1714
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

An Ode humbly inscrib'd to the King.

An Ode humbly inscrib'd to the King, occasion'd by his Majesty's most auspicious Succession and Arrival. Written in The Stanza and Measure of Spencer. By Mr. Croxall.

Rev. Samuel Croxall


42 Spenserians; at the outset of this vast allegorical ode Samuel Croxall announces that with the change of dynasty he will drop the "mystick song" of his earlier Spenserian burlesques, An Original Canto of Spencer (1713) and Another Original Canto of Spencer (1714). The poem that follows is replete with Spenserian pageantry celebrating the beginning of the Hanoverian dynasty. The relative scarcity of archaisms in this poem compared to Croxall's Original Canto of Spencer is indicative of the distinction between burlesque and non-burlesque poetry.

One might compare, in the Spenserian stanza, Matthew Prior's Ode to the Queen (1706), Croxall's allegory (and Whiggery) is closer to John Hughes's two poems on William III, The Triumph of Peace (1698) and The Court of Neptune (1699): the first half of the poem describes the King's journey from Hanover to London, the second presents a fine Spenserian catalogue of allegorical figures, Fame, Liberty, True Religion, Commerce, Justice, Courage, Majesty, Prudence, and Power.

Harko Gerrit De Maar: "The triumph of the Whigs and the success of An Original Canto probably induced Croxall to appear before the public in his own name. On the arrival of George I he published: An Ode.... Croxall's way of flattering 'great George' makes the poem far less Spenserian than his first two attempts where he had a freer hand. On the whole the poem is much more neo-classic than romantic. Spenser's diction, which richly colours [Croxall's] two 'Cantos' is almost absent in the Ode. Instead of pictorial adjectives we find the 'stock' epithet. The romantic glamour is gone. There is evidence that Croxall had now read some of Pope's early works.... Croxall was duly rewarded for his laudatory flights of rhetoric. Lintot paid him £12 8s for the Ode, which shows at any rate that the work of a Spenserian had a considerable market value, and he was appointed chaplain-in-ordinary to his Majesty for the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court" History of Modern English Romanticism (1924) 82-83.

Christine Gerrard: "Croxall, conforming to his Protestant Whig loyalties, became an ardent Spenserian panegyrist of George I when he used the Tory Prior's Ode to the Queen as a model for his Hanoverian-oriented Ode to the King. Croxall resurfaced in the 1730s as an opposition Whig and proved to be one of Walpole's most outspoken critics. Croxall's work was known to Thomson and certainly to Pope, whose prying ministerial critic Esdras Barnivelt in the cryptic Key to the Lock of 1715 exclaimed 'who could imagine that an Original Canto of Spencer should contain a Satyr upon one Administration'" The Patriot Opposition to Walpole (1994) 168-69.



Now cou'd I wish for that fam'd golden Lyre,
Which Orpheus or Amphion tun'd of old;
Or that my Breast might glow with Sparks of Fire,
Such as in Spencer's warmer Bosom roll'd,
When in sweet Verse, and lofty Numbers bold,
He sung the Glories of Eliza's Reign;
When his auspicious Wings he dar'd unfold
In the fair Flight of an uncommon strain,
And with his Monarch's Praises charm'd the list'ning Plain.

No vulgar Aid I need; the Muse no more
Shall mask in borrow'd Lays her mystick Song,
No Knight shall feign, no captive Nymph deplore,
Nor fright in tragick Dress the rural Throng:
But on fresh Plumes, upborn with Vigour strong,
Shall gratulate Britannia's happy Isle,
Who for her absent Prince afflicted long,
Was made a Slave to State-deluding Guile,
Til Time unloos'd her Chains, and Freedom bid her smile.

Kind and indulgent still, Celestial Jove
For us his choicest Blessing does prepare,
Inspires our jarring Souls with cordial Love,
And all our Wants supplies with early Care:
For soon as ANNA's faint declining Star
Fell in the Ocean deep of endless night,
Behold! Great GEORGE, like Posphor from afar,
Deck'd with resplendent Beams arises bright,
To chear th' expecting World with more prevailing Light.

