English Poets of the Eighteenth Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 311 pages of information about English Poets of the Eighteenth Century.

VII.  HIS HAPPY DEATH

  If Heaven a date of many years would give,
  Thus I’d in pleasure, ease, and plenty live. 
  And as I near approach[ed] the verge of life,
  Some kind relation (for I’d have no wife)
  Should take upon him all my worldly care
  While I did for a better state prepare. 
  Then I’d not be with any trouble vexed,
  Nor have the evening of my days perplexed;
  But by a silent and a peaceful death,
  Without a sigh, resign my aged breath. 
  And, when committed to the dust, I’d have
  Few tears, but friendly, dropped into my grave;
  Then would my exit so propitious be,
  All men would wish to live and die like me.

DANIEL DEFOE

  FROM THE TRUE-BORN ENGLISHMAN

  The Romans first with Julius Caesar came,
  Including all the nations of that name,
  Gauls, Greeks, and Lombards, and, by computation,
  Auxiliaries or slaves of every nation. 
  With Hengist, Saxons; Danes with Sueno came;
  In search of plunder, not in search of fame. 
  Scots, Picts, and Irish from th’ Hibernian shore,
  And conquering William brought the Normans o’er. 
  All these their barbarous offspring left behind,
  The dregs of armies, they of all mankind;
  Blended with Britons, who before, were here. 
  Of whom the Welsh ha’ blessed the character. 
  From this amphibious ill-born mob began
  That vain, ill-natured thing, an Englishman.

* * * * *

And lest by length of time it be pretended
The climate may this modern breed ha’ mended,
Wise Providence, to keep us where we are,
Mixes us daily with exceeding care. 
We have been Europe’s sink, the Jakes where she
Voids all her offal outcast progeny. 
From our fifth Henry’s time, the strolling bands
Of banished fugitives from neighbouring lands
Have here a certain sanctuary found: 
Th’ eternal refuge of the vagabond,
Where, in but half a common age of time,
Borrowing new blood and mariners from the clime,
Proudly they learn all mankind to contemn;
And all their race are true-born Englishmen. 
Dutch, Walloons, Flemings, Irishmen, and Scots,
Vaudois, and Valtelins, and Huguenots,
In good Queen Bess’s charitable reign,
Supplied us with three hundred thousand men. 
Religion—­God, we thank thee!—­sent them hither,
Priests, Protestants, the Devil and all together: 

  Of all professions and of every trade,
  All that were persecuted or afraid;
  Whether for debt or other crimes they fled,
  David at Hachilah was still their head. 
  The offspring of this miscellaneous crowd,
  Had not their new plantations long enjoyed,
  But they grew Englishmen, and raised their votes
  At foreign shoals for interloping Scots. 
  The royal branch from Pictland did succeed,

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English Poets of the Eighteenth Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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