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history; and like swans, grow whiter the longer it endures and the name of ORMOND will be more celebrated in his captivity, than in his greatest triumphs.
But all actions of your Grace are of a piece; as waters keep the tenor of their fountains: your compassion is general, and has the same effect as well on enemies as friends. It is so much in your nature to do good, that your life is but one continued act of placing benefits on many; as the sun is always carrying his light to some part or other of the world: and were it not that your reason guides you where to give, I might almost say that you could not help bestowing more than is consisting with the fortune of a private man, or with the will of any but an Alexander.
What wonder is it then, that being born for a blessing to mankind, your supposed death in that engagement was so generally lamented through the nation! the concernment for it was as universal as the loss: and though the gratitude might be counterfeit in some, yet the tears of all were real: where every man deplored his private part in that calamity, and even those, who had not tasted of your favours, yet built so much on the fame of your beneficence, that they bemoaned the loss of their expectations.
This brought the untimely death of your great Father into fresh remembrance; as if the same decree had passed on two short successive generations of the virtuous; and I repeated to myself the same verses which I had formerly applied to him: Ostendunt terris hunc tantùm fata, nec ultrà esse sinunt. But to the joy not only of all
good men, but of mankind in general, the unhappy omen took not place. You are still living to enjoy the blessings and applause of all the good you have performed; the prayers of multitudes whom you have obliged, for your long prosperity; and that your power of doing generous and charitable actions may be as extended as your will; which is by none more zealously desired than by
TO HER GRACE
THE DUCHESS OF ORMOND:
WITH THE FOLLOWING POEM OF
PALAMON AND ARCITE.
THE bard who first adorn'd our native tongue,
Vouchsafe, illustrious Ormond, to behold What power the charms of beauty had of old; Nor wonder if such deeds of arms were done, Inspired by two fair eyes that sparkled like your
If Chaucer by the best idea wrought, And poets can divine each other's thought, The fairest nymph before his eyes he set; And then the fairest was-Plantagenet! Who three contending princes made her prize, And ruled the rival nations with her eyes; Who left immortal trophies of her fame, And to the noblest order gave the name. Like her, of equal kindred to the throne, You keep her conquests, and extend your own:
As when the stars, in their etherial race,
(For beauty still is fatal to the line),
Had Chaucer lived that angel-face to view,
Time shall accomplish that; and I shall see A Palamon in him, in you an Emily.
Already have the Fates your path prepared, And sure presage your future sway declared: When westward, like the sun you took your way, And from benighted Britain bore the day, Blue Triton gave the signal from the shore, The ready Nereids heard, and swam before To smooth the seas; a soft Etesian gale But just inspired, and gently swell'd the sail; Portunus took his turn, whose ample hand Heaved up his lighten'd keel, and sunk the sand, And steer'd the sacred vessel safe to land. The land, if not restrain'd, had met your way, Projected out a neck, and jutted to the sea.
Hibernia, prostrate at your feet, adored,
His father and his grandsire known to fame :
At your approach, they crowded to the port;
The waste of civil wars, their towns destroy'd, Pales unhonour'd, Ceres unemploy'd, Were all forgot; and one triumphant day Wiped all the tears of three campaigns away. Blood, rapines, massacres, were cheaply bought; So mighty recompense your beauty brought.
As when the dove, returning, bore the mark Of earth restored to the long-labouring ark, The relics of mankind, secure of rest, Oped every window to receive the guest, And the fair bearer of the message bless'd; So, when you came, with loud repeated cries, The nation took an omen from your eyes, And God advanced his rainbow in the skies, To sign inviolable peace restored;
The saints with solemn shouts proclaim'd the new accord.
When at your second coming you appear, (For I foretel that millenary year)
The sharpen'd share shall vex the soil no more, But earth unbidden shall produce her store: The land shall laugh, the circling ocean smile, And Heaven's indulgence bless the holy isle.