Lutrin/Canto 6

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WHILE All Things thus to outward View Concur
To fan the Fire, and carry on the War;
True Piety who long had lain Conceal'd
And to the [1]Alps her exil'd Head reveal'd.
Deep in her Desart hears the Mournful Crys
Which from Lutetia's distant Walls arise.

Up rose th' Angelic Form, for well She knew
Th' imploring Accents of her faithful Few.
The Heavenly Maid quits her Divine Retreat.
Faith leads the Way with Safe, Unerring Feet;
Gay Hope Supports and Hands her in the Course,
While Charity Attends her with the Purse.
Tow'rds the Parisian Gates her flight she bent;
Where with a holy Confidence, the Saint
At Themis Feet prefers her just Complaint.

Oh Virgin! thou who dost my Shrines Support!
Scourge of the Bad, and the Good Man's Resort!
No human Passion can o'er Thee Prevail;
Nor ought, but Right, turn thy impartial Scale.
Shall I ne'er come to thy Salubrious Arms,
But thus in Tears and Sighs to give Alarms?

Is't not enough that in despight of Thee
My Name's assum'd by Vile Hypocrisy,
That her rapacious Hand shall Seize my Due,
My Croziers, Mitres and Tiara too?
Must I behold my Heritage laid Waste,
My Vineyard made a Prey to each Wild Beast!

In Stormy Times, and when my Reign was young,
My God-like Sons, with Holy Ardor stung,
Wou'd Face a Tempest, and, prepar'd to Die,
The Thunder of a Tyrant's Rage defy:
Soon as Baptiz'd, in Martyrdom expire,
And from the Font Run joyful to the Fire.
With my Inspiring Name their Souls were fill'd,
And only breath'd the Doctrines I Instill'd.
To High Preferments call'd in Church or State,
True to my Rules they scorn'd the glittering bait,
Nor Mounted the World's Stage but with Regret.

Those Hearts that did No Racks nor Tortures shun
Wou'd from a Mitre's profer'd Honour Run.
Fearless of Pain, and Toil, and Earthly Loss,
Thro' Thorns and over Rocks they bore the Cross.
In Vain did gaping Hell's Artillery play;
Pressing to Heav'n they forc'd their glorious Way.
But when the Church her Altars had Immur'd,
With the Cementing Blood of Saints Secur'd;
When Christen'd Kings had Smooth'd her Stormy Face,
A Dangerous Calm Succeeded in the Place;
A Slack Indifference Stagnated the Flood,
Deaden'd their Spirits and benumb'd their Blood.
The Ardor of their burning Zeal decreas'd;
And lagging Faith their load of Sins Confess'd.
The Mortifying Monk grown Debonair
Shook off the Ashes, and his Coat of Hair.

The Prelate, by Intrigues prefer'd to Place,
High Living held to be Sufficient Grace;
A Cross and Mitre, painted on his Coach,
Virtue Enough to Silence All Reproach.
Humility to Stalking Pride gave Way;
And in the [2]Frock's foul Grease Ambition lay.
Then Discord soon the Ties of Love Unbound,
And to my Sacred Cloysters Entrance found.
There with my Wealth she Built her Strongest Forts,
Drag'd all my Subjects to Litigious Courts;
In Vain my bending Knees her Steps prevent;
Under my Banners March'd this Insolent.
False Teachers next, in Numerous Crouds Arise,
To fill the Measure of my Miseries.
Then Dangerous Heresies began their Reign,
And Execrable Maxims craz'd the Brain.

That 'tis Enough, to Dread the Pow'r Above,
And Servile Fear's prefer'd to Filial Love.
That God Necessitates the Doing Ill,
By pre-determining his Creatures Will.
That Reason is the only Sovereign Queen,
And Faith no Evidence of Things not seen.
Church-Champions Me with formal Lips address,
And at my Feet for Absolution press.
Pure to the Outward Eye, but Foul Within,
Place all their Virtue in Confessing Sin.

