Three Poems upon the death of the late Usurper Oliver Cromwell (1682)/Chapter 1

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For other versions of this work, see Heroic Stanzas on the Death of Oliver Cromwell.


On the Late


Oliver Cromwel.

Written after his FUNERAL.


ANd now 'tis time for their Officious hast,
Who would before have born him to the Sky,
Like eager Romans, e're all Rites were past,
Did let too soon the sacred Eagle fly.


Though our best notes are treason to his fame,

Joyn'd with the loud applause of publick voice;
Since Heav'n, what praise we offer to his name,
Hath render'd too authentick by its choice:


Though in his praise no Arts can liberal be,

Since they whose Muses have the highest flown,
Add not to his Immmortal Memory,
But do an Act of friendship to their own.


Yet 'tis our duty and our interest too,

Such Monuments as we can build to raise;

Lest all the World prevent what we should do,
And claim a Title in him by their Praise.


How shall I then begin or where conclude,

To draw a Fame so truly Circular?
For in a round what order can be shew'd,
Where all the parts so equal perfect are?


His Grandeur he deriv'd from Heaven alone,

For he was Great e're Fortune made him so;
And Wars, like mists that rise against the Sun,
Made him but greater seem not greater grow.


No borrowed Bays his Temples did adorn,

But to our Crown he did fresh Jewels bring,
Nor was his Vertue poysoned soon as born
With the two early thoughts of being King.


Fortune (that easie Mistress of the young,

But to her ancient servants coy and hard)
Him at that age her favourites rank'd among
When she her best-lov'd Pompey did discard.


He, private, mark'd the faults of others sway,

And set as Sea marks for himself to shun;
Not like rash Monacrhs who theiry outh betray
By Acts their Age too late would wish undone.


And yet Dominion was not his design,

We owe that blessing not to him but Heaven,
Which to fair Acts unsought Rewards did joyn,
Rewnads that less to him than us were given


Our former Cheifs like sticklers of the War.

First sought t'inflame the Parties, then to poise;
The qnarrel lov'd, but did the cause abhor,
And did not strike to hurt but make a noise.


War our consumption was their gainful trade,

VVe inward bled whilst they prolong'd our pain:
He fought to end our fighting, and assaid
To stanch the Blood by breathing of the vein.


Swift and resistless through the Land he past,

Like that bold Greek who did the East subdue;
And made to Battels such Heroick hast
As if on wings of Victory he flew


He fought secure of fortune as of fame,

Till by new Maps the Island might be shown,
Of Conquests which he strew'd where e're he came,
Thick as the Galaxy with Stars is sown.


His Palms though under weights they did not stand,

Still thriv'd; no Winter could his Laurels fade;
Heav'n in his Portraict shew'd a VVorkman's hand
And drew it perfect yet without a shade.


Peace was the Prize of all his toyls and care,

VVhich VVar had banifh't, and did now restore;
Bolognia's VVall thus mounted in the Air,
To Seat themselves more surely than before.


Her safty rescued, Ireland to him owes,

And Treacherous Scotland to no int'rest true,

Yet blest that fate which did his Arms dispose,
Her Land to Civilize as to subdue.


Nor was he like those Stars which only shine,

When to pale Mariners they storms portend,
He had his calmer influence; and his Mine
Did Love and Majesty together blend.


'Tis true his Count'nance did imprint an awe,

And naturally all Souls to his did bow;
As Wands of Divination downward draw,
And point to Beds where Sov'raign Gold doth grow.


When past all offerings to Feretrian Jove

He Mars despos'd, and Arms to Gowns made yield,
Successful Councels did him soon approve
As fit for close Intrigues, as open field.


To suppliant Holland he vouchsaf'd a Peace,

Our once bold Rival in the British Main,
Now tamely glad her unjust claim to cease,
And buy our Friendship with her Idol gain.


Fame of th' asserted Sea through Europe blown

Made France and Spain ambitious of his Love;
Each knew that side must conquer he would own,
And for him fiercely as for Empire strove.


No sooner was the French-mans canse embrac'd

Than the light Mounsire the grave Don outweigh'd,
His fortune turn'd the Scale where it was cast,
Though Indian Mines were in the other laid.


When absent, yet we conquer'd in his right;

For though some meaner Artist's Skill were shown,
In mingling colours, or in placing light,
Yet still the fair designment was his own.


For from all tempers he could service draw;

The worth of each with its allay he knew;
And as the Confident of Nature, saw
How she Complexions did divide and brew.


Or he their single vertues did survay

By intuition in his own large Breast,
Where all the rich Ideas of them lay,
That were the Rule and measure to the rest.


When such Heroique Vertue Heaven sets out,

The Stars like Commons sullenly obey;
Because it drains them when it comes about,
And therefore is a Tax they seldom pay.


From this high-spring our foraign Conquests flow,

Which yet more glorious triumphs do portend.
Since their Commencement to his Arms they owe,
If Springs as high as Fountains may ascend.


He made us Freemen of the Continent

Whom Nature did like Captives treat before,
To nobler prey's the English Lyon sent,
And taught him first in Belgian walks to rore.


That old unquestioned Pirate of the Land,

Proud Rome, with dread, the fate of Dunkirk har'd;

And trembling wish't behind more Alpes to stand,
Although an Alxander were her guard.


By his command we boldly crost the Line,

And bravely fought where Southern Stars arise,
We trac'd the far fetch'd Gold unto the Mine,
And that which brib'd our Fathers made our prize.


Such was our Prince; yet own'd a Soul above

The highest Acts it could produce to show:
Thus poor Mechanique Arts in publick move
Whilst the deep Secrets beyond practice go.


Nor dy'd he when his ebbing Fame went less,

But when fresh Lawrels courted him to live;
He seem'd but to prevent some new success;
As if above what triumphs Earth can give.


His latest Victories still thickest came,

As, near the Center, Motion does increase;
Till he press'd down by his own weighty name,
Did, like the Vestal, under Spoils decease.


But first the Ocean as a tribute sent

That Giant Prince of all her watery Heard,
And th' Isle when her Protecting Genius went
Upon his Obsequies loud sighs confer'd.


No Civil broyls have since his death arose,

But Faction now by habit does obey:
And Wars have that respect for his repose,
As Winds for Halcyons when they breed at Sea.


His Ashes in a peaceful Urn shall rest,

His Name a great example stands to show
How strangely high endeavours may be blest,
Where Piety and Valour joyntly go.

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.