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Si te fortè meæ gravis uret sarcina chartæ,
Hor. Lib, I. Epist. 13.
A. You told me, I remember, glory, built On selfish principles, is shame and guilt; The deeds, that men admire as half divine, Stark naught, because corrupt in their design. Strange doctrine this! that without scruple tears The laurel that the very lightning spares ; Brings down the warrior's trophy to the dust, And eats into his bloody sword like rust.
B. I grant that, men continuing what they are, Fierce, avaricious, proud, there must be war. And never meant the rule should be applied To him, that fights with justice on his side.
Let laurels, drench'd in pure Parnassian dews,
Reward his mem'ry, dear to ev'ry muse,
Who, with a courage of unshaken root,
In honour's field advancing his firm foot,
Plants it upon the line that Justice draws,
And will prevail or perish in her cause.
"Tis to the virtues of such men, man owes
His portion in the good, that Heav'n bestows.
And when recording History displays
Feats of renown, though wrought in ancient days,
Tells of a few stout hearts, that fought and died,
Where duty plac'd them, at their country's side;
The man, that is not mov'd with what he reads,
That takes not fire at their heroic deeds,
Unworthy of the blessings of the brave,
Is base in kind, and born to be a slave.
But let eternal infamy pursue
The wretch to nought but his ambition true,
Who, for the sake of filling with one blast
The post-horns of all Europe, lays her waste.
Think yourself station'd on a tow'ring rock,
To see a people scatter'd like a flock,
Some royal mastiff panting at their heels,
With all the savage thirst a tiger feels;
Then view him self-proclaim'd in a gazette
Chief monster that has plagu'd the nations yet.
The globe and sceptre in such hands misplac'd,
Those ensigns of dominion, how disgrac'd!
The glass, that bids man mark the fleeting hour,
And Death's own sithe would better speak his
Then grace the bony phantom in their stead
With the king's shoulderknot and gay cockade;
Clothe the twin brethren in each other's dress,
The same their occupation and success.
A. 'Tis your belief the world was made for man; Kings do but reason on the selfsame plan: Maintaining yours, you cannot theirs condemn, Who think, or seem to think, man made for them.
B. Seldom, alas! the pow'r of logic reigns With much sufficiency in royal brains; Such reas'ning falls like an inverted cone, Wanting its proper base to stand upon. Man made for kings! those optics are but dim, That tell you somsay, rather, they for him. That were indeed a king-ennobling thought, Could they, or would they, reason as they ought.
The diadem, with mighty projects lin’d
To catch renown by ruining mankind,
Is worth, with all it's gold and glitt'ring store,
Just what the toy will sell for, and no more.
Oh! bright occasions of dispensing good,
How seldom us'd, how little understood!
To pour in Virtue's lap her just reward;
Keep Vice restrain'd behind a double guard;
To quell the faction, that affronts the throne,
By silent magnanimity alone;
To nurse with tender care the thriving arts;
Watch ev'ry beam Philosophy imparts;
To give Religion her unbridld scope,
Nor judge by statute a believer's hope;
With close fidelity and love unfeign'd
To keep the matrimonial bond unstain'd;
Covetous only of a virtuous praise;
His life, a lesson to the land he sways;
To touch the sword with conscientious awe,
Nor draw it but when duty bids him draw;
To sheath it in the peace-restoring close
With joy beyond what victory bestows;
Blest country, where these kingly glories shine
Blest England, if this happiness be thine!