Chas'd by these Trait'rous Black Attempts, I fled;
Propitious Heaven my Exil'd Progress led,
To seek a Calm Retreat, a Halcyon Cell,
Where Deadly Colds and Freezing Vapours Dwell.
Those Hills with everlasting Ice Confin'd,
Where Winter never yet to Spring Resign'd.

Ev'n There the News of my Misfortunes flew,
My Fears return'd, and old Wounds bled anew.
This Day too faithfully a Voice I heard,
Fraught with Disastrous News I little fear'd.
That Temple; where a King of [3]Holy Name,
Devoted all his Toils, and Fruits of Fame,
Whose Pompous Form, and Wealth Immense reveal
The flowing Grandeur of the Founder's Zeal,
Lo! now with Lux'ry fill'd, and foul Debate!
Boundless their Pride, Implacable their Hate.
Honour and Duty, Empty Sounds, are fled;
While Tyranny Erects her Hydra-Head.
And wilt thou, Sister, with indiff'rent Eyes
Behold their Malice, and my Cause despise?
And shall this Temple, to my Glory rais'd,
Where thronging Vot'ry's Once Ador'd and Prais'd;

Shall it be fill'd with Sacrilegious War?
For Combatants the shameful Theatre?
Oh No! at length let thy swoln Vengeance burst!
Impunity too long their Crimes has Nurst.
Arise then, Themis, shake thy flaming Rod;
Absolve the Heav'ns, and Vindicate a God!

Thus to her Sister spoke the Plaintive Dame;
Grace kindling in her Eyes Æthereal Flame.
Themis Assures an undeferr'd Redress;
With Cordial Speech thus Chearing her Distress.

Dear, Holy Sister, Thou whose Ears and Eyes
Were Never shut to Other's Miseries;
But still with thy Officious Helpful Hands,
Hast wip'd away their Tears, and loos'd their Bands.

Why dost thou Sorrow thus without Relief?
And give thy Heavenly Charms a Prey to Grief?
Swell not those Beauteous Eyes with Causeless Tears,
Nor Entertain Anticipating Fears.
What if thy lukewarm Subject's Ardor Cools,
Warp'd by a prosp'rous Sun-shine from thy Rules?
On an Eternal Rock thy Church is built,
And Fortified with Blood of Martyrs spilt.
Tho' Hell its firm Foundations should assail,
Yet never shall the Gates of Hell prevail.
Midst all the Show'rs of persecuting Darts,
Thy Name still Cherish'd lives in Faithful Hearts.
Yes; In this very Place, now up in Arms
To Crush Thee, and Dishonour all thy Charms,
Thou shalt Return; Their fierce Debates shall Cease,
The Storm be hush'd, and all Compos'd to Peace.

Lo, yon Vast Dome, by Mortals much Revere'd,
Where suppliant Clients at all Hours are heard!
There sits a Matchless Man, and bears in State
My Honourable Purple's Pompous Weight.
For Me, his Valuable Health Impairs;
Nor does the lab'ring Sun see half His Cares,
Aristus He——
By Heav'n and Heaven's Vicegerent justly chose
To Rule my Balance, and Dispence my Laws.
Now on my Throne, by Him confirm'd, I see
The Bench redeem'd, and rescu'd Bar set free
From Hostile Arts of howling Chicanry.
Fair Truth invited by his friendly Aid,
Returns assur'd, and lifts her chearful Head;
At foul Impostures Name she shakes no more;
But Triumphs o'er the Fiend she Fear'd before.
Inhuman Guardians now no longer dare
Prey on the Orphan, and devour their Care.

But wherefore do I vainly thus Aspire
To paint the Man thou Knowst, and All admire?
Aristus is thy Work, his Image thine,
'Twas Thou that Form'd him, like thy self, Divine,
And brooding o'er the Infant's tender Shell,
Gave him in Spotless Merit to Excell.
Thy Lessons with the early Milk Imbib'd,
Are nobly in his Nervous Sense describ'd.
His Soul thus fir'd with thy Cœlestial Flame,
Ne'er made one base degen'rate Step to Shame.
His hardy Zeal, for Useful Action made,
Ne'er rusted in the dark Monastic Shade.
Haste, Sister, and the Godlike Man address;
His Op'ning Gates thy Presence will confess.
All know thee There; for All thy Laws observe,
And Imitate the pious Man they Serve.
One Glance from Thee will pierce his inmost Soul,
Which Love, nor Fear, nor Hatred can Controul.

