A poem on St. James's Park as lately improved by His Majesty. Written by Edmund Waller, Esq;
Waller, Edmund, 1606-1687.
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ON St. James's PARK As lately improved by his MAIESTY.
OF the first Paradise there's nothing found,
Plants set by heav'n are vanisht, & the ground;
Yet the description lasts, who knows the fate
Of lines that shall this Paradise relate?
Instead of Rivers rolling by the side
Of Edens garden, here flowes in the tyde;
The Sea which alwayes serv'd his Empire, now
Pays tribute to our Prince's pleasure too.
Of famous Cities we the founders know:
But Rivers, old as Seas, to which they go,
Are natures bounty; 'tis of more renown
To make a River then to build a Town.
For future shade young Trees upon the banks
Of the new stream appear in even ranks:
The voice of Orpheus or Amphions hand
In better order could not make them stand.
May they increase as fast, and spread their boughs,
As the high fame of their great Owner growes!
May he live long enough to see them all
Dark shadows cast, and as his Palace tall.
Me thinks I see the love that shall be made,
The Lovers walking in that Amorous shade,
The Gallants dancing by the Rivers side,
They bath in Summer, and in Winter slide.
Methinks I hear the Musick in the boats,
And the loud Eccho which returnes the notes,
Whilst over head a flock of new sprung fowle
Hangs in the aire, and does the Sun controle:
Darkning the aire they hover or'e, and shrowd
The wanton Saylors with a feather'd cloud.
Page 5 The Ladies angling in the Cristal lake,
Feast on the water with the prey they take.
A thousand Cupids on the billows ride,
And Sea-nimphs enter with the swelling tyde:
From Thetis sent as spies to make report,
And tell the wonders of her Soveraign's Court.
All that can living feed the greedy eye,
Or dead the Pallat here you may descry,
The choicest things that furnisht Noahs Ark,
Or Peters sheet, inhabiting this Park:
All with a border of rich fruit-trees crown'd,
Whose loaded branches hide the lofty mound.
Such various wayes the spacious Alleys lead,
My doubtful Muse knows not what path to tread.
Yonder the harvest of cold months laid up,
Gives a fresh coolnesse to the Royal Cup;
There Ice like Christal, firm and never lost,
Tempers hot July with Decembers frost,
Winters dark prison; whence he cannot flie,
Though the warm Spring, his enemy grows nigh:
Strange! that extreames should thus preserve the snow,
High on the Alpes, and in deep Caves below.
Page 6 Here a well-polisht Mall gives us the joy
To see our Prince his matchless force imploy;
His manly posture and his graceful mine
Vigor and youth in all his motion seen,
His shape so comely and his limbs so strong
Confirm our hopes we shall obey him long.
No sooner has he toucht the flying ball,
But 'tis already more then half the mall,
And such a fury from his arm has got
As from a smoaking Culverin 'twere shot:
May that ill fate my enemies befall
To stand before his anger or his ball.
Near this my muse, what most delights her sees▪
A living Gallery of aged Trees;
Bold sons of earth that thrust their armes so high
As if once more they would invade the sky.
In such green Palaces the first Kings reign'd,
Slept in their shades, and Angels entertain'd:
With such old Counsellors they did advise
And by frequenting sacred Groves grew wise;
Free from th' impediments of light and noise
Man thus retir'd his nobler thoughts imploys▪
Page 7 Here CHARLES contrives the ordering of his States,
Here he resolves his Neighb'ring Princes Fates:
What Nation shall have Peace, where War be made,
Determin'd is in this oraculous shade:
The world, from India to the frozen North,
Concern'd in what this solitude brings forth.
His Fancy objects from his view receives,
The prospect thought and Contemplation gives:
That seat of Empire here salutes his eye,
To which three Kingdoms do themselves apply.
The structure by a Prelate rais'd, White-Hall,
Built with the fortune of Romes Capitol;
Both disproportion'd to the present States
Of their proud founders, were approv'd by Fates.
From hence he does that Antique Pile behold,
Where Royal heads receive the sacred gold;
It gives them Crowns, and does their ashes keep;
There made like gods, like mortals there they sleep:
When others fell, this standing did presage,
The Crown should triumph over popular rage:
Hard by that House where all ours ills were shap't;
Th' Auspicious Temple stood, and yet escap'd.
Page 8 So snow on Aetna does unmelted lie,
Whence rolling flames and scatter'd cinders flie;
The distant Countrey in the ruine shares,
What falls from heav'n the burning mountain spares.
Next that capacious Hall, he sees the room,
Where the whole Nation does for Justice come:
Under whose large roofe flourishes the Gown,
And Judges grave on high Tribunals frown.
Here he does like the peoples Pastor goe,
His flock subjected to his view below:
On which reflecting in his mighty mind,
No private passion does indulgence finde;
The pleasures of his youth suspended are,
And make a sacrifice to publick care.
Here free from Court compliances He walks,
And with himself, his best adviser, talks;
How peaceful Olive may his Temples shade,
For mending Laws, and for restoring trade:
Or how his Brows may be with Laurel charg'd.
For Nations conquer'd, and our bounds inlarg'd:
Of ancient Prudence here He meditates,
Of rising Kingdoms and of falling States:
Page 9 What Ruling Arts gave great Augustus fame,
And how Alcides purchas'd such a name:
His eyes upon his native Palace bent
Close by, suggest a greater argument,
His thoughts rise higher when he does reflect,
On what the world may from that Star expect
Which at his Birth appear'd to let us see
Day for his sake could with the night agree;
A Prince on whom such different lights did smile,
Born the divided World to reconcile:
What ever Heaven or high extracted blood,
Could promise or foretell, he will make good:
Reform these Nations, and improve them more,
Then this fair Park from what it was before.