Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

To join the continents, it was so great;

Yet by the auspice of Eliza beat:

8

That dear-beloved of heaven, whom to preserve
The winds were call'd to fight, and storms to serve.
One tumour drown'd another, billows strove

T' out-swell ambition, water air out-drove :
Though she not wanted, on that glorious day,
An ever-honour'd Howard to display

St. George's ensign; and of that high race
A second, both which plied the fight and chase:
And sent first bullets, then a fleet of fire,
Then shot themselves like ordnance; and a tire
Of ships for pieces, through the enemies' moon,
That waned before it grew and now they soon
Are rent, spoil'd, scatter'd, tost with all disease,
And for their thirst of Britain drink the seas.
The fish were never better fed than then,
Although at first they fear'd the blood of men
Had chang'd their element, and Neptune shook,
As if the Thunderer had his palace took.

So here in Wales, Low Countries, France and
Spain,

You may behold, both on the land and main,
The conquest got, the spoils, the trophies rear'd
By British kings, and such as noblest heard

8 That dear-beloved of heav'n, whom to preserve

The winds were call'd to fight, and storms to serve.] Historians have not omitted to take notice of the violent storm, which the Spanish Armada met with, as it drew near the English coast, which dispersed the fleet, and destroyed many of its best vessels. This was at that time apprehended as a providential interposal of heaven, nor were the queen or nation wanting in their just acknowledgments for a medal was struck, which had on the reverse of it a navy in a storm with this inscription, Flavit ventis, et dissipati sunt. Our poet has expressed this circumstance from Claudian:

O nimium dilecte Deo, cui fundit ab antro
Eolus armatas hyemes, cui militat æther,
Et conjurati veniunt ad classica venti. WHAL.

Of all the nation, which may make to invite
Your valour upon need, but not to incite
Your neighbour princes, give them all their due,
And be prepared if they will trouble you.

He doth but scourge himself, his sword that draws
Without a purse, a counsel, and a cause.

But all these spurs to virtue, seeds of praise, Must yield to this that comes. Here's one will raise

Your glory more, and so above the rest,
As if the acts of all mankind were prest
In his example. Here are kingdoms mix'd
And nations join'd, a strength of empire fix'd
Conterminate with heaven; the golden vein
Of Saturn's age is here broke out again.
Henry but join'd the roses, that ensign'd
Particular families, but this hath join'd
The rose and thistle, and in them combined
A union, that shall never be declined.
Ireland, that more in title, than in fact,
Before was conquer'd, is his laurels act!
The wall of shipping by Eliza made,
Decay'd (as all things subject are to fade)
He hath new-built, or so restored, that men
For noble use, prefer it afore then :

Royal and mighty James, whose name shall set
A goal for all posterity to sweat,

In running at, by actions hard and high :

This is the height at which your thoughts must fly.
He knows both how to govern, how to save,
What subjects, what their contraries should have,
What can be done by power, and what by love,
What should to mercy, what to justice move:
All arts he can, and from the hand of Fate
Hath he enforced the making his own date.
Within his proper virtue hath he placed
His guards 'gainst Fortune, and there fixed fast

The wheel of chance, about which kings are hurl'd,
And whose outrageous raptures fill the world.
Lady. Ay, this is he, Meliadus, whom you
Must only serve, and give yourself unto;
And by your diligent practice to obey
So wise a master, learn the art of sway.

Merlin, advance the shield upon his tent.
And now prepare, fair knight, to prove the event
Of your bold Challenge. Be your virtues steel'd,
And let your drum give note you keep the field.
[Drum beats.

Is this the land of Britain so renown'd
For deeds of arms, or are their hearings drown'd
That none do answer?

Mer. Stay, methinks I see

A person in yon cave. Who should that be?
I know her ensigns now; 'tis CHIVALRY
Possess'd with sleep, dead as a lethargy :
If any charm will wake her, 'tis the name
Of our Meliadus. I'll use his fame.

Lady, Meliadus, lord of the isles,
Princely Meliadus, and whom fate now styles
The fair Meliadus, hath hung his shield
Upon his tent, and here doth keep the field,
According to his bold and princely word;
And wants employment for his pike and sword.

