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THE

TASK.

BOOK II.

ARGUMENT OF THE SECOND BOOK.

Reflections suggested by the conclusion of the former book.— Peace among the nations recommended, on the ground of theft common fellowship in sorrow.Prodigies enumerated.Sicilian earthquakes.Man rendered obnoxious to these calamities by fin.— God the agent in them.The philosophy that stops at secondary causes reproved.Our own late miscarriages accounted for.Satirical notice taken of our trips to Fontainbleau.But the pulpit, not satire, the proper engine of reformation.The Reverend Advertiser of engraved sermons.Petit-maitre parson.The good preacher.Pictures of a theatrical clerical coxcomb. Story-tellers and jesters in the pulpit reproved.Apo^ strophe to popular applause.-—Retailers of ancient philosophy expostulated with.Sum of the whole matter.Effects of sacerdotal mismanagement on the laity.Their folly and extravagance.The mischiefs of profusion.Profusion itself, with all its consequent evils, ascribed, as to its principal cause, to the want of discipline in the universities.

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BOOK II.
THE TIME-PIECE.

Oh 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 pain'd,
My soul is sick, with ev'ry day's report
Of wrong and outrage with which earth is filPd.
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart,
It does not feel for man; the nat'ral bond
Of brotherhood is scver'd as the flax
That falls asunder at the touch of fire.

He finds his fellow guilty of a skin Not colour'd like his own; and, having pow'r T' enforce the Wrong, for such a worthy cause Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey. Lands intersected by a narrow frithAbhor each other. Mountains interpos'd 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 deplor'd, 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 fees inflicted on a beast. Then what is man? And what man, feeing 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 fold have ever earn'd.

No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's

Just estimation priz'd 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 loos'd.
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 ev'ry vein
Of all your empire; that where Britain's pow'r
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,

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