble Brittish Heir,
Even in that ill disadvantageous Light,
With which misfortunes strive t'abuse our sight;
He who had seen him in his Clowd so bright:
      He who had seen the double Pair
Of Brothers heavenly good, and Sisters heavenly fair,  150
      Might have perceiv'd (me thinks) with ease,
(But wicked men see only what they please)
That God had no intent t'extinguish quite
      The pious King's eclipsed Right.
He who had seen how by the power Divine
All the young Branches of this Royal Line
Did in their fire without consuming shine,
How through a rough Red sea they had been led,
By Wonders guarded, and by Wonders fed.
How many years of trouble and distress  160
They'd wandred in their fatal Wilderness,
And yet did never murmur or repine;
      Might (me-thinks) plainly understand,
That after all these conquer'd Tryals past,
      Th'Almighty Mercy would at last
Conduct them with a strong un-erring hand
      To their own Promis'd Land.
      For all the glories of the Earth
      Ought to be'entail'd by right of Birth,
      And all Heaven's blessings to come down  170
Upon his Race, to whom alone was given
The double Royalty of Earth and Heaven,
Who crown'd the Kingly with the Martyrs Crown.
The Martyr's blood was said of old to be
      The seed from whence the Church did grow.
The Royal Bloud which dying Charles did sow,
Becomes no less the seed of Royalty.
      'Twas in dishonour sown,
      We find it now in glory grown,
The grave could but the dross of it devour;  180
'Twas sown in weakness, and 'tis rais'd in power.
We now the Question well decided see,
      Which Eastern Wits did once contest
      At the Great Monarch's Feast,
Of all on earth what things the strongest be:
And some for Women, some for Wine did plead;
      That is, for Folly and for Rage,
Two things which we have known indeed
      Strong in this latter Age.
      But as 'tis prov'd by Heaven at length,  190
      The King and Truth have greatest strength,
      When they their sacred force unite,
      And twine into one Right,
No frantick Common-wealths or Tyrannies,
      No Cheats, and Perjuries, and Lies,
      No Nets of humane Policies;
No stores of Arms or Gold (though you could joyn
Those of Peru to the great London Mine)
No Towns, no Fleets by Sea, or Troops by Land,
No deeply entrencht Islands can withstand,  200
      Or any small resistance bring
Against the naked Truth, and the unarmed King.
The foolish Lights which Travellers beguile,
      End the same night when they begin;
No Art so far can upon Nature win
As e're to put out Stars, or long keep Meteors in.
Wher's now that Ignis Fatuus which e'rewhile
      Mis-lead our wandring Isle?
      Wher's the Imposter Cromwel gon?
Where's now that Falling-star his Son?  210
Where's the large Comet now whose raging flame
So fatal to our Monarchy became?
Which o're our heads in such proud horror stood,
Insatiate with our Ruine and our Blood?
The fiery Tayl did to vast length extend;
And twice for want of Fuel did expire,
      And twice renew'd the dismal Fire;
Though long the Tayl, we saw at last its end.
      The flames of one triumphant day,
      Which like an Anti-Comet here  220
      Did fatally to that appear,
      For ever frighted it away;
Then did th'allotted hour of dawning Right
      First strike our ravisht sight,
Which Malice or which Art no more could stay,
Than Witches Charms can a retardment bring
To the Resuscitation of the Day,
      Or Resurrection of the Spring.
We welcome both, and with improv'd delight
Bless the preceding Winter and the Night.  230
Man ought his future Happiness to fear,
      If he be always Happy here.
      He wants the bleeding Mark of Grace,
The Circumcision of the chosen race.
      If no one part of him supplies
      The duty of a Sacrifice,
      He is (we doubt) reserv'd intire
      As a whole Victime for the Fire.
      Besides even in this World below,
      To those who never did Ill Fortune know,  240
The good does nauseous or insipid grow.
Consider man's whole Life, and you'l confess,
The Sharp Ingredient of some bad success
Is that which gives the Taste to all his Happiness.
But the true Method of Felicitie,
      Is when the worst
      Of humane Life is plac'd the first,
And when the Childs Correction proves to be
      The cause of perfecting the Man;
      Let our weak Dayes lead up the Van,  250
Let the brave Second and Triarian Band,
      Firm against all impression stand;
      The first we may defeated see;
The Virtue and the Force of these, are sure of Victory.
