HumanitiesWeb.org - Editor's Selection of Poems (An Horation Ode Upon Cromwell's Return From Ireland ) by Andrew Marvell
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Editor's Selection of Poems
An Horation Ode Upon Cromwell's Return From Ireland

by Andrew Marvell

The forward Youth that would appear
Must now forsake his Muses dear,
Nor in the Shadows sing
His Numbers languishing.
'Tis time to leave the Books in dust,
And oyl th'unused Armours rust:
Removing from the Wall
The Corslet of the Hall.
So restless Cromwell could not cease
In the inglorious Arts of Peace,
But through adventrous War
Urged his active Star.
And, like the three-fork'd Lightning, first
Breaking the Clouds where it was nurst,
Did through his own Side
His fiery way divide.
For 'tis all one to Courage high
The Emulous or Enemy;
And with such to inclose
Is more then to oppose.
Then burning through the Air he went,
And Pallaces and Temples rent:
And Caesars head at last
Did through his Laurels blast.
'Tis Madness to resist or blame
The force of angry Heavens flame:
And, if we would speak true,
Much to the Man is due.
Who, from his private Gardens, where
He liv'd reserved and austere,
As if his hightest plot
To plant the Bergamot,
Could by industrious Valour climbe
To ruine the great Work of Time,
And cast the Kingdome old
Into another Mold.
Though Justice against Fate complain,
And plead the antient Rights in vain:
But those do hold or break
As Men are strong or weak.
Nature that hateth emptiness,
Allows of penetration less:
And therefore must make room.
Where greater Spirits come.
What Field of all the Civil Wars,
Where his were not the deepest Scars?
And Hampton shows what part
He had of wiser Art.
Where, twining subtile fears with hope,
He wove a Net of such a scope,
That Charles himself might chase
To Caresbrooks narrow case.
That thence the Royal Actor born
The Tragick Scaffold might adorn
While round the armed Bands
Did clap their bloody hands.
He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable Scene:
But with his keener Eye
The Axes edge did try:
Nor call'd the Gods with vulgar spight
To vindicate his helpless Right,
But bow'd his comely Head,
Down as upon a Bed.
This was that memorable Hour
Which first assur'd the forced Pow'r.
So when they did design
The Capitols first Line,
A bleeding Head where they begun,
Did fright the Architects to run;
And yet in that the State
Foresaw it's happy Fate.
And now the Irish are asham'd
To see themselves in one Year tam'd:
So much one Man can do,
That does both act and know.
They can affirm his Praises best,
And Have, though overcome, confest
How good he is, how just,
And fit for highest Trust:
Nor yet grown stiffer with Command,
But still in the Republick's hand:
How fit he is to sway
That can so well obey.
He to the Common Feet presents
A Kingdome, for his first years rents:
And, what he may, forbears
His Fame to make it theirs:
And has his Sword and Spoyls ungirt,
To lay them at the Publick's skirt.
So when the Falcon high
Falls heavy from the Sky,
She, having kill'd no more does search,
But on the next green Bow to pearch;
Where, when he first does lure,
The Falckner has her sure.
What may not then our Isle presume
While Victory his Crest does plume!
What may not others fear
If thus he crown each Year!
A Caesar he ere long to Gaul,
To Italy an Hannibal,
And to all States not free
Shall Clymacterick be.
The Pict no shelter now shall find
Within his party-colour'd Mind;
But from this Valour sad
Shrink underneath the Plad:
Happy if in the tufted brake
The English Hunter him mistake;
Nor lay his Hounds in near
The Caledonian Deer.
But thou the Wars and Fortunes Son
March indefatigably on;
And for the last effect
Still keep thy Sword erect:
Besides the Force it has to fright
The Spirits of the shady Night,
The same Arts that did gain
A Pow'r must it maintain.
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