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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
Hast thou, when heaven has clothed thee with disgrace,
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
Far be the thought from any verse of mine,
The priestly brotherhood, devout, sincere,
Should fly the world's contaminating touch,
Where shall a teacher look in days like these,
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,
Who brought the lamp that with awakening beams
1 Which may be found at Doctors' Commons.—C.