Tag Archives: Stephen Duck

Stephen Duck, “To His Royal Highness The Duke of Cumberland, on His Birth-Day”

STEPHEN DUCK

 “To His Royal Highness The Duke of CUMBERLAND, on His Birth-Day”

 

Twelve times hath SOL his annual Race begun,
Since JOVE descended from his radiant Throne:
Around the pendent Globe, the God pursu’d
His circling March, and human Actions view’d;
But griev’d that Virtue droop’d her languid Head,                                                     5
While Vice from Clime to Clime contagious spread;
Back, to his native Seat, he sternly flies;
And sends and Edict thro’ the spacious Skies,
To call th’ Ethereal Pow’rs: Swift flew his Word;
Th’ Ethereal Pow’rs, as swift, attend their Lord.                                                        10
Upon Olympus’ Top the Synod met,
Where, high inthron’d the thund’ring Monarch sat;
And, with a Nod, that shook the Spheres, he swore,
The Minor Gods should visit Earth no more.                                                                                    What, must your earthly Sons, MINERVA cry’d,                                                         15
Explore their doubtful Way without a Guide?
If PALLAS must no more to Mortals go,
Let PALLAS beg a Substitute below,
Worthy to rule the World, whose noble Mind
May copy out the Gods to human Kind.                                                                      20
She lowly bow’d; and JOVE, consenting, smil’d;
Go, form, said he, this new-imagin’d Child:
Collect the best Materials, where you will;
And let us see, for once, MINERVA’S Skill.
He said; she hastens o’er the bright Abodes,                                                              25
Selecting each Perfection of the Gods:
From Mars she warlike Strength and Courage took;
But soften’d them with VENUS’ graceful Look:
To these she added HERMES’ Eloquence,                                                                                                   And crown’d it with her own superior Sense:                                                               30
Some of Apollo’s piercing Rays she stole;
And while the MUSES play’d, she she form’d a Soul.
When thus compos’d the bright Ingredients lay,
She nobly drest them in Eternal Clay;
Jove touch’d the Mass with enliv’ning Hand,                                                                 35
And vital Warmth inspir’d a CUMBERLAND.

 NOTES:

Title Duke of CUMBERLAND Prince William Augustus (1726-1765), third son of King George II, appointed as Duke in 1726. At an early age he became known for his astute physical courage and ability. He would later lead the decisive Battle of Culloden against the Jacobite rebels in January, 1746 (Encyclopedia Britannica).

1 SOL “The sun (personified)” (OED).

2 JOVE Latin name for Jupiter, the highest god of the ancient Romans; the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek tradition (Encyclopedia Britannica).

11 Olympus’ Top Known as Mount Olympus. The home of gods and goddesses in ancient mythology (Encyclopedia Britannica); Synod “An assembly, convention, or council of any kind” (OED).

15 MINERVA “A Roman goddess, regarded as the patron of handicrafts and the arts, and later also of wisdom and prowess in war, identified from an early period with the Greek Athene” (OED).

17 PALLAS An epithet for Athena, the goddess of war, handicraft, and practical reason. “Pallas” refers to her warrior side; according to legend, Pallas was a friend and sparring partner accidentally killed by Athena.

27 Mars “The god of war of the ancient Romans, ranking in importance next to Jupiter, and identified from an early period with the Greek god Ares” (OED).

28 VENUS Roman goddess of love and beauty (Encyclopedia Britannica).

29 HERMES “A deity, the son of Zeus and Maia, represented as the messenger of the gods, the god of science, commerce, eloquence, and many of the arts of life” (OED).

31 Apollo Roman god of beauty, music, and poetry (Encyclopedia Britannica).

 Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1738), pp. 97-98. [Google Books]

Edited by Christian Ferrey

Stephen Duck, “On Music”

STEPHEN DUCK

 “On MUSIC

 I.

MUSIC the coldest Heart can warm,
The hardest melt, the fiercest charm;
Disarm the Savage of his Rage,
Dispel our Cares, and Pains assuage;
With Joy it can our Souls inspire,                                                  5
And tune our Tempers to the Lyre;
Our Passions, like the Notes, agree,
And stand subdu’d by Harmony.
This found the melancholy King,
When David tun’d the trembling String:                                     10
Sweet Music chas’d the fullen Spleen away,
And made his clouded Soul serenely gay.

II.

WHILE Music breathes in martial Airs,
The Coward dares forget his Fears;
Or, if the Notes to Pity sound,                                                     15
Revenge and Envy cease to wound:
The Pow’r of MUSIC has been known,
To raise or tumble Cities down:
Thus Theban Turrets, Authors say,
Were rais’d by MUSIC’s Magick Lay;                                            20
And antient Jericho’s Heav’n-hated Wall,
To sacred MUSIC, ow’d its destin’d Fall.

III.

