"Rides In The Whirlwind And Directs The Storm"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: After some time abroad (1699-1703) on a grand tour of Europe, Joseph Addison returned to England to resume his career–already having gained some fame as a man of letters and possessing a reputation at Oxford as a writer of verse in Latin. Following the printing of a poem called "Letter from Italy," dedicated to his patron, the Earl of Halifax, came his greatest success up to that time, a patriotic tribute to the victories of the Duke of Marlborough, called "The Campaign." The poem, which in the main celebrated the victory of Marlborough at the Battle of Blenheim, is thought to have won for Addison the post of Undersecretary of State. The poem builds to a dramatic end, conjures up the excitement of battle, and lauds the heroic spirit of Marlborough:

. . . great Marlbro's mighty soul was prov'd,
That, in the shock of charging hosts unmov'd,
Amidst confusion, horror, and despair,
Examin'd all the dreadful scenes of war;
In peaceful thought the field of death survey'd,
To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid,
Inspir'd repuls'd battalions to engage,
. . .
Calm and serene he drives the furious blast;
And pleas'd th' Almighty's orders to perform,
Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.