Such are the years (great Charles) which now we see
      Begin their glorious March with Thee:
Long may their March to Heaven, and still Triumphant be.
      Now thou art gotten once before,
Ill Fortune never shall o're-take thee more.
To see't again, and pleasure in it find,  260
      Cast a disdainful look behind,
Things which offend, when present, and affright,
In Memory, well painted, move delight.
      Enjoy then all thy'afflictions now;
      Thy Royal Father's came at last:
      Thy Martyrdom's already past.
      And different Crowns to both ye owe.
No gold did e're the Kingly Temples bind,
      Than thine more try'd and more refin'd.
As a choise Medal for Heaven's Treasury   270
God did stamp first upon one side of Thee
The Image of his suffering Humanity:
On th' other side, turn'd now to sight, does shine
The glorious Image of his Power Divine.
      So when the wisest Poets seek
In all their liveliest colours to set forth
      A Picture of Heroick worth,
(The Pious Trojan, or the Prudent Greek)
They chuse some comely Prince of heavenly Birth,
      (No proud Gigantick son of Earth,  280
Who strives t' usurp the god's forbidden seat)
They feed him not with Nectar, and the Meat
      That cannot without Joy be eat.
But in the cold of want, and storms of adverse chance,
They harden his young Virtue by degrees;
The beauteous Drop first into Ice does freez,
And into solid Chrystal next advance.
His murdered friends and kindred he does see,
      And from his flaming Country flee.
Much is he tost at Sea, and much at Land,  290
Does long the force of angry gods withstand.
He does long troubles and long wars sustain,
      E're he his fatal Birth-right gain.
      With no less time or labour can
      Destiny build up such a Man,
      Who's with sufficient virtue fill'd
      His ruin'd Country to rebuild.
      Nor without cause are Arms from Heaven,
To such a Hero by the Poets given.
No human Metal is of force t' oppose  300
      So many and so violent blows.
      Such was the Helmet, Breast-plate, Shield,
      Which Charles in all Attaques did wield:
And all the Weapons Malice e're could try,
Of all the several makes of wicked Policy,
Against this Armour struck, but at the stroke,
Like Swords of Ice, in thousand pieces broke.
To Angels and their Brethren Spirits above,
No show on Earth can sure so pleasant prove,
      As when they great misfortunes see  310
      With Courage born and Decency.
So were they born when Worc'ster's dismal Day
Did all the terrors of black Fate display.
So were they born when no Disguises clowd
      His inward Royalty could shrowd,
And one of th' Angels whom just God did send
      To guard him in his noble flight,
(A Troop of Angels did him then attend)
Assur'd me in a Vision th' other night,
That He (and who could better judge than He?)  320
      Did then more Greatness in him see,
      More Lustre and more Majesty,
Than all his Coronation Pomp can shew to Human Eye.
Him and his Royal Brothers when I saw
      New marks of honour and of glory,
      From their affronts and sufferings draw,
And look like Heavenly Saints even in their Purgatory;
Me-thoughts I saw the three Judæan Youths,
(Three unhurt Martyrs for the Noblest Truths)
      In the Chaldæan Furnace walk;  330
How chearfully and unconcern'd they talk!
No hair is sindg'd, no smallest beauty blasted;
      Like painted Lamps they shine unwasted.
The greedy fire it self dares not be fed
With the blest Oyl of an Anoynted Head.
      The honourable Flame
(Which rather Light we ought to name)
Does, like a Glory compass them around,
      And their whole Body's crown'd.
What are those Two Bright Creatures which we see  340
      Walk with the Royal Three
      In the same Ordeal fire,
      And mutual Joyes inspire?
      Sure they the beauteous Sisters are,
      Who whilst they seek to bear their share,
Will suffer no affliction to be there.
Less favour to those Three of old was shown,
      To solace with their company,
The fiery Trials of Adversity;
Two Angels joyn with these, the others had but One.  350
Come forth, come forth, ye men of God belov'd,
      And let the power now of that flame,
Which against you so impotent became,
      On all your Enemies be proved.
Come, mighty Charls, desire of Nations, come;
      Come, you triumphant Exile, home.
He's come, he's safe at shore; I hear the noise
Of a whole Land which does at once rejoyce,
I hear th' united People's sacred voice.
