TO THE KING, ON HIS NAVY.|
by Edmund Waller
Where'er thy navy spreads her canvas wings,
Homage to thee, and peace to all she brings;
The French and Spaniard, when thy flags appear,
Forget their hatred, and consent to fear.
So Jove from Ida did both hosts survey,
And when he pleased to thunder, part the fray.
Ships heretofore in seas like fishes sped,
The mighty still upon the smaller fed;
Thou on the deep imposest nobler laws,
And by that justice hast removed the cause
Of those rude tempests, which for rapine sent,
Too oft, alas, involved the innocent.
Now shall the ocean, as thy Thames, be free
From both those fates, of storms and piracy:
But we most happy, who can fear no force
But wingéd troops, or Pegasean horse.
'Tis not so hard for greedy foes to spoil
Another nation. as to touch our soil.
Should nature's self invade the world again,
And o'er the center spread the liquid main,
Thy power were safe, and her destructive hand
Would but enlarge the bounds of thy command;
Thy dreadful fleet would style thee lord of all,
And ride in triumph o'er the drownéd ball;
Those towers of oak o'er fertile plains might go,
And visit mountains where they once did grow.
The world's Restorer never could endure
That finished Babel should those men secure,
Whose pride designed that fabric to have stood
Above the reach of any second flood;
To thee, His chosen, more indulgent, He
Dares trust such power with so much piety.
Ben Jonson and the Cavalier Poets. Hugh Maclean, Ed.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1974. 232-233.
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