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1This stately ship, courted by winds and tide,
2Upon the curling billows swiftly rides,
3Proud of her carriage; nothing she did fear,
Caesar and his fortunes she did bear1.
5Great Neptune, for his lovely niece’s sake,
6Did charge old Aeolus a peace to make
those blust’ring tetrarchs2, all
Which4fills his trembling kingdoms with such wars.
halcyon5, too, her young had new disclosed,
10And all but one
trade wind6were now
11I verily think some
elfin Lapland hags8
12Had put the one-and-thirty winds in bags,
the learned’st of great Fergus’s seed9
14Did fetch the elf to marry with his Tweed.
They gave the king old Borus in a purse10;
16I wish no witches ever may do worse.
17And thus this
gallant11ship did make her way
18When, to their strange amazement, she did
19Some furled the sails, and others tried the oar;
20A thousand other tricks they did explore.
shelf13, nor sand, nor dangerous rock was near,
22Which made them some infernal malice fear.
23At last, great
Julius14made one dive and feel,
remora16stick on the keel.
These stayed the ship, if Pliny tells the truth17,
Periander sent to geld the youth18
Knidos19. I wish some fiend may stay
28Those ships which such proud tyrants do obey;
if a star should shoot whilst I wish so20,
30Few ships from British harbors then would go.
31By this we see how poor a thing will stop
32Man’s proud designs. ’Twas
Mordecai’s stiff knee21
33That trussed up Haman on the fatal tree;
A worm abrupted great Agrippa’s glory22;
A fly did end Pope Alexander’s story23;
Creusa24, in her height of pride,
37By an inflammable rich mantle died.
38Then let us all move humble in our sphere,
39And then no remora we need to fear.