Page images
PDF
EPUB

Adopting their mistake, profoundly thinks
The world was made in vain, if not for him.
Thenceforth they are his cattle: drudges, born
To bear his burdens, drawing in his gears,
And sweating in his service, his caprice
Becomes the foul, that animates them all.
He deems a thousand, or ten thousand lives,
Spent in the purchase of renown for him,
An easy reckoning; and they think the fame.
Thus kings were first invented, and thus kings
Were burnished into heroes, and became
The arbiters of this terraqueous swamp;
Storks among frogs, that have but croaked and died
Strange, that such folly, as lifts bloated man
To eminence fit only for a god,
Should ever drivel out of human lips,
Even in the cradled weakness of the world!
Still ftranger much, that when at length mankind
Had reached the finewy firmness of their youth,
And could discriminate and argue well
On subjects more mysterious, they were yet
Babes in the cause of freedom, and should fear
And quake before the gods themselves had made:
But above measure ftrạnge, that neither proof
Of fad experience, nor examples set
By fome, whose patriot virtue has prevailed,
Can even now, when they are grown mature

In wisdom, and with philofophic deeds Familiar, serve to emancipate the reft! Such dupes are men to custom, and so prone. To reverence what is ancient, and can plead A course of long observance for its uses, That even fervitude, the worft of ills, Because delivered down from fire to song, Is kept and guarded as a sacred thing, But is it fit, or can it bear the shock Of rational discuffion, that a man, Compounded and made up like other men Of elements tumultuous, in whom luft And folly in as ample measure meet, As in the bofoms of the faves he rules, Should be a despot abfolute, and boaft Himself the only freeman of his land ? Should, when he pleases, and on whom he will, Wage war, with any or with no pretence Of provocation given, or wrong fustained, And force the beggarly last doit by means, That his own humour dictates, from the clutch Of poverty, that thus he may procure His thousands, weary of penurious life, A splendid opportunity to die? Say ye, who (with less prudence than of old Jotham ascribed to his affembled trees

In politic convention) put your trust
In the shadow of a bramble, and reclined
In fancied peace beneath his dangerous branch,
Rejoice in him, and celebrate his sway,
Where find ye passive fortitude? Whence springs
Your self-denying zeal, that holds it good-
To stroke the prickly grievance, and to hang
His thorns with streamers of continual praise?
We too are friends to loyalty. We love
The king, who loves the law, respects his bounds,
And reigns content within them: him we serve
Freely and with delight, who leaves us free:
But recollecting still that he is man,
We trust him not too far. King though he be,
And king in England too, he may be weak,
And vain enough to be ambitious fill;
May exercise amiss his proper powers,
Or cover more than freemen choose to grant:
Beyond that mark is treason. He is our's
To adminifter, to guard, to adorn, the state,
But not to warp or change it. We are his
To serve him nobly in the common cause,
True to the death, but not to be his slaves.
Mark now the difference, ye that boaft your love
Of kings, between your loyalty and our's.

We love the man, the paltry pageant you :
We the chief patron of the commonwealth,
You the regardless author of its woes :
We for the sake of liberty a king,
You chains and bondage for a tyrant's fake.
Our love is principle, and has its root
In reason, is judicious, manly, free;
Your's, a blind instinct, crouches to the rod,
And licks the foot, that treads it in the duft.
Were kingship as true treasure as it seems,
Sterling, and worthy of a wife man's wish,
I would not be a king to be beloved
Causeless, and daubed with undifcerning praise,
Where love is mere attachment to the throne,
Not to the man, who fills it as he ought.

Whose freedom is by sufferance, and at will Of a superior, he is never free. Who lives, and is not weary of á life Exposed to manacles, deserves them well. The ftate, that ftrives for liberty, though foiled, And forced to abandon what the bravely sought, Deserves at least applause for her attempt, And pity for her loss. But that's a cause Not often unsuccessful : power usurped

Is weakness when opposed; conscious of wrong,
'Tis pufillanimous and prone to flight.
But slaves, that once conceive the glowing thought
Of freedom, in that hope itself poffess
All that the conteft calls for; spirit, ftrength,
The scorn of danger, and united hearts;
The fureft presage of the good they seek *,

Then shame to manhood, and opprobrious more To France than all her lofses and defeats, Old or of later date, by fea or land, Her house of bondage, worse than that of old Which God avenged on Pharaoh--the Baftile. Ye horrid towers, the abode of broken hearts; Ye dungeons and ye cages of despair, That monarchs have supplied from age to age With music, fuch as suits their sovereign ears, The fighs and groans of miserable men ! There's not an English heart, that would not leap To hear that ye were fallen at laft; to know That ev'n our enemies, fo oft employed In forging chains for us, themselves were free.

* The author hopes that he Mall not be censured for unnecessary warmth upon fo interesting a subject. He is aware that it is become almost fashionable to figmatize fuch sentiments as no better than empty declamation ; but it is an ill fymptom, and peculiar to modern times.

« PreviousContinue »