Carmen Seculare. For the Year 1700. To The King

Thy elder Look, Great Janus, cast
Into the long Records of Ages past:
Review the Years in fairest Action drest
With noted White, Superior to the rest;
Aera's deriv'd, and Chronicles begun
From Empires founded, and from Battels won:
Show all the Spoils by valiant Kings achiev'd,
And groaning Nations by Their Arms reliev'd;
The Wounds of Patriots in their Country's Cause,
And happy Pow'r sustain'd by wholesom Laws:
In comely Rank call ev'ry Merit forth:
Imprint on ev'ry Act it's Standard Worth:
The glorious Parallels then downward bring
To Modern Wonders, and to Britain's King:
With equal Justice and Historic Care
Their Laws, Their Toils, Their Arms with His compare:
Confess the various Attributes of Fame
Collected and compleat in William's Name:
To all the list'ning World relate
(As Thou dost His Story read)
That nothing went before so Great,
And nothing Greater can succeed.
Thy Native Latium was Thy darling Care,
Prudent in Peace, and terrible in War:
The boldest Virtues that have govern'd Earth
From Latium's fruitful Womb derive their Birth.
Then turn to Her fair-written Page:
From dawning Childhood to establish'd Age,
The Glories of Her Empire trace:
Confront the Heroes of Thy Roman Race:
And let the justest Palm the Victor's Temples grace.
The Son of Mars reduc'd the trembling Swains,
And spread His Empire o'er the distant Plains:
But yet the Sabins violated Charms
Obscur'd the Glory of His rising Arms.
Numa the Rights of strict Religion knew;
On ev'ry Altar laid the Incense due;
Unskill'd to dart the pointed Spear,
Or lead the forward Youth to noble War.
Stern Brutus was with too much Horror good,
Holding his Fasces stain'd with Filial Blood.
Fabius was Wise, but with Excess of Care;
He sav'd his Country; but prolonged the War:
While Decius, Paulus, Curius greatly fought;
And by Their strict Examples taught,
How wild Desires should be controll'd;
And how much brighter Virtue was, than Gold;
They scarce Their swelling Thirst of Fame could hide;
And boasted Poverty with too much Pride.
Excess in Youth made Scipio less rever'd:
And Cato dying seem'd to own, He fear'd.
Julius with Honor tam'd Rome's foreign Foes:
But Patriots fell, e'er the Dictator rose.
And while with Clemency Augustus reign'd;
The Monarch was ador'd; the City chain'd.
With justest Honour be Their Merits drest:
But be Their Failings too confest:
Their Virtue, like their Tyber's Flood
Rolling, it's Course design'd the Country's Good:
But oft the Torrent's too impetuous Speed
From the low Earth tore some polluting Weed:
And with the Blood of Jove there always ran
Some viler Part, some Tincture of the Man.
Few Virtues after These so far prevail,
But that Their Vices more than turn the Scale:
Valour grown wild by Pride, and Pow'r by Rage,
Did the true Charms of Majesty impair:
Rome by Degrees advancing more in Age,
Show'd sad Remains of what had once been fair;
'Till Heav'n a better Race of Men supplies;
And Glory shoots new Beams from Western Skies.
Turn then to Pharamond, and Charlemain,
And the long Heroes of the Gallic Strain;
Experienc'd Chiefs, for hardy Prowess known,
And bloody Wreaths in vent'rous Battels won.
From the First William, our great Norman King,
The bold Plantagenets, and Tudors bring;
Illustrious Virtues, who by turns have rose,
In foreign Fields to check Britannia's Foes;
With happy Laws Her Empire to sustain,
And with full Pow'r assert Her ambient Main:
But sometimes too Industrious to be Great,
Nor Patient to expect the Turns of Fate,
They open'd Camps deform'd by Civil Fight,
And made proud Conquest trample over Right:
Disparted Britain mourn'd Their doubtful Sway,
And dreaded Both, when Neither would obey.

From Didier, and Imperial Adolph trace
The Glorious Offspring of the Nassaw Race,
Devoted Lives to Publick Liberty;
The Chief still dying, or the Country free.
Then see the Kindred Blood of Orange flow,
From warlike Cornet, thro' the Loins of Beau;
Thro' Chalon next; and there with Nassaw join,
From Rhone's fair Banks transplanted to the Rhine.
Bring next the Royal List of Stuarts forth,
Undaunted Minds, that rul'd the rugged North;
'Till Heav'n's Decrees by rip'ning Times are shown;
'Till Scotland's Kings ascend the English Throne;
And the fair Rivals live for ever One.
Janus, mighty Deity,
Be kind; and as Thy searching Eye
Does our Modern Story trace,
Finding some of Stuart's Race
Unhappy, pass Their Annals by:
No harsh Reflection let Remembrance raise:
Forbear to mention, what Thou cans
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Matthew Prior

Matthew Prior was an English poet and diplomat. more…

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"Carmen Seculare. For the Year 1700. To The King" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 14 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/27341/carmen-seculare.-for-the-year-1700.-to-the-king>.

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