THRENODIA AVGVSTALIS: A Funeral-Pindarique POEM Sacred to the Happy Memory OF King CHARLES II. By IOHN DRYDEN, Servant to His late MAJESTY, and to the Present KING.

Fortunati Ambo, si quid mea Carmina possunt,
Nulla dies unquam memori vos eximet aevo!

London, Printed for Iacob Tonson, at the Iudge's Head in Chancery lane, near Fleet-Street 1685.


THus long my Grief has kept me dumb:
Sure there's a Lethargy in mighty Woe,
Tears stand congeal'd, and cannot flow;
And the sad Soul retires into her inmost Room:
Tears, for a Stroke foreseen, afford Relief;
But, unprovided for a sudden Blow,
Like Niobe we Marble grow;
And Petrifie with Grief.
[Page 2]Our British Heav'n was all Serene,
No threatning Cloud was nigh,
Not the least wrinkle to deform the Sky;
We liv'd as unconcern'd and happily
As the first Age in Natures golden Scene;
Supine amidst our flowing Store,
We slept securely, and we dreamt of more:
When suddenly the Thunder-clap was heard,
It took us unprepar'd and out of guard,
Already lost before we fear'd.
Th' amazing News of Charles at once were spread,
At once the general Voice declar'd,
Our Gracious Prince was dead.
No Sickness known before, no slow Disease,
To soften Grief by Just Degrees:
But, like an Hurricane on Indian Seas,
The Tempest rose;
An unexpected Burst of Woes:
With scarce a breathing space betwixt,
This Now becalm'd, and perishing the next.
As if great Atlas from his Height
Shou'd sink beneath his heavenly Weight,
And, with a mighty Flaw, the flaming Wall
(As once it shall)
[Page 3]Shou'd gape immense and rushing down, o'erwhelm this neather Ball;
So swift and so surprizing was our Fear:
Our Atlas fell indeed; But Hercules was near.
His Pious Brother, sure the best
Who ever bore that Name,
Was newly risen from his Rest,
And, with a fervent Flame,
His usual morning Vows had just addrest
For his dear Sovereign's Health;
And hop'd to have 'em heard,
In long increase of years,
In Honour, Fame and Wealth:
Guiltless of Greatness thus he always pray'd,
Nor knew nor wisht those Vows he made,
On his own Head shou'd be repay'd.
Soon as th'ill omen'd Rumour reacht his Ear,
(Ill News is wing'd with Fate, and flies apace)
Who can describe th' Amazement in his Face!
Horrour in all his Pomp was there,
Mute and magnificent without a Tear:
And then the Hero first was seen to fear.
[Page 4]Hal [...] unartay'd he ran to his Relief,
So hasty and so artless was his Grief:
Approaching Greatness met him with her Charms
Of Pow'r and future State;
But look'd so ghastly in a Brother's Fate,
He shook her from his Armes.
Arriv'd within the mournfull Room, he saw
A wild Distraction, void of Awe,
And arbitrary Grief unbounded by a Law.
God's Image, God's Anointed lay
Without Motion, Pulse or Breath,
A senseless Lump of sacred Clay,
An Image, now, of Death.
Amidst his sad Attendants Grones and Cryes,
The Lines of that ador'd, forgiving Face,
Distorted from their native grace;
An Iron Slumber sate on his Majestick Eyes.
The Pious Duke—forbear audacious Muse,
No Terms thy feeble Art can use
Are able to adorn so vast a Woe:
The grief of all the rest like subject-grief did show,
His like a Sovereign did transcend;
No Wife, no Brother, such a Grief cou'd know,
Nor any name, but friend.
O wondrous Changes of a fatal Scene,
Still varying to the last!
Heav'n, though its hard Decree was past,
Seem'd pointing to a gracious Turn agen:
And Death's up-lifted Arme arrested in its hast.
Heav'n half repented of the doom,
And almost griev'd it had foreseen,
What by Foresight it will'd eternally to come.
Mercy above did hourly plead
For her Resemblance here below;
And mild Forgiveness intercede
To stop the coming Blow.
New Miracles approach'd th' Etherial Throne,
Such as his wondrous Life had oft and lately known,
And urg'd that still they might be shown.
On Earth his Pious Brother pray'd and vow'd,
Renouncing Greatness at so dear a rate,
Himself defending what he cou'd,
From all the Glories of his future Fate.
