To the King on his Navy

Original Text: 
Edmund Waller, Poems (1645); facs. edn., Poems, 1645, together with poems from Bodleian MS Dond. 55 (Menston: Scolar Press, 1971). PR 3750 A1 1645 AB Robarts Library
2Homage to thee, and peace to all, she brings:
3The French and Spaniard, when thy flags appear,
5So Jove from Ida did both hosts survey,
6And when he pleas'd to thunder, part the fray.
7Ships heretofore in seas like fishes sped,
8The mightiest still upon the smallest fed:
9Thou on the deep imposest nobler laws,
10And by that justice hast remov'd the cause
11Of those rude tempests, which, for rapine sent,
12Too oft, alas, involv'd the innocent.
13Now shall the ocean, as thy Thames, be free
14From both those fates, of storms and piracy.
15But we most happy, who can fear no force
17'Tis not so hard for greedy foes to spoil
18Another nation, as to touch our soil.
19Should Nature's self invade the world again,
21Thy power were safe; and her destructive hand
22Would but enlarge the bounds of thy command:
23Thy dreadful fleet would style thee lord of all,
24And ride in triumph o'er the drowned ball:
26And visit mountains, where they once did grow.
27      The world's restorer once could not endure,
29Whose pride design'd that fabric to have stood
30Above the reach of any second flood:
31To thee His chosen, more indulgent, He
32Dares trust such power with so much piety.


1] The 1645 edition came out unauthorized while Waller was in exile on the Continent. At the beginning of his reign, Charles I greatly increased and strengthened the Royal Navy. Back to Line
4] consent to fear: together fear. Back to Line
16] Pegasean: like Pegasus; able to fly. Back to Line
20] centre: the earth, the supposed centre of the universe. Back to Line
25] towers of oak: ships. Back to Line
28] See Genesis xi.1-9. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.442; RPO 1996-2000.