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The night comes on, we eager to pursue
The combat still, and they asham'd to leave : Till the last streaks of dying day withdrew,
And doubtful moonlight did our rage deceive.
Meantime the Belgians tack upon our rear, (send :
And raking chase-guns through our sterns they Close by, their fire-ships, like jackals, appear,
Who on their lions for the prey attend.
In th’ English fleet each ship resounds with joy,
And loud applause of their great leader's fame : In fiery dreams the Dutch they still destroy,
And slumbering smile at the imagin'd flame.
Silent, in smoke of cannon they come on:
Such vapors once did fiery Cacus hide :
Who burn contented by another's side.
Not so the Holland fleet, who, tir'd and done, Sometimes from fighting squadrons of each fleet,
Stretch'd on their decks like weary oxen lie: Deceivd themselves, or to preserve some friend, Faint sweats all down their mighty members run! Two grappling Etnas on the ocean meet,
Vast bulks, which little souls but ill supply. And English fires with Belgian flames contend.
In dreams they fearful precipices tread:
Now at each tack our little fleet grows less; Or, shipwreck’d, labor to some distant shore : And, like maim'd fowl, swim lagging on the main : Or in dark churches walk among the dead; Their greater loss their numbers scarce confess,
They wake with horror, and dare sleep no more. While they lose cheaper than the English gain.
The morn they look on with unwilling eyes, Have you not seen, when, whistled from the fist,
Till from their main-top joyful news they hear Some falcon stoops at what her eye design'd, Of ships, which by their mould bring new supplies, And with her
quarry miss'd. And in their colors Belgian lions bear.
Straight flies at check, and clips it down the wind ? Our watchful general had discern'd from far The dastard crow, that to the wood made wing,
This mighty succor, which made glad the foe : And sees the groves no shelter can afford, He sigh’d, but like a father of the war,
With her loud kaws her craven kind does bring, His face spake hope, while deep his sorrows flow. Who safe in numbers cuff the noble bird.
His wounded men he first sends off to shore, Among the Dutch thus Albemarle did fare:
He could not conquer, and disdain'd to fly; They, not their
wounds, but want of strength, deplore, Past hope of safety, 'twas his latest care, And think them happy who with him can stay. Like falling Cæsar, decently to die.
Then to the rest, “ Rejoice," said he, "to-day; Yet pity did his manly spirit move,
To see those perish who so well had fought: Among so brave a people, you are they
And generously with his despair he strove, Whom Heaven has chose to fight for such a prize. Resoly'd to live till he their safety wrought.
"If number English courages could quell,
Let other Muses write his prosperous fate, We should at first have shunn'd, not met our foes : Of conquer'd nations tell, and kings restor'd: Whose numerous sails the fearful only tell : But mine shall sing of his eclips'd estate,
Courage from hearts, and not from numbers grows." Which, like the Sun's, more wonders does afford
He said, nor needed more to say: with haste
To their known stations cheerfully they go; And all at once, disdaining to be last,
Solicit every gale to meet the foe.
He drew his mighty frigates all before,
On which the foe his fruitless force employs : His weak ones deep into his rear he bore
Remote from guns, as sick men from the noise.
Nor did th’ encourag'd Belgians long delay,
But bold in others, not themselves, they stood : So thick, our navy scarce could steer their way,
But seem'd to wander in a moving wood.
His fiery cannon did their passage guide,
And following smoke obscur'd them from the foe, Thus Israel, safe from the Egyptian's pride,
By flaming pillars and by clouds did go.
Our little fleet was now engag'd so far,
Elsewhere the Belgian force we did defeat, That like the sword-fish in the whale they fought: But here our courages did theirs subdue : The combat only seem'd a civil war,
So Xenophon once led that fam'd retreat, Till through their bowels we our passage wrought: Which first the Asian empire overthrew. Never had valor, no not ours, before
The foe approach'd; and one for his bold sin Done aught like this upon the land or main, Was sunk; as he that touch'd the ark was slain ; Where not to be o'ercome was to do more The wild waves master'd him and suck'd him in,
Than all the conquests former kings did gain. And smiling eddies dimpled on the main. The mighty ghosts of our great Harries rose, This seen, the rest at awful distance stood :
And armed Edwards look'd with anxious eyes, As if they had been there as servants set, To see this fleet among unequal foos, (rise. To stay, or to go on, as he thought good,
By which Fate promis'd them their Charles should And not pursue, but wait on his retreat
So Libyan buntsmen, on some sandy plain,
From shady coverts rous'd, the lion chase : The kingly beast roars out with loud disdain,
And slowly moves, unknowing to give place.