With him th' innumerable Croud,
Of armed Prayers
[Page 6]Knock'd at the Gates of Heav'n, and knock'd aloud;
The first, well meaning rude Petitioners.
All for his Life assayl'd the Throne,
All wou'd have brib'd the Skyes by offring up their own.
So great a Throng not Heav'n it self cou'd bar;
'Twas almost born by force as in the Giants War.
The Pray'rs, at least, for his Reprieve were heard;
His Death, like Hezekiah's, was deferr'd:
Against the Sun the Shadow went;
Five days, those five Degrees, were lent
To form our Patience and prepare th' Event.
The second Causes took the swift Command,
The med'cinal Head, the ready Hand,
All eager to perform their Part,
All but Eternal Doom was conquer'd by their Art:
Once more the fleeting Soul came back
T' inspire the mortal Frame,
And in the Body took a doubtfull Stand,
Doubtfull and hov'ring like expiring Flame,
That mounts and falls by turns, and trembles o'er the Brand.
The joyful short-liv'd news soon spread around,
Took the same Train, the same impetuous bound:
The drooping Town in smiles again was drest,
Gladness in every Face exprest,
Their Eyes before their Tongues confest.
Men met each other with erected look,
The steps were higher that they took,
Each to congratulate his friend made haste;
And long inveterate Foes saluted as they past:
Above the rest Heroick Iames appear'd
Exalted more, because he more had fear'd:
His manly heart, whose Noble pride
Was still above
Dissembled hate or varnisht Love,
Its more then common transport cou'd not hide;
But like an* Eagre rode in triumph o're the tide.
Thus, in alternate Course,
The Tyrant passions, hope and fear,
Did in extreams appear,
And flasht upon the Soul with equal force.
[Page 8]Thus, at half Ebb, a rowling Sea
Returns and wins upon the shoar;
The watry Herd, affrighted at the roar,
Rest on their Fins a while, and stay,
Then backward take their wondring way:
The Prophet wonders more than they,
At Prodigies but rarely seen before,
And cries a King must fall, or Kingdoms change their sway.
Such were our counter-tydes at land, and so
Presaging of the fatal blow,
In their prodigious Ebb and flow.
The Royal Soul, that like the labouring Moon,
By Charms of Art was hurried down,
Forc'd with regret to leave her Native Sphear,
Came but a while on liking here:
Soon weary of the painful strife,
And made but faint Essays of Life:
An Evening light
Soon shut in Night;
A strong distemper, and a weak relief,
Short intervals of joy, and long returns of grief.
The Sons of Art all Med'cines try'd
And every Noble remedy apply'd;
With emulation each essay'd
His utmost skill, nay more they pray'd:
Was never losing game with better conduct plaid
Death never won a stake with greater toyl,
Nor ere was Fate so near a foil:
But, like a fortress on a Rock,
Th' impregnable Disease their vain attempts did mock;
They min'd it near, they batter'd from a far
With all the Cannon of the Med'cinal War;
No gentle means cou'd be essay'd,
Twas beyond parly when the siege was laid:
Th' extreamest ways they first ordain,
Prescribing such intolerable pain,
As non but Caesar cou'd sustain:
Undaunted Caesar underwent
The malice of their Art, nor bent
Beneath what e're their pious rigour cou'd invent:
In five such days he suffer'd more
Then any suffer'd in his reign before;
[Page 10]More, infinitely more, than he,
Against the worst of Rebels, cou'd decree,
A Traytor or twice pardon'd Enemy.
Now Art was tir'd without success,
No Racks cou'd make the stubborn malady confess.
The vain Insurancers of life,
And He who most perform'd and promis'd less,
Even Short himself forsook th' unequal strife.
Death and despair was in their looks,
No longer they consult their memories or books;
Like helpless friends, who view from shoar
The labouring Ship, and hear the tempest roar,
So stood they with their arms across;
Not to assist; but to deplore
Th' inevitable loss.
Death was denounc'd; that frightful sound
Which even the best can hardly bear,
He took the Summons void of fear;
And, unconcern'dly, cast his eyes around;
As if to find and dare the griesly Challenger.
[Page 11]What death cou'd do he lately try'd,
When in four days he more then dy'd.
