Augustus Britannicus: A POEM UPON THE CONCLUSION OF THE Peace of Europe. At Rijswick in Holland, upon the 20th. of September, 1697.

Arma Virumque cano—
—et magnos de Pace Triumphos.


LONDON, Printed; and Sold by E. Whitlock near Stationers-Hall, 1697.

Augustus Britannicus:
A POEM upon the Con­clusion of the PEACE of Eu­rope, &c.

LONG had the Rage of War, with Sword and Fire,
Laid wast the fertile Gardens of the Rhine;
And the same Flames, to Belgium no less dire,
Not all those spacious Regions could confine.
Too narrow Limits for th' insatiate Range
Of proud Ambition, thirsting after Blood;
Eager of Rule, and still pursuing Change
Of Slaughter, hungry Warfare's lawless Food.
At the same time the Conflagration flew
To th' utmost Borders of Imperial Sway;
And wide Danubius Streams now wider grew,
By Battles swell'd into a Crimson Sea.
With Most Mahometan, Most Christian joyns,
And Friendship with Heaven's Foe is dearly bought▪
If Heav'n, they cry'd, desert our bold Designs,
Let Hell be mov'd, and Succour thence be sought.
While thus the German Arms divided toil,
Th' Invader fumes to see himself oppos'd;
The Lyons Strength assumes the Fox's Guile,
And a swift Truce the Wounds of Europe close.
But while secure the weary'd Princes lay
Enfolded in the tender Arms of Peace,
(Pity their Fate, whom broken Oaths betray,
And study'd Treasons by Surprise oppress)
They whom no Ties of Sacred Truth could hold,
With rapid Force invade their peaceful Slumbers.
Undreamt, unthought of, the swift Deluge rowl'd,
O'respreading Regions with resistless Numbers.
Quite through Batavia, like a lambent Wind,
The speedy Hurricanes swept all before 'em;
Art in defence with Nature vainly joyn'd;
No Mounds could stop the Torrents that o'repower 'em.
Batavia thus her daily Losses mourn'd;
Dispeopl'd by Despair, by Fear unmann'd;
You might have deem'd old Noah's Flood reurn'd,
To see the Sea let in to save the Land.
Heav'n oft permits such Chastisements as these;
The Cause Heav'n only knows, while we surmise:
But when atton'd, the Showers of Vengeance cease,
And prone to save, Heav'n th' Instrument supplies.
From some hid Cause like this, the Change began;
Coelestial Pity on Batavia fell;
And the same Hand that scourg'd, points out the Man,
Who only could their Mischiefs back repel.
Then for Relief to Great NASSAV they bow'd,
Whom Faction but a while before had scorn'd;
NASSAV, to whose Fam'd Ancestors they ow'd
The Liberty their Commonwealth adorn'd.
He took the Reins, and drove the Chariot steady,
That with new Beams their drooping lives rechear'd;
Daring in Battle, and in Counsel ready,
And by his Foes no less belov'd then fear'd.
Prudence in Youth, with youthful Valour joyn'd,
Stop'd the Career of Uncompassionate Spoil;
Their easie Conquests they as fast resign'd,
Like Innundations, when they back recoil.
Fame spread him Wondrous, e'er he had begun,
And talk'd of things that he was born to doe,
Which she proclaim'd as if already done,
And big with Prophesie, her Trumpet blew.
When first these Tydings reach'd Versailles Court,
They soon foresaw the Face of War would change;
They now must drudge, who lately made a Sport
Of yielding Danger, and unarm'd Revenge.
NASSAV appears, to be as soon renown'd
For early Contests in the Race of War;
Europe has now her Guarding Angel found,
While He becomes her Blessing, She his Care.
The wary Luxemburg was pos'd to shun
The first Attack of his Couragious Heat;
Mons saw the Fox unearth'd, and tamely run
To seek new Covert from entire Defeat.
The greater Genius of the Great NASSAV
Inspir'd his Warlike Bands where-e'er they fought;
His Conduct like the Hebrews Cloud they saw,
And hasten'd to the Dangers which he fought.
