« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Religion, richest favour of the skies,
Stands most reveal'd before the freeman's eyes;
No fhades of fuperftition blot the day,
Liberty chaces all that gloom away;
The foul, emancipated, unopprefs'd,
Free to prove all things and hold fast the best,
Learns much, and to a thousand lift'ning minds,
Communicates with joy the good fhe finds.
Courage in arms, and ever prompt to show
His manly forehead to the fierceft foe;
Glorious in war, but for the fake of peace,
His fpirits rifing as his toils increase,
Guards well what arts and industry have won,
And freedom claims him for her firft-born fon.
Slaves fight for what were better caft away,
The chain that binds them, and a tyrant's fway,
But they that fight for freedom, undertake
The nobleft cause mankind can have at stake,
Religion, virtue, truth, whate'er we call
A bleffing, freedom is the pledge of all.
Oh liberty! the pris'ners pleafing dream,
The poet's mufe, his paffion and his theme,
Genius is thine, and thou art fancy's nurse,
Loft without thee th' ennobling pow'rs of verse,
Heroic fong from thy free touch acquires
Its clearest tone, the rapture it inspires;
Place me where winter breathes his keenest air,
And I will fing if liberty be there ;
And I will fing at liberty's dear feet,
In Afric's torrid clime or India's fierceft heat.
A. Sing where you please, in fuch a cause I grant
An English 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 fell or flay your horfe For bounding and curvetting in his course;
Or if, when ridden with a careless rein,
He break away, and feek the diftant plain?
No. His high mettle under good controul,
Gives him Olympic fpeed, and fhoots him to the goal. Let difcipline employ her wholesome arts,
Let magiftrates alert perform their parts,
Not fkulk or put on a prudential mask,
As if their duty were a defp'rate task;
Let active laws apply the needful curb
To guard the peace that riot would disturb,
And liberty preferv'd from wild excefs,
Shall raise no feuds for armies to fupprefs.
When tumult lately burst his prifon door,
And set Plebeian thousands in a roar,
When he ufurp'd authority's juft place,
And dar'd to look his master in the face,
When the rude rabbles watch-ward was, destroy,
And blazing London feem'd a second Troy,
Liberty blush'd and hung her drooping head,
Beheld their progress with the deepest dread,
Blufh'd that effects like these she should produce,
Worfe than the deeds of galley-flaves broke loose.
She lofes in fuch ftorms her very name,
And fierce licentiousness should bear the blame.
Incomparable gem! thy worth untold,
Cheap, though blood-bought, and thrown away when fold;
May no foes ravish thee, and no false friend
Betray thee, while profeffing to defend ;
Prize it ye minifters, ye monarchs fpare,
Ye patriots guard it with a mifer'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 ftill adorns our age,
Thought the chief actor died upon the stage.
In him, Demofthenes 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 fpeech, his form, his action, full of grace,
And all his country beaming in his face,
He flood, as fome inimitable hand
Would strive to make a Paul or Tully ftand.
No fycophant or flave that dar'd oppose
Her facred caufe, but trembl'd when he rofe,
And every venal stickler for the yoke,
Felt himself crufh'd at the firft 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 crifis of a dark decifive hour.
So Gideon earn'd a vict'ry not his own,
Subferviency his praise, and that alone.
Poor England! thou art a devoted deer,
Befet with ev'ry ill but that of fear.
The nations hunt; all mark thee for a prey,
They fwarm around thee, and thou ftand'ft at bay.
Undaunted ftill, though wearied and perplex'd,
Once Chatham fav'd thee, but who faves thee next?