NOR Mortals only MUSIC love;
It chears celestial Saints above:
Sweet Hallelujahs Angels sing                                                      25
Around their great Ethereal King;
CeaslessCeasless they sound the FATHER’S Praise,
The FATHER too approves their Lays;
For HE (as all Things) MUSIC made,
And SERAPHIMS before Him play’d:                                            30
When over Horeb’s Mount He came,
Array’d in Majesty and Flame;
After the sounding Trump, sublime, He rode;
The sounding Trump proclaim’d the’ approaching GOD.

IV.

MUSIC had Being, long before                                                     35
The solemn Organ learnt to roar:
When MICHAEL, o’er the heav’nly Plain,
Advanc’d, to fight the rebel Train;
Loud Trumpets did his Wrath declare,
In MUSIC, terrible to hear:                                                             40
And when the Universe was made,
On golden Harps the Angels play’d:
And when it falls, (as fall it must)
MUSIC shall penetrate the Dust;
The Trump shall sound with the Archangel’s Breath;                       45
And, sweetly dreadful! wake the Dead from Death.

NOTES:

6 Lyre “A stringed instrument of the harp kind, used by the Greeks for accompanying song and recitation” (OED).

9 melancholy King An allusion to King Saul in the Bible.

10 David tun’d the trembling String In the first book of Samuel, David would play the lyre to calm Saul when the evil spirit of God was upon him (1 Samuel 16:23).

11 Spleen “Excessive dejection or depression of spirits; gloominess and irritability.” (OED).

19 Theban Turrets A structure or tower belonging to Thebes, ancient capital of Boeotia in Greece.

20 Lay “A short lyric or narrative poem intended to be sung” (OED).

21 Jericho’s Heav’n-hated Wall In the Bible Joshua is instructed to sound trumpets before taking over the city of Jericho (Joshua 6:20).

30 Seraphims Biblical angels.

31 Horeb’s Mount The mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.

32 Majesty and Flame Allusion to the Burning bush that the Lord appeared as to give Moses the Ten Commandments.

37 MICHAEL, o’er the heav’nly Plain Michael was an archangel who fought the Devil in heaven.

45 The Trump shall sound with the Archangel’s Breath An allusion to the archangel Michael sounding his triumph after defeating the Devil in heaven (Jude 1:9 and Revelation 12:7-9).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions, (3rd Edition) (London, 1753), pp. 49-51. [Google Books]

 Edited by Noelle Gallagher

Stephen Duck, “To Death. An Irregular Ode”

STEPHEN DUCK

 “To DEATH. An Irregular ODE”

I.

HAIL, formidable KING!
My Muse thy dreaded fame shall sing.
Why should old HOMER’S pompous lays
Immortalize ACHILLES’ Praise!
Or why should ADDISON’S harmonious Verse                                   5
Our MARLBRO’S nobler Deeds rehearse?
Alas! no more these Heroes shine;
Their Pow’r is all subdu’d by Thine.
Where are these mighty Leaders now,
Great POMPEY, CAESAR, and Young AMMON too,                            10
Who thought he drew immortal Breath ?
These bold ambitious Sons of MARS
Who dy’d the Globe with bloody Wars,
Are vanquish’d all by thee, victorious DEATH !

II.

Ev’n while they liv’d, their Martial Hate                                                 15
But firmer fix’d thy Throne;
Nor, tho’ it hasten’d others Fate,
Could it delay their own.
Nor didst thou want their Rage to kill;
Thy own can execute thy Will;                                                          20
Whene’er thou dost exert thy Pow’r,
A Thousand morbid Troops thy Call obey;
Sometimes thy wasting Plagues devour,
And sweep whole realms away.
Now with contagious Biles the City mourns,                                         25
And now thy scorching Fever burns,
Or trembling Quartan chills;
Of Heat and Cold the dire extremes
Now freeze, now fire the Blood with Flames,
Till various Torment kills.                                                                  30

III.

CONSUMPTIONS, and Rheumatic Pain,
And Apoplectic Fits, that rack the Brain;
Soul-panting Asthmas, Dropsy, and Catarrh,
Gout, Palsy, Lunacy and black Despair;
Pangs, that neglected Lovers feel;                                                     35
Corroding Jealousy, their earthly Hell,
Which makes the injur’d Woman wild;
And pow’rful Spleen that gets the Man with Child;
Physicians, surgeons, Bawds, and Whores, and Wine,
Are all obsequious servants of Thine;                                                         40
Nay, and RELIGION, too
When Hypocrites their interest pursue,
Or frantic Zeal inspires,
It calls for Racks, and Wheels, and Fires:
Then all our mystic Articles of Faith                                                             45
Instead of saving Life, become the Cause of DEATH.

IV.