Just Heav'n! how does thy mighty Power deride
The Vain Results of Human Providence!
Vast were the Foes Designs, and Heav'n defy'd,
Became the Scorn of daring Insolence.
But deep Contrivance, what it least design'd,
Did but Materials for his Trophies heap;
Versailles did but sow, by Fate made kind,
The Harvest Britain's Hero was to reap.
Long had the British Empire sadly born
Four Ponderous Yoaks, unprosp'rous and unbless'd;
Her Martial Glory lost, and made the Scorn
Of that Proud Realm which once her Arms possess'd.
O'erwhelming was the last Tempestuous Rage,
Upon her Liberties, Religion, Laws;
What Refuge then, but humbly to engage
The Faith's Defender to defend her Cause!
'Tis only for an Iliad to make known
In lofty Strains, the Wonders that he wrought,
Lyons to Hares transform'd, th' Encounter shun,
And from his dreaded Name for shelter sought.
The Vaunting Host, that late in smoaky fight,
On Hounslow-Plain took Towns, and Battles won,
By unseen Danger quell'd, became a Sight
For Mirth, to see an Army in a Swoon.
The Chieftain's Fear had chill'd the Martial Mass;
In vain the Drumm and Trumpet rend the Sky;
While pale Affright appear'd in Iames's Face;
So sweet was Life to him who fear'd to die.
It may be deem'd that Guilt of Evil's done,
Beheld preceding NASSAV's warlike Train,
Heav'n's Brandish'd Sword, that like the Saber shone,
That guarded Eden from less Criminal Man.
It was the least that Gratitude could do,
To Crown the Author of the Bliss they crav'd;
For nothing but a Crown became his Brow;
Since none more fit to rule what he had sav'd.
The Crown was Gold, but yet with Thorns beset,
A Crown of painful Cares, but yet a Crown
That new Occasions gave to mitigate
The Toils of War with Wreaths of fresh Renown.
A powerful Foe Hibernia then Possest,
Lord of her Towns, and Master of the Field,
Vainly misled, and slighting easie Rest,
To Foreign Chains they tame Submission yield.
With awkward Zeal, and false Religion mad,
(Oft times the dangerous Frenzy of the Mind)
They, their own Foes, their native Hearths betray'd,
And to subdue themselves with Foreign Conquest joyn'd.
Great Britain's Monarch could not brook the Hand
of Rebel Fury wildly laying wast
So fair a Portion of his wide Command,
But streight to Vengeance makes undaunted hast.
He did but Land, and march, and only saw,
When pannick Terror seiz'd th' Insulting Foe:
They fled, and left a Realm to take new Law
From him they scorn'd to own an Hour ago.
Thus Caesar, when the bold Pharnaces rang'd
Bythinia's Plains with uncontroul'd surprise,
But went and view'd, and Roman Loss reveng'd,
Return'd a Wonder to the Gazèr's Eyes.
Never did Prince say less, nor Prince do more;
Men look'd and listen'd, talk'd their Hopes and Fears;
Ne'er so much Silence, so much Noise before,
Yet nothing comes to light, till all appears.
This secret Conduct Heav'n's great Sov'reign taught,
When first from Darkness beauteous Order shone;
The goodly Frame was to perfection brought,
And Angels nothing saw till all was done.
There was no need for him to seek for Fame;
Fame saw design'd Occasions court him round;
Occasions multiply'd to spread his Name
Beyond what more then Fame could e'er resound.
Not greater Labours did Alemena's Son
In aid of Mankind boldly undergo:
He pitying Greece by Monsters over-run,
Those Monsters quell'd, and laid Oppression low.
Such was the Task that our Alcides presst
In aid of Christendom to undergo,
Monsters the same, and the Design as vast,
Those Monsters quell'd, to lay Oppression low.
Nemaean Lyons, Erymanthian Boars,
Lernaean Hydra's, Geryons Triple-headed
Stymphalian Harpies, and more fell Centaurs,
These were the Monsters Europe then invaded.