As in a drought the thirsty creatures cry,
And gape upon the gather'd clouds for rain : And first the martlet meets it in the sky,
And with wet wings joys all the feather'd train:
But if some one approach to dare his force, With such glad hearts did our despairing men
He swings his tail, and swiftly turns him round: Salute th' appearance of the prince's fleet; With one paw seizes on his trembling horse, And each ambitiously would claim the ken,
And with the other tears him to the ground. That with first eyes did distant safety meet.
Amidst these toils succeeds the balmy night;
Now hissing waters the quench'd guns restore ; And weary waves, withdrawing from the fight,
Lie lull’d and panting on the silent shore.
The Dutch, who came like greedy hinds before,
To reap the harvest their ripe ears did yield, Now look like those, when rolling thunders roar,
And sheets of lightning blast the standing field.
The Moon shone clear on the becalmed food, Full in the prince's passage, hills of sand,
Where, while her beams like glittering silver play, And dangerous flats, in secret ambush lay, Upon the deck our careful general stood,
Where the false tides skim o'er the cover'd land, And deeply mus'd on the succeeding day. And seamen with dissembled depths betray.
For now brave Rupert from afar appears, Thus reinforc'd, against the adverse fleet,
Whose waving streamers the glad general knows: Still doubling ours, brave Rupert leads the way. With full-spread sails his eager navy steers, With the first blushes of the morn they meet,
And every ship in swift proportion grows. And bring night back upon the new-born day.
The anxious prince had heard the cannon long,
And from that length of time dire omens drew, Of English overmatch'd, and Dutch too strong,
Who never fought three days, but to pursue.
His presence soon blows up the kindling fight,
And his loud guns speak thick like angry men: It seem'd as slaughter had been breath'd all night,
And Death new-pointed his dull dart again.
Then, as an eagle, who with pious care
Was beating widely on the wing for prey, To her now silent eyry does repair,
And finds her callow infants forc'd away:
The Dutch too well his mighty conduct knew,
And matchless courage, since the former fight; Whose navy like a stiff-stretch'd cord did show,
Till he bore in and bent them into flight.
Stung with her love, she stoops upon the plain, The wind he shares, while half their fleet offends
The broken air loud whistling as she flies : His open side, and high above him shows : She stops and listens, and shoots forth again, Upon the rest at pleasure he descends,
And guides her pinions by her young ones' cries. And doubly harm'd he double harms bestows. With such kind passion hastes the prince to fight, Behind the general mends his weary pace,
And spreads his flying canvas to the sound : And sullenly to his revenge he sails : Him, whom no danger, were he there, could fright, So glides some trodden serpent on the grass, Now absent every little noise can wound. And long behind his wounded volume trails.
Th' increasing sound is borne to either shore, Return'd, he with the fleet resolv'd to stay ;
And for their stakes the throwing nations fear: No tender thoughts of home his heart divide; Their passions double with the cannons' roar, Domestic joys and cares he puts away ; (guide
And with warm wishes each man combats there. For realms are households which the great must
Plied thick and close as when the fight begun,
Their huge unwieldy navy wastes away: So sicken waning Moons too near the Sun,
And blunt their crescents on the edge of day.
As those who unripe veins in mines explore,
On the rich bed again the warm turf lay,
And know it will be gold another day.
And now reduc'd on equal terms to fight,
Their ships like wasled patrimonies show; Where the thin scattering trees admit the light,
And shun each other's shadows as they grow.
So looks our monarch on this early fight,
Th'essay and rudiments of great success : Which all-maturing Time must bring to light,
While he like Heaven does each day's labor bless
The warlike prince had sever'd from the rest Heaven ended not the first or second day,
Two giant ships, the pride of all the main; Yet each was perfect to the work design'd: Which with his one so vigorously he press'd, God and kings work, when they their work survey.
And flew so home they could not rise again. A passive aptness in all subjects find. Already batter'd, by his lee they lay,
In burthen'd vessels first, with speedy care, In vain upon the passing winds they call : His plenteous stores do season'd timber send : The passing winds through their torn canvas play, Thither the brawny carpenters repair,
And flagging sails on heartless sailors fall. And as the surgeons of maim'd ships attend.
Their open'd sides receive a gloomy light, With cord and canvas, from rich Hamburgh sent, Dreadful as day let into shades below;
His navy's moulted wings he imps once more: Without grim Death rides barefac'd in their sight, Tall Norway fir, their masts in battle spent, And urges entering billows as they flow.
