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With tears of artless innocence. Alas!
Nor wife, nor children, more shall he behold,
Nor friends, nor sacred home. On every nerve
The deadly Winter seizes ; shuts up sense;
And, o'er his inmoft vitals creeping cold,
Lays him along the snows, a stiffened corfe,
Stretch'd out, and bleaching in the northern blaft.
Ah little think the gay licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround;
They, who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah little think they, while they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment, death
And all the fad variety of pain.
How many fink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame. How many bleed,
By shameful variance betwixt Man and Man.
How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms ;
Shut from the common air, and common ufe
Of their own limbs. How many drink the cup
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of misery. Sore pierc'd by wintry winds,
How many shrink into the fordid hut,
Of cheerless poverty. How
shake With all the fiercer tortyres of the mind,
Unbounded paflion, madness, guilt, remorse ;
Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life,
They furnish matter for the tragic Muse.
Even in the vale, where wisdom loves to dwell,
With friendship, peace, and contemplation join'd,
How many, rack'd with honeft passions, droop
In deep retir'd distress. How many stand
Around the death-bed of their dearest friends,
And point the parting anguish. Thought fond Man
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills,
That one incessant struggle render life,
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
Vice in his high career would stand appallid,
And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think;
The conscious heart of Charity would warm,
And her wide wish Benevolence dilate ;
The focial tear would rise, the social figh;
And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social passions work.
And here can I forget the generous band *,
Who, touch'd with human woe, redrefive search?d
Into the horrors of the gloomy jail?
Unpitied, and unheard, where misery moans;
* The Jail Committee, in the year 1729.
Where fickness pines; where thirst and hunger burn,
And poor misfortune feels the lash of vice.
While in the land of liberty, the land
Whose every street and public meeting glow
With open freedom, little tyrants rag'd;
Snatch'd the lean morsel from the starving mouth;
Tore from cold wintry limbs the tatter'd weed;
Even robb’d them of the last of comforts, Neep;
The free born BRITON to the dungeon chain'd,
Or, as the luft of cruelty prevail'd,
At pleasure mark'a him with inglorious stripes ;
And crush'd out lives, by fècret barbarous ways,
That for their country would have toil'd, or bled.
O great defign! if executed well,
With patient care, and wisdom-temper'd zeal.
Ye fons of mercy! yet resume the search;
Drag forth the legal monsters into light,
Wrench from their hands oppreffion's iron rod,
And bid the cruel feel the pains they give.
Much ftill untouch'd remains ; in this rank age,
Much is the patriot's weeding hand requir'd.
The toils of law, (what dark insidious Men
Have cumbrous added to perplex the truth,
And lengthen simple justice into trade,)
How glorious were the day! that saw these broke, And every Man within the reach of right.
By wintry famine rous'd, from all the tract Of horrid mountains which the shining Alps, And wavy Apennine, and Pyrenees, Branch out ftupendous into diftant lands; Cruel as death, and hungry as the grave ! Burning for blood! bony, and gaunt, and grim! Assembling wolves in raging troops descend ; And, pouring o'er the country, bear along, Keen as the north-wind sweeps the gloffy snow. All is their prize. They faften on the steed, Press him to earth, and pierce his mighty heart. Nor can the bull his awful front defend, Or shake the murdering favages away. Rapacious, at the mother's throat they fly, And tear the screaming infant from her breast. The godlike face of Man avails him nought. Even beauty, force divine ! at whose bright glance The generous lion stands in softened gaze, Here bleeds, a hapless undistinguish'd prey. But if, appriz'd of the fevere attack, The country be shut up, lur'd by the scent, On church-yards drear (inhuman to relate !) The disappointed prowlers fall, and dig
The shrouded body from the grave;
o'er which, Mix'd with foul shades, and frighted ghosts, they howl.
Among those hilly regions, where embrac'd
In peaceful vales the happy Grisons dwell ;
Oft, rushing sudden from the loaded cliffs,
Mountains of snow their gathering terrors roll.
From steep to steep, loud-thundering down they come,
A wintry waste in dire commotion all ;
And herds, and flocks, and travellers, and swains,
And sometimes whole brigades of marching troops,
Or hamlets sleeping in the dead of night,
Are deep beneath the smothering ruin whelm'd.
Now, all amid the rigours of the year,
In the wild depth of Winter, while without
The ceaseless winds blow ice, be
Between the groaning forest and the shore
Beat by the boundless multitude of waves,
A rural, shelter'd, folitary scene;
Where ruddy fire and beaming tapers join,
To cheer the gloom. There ftudious let me fit,
And hold high converse with the MIGHTY DEAD;
Sages of ancient time, as gods rever'd,
As gods beneficent, who blest mankind
With arts, with arms, and humaniz'd a world.
Rous'd at th' inspiring thought, I throw afide