James Hurdis Poems >>
A Poem, Upon a Prospect of the Marriage of the Prince of Wales

Season of darkness and contracted day,
 Inclement Winter, whose approaching foot
 Treads on the heel of Autumn, pause; nor strew
 With thy rude gust the ill-surviving leaf
 Which hangs discoloured upon hill and vale.
Still let the mellow-beam'd October orb
Protract its influence, and unobscured
 Shed softest comfort round us; till decay
 Seem lovely, and the sickly hues of Earth
Resigning all her beauty, please not less
 Than the mild exit of the tranquil sage
 Who smiles and disappears, and his white locks
Contented yields to the none-sparing grave.
 Impending Season, to the frozen north
 Bid thy strong gale and low redundant cloud,
 Whose gloom down-stooping ev'ry hill-top sweeps,
 Retreat: O'er Hyperborean regions shed
Thy feathery show'r, and drift it with thy breath.
 Bind other streams with ice, and other lakes
Make firm as rock with thy congealing frown:
Elsewhere be tyrannous, but gentle here:
 Here smile serene; and let incautious Spring,
 Decoyed or e'er her season, on thy brow
An odorous chaplet place of early buds,
And deck with blossoms thy snow-sprinkled crown.
 Be gay, dull Season; and inspired at length
 By ling'ring Autumn and returning Spring
 Learn all their dance and be as brisk as they.
Let the cold sceptre from thy hand depart;
 And Spring be Queen instead, to welcome home
Brunswick's fair daughter, and before her strew
 All vernal beauty on the British shore.
 Meantime shalt thou, kind Season, the rude deep
 Sooth with thine out-stretched arm; and bid the waves
 That wildly furious their confounded power
 Tumble, far-sounding in the midnight gale,
 Upon the rocks of Britain, yet awhile
Their foaming frenzy curb, and lave the shore
 With impulse inoffensive; murmur soft
 Repose inducing more than stillest calm:
 Then, tilting o'er the flood with streamers gay
And ev'ry sail unfurled, pilot the fleet
 Which bears to Britain for her Prince a gem;
 Freight thrice more precious than Peruvian gale
 E'er wafted to Iberia. When her eye
 Above the dancing tide the steady spot
First notes, which Britain's heav'n-aspiring soil
 Proclaims apparent, thy dark cloud withdraw,
 Wont on its brow to rest; and shed alone
Far-distant sunshine on its milky head:
In beams of purest day clothe ev'ry cliff
 Slow-mounting o'er the waves; and, as the port
 Extends to welcome her his ample arms,
 With shouting thousands crowd the peopled shore.
Their loud huzza let the proud bark repeat
To ev'ry fellow vessel; and at once
All, as they pass, to either echoing shore
 In flame, in thunder, and redounding smoke,
 Their prosp'rous embassy announce. Around
Albion's firm barrier let the throat of war
 The tidings bellow, till they reach thy ear,
 Victorious Howe, and kindle all thy fires.
 So shall Britannia at the loud applause
Of her own thunder quake, and think what pow'r
 Could her indignant navy then withstand,
 Intrepid warrior, when thy ev'ry port
 Blazed death, and to the swift pernicious bolt
Gave wings that swept the war-encumber'd deep
And to the bottom sent her proud foe down.
 Welcome, fair Princess, welcome to the shore
 Thy Parent left reluctant. Reap thou here
 Comfort's full harvest, by the hand of heaven
 Placed on no isle forlorn, no desert rock,
No land of savages, no nest of slaves,
 No kennel bloody of infernal hounds
Who bark for Freedom, and with tyrant mouths
Ere Freedom enters pull her to the ground:
Here Prince and People liberty alike
 Give and receive, partake, and all enjoy.
Welcome, fair Princess, and be thy approach
 The harbinger and promise of ere long
The dear return of renovated Peace.
