1714
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Poem upon his Majesties Accession.

A Poem upon his Majesties Accession. Inscrib'd to his Grace John Duke of Marlborough. By the Author of the Verses upon his Grace's retiring into Germany.

Dr. George Sewell


George Sewell, friend of Addison and the Whig cause, wishes a new Spenser would rise to hail the arrival of the House of Hanover and to defend the cause of British liberty against the French threat: "No more, Britannia, shall thy Scepter stand | Doubtful of each succeeding Master's Hand; | No Gallic Idol raise unmanly Fears, | For lo! thy Other Hope, a Prince appears" p. 11. The poem, published anonymously, lauds the Duke of Marlborough as the bulwark of liberty against faction, France, and Catholicism.

Compare Samuel Croxall's explicitly Spenserian Ode, humbly presented to the King (1714). The change of dynasty meant a redistribution of patronage positions not unlike that of 1660; Samuel Croxall drew a winning ticket while George Sewell, once a Tory sympathizer, drifted into obscurity despite his associations with Addison and Steele.

Thomas Hearne: "On Monday last (Sept. 20th) king George (as he is styled) with his son, (who is in the 31st year of his age, and is called prince of Wales, he having been so created,) entered London, and came to the palace of St. James's, attended with several thousands. It was observed that the Duke of Marlborough was more huzza'd, upon this occasion, than King George, and that the acclamation, 'God save the duke of Marlborough!' was more frequently repeated than 'God save the king!' In the evening the illuminations and bonfires were not many. King George hath begun to change all the ministers, and to put in the whiggs, every post bringing us news of this alteration, to the grievous mortification of that party called tories. The duke of Marlborough is made captain general of all the forces in room of the duke of Ormond, not to mention the other great changes. But the tories must thank themselves for all this, they having acted whilst in power very unworthily, and instead of preferring worthy scholars and truly honest men, they put in the quite contrary, and indeed behaved themselves with very little courage or integrity. I am sorry to write this; but 'tis too notorious, and they therefore very deservedly suffer now" 25 September 1714; in Reliquae Hearniae, ed. Bliss (1869) 1:308-09.



What? Are at length the doubtful Nations freed?
Does Britain smile again, and GEORGE Succeed?
And no new SPENCER touch the silent String;
No HALIFAX Inspire, nor CONGREVE Sing?
Not thus Ye promis'd, O! Ye Sons of Fame,
Pleas'd with the distant Glories of his Name,
With num'rous Monarchs in Successive Train,
And Sons of Heroes down from Reign to Reign,
Celestial Progeny — And now Ye view
In your own GEORGE, that Scene of Wonders true.
—Begin then, Muse, to these auspicious Days
Assert thy Right, and pay thy Votive Lays.

Queen of the Ocean, fair Britannia rise;
From leaden bands of Sleep unseal thy Eyes.
Awake to Glory: Be as once before,
When WILLIAM stretch'd thy Fame from Shore to Shore,
And taught thy Foes to fear no greater Name,
'Till in accomplish'd Time a BRUNSWICK came.
O! True Descendant of a Royal Line,
In whom at once the Saint and Hero join;
Born to retrieve a sinking Nation's Fate,
And raise her high in Virtue, as in State;
To urge her Conquests in a Righteous Cause,
And give eternal Sanction to her Laws.

Blest be the Guardian Angel of the Isle!
That this fair Branch transplanted from the Soil
That nurtur'd it with Care in Foreign Climes,
Free from the sickly Taint of British Crimes,
To re-translate it to the Land at length,
In fuller Honours, and maturer Strength.
So (for tho' different our Sense they strike,
The Works of Providence are still alike)
When swelling Ocean above Ocean rose,
To purge the Guilty World of all her Woes,
One chosen House, by Miracles immur'd,
The Great Rewarder of their Faith secur'd;
From whom a better Race of Men should spring,
The Holy Patriarch, and the Scepter'd King.

Just Heaven! we now forgive thy vengeful Hand,
For all the Plagues that scourg'd an impious Land;
For all she felt in long Inglorious Reigns,
Oppress'd with Rebels Arms, and Tyrants Chains;
Since from their Errors we are taught to know
What Duty Subjects, and what Princes owe:
And Britain can with equal Pleasure see
Her Monarch Glorious, and her People Free.

Dear Spot of Liberty! Fair Virtue's Seat!
On this Foundation thou art truly Great;
Thus safe at Home, thy Pow'rs encrease Abroad;
The Main is Freed, the Continent is Aw'd.

