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THE STORM.

AN ESSAY BY DANIEL DEFOE.

I'n told, for we have news among the dead,

Heaven lately spoke, but few knew what it said;

The voice in loudest tempests spoke,
And storms, which nature's strong foundation shook,
I felt it hither, and I'd have

you

know
I heard the voice, and knew the language too.

Think it not strange I heard it here,
No place is so remote, but when he speaks they hear.

Besides, tho' I am dead in fame,
I never told you where I am.
Tho' I have lost poetic breath,

I'm not in perfect state of death :
From whence this Popish consequence I draw,

I'm in the limbus of the law.
Let me be where I will I heard the storm,
From every

blast it echo'd thus, REFORM ;
I felt the mighty shock, and saw the night,
When guilt look'd pale, and own'd the fright;

And every time the raging element
Shook London's lofty towers, at every rent
The falling timbers gave, they cry'd REPENT.
I saw, when all the stormy crew,

Newly commission'd from on high,
Newly instructed what to do,

In lowring cloudy troops drew nigh;

They hover'd o'er the guilty land,
As if they had been backward to obey ;
As if they wonder'd at the sad command,

And pity'd those they should destroy.

But heaven, that long had gentler methods try'd
And saw those gentler methods all defy'd

Had now resolved to be obey'd.
The Queen, an emblem of the soft still voice,
Had told the nation how to make their choice;

Told them the only way to happiness

Was by the blessed door of peace.
But the unbappy genius of the land,
Deaf to the blessing, as to the command,

Scorn the high caution, and contemn the news,

And all the blessed thoughts of peace refuse.
Since storms are then the nation's choice,
Be storms their portion, said the heavenly voice :

He said, and I could hear no more,
So soon th' obedient troops began to roar:

So soon the black’ning clouds drew near,
And fill'd with loudest storms the trembling air :

I thought I felt the world's foundation shake,
And look'd when all the wond'rous frame would break,

I trembl'd as the winds grew high,
And so did many a braver man than I;
For he whose valour scorns his sense,
Has charg'd his courage into impudence.

Man may to man his valour show,

And 'tis his virtue to do so;
But if he's of his Maker not afraid,
He's not courageous then, but mad.

Soon as I heard the horrid blast,

And understood how long 'twould last, View'd all the fury of the element,

Consider'd well by whom 'twas sent,
And unto whom for punishment;

It brought my hero to my mind,
William the glorious, great, and good, and kind,

Short epithets to his just memory;
The first he was to all the world, the last to me.

}

The mighty genius to my thought appeard,

Just in the same concern he us'd to show,

When private tempests used to blow, Storms which the monarch more than death or battle fear'd,

THE STORM: AN ESSAY.

415

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When party fury shook his throne,
And made their mighty malice known,

I've heard the sighing monarch say,
The public peace so near him lay,
It took the pleasure of his crown away,

It fillid with cares his royal breast.
Often he has those cares prophetically express’d,

That when he should the reins let to,
Heaven would some token of its anger show

To let the thankless nation see How they despis'd their own felicity.

This robb’d the hero of his rest, Disturb’d the calm of his serener breast.

When to the queen the sceptre he resign'd

With a resolv'd and steady mind,
Tho' he rejoic'd to lay the trifle down,
He pity'd her to whom he left the crown:

Foreseeing long and vig'rous wars,
Foreseeing endless, private, party jars,

Would always interrupt her rest,
And fill with anxious care her royal breast.

For storms of court ambition rage as high
Almost as tempests in the sky.

Could I my hasty doom retrieve,
And once more in the land of poets live,

I'd now the men of flags and fortune greet,

And write an elegy upon the fleet.
First, those that on the shore were idly found,
Whom other fate protects, while better men were drown'd,
They may thank God for being knaves on shore,
But sure the Queen will never trust them more.

They who rid out the storm, and liv’d,
But saw not whence it was deriv'd,
Senseless of danger, or the mighty hand,
That could to cease as well as blow command,

Let such unthinking creatures have a care,
For some worse end prepare.

Let them look out for some such day,
When what the sea would not, the gallows may.
Those that in former dangers shunn'd the fight,
But met their ends in this disast'rous night,

}

Have left this caution, tho' too late,

That all events are known to fate.
Cowards avoid no danger when they run,
And courage 'scapes the death it would not shun;

'Tis nonsense from our fate to fly,
All men must have heart enough to die.

Those sons of plunder are below my pen,
Because they are below the names of men ;
Who from the shores presenting to their eyes
The fatal Goodwin, where the wreck of navies lies,
A thousand dying sailors talking to the skies.
From the sad shores they saw the wretches walk,

By signals of distress they talk;
There with one tide of life they're vext,
For all were sure to die the next.
The barbarous shores with men and boats abound,
The men more barbarous than the shores are found;

Off to the shatter'd ships they go,
And for the floating purchase row.

They spare no hazard, or no pain,
But 'tis to save the goods, and not the men,
Within the sinking suppliants reach appear,

As if they'd mock their dying fear.
Then for some trifle all their hopes supplant,
With cruelty would make a Turk relent.

If I had any Satire left to write,

Could I with suited spleen indite,
My verse should blast that fatal town,
And drown'd sailors' widows pull it down;

No footsteps of it should appear,
And ships no more cast anchor there.
The barbarous hated name of Deal shou'd die,

Or be a term of infamy ;
And till that's done, the town will stand

A just reproach to all the land.

The ships come next to be my theme,
The men's the loss, I'm not concern’d for them;

For had they perish'd e'er they went,
Where to no purpose they were sent,

THE STORM: AN ESSAY.

417

The ships might ha' been built again, And we had sav'd the money and the men.

There the mighty wrecks appear,
Hic jacent, useless things of war.
Graves of men, and tools of state,
There

you
lie too soon, there you

lie too late.
But 0 ye mighty ships of war!
What in winter did

you

there?
Wild November should our ships restore

To Chatham, Portsmouth, and the Nore,
So it was always heretofore ;
For heaven itself is not unkind,
If winter storms he'll sometimes send,

Since 'tis supposed the men-of-war
Are all laid up and left secure.
Nor did our navy feel alone

The dreadful desolation;
It shook the walls of flesh as well as stone,

And ruffl'd all the nation,

The universal fright
Made guilty How expect his fatal night;

His harden'd soul began to doubt,
And storms grew high within as they grew high without.

Flaming meteors fill’d the air,
But Afgil miss'd his fiery chariot there;

Recall'd his black blaspheming breath,
And trembling paid his homage unto death.

Terror appear'd in every face,
Even vile Blackbourn felt some shocks of

grace; Began to feel the hated truth appear,

Began to fear,
After he had burlesqued a God so long,

He should at last be in the wrong.

Some power he plainly saw, (And seeing, felt a strange unusual awe ;)

Some secret hand he plainly found,

Was bringing some strange thing to pass, And he that neither God nor devil own'd,

Must needs be at a loss to guess.

Fain he would not ha' guest the worst, But guilt will always be with terror curst.

VOL. V.

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