And English oak, sprung leaks and planks, restore When one dire shot, the last they could supply, All hands employ'd, the royal work grows warm:
Close by the board the prince's main-mast bore : Like laboring bees on a long summer's day, All three now helpless by each other lie,
Some sound the trumpet for the rest to swarm, And this offends not, and those fear no more. And some on bells of tasted lilies play.
The general's force, as kept alive by fight,
Our careful monarch stands in person by, Now, not oppos'd, no longer can pursue :
His new-cast cannons' firmness to explore : Lasting till Heaven had done his courage right; The strength of big-corn'd powder loves to try,
When he had conquer'd he his weakness knew. And ball and cartridge sorts for every bore.
He casts a frown on the departing foe,
And sighs to see him quit the watery field : His stern fix'd eyes no satisfaction show,
For all the glories which the fight did yield.
Each day brings fresh supplies of arms and men,
And ships which all last winter were abroad; And such as fitted since the fight had been,
Or new from stocks, were fall'n into the road.
Though, as when fiends did miracles avow, The goodly London in her gallant trim,
He stands confess'd ev'n by the boastful Dutch: The Phenix, daughter of the vanish'd old, He only does his conquest disavow,
Like a rich bride does to the ocean swim, And thinks too little what they found too much. And on her shadow rides in floating gold.
Her flag aloft spread ruffling to the wind,
O truly royal! who behold the law And sanguine streamers seem the flood to fire : And rule of beings in your Maker's mind : The weaver, charm'd with what his loom design’d, And thence, like limbecs, rich ideas draw, Goes on to sea, and knows not to retire.
To fit the levellid use of human-kind.
With roomy decks, her guns of mighty strength, But first the toils of war we must endure, Whose low-laid mouths each mounting billow And from th' injurious Dutch redeem the seas: laves :
War makes the valiant of his right secure, Deep in her draught, and warlike in her length, And gives up fraud to be chastis'd with ease. She seems a sea-wasp flying on the waves.
Already were the Belgians on our coast, This martial present, piously design’d,
Whose fleet more mighty every day became The loyal city give their best-lov'd king: By late success, which they did falsely boast, And with a bounty ample as the wind,
And now by first appearing seem'd to claim. Built, fitted, and maintain 'd, to aid him bring.
Designing, subtle, diligent, and close, By viewing Nature, Nature's handmaid, Art,
They knew to manage war with wise delay : Makes mighty things from small beginnings grow: Yet all those arts their vanity did cross, Thus fishes first to shipping did impart,
And by their pride their prudence did betray. Their tail the rudder, and their head the prow.
Nor staid the English long; but well supplied, Some log perhaps upon the waters swam,
Appear as numerous as th' insulting foe: An useless drift, which, rudely cut within, The combat now by courage must be tried, And hollow'd first, a floating trough became,
And the success the braver nation show. And cross some rivulet passage did begin.
There was the Plymouth squadron now come in, In shipping such as this, the Irish kern
Which in the Straits last winter was abroad; And untaught Indian on the stream did glide : Which twice on Biscay's working bay had been, Ere sharp-keeld boats to stem the flood did learn, And on the midland sea the French had aw'd. Or fin-like oars did spread from either side.
Old expert Allen, loyal all along, Add but a sail, and Saturn so appear’d,
Fam'd for his action on the Smyrna fleet: When from lost empire he to exile went, And Holmes, whose name shall live in epic song, And with the golden age to Tyber steerd,
While music numbers, or while verse has feet Where coin and commerce first he did invent.
Holmes, the Achates of the general's fight; Rude as their ships was navigation then;
Who first bewitch'd our eyes with Guinea gold No useful compass or meridian known;
As once old Cato in the Roman sight Coasting, they kept the land within their ken, The tempting fruits of Afric did unfold. And knew no north but when the Pole-star shone.
With him went Sprag, as bountiful as brave, or all who since have us'd the open sea,
Whom his high courage to command had brought: Than the bold English none more fame have won: Harman, who did the iwice-fir'd Harry save, Beyond the year, and out of Heaven's high way, And in his burning ship undaunted fought They make discoveries where they see no Sun.
Young Hollis on a Muse by Mars begot, But what so long in vain, and yet unknown, Born, Cæsar-like, to write and act great deeds :
By poor mankind's benighted wit is sought, Impatient to revenge his fatal shot, Shall in this age to Britain first be shown,
His right hand doubly to his left succeeds. And hence be to admiring nations taught.
