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By way of VISION,
The Government of OLIVER CROMWELL [a].
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.
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 sure it was no dream ; for I was suddenly transported afar off (whether in the body, or out of the body, like St. Paul , 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 :
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,
Wherein to build her halcyon neft;
[b] like St. Paul] Very injudicious, on such an occasion, to use the language of St. Paul.
When all the riches of the globe beside
When all the proud and dreadful sea,
A constant tribute paid to thee,
3. When plenty in each village did appear,
And bounty was its steward there;
When the religion of our state
Ere she by her foolish loves of late,
And God with reverence did adore;
And yet his subjects by him were
Receiv'd by any vulgar ear,
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 cut thy limbs ; and, if we see
Thy body with hypocrisy
Now laugh (too little 'tis to smile)
Art thou the country, which didst hate
And have we, have we feen of late
Was ever tost and torn like thee.
What did thy foolish pilots ail,
Without a law or rule to fails
8. Yet, mighty God, yet, yet, we humbly crave,
This floating idle from shipwreck save ;
Yet, for the royal martyr's prayer,
This guilty, perishing vessel spare ;