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Pulled down the tyrants India served with dread,

And raised thyself, a greater, in their stead?

Gone thither armed and hungry, returned full,

Fed from the richest veins of the Mogul,

A despot big with power obtained by wealth,

And that obtained by rapine and by stealth?

With Asiatic vices stored thy mind,

But left their virtues and thine own behind,

A ad, having trucked thy soul, brought home the fee,

To tempt the poor to sell himself to thee?

Hast thou by statute shoved from its design
The Saviour's feast, his own blest bread and wine,
And made the symbols of atoning grace
An office key, a picklock to a place,
That infidels may prove their title good
By an oath dipped in sacramental blood?
A blot that will be still a blot, in spite
Of all that grave apologists may write,
And though a Bishop toil to cleanse the stain,
He wipes and scours the silver cup in vain.
And hast thou sworn on every slight pretence,
Till perjuries are common as bad pence,
While thousands, careless of the damning sin,
Kiss the book's outside, who ne'er look within?1

Hast thou, when heaven has clothed thee with disgrace,
And, long provoked, repaid thee to thy face,
(For thou hast known eclipses, and endured
Dimness and anguish, all thy beams obscured,

1 It is proper to insert here, from the first edition, (pp. 123, 124,) a remarkable passage, for which the next paragraph was substituted in the second and all subsequent ones.

Hast thou admitted with a blind, fond trust, The lie that burned thy fathers' bones to dust, That first adjudged them heretics, then sent Their souls to heaven, and cursed them as they went? The lie that Scripture strips of its disguise, And execrates above all other lies, The lie that claps a lock on mercy's plan, And gives the key to yon infirm old man, Who once ensconced in apostolic chair Is deified, and sits omniscient there; The lie that knows no kindred, owns no friend But him that makes its progress his chief end, That having spilt much blood, makes that a boast, And canonises him that sheds the most? Away with charity that soothes a lie. And thrusts the truth with scorn and anger by! Shame on the candour and the gracious smile Lestowed on them that light the martyr's pile, While insolent disdain in frowns expressed Attends the tenets that endured that test! Grant them the rights of men, and while they cease To vex the peace of others, grant them peace; But trusting bigots whose false zeal has made Treachery their duty, thou art self-betrayed. Cowper no. doubt withdrew this striking passage in consequence of his havmg become intimate with the amiable family at Weston Hall.

When sin has shed dishonour on thy brow,

And never of a sabler hue than now ;)

Hast thou with heart perverse and conscience seared,

Despising all rebuke, still persevered,

And, having chosen evil, scorned the voice

That cried, Repent! and gloried in thy choice?

Thy fastings, when calamity at last

Suggests the expedient of a yearly fast,

What mean they? Canst thou dream there is a power

In lighter diet at a later hour,

To charm to sleep the threatenings of the skies,

And hide past folly from all-seeing eyes?

The fast that wins deliverance, and suspends

The stroke that a vindictive God intends,

Is to renounce hypocrisy ; to draw

Thy life upon the pattern of the law;

To war with pleasures, idolized before;

To vanquish lust, and wear its yoke no more.

All fasting else, whate'er be the pretence,

Is wooing mercy by renewed offence.

Hast thou within thee sins, that in old time
Brought fire from heaven, the sex-abusing crime,
Whose horrid perpetration stamps disgrace
Baboons are .free from, upon human race?
Think on the fruitful and well-watered spot
That fed the flocks and herds of wealthy Lot,
Where Paradise seemed still vouchsafed on earth,
Burning and scorched into perpetual dearth,
Or, in his words who damned the base desire,
Suffering the vengeance of eternal fire;
Then nature injured, scandalized, defiled,
Unveiled her blushing cheek, looked on, and smiled;
Beheld with joy the lovely scene defaced,
And praised the wrath that laid her beauties waste.

Far be the thought from any verse of mine,
And farther still the formed and fixed design
To thrust the charge of deeds that I detest,
Against an innocent unconscious breast:
The man that dares traduce, because he can
With safety to himself, is not a man.
An individual is a sacred mark,
Not to be pierced in play or in the dark;
But public censure speaks a public foe,
Unless a zeal for virtue guide the blow.

