1763
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Untitled, "Hence, monster, War! — hence to the wasted plains."]

Gratulatio Academiae Cantabrigiensis in Pacem Augustissimi Principis Georgii III. Magnae Britanniae Regis Auspiciis Europae Feliciter Restitutam Anno M.DCC.LXIII.

Rev. George Travis


An imitation of Milton's companion poems by a Cambridge undergraduate in four vast, irregular, Pindaric stanzas: "O GEORGE! great King! in whom with raptur'd eyes | Britannia sees her second Alfred rise, | Eager to launch her thunder on her foes, | More eager still the wounds of War to close!" George Travis later gained celebrity as a religious controversialist.

Monthly Magazine: "Though a pluralist, and a man of respectable talents, Mr. Travis had little of the stiffness of a churchman about him, being remarkably affable, facetious, and pleasant to all. The universality of his genius was evinced by the various translations in which he was concerned, and in all of which he excelled — presiding one day with propriety and ability at the head of a canal committee, the next superintending a sale of a lot of oxen, and the third, collecting, in his library, arguments in support of the doctrine of the Trinity. In his manners, the gentleman and the scholar were gracefully and happily blended" 3 (March 1797) 240.



I.
Hence, monster, War! — hence to the wasted plains,
Where the grim Tartar prowls for prey; where reigns
Wide Desolation! — long thy iron sway
Has Europe mourn'd; — long hast thou mark'd thy way
O'er her dispeopled realms with crimson'd stride!
Too oft the just have bled, the guiltless died!
Too oft thy rage hath wak'd the parent's sigh,
Call'd forth the widow's tear, the orphan's cry;
Blasted the produce of the fruitful field,
Whate'er springs promise, or what autumns yield;
With impious aim hath nature's self laid low,
And wounded nations at a single blow!
—Hence, savage monster, War, to Scythia's coast!
There reign, fit colleague! with perpetual frost!
There in hot blood bathe deep thy thirsty hand,
For ever exil'd from this happier land!—
—But come, fair Peace! sweet Seraph, come and smile.
On Europe's harass'd realms, on Britain's isle!
Awake thou heav'n-appointed hour,
Destin'd upon thy orient wing
The wand'rer, Peace, again to bring,
The lovely wand'rer! back to Britain's shore!

II.
And lo! she comes — a flood of light
Bursts from yon parting cloud! — confest
The Goddess shines! — her snowy vest
Loose floats in air! — she comes! she fills the sight!
"Hail Peace! earth's blessing, Heaven's delight!—
She comes! — smite loud the sounding lyre,
Swell the sacred note still higher;
Raise it with the rising gale!—
The Goddess hears! — "All hail!"—
See, a dove sit on her crest,
(Emblem of her soft behest!)
One hand an olive-branch adorn,
The other Plenty's wreathed horn!
O mark the Goddess! see! sun-bright,
Tho' mild as morn, her eye on all
Bids soft-streaming radiance fall;
Yet chief regards with soft delight,
Yet chief beholds with partial smile,
The gen'rous sons of Britain's isle,
Who late, tho' injur'd, bade War's fury burn,
Who oft, tho' conqu'ring, woo'd her glad return!
See! as she smiling wings her way,
The warrior's glitt'ring blade, high-rais'd in air,
Stops; — his stern frowns, deep-menacing dismay,
Straight a gentler aspect wear,
His hand, in act to strike, suspends the blow,
And courts the clasp of his admiring foe!—

III.
Now the loud trump, dread harbinger of War,
The hollow drum, hoarse-murm'ring from afar,
The clarion shrill, the cannon's brazen roar,
Shall wake again the peaceful morn no more!
Now, Flora, lift thy smiling head,
Chequer sweet the daisied mead;
Wake again the slumb'ring gloom,
Bid each gale breathe soft perfume,
Fearless of War's untimely waste:—
For see! far hence the ruthless spoiler chac'd!
The hind well-pleas'd now speeds his annual toil,
Nor dreads again the lawless plund'rer's spoil.
Now the glad merchant to each fav'ring breeze
Spreads the wide sail, and ploughs secure the seas,
Wings his bold course through ev'ry varying zone,
And makes the wealth of distant realms his own;
Now burns, sun-beat, on Afric's sultry coast,
Now shivers pierc'd with Iceland's keenest frost;
Yet shivers now, now burns, rejoic'd the while,
Since Peace and Safety bless his various toil.—

IV.
These are thy blessings, Peace! thou the kind source
Whence these, whence more than these, derive their course
Enriching all! yet from thy gift, alone
Our seagirt isles a bliss peculiar own.
For say; (— shall the hold Muse thus high aspire?)
O say, could GEORGE; — say, could the Royal Sire
Of him, whose birth late wak'd a nation's joy,
And bade full rapture flush each Briton's eye;—
Say, could he teach to bloom the infant bud
In which lies Albion's ev'ry hope enshrin'd;
To ev'ry patriot, ev'ry princely good,
Say, could he duly form his op'ning mind,
Torn from the fond employ by War's alarms,
The call of kingdoms, and the rage of arms?
Now the sweet task, — thanks to thy gentler pow'r,
Which bids him, Atlas-like, awhile transfer
To weaker shoulders his important care,—
May oft engage retirement's golden hour.
O GEORGE! great King! in whom with raptur'd eyes
Britannia sees her second Alfred rise,
Eager to launch her thunder on her foes,
More eager still the wounds of War to close!
O thou, thy subject's guardian, and his guide!
All Europe's terror, envy; — yet its pride!
Bid him, thy son, pursue thy heav'n taught-plan,
The tyrant's scourge, the friend of man to man.
Give him to catch from thee the heav'n born fire;
Give him to emulate his godlike sire,
Who, when o'er Taio's waste-devoted plain
Oppression late high shook her iron chain,
Rose and forbade the monster to devour;
Rose and preserv'd — O virtuous use of pow'r!
To Taio's sons their king, their rights, their laws,
Espousing still, like Heav'n, the injur'd suppliant's cause!
Teach him to be — for oh! what more
Can man attain, the Muse implore?—
Like thee, whom ev'ry tongue delighted sings,
The best of Men, and best-belov'd of Kings!

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