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Of all who since have used the open sea

Than the bold English none more fame have won ;
Beyond the year, and out of Heaven's high way, *

They make discoveries where they see no sun.

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But what so long in vain, and yet unknown,

By poor mankind's benighted wit is sought,
Shall in this age to Britain first be shown

And hence be to admiring nations taught.

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The ebbs of tides and their mysterious flow

We, as arts' elements, shall understand,
And as by line upon the ocean go

Whose paths shall be familiar as the land.

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Instructed ships shall sail to quick commerce,+

By which remotest regions are allied ;
Which makes one city of the universe,

Where some may gain and all may be supplied.

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Then we upon our globe's last verge shall go

And view the ocean leaning on the sky:
From thence our rolling neighbours we shall know

And on the lunar world securely pry. I

165

Apostrophe
to the Royal
Society.

This I foretell, from your auspicious care

Who great in search of God and Nature grow;
Who best your wise Creator's praise declare,
Since best to praise His works is best to know.

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O, truly Royal ! who behold the law

And rule of beings in your Maker's mind,
And thence, like limbecs, rich ideas draw

To fit the levelled use of human kind 8

* "* Extra anni solisque vias.'-Virg." Æn. vi. 797.** † “ By a more exact knowledge of longitude.” In edition of 1688," ineasure of longitude."

1 Dr. Johnson cites this stanza as an example of Dryden's "delight in wild and daring sallies of sentiment, in the irregular and eccentric violence of wit," which, he says, "sometimes issued in absurdities of which probably he was not conscious." Johnson goes on to say: “ These lines have no meaning, but may we not say, in imitation of Cowley on another book,

“'Tis so like sense, 't will serve the turn as well’" It is difficult, however, to perceive the resemblance to sense in this stanza.

S Dryden was an early menber of the Royal Society, founded soon after the Restoration; he was elected November 19, 1662.

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But first the toils of war we must endure

And from the injurious Dutch redeem the seas;
War makes the valiant of his right secure
And gives up fraud to be chastised with ease,

168
Already were the Belgians on our coast, *

Whose fleet more mighty every day became
By late success, which they did falsely boast,
And now by first appearing seemed to claim.

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Designing, subtle, diligent, and close,

They knew to manage war with wise delay :
Yet all those arts their vanity did cross
And by their pride their prudence did betray.

170
Nor stayed the English long ; but, well supplied,

Appear as numerous as the insulting foe;
The combat now by courage must be tried

And the success the braver nation show.

171

There was the Plymouth squadron new + come in,

Which in the Straits last winter was abroad,
Which twice on Biscay's working bay had been
And on the midland sea the French had awed.

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Old expert Allen, loyal all along,

Famed for his action on the Smyrna fleet ; #
And Holmes, whose name shall live in epic song,
While music numbers, or while verse has feet;

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Holmes, the Achates of the Generals' fight, $

Who first bewitched our eyes with Guinea gold,
As once old Cato in the Roman's sight,

The tempting fruits of Afric did unfold.||

• After the drawn battle of the ist of June, the Dutch fleet was repaired, and was again on the English coast before the English were ready. A decisive battle took place on the 25th of July, off the North Foreland, which was an unquestionable victory for the English

† New is the word in the first edition ; now in that of 1688, which, as usual, has been followed, but the change is no improvement and was probably a misprint.

Sir Thomas Allen had, at the beginning of the war, attacked in the bay of Cadiz a large Dutch merchant squadron homeward bound from Smyrna under convoy, about forty vessels in all, he having only seven ships ; and he had routed them and made rich prizes.

$ Sir Robert Holmes had been the first to fight with the Dutch, before the beginning of the war, on the coast of Africa. This may be why he is called Achates, or it may be because, after the battle now to be narrated, he was sent by the generals" with a squadron to the Dutch coast. The words have been usually printed, Achates of the general's fight: but, as there were two generals, the fight belonged to both. In the two early editions it is printed generals, which serves for either singular or plural genitive. i Cato the Censor, urging the Romans in the year before his death to enter on the third Pinic

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With him went Spragge, as bountiful as brave,

Whom his high courage to command had brought ;*
Harman, who did the twice-fired Harry save

And in his burning ship undaunted fought. +

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Young Hollis, on a Muse by Mars begot, I

Born, Cæsar-like, to write and act great deeds,
Impatient to revenge his fatal shot,

His right hand doubly to his left succeeds.

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Thousands were there in darker fame that dwell, s

Whose deeds some nobler poem shall adorn;
And though to me unknown, they sure fought well

Whom Rupert led and who were British born.

