To the Queen at Oxford

Henry King 1592 (Worminghall, Buckinghamshire) – 1669 (Chichester)

Great Lady! That thus quite against our use,
We speak your welcome by an English Muse,
And in a vulgar tongue our zeales contrive,
Is to confess your large prerogative,
Who have the pow'rful freedom to dispense
With our strict Rules, or Customes difference.
Tis fit when such a Star deigns to appeare
And shine within the Academick Spheare,
That ev'ry Colledge grac't by your resort,
Should onely speak the language of your Court;
As if Apollo's learned Quire, but You
No other Queen of the Ascendent knew.
Let those that list invoke the Delphian name,
To light their verse, and quench their doting flame;
In Helicon it were High Treason now,
Did any to a feign'd Minerva bow;
When You are present, whose chast vertues stain
The vaunted glories of her Maiden brain.
I would not flatter. May that dyet feed
Deform'd and vicious soules: they onely need
Such physick, who grown sick of their decayes,
Are onely cur'd with surfets of false praise;
Like those, who fall'n from Youth or Beauties grace,
Lay colours on which more bely the face.
Be You still what You are; a glorious Theme
For Truth to crown. So when that Diademe
Which circles Your fair brow drops off, and time
Shall lift You to that pitch our prayers climbe;
Posterity will plat a nobler wreath,
To crown Your fame and memory in death.
This is sad truth and plain, which I might fear
Would scarce prove welcome to a Princes ear;
And hardly may you think that Writer wise
Who preaches there where he should poetize;
Yet where so rich a bank of goodness is,
Triumphs and Feasts admit such thoughts as this;
Nor will your vertue from her Client turn,
Although he bring his tribute in an urn.
Enough of this: who knowes not when to end
Needs must by tedious diligence offend.
'Tis not a Poets office to advance
The precious value of allegiance.
And least of all the rest do I affect
To word my duty in this dialect.
My service lies a better way, whose tone
Is spirited by full devotion.
Thus whil'st I mention You, Your Royal Mate,
And Those which your blest line perpetuate,
I shall such votes of happiness reherse,
Whose softest accents will out-tongue my verse.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Henry King

Henry King was an English poet who served as Bishop of Chichester. more…

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