For Man degenerate into Brute, no less
Embosoms every Brutish Appetite;
Only what Brutes in various Forms possess,
His Wits improve, and all in one unite.
Yet could the Toil not fright our Hero's Mind,
Nor all the Hazards he was sure to meet;
And still his Conduct all so well design'd,
Never so slow, as when to danger fleet.
He saw that more then Strength would be requir'd;
Nor did Alcides Strength alone prefer;
To Iove's Assistant, Prudence, he retir'd,
And there consults the Dubious Fate of War.
Many oppress'd, yet variously engag'd,
And different Interests their Passions sway;
In Union only Wrong and Violence rag'd,
And on the Innocent in Bloody Consort prey'd.
Nothing but Concord and a warlike Chief
This shatter'd Body could compactly joyn
With Fear irresolute for their Relief,
Not knowing whence their Safety to divine.
So fast the Deluge still came rowling on
As soon whole Regions fill'd with pale Dismay:
They knew not what to seek, nor what to shun;
They moan'd their Harms, unwilling to obey.
From this rude Chaos of unsteady Thoughts
A Glorious League Great Britain's Monarch fram'd:
He soon confirm'd their Minds, allay'd their Doubts
And with new Life their drooping Souls inflam'd.
It might be deem'd a Work the nearest wrought
To that which all things into Order brought;
A League so Sacred, and so fast the Knot,
Not to be loos'd, nor, like the Gordian, cut.
A League like this, by Universal Greece
Against th' insulting Persian Monarch made,
Repell'd th' Invader back, a Sacrifice
By his Ambition to his Shame betray'd.
This League to Britain's Sovereign bow'd her Knees,
And him the wronged Princes made their Head;
He gave their Motions Laws, and his Decrees
Like the Amphyction Council's were obey'd.
Resistance thus embolden'd, potent-grew;
Numbers met Numbers, while experienc'd War
With artful Horrors did her Game pursue,
And Banquets fresh each Day for Death prepare.
The Air was forc'd, the fiery Element
To mingle with the Flames of dismal Fight;
As if Officious Man would Heav'n prevent,
And burn the World into its Primitive Night.
For Man, who always had th' unhappy Fate
Of most ingenious to destroy his Race,
Scorns his pursuit should find a safe Retreat,
And his industrious Arm not reach the Place.
Yet all this while the Fields neglected lay,
That with their timely Harvests wont to crown
The longing Barns; Affright drives all away;
Few left to sow; few left to purchase what was sown.
Those Fields now thicker sown with Human Bones,
The Seed of Slaughter that gives no Return,
The Neighbouring Cities wail, dispeopl'd Towns,
By Nature bless'd, by cruel War forlorn.
Widows and Orphans, Peasant, and the Lord,
Temples Prophan'd, and Ravish'd Virgins, all
Bemoan'd the Havocks of the wastful Sword;
Such was the Ravage menac'd Europe's Fall.
Such were the Torrents which the League oppos'd,
And Britain's Sovereign the Pious Chief,
Who, Victim-like, a Sacred Life expos'd,
While both Divine and Human begg'd Relief.
The Contest so much the more Obstinate
While pamper'd Honour, there, for Empire strove;
Here, timorous Zeal inflam'd their Martial Heat,
And Fear of Chains did Fears of Death remove.
All Men have Swords and Youth, and Wills prepar'd
Their Darling Freedom to defend or die,
Impugning haughty Violence, undeterr'd,
That would impose unwilling Slavery.
Nine Times the Sun his Annual Race had run,
And in his tow'ring Solstice warm'd both Poles,
And all the while the Bloody Game went on;
The Winner only Death, by more then common Tolls.
In Steenkirk Fields a large Repast he met;
Where Fortune stopp'd the Havocks of his Sword,
Who there had soon decided Europe's Fate,
Had not foreseeing Doom on purpose err'd.
Fame, big with wonder at the first Attacks,
Bid Fortune stop, least more her VVings should tire:
Fortune obey'd, and too unkindly slacks
The farther Progress of the Victor's Fire.