Hail! mighty Prince; may that successful Hour
In Time's fair Roll for ever Sacred stand,
Which made Thee Guardian of Britannia's Pow'r,
And with her ample Scepter fill'd thy Hand.
May soften'd Rebels own thy just Command,
From utmost Thule's rough tempestuous Shore,
To the wide Confines of the Gallick Strand;
While injur'd States thy courteous Arm implore,
To quell Tyrannick Might, and broken Leagues restore.

May thy Illustrious Stock, out-branching wide
Its goodly spreading Boughs, for ever grow;
While its Gay Blossoms, cloth'd with beauteous Pride,
On all beneath their fragrant Odours throw!
May lasting Streams of Life for ever flow
From Heav'n's clear Spring, and with their Waters pure
Descending, still refresh the Roots below!
While any Sprigs of that fair Plant endure,
Their secret Charms shall keep Britannia's Realm secure.

When Rome, proud Mistress of the vanquish'd Ball,
Had stretch'd her glorious Empire far and wide;
Ev'n haughty Kings lay subject to her Thrall,
And distant Lands her Luxury supply'd:
Till her lewd Sons, fir'd with ambitious Pride,
Thro Party-Discords (cruel and ingrate)
Wounded their tender Mother's bleeding Side:
Then direful Treasons shook the tott'ring State,
And crying Guilt call'd loud for some avenging Fate.

Til young Augustus, stor'd with ev'ry Grace,
The Joy and sole delight of Human Kind,
Guiding the troubled Helm, in little space
Sav'd the weak Vessel from the Waves and Wind:
Yet scarce cou'd Rome in her Augustus find
A nobler Prize than Heav'n's propitious Care
For Albion's happy People has design'd
For while a GEORGE the Sovereign Rule does bear,
Peace shall protect the Land, and Plenty crown the Year.

No wonder why the Winter mildly past,
Nor why the genial Spring serene and clear,
Or that our Summer 'scap'd each Mildew Blast,
And with its Load bent down the bearded Ear:
The Stars foretold this happy Day was near,
They bid the Earth her richest Stores display,
That Ceres might in seemly Dress appear;
They hung each Tree with purple Fruitage gay,
That each with various Kinds might strew great Caesar's way.

For him bright Phoebus casts a brighter Gleam,
And warms with kinder Heat the op'ning Bud;
The joyous Rivers roll an azure Stream,
And the chaste Springs refine their dimpled Flood;
The Flocks that nibbling crop their verdant Food,
Along the peaceful Vales in Safety graze;
The merry-warbling Birds thro ev'ry Wood,
In louder Notes their trilling Voices raise,
And emulous, by turns the happy Season praise.

See! from Jove's gilded Battlements on high,
His airy Messengers descending light,
With painted Pinions cleave the liquid Sky,
And to the Fav'rite Chief direct their Flight:
Some wreathe his Brow with Rays all beamy bright,
Some with ambrosial Fragrancies bespread
His Royal Robes with glist'ring Glory dight;
Some with gold Circlets bind his sacred Head,
And o'er his manly Form unusual Graces shed.

Joyn'd to his lofty Carr, each gen'rous Steed,
Proud of his Charge, to Albion's Wishes kind,
Bounds o'er Germania's Fields with winged Speed;
Swift in their Course they leave the Clouds behind,
And that which drives the Clouds, the nimble Wind:
Onward they press, and eager in their Heat,
The massy Bit with foaming Fury grind;
Their reeling Sides bedew'd with frothy Sweat,
The hollow Plain resounds beneath their trampling Feet.

Strait Belgia's friendly Provinces receive,
With loud Acclaims of Joy, the welcome Guest;
In Him they see Great WILLIAM'S Virtues live,
Of ev'ry Regal Quality possest:
The thoughtful Brow, the firm intrepid Breast,
Stern Manhood mix'd with Pity's kind Allay,
To quash the Proud, to succour the Distrest,
And damp the Tyrant's Hopes with sore Dismay,
As the dark Shades of Night fly from approaching Day.

Let Albion now and Belgia dry the Tears,
Which to that Hero's Memory they've paid;
Let no Alarms proceed from jealous Fears,
Nor let them more their adverse Stars upbraid:
Kind Heav'n has here sufficient Love display'd;
Life, once tranfix'd by Death's eternal Dart,
Flits to the gloomy Shades, nor can be stay'd:
Yet see! the Fates exert an equal Art,
And animate Great GEORGE with more than William's Heart.

