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Till over-wrought, the general system feels
Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay, As duty, love, and honour fail to sway, Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law, Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe. Hence all obedience bows to thee alone, And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown: Till time may come, when, stript of all her charms, The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms, Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame, Where kings have toild, and poets wrote for same, One sink of level avarice shall lie, And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonour'd die.
Yet think not, thus when Freedom's ills I state, I mean to flatter kings, or court the great ; Ye powers of truth, that bid my soul aspire, Far from my bosom drive the low desire ; And thou, fair Freedom, taught alike to feel The rabble's rage, and tyrant's angry steel ; Thou transitory flower, alike undone By proud contempt, or favour's fostering sun, Still may thy blooms the changeful clime endure, I only would repress them to secure ; For just experience tells, in every soil, That those that think must govern those that toil; And all that freedom's highest aims can reach, Is but to lay proportion'd loads on cach. Hence, should one order disproportion'd grow, Its double weight must ruin all below.
O then how blind to all that truth requires, Who think it freedom when a part aspires ! Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms, Except when fast approaching danger warms; But when contending chiefs blockade the throne, Contracting regal power to stretch their own, When I beheld a factious band agree To call it freedom when themselves are free; Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw, Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law : The wealth of climes, where savage nations roam, Pillagd from slaves to purchase slaves at home; Fear, pity, justice, indignation start, Tear off reserve, and bear my swelling heart; Till half a patriot, half a coward grown, I fly from petty tyrants to the throne.
Yes, brother, curse with me that baleful hour, When first ambition struck at regal power; And thus polluting honour in its source, Gave wealth to sway the mind with double force. Have we not seen, round Britain's peopled shore, Her useful sons exchang'd for useless ore? Seen all her triumphs but destruction haste, Like flaring tapers brightning as they waste : Seen opulence, her grandeur to maintain, Lead stern depopulation in her train, And over fields where scatter'd hamlets rose, In barren solitary pomp repose ? Have we not seen at pleasure's lordly call, The smiling long-frequented village fall? Beheld the duteous son, the sire decay'd, The modest matron, and the blushing maid,
Forc'd from their homes, a melancholy train,
Even now, perhaps, as there some pilgrim strays Through tangled forests, and through dangerous ways; Where beasts with man divided empire claim, And the brown Indian marks with murd'rous aim; There, while above the giddy tempest flies, And all around distressful yells arise, The pensive esile, bending with his wo, To stop too fearful, and too faint to go, Casts a long look where England's glories shine, And bids his bosom sympathise with mine.
Vain, very vain, my weary search to find
At the close of the day when the bamlet is still,
And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove; When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill,
And nought but the nightingale's song in the grove ; 'Twas thus by the cave of a mountain afar,
While his harp rung symphonious, a hermit began; No more with himself or with nature at war,
He thought as a sage, tho' he felt as a man.
2. “Ah! why, all abandon’d to darkness and wo;
Why, lone Philomela, that languishing fall? For spring shall return, and a lover bestow,
And sorrow no longer thy bosom inthral. But if pity inspire thee, renew the sad lay,
Mourn, sweetest complainer, man calls thee to
O sooth him whose pleasures like thine pass away;
Full quickly they pass but they never return.
3. “ Now gliding remote, on the verge of the sky,
The moon half extinguish'd her crescent displays : But lately I mark’d, when majestic on high
She shone, and the planets were lost in the blaze.
Roll on, thou fáir orb, and with gladness pursue
The path that conducts thee to splendour again : But man's faded glory what change shall renew ?
Ah fool! to exult in a glory so vain!
4. “ 'Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more ;
I mourn; but, ye woodlands, I mourn not for you; For morn is approaching, your charms to restore, Perfum'd with fresh fragrance, and glittring with
dew. Nor yet for the ravage of winter I mourn;
Kind nature the embryo blossom will save: But when shall spring visit the mouldering urn!
O when shall day dawn on the night of the grave !
5. 6 Twas thus by the glare of false science betray'd,
That leads to bewilder, and dazzles to blind; My thoughts wont to roam, from shade onward to
shade, Destruction before me, and sorrow behind. O pity, great Father of light, then I cry'd, Thy creature who fain would not wander from
thee! Lo, humbled in dust, I relinquish my pride ;
From doubt and from darkness thou only canst free.
6. “ And darkness and doubt are now flying away ;
No longer I roam in conjecture forlorn: So breaks on the traveller, faint and astray,
The bright and the balmy effulgence of morn.