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Into the mingling storm, demand their fire,
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 inmost vitals creeping cold, 320
Lays him along the snows, a stiffened corse,
Stretch'd out, and bleaching in the northern blaft.
A little think the gay licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround;
They, who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth, 325
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah little think they, while they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment, death
And all the sad variety of pain.
How many sink 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 use
Of their own limbs. How many drink the cup 335
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of misery. Sore pierc'd by wintry winds,
shrink into the sordid hut
Of cheerless poverty. How many shake
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
340 Unbounded pafion, 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, 345
How many, rack'd with honest 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 appall’d,
And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think;
The conscious heart of charity would warm, 355
And her wide wish benevolence dilate;
The social 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, 360 Who, touch'd with human woe, redressive search'd Into the horrors of the gloomy jail? Unpity'd, and unheard, where misery moans ; Where fickness pines; where thirst and hunger burn,
misfortune feels the lash of vice. 365 While in the land of liberty, the land Whose every street and public meeting glow
* The Jail Committee, in the Year 1729.
With open freedom, little tyrants rag'd;
Snatch'd the lean morsel froin the starving mouth;
Tore from cold wintry limbs the tatter'd weed; 370
Even robb’d them of the last of comforts, sleep;
The free-born BRITon to the dungeon chain'd,
Or, as the luft of cruelty prevail'd,
At pleasure mask'd him with inglorious stripes ;
And crush'd out lives, by secret barbarous ways, 375
That for their country would have toild, or bled.
O great design! 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 still untouch'd remains; in this rank
age, Much is the patriot's weeding hand requir'd. The toils of law, (what dark ir.fidious Men
385 Have cumbrous added to perplex the truth, And lengthen fimple 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 390 Of horrid mountains which the shining Alps, And wavy Appenine, and Pirenees, Branch out stupendous into distant lands ; Cruel as death, and hungry as the grave! -.395
Burning for blood! bony, and ghaunt, and grim!
Afembling wolves in raging troops descend;
And, pouring o'er the country, bear along,
Koen as the north-wind sweeps the glossy snow.
All is their prize. They fasten on the steed,
Press him to earth, and pierce his mighty heart.
Nor can the bull his awful front defend,
Or shake the murdering savages away.
Rapacious, at the mother's throat they fly,
And tear the screaming infant from her breaft. 405
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 severe 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 416
In peaceful vales the happy Grifons dwell;
Oft, rushing sudden from the loaded cliffs,
Mountains of snow their gathering terrors roll.
From keep to steep, loud-thundering down they come,
A wintry waste in dire commotion all;
421 And herds, and Alocks, and travellers, and swains,
And sometimes whole brigades of marching troops,
Or hamlets sleeping in the dead of night,
Are deep beneath the fmothering ruin whelm’d. 425
Now, all amid the rigours of the year,
In the wild depth of Winter, while without
The ceaseless winds blow ice, be my retreat,
Between the groaning forest and the shcra,
Beat by the boundless multitude of waves,
A rural, fhelter'd, solitary, scene;
Where ruddy fire and beaming tapers join,
To cheer the gloom. There studious 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 arins, and humaniz'd a world.
Rous'd at th' inspiring thought, I throw afide
The long-liv'd volume; and, deep-musing, hail
The sacred shades, that slowly-rising pass
Before my wondering eyes. First SOCRAT E S,
Who firmly stood in a corrupted state,
Against the rage of tyrants fingle stood,
Invincible! calm Reason's holy law,
That Voice of God within th' attentive mind, 445
Obeying, fearless, or in life, or death:
Great moral teacher! Wiseft of Mankind!
SOLON the *next, who built his common-weal
On equity's wide base; by tender laws