Thus fell the best instructed in her day,
And the most favour'd land, look where we may.
Philosophy indeed on Grecian eyes
Had pour'd the day, and cleared the Roman skies;
In other climes perhaps creative Art,
With powY surpassing theirs, perform'd her part,
Might give more life to marble, or might fill
The glowing tablets with a juster skill,
Might shine in fable, and grace idle themes
With all th' embroid'ry of poetic dreams;
Twas theirs alone to dive into the plan,
That Truth and Mercy had reveal'd to man;
And while the World beside, that plan unknown,
Deified useless wood, or senseless stone,
They breath'd in faith their well-directed pray'rs,
And the true God, the God of truth, was theirs.

Their glory faded, and their race dispers'd,
The last of nations now, though once the first;
They warn and teach the proudest, would they leam,
Keep wisdom, or meet vengeance in your turn:
If we escap'd not, if Heav'n spar'd not us,
Peel'd, scatter'd, and exterminated thus;
If Vice receiv'd her retribution due,
When we were visited, what hope for you?

[ocr errors]

When God arises with an awful frown

To punish lust, or pluck presumption down;

When gifts perverted, or not duly priz'd,

Pleasure o'ervalued, and his grace despis'd,

Provoke the vengeance of his righteous hand,

To pour down wrath upon a thankless land;

He will be found impartially severe,

Too just to wink, or speak the guilty clear.

Oh Israel, of all nations most undone! Thy diadem displac'd, thy sceptre gone; Thy temple, once thy glory, fall'n and ras'd, And thou a worshipper e'en where thou mayst; Thy services, once only without spot, Mere shadows now, their ancient pomp forgot; Thy Levites, once a consecrated host, No longer Levites, and their lineage lost. And thou thyself o'er ev'ry country sown, With none on Earth that thou canst call thine own; Cry aloud, thou, that sittest in the dust, Cry to the proud, the cruel, and unjust; Knock at the gates of nations, rouse their fears; Say wrath is coming, and the storm appears; But raise the shrillest cry in British ears.

[ocr errors]

What ails thee, restless as the waves that roar, And fling their foam against thy chalky shore I Mistress, at least while Providence shall please, And trident-bearing queen of the wide seas— Why, having kept good faith, and often shown Friendship and truth to others, find'st thou none! Thou that hast set the persecuted free, None interposes now to succour thee. Countries indebted to thy pow'r, that shine With light deriv'd from thee, would smother thine: Thy very children watch for thy disgrace— A lawless brood, and curse thee to thy face. Thy rulers load thy credit, year by year, With sums Peruvian mines could never clear; As if, like arches built with skilful hand, The more 'twere press'd the firmer it would stand.

The cry in all thy ships is still the same, Speed us away to battle and to fame. Thy mariners explore the wild expanse, Impatient to descry the flags of France: But though they fight, as thine have ever fought, Return asham'd without the wreaths they sought, Thy senate is a scene of civil jar, Chaos of contrarieties at war;

Where sharp and solid, phlegmatic and light,

Discordant atoms meet, ferment, and fight;

Where Obstinacy takes his sturdy stand,

To disconcert what Policy has plann'd;

Where Policy is busied all night long

In setting right what Faction has set wrong;

Where flails of oratory thresh the floor,

That yields them chaff and dust, and nothing more.

Thy rack'd inhabitants repine, complain,

Tax'd till the brow of Labour sweats in vain;

War lays a burden on the reeling state,

And peace does nothing to relieve the weight;

Successive loads succeeding broils impose,

And sighing millions prophesy the close.

Is adverse Providence, when ponder'd well,
So dimly writ, or difficult to spell,
Thou canst not read with readiness and ease
Providence adverse in events like these?
Know then that heav'nly wisdom on this ball
Creates, gives birth to, guides, consummates all;
That, while laborious and quick-thoughted man
Snuffs up the praise of what he seems to plan,
He first conceives, then perfects his design,
As a mere instrument in hands divine:

[ocr errors]

Blind to the working of that secret pow'r,
That balances the wings of ev'ry hour,
The busy trifler dreams himself alone,
Frames many a purpose, and God works his own.
States thrive or wither as moons wax and wane,
Ev'n as his will and his decrees ordain;
While honour, virtue, piety bear sway,
They flourish; and as these decline, decay:
In just resentment of his injur'd laws,
He pours contempt on them and on their cause;
Strikes the rough thread of errour right athwart
The web of ev'ry scheme they have at heart;
Bids rottenness invade and bring to dust
The pillars of support, in which they trust,
And do his errand of disgrace and shame
On the chief strength and glory of the frame.
None ever yet impeded what he wrought,
None bars him out from his most secret thought:
Darkness itself before his eye is light,
And Hell's close mischief naked in his sight.
Stand now and judge thyself—Hast thou in-
nis anger, who can waste thee with a word,

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »