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An Epistle. Desiring The Queen's Picture, But Left Unfinished, By The Sudden News Of Her Majesty's Death

Matthew Prior 1664 – 1721

The train of equipage and pomp of state,
The shining sideboard and the burnish'd plate,
Let other ministers, great Anne, require,
And partial fall thy gift to their desire.
To the fair Portrait of my sovereign dame,
To that alone eternal be my claim.
My bright defender, and my dread delight,
If ever I found favour in thy sight;
If all the pains that for thy Britain's sake
My past has took, or future life may take,
Be grateful to my Queen, permit my prayer,
And with this gift reward my total care.
Will thy indulgent hand, fair Saint, allow
The boon? and will thy ear accept the vow?
That, in despite of age, of impious flame,
And eating Time, thy Picture, like thy fame,
Entire may last, that, as their eyes survey
The semblant shade, men yet unborn may say,
Thus great, thus gracious, look'd Britannia's Queen,
Her brow thus smooth, her look was thus serene;
When to a low but to a loyal hand
The mighty Empress gave her high command,
That he to hostile camps and kings should haste,
To speak her vengeance, as their danger, past;
To say, she wills detested wars to cease;
She checks her conquest for her subjects' ease,
And bids the world attend her terms of peace.
Thee, gracious Anne, thee present I adore,
Thee, Queen of Peace -- If Time and Fate have power
Higher to raise the glories of thy reign
In words sublimer and a nobler strain,
May future bards the mighty theme rehearse!
Here, Stator Jove, and Phoebus king of verse,
The votive tablet I suspend * * * * * * * * * *

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:25 min read

Matthew Prior

Matthew Prior was an English poet and diplomat. more…

All Matthew Prior poems | Matthew Prior Books

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