Matthew Prior

1664 - 1721 / Dorset / England

Seeing The Duke Of Ormond's Picture, At Sir Godfrey Kneller's

Out from the injured canvas, Kneller, strike
These lines too faint; the picture is not like.
Exalt thy thought, and try thy toil again:
Dreadful in arms, on Landen's glorious plain
Place Ormond's Duke: impendent in the air
Let his keen sabre, comet-like, appear,
Where'er it points denouncing death: below
Draw routed squadrons, and the numerous foe
Falling beneath, or flying from his blow;
Till weak with wounds, and cover'd o'er with blood,
Which from the patriot's breast in torrents flow'd,
He faints: he steed no longer hears the rein,
But stumbles o'er the heap his hand had slain.
And now exhausted, bleeding, pale he lies,
Lovely, sad object! in his half-closed eyes
Stern Vengeance yet and hostile Terror stand:
His front yet threatens, and his frowns command.
The Gallic chiefs their troops around him call,
Fear to approach him, though they see him fall.

O Kneller! could thy shades and lights express
The perfect hero in that glorious dress,
Ages to come might Ormond's picture know,
And palms for thee beneath his laurels grow;
In spite of time thy work might ever thine,
Nor Homer's colours last so long as thine.
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