52. sonnets. Love-poems, or poems dealing with light and frivolous subjects, which the Puritans would have considered wicked.

53. mitre. i.e. the Pope, with whom the Puritans associated Laud and Charles's party in the Church.

54. Belial. See note to 1. 35 of Sir Nicholas at Marston Moor, on p. 8.

Mammon. The personification of riches and worldliness. St. Matt. vi. 24, St. Luke xvi. 9.

55. Oxford halls. The Oxford colleges were on the King's side.

in Durham's stalls. Among the clergy attached to Durham Cathedral.

56. Jesuit. An order of priests founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1534. See note above to 1. 53.

cope. A sleeveless, hooded mantle worn by priests.



Thomas Fairfax commanded the right wing of the cavalry at Marston Moor (1644). Owing to his ability and integrity he was in 1645 appointed, in his father's stead, commander-inchief of the new Model Army which won the battle of Naseby. He afterwards captured the chief Royalist centres of the WestBristol, Tiverton, and Torrington-and in 1648 forced the surrender of Colchester (which was the occasion of the following sonnet). After the execution of Charles I he took little part in public affairs, and in 1650 resigned his command sooner than invade Scotland. At Cromwell's death he joined General Monk in declaring for the restoration of Charles II, and secured the North by occupying York.

FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,
Filling each mouth with envy or with praise,
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze
And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings,
Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings

Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Their Hydra heads, and the false north displays
Her broken league to imp their serpent wings.
8. imp] renew.


Oh! yet a nobler task awaits thy hand

(For what can war but endless war still breed?) Till truth and right from violence be freed, And public faith cleared from the shameful brand Of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed, While avarice and rapine share the land.



7. Hydra. A legendary serpent with many heads, which when cut off were succeeded by others.

the false north. A reference to the second part of the Civil War. In 1648 the Scots privately concluded a treaty with Charles, whom they promised to restore in return for the establishment of Presbyterianism.



This ode was written when Cromwell had hurriedly returned to London, to take command of the army which was to invade Scotland. [See introduction, To the Lord General Fairfax.]

THE forward youth that would appear
Must now forsake his Muses dear,
Nor in the shadows sing

His numbers languishing.

'Tis time to leave the books in dust,
And oil the unused armour's rust,
Removing from the wall

The corslet of the hall.

So restless Cromwell could not cease
In the inglorious arts of peace,

But through the adventurous war
Urgèd his active star:

8. corslet] breast-plate.



And like the three-fork'd lightning, first
Breaking the clouds where it was nurst,
Did thorough his own side
His fiery way divide:

For 'tis all one to courage high,
The emulous, or enemy;

And with such, to enclose

Is more than to oppose.

Then burning through the air he went
And palaces and temples rent;
And Caesar's head at last
Did through his laurels blast.

'Tis madness to resist or blame
The face of angry Heaven's flame;
And if we would speak true,
Much to the man is due,

Who, from his private gardens, where
He lived reservèd and austere

(As if his highest plot
To plant the bergamot),

Could by industrious valour climb
To ruin the great work of time,
And cast the Kingdoms old
Into another mould;

Though Justice against Fate complain,
And plead the ancient rights in vain-
But those do hold or break
As men are strong or weak-

32. bergamot] pear-tree.







Nature, that hateth emptiness,
Allows of penetration less,

And therefore must make room
Where greater spirits come.

What field of all the civil war

Where his were not the deepest scar?
And Hampton shows what part
He had of wiser art;

Where, twining subtle fears with hope,
He wove a net of such a scope

That Charles himself might chase
To Caresbrooke's narrow case;

That thence the Royal actor borne
The tragic scaffold might adorn:

While round the armèd bands
Did clap their bloody hands.

He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable scene,
But with his keener eye
The axe's edge did try;

Nor call'd the gods, with vulgar spite,
To vindicate his helpless right;

But bow'd his comely head
Down, as upon a bed.

This was that memorable hour

Which first assured the forced power:

So when they did design

The Capitol's first line,

A bleeding Head, where they begun,
Did fright the architects to run;

And yet in that the State
Foresaw its happy fate!







And now the Irish are ashamed

To see themselves in one year tamed:
So much one man can do


That does both act and know.

They can affirm his praises best,
And have, though overcome, confest
How good he is, how just
And fit for highest trust.

Nor yet grown stiffer with command,
But still in the republic's hand-
How fit he is to sway

That can so well obey!

He to the Commons' feet presents
A Kingdom for his first year's rents,
And, what he may, forbears
His fame, to make it theirs :

And has his sword and spoils ungirt
To lay them at the public's skirt.
So when the falcon high
Falls heavy from the sky,

She, having kill'd, no more doth search
But on the next green bough to perch;
Where, when he first does lure,
The falconer has her sure.

What may not then our Isle presume
While victory his crest does plume?
What may not others fear,

If thus he crowns each year?

But thou, the war's and fortune's son,
March indefatigably on;

And for the last effect,
Still keep the sword erect:
Besides the force it has to fright
The spirits of the shady night,

The same arts that did gain
A power, must it maintain.

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