Poems, by Andrew Marvell

A Poem

upon the Death of his late Highness the Lord Protector

[1658]

That Providence which had so long the care

Of Cromwell’s head, and numbred ev’ry hair,

Now in its self (the Glass where all appears)

Had seen the period of his golden Years:

And thenceforth onely did attend to trace,

What death might least so sair a Life deface.

The People, which what most they fear esteem,

Death when more horrid so more noble deem;

And blame the last Act, like Spectators vain,

Unless the Prince whom they applaud be slain.

Nor Fate indeed can well refuse that right

To those that liv’d in War, to dye in Fight.

But long his Valour none had left that could

Indanger him, or Clemency that would.

And he whom Nature all for Peace had made,

But angry Heaven unto War had sway’d,

And so less useful where he most desir’d,

For what he least affected was admir’d,

Deserved yet an End whose ev’ry part

Should speak the wondrous softness of his Heart.

To Love and Grief the fatal Writ was sign’d;

(Those nobler weaknesses of humane Mind,

From which those Powers that issu’d the Decree,

Although immortal, found they were not free.)

That they, to whom his Breast still open lyes,

In gentle Passions should his Death disguise:

And leave succeeding Ages cause to mourn,

As long as Grief shall weep, or Love shall burn.

Streight does a slow and languishing Disease

Eliza, Natures and his darling, seize.

Her when an infant, taken with her Charms,

He oft would flourish in his mighty Arms;

And, lest their force the tender burthen wrong,

Slacken the vigour of his Muscles strong;

Then to the Mothers brest her softly move,

Which while she drain’d of Milk she fill’d with Love:

But as with riper Years her Virtue grew,

And ev’ry minute adds a Lustre new;

When with meridian height her Beauty shin’d,

And thorough that sparkled her fairer Mind;

When She with Smiles serene and Words discreet

His hidden Soul at ev’ry turn could meet;

Then might y’ ha’ daily his Affection spy’d,

Doubling that knot which Destiny had ty’d:

While they by sence, not knowing, comprehend

How on each other both their Fates depend.

With her each day the pleasing Hours he shares,

And at her Aspect calms her growing Cares;

Or with a Grandsire’s joy her Children sees

Hanging about her neck or at his knees.

Hold fast dear Infants, hold them both or none;

This will not stay when once the other’s gone.

A silent fire now wasts those Limbs of Wax,

And him with his tortur’d Image racks.

So the Flowr with’ring which the Garden crown’d,

The sad Root pines in secret under ground.

Each Groan he doubled and each Sigh he sigh’d,

Repeated over to the restless Night.

No trembling String compos’d to numbers new,

Answers the touch in Notes more sad more true.

She lest He grieve hides what She can her pains,

And He to lessen hers his Sorrow feigns:

Yet both perceiv’d, yet both conceal’d their Skills,

And so diminishing increast their ills:

That whether by each others grief they fell,

Or on their own redoubled, none can tell.

And now Eliza’s purple Locks were shorn,

Where she so long her Fathers fate had worn:

And frequent lightning to her Soul that flyes,

Devides the Air, and opens all the Skyes:

And now his Life, suspended by her breath,

Ran out impetuously to hasting Death.

Like polish’d Mirrours, so his steely Brest

Had ev’ry figure of her woes exprest;

And with the damp of her last Gasps obscur’d,

Had drawn such staines as were not to be cur’d.

Fate could not either reach with single stroke,

But the dear Image fled the Mirrour broke.

Who now shall tell us more of mournful Swans,

Of Halcyons kind, or bleeding Pelicans?

No downy breast did ere so gently beat,

Or fan with airy plumes so soft an heat.

For he no duty by his height excus’d,

Nor though a Prince to be a Man refus’d:

But rather then in his Eliza’s pain

Not love, not grieve, would neither live nor reign.

And in himself so oft immortal try’d,

Yet in compassion of another dy’d.

So have I seen a Vine, whose lasting Age

Of many a Winter hath surviv’d the rage.

Under whose shady tent Men ev’ry year

At its rich bloods expence their Sorrows chear,

If some dear branch where it extends its life

Chance to be prun’d by an untimely knife,

The Parent-Tree unto the Grief succeeds,

And through the Wound its vital humour bleeds;

Trickling in watry drops, whose flowing shape

Weeps that it falls ere fix’d into a Grape.

So the dry Stock, no more that spreading Vine,

Frustrates the Autumn and the hopes of Wine.

A secret Cause does sure those Signs ordain

Fore boding Princes falls, and seldom vain.

Whether some Kinder Pow’rs, that wish us well,

What they above cannot prevent, foretell;

Or the great World do by consent presage,

As hollow Seas with future Tempests rage:

Or rather Heav’n, which us so long fore sees,

Their fun’rals celebrate while it decrees.

But never yet was any humane Fate

By nature solemniz’d with so much state.

He unconcern’d the dreadful passage crost;

But oh what pangs that Death did Nature cost!

First the great Thunder was shot off, and sent

The Signal from the starry Battlement.

The Winds receive it, and its force out-do,

As practising how they could thunder too:

Out of the Binders Hand the Sheaves they tore,

And thrash’d the Harvest in the airy floore;

Or of huge Trees, whose growth with his did rise,

The deep foundations open’d to the Skyes.

Then heavy Showres the winged Tempests dead,

And pour the Deluge ore the Chaos head.

The Race of warlike Horses at his Tomb

Offer themselves in many an Hecatomb;

With pensive head towards the ground they fall,

And helpless languish at the tainted Stall.

Numbers of Men decrease with pains unknown,

And hasten not to see his Death their own.

Such Tortures all the Elements unfix’d,

Troubled to part where so exactly mix’d.

And as through Air his wasting Spirits flow’d,

The Universe labour’d beneath their load.

Nature it seem’d with him would Nature vye;

He with Eliza, It with him would dye.

He without noise still travell’d to his End,

As silent Suns to meet the Night descend.

The Stars that for him fought had only pow’r

Left to determine now his fatal Hour,

Which, since they might not hinder, yet they cast

To chuse it worthy of his Glories past.

No part of time but bore his mark away

Of honour; all the Year was Cromwell’s day

But this, of all the most auspicious found,

Twice had in open field him Victor crown’d

When up the armed Mountains of Dunbar

He march’d, and through deep Severn ending war.

What day should him eternize but the same

That had before immortaliz‘d his Name?

That so who ere would at his Death have joy’d,

In their own Griefs might find themselves imploy’d;

But those that sadly his departure griev’d,

Yet joy’d remembring what he once atcheiv’d.

And the last minute his victorious Ghost

Gave chase to Ligny on the Belgick Coast.

Here ended all his mortal toyles: He lay’d

And slept in Peace under the Lawrel Shade.

O Cromwell, Heavens Favourite! To none

Have such high honours from above been shown:

For whom the Elements we Mourners see,

And Heav‘n it self would the great Herald be;

Which with more Care set forth his Obsequies

Then those of Moses hid from humane Eyes;

As jealous only here lest all be less,

That we could to his Memory express.

Then let us to our course of Mourning keep:

Where Heaven leads, ’tis Piety to weep.

Stand back ye Seas, and shrunk beneath the vail

Of your Abysse, with cover’d Head bewail

Your Monarch: We demand not your supplies

To compass in our Isle; our Tears suffice;

Since him away the dismal Tempest rent,

Who once more joyn’d us to the Continent;

Who planted England on the Flandrick shoar,

And stretch’d our frontire to the Indian Ore;

Whose greater Truths obscure the Fables old,

Whether of British Saints or Worthy’s told;

And in a valour less’ning Arthur’s deeds,

For Holyness the Confessor exceeds.

He first put Armes into Religions hand,

And tim’rous Conscience unto Courage man’d:

The Souldier taught that inward Mail to wear,

And fearing God how they should nothing fear.

Those Strokes he said will pierce through all below

Where those that strike from Heaven fetch their Blow.

Astonish’d armyes did their flight prepare:

And Cityes strong were stormed by his prayer.

Of that for ever Prestons field shall tell

The Story, and impregnable Clonmell.

And where the sandy mountain Fenwick scald

The Sea between yet henee his pray’r prevail’d.

What man was ever so in Heav’n obey’d

Since the commanded Sun ore Gibeon stayd.

In all his warrs needs must he triumph, when

He conquer’d God still ere he fought with men.

Hence though in battle none so brave or fierce

Yet him the adverse steel could never pierce:

Pitty it seem’d to hurt him more that felt

Each wound himself which he to others delt,

Danger it self refusing to offend

So loose an enemy so fast a freind.

Friendship that sacred versue long das claime

The first foundation of his house and name.

But within one its narrow limitts fall

His tendernesse extended unto all:

And that deep soule through every chanell flows

Where kindly nature loves it self to lose.

More strong affections never reason serv’d

Yet still affected most what best deservd.

If he Eliza lov’d to that degree

(Though who more worstly to be lov’d then she)

If so indulgent to his own, how deare

To him the children of the Highest were?

For her he once did natures tribute pay:

For these his life adventur’d every day.

And it would be found could we his thoughts have

Their griefs struck deepest if Eliza’s last.