Thy Aspect's Silent Rhetorick shall gain
What Earth-born Eloquence may Ask in vain.

Thus Themis spoke. Her Sister's ravish'd Ears
Blest the sweet Musick that allay'd her Fears;
Then wing'd with Joy, she to Aristus flies,
And Obvious to his Intellectual Eyes
The Goddess thus bespoke her faithful Friend;
In vain thy Courage and thy Zeal contend
To Justify my Cause, and Rights Defend;
If Impious Discord[4] at thy Doors presume
Thus to insult me and my Throne assume.
Within those Walls, once Holy and Renoun'd,
(Strangers to Every inharmonious Sound)
Poison'd by Discord's stimulating Rage,
Two mighty Pow'rs in adverse Arms Engage.

With Cruel Feuds my Altars they Prophane,
While Piety exalts her Voice in vain.
Thou then, to whom th' Oppress'd for Aid appeal,
Do Thou their sharp Religious Ulcers heal.
Save Me from splitting on these dangerous Shelves;
Save Them, Aristus, Save 'em from Themselves!

She spoke; the Hero leaves, and sinks in Air.
A while he lay in Extasie of Pray'r:
All cover'd o'er with Flames divinely bright,
He Own'd the lovely Virgin's Heavenly Light.
And now recover'd from the dazling View,
Convenes the Prelate and the Chanter too.
But, O my Muse, in this Sublimer Part
Aid my faint Spirit and Inspire my Art!
Unequal I, to sing the Man, or tell
How by his Mighty Art fierce Discord fell.

What Godlike Cares, And what Herculean Toils
He pass'd, to Reconcile the Church's Broils.

Thou rather, who the mighty Cure Apply'd,
And broke their Stubborn Sacerdotal Pride,
Inform the list'ning Age what Wond'rous Skill
Suppl'd the Chanter's Heart and Cool'd his Zeal.
Thou Know'st, by what prevailing Councel wrought,
With his own Hands th' invidious Desk he brought;
And how the Prelate, pleas'd with his Devoir,
Soon sent it back and banish'd it the Choir.
Speak Thou these Miracles; I've done my Part,
And Spun out Eighteen Hundred Lines by Art.
Nor let the Man's Attempt be rashly damn'd,
Who from a Simple Desk a Second Iliad fram'd.

Still burns the Muse to speak the Hero's Praise;
And with Thy Name Immortalize her Lays.

But when she Measures the Transcendant Height,
Her feeble Wings Decline the dangerous Flight.
The trembling Sounds are dash'd upon her Tongue,
And Admiration interdicts her Song.

So in the famous Hall where Themis sways,
And re-inthron'd by Thee exerts her Rays,
A Youth, who fain wou'd to the Barr proceed,
And from a Hearing-Counsel Call'd to Plead,
At length, Surrounded with Black Gowns and Fears,
The Aukward Wrestler at the Barr appears;
Entring the Lists, his Virgin-Motion makes;
But soon the Oil his fault'ring Tongue forsakes.
Thy Awful Presence Thunder-strikes his Sense,
And Disarrays his Puny Eloquence.
The blushing Orator Attempts in vain,
The Thred of his Distracted Speech to gain.

On the last Word tenaciously he Dwells,
And lengthens out the bashful Syllables.
He Stammers, Pauses, Stops, and Speechless grown,
With Shame Oppress'd young Cicero plunges down.


  1. La Grande Chartreuse among the Alps.
  2. Frock. A Monk's Habit.
  3. St. Louis, Founder of the Holy Chapel.
  4. The Chapel was near Mr. Lamoignon's Palace.
    . Lamoignon (the Aristus of Boileau) was Premier President; a Place of Law and Equity too.