Her Anchors weighing, and unfurl'd her Sails,
His Navy next conducts the Godlike King,
Opens her Bosom to the Eastern Gales,
And with full Joy distends her Canvas Wing,
Blow soft, ye Gales; yet quick, O quickly bring
The precious Life committed to your Care;
Your sweetest Airs ye gentle Naiads sing,
While finny Tritons on their Shoulders bear
Britannia's Fleet, a moving Magazine of War.

Where-e'er her Keels divide the furrow'd Main,
She claims Submission from the stubborn Gall,
Oft have her Thunders shook the Pow'r of Spain,
And made stout Belgia's colour'd Standards fall:
Arm'd with the British Oak, his wooden Wall,
The vent'rous Merchant tempts the briny Deep;
See! as they sail around the spacious Ball,
Now low they sink, now mount on Billows steep,
And now with even Course the level Surface sweep.

Old Father Neptune, as in Times of Yore
He lay repos'd within his rocky Cell,
Saw Lightnings blaze, and heard loud Thunders roar,
Like those by which the Earth-born Brethren fell;
When strait his jealous Breast began to swell:
Does Jove (he cry'd) dispute my lawful Sway,
Fix'd by eternal Fate? The Shades of Hell
By sure Decree their griesly King obey,
And Jove by Lot obtain'd the shining Realms of Day.

Up from his oozy Couch, the hoary Sire
Thus speaking, harness'd quick his Sea-bred Team;
For now the raging Flames of wrathful Ire
Had rous'd him from his dull lethargick Dream;
So mounting upward thro the yielding Stream,
He gain'd the Summit of the Marble Main;
Which, gilded with the Light's reflecting Beam,
Shone all around like a smooth glassy Plain,
O'er which the Nymphs might glide, fair Thetis and her Train.

Then glauncing round with haste his greenish Eyes,
He finds the Ocean calm, the Skies all clear;
But plain the Cause of his Mistake espies,
For, lo! Britannia's stately Fleet was near:
Soon blush'd the God, deceiv'd with idle Fear,
Yet pleas'd to find in Men such daring Skill,
Thrice he was seen his three-fork'd Mace to rear,
And thrice he bid the whispering Winds be still,
While to his watry Crew he thus declar'd his Will.

Since to this warlike People fierce and bold
Great Jove has giv'n his Empire of the Land,
Nor I, thro Length of Days, infirm and old,
Can longer well the weight of Rule withstand;
I yield my Pow'r to their more able Hand:
Let ev'ry River, as his Waters flow
O'er Europe's Soil, or India's burning Sand,
Bid distant Nations pay that Homage low
To fair Britannia's Fleet, which they to Neptune owe.

From that bless'd Hour the British Squadrons roam
Free and untroubled o'er the spreading Seas,
To settle each contending Nation's Doom,
To guide the Scale of Justice as they please,
And fix the striving World in endless Peace:
Neptune and Jove to thee, Great GEORGE, resign
Their Pow'rs, retiring to inglorious Ease;
And while they careless sit, 'tis only Thine
To moderate like Them, and with Their Lustre shine.

See! antient Thames with golden Turrets crown'd,
Expands in gentle Smiles his rugged Face,
His sedgy Cloak with bending Osiers bound;
The Silver Liquor from his earthen Vase
Forth-rushing, fresh, comes trickling down apace
Adown the shady Dales on either Side,
His sportive Streams their winding Current trace;
Til fuller grown, with Bosom swelling wide,
He bears the Royal Bark on his returning Tide.

The curious Youth croud thick upon the Shore,
And in Triumphal Shouts their Joy express,
Their King with gladsom Jubilees adore,
And his dear Life with fondest Wishes bless;
In his, still wishing their own Happiness:
Each Virgin too with sweet enchanting Song,
Her Look all gay, and festival her Dress,
Graces with sprightly Charms the ruder Throng,
Teaching old Thames to carol as he floats along.

Now issuing forth upon the bord'ring Strand,
To fair Augusta's Gates he bends his way;
(Ever distinguish'd be the Spot of Land,
Recorded ever be the Solemn Day!)
See! as He moves, the Graces round him play,
And, to indulge the People's strong Desire,
Retard his Passage with a kind Delay
That ev'ry longing Briton may inquire,
And with full Prospect quench his Fancy's eager Fire.