GREAT MONARCH! how secure must be thy Crown,
When all these Things conspire to prop thy Throne?
Yet, in thy universal Reign,
Thou dost not use tyrannic Sway.                                                        50
Whate’er the Weak and Tim’rous say,
Who tremble at thy Frown;
Thou art propitious to our Pain,
And break’st the groaning Pris’ner’s Chain,
Which Tyranny put on.                                                                   55
In Thee the Lover quits his Care,
Nor longer courts the cruel Fair,
Her Coldness mourns no more:
In Thee Ambition ends it Race,
And finds at length the destin’d Place,                                                60
It ne’er could find before:
The Merchant too, who plows the Main,
In greedy Quest of Gain,
By Thee to happier Climes is brought,
Than those his wild, insatiate Av’rice sought.                                            65

V.

PROPITIOUS Succourer of the Distrest,
Who often, by the Dead, dost make the Living blest !
How could profusive Heirs attend
Their Mistress, Bottle, Ball, and Play,
If timely Thou wert not their Friend,                                                    70
To snatch the scraping Sire away?
How would dull Poets weary Time
With their insipid Rhyme,
And teaze and tire the Reader’s Ears
With Party Feuds, and Paper Wars,                                                     75
If Thou, great Critic! didst not use
Thy Pow’r, to point a Period for their Muse?
The Bard, at thy decisive Will,
Discards his mercenary Quill,
Then all his mighty Volumes lie                                                           80
Hid in the peaceful Tomb of vast Obscurity.

VI.

I, like the rest, advance my Lays;
With uncouth Numbers, rumble forth a Song,
Sedately dull, to celebrate thy Praise;
And lash, and spur the heavy lab’ring Muse along:                                 85
But soon the fatal Time must come,
(Ordanin’d by Heav’n’s unerring Doom)
When Thou shalt cut the vital Thread,
And shove the verbal Embryos from my Head.
Thence, since I’m sure to meet my Fate,                                            90
How vain would Hope appear?
Since Fear cannot protract the Date,
How foolish ‘twere to fear?
I’ll strive, at least, to stand prepared,
Thy Summons to obey;                                                                  95
Nor would I think thy Sentence hard,
Nor wish, nor fear the Day;
But live in conscious Peace, and die without Dismay.

VII.

FALLACIOUS Reas’ners wrong Thee, when
They call the Laws severe.                                                                   100
Severe! to whom? To wicked Men:
Then let the Wicked fear.
Thou judgest all with equal Laws,
No venal Witness backs thy Cause,
NoNo Bribes to Thee are known;                                                105
If thy impartial Hand but strike,
The Prince and Peasant fall alike,
The Courtier and the Clown.
What tho’ a-while the Beggar groans,
While Kings enjoy their gilded Thrones?                                           110
What are Distinctions, Pomp, and Regal Train,
And Honours, got with Care, and kept with Pain?
One friendly Stroke of Thine sets level all again.
All earthly Grandeur must decline;
Nay, ev’n Great GEORGE’S Pow’r submit to Thine:                                  115
But thy Dominion shall endure,
Till PHOEBUS measures Time no more:
Then all shall be in dark Oblivion cast,
And ev’ry mortal Kingdom fall; but thine shall fall the last.

NOTES:

1 King King George II (1683-1760), reigned from 1727.

3 Homer (Precise birth/death unknown; estimated to be ~750BCE). Ancient classical Grecian poet, author of the epics The Iliad and The Odyssey

4 Achilles Highly-acclaimed and famous warrior from Greek mythos; central character of The Iliad.

5 Addison Joseph Addison (1672-1719), author and co-founder of The Spectator, and poet.

6 Marlboro John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722). English statesman whose lengthy career earned him extreme fame, power, and wealth.

10 Pompey (106 BC-48 BC) Supremely successful military general of Ancient Rome; Caesar Julius Caesar (100 BC-44 BC), prominent Roman statesman, prose author, and dictator. Assassinated by his own senators; Young Ammon Possibly refers to Molech, an ancient God worshipped by Phoenicians and Canaanites.

12 Mars Mars was a figure of meaningful conflict and male aggression in the Roman mythos.

27 Quartan A malarial fever that reoccurs every 72 hours.

33 Dropsy Medical condition where swelling of fluid beneath the skin causes great pain.

33 Catarrh A disorder of inflammation of mucous membranes in an airway or bodily cavity.

38 Spleen Most often used in this period to describe the nature of melancholy or hysterical affectation. But in this context, used to describe the surge of emotion that man feels towards women; ends in pregnancy.

39 Bawd A prostitute.

44 Racks, Wheels, Fires Refers to various methods of torture associated with religious inquisitions; the rack stretched an individual to dislocate/break limbs; the wheel was an actual wagon wheel that an individual was strapped to, then beaten. Fires could refer to a funeral pyre or burning at the stake.

45 Articles of Faith Refers to passages of the Bible that suggest death as a solution for sins.

62 Main Refers to the merchant “plowing” the main street of a city; a peddler seeking profit.

117 Phoebus Another name for Apollo, the god of the Sun in classical Greek mythology.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1738), pp. 99-104. [Google Books]

Edited by Spencer Lam