« AnteriorContinuar »
And just Arrangement, circling round one point,
That starts to sight, binds and commands the whole.
Caught from the heavenly Muse a nobler aim,
And scorning the soft trade of mere delight,
O'er all thy temples, porticos, and schools,
Heroic deeds she trac'd, and warm display'd
Each moral beauty to the ravish'd eye.
There, as th' imagin'd presence of the God
Arous'd the mind, or vacant hours induc'd
Calm contemplation, or assembled youth
Burn'd in ambitious circle round the sage,
The living lesson stole into the heart,
With more prevailing force than dwells in words.
These rouse to glory; while, to rural life,
The softer canvas oft repos'd the soul.
There gaily broke the sun-illumin'd cloud;
The less'ning prospect, and the mountain blue,
Vanish'd in air; the precipice frown'd, dire;
White, down the rock, the rushing torrent dash'd;
The sun shone, trembling o'er the distant main,
The tempest foam'd, immense; the driving storm
Sadden'd the skies, and, from the doubling gloom,
On the scath'd oak the ragged lightning fell;
In closing shades, and where the current strays,
With Peace, and Love, and Innocence around,
Pip'd the lone shepherd to his feeding flock:
Round happy parents smil'd their younger selves;
And friends convers'd, by death divided long.
To public Virtue thus the smiling Arts,
Unblemish'd handmaids, serv'd; the Graces they
To dress this fairest Venus. Thus rever'd,
And plac'd beyond the reach of sordid care,
The high awarders of immortal fame,
Alone for glory thy great masters strove;
Courted by kings, and by contending states
Assum'd the boasted honour of their birth.
In Architecture too thy rank supreme!
That art where most magnificent appears
The little builder Man; by thee refin'd,
And, smiling high, to full perfection brought.
Such thy sure rules, that Goths of every age,
Who scorn'd their aid, have only loaded earth
With labour'd heavy monuments of shame.
Not those gay domes that o'er thy splendid shore
Shot, all proportion, up.
And nobly plain, the manly Doric rose ;
Th' Ionic then, with decent matron grace,
Her airy pillar heav'd; luxuriant last
The rich Corinthian spread her wanton wreath.
The whole so measur'd true, so lessen'd off,
By fine proportion, that the marble pile,
Form'd to repel the still or stormy waste
Of rolling ages, light as fabrics look'd
That from the magic wand aërial rise.
The KING of a FREE PEOPLE.
-THRICE happy! did they know
Their happiness, Britannia's bounded Kings.
What tho not their's the boast, in dungeon glooms
To plunge bold Freedom; or, to cheerless wilds,
To drive him from the cordial face of friend;
Or fierce to strike him at the midnight hour,
By man ate blind, not Justice, that delights
To dare the keenest eye of open day.
What tho' no glory to controul the laws,
And make injurious Will their only rule,
They deem it. What tho', tools of wanton power,
Pestif'rous Armies swarm not at their call.
What tho' they give not a relentless crew
Of Civil Furies proud Oppression's fangs,
To tear at pleasure the dejected land,
With starving labour pampering idle waste.
To clothe the naked, feed the hungry, wipe
The guiltless tear from lone affliction's eye;
To raise hid Merit, set th' alluring light
Of Virtue high to view; to nourish Arts,
Direct the thunder of an injur'd state,
Make a whole glorious people sing for joy,
Bless human kind, and thro' the downward depth
Of future times to spread that better Sun
Which lights up British Souls: for deeds like these,
The dazzling fair career unbounded lies;
While (still superior bliss!) the dark abrupt
Is kindly barr'd, the precipice of ill.
Oh luxury divine! O poor to this,
Ye giddy glories of Despotic thrones!
By this, by this in leed, is imag'd Heav'n,
By boundless Good without the power of Ill.
HAIL! Independence, hail! Heav'n's next best gift
To that of life and an immortal soul!
The life of life! that to the banquet high
And sober meal gives taste; to the bow'd roof
Fair-dream'd repose, and to the cottage charms.
Of public Freedom, hail, thou secret source!
Whose streams, from every quarter confluent, form
My better Nile, that nurses human life.
