Andrew Marvell.


364   An Horatian Ode

upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland

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 oil the unused armour’s rust,
     Removing from the wall
     The corslet of the hall.

So restless Cromwell could not cease
In the inglorious arts of peace,
     But through adventurous war
     Urgàed his active star:

And like the three-fork’d lightning, first
Breaking the clouds where it was nurst,
     Did thorough his own side
     His fiery way divide:

For ’tis all one to courage high,
The emulous, or enemy;
     And with such, to enclose
     Is more than to oppose.

Then burning through the air he went
And palaces and temples rent;
     And Caesar’s head at last
     Did through his laurels blast.

’Tis madness to resist or blame
The face of angry Heaven’s flame;
     And if we would speak true,
     Much to the man is due,

Who, from his private gardens, where
He lived reservàed and austere
     (As if his highest plot
     To plant the bergamot),

Could by industrious valour climb
To ruin the great work of time,
     And cast the Kingdoms old
     Into another mould;

Though Justice against Fate complain,
And plead the ancient 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 war
Where his were not the deepest scar?
     And Hampton shows what part
     He had of wiser art;

Where, twining subtle fears with hope,
He wove a net of such a scope
     That Charles himself might chase
     To Carisbrook’s narrow case;

That thence the Royal actor borne
The tragic scaffold might adorn:
     While round the armàed bands
     Did clap their bloody hands.

He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable scene,
     But with his keener eye
     The axe’s edge did try;

Nor call’d the Gods, with vulgar spite,
To vindicate his helpless right;
     But bow’d his comely head
     Down, as upon a bed.

This was that memorable hour
Which first assured the forcàed power:
     So when they did design
     The Capitol’s first line,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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