Old Luxemburgh, who had enough that Day,
VVas glad to see the Lyon back retreat,
And in his Bloody Trenches quiet lay,
Admiring what he could not imitate.
VVonders then these far greater Lansden saw,
VVhere Skill and Courage, Art and Number fought;
Battles were now Examples, thence to draw
New Patterns how young Captains should be taught.
Old Luxemburg, for only him did Fame
A Match for Britain's Hero still exalt,
Dreamt only hot Pursuit; but grew more tame,
To see his daring Foe make steady Halt.
Long the Dispute who Victory should controul,
And Streams of Blood the Verdant Fields imbru'd,
VVhile Slaughter strew'd thick Banquets for the Fowl
That on the Alms of Battle wait for Food.
And all the while Great Britain's Hero flew
To every Part, where thickest Danger call'd;
Expos'd to Vulgar Fury, still in view;
But where dark Clouds of Smoak his Sacred Person vail'd.
At length great Luxemburg grew Pale with Fear
To see his shatter'd Troops in Flight pursu'd,
And all his Lawrels won had wither'd here,
Had fresh Inforcements not the Fight renew'd.
Yet those fresh Succours did but serve to stop
The Victor's Chace, and force him to recoil;
He left his Foe the Marks of vanish'd Hope,
And kept the Glory of the former Foil.
Honour and Gold have, both, the same hard Fate;
Both may be bought too dear, but Honour most,
Since Victory purchas'd at too dear a Rate
Is by the Vanquish'd won, but by the Victor lost.
Namur must next advance our Hero's high Renown,
Beyond what Agamemnon won by Ten Years Toil;
So long those Hero's fought to force one Town
Not then subdu'd, till Fraud did Strength beguile.
Namur, like Sion, deem'd Impregnable;
And if her Gates spoke Truth, ne'er to be won,
As if secur'd by Doom of Oracle
In the Palladium of a French Battoon.
Here, had a nobler Theam for Homer been,
VVhile Gods 'gainst Gods, and Hero's Hero's fought;
And if the far-fam'd Hector fought within
The far more fam'd Achilles fought without.
Continual Thunder rends the Sky, as when
Assailing Giants against Iove rebell'd,
And all the while, a more amazing Scene,
Smoak Day made Night, and Flame o'er Night prevail'd.
Phoebus beheld th' embolden'd Flames aspire,
And how the distant Air in Sulphur burn'd;
What, is the World, he cry'd, again on Fire,
And my unruly Chariot overturnd?
Th' Assaults, the Combats sung by Homer's Muse,
Or what the Roman Prowess could renown,
Three Years 'fore Salem's Walls disdaining Truce,
Were here in Feats of dismal War out-done.
At length, when the full Feast of Death was o're,
And rude Attacks had mow'd down all within,
The weak Remainder loud for Aid implore,
And they saw Succour that was only seen.
Fain would the Gallick Chief have sav'd the Town,
And vow'd the Strength of France to signalize;
But all in vain; the Strength of France look'd on,
While lost Namur became the Victor's Prize.
While thus the Sword rag'd on, and dubious War
In bloody Triumph rode, the Gallick Heat
Began to cool; France could no longer bear
Th' incessant Toil of Sisiphus's Fate.
She found, that should she still prolong her Wars,
She had an Overpow'ring Genius met;
For Kings have all, like Magnitudes of Stars,
Or Ranks of Angels, more of Less and Great.
'Twas therefore fruitless longer to contend
With Britain's Genius, and her Wealth beside;
Consum'd within, her Treasures at an end,
And only rich in Vaunts, and blust'ring Pride.
She saw kind Nature idle, wanting Art;
Autumn forgot to bear, and Spring to bloom,
While Strength and Youth must to the Camp depart,
And toil Abroad to lay her wast at Home.
Who but would prize so fair a Guest as Peace?
The fairest Maid that e're from Heav'n was sent;
Yet France contemn'd her, and abhorring Rest,
From Europe chac'd the lovely Innocent.
Only in Albion she found safe Retreat;
Her Prince caress'd the Darling of his Care,
As she, to whom he vow'd his Martial Heat,
And for whose sake alone he made just War.