CHIVALRY, coming forward.

Chi. Were it from death, that name would wake me. Say,

Which is the knight? O, I could gaze a day
Upon his armour that hath so reviv'd

My spirits, and tells me that I am long-liv'd
In his appearance. Break, you rusty doors,

That have so long been shut, and from the shores
Of all the world, come, knighthood, like a flood
Upon these lists, to make the field here good,

And your own honours, that are now call'd forth
Against the wish of men to prove your worth!

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

After which MERLIN speaks to the Prince.
Merlin.

AY, stay your valour, 'tis a wisdom high
In princes to use fortune reverently.

He that in deeds of arms obeys his blood,
Doth often tempt his destiny beyond good.
Look on this throne, and in his temper view
The light of all that must have grace in you:
His equal justice, upright fortitude

9 This part of the solemnity is silently passed over by Jonson; and indeed, he seldom enters, at any length, into the accompaniments of his Masques and Entertainments, unless for the sake of bearing witness to the merits of Inigo Jones, Ferrabosco, Giles, and others associated in the embellishment of his labours. "Yet," says Warton, "while Milton gives only the soliloquy of the Genius, and the three songs, of his Arcades, in many of Jonson's Masques, the poet rarely appears, amidst a cumbersome exhibition of heathen gods and mythology"! Todd's Milton, vol. v. p. 146. No sighs but of Jonson's raising! Whoever is right, he is sure to be found in the wrong. No absurdity is so gross, no violation of truth so glaring, as not to be gladly received when the object of it is to decry his talents, and injure his reputation. The falsehood once hazarded, is repeated by every mouth; and the cause of literature is stupidly supposed to be promoted by combining for the degradation of one of its brightest ornaments.

To return to the BARRIERS. "The prince (says Arthur Wilson) now growing manly, being in his sixteenth year, put forth himself in a more heroic manner, than was usual with princes of his time, by Tiltings, Barriers, and other exercises on horseback, the martial discipline of gentle peace." Life of James, p. 52. And it appears

And settled prudence, with that peace endued
Of face, as mind, always himself and even.
So Hercules, and good men bear up heaven.

I dare not speak his virtues, for the fear
Of flattering him, they come so nigh and near
To wonders; yet thus much I prophesy

from a very curious passage in the Prince's life, written by sir Charles Cornwallis, that a grand rehearsal of the present Tilt had taken place some time before.

"The 16 yeare of his age, being to come to the time of his investment in the Principalitie of Wales and Cornewall; he did advance his own title and right so farre, as with modestie he might : which presently was gently and lovingly entertained, and granted of his Majestie, with the consent of the Right Honourable, the High Court of Parliament: the fourth of June following, being appointed for that solemne action, the Christmas before which, his Highnesse not onely for his owne recreation, but also that the world might know, what a brave Prince they were likely to enjoy, under the name of Meliades, Lord of the Isles, (an ancient title due to the first borne of Scotland) did in his name, by some appointed for the same of purpose, strangly attired, accompanied with drummes and trumpets in the chamber of presence, before the King and Queene, and in the presence of the whole court, delivered a challenge to all Knights of Great Britaine in two Speeches.

"Now began every where preparations to be made for this great fight, and happy did he thinke himselfe who should be admitted for a defendant, much more assailant: At last, to encounter his Highnesse, with his six assailants, 58 defendants, consisting of Earles, Barons, Knights, and Esquires, were appointed and chosen, eight defendants to one assailant, every assailant being to fight by turnes, eight severall times fighting, two every time with push of pike and sword, twelve stroakes at a time; after which, the BARRE for separation was to bee let downe untill a fresh onset.

"This solemnity now approaching, his Highnesse did feast the Earles, Barons, and Knights assailants, and defendants, untill the twelfth appointed night, on which this great fight was to be performed; which being come, his Highnesse, to the great wonder of the beholders, did admirably fight his part, giving and receiving that night, 32 pushes of pikes, and about 360 stroakes of swords, which is scarce credible in so young yeares, enough to assure the world, that Great Britaines brave Henry aspired to immortality." 8vo. 1641. p. 12. et seq.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »