« ForrigeFortsett »
Pray'r only, and the penitential tear,
Can call her smiling down, and fix her here.
But when a country (one that I could name) In prostitution sinks the sense of shame; When infamous Venality, grown bold, Writes on his bosom, to be let or sold When Perjury, that Heav'n-defying vice, Sells oaths by tale, and at the lowest price, Stamps God's own name upon a lie just made, To turn a penny in the way of trade; When Av'rice starves, (and never hides his face) Two or three millions of the human race, And not a tongue inquires, how, where, or when, Though conscience will have twinges now and then; When profanation of the sacred cause In all it's parts, times, ministry, and laws, Bespeaks a land, once christian, fall'n, and lost, In all, that wars against that title most; What follows next let cities of great name, And regions long since desolate proclaim. Nineveh, Babylon, and ancient Rome, Speak to the present times, and times to come; Then cry aloud in ev'ry careless ear, Stop, while ye may; suspend your mad career:
O learn from our example and our fate,
Not only vice disposes and prepares
Earth shakes beneath them, and Heav'n roars above;
But nothing scares them from the course they love.
To the lascivious pipe and wanton song,
That charm down fear, they frolic it along,
With mad rapidity and unconcern,
Down to the gulf, from which is no return.
They trust in navies, and their navies fail—
God's curse can cast away ten thousand sail!
They trust in armies, and their courage dies;
In wisdom, wealth, in fortune, and in lies;
But all they trust in withers, as it must,
When He commands, in whom they place no trust.
Vengeance at last pourc down upon their coast
A long despis'd, but now victorious, host;
Tyranny sends the chain, that must abridge
The noble sweep of all their privilege;
Gives liberty the last, the mortal shock:
Slips the slave's collar on, and snaps the lock.
A. Such lofty strains embellish what you teach, Mean you to prophesy, or but to preach?
B. I know the mind, that feels indeed the fire The muse imparts, and can command the lyre, Acts with a force, and kindles with a zeal, Whate'er the theme, that others never feel.
If human woes her soft attention claim,
A tender sympathy pervades the frame,
She pours a sensibility divine
Along the nerve of ev'ry feeling line.
But if a deed not tamely to be borne
Fire indignation and a sense of scorn,
The strings are swept with such a pow'r, so loud,
The storm of music shakes the astonish'd crowd.
So, when remote futurity is brought
Before the keen inquiry of her thought,
A terrible sagacity informs
The poet's heart; he looks to distant storms;
He hears the thunder ere the tempest low'rs;
And, arm'd with strength surpassing human pov/rs,
Seizes events as yet unknown to man,
And darts his soul into the dawning plan.
Hence in a Roman mouth, the graceful name
Of prophet and of poet was the same;
Hence British poets too the priesthood shar'd,
And every hallow'd druid was a bard.
But no prophetic fires to me belong;
I play with syllables, and sport in song.
A. At Westminster, where little poets strive To set a distich upon six and five,
Where Discipline helps op'ning buds of sense,
B. Thus reputation is a spur to wit,