      The Sea which circles us around,  360
      Ne're sent to Land so loud a sound;
The mighty shout sends to the Sea a Gale,
      And swells up every sail;
The Bells and Guns are scarcely heard at all;
The Artificial Joy's drown'd by the Natural.
All England but one Bonefire seems to be,
One Ætna shooting flames into the Sea.
The Starry Worlds which shine to us afar,
      Take ours at this time for a Star.
With Wine all rooms, with Wine the Conduits flow;  370
And We, the Priests of a Poetick rage,
      Wonder that in this Golden Age
      The Rivers too should not do so.
There is no Stoick sure who would not now,
      Even some Excess allow;
And grant that one wild fit of chearful folly
Should end our twenty years of dismal Melancholy.
Where's now the Royal Mother, where,
      To take her mighty share
      In this so ravishing sight,  380
And with the part she takes to add to the Delight?
      Ah! Why art Thou not here,
Thou always Best; and now the Happiest Queen,
To see our Joy, and with new Joy be seen?
God has a bright Example made of Thee,
      To shew that Woman-kind may be
Above that Sex, which her Superiour seems,
In wisely managing the wide Extreams
Of great Affliction, great Felicity.
How well those different Virtues Thee become,  390
Daughter of Triumphs, Wife of Martyrdom!
Thy Princely Mind with so much Courage bore
Affliction, that it dares return no more;
With so much Goodness us'd Felicity,
That it cannot refrain from coming back to Thee;
'Tis come, and seen to day in all it's Bravery.
Who's that Heroick Person leads it on,
      And gives it like a glorious Bride
      (Richly adorn'd with Nuptial Pride)
      Into the hands now of thy Son?  400
'Tis the good General, the Man of Praise,
      Whom God at last in gracious pitty
      Did to th' enthralled Nation raise,
      Their great Zerubbabel to be,
To loose the Bonds of long Captivity,
And to rebuild their Temple and their City.
For ever blest may He and His remain,
Who, with a vast, though less-appearing gain,
Preferr'd the solid Great above the Vain,
And to the world this Princely Truth has shown,  410
That more 'tis to Restore, than to Usurp a Crown.
Thou worthiest Person of the Brittish Story,
      (Though 'tis not small the Brittish glory)
Did I not know my humble Verse must be
But ill-proportion'd to the Heighth of Thee,
      Thou, and the World should see,
How much my Muse, the Foe of Flattery,
Do's make true Praise her Labour and Design;
An Iliad or an Æneid should be Thine.
And ill should We deserve this happy day,  420
      If no acknowledgments we pay
      To you, great Patriots, of the Two
      Most truly Other Houses now,
Who have redeem'd from hatred and from shame
A Parliaments once venerable name;
And now the Title of a House restore,
To that, which was but slaughter-house before.
If my advice, ye Worthies, might be ta'ne,
      Within those reverend places,
      Which now your living presence graces,  430
Your Marble-Statues alwayes should remain,
To keep alive your useful Memory,
And to your Successors th' Example be
Of Truth, Religion, Reason, Loyalty.
      For though a firmly setled Peace
May shortly make your publick labours cease,
The grateful Nation will with joy consent,
      That in this sense you should be said,
      (Though yet the Name sounds with some dread)
To be the Long, the Endless Parliament††  440

1660 verses (transcribed from the British Library copy)
omitted from 1663 etc.:
† Ere the Great Light, our Sun, his Beams did show,
        Our Sun it self appears but now,
†† 'Twould be the richliest furnish'd House (no doubt)
If your Heads always stood within, and the Rump-heads without.

* This text normalized in the same way as Cowley's "Hymn to Light"; copied here from Verses upon Several Occasions (1663 [Huntington Library copy]), preferred to Sprat's occasionally inaccurate reprint in the posthumous 1668 Works; ode originally printed in May 1660, the month of Charles' arrival in England.

Related Links:  English Civil War Chronology and Commentary // Restoration and Phoenix // The Return of the King: Poems on Charles II's Restoration  //  Visions and Prophecies / A Discourse ... concerning ... Cromwell (1660)  //  Crouch's "Loyall Reflections" (1661)  //  A Translation of the Sixth Book of Mr. Cowley's Plantarum, Being A Poem upon the late Rebellion, the Happy Restoration of his Sacred Majesty, and the Dutch War Ensuing (London, 1680)  //  Return to The Works on the Web