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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 Slav'ry 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 fost'ring pow'r and tutelary care,
As well be yok'd by
As dwell at large in Britain's charter'd land.
B. No. Freedom has a thousand charms to show,
That slaves, howe'er 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,
Op’ning and wider op’ning on her view,
She ventures onward with a prosp'rous force,
While no base fear impedes her in her course.
Religion, richest favour of the skies,
Stands most reveal'd before the freeman's eyes;
No shades of superstition blot the day,
Liberty chases all that gloom away;
The soul emancipated, unoppress'd,
Free to prove all things, and hold fast the best,
Learns much; and to a thousand list’ning 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.
O Liberty! the pris'ner's pleasing dream,
The poet's muse, his passion, and his theme;
Genius is thine, and thou art Fancy's nurse;
Lost without thee th’ ennobling pow’rs of verse;
Heroic song 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.
4. 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 ours
Too apt to play the wanton with her pow'rs,
Grow freakish, and, o'erleaping ev'ry mound,
Spread anarchy and terror all around?
B. Agreed. But would you sell or 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 control, Gives him Olympic speed, and shoots him to the goal.
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 desp’rate task; Let active Laws apply the needful curb, To guard the Peace, that Riot would disturb; And Liberty preserv'd 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 usurp'd Authority's just place, And dar'd to look his master in the face; When the rude rabble's watchword was-Destroy, And blazing London seem'd a second Troy;
Liberty blush’d, and hung her drooping head,
Beheld their progress with the deepest dread;
Blush'd, 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 tho'blood-bought, and thrown away when sold;
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 80 -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 cloth'd 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 dar'd oppose
Her sacred cause, but trembl’d when he rose;
And ev'ry venal stickler for the yoke
Felt himself crush'd at the first word he spoke.
Such men are rais'd to station and command,
When Providence means mercy to a land.
He speaks, and they appear; to him they owe
Skill to direct, and strength to strike the blow;
To manage with address, to seize with pow'r
The crisis of a dark, decisive hour:
So Gideon earn'd a victory not his own;
Subserviency his praise, and that alone.
Poor England! thou art a devoted deer,
Beset with ev'ry ill but that of fear.
Thee nations hunt; all mark thee for a prey ;
They swarm around thee, and thou stand'st at bay.
Undaunted still, though wearied and perplex'd;
Once Chatham sav'd thee; but who saves thee next?
Alas! the tide of pleasure sweeps along
All, that should be the boast of British Song.
'Tis not the wreath, that once adorn’d thy brow,
The prize of happier times, will serve thee now.
Our ancestry, a gallant, Christian race,
Patterns of ev'ry virtue, ev'ry grace,
Confess'd a God; they kneel'd before they fought,
And prais’d him in the victories he wrought.
Now from the dust of ancient days bring forth
Their sober zeal, integrity, and worth;
Courage, ungrac'd by these, affronts the skies,
Is but the fire without the sacrifice.
The stream, that feeds the well-spring of the heart,
Not more invigorates life's noblest part,
Than Virtue quickens, with a warmth divine,
The pow'rs, that Sin has brought to a decline.
A. Th' inestimable Estimate of Brown
Rose like a paper-kite, and charm'd the town;
But measures plann'd and executed well,
Shifted the wind that rais'd it, and it fell.
He trod the very self-same ground you tread,
And Victory refuted all he said.
B. And yet his judgment was not fram'd amiss ;
Its error, if it err'd, was merely this
He thought the dying hour already come,
And a complete recov'ry struck him dumb.
But that effeminacy, folly, lust, Enervate and enfeeble, and needs must; And that a nation shamefully debas'd, Will be despis’d and trampl'd on at last, Unless sweet Penitence her pow'rs renew, Is truth, if history itself be true.
There is a time, and Justice marks the date,
For long-forbearing Clemency to wait;
That hour elaps'd, th' incurable revolt
Is punish'd, and down comes the thunderbolt.
If Mercy then put by the threatning blow,
Must she perform the same kind office now?
May she ! and, if offended Heav'n be still
Accessible, and pray’r prevail, she will.
Tis not, however, insolence and noise,
The tempest of tumultuary joys,
Nor is it yet despondence and dismay
Will win her visits, or engage her stay ;
Pray'r only, and the penitential tear,
Can call her smiling down, and fix her here.
But when a country (one that I could name)
In prostitution sinks the sense of shame;
When infamous Venality, grown bold,
Writes on his bosom, To be let or sold;
When Perjury, that Heav'n-defying vice,
Sells oaths by tale, and at the lowest price,
Stamps God's own name upon a lie just made,
To turn a penny in the way of trade;
When AvPrice starves (and never hides his face)
Two or three millions of the human race,
And not a tongue inquires, how, where, or when,
Though conscience will have twinges now and then;
When profanation of the sacred cause
In all its parts, times, ministry, and laws,
Bespeaks a land, once Christian, fall'n and lost,
In all, that wars against that title most;
What follows next, let cities of great name,
And regions long since desolate proclaim.
Nineveh, Babylon, and ancient Rome,
Speak to the present times, and times to come;
They cry aloud, in ev'ry careless ear,
Stop, while ye may; suspend your mad career;
O ! learn from our example and our fate,
Learn wisdom and repentance, ere too late.