The same assurance all his words did grace;
The same Majestick mildness held its place;
Nor lost the Monarch in his dying face.
Intrepid, pious, merciful, and brave,
He lookt as when he conquer'd and forgave.
As if some Angel had been sent
To lengthen out his Government,
And to foretel as many years again,
As he had number'd in his happy reign,
So chearfully he took the doom
Of his departing breath;
Nor shrunk nor stept aside for death:
But, with unalter'd pace, kept on;
Providing for events to come,
When he resign'd the Throne.
Still he maintain'd his Kingly State;
And grew familiar with his fate.
Kind, good and gracious to the last,
On all he lov'd before, his dying beams he cast:
[Page 12]Oh truly good, and truly great,
For glorious as he rose benignly so he set!
All that on earth he held most dear,
He recommended to his Care,
To whom both heav'n,
The right had giv'n
And his own Love bequeath'd supream command:
He took and prest that ever loyal hand,
Which cou'd in Peace secure his Reign,
Which cou'd in wars his Pow'r maintain,
That hand on which no plighted vows were ever vain.
Well for so great a trust, he chose
A Prince who never disobey'd:
Not when the most severe commands were laid;
Nor want, nor Exile with his duty weigh'd:
A Prince on whom (if Heav'n its Eyes cou'd close)
The Welfare of the World it safely might repose.
That King who liv'd to Gods own heart,
Yet less serenely died than he:
Charles left behind no harsh decree
For Schoolmen with laborious art
[Page 13]To salve from cruelty:
Those, for whom love cou'd no excuses frame,
He graciously forgot to name.
Thus far my Muse, though rudely, has design'd
Some faint resemblance of his Godlike mind:
But neither Pen nor Pencil can express
The parting Brothers tenderness:
Though thats a term too mean and low;
(The blest above a kinder word may know:)
But what they did, and what they said,
The Monarch who triumphant went,
The Militant who staid,
Like Painters, when their heigthning arts are spent,
I cast into a shade.
That all forgiving King,
The type of him above,
That inexhausted spring
Of clemency and Love;
Himself to his next self accus'd,
And ask'd that Pardon which he ne're refus'd:
For faults not his, for guilt and Crimes
Of Godless men, and of Rebellious times:
For an hard Exile, kindly meant,
When his ungrateful Country sent
[Page 14]Their best Camillus into banishment:
And forc'd their Sov'raigns Act, they cou'd not his consent.
Oh how much rather had that injur'd Chief
Repeated all his sufferings past,
Then hear a pardon beg'd at last,
Which giv'n cou'd give the dying no relief:
He bent, he sunk beneath his grief:
His dauntless heart wou'd fain have held
From weeping, but his eyes rebell'd.
Perhaps the Godlike Heroe in his breast
Disdain'd, or was asham'd to show
So weak, so womanish a woe,
Which yet the Brother and the Freind so plenteously confest.
Amidst that silent show'r, the Royal mind
An Easy passage found,
And left its sacred earth behind:
Nor murm'ring groan exprest, nor labouring sound,
Nor any least tumultuous breath;
Calm was his life, and quiet was his death.
Soft as those gentle whispers were,
In which th' Almighty did appear;
[Page 15]By the still Sound, the Prophet knew him there.
That Peace which made thy Prosperous Reign to shine,
That Peace thou leav'st to thy Imperial Line,
That Peace, oh happy Shade, be ever thine!
For all those Joys thy Restauration brought,
For all the Miracles it wrought,
For all the healing Balm thy Mercy pour'd
Into the Nations bleeding Wound,
And Care that after kept it sound,
For numerous Blessings yearly shour'd,
And Property with Plenty crown'd;
For Freedom, still maintain'd alive,
Freedom which in no other Land will thrive,
Freedom an English Subject's sole Prerogative,
Without whose Charms ev'n Peace wou'd be
But a dull quiet Slavery:
For these and more, accept our Pious Praise;
'Tis all the Subsidy
The present Age can raise,
The rest is charg'd on late Posterity.
Posterity is charg'd the more,
Because the large abounding store
[Page 16]To them and to their Heirs, is still entail'd by thee.