What prudence more then humane did he need

To keep so deare, so diff’ring mindes agreed?

The worser sort as conscious of their ill,

Lye weak and easy to the rulers will:

But to the good (too many or too few).

All law is uselesse all reward is due.

Oh ill advis’d if not for love for shame.

Spare yet your own if you neglect his fame.

Least others dare to think your reale a maske

And you to govern only Heavens taske.

Valour, Religion, Friendship, Prudence dy’d

At once with him and all that’s good beside:

And rue deaths refuse natures dreg’s confin’d

To loathsome life Alas are left behinde:

Where we (so once we us’d) shall now no more

To fetch day presse about his chamber door;

From which he issu’d with that awfull state

It seem’d Mars broke through Janus double gate:

Yet alwayes temper’d with an Aire so mild

No Aprill suns that ere so gently smil’d:

No more shall heare that powerfull language charm.

Whose force oft spar’d the labour of his arm:

No more shall follow where he spent the dayes

In warres in counsell, or in pray’r, and praise,

Whose meanest acts he would himself advance

As ungirt David to the Arks did dance.

All All is gone of ours or his delight

In horses fierce wild deer or armour bright.

Francisca faire can nothing now but weep

Nor with soft notes shall sing his cares asleep.

I saw him dead, a leaden slumber lyes

And mortall sleep over those wakefull eys:

Those gentle Rayes under the lidds were fled

Which through his lookes that piercing sweetnesse she

That port which so Majestique was and strong,

Loose and depriv’d of vigour stretch’d along:

All wither’d, all discolour’d, pale and wan,

How much another thing, no more thatman?

Oh humane glory vaine, Oh death, Oh wings,

Oh worthlesse worth. Oh transitory things.

Yet dwelt that greatnesse in his shape decay’d

That still though dead greater than death he lay’d.

And in his alter’d face you something faigne

That threatens death he yet will live againe.

Not much unlike the saired Oake which shoots

To heav’n its branches and through earth its roots:

Whose spacious boughs are hung with Trophees row

And honour’d wreaths have oft the Victour crown

When angry Jove darts lightning through the Aire

At mortalls sins, nor his own plant will spare

(It groanes and bruses all below that stood

So many yeares the shelter of the wood)

The tree ere while foreshorten’d to our view

When foln shews taller yet then as it grew.

So shall his praise to after times increase

When truth shall be allow’d and faction cease.

And his own shadow with him fall. The Eye

Detracts from objects then it selfe more high:

But when death takes them from that envy’d seate

Seing how little we confesse how greate.

Thee many ages hence in martiall verse

Shall th’ English souldier ere he charge rehearse:

Singing of thee influme themselves to fight

And with the name of Cromwell armyes fright.

As long as rivers to the seas shall runne.

As long as Cynthia shall relieve the sunne,

While staggs shall fly unto the forests thick,

While sheep delight the grassy downs to pick,

As long as future time succeeds the past,

Always thy honour, praise and name shall last.

Thou in a pitch how farre, beyond the sphere

Of humane glory towr’st, and raigning there

Despoyld of mortall robes, in seas of cliyse

Plunging dost bathe, and tread the bright Abysse:

There thy greate soule yet once a world das see

Spacious enough and pure enough for thee.

How soon thou Moses hast and Josua found

And David for the Sword, and harpe renown’d?

How streight canst to each happy Mansion goe?

(Farr Better known above then here below)

And in those joyes dost spend the endlesse day

Which in expressing we our selves betray.

For we since thou art gone with heavy doome

Wander like ghosts about thy loved tombe:

And lost in tears have neither sight nor minde

To guide us upward through this Region blinde

Since thou art gone who best that way could’st fearn

Onely our sighs perhaps may thither reach.

And Richard yet where his great Parent led

Beats on the rugged track: He vertue dead

Revives, and by his milder beams assures;

And yet how much of them his griefe obscures?

He as his rather long was kept from sight

In private to be view’d by better light:

But open’d once, what splendour dos he throw

A Cromwell in an houre a Prince will grow.

How he becomes that seat, how strongly streins

How gently winds at once the ruling Reins?

Heav’n to this choise prepar’d a Diadem

Richer then any Eastern silk or gemme:

A pearly rainbow; where the Sun inchas’d

His brows like an Imperiall Jewell grac’d.

We find already what those Omens mean.

Earth nere more glad, nor Heaven more serene:

Cease now our griefs, Calme peace succeeds a war

Rainbows to storms, Richard to Oliver.

Tempt not his clemency to try his pow’r

He threats no Deluge, yet fore tells a showre.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/marvell/andrew/poems/poem44.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 23:09