The priestly brotherhood, devout, sincere,
From mean self-interest and ambition clear,
Their hope in heaven, servility their scorn,
Prompt to persuade, expostulate, and warn,
Their wisdom pure and given them from above,
Their usefulness ensured by zeal and love,
As meek as the man Moses, and withal
As bold as, in Agrippa's presence, Paul,

Should fly the world's contaminating touch,
Holy and unpolluted :—are thine such?
Except a few with Eli's spirit blest,
Hophni and Phinehas may describe the rest.

Where shall a teacher look in days like these,
For ears and hearts that he can hope to please?
Look to the poor,—the simple and the plain
Will hear perhaps thy salutary strain:
Humility is gentle, apt to learn,
Speak but the word, will listen and return.
Alas, not so! the poorest of the flock
Are proud, and set their faces as a rock;
Denied that earthly opulence they choose,
God's better gift they scoff at and refuse.
The rich, the produce of a nobler stem,
Are more intelligent at least,—try them.
O vain inquiry! they without remorse
Are altogether gone a devious course,
Where beckoning 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 unreclaimed rude earth, The cradle that received thee at thy birth, Was rocked by many a rough Norwegian blast, And Danish howlings scared thee as they passed; For thou wast born amid the din of arms, And sucked a breast that panted with alarms. While yet thou wast a grovelling puling chit, Thy bones not fashioned, and thy joints not knit, The Roman taught thy stubborn knee to bow, Though twice a Cresar 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 conqueror owes: Expressive, energetic, and refined, 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 pinked and painted hide, And grace thy figure with a soldier's pride; He sowed the seeds of order where he went, Improved thee far beyond his own intent, And while he ruled thee by the sword alone, Made thee at last a warrior like his own. Religion, if in heavenly truths attired, Needs only to be seen to be admired; But thine, as dark as witcheries of the night, Was formed to harden hearts and shock the sight; Thy Druids struck the well-strung harps they bore With fingers deeply dyed in human gore;

50 EXPOSTULA TION.

And, while the victim slowly bled to death,
Upon the tolling chords rung out his dying breatn.

Who brought the lamp that with awakening beams
Dispelled thy gloom, and broke away thy dreams,
Tradition, now decrepid and worn out,
Babbler of ancient fables, leaves a doubt:
But still light reached thee; and those gods of thine
Woden and Thor, each tottering in his shrine,
Fell broken and defaced at his own door,
As Dagon in Philistia long before.
But Rome with sorceries and magic wand
Soon raised a cloud that darkened every land;
And thine was smothered in the stench and fog
Of Tiber's marches and the papal bog.
Then priests with bulls and briefs and shaven crowns,
And griping fists and unrelenting frowns,
Legates and delegates with powers from hell,
Though heavenly in pretension, fleeced thee well;
And to this hour, to keep it fresh in mind,
Some twigs of that old scourge are left behind.1
Thy soldiery, the Pope's well-managed pack,
Were trained 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 proved 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 dragged a chain, or tugged an oar;
Thy monarchs arbitrary, fierce, and just,
Themselves the slaves of bigotry or lust,
Disdained thy counsels, only in distress
Found thee a goodly sponge for Power to press.
Thy chiefs, the lords of many a petty fee,
Provoked and harassed, in return plagued thee;
Called thee away from peaceable employ,
Domestic happiness and rural joy,
To waste thy life in arms, or lay it down
In causeless feuds and bickerings of their own.
Thy parliaments adored on bended knees
The sovereignty they were convened to please;
Whate'er was asked, too timid to resist,
Complied with, and were graciously dismissed;
And if some Spartan soul a doubt expressed,
And, blushing at the tameness of the rest,
Dared to suppose the subject had a choice,
He was a traitor by the general voice.
O slave! with powers thou didst not dare exert,
Verse cannot stoop so low as thy desert!
It shakes the sides of splenetic Disdain,

1 Which may be found at Doctors' Commons.—C.

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