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[1]

A

COURSE,

By way of VISION,

CONCERNING

The Government of OLIVER CROMWELL [a].

I

T was the funeral day of the late man who

though I bore but little affe&ion, either to the memory of him, or to the trouble and folly of all public pageantry, yet I was forced by the importunity of my company to go along with them, and be a spectator of that solemnity, the expectation of which had been so great, that it was said to have brought some very curious persons (and no doubt singular virtuosos) as far as from the mount in Cornwall, and from the Orcades. I found there had been much more coft bestowed than either the dead man, or indeed death itself, could deserve. There

[a] This is the best of our author's prose-works. The subject, which he had much at heart, raised his genius. There is fomething very noble, and almost poetical, in the plan of this Vision; and a warm vein of eloquence runs quite through it. Vol. II.

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was

was a mighty train of black affiftants, among which, too, divers princes in the persons of their ambassadors (being infinitely afflicted for the loss of their brother) were pleased to attend ; the herse was magnificent, the idol crowned, and (not to mention all other ceremonies which are pra&tised at royal interments, and therefore by no means could be omitted here) the vast multitude of spectators made up, as it uses to do, no small part of the spectacle itself. But yet, I know not how, the whole was so managed, that, methought, it somewhat represented the life of him for whom it was made; much noise, much tumult, much expence, much magnificence, much vain-glory; briefly, a great Thow, and yet, after all this, but an ill sight. At last, (for it seemed long to me, and like his short reign too, very tedious) the whole scene passed by, and I retired back to my chamber, weary, and I think more melancholy than any of the mourners. Where I began to reflea on the whole life of this prodigious man: and sometimes I was filled with horror and detestation of his actions, and sometimes I inclined a little to reverence and admiration of his courage, conduct, and success; till, by these different motions and agitations of mind, rocked, as it were, alleep, I fell at last into this vision; or if you please to call it but a dream, I shall not take it ill, because the father of poets tells us, even dreams, too, are from God.

But

But sure it was no dream ; for I was suddenly transported afar off (whether in the body, or out of the body, like St. Paul [0], I know not) and found myself on the top of that famous hill in the island Mona, which has the profpe& of three great, and not long since most happy, kingdoms. As soon as ever I looked on them, the Not-long-fonce struck upon my memory, and called forth the sad representation of all the sins, and all the miseries, that had overwhelmed them these twenty years. And I wept bitterly for two or three hours; and, when my present stock of moisture was all wasted, I fell a sighing for an hour more; and, as soon as I recovered from my passion the use of speech and reason, I broke forth, as I remember (looking upon England) into this complaint :

1.

Ah, happy ifle, how art thou chang'd and curft,

Since I was born, and knew thee first! When peace, which had forsook the world around, (Frighted with noise, and the shrill trumpet's found)

Thee, for a private place of reft,
And a secure retirement, chose

Wherein to build her halcyon neft;
No wind durft ftir abroad the air to discompose.

[b] like St. Paul] Very injudicious, on such an occasion, to use the language of St. Paul.

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2. When

2.

tide:

When all the riches of the globe beside
Flow'd in to thee with

every
When all, that nature did thy soil deny,
The growth was of thy fruitful industry;

When all the proud and dreadful sea,
And all his tributary-streams,

A constant tribute paid to thee,
When all the liquid, world was one extended Thames.

3. When plenty in each village did appear,

And bounty was its steward there;
When gold walk'd free about in open view,
Ere it one conquering party's prisoner grew ;

When the religion of our state
Had face and substance with her voice,

Ere she by her foolish loves of late,
Like echo (once a nymph) turn'd only into noise.

4.
When men to men respect and friendship bore,

And God with reverence did adore;
When upon earth no kingdom could have shown
A happier monarch to us, than our own ;

And yet his subjects by him were
(Which is a truth will hardly be

Receiv'd by any vulgar ear,
A secret known to few) made happier evin than he,

5. Thou doft a Chaos, and confusion now,

A Babel, and a Bedlam grow, And, like a frantic person, thou doft tear The ornaments and cloaths, which thou fhould'A Wear,

And

And cut thy limbs ; and, if we see
(Just as thy barbarous Britons did).

Thy body with hypocrisy
Painted ałł oʻer, thou think'st, thy naked shame is hid.

6.
The nations, which envy'd thee erewhile

Now laugh (too little 'tis to smile)
They laugh, and would have pitied thee (alas!)
But that thy faults all pity do surpass.

Art thou the country, which didst hate
And mock the French inconstancy?

And have we, have we feen of late
Less change of habits- there, than governments in

thee?

7.
Unhappy ille! no ship of thine at sea,

Was ever tost and torn like thee.
Thy naked hulk loose on the waves does beat,
The rocks and banks around her ruin threat;

What did thy foolish pilots ail,
To lay the compass quite alide?

Without a law or rule to fails
And rather take the winds, than Heaven's to be their

guide?

8. Yet, mighty God, yet, yet, we humbly crave,

This floating idle from shipwreck save ;
And though, to wash that blood which does it ftain,
It well deserves to sink into the main ; ..

Yet, for the royal martyr's prayer,
(The royal martyr prays, we know)

This guilty, perishing vessel spare ;
.Hear but his soul above, and not his blood below.

I thin's

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