And thou, bright Sun, whose ever-burning Light
From Heav'n's high Roof beheld the Cavalcade,
O Phoebus! help my bold advent'rous Flight,
And with thy Skill my weaker Numbers aid,
While by the Muses Pencil are display'd
The Various Pomps of this Imperial Train;
What beauteous Forms, how sumptuously array'd,
With their Divine Appearance bless'd the Plain;
Fit Sight high Gods as well as Men to entertain.

First, Fame, a lively Cherub, young and fair,
With golden Wings up-rais'd above her Head,
Her Silver Tresses waving in the Air,
Her spotless Mantle by the Zephyr spread,
In Order due the Company forth-led:
Her nimble Feet with silken Buskins bound,
Moving on Tip-toe scarcely seem'd to tread;
And all the way a shrilling Trump she wound,
Which eccho'd, as it flew, a sweet melodious Sound.

In her Left Hand a Volume large was seen,
The Leaves imprinted all with figur'd Gold;
Which did the Monuments and Virtues sheen
Of celebrated Kings and Princes hold,
As in sage Histories they're whilom told:
Yet this same Pageant now so lovely bright,
To any fancy'd Shape herself cou'd mould,
And from an Angel of Celestial Light,
Become a lying Fiend of baleful hellish Night.

Next, Liberty, kind Nymph, whose blissful Charms
Fill ev'ry mortal Breast with Joyance glad,
Who with her youthful Beauty gently warms
The frozen Heart thro Slavery grown sad,
In a rich Velvet Robe came loosely clad.
The sparkling Glories of her chearful Eye,
Banish'd Despair with all its Symptoms bad;
And fierce Tyrannick Pow'r, when she came nigh,
Wou'd hang its drooping Crest, and in Confusion fly.

An ample Flasket on her Head she bore,
In which sweet Flow'rs, ripe Fruits, and ev'ry Grain,
That springs from Earth, were pil'd in plenteous Store;
And as she walk'd, she shook with much Disdain
The rusty Reliques of a broken Chain:
Which lately finding on some Wretch enthrall'd,
She kindly rent the Iron Links in twain;
And to new Life the meagre Vassal call'd,
Healing his tender Limbs by the rough Shackles gaul'd.

In Rank with her advanc'd a Matron chaste,
Array'd in pleated Robes all Lilly-white,
O'er which a Sable Pall was lightly cast,
That flowing on the Ground depended quite,
And look'd a venerable seemly Sight:
Her decent Locks, in simple Plainness bound,
Were compass'd with a Mitre dimly bright,
Which with enlivening Rays her Visage crown'd,
And, as it shone, dis-spred a splendid Gleam around.

Each Hand a Signal of her Office shew'd,
And her mild Personage adorn'd and grac'd;
In one a Cup with precious Wine o'erflow'd,
Which she to All extended as she past,
Yet none compell'd perforce thereof to taste:
In t' other, an huge Book well known to all,
Containing God's eternal Law, was plac'd,
Justly explain'd in Language several;
Whence Men the True Religion richly did Her call.

There follow'd these an odd Fantastique Dame
Deck'd in a Vesture of an uncouth Kind;
Which tho uncouth, her fairly well became:
Her Head a Turkish Turbant seem'd to bind,
Of Linen Cloth in many Folds entwin'd;
A gorgeous Stole of glitt'ring rich Brocade,
Purfled with Satten, trail'd along behind,
While a strange Indian Fan she wide display'd,
From the Sun's scorching Beams her Forehead fain to shade.

Upon a Ram's soft woolly Back she rode,
Whose tender Fleece the whitest Snow excel'd,
And in her spacious Lap out-spreading broad,
Ingots of Gold, and Silver Wedges held,
Which in two Heaps above her Bosom swell'd;
Her Bosom with rich Lace enfring'd around,
Brought from the sounding Banks of Rhine or Scheld,
Did with bright Adamants and Pearls abound:
She Commerce was by Name, and far away renown'd.