 Arise, Great God of Battles, Lord of Hosts,
 Come down, Almighty Warrior, bow the heavens,
 The cloudy chariot of salvation mount;
 And let the stedfast empyrean burn
 Under thy glowing wheels. Thy flashing spear
 Brandish indignant o'er the cowering earth,
 And send thy bickering arrows round the world:
Stir up the deep, and his uplifted wave
Pour headlong, flound'ring, against rock and cliff
 Till ev'ry barrier fail, and the wild surge
 Its foamy dance pursue, besieging close
 And leveling earth's ramparts; the proud hold
 But weak asylum of transgressor man:
 Descend and touch the mountains. Let them smoke,
 Shudder, and roar, beneath thy blazing car.
 And when thy march begins from isle to isle,
 O'er continent and deep, all boundaries
In turn high-over-passing, and in turn
 All kingdoms visiting, let ev'ry isle,
 Let ev'ry mountain, precipice, and hill,
 Melt at the pressure of thy sultry foot:
Scatter all nations with the lighting down
 Of thy sulphureous arm: Asunder drive them,
Never to meet and levy wars again.
Utter thy glorious voice, shake earth and heaven,
 And thunder-drive thy foes to utmost hell.
 Let ancient earth, too guilty to sustain
Thy frown and footstep, to her centre mourn
Shot through with agony. Rock to and fro'
Her everduring pillars, her strong base
Dissolve, and like a cottage let her reel,
Earthquake beneath, whirlwind and storm above:
 Vex and confound her like the struggling bark
Which shatter'd, rudderless, before the gale
 Stoops, and, exposing her unshelter'd side
 To ocean's high-wrought fury, ill sustains
 The foamy mantling billow that o'ershoots
 And pours his roaring cataract upon her.
 Nor let her live but as that sinking bark
 Which hopeless, shuddering, from the troubled gulf
That yawns to swallow her fear-founder'd crew,
Through the bright rift of the quick-posting cloud
 Lifts up to thee the supplicating eye
And mute petition, which thy anger stays
 And smooths her passage to the port she sought.
 Father Omnipotent, assert thy son
And give him all dominion. Bow the neck
Of unbelieving Gallia to his yoke,
The yoke of freedom. Vindicate the blood
 Of her slain innocent, the martyr'd Prince,
 Assassinated widow, murder'd maid,
 Whose crime was only to be born of Kings.
 Lift up the fatherless, the brazen doors
 Of his dark dungeon burst, and let the Prince
Share with his people what thou gav'st to all
 Dear liberty. No longer live a slave,
 A tyrant live no longer, people, Kings;
 All free and happy; by no fetters bound
Save those which only devils scorn to wear,
 Chains of religion, rectitude, and faith-
 Fetters expedient, chains imposed on all,
And only galling to the daring wretch
 Who longs, like Lucifer, to blaze and fall
 Pre-eminent in crime. Heav'n speed the day
When Pity shall unbar his Prison gates,
 And Gallia welcome from his dark abode
Her orphan, innocent, insulted, King.
Arise, brave nation, and assert his cause:
Crush the fell hydra which thy dearest blood
Laps conscience-proof. Dare an Herculean task
To die or to extinguish all her heads.
 One tyrannous Bastile your hands have razed:
 Another grinds you. Under-delve the pile,
And scare all Europe with the thund'ring blow
 Whose vast explosion proclaims Gallia free.
 Horrible consistory, reeking troop
Of slaughter-fed assassins, wading deep
 In your own country's blood, lavishly shed
 To gratify ambition, abject fear,
Revenge, and jealousy, and tyrant hate,  
Be Louis free as you are; free to sway
A righteous sceptre; but not free, like you,
To sup profusely of a nation's blood,
Dooming to confiscation and swift death,
Death without respite, death without reprieve,
 Legions of innocent, of rich, and great-
 Legions whose all transgression was to wear,
What best became them, hearts rebellion-proof,
 Scorning desertion from a trampled Prince-
 Legions that bore, and bore without offence,
Titles of princely favour, to record
Some deed of high renown erewhile atchieved
 By their brave ancestry-Legions whose crime
 Was to possess revenues, which your hands,
 To murder, theft, and sacrilege, inured,
 Had plundered from them ere ye doomed their throats
To the broad knife which hungers for your own.
