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ADDRESSED TO T. FAULKNER,
On the Completion of his Historical, Topographical, and Statistical
Description of Chelsea,
By the Rev. WEEDEN BUTLER, jun. A.M.
To cull correctly from the withering page
Of ancient lore sweet CHELSEA's site and age;
To mark her bounds, inhabitants, and soils,
Her manufacturing arts, and rural toils;
And paint the beauteous prospects that endear
Our favourite spot through each revolving year;
This task of taste and judgment might demand
Full many a careful head and patient hand.
Faulkner! Thine unassisted labour proves
How well thy heart can trace the scene it loves :
To thee our warmest gratitude is due;
A master-piece of skill thou hold'st to view :
Oh! may the hard-earn'd wreath of Fame be thine,
Whose finish'd work exceeds the bright design.
Cheyne Walk, Chelsea,
April 6, 1810.
ORIGINAL LINES On the Royal Hospital and ROYAL MILITARY ASYLUM,
ADDRESSED TO T, FAULKNER,
On the completion of his Historical and Topographical Description
Oft has the Muse, though vainly, ply'd her art
To sing the bounties of Britannia's HEART;
Fondly essayed, in colours that require
No tints of fancy to assist the lyre;
Oft has she hailed her in the tenderest strain,
Foremost of heavenly pity's angel train,
To paint her Charities that copious flow,
Suited to each diversity of woe!
But still unsung, though not unfelt, the charm,
With cherub justice and compassion warm,
Two of the noblest note to Chelsea giv'n,
Pointing their pyramids sublime to Heaven !
These are no trophies of the Vain or Great,
These do not“ mock the air in idle state,"
But woo and win Britannia's proudest smile,
And grace the bounties of her sea-girt isle :
A Nursery' one, her future wars to wage,
And one,” the Cradle of war-honoured age;
Valour's just meed for those who fought or bled,
In laureli'd peace to eat their well-earned bread;
Where, when all-conquering Time, subdues at length,
Tho'valour unimpair'd, the hero's strength;
Hail'd by their country, many a battle won,
The veterans boast a palace of their own;
By friends remember'd, nor forgot by foes,
In sacred leisure here their lives shall close,
Here, in proud thought, they take the field again,
And in gay visions,“ thrice may slay the slain.”
? The Royal Military Asylum. The Royal Hospital.
Next, see yon light battalions must'ring round, Train’d to the volleying drum, and trumpet's sound, The sage examples of their valour near, The offspring of the brave in ranks appear; The little troops around the veterans throng, And hear of honour in each tale and song; Oft, as their kindling breasts begin to glow, And the chaf'd blood along their veins to flow, They spurn the mimic fight, and long to wield The manly weapon in the martial field; Already seem to grasp the vanquish'd foe, No coward fear their youthful bosoins know; Spite of the withered limb and mangled frame, They dream of conquest, and they wake to fame; Deep scars and many a cureless wound they see, But these are marks of England's victory!
Survey the Sons of England's future boast, Where the small phalanx ripens to an host; Lo, how they emulate the victor's fires, And catch the spirit of their hoary sires; With quickened step anticipate the fight, While their brave fathers, glorying in the sight, Observe the stripling troop with transport wild, And see the champion rising in the child: Yet more than these, than conquests, honours more, From yon blest Nurse of future warriors pour, And, though from hence, as Time's expanding wing, The full-blown garlands of those youths shall bring To some glad Muse who shall of deeds to come, Carol in notes that meet th’inspiring drum, A richer wreath than ever conquest knew From yonder scene now opens on the view.
The soldier summoned, and constrain'd to yield To all the chance and change of flood and field; Pledg’d to the duties of a wandering life, Now pass'd in indolence, and now in strife; His hapless children left in haste behind To worse than hard neglect are oft consign’d; And while their parents tread the paths of fame, Are victims oft to penury and shame. Dark ignorance and dire example lead With fatal haste, to each nefarious deed;
Crime follows crime, till, not a hand to saye,
They rush from useless being to the grave,
Forlorn, deserted from their earliest breath,
In life abandoned, infamous in death.
But now, no more the unprotected train,
Orphans or outcasts on the world remain;
Receiv'd and welcom'd in yon' princely dome,
They find at once a parent and a home.
By Wisdom cultur’d, and by Bounty fed,
As if a FATHER's hand assiduous led
To all that happy Childhood can require,
They rise to all that bids the Man aspire:
Nor less the female infant is supplied,
Kindly as Mother's could their daughters guide,
Guarded from trials, fenced from private strife,
And formed to all the charities of life;
A timely shelter from the varied snare,
Adopted offspring of a nation's care!
Say then, O say, can those who love the isle,
The soft protection see without a smile?
Or, as they view the dome where age may rest,
Who but must wish the Patrons may be blest;
That those who gave the boon its bliss may share,
For their's the meed of gratitude and prayer;
A prayer that countless thousands should employ,
Since countless thousands shall the boon enjoy.
«VILLAGE OF PALACES!" but not to Kings?
Alone, the willing Muse this offering brings:
MERCY! thy palaces inspir'd her lays,
And FAULKNER, thou shalt meet no scanty praise,
Whose patient labour, and assiduous zeal,
The gracious deeds of generous minds reveal;
Thine to display fair Chelsea's long-fam'd scene,
Unfold her present charms, and mark the space between.
The first stone of the Asylum laid by the Duke of York, June 19, 1801. Chelsea was the favourite residence of many of our mona