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Why weeps the muse for England? What appears
Ambrosial gardens, in which art supplies The fervour and the force of Indian skies; Her peaceful shores, where busy commerce waits To pour his golden tide through all her gates; Whom fiery suns, that scorched the russet spice Of eastern groves, and oceans floored with ice, Forbid in vain to push his daring way To darker climes, or climes of brighter day; Whom the winds waft where'er the billows roll, From the world's girdle to the frozen pole; The chariots bounding in her wheel-worn streets, Her vaults below, where every vintage meets; Her theatres, her revels, and her sports; The scenes to which not youth alone resorts, But age, in spite of weakness and of pain, Still haunts, in hope to dream of youth again; All speak her happy: let the muse look round. From East to West, no sorrow can be found: Or, only what, in cottages confined, Sighs unregarded to the passing wind. Then wherefore weep for England? What appears In England's case to move the muse to tears?
The prophet wept for Israel: wished his eyes Were fountains fed with infinite supplies: For Israel dealt in robbery and wrong: There were the scorner's and the slanderer's tongue; Oaths used as playthings or convenient tools, As interest biassed knaves, or fashion fools; Adultery, neighing at his neighbour's door; Oppression labouring hard to grind the poor: The partial balance, and deceitful weight; The treacherous smile, a mask for secret hate; Hypocrisy, formality in prayer, And the dull service of the lip were there. Her women, insolent and self caressed, By vanity's unwearied finger dressed, Forgot the blush, that virgin fears iinpart To modest cheeks, and borrowed one from art; Were just such trifles, without worth or use, As silly pride and idleness produce; Curled, scented, furbelowed, and flounced around, With feet too delicate to touch the ground, They stretched the neck, and rolled the wanton eye, And sighed for every fool that futtered by.
He saw his people slaves to every lust, Lewd, avaricious, arrogant, unjust; He heard the wheels of an avenging God Groan heavily along the distant road; Saw Babylon set wide her two-leaved brass To let the military deluge pass; Jerusalem a prey, her glory soiled, Her princes captive, and her treasures spoiled; Wept till all Israel heard his bitter cry, Stamped with his foot, and smote upon his thigh:: But wept, and stamped, and smote his thigh in vain, Pleasure is deaf when told of future pain, And sounds prophetic are too rough to suit Ears long accustomed to the pleasing lute; They scorned his inspiration and his theme, Pronounced him frantic, and his fears a dream; With self-indulgence winged the fleeting hours, Till the foe found them, and down fell the towers.
Long time Assyria bound them in her chain, Till penitence had purged the public stain, And Cyrus, with relenting pity moved, Returned them happy to the land they loved;
There, proof against prosperity, awhile
When he that ruled them with a shepherd's rod,
When nations are to perish in their sins,