Succession, of a long Descent,
Which Chastly in the Chanells ran,
And from our Demi-gods began,
Equal almost to Time in its extent,
Through Hazzards numberless and great,
Thou hast deriv'd this mighty Blessing down,
And fixt the fairest Gemm that decks th'Imperial Crown:
Not Faction, when it shook thy Regal Seat,
Not Senates, insolently loud,
(Those Ecchoes of a thoughtless Croud,)
Not Foreign or Domestick Treachery,
Could warp thy Soul to their Unjust Decree.
So much thy Foes thy manly Mind mistook,
Who judg'd it by the Mildness of thy look:
Like a well-temper'd Sword, it bent at will;
But kept the Native toughness of the Steel.
Be true, O Clio, to thy Hero's Name!
But draw him strictly so
That all who view, the Piece may know,
He needs no Trappings of fictitious Fame:
[Page 17]The Load's too weighty: Thou may'st chuse
Some Parts of Praise, and some refuse:
Write, that his Annals may be thought more lavish than the Muse.
In scanty Truth thou hast confin'd
The Vertues of a Royal Mind,
Forgiving, bounteous, humble, just and kind:
His Conversation, Wit, and Parts,
His Knowledge in the Noblest, useful Arts,
Were such, Dead Authors cou'd not give;
But habitudes of those who live;
Who, lighting him, did greater lights receive:
He drain'd from all, and all they knew;
His Apprehension quick, his Judgment true:
That the most Learn'd, with shame, confess
His Knowledge more, his Reading only less.
Amidst the peaceful Triumphs of his Reign,
What wonder if the kindly beams he shed
Reviv'd the drooping Arts again,
If Science rais'd her Head,
And soft Humanity that from Rebellion fled;
[Page 18]Our Isle, indeed, too fruitful was before;
But all uncultivated lay
Out of the Solar walk and Heavens high way;
With rank Geneva Weeds run o're,
And Cockle, at the best, amidst the Corn it bore:
The Royal Husbandman appear'd,
And Plough'd, and Sow'd, and Till'd,
The Thorns he rooted out, the Rubbish clear'd,
And Blest th' obedient Field.
When, straight, a double Harvest rose;
Such as the swarthy Indian mowes;
Or happier Climates near the Line,
Or Paradise manur'd, and drest by hands Divine.
As when the New-born Phoenix takes his way,
His rich Paternal Regions to Survey,
Of airy Choristers a numerous Train
Attend his wondrous Progress o're the Plain;
So, rising from his Fathers Urn,
So Glorious did our Charles return;
Th' officious Muses came along,
A gay Harmonious Quire of Angels ever Young:
(The Muse that mourns him now his happy Triumph sung
[Page 19]Even they cou'd thrive in his Auspicious reign;
And such a plenteous Crop they bore
Of purest and well winow'd Grain,
As Britain never knew before.
Tho little was their Hire, and light their Gain,
Yet somewhat to their share he threw;
Fed from his Hand, they sung and flew,
Like Birds of Paradise, that liv'd on Morning dew.
Oh never let their Lays his Name forget!
The Pension of a Prince's Praise is great.
Live then, thou great Encourager of Arts,
Live ever in our Thankful Hearts;
Live blest Above, almost invok'd Below;
Live and receive this Pious Vow,
Our Patron once, our Guardian Angel now.
Thou Fabius of a sinking State,
Who didst by wise delays, divert our Fate,
When Faction like a Tempest rose,
In Death's most hideous form,
Then, Art to Rage thou didst oppose,
To weather out the Storm:
Not quitting thy Supream command,
Thou heldst the Rudder with a steady hand,
Till safely on the Shore the Bark did land:
[Page 20]The Bark that all our Blessings brought,
Charg'd with thy Self and Iames, a doubly Royal fraught.
Oh frail Estate of Humane things,
And slippery hopes below!
Now to our Cost your Emptiness we know,
(For 'tis a Lesson dearly bought)
Assurance here is never to be sought.
The Best, and best belov'd of Kings,
And best deserving to be so,
When scarce he had escap'd the fatal blow
Of Faction and Conspiracy,
Death did his promis'd hopes destroy:
He toyl'd, He gain'd, but liv'd not to enjoy.
What mists of Providence are these
Through which we cannot see!
So Saints, by supernatural Pow'r set free,
Are left at last in Martyrdom to dye;
Such is the end of oft repeated Miracles.
Forgive me Heav'n that Impious thought,
'Twas Grief for Charles, to Madness wrought,
That Question'd thy Supream Decree!
