Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

And agonies of human and of brute
Multitudes, fugitive on every side,
And fugitive in vain. The sylvan scene
Migrates uplifted; and, with all its soil
Alighting in far distant fields, finds out
A new possessor, and survives the change. •

Ocean has caught the frenzy, and, upwrought
To an enormous and overbearing 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 deep—
A 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 *

Jple«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 even a judgment, making way for thee,
Seems in their eyes a mercy for thy sake.

Such evil 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
A plague into his blood; and cannot use
Life's necessary means, but he must die.
Storms rise to overwhelm him: or, if stormy winds
Rise not, the waters of the deep shall rise,
And, needing none assistance of the storm,
Shall roll themselves ashore, and reach him there,
The earth shall shake him out of all his holds,
Or make his house his grave: nor so content,
Shall counterfeit the motions of the flood,
And drown him in her dry and dusty gulphs.
What then 1—were they the wicked above all,
And we the righteous, whose fast anchored isle
Moved not, while their's was rocked, like a light skiff,
The sport of every wave? No: none are clear,
And none than we more guilty. But, where all
Stand chargeable with guilt, and to the shafts
Of wrath obnoxious, God may choose his mark:

May punish, if he please, the less, to warn
The more malignant. If he spared not them,
Tremble and be amazed at thine escape,
Far guiltier England, lest he spare not thee!
Happy the man, who sees a God employed
In all the good and ill, that chequer life!
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And a%jtration wise of the Supreme,
Did not his eye rule all things, and intend
The least of our concerns (since from the least
The greatest oft originate); could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose
One lawless particle to thwart his plan;
Then God might be surprised, and unforeseen
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs.
This truth philosophy, though eagle-eyed
In nature's tendencies, oft overlooks;
And, having found his instrument, forgets,
Or disregards, or, more presumptuous still,
Denies the power, that wields it. God proclaims
His hot displeasure against foolish men,
That live an atheist life: involves the heaven
In tempests: quits his grasp upon the winds,
Arid gives them all their fury; bids a plague
Kindle a fiery boil upon the ski»>

And putrify the breath of blooming health.
He calls for famine, and the meagre fiend
Blows mildew from between his shrivelled lips,
And taints the golden ear. He springs his mines,
And desolates a nation at a blast.
Forth steps the spruce philosopher, and tells
Of homogeneal and discordant springs
And principles; of causes, how they work
By necessary laws their sure effects;
Of action and re-action. He has found
The source of the disease, that nature feels,
And bids the world take heart and banish fear.
Thou fool! will thy discovery of the cause
Suspend the effect, or heal it? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the world?
And did he not of old employ his means
To drown it? What is his creation less
Than a capacious reservoir of means
Formed for his use, and ready at his will?
Go, dress thine eyes with eye-salve; ask of him,
Or ask of whomsoever he has taught;
And learn, though late, the genuine cause of all.
England, with all thy faults, I love thee still—
My country! and, while yet a nook is left,
Where English minds and manners may be found,
Shall be constrained to love thee. Though thy clime
te fickle, and thy year most part deformed

[ocr errors]

With dripping rains, or withered by a frost,

I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies,

And fields without a flower, for warmer France

With all her vines; nor for Ausonia's groves

Of golden fruitage, and her myrtle bowers.

To shake thy senate, and from heights sublime

Of patriot eloquence to flash down fire

Upon thy foes, was never meant my task:

But I can feel thy fortunes, and partake

Thy joys and sorrows, with as true a heart

As any thunderer there. And I can feel

Thy follies too; and with a just disdain

Frown at effeminates, whose very looks

Reflect dishonour on the land 1 love.

How, in the name of soldiership and sense,

Should England prosper, when such things, as smooth

And tender as a girl, all essenced over

With odours, and as profligate as sweet;

Who sell their laurel for a myrtle wreath,

And love when they should fight; when such as these

Presume to lay their hand upon the ark

Of her magnificent and awful cause?

Time was when it was praise and boast enough

In every clime, and travel where we might,

That we were born her children. Praise enough

To fill the ambition of a private man,

That Chatham's language was his mother tongue.

« ForrigeFortsett »