« ForrigeFortsett »
The rich, the produce of a nobler stem,
Are more intelligent at least, try them.
Oh vain inquiry! they without remorse
Are altogether gone a devious course;
When beck'ning Pleasure leads them, wildly stray;
Have burst the bands, and cast the yoke away.
Now borne upon the wings of truth sublime,
Review thy dim original and prime.
This island, spot of unreclaim'd rude earth,
The cradle that receiv'd thee at thy birth,
Was rock'd by many a rough Norwegian blast.
And Danish howlings scar'd thee as they pass'd;
For thou wast born amid the din of arms,
And suck'd a breast that panted with alarms.
While yet thou wast a grov'ling puling chit,
Thy bones not fashion'd, and thy joints not knit,
The Roman taught thy stubborn knee to bow,
Though twice a Caesar could not bend thee now.
His victory was that of orient light,
When the Sun's shafts disperse the gloom of night.
Thy language at this distant moment shows
How much the country to the conqu'rer owes;
Expressive, energetic, and refin'd,
It sparkles with the gems he left behind: ...—^
He brought thy land a blessing when he came,
He found thee savage, and he left thee tame;
Taught thee to clothe thy pink'd and painted hide,
And grace thy figure with a soldier's pride;
He sow'd the seeds of order where he went,
Improv'd thee far beyond his own intent,
And, while he rul'd thee by the sword alone,
Made thee at last a warrior like his own.
Religion, if in heav'nly truths attir'd,
Needs only to be seen to be admir'd;
But thine, as dark as witch'ries of the night,
Was form'd to harden hearts and shock the sight;
Thy Druids struck the well-hung harps they bore
With fingers deeply dyed in human gore;
And while the victim slowly bled to death,
Upon the rolling chords rung out his dying breath.
Who brought the lamp, that with awaking beams
Dispell'd thy gloom, and broke away thy dreams,
Tradition, now decrepit and worn out,
Babbler of ancient fables, leaves a doubt:
But still light reach'dthee; and those gods of thine,
Woden and Thor, each tott'ring in his shrine,
Fell broken and defac'd at his own door,
As Dagon in Philistia long before.
But Rome with sorceries and magic wand
Soon rais'd a cloud, that darken'd ev'ry land;
And thine was smother'd in the stench and fog
Of Tiber's marshes and the papal bog.
Then priests with bulls and briefs, and shaven
And griping fists, and unrelenting frowns,
Legates and delegates with pow'rs from Hell,
Though heav'nly in pretension, fleec'd thee well;
And to this hour, to keep it fresh in mind,
Some twigs of that old scourge are left behind*.
Thy soldiery, the pope's well-manag'd pack,
Were train'd beneath his lash, and knew the smack.
And, when he laid them on the scent of blood,
Would hunt a Saracen through fire and flood.
Lavish of life, to win an empty tomb,
That prov'd a mint of wealth, a mine to Rome,
They left their bones beneath unfriendly skies,
His worthless absolution all the prize.
Thou wast the veriest slave in days of yore,
That ever dragg'd a chain or tugg'd an oar;
Thy monarchs arbitrary, fierce, unjust,
Themselves the slaves of bigotry or lust,
* Which may be fouml at Doctors' Commons.
Disdain'd thy counsels, only in distress
"Found thee a goodly spunge for Pow'r to press.
Thy chiefs, the lords of many a petty fee,
Provok'd and haras'd, in return plagu'd thee;
Call'd thee away from peaceable employ,
Domestic happiness and rural joy,
To waste thy life in arms, or lay it down
In causeless feuds and bick'rings of their own.
Thy parliaments ador'd on bended knees
The sov'reignty, they were conven'd to please;
Whate'er was ask'd, too timid to resist,
Complied with, and were graciously dismissal;
And if some Spartan soul a doubt express'd,
And, blushing at the tameness of the rest,
Dar'd to suppose the subject had a choice,
He was a traitor by the gen'ral voice.
Oh slave! with pow'rs thou didst not dare exert,
Verse cannot stoop so low as thy desert;
It shakes the sides of splenetic Disdain,
Thou self-entitled ruler of the main,
To trace thee to the date when yon fair sea,
That clips thy shores, had no such charms for thee;
When other nations flew from coast to coast,
And thou hadst neither fleet nor flag to boast.
Kneel now, and lay thy forehead in the dust;
Blush if thou canst; not petrified, thou must:
Act but an honest and a faithful part;
Compare what then thou wast, with what thou art;
And God's disposing providence confess'd,
Obduracy itself must yield the rest.—
Then art thou bound to serve him, and to prove,
Hour after hour, thy gratitude and love.
Has he not hid thee, and thy favour'd land,
For ages safe beneath his shelt'ring hand,
Giv'n thee his blessing on the clearest proof,
Bid nations leagu'd against thee stand aloof,
And charg'd Hostility and Hate to roar
Where else they would, but not upon thy shore?
His pow'r secur'd thee, when presumptuous Spain
Baptiz'd her fleet invincible in vain;
Her gloomy monarch, doubtful and resign'd
To ev'ry pang, that racks an anxious mind,
Ask'd of the waves, that broke upon his coast,
What tidings? and the surge replied—All lost!
And when the Stuart leaning on the Scot,
Then too much fear'd, and now too much forgot,
Pierc'd to the very centre of the realm,
And hop'd to sei2e his abdicated helm,
Vol. 1. I