Thousands were there in darker fame that dwell, The ebbs of tides and their mysterious flow,
Whose deeds some nobler poem shall adorn: We, as Art's elements, shall understand, And though to me unknown, they sure fought well, And as by line upon the ocean go,
Whom Rupert led, and who were British born. Whose paths shall be familiar as the land.
Of every size an hundred fighting sail : Instructed ships shall sail to quick commerce, So vast the navy now at anchor rides, By which remotest regions are allied ;
That underneath it the press'd waters fail, Which makes one city of the universe,
And with its weight it shoulders off the tides. Where some may gain, and all may be supplied.
Now, anchors weigh'd, the seamen shout so shrill, Then we upon our globe's last verge shall go, That Heaven and Earth and the Wide Ocean And view the ocean leaning on the sky:
rings : From thence our rolling neighbors we shall know, A breeze from westward waits their sails to fill, And on the lunar world securely pry.
And rests in those high beds his downy wings. This I foretell from your auspicious care, The wary Dutch this gathering storm foresaw,
Who great in search of God and Nature grow; And durst not bide it on the English coast : Who best your wise Creator's praise declare, Behind their treacherous shallows they withdraw,
Since best to praise his works is best to know. And there lay snares to catch the British host
So the false spider, when her nets are spread, O famous leader of the Belgian fleet,
Deep ambush'd in her silent den does lie: Thy monument inscrib'd such praise shall wear And feels far off the trembling of her thread, As Varro timely flying once did meet,
Whose filmy cord should bind the struggling fly. Because he did not of his Rome despair.
Then if at last she sind him fast beset,
She issues forth, and runs along her loom : She joys to touch the captive in her net,
And drags the little wretch in triumph home.
Behold that navy, which a while before
Provok'd the tardy English close to fight ; Now draw their beaten vessels close to shore,
As larks lie dar'd to shun the hobby's flight.
The Belgian's hoped that, with disorder'd haste, Whoe'er would English monuments survey
Our deep-cut keels upon the sands might run: In other records may our courage know: Or if with caution leisurely were past,
But let them hide the story of this day, Their numerous gross might charge us one by one. Whose fame was blemish'd by too base a foe.
But with a fore-wind pushing them above, Or if too busily they will inquire
And swelling tide that heav'd them from below, Into a victory, which we disdain ;
And with spread sails to welcome battle go. Before the patron saint of injur'd Spain.
At length the adverse admirals appear;
But whate'er English to the blessed shall go, The two bold champions of each country's right: And the fourth Harry or first Orange meet; Their eyes describe the lists as they come near, Find him disowning of a Bourbon foe,
And draw the lines of death before they fight. And him detesting a Batavian fleet. The distance judg'd for shot of every size, Now on their coasts our conquering navy rides,
The linstocks touch, the ponderous ball expires : Waylays their merchants, and their land besets; The vigorous seaman every port-hole plies, Each day new wealth without their care provides ; And adds his heart to every gun he fires !
They lie asleep with prizes in their nets. Fierce was the fight on the proud Belgians' side, So close behind some promontory lie
For honor, which they seldom sought before : The huge leviathans t'attend their prey; But now they by their own vain boasts were tied, And give no chase, but swallow in the fry,
And forc'd at least in show to prize it more. Which through their gaping jaws mistake the way But sharp remembrance on the English part, Nor was this all : in ports and roads remote,
And shame of being match'd by such a foe, Destructive fires among whole fleets we send; Rouse conscious virtue up in every heart, Triumphant flames upon the water float,
And seeming to be stronger makes them so. And out-bound ships at home their voyage end
Nor long the Belgians could that fleet sustain, Those various squadrons variously design'd,
Which did two generals' fates, and Cæsar's, bear : Each vessel freighted with a several load, Each several ship a victory did gain,
Each squadron waiting for a several wind, As Rupert or as Albemarle were there.
All find but one, to burn them in the road.
Their batter'd admiral too soon withdrew, Some bound for Guinea, golden sand to find,
Bore all the gauds the simple natives wear: But he the minds of his Dutch masters knew, Some for the pride of Turkish courts design'd,
Who call’d that providence which we call'd fight. For folded turbans finest Holland bear.
Never did men more joyfully obey,
Or sooner understood the sign to fly : With such alacrity they bore away,
As if, to praise them, all the States stood by.
Some English wool ver'd in a Belgian loom,
And into cloth of spungy softness made,
To ruin with worse ware our staple trade