Next Her came Justice, like a lovely Maid,
Attir'd in Garments of a Scarlet Red;
Whose chearful Face of nothing seem'd afraid,
Yet Minds of guilty Men inspir'd with Dread,
Whene'er she turn'd about her aweful Head:
From the curs'd Time that Saturn's Golden Reign
Was intermitted, to the Skies she fled,
Spurning the baser Earth with just Disdain;
Yet now vouchsafed to bless the nether World again.

A Golden Collar, wrought with curious Art,
Hung from her Neck adown her milky Breast,
On which a Gem, in Fashion like a Heart,
Sparkling between her Ermine-border'd Vest,
The Emblem of Sincerity exprest:
A Silver Ballance in her Hand she held,
Which try'd all Causes by its faithful Test,
And evermore a blazing Sword did wield
'Gainst those who to right Judgment did refuse to yield.

With Her another march'd in equal Pace,
A Warrior Virgin clad in Armour bright;
A Virgin known by her Angelick Face,
But seemingly appear'd, in all Mens sight,
By her Deportment some advent'rous Knight:
For she was of a tall Heroick Frame,
Endu'd with Prowess, and surpassing Might;
And her rebellious Foes cou'd shortly tame,
When They her Wrath provok'd; whence Courage was her Name.

Like as when Pallas, in compleat Array,
Fair-marching fiercely to the bloody Field,
With dauntless Mind expects the Martial Fray,
Advancing high her broad Gorgonic Shield;
Her Cornel Spear, with temper'd Metal steel'd,
She brandishes: mean while the Day's clear Light
Her polish'd Helmet does with Splendor gild;
Whose pointed Beams forth-darting, shiny bright,
Empierce the Coward's Heart with Terror and Affright.

Last came Dread Majesty, most heav'nly Fair,
Rob'd like a pompous King in stately wise,
Whose Royal Vestments, made of Substance rare,
Outshone the Blueness of the concave Skies;
O'er which bright Rubies, of invalued Price,
Besprinkled thick like spangling Seeds of Fire,
Dazzled with starry Lustre all Mens Eyes,
And to far Distance forc'd them to retire,
That all its wondrous Virtue greatly did admire.

On Iv'ry Wheels his Chrystal Chariot turn'd,
Whose radiant Spokes sent forth a Silver Gleam;
With flaming Gold the fervid Axle burn'd,
And Adamantine Rays were seen to stream
Along the Harness of his dappled Team.
Enthron'd beside him sat a precious Load,
Fair Princely Prudence, Child of Jove Supreme,
Whose purpled Cheek with mild Resentment glow'd
And as she spake, each Word in mingled Hony flow'd.

Near them as Guard, there marched Britannic Pow'r,
In Scales of Fulgent Armour clad around,
Whose Strength, all like the Bulwark of some Tow'r,
By mortal Arm impregnable was found:
His lofty Helm with crested Plumes was crown'd,
His Right Hand brandish'd high a sabre keen,
In his fierce Look stern Resolution frown'd;
With Terror aw'd, the gazing Crowd, I ween,
In silence still admir'd his huge Gigantick Mein.

He rode upon a Courser strong and bold,
Such as Morocco breeds, or Araby,
Richly carparison'd in burnish'd Gold,
With Bosses garnish'd on his Headstall high:
Hard on his arched Neck the Reins did lie,
And drew his smoaky Nostril to his Chest;
Swifter than any Shaft he else would fly,
And now with Foam reluctant bath'd his Breast,
Impatient of the Menage which his Heat repress'd.

And all beside them, as they mov'd along,
The tuneful Maids, that on Parnassus dwell,
With Harps new-strung, rehears'd a grateful Song,
By Phoebus pen'd, at the Castalian Well:
Some with nice Fingers touch the vocal Shell;
Some with soft Art their Voices raise,
And various notes with dulcet Musick swell;
While all with equal Skill unite their Lays,
And in consenting Numbers breathe Great GEORGE'S Praise.

Nor will Thou, Gracious Sovereign, refuse,
Among the gaudy Garlands of the Day,
The humble Tribute of a grateful Muse,
Who with her tender Boughs of budding Bay,
Such as she cou'd, bestrews her Monarch's Way:
Smit with her Country's Love she quits the Plain,
Where she was wont on Oaten Pipes to play,
And joining with the soft inspired Train;
Proclaims her Prince's Virtues in a loftier Strain.

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