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With stern severity deals out the year.
Winter invades the spring, and often pours
A chilling flood on summer's drooping flow'rs,
Unwelcome vapours quench autumnal beams,
Ungenial blasts attending, curl the streams,
The peasants urge their harvest, ply the fork
With double § and shiver at their work,
Thus with a rigour, for his good design'd,
She rears her fav'rite man of all mankind.
His form robust, and of elastic tone,
Proportion'd well, half muscle and half bone,
Supplies with warm activity and force
A mind well lodged, and masculine of course.
Hence liberty, sweet liberty inspires,
And keeps alive his fierce but noble fires.
Patient of constitutional control,
He bears it with meek manliness of soul,
But if authority grow wanton, woe
To him that treads upon his free-born toe.
One step beyond the bound'ry of the laws
Fires him at once in freedom's glorious cause.
O liberty the pris'ner's pleasing dream,
The poet's muse, his passion and his theme,
Genius is thine, and thou art fancy's nurse,
Lost without thee th' ennobling pow'rs of verse,
Heroic song from thy free touch acquires
Its clearest tone, the rapture it inspires;
Place me where winter breathes its keenest air,
And I will sing if liberty be there,
And I will sing at liberty's dear feet,
In Afric's torrid clime, or India's fiercest heat.
A. Sing where you please, in such a cause I grant
An English Poet's privilege to rant,
But is not freedom, at least is not ours
Too apt to play the wanton with her pow'rs,
Grow freakish, and o'erleaping ev'ry mound,
Spread anarchy and terror all around
B. Agreed. But would you sell or slay your horse
For bounding and curveting in his course;
Or, if, when ridden with a careless rein,
He break away, and seek the distant plain? "
No. His . mettle under good control,
Gives him Olympic speed, and shoots him to the goal.
Incomparable gem 1 thy worth untold,
Cheap, though blood-bought, and thrown away when
May no foes ravish thee, and no false friend
Betray thee, while professing to defend ;
Prize it, ye ministers, ye monarchs spare,
Ye patriots guard it with a miser's care.
A. Patriots, alas ! the few that have been found
Where most they flourish, upon English ground,
The country's need have scantily supplied,
And the last left the scene, when Chatham died.
B. Not so—the virtue still adorns our age,
Though the chief actor died upon the stage.
Such men are raised to station and command,
When Providence means mercy to a land.
He speaks, and they appear; to him they owe
Skill to direct, and strength to strike the blow,
To manage with address, to seize with power
The crisis of a dark decisive hour.
Poor England I thou art a devoted deer,
Beset with ev'ry ill but that of fear.
The nations hunt; all mark thee for a prey,
They swarm around thee, and thou stand'st at bay.
Undaunted still, though wearied and perplex'd,
Once Chatham saved thee, but who saves thee next?
Alas! the tide of pleasure sweeps along
All that should be the boast of British song.
'Tis not the wreath that once adorn'd the brow,
The prize of happier times will serve thee now.
Our ancestry, a gallant Christian race,
Patterns of ev'ry virtue, ev'ry grace,
Confess'd a God, they kneel'd before they fought,
And praised Him in the victories He wrought.
Now from the dust of ancient days bring forth
Their sober zeal, integrity, and worth ;
Courage, ungraced by these, affronts the skies,
Is but the fire without the sacrifice.
The stream that feeds the well-spring of the heart
Not more invigorates life's noblest part,
Than virtue quickens with a warmth divine,
The pow'rs that sin has brought to a decline.
Pensantur trutina. HoR. Lib. ii. Ep. i.
AN, on the dubious waves of error toss'd, His ship half founder'd and his compass lost, Sees, far as human optics may command, A sleeping fog, and fancies it dry land: Spreads all his canvas, ev'ry sinew plies, Pants for it, aims at it, enters it, and dies. Then farewell all self-satisfying schemes, His well-built systems, philosophic dreams, Deceitful views of future bliss, farewell ! He reads his sentence at the flames of hell. Oh, how unlike the complex works of man, Heaven's easy, artless, unencumber'd plan No meretricious graces to beguile, No clust'ring ornaments to 3. the pile,
From ostentation as from weakness free,
It stands like the cerulean arch we see,
Majestic in its own simplicity.
Inscribed above the portal, from afar
Conspicuous as the brightness of a star,
Legible only by the light they give,
Stand the "... ick'ning words—BELIEVE AND LIVE.
Too many, shock'd at what should charm them most,
Despise the plain direction, and are lost.
o judged the Pharisee ? What odious cause
Exposed him to the vengeance of the laws?
Had he seduced a virgin, wrong’d a friend,
Or stabb’d a man to serve some private end.?
Was blasphemy his sin Or did he stray
From the strict duties of the sacred day ?
Sit long and late at the carousing board
(Such were the sins with which he charged his Lord.)
No—the man's morals were exact, what then }
"Twas his ambition to be seen of men :
His virtues were his pride; and that one vice
Made all his virtues gewgaws of no price;
He wore them as fine trappings for a show,
A praying, synagogue-frequenting beau.
The self-applauding bird, the peacock see—
Mark what a sumptuous Pharisee is he
Meridian sunbeams tempt him to unfold
His radiant glories, azure, green, and gold;
He treads as if, some solemn music near,
His measured step were govern'd by his ear,
And seems to say, Ye meaner fowl, give place ;
I am all splendour, dignity, and grace.
Turn eastward now, and fancy shall apply,
To your weak sight her telescopic eye.
The Brahmin kindles on his own bare head
The sacred fire, self-torturing his trade,
His voluntary pains, severe and long,
Would give a barb'rous air to British song,
Nor grand inquisitor could worse invent,
Than he contrives to suffer, well content.
But why before us Protestants produce
An Indian mystic, or a French recluse ?
Their sin is ". but what have we to fear,
Reform'd and well instructed You shall hear.
Yon ancient prude, whose wither'd features show
She might be young some forty years ago,
Her elbows pinion'd close upon her hips,
Her head erect, her fan upon her lips,
Her eyebrows arch'd, her eyes both gone astray
To watch yon am’rous couple in their play,
With bony and unkerchief'd neck defies
The rude inclemency of wintry skies,
And sails with lappet-head and mincing airs,
Duly at clink of bell, to morning pray'rs.
To thrift and parsimony much inclined,
She yet allows herself that boy behind;
The shiv'ring urchin, bending as he goes,
With slipshod heels, and dewdrop at his nose,
His predecessor's coat advanced to wear,
Which future pages are yet doom'd to share,
Carries her Bible tuck'd beneath his arm,
And hides his hands to keep his fingers warm.
Of temper as envenom'd as an asp,
Censorious, and her every word a wasp,
In faithful mem'ry she records the crimes
Or real, or fictitious, of the times,
Laughs at the reputations she has torn,
And holds them dangling at arm's length in scorn.
Such are the fruits of sanctimonious pride,
Of malice fed while flesh is mortified.
Take, Madam, the reward of all your pray'rs,