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BLENHEIM.

Written at the University of Oxford in the Year 1727.

1 PARENT of arts, whose skilful hand first taught
2 The tow'ring pile to rise, and form'd the plan
3 With fair proportion; architect divine,
4 Minerva, thee to my advent'rous lyre
5 Assistant I invoke, the means to sing
6 BLENHEMIA, monument of British fame,
7 Thy glorious work! for thou the lofty tow'rs
8 Didst to his virtue raise, whom oft thy shield
9 In peril guarded, and thy wisdom steer'd
10 Through all the storms of war. Thee too I call,
11 Thalia, sylvan Muse, who lov'st to rove
12 Along the shady paths and verdant bow'rs
13 Of Woodstock's happy grove: there tuning sweet
14 Thy rural pipe, while all the Dryad train
15 Attentive listen; let thy warbling song
16 Paint with melodious praise the pleasing scene,
17 And equal these to Pindus' honour'd shades.
18 When Europe freed, confess'd the saving pow'r
19 Of MARLB'ROUGH'S hand; Britain who sent him forth
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20 Chief of confed'rate hosts, to fight the cause
21 Of Liberty and Justice, grateful rais'd
22 This palace sacred to her Leader's fame;
23 A trophy of success; with spoils adorn'd
24 Of conquer'd towns, and glorying in the name
25 Of that auspicious field, where CHURCHILL'S sword
26 Vanquish'd the might of Gallia, and chastis'd
27 Rebel Bavar. Majestick in its strength
28 Stands the proud dome, and speaks its great design.
29 Hail happy Chief, whose valour could deserve
30 Reward so glorious! grateful nation hail,
31 Who paid'st his service with so rich a meed!
32 Which most shall I admire, which worthiest praise,
33 The Hero or the People? Honour doubts,
34 And weighs their virtues in an equal scale.
35 Not thus Germania pays th' uncancell'd debt
36 Of gratitude to us. Blush, Caesar, blush,
37 When thou behold'st these tow'rs, ingrate to thee
38 A monument of shame. Canst thou forget
39 Whence they are nam'd, and what an English arm
40 Did for thy throne that day? But we disdain
41 Or to upbraid, or imitate thy guilt.
42 Steel thy obdurate heart against the sense
43 Of obligation infinite, and know,
44 Britain, like Heav'n, protects a thankless world
45 For her own glory, nor expects reward.
46 Pleas'd with the noble theme, her task the Muse
47 Pursues untir'd, and through the palace roves
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48 With ever-new delight. The tap'stry rich
49 With gold, and gay with all the beauteous paint
50 Of various-colour'd silks, dispos'd with skill,
51 Attracts her curious eye. Here Ister rolls
52 His purple wave; and there the Granic flood
53 With passing squadrons foams: here hardy Gaul
54 Flies from the sword of Britain; there to Greece
55 Effeminate Persia yields. In arms oppos'd
56 MARLB'ROUGH and ALEXANDER vie for fame
57 With glorious competition; equal both
58 In valour and in fortune, but their praise
59 Be diff'rent, for with diff'rent views they fought;
60 This to subdue, and that to free mankind.
61 Now through the stately portals issuing forth,
62 The Muse to softer glories turns and seeks
63 The woodland shade, delighted. Not the vale
64 Of Tempé fam'd in song, or Ida's grove
65 Such beauty boasts. Amid the mazy gloom
66 Of this romantick wilderness once stood
67 The bow'r of Rosamonda, hapless fair,
68 Sacred to grief and love: the crystal fount
69 In which she us'd to bathe her beauteous limbs
70 Still warbling flows, pleas'd to reflect the face
71 Of SPENCER, lovely maid, when tir'd she fits
72 Beside its flow'ry brink, and views those charms
73 Which only Rosamond could once excel.
74 But see where flowing with a nobler stream,
75 A limpid lake of purest waters rolls
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76 Beneath the wide-stretch'd arch, stupendous work,
77 Through which the Danube might collected pour
78 His spacious urn! Silent awhile and smooth
79 The current glides, till with an headlong force
80 Broke and disorder'd, down the steep it falls
81 In loud cascades; the silver-sparkling foam
82 Glitters relucent in the dancing ray.
83 In these retreats repos'd the mighty soul
84 Of CHURCHILL, from the toils of war and state,
85 Splendidly private, and the tranquil joy
86 Of contemplation felt, while BLENHEIM'S dome
87 Triumphal, ever in his mind renew'd
