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O FOR a lodge in some vast wilderness, Some boundless contiguity of shade, Where rumour of oppression and deceit, Of unsuccessful or successful war, Might never reach me more. My ear is pained, My soul is sick with every day's report Of wrong and outrage with which earth is filled. There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart, It does not feel for man ; the natural bond Of brotherhood is severed as the flax,, That falls asunder at the touch of fire. He finds his fellow guilty of a skin , Not coloured like his own ; and having power T'enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey. Lands intersected by a narrow frith Abhor each other. Mountains interposed Make enemies of nations, who had else Like kindred drops been mingled into one. Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys;
And, worse than all, and most to be deplored As human nature's broadest, foulest blot, Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat With stripes, that mercy with a bleeding heart Weeps when she sees inflicted on a beast. Then what is man? And what man, seeing this, And having human feelings, does not blush, And hang his head, to think himself a man? I would not have a slave to till my ground, To carry me, to fan me while I sleep, And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth That sinews bought and sold have ever earned. No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's Just estimation prized above all price, I had much rather be myself the slave, And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him. We have no slaves at home—then why abroad? And they themselves once ferried o'er the wave That parts us, are emancipate and loosed. Slaves cannot breathe in England : if their lungs Receive our air, that moment they are free; They touch our country, and their shackles fall. That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then, And let it circulate through every vein Of all your empire ; that, where Britain's power Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.
Sure there is need of social intercourse, Benevolence, and peace, and mutual aid, Between the nations in a world, that seems To toll the death bell of its own decease,
And by the voice of all its elements
Alas for Sicily! rude fragments now
* Alluding to the calamities in Jamaica. † August 18, 1783.
| Alluding to the fog, that covered both Europe and Asia diring the wnole summer of 1783.
Are silent. Revelry, and dance, and show;
A new possessor, and survives the change. Ocean has caught the frenzy, and, upwrought To an enormous and o'erbearing height. Not by a mighty wind, but by that voice, Which winds and waves obey, invades the shore Resistless. Never such a sudden flood, Upridged so high, and sent on such a charge, Possessed an inland scene. Where now the throng, That pressed the beach, and, hasty to depart, Looked to the sea for safety? They are gone, Gone with the refluent wave into the deepA prince with half his people: Ancient towers, And roofs embattled high, the gloomy scenes, Where beauty oft and lettered worth consume Life in the unproductive shades of death, Fall prone: the pale inhabitants come forth, And, happy in their unforeseen release From all the rigours of restraint, enjoy The terrors of the day, that sets them free. Who then, that has thee, would not hold thee fast, Freedom ? whom they that lose thee so regret, That e'en a judgment, making way for thee, Seems in their eyes a mercy for thy sake ?
Such evils Sin hath wrought; and such a flame Kindled in Heaven, that it burns down to Earth, And in the furious inquest, that it makes On God's behalf, lays waste his fairest works. The very elements, though each be meant The minister of man, to serve his wants, Conspire against him. With his breath he draws A plague into his blood; and cannot use