No wonder then, the slighted Maid took ill
The Wrongs from Gallick Fury long sustain'd;
Mild as she is, she could not reconcile
With those so long her Favours had disdain'd.
But Pride, that's always humble when brought low,
By our Fam'd WILLIAM's Prowess sore distrest,
Submissive grows, and France, now taught to bow,
From injur'd Peace implores contemned Rest.
By her despis'd, by WILLIAM's Cares engag'd,
She knew that only he could Peace command;
He, that to fix her Throne fierce Wars had wag'd,
Yet gave her safeguard in a Copious Land.
But he who knew the Blessing he possest,
To easie Offers scorn'd to prostiute
The Sacred Honour of his Virgin Guest,
And safely guarded the Hesperian Fruit.
The wondring World, that heard the Boasts of France,
VVho as her Alms the Peace of Europe vaunted,
At the same time admir'd the vain Pretence
Of giving others what her self she wanted.
Her Numbers could not scare the Sacred League,
Nor Victories only in Te Deums won,
Peace would not be deluded by Intreague,
Nor Laws receive from her who valu'd none.
Nothing but Mediation fix'd on Honour's Faith,
And Overtures by equal Reason sway'd,
Could make the Generous Prince his Anger sheath,
By just Redress of injur'd Peace allay'd.
At length was found a Prince of high Renown,
To Honour true, to Peace no less sincere;
And all applaud the Choice so kindly won
To poise the Balance of this grand Affair.
Had you th' Assembly seen at Rijswick met
You there had seen a Council of the Gods,
Such as in Iove's Apartment doom'd the Fate
Of Priam's Ilium, and the Grecian Feuds.
France, that Occasion by the Forelock held,
Great Britain's Sov'reign hastens to attone;
It was no more then what her Fears compell'd,
To court him first from whom her Fears begun.
She owns Him Potent, High, and Most Serene,
Forc'd to attest what well she knew before;
For only VVords could never make him mean
VVho in his Crown still France's Lillies wore.
Espoused Int'rest suffers harsh Divorce;
Though Friend and sworn Allye the Nuptials made;
Titus in vain for Syria's Queen implores,
For still Superiour Law must be obey'd.
The Potent, Most Serene, and the Most High
Held awful Rule in his Majestick Hand;
And this, like some controuling Prodigy,
Made France yield more, while others less demand.
No longer France must bear the Name of Great,
That first from War deriv'd affected Growth,
But ne'er by Peace procur'd: He's only fit
To wear that Name, who keeps the Keys of both.
Thus all agreed, Bless'd Peace the Concord seal'd,
And lowly Grateful to the best of Kings,
As once the Cherubims Gods Cov'nant vail'd
Cover'd all Europe with her Silver Wings.
Her Joy was such, that she would needs return
And to Great WILLIAM once more pay her Vows;
Resolv'd in all her Glory to adorn
The Triumphs of his Conquests o're her Foes.
And then it was the Goddess thus begun;
Hail, Mighty Monarch, Wonder of the Earth;
From Hero's sprung, with all their Vertues joyn'd in One,
As Heav'n had held a second Consult at your Birth.
May I be long a Servant to your Throne,
Bless'd in your Reign, like Saturn giving Law
To Three fair Realms, and all the Sea your own,
Where your fear'd Navies keep the turbulent World in Awe.
Soft in your Sway, and willingly obey'd:
May you be always all Mankinds desire;
To distant climes, so may your Wisdom spread,
And many Sheba's your Renown admire.
Counsel and Justice be your chief Supports;
Both Iove's Concomitants, and both Divine;
With them be safe from all the foul Efforts
Of Treason brooding dangerous Design.
Ne're may my Presence pamper idle Ease,
But such as gives to Noble Arts repose;
Such as for which the toiling Ploughman prays,
And Commerce sues; whence our Abundance flows.
And when at Nestor's Years you part from hence
VVhere Happy Monarchs rule new Realms of Bliss,
Be still our Angel, as you were our Prince,
And favour in that VVorld, what you preserv'd in this.

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