Fade, flowers! fade, Nature will have it so;
’Tis but what we must in our autumn do!
And as your leaves lie quiet on the ground,
The loss alone by those that loved them found;
So in the grave shall we as quiet lie,
Miss’d by some few that loved our company;
But some so like to thorns and nettles live,
That none for them can, when they perish, grieve.
Rome’s holy-days you tell, as if a guest
With the old Romans you were wont to feast.
Numa’s religion, by themselves believed,
Excels the true, only in show received.
They made the nations round about them bow,
With their dictators taken from the plough;
Such power has justice, faith, and honesty!
The world was conquer’d by morality.
Seeming devotion does but gild a knave,
That’s neither faithful, honest, just, nor brave;
But where religion does with virtue join,
It makes a hero like an angel shine.
That the First Charles does here in triumph ride,
See his son reign where he a martyr died,
And people pay that rev’rence as they pass,
(Which then he wanted!) to the sacred brass,
Is not the effect of gratitude alone,
To which we owe the statue and the stone;
But Heaven this lasting monument has wrought,
That mortals may eternally be taught
Rebellion, though successful, is but vain,
And kings so kill’d rise conquerors again.
This truth the royal image does proclaim,
Loud as the trumpet of surviving Fame.
Not the brave Macedonian youth alone,
But base Caligula, when on the throne,
Boundless in power, would make himself a god,
As if the world depended on his nod.
The Syrian king to beasts was headlong thrown,
Ere to himself he could be mortal known.
The meanest wretch, if Heaven should give him line,
Would never stop till he were thought divine.
All might within discern the serpent’s pride,
If from ourselves nothing ourselves did hide.
Let the proud peacock his gay feathers spread,
And woo the female to his painted bed;
Let winds and seas together rage and swell—
This Nature teaches, and becomes them well.
’Pride was not made for men;’ a conscious sense
Of guilt, and folly, and their consequence,
Destroys the claim, and to beholders tells,
Here nothing but the shape of manhood dwells.
 ‘Macedonian youth’: Alexander.  ‘Syrian king’: Nebuchadnezzar.  ‘For men’: Ecclus. x. 18.