 Thou dread Requiter of all wrongs below,
 Give to the mounted scale, which soars so high
And touches heav'n with its aspiring beam,
Momentum vast; and to the lowest deep
 Plumb let it drop. As swiftly to the skies
 Raise the depress'd, and be confirmed by all
War's awful arbiter and King of Kings.
 Once more let Gallia, faithful, the sweet dawn
 Of restoration welcome; and her Prince
 Rise from his dungeon, like the orb of day
 From the dark confines of tempestuous night.
 Let his mild presence cheer-whate'er the storm
 Has in his absence wreck'd; it's dying gust
 Sooth into calm; its separating cloud
 Disperse with smiles, and dissipate the dews
Which drop so largely from the weeping branch.
Return those happy days when willing France
 Welcomed her Antoinette, as Britain now
Brunswick's fair issue to her laughing isle.
Let Gallia's Prince his blooming bride receive,
And Gallia hail him as Britannia hails
 Her George, and bids him prosper. Prince beloved,
 May no rude shock thy earthly peace disturb.
Vanish before thee machination deep,
 And dark conspiracy that veils her cheek-
 E'en from the moon-beam. Like thy prosp'rous sire
 Assassination's poisoned dart, that spares
Not virtue's self, defy; the brittle knife
 Of blind insanity, and pike concealed
 Under the cloak of treason; while, like his,
 Thy shelter is the hollow of Heav'n's shield,
 Heav'n's arm thy confidence. Stand fast, like him,
 In Christian panoply secure, nor fear
 While virtue girds thee, and religion's helm
 Nods o'er thy brow; for hosts omnipotent
 Shall camp about thee, and immortal bands,
That slumber never, foil and repel thy foe.
Surrounded by their armies earthly prince
Is castled stronger, be the field his fort,
 Than in the proudest battlements shell-proof
 Where virtue not attends him. What though Hell
 Her murky legions round about him pour,
Hell fire his ramparts, Hell in her own smoke
 Cloud his recoiling bastions, Hell direct
His molten sleet, Hell shower upon the foe
 His pond'rous hail intense, yet shall he fall.
 But blaze at once from her unnumber'd mouths
 All Earth, and blaze at once all Hell from her's,
Amid the flaming volley, though it plough
 Earth as a furrow'd field, the righteous lives.
 Live long religious Monarch. May thy throne
 The rude concussion of all storms withstand;
And be, like thee, thy progeny secure
 In their own goodness. As thou sitst above,
Superior to misfortune, like the cape
 Or cloud-girt promontory high in air
 Which ocean saps in vain, in vain assaults
 With countless myriads of insurgent waves
Loud thund'ring, so prevail thy happy race.
 Heav'n's smile for ever on their foreheads rest,
 His storm sail far beneath; the salient deep
 Pour his wild waters at their feet, unfeared;
Nor aught avail, save by incessant fall
 To smooth and beautify the stedfast rock,
 Which breasts his indignation tempest-proof
 Nor feels the fury of the proudest surge.
 Prince, be thy fortune as thy father's fair,
And share, like him, whatever bliss can flow
From life connubial. And while thou apart
 Sweet peace domestic, peace as sweet enjoy
 Britannia rescued from her ancient foe
 By her own awful arm. An iron sleep
 Close the grim ports of war. An iron sleep
 Fall on his bulwarks. His infernal throat
 That erst breathed fire and cloud voluminous,
 Scaring the nations with gigantic boast
 And instant thunderbolt, in silence dread
 Lie slumber-seized; and undisturb'd her web
 'Cross the still battlement Arachne weave.
Shew thyself, mighty Leader, strike the blow
 Which shall to Britain her lost peace restore;
 Once more in arms before thy foe appear;
 And, Brunswick, mark me that the flaming bark
 Which bears thy awful name, environ'd round
By hostile armament, about her dealt
 No useless thunder ball, but all-subdued
 Foes oath-bound her consumptive ire to slake
Or sink unconquered in the scared abyss.
 Remember this, great soldier, and present
 With thy fair daughter to her happy Prince
 (Portion more precious than the widest realm)
 The wreath of victory and branch of peace.