Saturday, February 04, 2017

The Maiden Phoenix

 This royal infant--heaven still move about her!--
 Though in her cradle, yet now promises
 Upon this land a thousand thousand blessings,
 Which time shall bring to ripeness: she shall be--
 But few now living can behold that goodness--
 A pattern to all princes living with her,
 And all that shall succeed: Saba was never
 More covetous of wisdom and fair virtue
 Than this pure soul shall be: all princely graces,
 That mould up such a mighty piece as this is,
 With all the virtues that attend the good,
 Shall still be doubled on her: truth shall nurse her,
 Holy and heavenly thoughts still counsel her:
 She shall be loved and fear'd: her own shall bless her;
 Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn,
 And hang their heads with sorrow: good grows with her:
 In her days every man shall eat in safety,
 Under his own vine, what he plants; and sing
 The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours:
 God shall be truly known; and those about her
 From her shall read the perfect ways of honour,
 And by those claim their greatness, not by blood.
 Nor shall this peace sleep with her: but as when
 The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix,
 Her ashes new create another heir,
 As great in admiration as herself;
 So shall she leave her blessedness to one,
 When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness,
 Who from the sacred ashes of her honour
 Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she was,
 And so stand fix'd: peace, plenty, love, truth, terror,
 That were the servants to this chosen infant,
 Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him:
 Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,
 His honour and the greatness of his name
 Shall be, and make new nations: he shall flourish,
 And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches
 To all the plains about him: our children's children
 Shall see this, and bless heaven.

William Shakespeare, Henry VIII

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