Ode on the Blessings of Peace

  • Posted on: 15 September 2009
  • By: David Thrale

I will write out my old Ode on the Peace o' th' other Side the Leaf and forbear further Reflexions. --The following Ode was actually in the Hands of Dr Arne who intended to set it for the Stage when my Father died1, & I hasten'd to withdraw it without any Enquiry.

Recitative accompanied.

Beneath the Solemn Shade of some Old Oak, By Shepherds blythe, and Reapers long rever'd, The fancied Favrite of the Faery Train; Where each returning Night the clam'rous Owl Hoots at the passing Moon While thro' the Sapphire Vault serene She glides, There sat some rural Swains; Who pleas'd to find their glowing Toil complete Resolv'd to hymn the bounteous Hand that gave Under fair Plenty's Name: Ceres and Pan, alike unknown to them, Plenty they saw, and Plenty chose to chant In Sylvan Strains ultimate.

Chorus of Nymphs and Shepherds.

Haste the Harp and Lyre to string Bounteous Plenty's Praises sing; Haste your Choral Voices raise Tune each Note to Plenty's Praise.

Air--a Man.

At her Approach the loaded Boughs are seen Bending obedient to their Queen; Each spangled Flowret springs at her Command And yellow Harvests own her ripening hand.

Chorus.

Tis Plenty fills the fertile Soil Tis Plenty crowns the Reapers Toil, Tis Plenty binds the Sheaf; Her Beauty blushes in the Rose, In each refreshing Gale She blows, And blooms on every Leaf.

Semichorus--address'd to the principal Singer.

Thou too Thyrsis join the Song Sweetest Lays to thee belong; Our Flocks in pensive Posture laid Like us enjoy the pendant Shade, Nor shall the Wether now at rest, With his Bell thy Muse molest, Only the Linnet, the Linnet in the Tree, Tunes her unmark'd Minstrelsy.

Single Voice a Boy--

repeating Only the Linnet, the Linnet in the Tree, Tunes her unmark'd Minstrelsy.

Semichorus to Thyrsis.

Then quit the Crook and joyn the Song, Sweetest Lays to thee belong: Quit the Crook, and sing awhile, Britain blest in Plenty's Smile; Or if thy Melancholy Mind Be to mournful Strains inclin'd, Sing the Woes Of Britain's Foes, While wondring Nymphs & Shepherds hear How distant Nations quake for Fear.

Air a Nymph.

1:
Woes from Britain far retreating Sooth our tender Souls to Peace; Echo, distant Griefs repeating Lends new Charms to present Bliss.

2:
Thus the distant Bolt descending Calm we mark its mazy Way; While its pointed Path attending Pleas'd our Safety we survey.

Semichorus repeats

If then the melancholy Mind Be to mournful Strains inclin'd; Sing the Woes--of Britain's Foes, While wondring Nymphs & Shepherds hear How distant Nations quake with Fear.

Air--Thyrsis.--

1.
Hark! Hark! how from far the shrill Trumpet alarms! Ambition calls; The Drum beats to Arms The Rampart falls! See the panting Prisoners come, Ready to receive their Doom; See their bosom-bursting Sighs! Hear their heartpiercing Cries! And spare, Oh Spare the supplicating Eyes Of Tear-denying Sorrow.

2.
See in the Gate Sad Famine sate, And at her naked Side, Cold quivering Palsy shake her hoary Head! Pale Poverty, and Hunger--hollow-ey'd, Consumption wan, and Weakness well nigh dead; Yet Death ungorg'd-reviews the reeking Ground, Ambition by the bloody Track is found, And Desolation spreads her barren Empire round.

Air--a Man address'd to Thyrsis.--

Oh first of Shepherds Hail! Pursue the sadly-pleasing Tale; Let the sweet Contrast continue to please, And the horrors of War, shew the blessings of peace.

Chorus entire.

For 'tis within this happy Land, That smiling Goddess takes her Stand, 'Tis here She waves her Olive Wand And puts forth all her Store: Leaving less favour'd fields to share The woes of meagre Want and pining Care, And Disappointment lank, and Expectation bare.

Air Thyrsis--

Again I feel the sacred Fires Again the Tragick Muse inspires; The wild American I see, Lurking behind the conscious Tree, Whistling Winds lift his Hair, Twisting Snakes adorn his Ear, The War-proclaiming Hatchet by his Side Dipt in Blood with crimson Pride Vindicates the fatal Blow; His once lov'd Friend the Grove pervades, Jocund through the thorny Glades Rash Savage forbear! To tread the fatal Spot beware! The Bush conceals a Foe! In vain I call,--the well-aim'd Arrow flies, Th'unheeding Savage falls--He dies; And Life's warm Tide runs trick'ling thro' the Snow.

Air a Man.

Of War no more! To him whose Pow'r Can bid her Fury cease! To George's Name each Note inspire, And sound for him the Sylvan Lyre, Who grants the gasping World's desire And stills her Sighs with Peace.

Duet.

Man. Woman.
As when bright Sol's warm Face appears, The Earth soon dries her dewy Tears: As where great George's Banner flies, Each weeping Nation--wipes her Eyes So rules benign, with Brow serene, Like Phoebe bright his beauteous Queen; Like her o'er Ocean's Power presides, And dictates to the swelling Tides.--

Air-a Nymph

Health the ruddy Milk Maid wooing, Plenty the Ploughman's Steps pursuing; Industry--soft Osiers twining Leisure on his Arm reclining Blythe begin the Youthful Year, Pleas'd in Charlotte's Train to appear.

Concluding Chorus--

Of War no more! To him whose Pow'r Can bid her Fury cease; To George's Name each Note inspire, And sound for him the Sylvan Lyre, Who grants the gasping World's desire, And gives the wish'd for Peace.

Written by Hester Lynch Thrale in December 1762. Thraliana entry dated 21 March 1778.