[Page 21]Thou didst his gracious Reign prolong,
Even in thy Saints and Angels wrong,
His Fellow Citizens of Immortality:
For Twelve long years of Exile, born,
Twice Twelve we number'd since his blest Return:
So strictly wer't thou Just to pay,
Even to the driblet of a day.
Yet still we murmur, and Complain,
The Quails and Manna shou'd no longer rain;
Those Miracles 'twas needless to renew;
The Chosen Flock has now the Promis'd Land in view.
A Warlike Prince ascends the Regal State,
A Prince, long exercis'd by Fate:
Long may he keep, tho he obtains it late.
Heroes, in Heaven's peculiar Mold are cast,
They and their Poets are not form'd in hast;
Man was the first in God's design, and Man was made the last.
False Heroes made by Flattery so,
Heav'n can strike out, like Sparkles, at a blow;
But e're a Prince is to Perfection brought,
He costs Omnipotence a second thought.
[Page 22]With Toyl and Sweat,
With hardning Cold, and forming Heat,
The Cyclops did their strokes repeat,
Before th' impenetrable Shield was wrought.
It looks as if the Maker wou'd not own
The Noble work for his,
Before 'twas try'd and found a Masterpiece.
View then a Monarch ripen'd for a Throne.
Alcides thus his race began,
O're Infancy he swiftly ran;
The future God, at first was more than Man:
Dangers and Toils, and Iuno's Hate
Even o're his Cradle lay in wait;
And there he grappled first with Fate:
In his young Hands the hissing Snakes he prest,
So early was the Deity confest;
Thus, by degrees, he rose to Iove's Imperial Seat;
Thus difficulties prove a Soul legitimately great.
Like his, our Hero's Infancy was try'd;
Betimes the Furies did their Snakes provide;
And, to his Infant Arms oppose
[Page 23]His Father's Rebels, and his Brother's Foes;
The more opprest the higher still he rose:
Those were the Preludes of his Fate,
That form'd his Manhood, to subdue
The Hydra of the many-headed, hissing Crew.
As after Numa's peaceful Reign,
The Martial Ancus did the Scepter wield,
Furbish'd the rusty Sword again,
Resum'd the long forgotten Shield,
And led the Latins to the dusty Field;
So Iames the drowsy Genius wakes
Of Britain long entranc'd in Charms,
Restiff and slumbring on its Arms:
'Tis rows'd, & with a new strung Nerve, the Spear already shakes.
No Neighing of the Warriour Steeds,
No Drum, or louder Trumpet, needs
T' inspire the Coward, warm the Cold,
His Voice, his sole Appearance makes 'em bold.
Gaul and Batavia dread th' impending blow;
Too well the Vigour of that Arm they know;
They lick the dust, and Crouch beneath their fatal Foe.
[Page 24]Long may they fear this awful Prince,
And not Provoke his lingring Sword;
Peace is their only sure Defence,
There best Security his Word:
In all the Changes of his doubtful State,
His Truth, like Heav'ns, was kept inviolate,
For him to Promise is to make it Fate.
His Valour can Triumph o're Land and Main;
With broken Oaths his Fame he will not stain;
With Conquest basely bought, and with Inglorious gain.
For once, O Heav'n, unfold thy Adamantine Book;
And let his wondring Senate see,
If not thy firm Immutable Decree,
At least the second Page, of great contingency;
Such as consists with wills, Originally free:
Let them, with glad amazement, look
On what their happiness may be:
Let them not still be obstinately blind,
Still to divert the Good thou hast design'd,
Or with Malignant penury,
To sterve the Royal Vertues of his Mind.
[Page 25]Faith is a Christian's, and a Subject's Test,
Oh give them to believe, and they are surely blest!
They do; and, with a distant view, I see
Th' amended Vows of English Loyalty.
And all beyond that Object, there appears
The long Retinue of a Prosperous Reign,
A Series of Successful years,
In orderly Array, a Martial, manly Train.
Behold ev'n to remoter Shores
A Conquering Navy proudly spread;
The British Cannon formidably roars,
While starting from his Oozy Bed,
Th' asserted Ocean rears his reverend Head;
To View and Recognize his ancient Lord again:
And, with a willing hand, restores
The Fasces of the Main.

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