1746
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode: occasion'd by his Royal Highness's Victory, and his wish'd Return.

Gentleman's Magazine 16 (May 1746) 267.

Anonymous


An anonymous ode in couplets celebrating the Duke of Cumberland's victory of the Jacobites at Culloden — in the sprightly measure of Milton's L'Allegro. The body of the poem represents the "Butcher's" pursuit of the Scots as a metaphorical stag hunt: "As swift her firm pursuer goes, | Rapine to drive thro' ev'ry place; | William thinks this a glorious chace. | Till hopeless now that flight could save, | (For cowards in despair are brave,) | Near Inverness the Sorceress stands, | And summons all her savage bands." William Collins's contemporaneous odes, likewise imitations of Milton, are much more somber affairs.

Henry A. Beers: "The influence of Milton's minor poetry first becomes noticeable in the fifth decade of the century, and in the work of a new group of lyrical poets: Collins, Gray, Mason, and the brothers Joseph and Thomas Warton. To all of these Milton was master. But just as Thomson and Shenstone got original effects from Spenser's stanza, while West and Cambridge and Lloyd were nothing but echoes; so Collins and Gray — immortal names — drew fresh music from Milton's organ pipes, while for the others he set the tune" English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century (1899) 151.



Bright goddess of immortal song,
From heav'n descend, and bring along
Fame, Concord, Liberty and Truth,
Still blooming in immortal youth;
Fair emblems of the prince, whose praise
Wou'd grace the Greek or Roman lays,
The grateful voice of rescued arts,
Th' applause of tongues, the love of hearts,
Who can so justly claim, as he,
To whom we owe that we are free?

When Faction late with direful force
Against Britannia urg'd her course,
Pale with her fears she pensive sate,
And ey'd the gathering storms of fate.
Abroad attack'd — at home betray'd,
She rather wish'd, than hop'd for aid;
Yet turn'd to heav'n, and George her eyes,
Heav'n smil'd! George bids her hero rise,
And in his own effulgence drest,
Give the desponding nation rest.
William allur'd by glory's charms,
Flew with a lover's haste to arms.
But as the eaglet's lofty flight,
To distance awes the dastard kite,
Abash'd th' invader shunn'd his view,
And from the destin'd prey withdrew.
Yet Caledonia mourn'd her thrall,
And William heard the wak'ning call.
She sees the young Alcides nigh,
Her head is rais'd, her eyes are dry.
She points to Falkirk's desart plain,
Where fierce Rebellion arms her train.
But soon as William's voice she hears,
Her rapid flight confest her fears.
O'er heaths, o'er hills that touch the skies
She bounds, and ev'ry nerve she tries;
O'er pathless rocks, thro' wintry snows,
As swift her firm pursuer goes,
Rapine to drive thro' ev'ry place;
William thinks this a glorious chace.
Till hopeless now that flight could save,
(For cowards in despair are brave,)
Near Inverness the Sorceress stands,
And summons all her savage bands.
Resolv'd, her utmost pow'r she try'd
To stab fair Freedom, — ere she dy'd.

Her fate drew near! — the season smiles,
And William pleas'd, renews his toils;
And thro' the rapid waves of Spey,
With ardour leads his troops the way.
At length — his hopes by heav'n are crown'd,
With joy the foe he sought is found;
Nor long the strife — for what avail
The clamour loud, and wild assail,
When valour calm with conduct joins,
And this fulfils what that designs?
Nought of the tumult now remains,
But heaps of foes that spread the plains.

O chief belov'd — whom heav'n befriends,
Rais'd for the noblest, happiest ends!
To thee let grateful nations pay
Their thanks for this decisive day.
How could thy Britons but with pride
Face death — to conquest thou their guide?

Yet not the deeds, thy sword atchiev'd,
Nor foes subdu'd, nor friends reliev'd,
Not the loud voice of sounding Fame,
Inspir'd, delighted with thy name,
With half the joy cou'd fill thy breast,
As Britain's publick thanks exprest.

Let other hearts false zeal inspire,
To set the suff'ring world on fire,
On ruin'd nations trophies raise,
And purchase guilty, shameful praise;
'Tis William's aim — and juster pride,
To fight on TRUTH'S and FREEDOM'S side,
To guard the rights by heav'n assign'd
To bless, a prince's charge, — mankind.

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