See! See already how thy swelling Fame
Spreads thro' the World in this Auspicious Name;
See how the Nations gather round, and own
The Rising Terrours of thy GEORGE'S Throne.
Contending Monarchs their Debates suspend,
To court His Friendship, and His Smile attend;
So early in their Praises they appear,
As they would emulate his Britains Care;
States adverse to the Name such Honours bring,
As if They wish'd at least for such a KING.

How chang'd the Scene! how different is the View
From what of late our doubtful Country knew!
When, sick and wanton with successful Pride,
Ungratefully Her Blessings she denied:
Amidst Her Glories at her self repin'd,
And the dear Purchase of her Blood declin'd;
Beheld the Waste of Providence with Pain,
And flung all back upon its Hands again.

Then all her Warriours Hearts at once grew cold,
Full in the Heat of Victories controul'd;
Then, at the Momentary Point of Fate,
When Tyranny was nodding to its Date,
A sudden Sickness seiz'd the trembling Land,
Envy prevail'd, and shorten'd MARLBRO'S Hand.

He went, the Voluntary Exile went,
And left th' Ungrateful Island to repent;
While Factious Statesmen, careless of her Grief,
Indulg'd their Feuds, and brought her no Relief;
Till He, like some bright Star, appear'd again,
The Glorious Harbinger of GEORGE'S Reign.

Forgive, Great Sir, the Muse, that dares allay
With any backward Gloom this brighter Day:
Perhaps the Work, for MARLBRO'S Arm too Great,
Was kept for You by a peculiar Fate:
And sure Heav'n seem'd of old design'd to grace
With some such signal Act thy Favourite Race;
Which early in its own Defence it chose,
To Purge its Altars, and Reform its Foes.

They soonest pierc'd the Church's darksome Gloom,
And snatch'd Religion from the Chains of Rome;
Taught Bright-ey'd Faith to soar above the Skies,
And leave her Legends, Venerable Lies;
Then Superstition of a motley Hue,
With all her Idol Saints and Gods withdrew;
While hood-wink'd Ignorance her Reign resign'd;
Reason resum'd her Empire o're the Mind.

Thus They: And still amid Thy Generous Line,
New Heroes flourish, and new Patriots shine.
Successive Scenes of Glory strike our Eyes,
For Greater Actions Greater Spirits rise;
'Till Providence, collecting all its Might,
Bid You go forth, and Conquer in its Right;
Snatch Hosts of Martyrs from the Threatning Grave,
And from the Flames a thousand Temples save.
The Barbarous Infidel with Rage beheld
The Cross Triumphant, and the Crescent Quell'd.

Then Just Presages Thy Germania drew
Of future Wonders to be Done by You;
And soon whate'er Her boldest Hopes conceiv'd,
Thy Counsels acted, or thy Arms atchiev'd.

Behold! how Gallia, Formidable Name!
Revives Her ancient Arbitrary Claim:
That Tide, by NASSAU check'd, with greater Force
Rolls back, and covers Nations in its Course:
Again his sinking Country calls his Sword;
Again She calls, and is again Restor'd.

Enough, Great Prince, is given thy Native Land;
Twice Sav'd and Rescu'd by thy Powerful Hand.
Now to the Voice of other Nations bend,
Wide as the World thy Saving Aid extend:
In Britain's Kings all Countries claim a Share,
For so before they bless'd Her WILLIAM'S Care:
And now His Kingdoms, and His Virtues too,
(The Best Succession) are devolv'd on You.
O! may the Land, all Storms of Envy past,
Be Just unto that Hero's Shade at last;
Pay ev'ry Honour to His Ashes due,
While we with Joy and Admiration view
How much He lov'd Us by His Choice of You.

Thee, Great Reformer of a Vicious Age,
Healer of Discord, and of Civil Rage,
All Tongues with emulating Pride confess,
Divided Nations own, and Factions Bless.
Monarchs long seated on a Peaceful Throne,
By Acts of Mercy and Indulgence known,
Scarce such Affection from their People gain,
As You possess, now You Begin to Reign.
Safe in our Prince's Piety we scorn
To make our Duty wait the slow Return
Till Time and Gratitude shall bid it burn:
Their Zeal can never rise too fast who know
They cannot Pay so much, as they shall Owe.

No more, Britannia, shall thy Scepter stand
Doubtful of each succeeding Master's Hand;
No Gallic Idol raise unmanly Fears,
For lo! thy Other Hope, a Prince appears,
Sufficient Guardian to secure his own,
And to Posterity confirm his Throne;
While the Young Hero forms our Gen'rous Youth,
To British Valour, and to German Truth.

[pp. 3-11]