By rills from thee deduc'd, irriguous, fed,
The private field looks gay, with Nature's wealth
Abundant flows, and blooms with each delight
That nature craves. Its happy master there,
The only Free-man, walks his pleasing round:
Sweet-featur'd Peace attending; fearless Truth;
Firm Resolution; Goodness, blessing all
That can rejoice; Contentment, surest friend;
And, still fresh stores from Nature's book deriv'd,
Philosophy, companion ever-new.
These cheer his rural, and sustain or fire,
When into action call'd, his busy hours.
Meantime true-judging moderate desires,
Economy and Taste, combin'd, direct
His clear affairs, and from debauching fiends
Secure his little kingdom. Nor can those
Whom Fortune heaps, without these virtues, reach
That truce with pain, that animated ease,
That self-enjoyment springing from within;
That Independence, active, or retir'd,
Which make the soundest bliss of man below:
But, lost beneath the rubbish of their means,
And drain'd by wants to Nature all unknown,
A wandering, tasteless, gayly wretched train,
Tho' rich are beggars, and tho' noble, slaves.
Britons! be firm! nor let Corruption sly
Twine round your heart indissoluble chains!
The steel of Brutus burst the grosser bonds
By Cæsar cast o'er Rome; but still remain'd
The soft enchanting fetters of the mind,
And other Cæsars rose. Determin'd, hold
Your Independence; for, that once destroy'd,
Unfounded, Freedom is a morning dream,
That flits aërial from the spreading eye.
To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart,
To make mankind in conscious virtue bold,
Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold;
For this the tragic muse first trod the stage,
Commanding tears to stream thro' every age:
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept,
And foes to virtue wonder'd how they wept.
Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move
The hero's glory or the virgin's love;
In pitying love, we but our weakness show,
And wild ambition well deserves its woe.
Here tears shall flow from more gen'rous calise,
Such tears as patriots shed for dying laws:
He bids your breast with ancient ardour rise,
And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes.
Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws,
What Plato thought, and God-like Cato was:
No common object to your sight displays,
But what with pleasure Heav'n itself surveys;
A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling in a falling state!
While Cato gives his little senate laws,
What bosom beats not in his country's cause?
Who sees him act, but envies ev'ry deed?
Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed ?
Ev'n when proud Cæsar, 'midst triumphal cars,
The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars,
Ignobly vain, and impotently great,
Shew'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state;
As her dead father's rev'rend image past,
The pomp was darken'd, and the day o'ercast,
The triumph ceas'd-tears gush'd from ev'ry eye,
The world's great victor pass'd unheeded by;
Her last good man dejected Rome ador'd,
And honour'd Cæsar's, less than Cato's sword.
Britons attend: Be worth like this approv'd,
you have the virtue to be moy'd.
PEREUNT ET IMPUTANTUR.
TO-MORROW, didst thou say?
Methought I heard Horatio say, to-morrow.
Go to-1 will not hear of it-to-morrow!
'Tis a sharper, who stakes his penury
Against thy plenty-who takes thy ready cash,
And pays thee nought but wishes, hopes, and promises,
The currency of idiots-Injurious bankrupt,
That gulls the easy creditor:-to-morrow!
It is a period no where to be found
In all the hoary registers of time,
Unless perchance in the fool's calendar.
Wisdom disclaims the word, nor holds society
With those who own it. No, my Horatio,
'Tis Fancy's child, and Folly is its father;
Wrought of such stuff as dreams are; and baseless
As the fantastic visions of the evening.
But soft, my friend-arrest the present moments;
For be assur'd they all are arrant tell-tales;
And though their flight be silent, and their path
Trackless, as the wing'd couriers of the air,
They post to heav'n, and there record thy folly;
Because, though station d on th' important watch,
Thou, like a sleeping faithless centinel,
Didst let them pass unnotic'd, unimprov'd.
And know, for that thou slumber'dst on the guard,
Thou shalt be made to answer at the bar
For every fugitive: and when thou thus
Shalt stand impleaded at the high tribunal
Of hood-wink'd Justice, who shall tell thy audit!
Then stay the present instant, dear Horatio;
Imprint the marks of wisdom on its wings.
'Tis of more worth than kingdoms! far more precious Than all the crimson treasures of life's fountain.
O! let it not elude thy grasp, but like
The good old patriarch upon record,
Hold the fleet angel fast, until he bless thee.