177
or every size an hundred fighting sail ;

So vast the navy now at anchor rides
That underneath it the pressed waters fail

And with its weight it shoulders off the tides.

war, and having lately returned from an embassy to Carthage, drew out from under his robe, one day in the Senate, some Carthaginian figs, saying that they had been gathered only three days ago at Carthage, so close was the enemy to Rome. Dryden uses this illustration again with reference to the Dutch, in the prologue of "Amboyna," written during the second Dut

"As Cato did his Afric fruits display,

So we before your eyes their Indies lay." * Sir Edward Spragge had been knighted by Charles for his bravery in the action of June 3, 1665. He was killed, in the next Dutch war, in battle, August 11, 1672. Sir John Harman had cominanded the “Henry" in the four days' battle of June. He was in

eorge Berkeley's squadron, which broke through the Dutch feet at the outset when Berkeley lost his life. Harman, when his ship was disabled, was offered quarter, and refused it. Three fire-ships were then sent to burn his ship. She was disengaged successively from two of them, each of which had fired her, and both fires were put out. The third fire-ship was disabled by the “Henry's" guns. Harman carried his ship off, badly damaged: his leg was broken, a yard of one of the masts falling upon it.

i Sir Frescheville Hollis, son of Gervase Hollis, an antiquarian: and this connexion of the father with literature is the probable explanation of the eccentric description of Hollis's parentage. Hollis had lost an arm in the battle of June 3. 1665. He was killed fighting against the Dutch in the next Dutch war, May 28, 1672. The phrase, "on a Muse by Mars begot," has been deservedly ridiculed. The Duke of Buckingham parodied it coarsely against Dryden :

“Or more to intrigue the metaphor of man,
Got on a Musc by father Publican."

Poetical Reflections on Absalom and Achitophel. Another satirist applied the phrase to the French musical composer who made the music for Dryden's “ Albion and Albanius :"

“Grabut his yokemate ne'er shall be forgot,
Whom the God of tunes upon a Muse begot."

(Quoted in Langbaine's " Dramatic Poets," p. 152.) "Multi præterea quos fama obscura recondit.” – Virg. Æn, v. 302,

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Now, anchors weighed, the seamen shout so shrill

That heaven and earth and the wide ocean rings :
A breeze from westward waits their sails to fill

And rests in those high beds his downy wings.

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So the false spider, when her nets are spread,

Deep ambushed in her silent den does lie,
And feels far off the trembling of her thread,
Whose filmy cord should bind the struggling fly;

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Then, if at last she find him fast beset,

She issues forth and runs along her loom :
She joys to touch the captive in her net

And drags the little wretch in triumph home.

182
The Belgians hoped that with disordered haste

Our deep-cut keels upon the sands might run,
Or, if with caution leisurely were past,
Their numerous gross might charge us one by one.

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But, with a fore-wind pushing them above

And swelling tide that heaved them from below,
O'er the blind flats our warlike squadrons move

And with spread sails to welcome battle go.

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It seemed as there the British Neptune stood,

With all his host of waters * at command,
Beneath them to submit the officious flood,
And with his trident shoved them off the sand. +

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To the pale foes they suddenly draw near

And summon them to unexpected fight :
They start, like murderers when ghosts appear

And draw their curtains in the dead of night.

Hosts of waters” in edition of 1688, which has been generally followed. Host in first edition

+ *** Levat ipse tridenti et vastas aperit syrtes, &c.'-Virg." Æn. i. 145.

Second battle.

186
Now van to van the foremost squadrons meet,

The midmost battles hasting up behind,
Who view far off the storm of falling sleet
And hear their thunder rattling in the wind.

187
At length the adverse Admirals appear,

The two bold champions of each country's right ;
Their eyes describe the lists as they come near

And draw the lines of death before they fight.

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The distance judged for shot of every size,

The linstocks * touch, the ponderous ball expires :
The vigorous seaman every porthole plies

And adds his heart to every gun he fires.

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Fierce was the fight on the proud Belgians' side

For honour, which they seldom sought before ;
But now they by their own vain boasts were tied

And forced at least in show to prize it more.

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But sharp remembrance on the English part

And shame of being matched by such a soe
Rouse conscious virtue up in every heart,

And seeming to be stionger makes them so.t

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Nor long the Belgians could that feet sustain

Which did two Generals' fates and Cæsar's bear;
Each several ship a victory did gain,
As Rupert or as Albemarle were there.

192
Their battered Admiral too soon withdrew,

Unthanked by ours for his unfinished fight;
But he the minds of his Dutch masters knew
Who called that providence which we called night

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Never did men more joysully obey

Or sooner understood the sign to fly ;
With such alacrity they bore away

As if to praise them all the States stood by.

* Linstock, a pointed stick with a fork at the end to hold a lighted match, used by gunners in firing cannon.

+ Possunt quia posse videntur.'--Virg." Æn, v. 231.

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