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Capricious Taste itself can crave no more,
Than she supplies from her abounding store;
She strikes out all that luxury can ask,
And gains new vigour at her endless task.
Hers is the spacious arch, the shapely spire,
The painter's pencil, and the poet's lyre ;
From her the canvass borrows light and shade,
And verse, more lasting, hues that never fade,
She guides the fingers o'er the dancing keys,
Gives difficulty all the grace of ease,
And pours a torrent of sweet notes around,
Fast as the thirsting ear can drink the sound.
These are the gifts of Art, and Art thrives most
Where commerce has enrich'd the busy coast;
He catches all improvements in his flight,
Spreads foreign wonders in his country's sight,
Imports what others have invented well,
And stirs his own to match them, or excel.
'Tis thus, reciprocating, each with each,
Alternately the nations learn and teach;
While Providence enjoins to ev'ry soul
An union with the vast torraqueous whole.
Heav'n speed the canvass, gallantly unfurl'd
To furnish and accommodate a world,
To give the pole the produce of the sun,
And knit th’ unsocial climates into one.-
Soft airs and gentle heavings of the wave
Impel the fleet, whose errand is to save,
To succour wasted regions, and replace
The smile of Opulence on Sorrow's face.-
Let nothing adverse, nothing unforeseen,
Impede the bark, that ploughs the deep serene.
Charg'd with a freight, transcending in its worth
The gems of India, Nature's rarest birth,
That flies, like Gabriel on his Lord's commands,
A herald of God's love to Pagan lands.
But, ah! what wish can prosper, or what pray'r,
For merchants rich in cargoes of despair,
Who drive a loathsome traffic, gauge, and span,
And buy the muscles and the bones of man!
The tender ties of father, husband, friend,
All bonds of nature in that moment end;
And each endures, while yet he draws his breath,
A stroke as fatal as the scythe of Death.
The sable warrior, frantic with regret
Of her he loves, and never can forget,
Loses in tears the far-receding shore,
But not the thought, that they must meet no more;
Depriv'd of her and freedom at a blow,
What has he left that he can yet forego?
Yes, to deep sadness, sullenly resign'd,
He feels his body's bondage in his mind;
Puts off his gen'rous nature; and, to suit
His manners with his fate, puts on the brute.
0, most degrading of all ills, that wait
On many a mourner in his best estate!
All other sorrows Virtue may endure,
And find submission more than half a cure ;
Grief is itself a med'cine, and bestowed
T' improve the fortitude that bears the load,
To teach the wand'rer, as his woes increase,
The path of Wisdom, all whose paths are peace;
But slav'ry !- Virtue dreads it as her grave:
Patience itself is meanness in a slave;
Or if the will and sov’reignty of God
Bid suffer it awhile, and
kiss the rod,
Wait for the dawning of a brighter day
And snap the chain the moment when you may.
Nature imprints upon whate’er we see,
That has a heart and life in it, Be free;
The beasts are charter'd-neither age nor force
Can quell the love of freedom in a horse :
He breaks the cord that held him at the rack;
And, conscious of an unencumber'd back,
Snuffs up the morning air, forgets the rein;
Loose fly his forelock and his ample main ;
Responsive to the distant neigh he neighs;
Nor stops till, overleaping all delays,
He finds the pasture where his fellows graze.
Canst thou, and honour'd with a Christian name,
Buy what is woman-born, and feel no shame;
Trade in the blood of innocence, and plead
Expedience as a warrant for the deed?
may the wolf, whom famine has made bold,
To quit the forest, and invade the fold:
So may the ruffian, who, with ghostly glide,
Dagger in hand, steals close to your bed-side :
Not he, but his emergence forc'd the door,
He found it inconvenient to be poor.
Has God then given its sweetness to the cane,
Unless his laws be trampled on—in vain ?
Built a brave world, which cannot yet subsist,
Unless his right to rule it be dismissed ?
Impudent blasphemy! So folly pleads,
And, Av’rice being judge, with ease succeeds.
But grant the plea, and let it stand for just,
That man make man his prey, because he must ;
Still there is room for pity to abate,
And sooth the sorrows of so sad a state.
A Briton knows, or if he knows it not,
The Scripture plac'd within his reach, he ought,
That souls have no discriminating hue,
Alike important in their Maker's view;
That none are free from blemish since the fall,
And Love divine has paid one price for all.
The wretch, that works and weeps without relief,
Has one that notices his silent grief.
He, from whose hands alone all pow'r proceeds,
Ranks its abuse among the foulest deeds,
Considers all injustice with a frown;
But marks the man that treads his fellow down.
Begone—the whip and bell in that hard hand
Are hateful ensigns of usurped command.