A Celebration of Women Writers

"To The Queen" by Mrs. Anne Killigrew (c.1660-1685).
From Killigrew, Anne. Poems 1686. Facs. edn., ed. R. E. Morton. Gainesville, Florida: Scholars, 1967. pp. 6-10.

[Page 6]

To the Queen.

AS those who pass the Alps do say,
The Rocks which first oppose their way,
And so amazing-High do show,
By fresh Accents appear but low,
And when they come unto the last,
They scorn the dwarfish Hills th'ave past.

  So though my Muse at her first flight,
Thought she had chose the greatest height,
And (imp'd with Alexander's Name)
Believ'd there was no further Fame:
Behold an Eye wholly Divine
Vouchsaf'd upon my Verse to Shine!
And from that time I'gan to treat
With Pitty him the World call'd Great;
To smile at his exalted Fate,
Unequal (though Gigantick) State.

[Page 7]

I saw that Pitch was not sublime,
Compar'd with this which now I climb;
His Glories sunk, and were unseen,
When once appear'd the Heav'n-born Queen:
Victories, Laurels, Conquer'd Kings,
Took place among inferiour things.

  Now surely I shall reach the Clouds,
For none besides such Vertue shrouds:
Having scal'd this with holy Strains,
Nought higher but the Heaven remains!
No more I'll Praise on them bestow,
Who to ill Deeds their Glories owe;
Who build their Babels of Renown,
Upon the poor oppressed Crown,
Whole Kingdoms do depopulate,
To raise a Proud and short-Liv'd State:
I prize no more such Frantick Might,
Than his that did with Wind-Mills Fight:
No, give me Prowess, that with Charms
Of Grace and Goodness, not with Harms,

[Page 8]

Erects a Throne i'th' inward Parts,
And Rules mens Wills, but with their Hearts;
Who with Piety and Vertue thus
Propitiates God, and Conquers us.
O that now like Araunah here,
Altars of Praises I could rear,
Suiting her worth, which might be seen
Like a Queens Present, to a Queen!

  'Alone she stands for Vertues Cause,
'When all decry, upholds her Laws:
'When to Banish her is the Strife,
'Keeps her unexil'd in her Life;
'Guarding her matchless Innocence
'From Storms of boldest Impudence;
'In spight of all the Scoffs and Rage,
'And Persecutions of the Age,
'Owns Vertues Altar, feeds the Flame,
'Adores her much-derided Name;
'While impiously her hands they tie,
'Loves her in her Captivity;

[Page 9]

'Like Perseus saves her, when she stands
'Expos'd to the Leviathans.
'So did bright Lamps once live in Urns,
'So Camphire in the water burns,
'So Ætna's Flames do ne'er go out,
'Though Snows do freeze its head without.

  How dares bold Vice unmasked walk,
And like a Giant proudly stalk?
When Vertue's so exalted seen,
Arm'd and Triumphant in the Queen?
How dares its Ulcerous Face appear,
When Heavenly Beauty is so near?
But so when God was close at hand,
And the bright Cloud did threatning stand
(In sight of Israel ) on the Tent,
They on in their Rebellion went.

  O that I once so happy were,
To find a nearer Shelter there!
Till then poor Dove, I wandering fly
Between the Deluge and the Skie:

[Page 10]

Till then I Mourn, but do not sing,
And oft shall plunge my wearied wing:
If her bless'd hand vouchsafe the Grace,
I'th' Ark with her to give a place,
I safe from danger shall be found,
When Vice and Folly others drown'd.

[Page 11]

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom