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And gain-devoted cities ; thither flow,

As to a common and most noisome sewer,

The dregs and feculence of every land.

In cities foul example on most minds

Begets its likeness. Rank abundance breeds

In gross and pampered cities sloth and lust,

And wantonness and gluttonous excess.

In cities, vice is hidden with most ease,

Or seen with least reproach; and virtue taught

By frequent lapse, can hope no triumph there

Beyond the achievement of successful flight.

1 do confess them nurseries of the arts,

In which they flourish most; where in the beams

Of warm encouragement, and in the eye

Of public note they reach their perfect size.

Such London is, by taste and wealth proclaimed

The fairest capital of all the world,

By riot and incontinence the worst.

There touched by Reynolds, a dull blank becomes

A lucid mirror, in which nature sees

All her reflected features. Bacon there

Gives more than female beauty to a stone,

And Chatham's eloquence to marble lips.

Nor does the chisel occupy alone

The powers of sculpture, but the style as much;

Each province of her heart her equal care.

With nice incision of her guided steel

She ploughs a brazen field, and clothes a soil

So sterile with what charms soe'er she will,

The richest scenery and the loveliest forms.

Where finds philosophy her eagle eye

With which she gazes at yon burning disk

Undazzled, and detects and counts his spots?

In London. Wheie her implements exact

With which she calculates, computes and scans

All distance, motion, magnitude, and now

Measures an atom, and now girds a world?

In London. Where has commerce such a mart,

So rich, so thronged, so drained, and so supplied

As London, opulent, enlarged and still

Increasing London? Babylon of old

Not more the glory of the earth, than she

A more accomplished world's chief glory now.

She has her praise. Now mark a spot or two That so much beauty would do well to purge; And show this queen of cities, that so fair May yet be foul, so witty, yet not wise. It is not seemly nor of good report That she is slack in discipline,—more prompt To avenge than to prevent the breach ol law. That she is rigid in denouncing death On petty robbers, and indulges life

And liberty, and oft-times honour too

To peculators of the public gold.

That thieves at home must hang; but he that puts

Into his overgorged and bloated purse

The wealth of Indian provinces, escapes.

Nor is it well, nor can it come to good,

That through profane and infidel contempt

Of holy writ, she has presumed to annul

And abrogate, as roundly as she may,

The total ordinance and will of God;

Advancing fashion to the post of truth,

And centring all authority in modes

And customs of her own, till Sabbath rites

Have dwindled into unrespected forms,

And knees and hassocks are well-nigh divorced.

God made the country, and man made the town.
What wonder then, that health and virtue, gifts
That can alone make sweet the bitter draught
That life holds out to all, should most abound
And least be threatened in the fields and groves?
Possess ye therefore, ye who borne about
In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue
But that of idleness, and taste no scenes
But such as art contrives,—possess ye still
Your element; there only ye can shine,
There only minds like yours can do no harm.
Our groves were planted to console at noon
The pensive wanderer in their shades. At eve
The moonbeam sliding softly in between
The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish,
Birds warbling all the music. We can spare
The splendour of your lamps, they but eclipse
Our softer satellite. Your songs confound
Our more harmonious notes. The thrush departs
Scared, and the offended nightingale is mute.
There is a public mischief in your mirth,
It plagues your country. Folly such as yours
Graced with a sword, and worthier of a fan,
Has made, which enemies could ne'er have done,
Our arch of empire, steadfast but for you,
A mutilated structure, soon to fall.

BOOK II.—THE TIMEPIECE.

ARGUMENT.

Which opens with reflections suggested by the conclusion of the former— Peace among the nations recommended on the ground of their common fellowship in sorrow—Prodigies enumerated—Sicilian earthquakes—Man rendered obnoxious to these calamities by sin—God the agent m them—The philosophy that stops at secondary causes, reproved—Our own late miscarriages accounted for—Satirical notice taken of our trips to Fontalnbleau —But the pulpit, not satire, the proper engine of reformation—The Reverend Advertiser of engraved sermons—Petit maitre parson—The good preacher — Picture of a theatrical clerical coxcomb —Story-tellers and jesters m the pulpit reproved—Apostrophe to popular applause—Retailers of ancient philosophy expostulated with—Sum of the whole matter—Effects of sacerdotal mismanagement on the laity—Their folly and extravagance—The mischiefs of profusion— Profusion itself, with all its consequent evils, ascribed, as to its principal cause, to the want of discipline in the Universities.

Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,

Some boundless contiguity of shade,

Where rumour of oppression and deceit,

Of unsuccessful or successful war

Might never reach me more! My ear is pained,

My soul is sick with every day's report

Of wrong and outrage with which earth is filled.

There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart,

It does not feel for man. The natural bond

Of brotherhood is severed as the flax

That falls asunder at the touch of fire.

He finds his fellow guilty of a skin

Not coloured like his own, and having power

To enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause

Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.

Lands intersected by a narrow frith

Abhor each other. Mountains interposed,

Make enemies of nations who had else

Like kindred drops been mingled into one.

Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys;

And worse than all, and most to be deplored

As human nature's broadest, foulest blot,

Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat

With stripes, that mercy with a bleeding heart

Weeps when she sees inflicted on a beast.

Then what is man? And what man seeing this,

And having human feelings, does not blush

And hang his head, to think himself a man?

I would not have a slave to till my ground,

To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,

And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth

That sinews bought and sold have ever earned.

No : dear as freedom is, and in my heart's

Just estimation prized above all price,

I had much rather be myself the slave

And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him.

We have no slaves at home.—Then why abroad?

And they themselves, once ferried o'er the wave

That parts us, are emancipate and loosed.

Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs

Receive our air, that moment they are free,

They touch our country and their shackles fall.

That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud

And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,

And let it circulate through every vein

Of all your empire! that where Britain's power

Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.

Sure there is need of social intercourse,
Benevolence and peace and mutual aid
Between the nations, in a world that seems
To toll the death-bell of its own decease,
And by the voice of all its elements
To preach the general doom.1 When were the winds
Let shp with such a warrant to destroy?
When did the waves so haughtily o'erleap
Their ancient barriers, deluging the dry?
Fire from beneath, and meteors 2 from above
Portentous, unexampled, unexplained,
Have kindled beacons in the skies; and the old
And crazy earth has had her shaking fits
More frequent, and foregone her usual rest.
Is it a time to wrangle, when the props
And pillars of our planet seem to fail,
And nature 3 with a dim and sickly eye
To wait the close of all? But grant her end
More distant, and that prophecy demands
A longer respite, unaccomplished yet;
Still they are frowning signals, and bespeak
Displeasure in his breast who smites the earth
Or heals it, makes it languish or rejoice.
And 'tis but seemly, that where all deserve
And stand exposed by common peccancy
To what no few have felt, there should be peace,
And brethren in calamity should love.

Alas for Sicily! rude fragments now
Lie scattered where the shapely column stood.
Her palaces are dust. In all her streets
The voice of singing and the sprightly chord
Are silent. Revelry and dance and show
Suffer a syncope and solemn pause,
While God performs upon the trembling stage
Of his own works, his dreadful part alone.
How does the earth receive him ?—with what signs
Of gratulation and delight, her king?
Pours she not all her choicest fruits abroad,
Her sweetest flowers, her aromatic gums,
Disclosing paradise where'er he treads?
She quakes at his approach. Her hollow womb
Conceiving thunders, through a thousand deeps
And fiery caverns roars beneath his foot.
The hills move lightly and the mountains smoke,
For He has touched them. From the extremest pomt
Of elevation down into the abyss,
His wrath is busy and his frown is felt.

1 Alluding to the late calamities at Jamaica.—C.
a August 18, 1783.—C.

3 Alluding to the fog that covered both Europe and Asia during the whole summer of 1783. —C.

The rocks fall headlong and the valleys rise;

The rivers die into offensive pools,

And charged with putrid verdure, breathe a gross

And mortal nuisance into all the air.

What solid was, by transformation strange

Grows fluid; and the fixed and rooted earth

Tormented into billows heaves and swells,

Or with vortiginous and hideous whirl

Sucks down its prey insatiable. Immense

The tumult and the overthrow, the pangs

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 o'erbearing 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

The 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 draws A plague into his blood, and cannot use Life's necessary means, but he must die. Storms rise to o'erwhelm 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,

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