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Religion, richest favour of the skies,
Stands most reveal'd before the freeman's eyes ;
No shades of superstition blot the day,
Liberty chaces all that gloom away ;
The foul, emancipated, unoppress’d,
Free to prove all things and hold fast the best,
Learns much, and to a thousand list’ning minds,
Communicates with joy the good she finds.
Courage in arms, and ever prompt to show
His manly forehead to the fiercest foe;
Glorious in war, but for the sake of peace,
His fpirits rising as his toils increase,
Guards well what arts and industry have won,
And freedom claims him for her first-born son.
Slaves fight for what were better cast away,
The chain that binds them, and a tyrant's sway,
But they that fight for freedom, undertake
The noblest cause mankind can have at stake,
Religion, virtue, truth, whate’er we call
A blessing, freedom is the pledge of all.
Oh liberty! the pris’ners pleasing dream,
The poet's muse, his passion and his theme,
Genius is thine, and thou art fancy's nurse,
Lost without thee th’ ennobling pow'rs of verse,
Heroic song from thy free touch acquires
Its clearest tone, the rapture it inspires ;
Place me where winter breathes his keenest air,
And I will sing if liberty be there;
And I will sing at liberty's dear feet,
In Afric's torrid clime or India's fiercest heat.
A. Sing where you please, in such a cause I grant
An Englifh Poet's privilege to rant,
But is not freedom, at least is not our's
Too apt to play the wanton with her pow’rs,
Grow freakish, and o'er leaping ev'ry mound
Spread anarchy and terror all around?
B. Agreed. But would you sell or Nay your horfe For bounding and curvetting in his course; Or if, when ridden with a careless rein, He break away, and seek the distant plain?
No. His high mettle under good controul,
Gives him Olympic speed, and shoots him to the goal.
Let discipline employ her wholesome arts,
Let magistrates alert perform their parts,
Not skulk or put on a prudential mask,
As if their duty were a desp'rate task ;
Let active laws apply the needful curb
To guard the peace that riot would disturb,
And liberty preserv'd from wild excess,
Shall raise no feuds for armies to suppress.
When tumult lately burst his prison door,
And set Plebeian chcusands in a roar,
When he usurp'd authority's just place,
And dar'd to look his master in the face,
When the rude rabbles watch-ward was, destroy,
And blazing London seem'd a second Troy,
Liberty blush'd and hung her drooping head,
Beheld their progress with the deepest dread,
Blush'd that effects like these she should produce,
Worse than the deeds of galley-Naves broke loose.
She loses in such storms her very name,
And fierce licentiousness should bear the blame.
Incomparable gem! thy worth untold,
Cheap, though blood-bought, and thrown away when
May no foes ravish thee, and no false friend
Betray thee, while professing to defend;
Prize it ye ministers, ye monarchs spare,
Ye patriots guard it with a miser's care.
A. Patriots, alas! the few that have been found.
Where most they flourish, upon English ground,
The country's need have fcantily supplied,
And the last left the scene, when Chatham died.
B. Not fo—the virtue still adorns our age,
Thought the chief actor died upon the stage.
In him, Demosthenes was heard again,
Liberty taught him her Athenian strain;
She cloath'd him with authority and awe,
Spoke from his lips, and in his looks, gave law.
His speech, his form, his action, full of grace,
And all his country beaming in his face,
He stood, as some inimitable hand
Would strive to make a Paul or Tully stand.
No sycophant or llave that dar’d oppose
Her sacred cause, but trembld when he rose,
And every venal stickler for the yoke,
Felt himself crush'd at the first word he spoke.
Such men are rais'd to station and command,
When providence means mercy to a land.
He speaks, and they appear; to him they owe
Skill to direct, and strength to strike the blow,
To manage with address, to seize with pow'r
The crisis of a dark decisive hour.
So Gideon earn’d a vict'ry not his own,
Subserviency his praise, and that alone.
Poor England! thou art a devoted deer,
Beset with ev'ry ill but that of fear.
The nations hunt; all mark thee for a prey,
They swarm around thee, and thou stand't at bay.
Undaunted ftill, though wearied and perplex’d,
Once Chatham fav'd thee, but who saves thee next?
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