Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A PANEGYRE, ON HAPPY ENTRANCE OF JAMES, OUR SOVEREIGN TO PARLIAMENT, by BEN JONSON



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
A PANEGYRE, ON HAPPY ENTRANCE OF JAMES, OUR SOVEREIGN TO PARLIAMENT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Heaven now not strives, alone, our breasts to fill
Last Line: Still to have such a king, and this king long.'
Subject(s): James I, King Of England (1566-1625)


Heaven now not strives, alone, our breasts to fill
With joys: but urgeth his full favours still.
Again, the glory of our western world
Unfolds himself: and from his eyes are hurled
(Today) a thousand radiant lights, that stream
To every nook and angle of his realm.
His former rays did only clear the sky;
But these his searching beams are cast, to pry
Into those dark and deep concealed vaults,
Where men commit black incest with their faults;
And snore supinely in the stall of sin,
Where murder, rapine, lust, do sit within,
Carousing human blood in iron bowls,
And make their den the slaughter-house of souls:
From whose foul reeking caverns first arise
Those damps, that so offend all good men's eyes;
And would (if not dispersed) infect the crown,
And in their vapour her bright metal drown.
To this so clear and sanctified an end,
I saw, when reverend Themis did descend
Upon his state; let down in that rich chain,
That fasteneth heavenly power to earthly reign:
Beside her, stooped on either hand, a maid,
Fair Dice, and Eunomia; who were said
To be her daughters: and but faintly known
On earth, till now they came to grace his throne.
Her third, Irene, helped to bear his train;
And in her office vowed she would remain,
Till foreign malice, or unnatural spite
(Which Fates avert) should force her from her right.
With these he passed, and with his people's hearts
Breathed in his way; and souls (their better parts)
Hasting to follow forth in shouts, and cries;
Upon his face all threw their covetous eyes,
As on a wonder: some amazed stood,
As if they felt, but had not known their good:
Others would fain have shown it in their words:
But, when their speech so poor a help affords
Unto their zeal's expression; they are mute:
And only with red silence him salute.
Some cry from tops of houses; thinking noise
The fittest herald to proclaim true joys:
Others on ground run gazing by his side,
All, as unwearied, as unsatisfied:
And every window grieved it could not move
along with him, and the same trouble prove.
They that had seen, but four short days before,
His gladding look, now longed to see it more.
And as of late, when he through London went,
The amorous city spared no ornament,
That might her beauties heighten; but so dressed,
As our ambitious dames, when they make feast,
And would be courted: so this town put on
Her brightest tire; and, in it, equal shone
To her great sister; save that modesty,
Her place, and years, gave her precedency.
The joy of either was alike, and full;
No age, nor sex, so weak, or strongly dull,
That did not bear a part in this consent
Of hearts and voices. All the air was rent,
As with the murmur of a moving wood;
The ground beneath did seem a moving flood:
Walls, windows, roofs, towers, steeples, all were set
With several eyes, that in this object met.
Old men were glad, their fates till now did last;
And infants, that the hours had made such haste
To bring them forth: whilst riper aged, and apt
To understand the more, the more were rapt.
This was the people's love, with which did strive
The nobles' zeal, yet either kept alive
The other's flame, as doth the wick and wax,
That friendly tempered, one pure taper makes.
Meanwhile, the reverend Themis draws aside
The king's obeying will, from taking pride
In these vain stirs, and to his mind suggests
How he may triumph in his subjects' breasts,
With better pomp. She tells him first, that kings
Are here on earth the most conspicious things:
That they, by Heaven, are placed upon his throne,
to rule like Heaven; and have no more, their own,
As they are men, than men. That all they do
Though hid at home, abroad is searched into:
And, being once found out, discovered lies
Unto as many envies, there, as eyes.
That princes, since they know it is their fate,
Oft-times, to have the secrets of their state
Betrayed to fame, should take more care, and fear
In public acts what form and face they bear.
She then remembered to his thought the place
Where he was going; and the upward race
Of kings, preceding him in that high court;
Their laws, their ends; the men she did report:
And all so justly, as his ear was joyed
To hear the truth, from spite, or flattery void.
She showed him, who made wise, who honest acts;
Who both, who neither: all the cunning tracts,
And thriving statutes she could promptly note;
The bloody, base, and barbarous she did quote;
Where laws were made to serve the tyrant will;
Where sleeping they could save, and waking kill;
Where acts gave licence to impetuous lust
To bury churches, in forgotten dust,
And with their ruins raise the pandar's bowers:
When, public justice borrowed all her powers
From private chambers; that could then create
Laws, judges, councillors, yea prince, and state.
All this she told, and more, with bleeding eyes;
For Right is as compassionate as wise.
Nor did he seem their vices so to love,
As once defend, what Themis did reprove.
For though by right, and benefit of times,
He owned their crowns, he would not so their crimes.
He knew that princes, who had sold their fame
To their voluptuous lusts, had lost their name;
And that no wretch was more unblessed than he,
Whose necessary good 'twas now to be
An evil king: and so must such be still,
Who once have got the habit to do ill.
One wickedness another must defend;
For vice is safe, while she hath vice to friend.
He knew, that those, who would, with love, command,
Must with a tender (yet a steadfast) hand
Sustain the reins, and in the check forbear
To offer cause of injury, or fear.
That kings, by their example, more do sway
Than by their power; and men do more obey
When they are led than when they are compelled.
In all these knowing arts our prince excelled.
And now the dame had dried her dropping eyne,
When, like an April Iris, flew her shine
About the streets, as it would force a spring
From out the stones, to gratulate the king.
She blessed the people, that in shoals did swim
To hear her speech; which still began in him
And ceased in them. She told them, what a fate
Was gently fallen from heaven upon this state;
How dear a father they did now enjoy
That came to save, what discord would destroy:
And entering with the power of a king,
The temperance of a private man did bring,
That won affections, ere his steps won ground;
And was not hot, or covetous to be crowned
Before men's hearts had crowned him. Who (unlike
Those greater bodies of the sky, that strike
The lesser fires dim) in his access
Brighter than all, hath yet made no one less;
Though many greater: and the most, the best.
Wherein his choice was happy with the rest
Of his great actions, first to see, and do
What all men's wishes did aspire unto.
Hereat, the people could no longer hold
Their bursting joys; but through the air was rolled
The lengthened shout, as when the artillery
Of heaven is discharged along the sky:
And this confession flew from every voice:
'Never had land more reason to rejoice.
Nor to her bliss, could aught now added be,
Save, that she might the same perpetual see.'
Which when Time, Nature, and the Fates denied,
With a twice louder shout again they cried,
'Yet, let blessed Britain ask (without your wrong)
Still to have such a king, and this king long.'





Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net