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Thas happiness depends, as nature shows,
Less on exterior things than most suppose.
Vigilant over all that he has made,
Kind Providence attends with gracious aid;
Bids equity throughout his works prevail,
And weighs the nations in an even scale;
He can encourage slavery to a smile,
And fill with discontent a British isle.
A. Freeman and slave then, if the case be such,
Stand on a level; and you prove too much:
If all men indiscriminately share
His fostering power, and tutelary care,
As well be yoked by despotism's hand,
As dwell at large in Britain's chartered land.
B. No. Freedom has a thousand charms to show,
That slaves, however contented, never know.
The mind attains beneath her happy reign
The growth that nature meant she should attain;
The varied fields of science, ever new,
Opening and wider opening on her view,
She ventures onward with a prosperous force,
While no base fear impedes her in her course.
Religion, richest favour of the skies,
Stands most revealed before the freeman's eyès;
No shades of superstition blot the day,
Liberty chases all that gloom away;
The soul emancipated, unoppressed,
Free to prove all things and hold fast the best,
Learns much; and to a thousand listening minds
Communicates with joy the good she finds:
Courage in arms, and ever prompt to show
His manly forehead to the fiercest foe;
Glorious in war, but for the sake of peace,
His spirits rising as his toils increase,
Guards well what arts and industry have won,
And freedom claims him for her first-born son.
Slaves fight for what were better cast away-
The chain that binds them, and a tyrant's sway ;
But they that fight for freedom, undertake
The noblest cause mankind can have at stake:
Religion, virtue, truth, whate'er we call
A blessing-freedom is the pledge of all.
Oh liberty! the prisoner's pleasing dream,
The poet's muse, his passion and his theme;
Genius is thine, and thou art fancy's nurse;
Lost without thee the ennobling powers of verse;
from thy free touch acquires
Its clearest tone, the rapture it inspires :
Place me where winter breathes his keenest air,
And I will sing, if liberty be there;
And I will sing at liberty's dear feet,
In Afric's torrid clime, or India's fiercest heat.
A. Sing where you please; in such a cause I grant An English poet's privilege to rant; But is not freedom-at least is not our's Too apt to play the wanton with her powers, Grow freakish, and overleaping every mound, Spread anarchy and terror all around?
B. Agreed. But would you sellor slay your horse For bounding and curvetting in his course; Or if, when ridden with a careless rein, He break away, and seek the distant plain? No. His high mettle, under good controul, Gives him Olympicspeed,and shoots him to thegoal.
Let discipline employ her wholesome arts; Let magistrates alert perform their parts,
Not skulk or put on a prudential mask,
As if their duty were a desperate task ;
Let active laws apply the needful curb
To guard the peace that riot would disturb;
And liberty, preserved from wild excess,
Shall raise no feuds for armies to suppress.
When tumult lately burst his prison door,
And set plebeian thousands in a roar;
When he usurped authority's just place,
And dared to look his master in the face;
When the rude rabble's watch-word was- -de-
stroy, And blazing London seemed a second Troy; Liberty blushed, and hung her drooping head, Beheld their progress with the deepest dread; Blushed, that effects like these she should produce, Worse than the deeds of galley-slaves broke loose. She loses in such storms her very name, And fierce licentiousness should bear the blame.
Incomparable gem! thy worth untold; Cheap, though blood-bought; and thrown away
May no foes ravish thee, and no false friend
Betray thee, while professing to defend;
Prize it, ye ministers; ye monarchs, spare;
Ye patriots, guard it with a miser's care.
A. Patriots, alas! the few that have been found,
Where most they flourish, upon English ground,
The country's need have scantily supplied,
And the last left the scene when Chatham died.
B. Not so-the virtue still adorns our age, Though the chief actor died upon the stage. In him Demosthenes was heard again; Liberty taught him her Athenian strain; She clothed him with authority and awe, Spoke from his lips, and in his looks gave law. His speech, his form, his action, full of grace, And all his country beaming in his face, He stood, as some inimitable hand Would strive to make a Paul or Tully stand. No sycophant or slave, that dared oppose Her sacred cause, but trembled when he rose; And every venal stickler for the yoke Felt himself crushed at the first word he spoke.