88 The mem'ry of his fame, and sooth'd his thoughts
89 With pleasing record of his glorious deeds.
90 So by the rage of faction, home recall'd,
91 Lucullus, while he wag'd successful war
92 Against the pride of Asia, and the pow'r
93 Of Mithridates, whose aspiring mind
94 No losses could subdue, enrich'd with spoils
95 Of conquer'd nations, back return'd to Rome,
96 And in magnificent retirement past
97 The evening of his life. But not alone,
98 In the calm shades of honourable ease,
99 Great MARLB'ROUGH peaceful dwelt: Indulgent heav'n
100 Gave a companion to his softer hours,
101 With whom conversing, he forgot all change
102 Of fortune, or of taste, and in her mind
103 Found greatness equal to his own, and lov'd
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104 Himself in her. Thus each by each admir'd,
105 In mutual honour, mutual fondness join'd:
106 Like two fair stars with intermingled light,
107 In friendly union they together shone,
108 Aiding each other's brightness, till the cloud
109 Of night eternal quench'd the beams of one.
110 Thee CHURCHILL first the ruthless hand of death
111 Tore from thy consort's side, and call'd thee hence
112 To the sublimer seats of joy and love;
113 Where Fate again shall join her soul to thine,
114 Who now, regardful of thy fame, erects
115 The column to thy praise, and sooths her woe
116 With pious honours to thy sacred name
117 Immortal. Lo! where tow'ring on the height
118 Of yon aërial pillar proudly stands
119 Thy image, like a guardian god, sublime,
120 And awes the subject plain: beneath his feet,
121 The German eagles spread their wings, his hand
122 Grasps Victory, its slave. Such was the brow
123 Majestick, such thy martial port, when Gaul
124 Fled from thy frown, and in the Danube sought
125 A refuge from thy sword. There, where the field
126 Was deepest stain'd with gore, on Hochstet's plain,
127 The theatre of thy glory, once was rais'd
128 A meaner trophy, by th' Imperial hand;
129 Extorted gratitude; which now the rage
130 Of Malice impotent, beseeming ill
131 A regal breast, has levell'd to the ground:
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132 Mean insult! this with better auspices
133 Shall stand on British earth, to tell the world
134 How MARLB'ROUGH fought, for whom, and how repay'd
135 His services. Nor shall the constant love
136 Of her who rais'd the monument be lost
137 In dark oblivion: That shall be the theme
138 Of future bards in ages yet unborn,
139 Inspir'd with Chaucer's fire, who in these groves
140 First tun'd the British harp, and little deem'd
141 His humble dwelling should the neighbour be
142 Of BLENHEIM, house superb; to which the throng
143 Of travellers approaching, shall not pass
144 His roof unnoted, but respectful hail
145 With rev'rence due. Such honour does the Muse
146 Obtain her favourites. But the noble pile
147 (My theme) demands my voice. O shade ador'd,
148 MARLB'ROUGH! who now above the starry sphere
149 Dwell'st in the palaces of heav'n, enthron'd
150 Amongst the demi-gods, deign to defend
151 This thy abode, while present here below,
152 And sacred still to thy immortal fame,
153 With tutelary care. Preserve it safe
154 From Time's destroying hand, and cruel stroke
155 Of factious Envy's more relentless rage.
156 Here may, long ages hence, the British youth,
157 When Honour calls them to the field of war,
158 Behold the trophies which thy valour rais'd;
159 The proud reward of thy successful toils
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160 For Europe's freedom, and Britannia's fame:
161 That fir'd with gen'rous envy, they may dare
162 To emulate thy deeds. So shall thy name,
163 Dear to thy country, still inspire her sons
164 With martial virtue: and to high attempts
165 Excite their arms, till other battles won,
166 And nations sav'd, new Monuments require,
167 And other BLENHEIMS shall adorn the land.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): BLENHEIM. Written at the University of Oxford in the Year 1727.
    Themes: architecture; buildings; war
    Genres: blank verse; panegyric
    References: DMI 2789

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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. II. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 19-25. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.