chapter  82
A POEM TO Sir Roger L’Estrange, ON HIS THIRD PART OF THE HISTORY of the TIMES. Relating to the DEATH OF Sir EDMUND BURY-GODFREY.
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In what loud Songs of everlasting Fame, Shall we adore the great L’Estrange’s Name; Who like a pitying God, does Truth advance, Rescuing the World from stupid Ignorance. 5 Truth, which so long in shameful Darkness lay, Raises her shineing Head, and views the Day. Truth, the First-born of Heaven! and Being had, E’r the vast World was from the Chaos made! ’Twas That form’d Souls; and by a Power sublime, 10 Was all in all, the very Word Divine: ’Till Man by Vice and Villany betray’d, By Perjury and false Ambition sway’d, Banisht the Noble Vertue from its Seat, As Useless in the Politick, and Great. 15 Then Fraud and Flattery first in Courts began, And thence assum’d by all the Race of Man: Grave Judges, Church-men, and whole Senates now, Ev’n Laws and Gospel, were corrupted too. By these misled, the restless People Range 20 Into a Thousand Errors, New and Strange; To every God, to every Idol-Change. Unknown Religions first their Poyson hurl’d, And with New Lights Debauch’d the giddy World; Not the Rebellious, Stubborn Hebrew Race; 25 More false forbidden Worships did embrace. 292Hence Universal Feuds and Mischiefs rose, And Friends to Friends, Parents to Sons, were Foes. The Inspir’d Rabble, now wou’d Monarchs Rule, And Government was turn’d to Ridicule; 30 No Magistrates, no Order, was Obey’d; But New Club Laws, by Knaves and Villains made. From Wapping-Councils, all Decrees went out, And manag’d as they pleas’d the Frantick Rout: Then Perj’ries, Treasons, Murthers, did ensue, 35 And total Dissolution seem’d in View. For safety God’s Anointed found no Place, And ’midst his Senate, most in danger was. The Lord of Life, his Image rudely torn, To Flames was by the Common-Hangman born. 40 Here Noble Stafford fell, on Death’s great Stage, A Victim to the Lawless Peoples rage. Calm as a Dove, receiv’d a shameful Death, To Undeceive the World, resign’d his Breath; And like a God, dy’d to redeem Our Faith. 45 At * Golgotha, they glut the’r Insatiate Eyes With Scenes of Blood, and Humane Sacrifice, Men Consecrate to Heav’n, were piece-meal hew’d For Sport and Pastime, to the brutal Crowd. The World ran Mad, and each distemper’d Brain, 50 Did strange and different Frenzies entertain; Here Politick Mischiefs, there Ambition sway’d; The Credulous Rest, were Fool and Coward-Mad. The Wiser few, who did th’ Infection shun, Were those most liable to be undone: 55 Honour, as Breach of Priviledge, was detected; And Common Sense, was Popishly affected. Thus bashful Truth was Victim’d on our Shore, And none the frighted Virtue durst restore: No Perseus found, the Monster to Out-brave, 60 And from the fatal Rock, the Virgin save. No Curtius the vast Precipice would leap, That Rome might from the dire Contagion scape; Till like a saving Angel o’re the Land, You, Mighty Sir, stretch’d your all Conquering Hand. 65 You tun’d your Sacred Lyre, and stopt the Rage Of this abandon’d, this distemper’d Age. 293By the soft force of Charming Eloquence, You eas’d Our Fears, and brought us back to Sense. By You the fatal Riddle was reveal’d, 70 Which Hell’s Dark Malice long had keep’t conceal’d. You pointed out the Hand that did the Deed, For which so many Innocents did Bleed. ’Tis plain! and he denys the Noon-day light, Who questions the vast Reason which you write. 74 ’Tis brave! ’Tis Noble Truth, Divinely spoke! Detecting Knaves, who willingly mistook, It shews the Source from whence the Mischief broke. The Melancholy Self-Murtherer You trace Thro’ his Death-searching Paths e’n to the fatal Place: 80 The Picture you have drawn so Just, so True, We have the very Fact it self in view. And with a just disdain those Authors hate, Who on the Innocents transferr’d his Fate; A Sacrifice to save a vile Estate. 85 ’Tis You alone these Truths to be admir’d Have Writ, as with a Fiery Tongue Inspir’d. This Crowns your Labours, makes your Works compleat; Which, like your self, are eminently Great.