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Is liberty; a flight into his arms,
585 In silly dotage on created things, Careless of their Creator. And that low And sordid gravitation of his pow'rs To a vile clod, so draws him, with such force Resistless from the centre he should seek,
590 That he at last forgets it. All his hopes Tend downward; his ambition is to sink, To reach a depth profounder still, and still Profounder, in the fathomless abyss Of folly, plunging in pursuit of death.
595 But ere he gain the comfortless repose He seeks, an acquiescence of his soul In Heav'n-renouncing exile, he enduresWhat does he not, from lusts oppos'd in vain, And self-reproaching conscience? He foresees 600 The fatal issue to his health, fame, peace, Fortune, and dignity; the loss of all That can ennoble man and make frail life, Short as it is, supportable. Still worse, Far worse than all the plagues with which his sins Infect his happiest moments, he forbodes
606 Ages of hopeless mis’ry. Future death, And death still future. Not a hasty stroke, Like that which sends him to the dusty grave: But unrepealable, enduring, death.
610 Scripture is still a trumpet to his fears: What none can prove a forgery, may be true; What none but bad men wish exploded, must. That scruple checks him. Riot is not loud
Nor drunk enough to drown it. In the midst 615
635 And stor’d the earth so plenteously with means To gratify the hunger of his wish; And doth he reprobate, and will he damn The use of his own bounty? making first So frail a kind, and then enacting laws
640 So strict, that less than perfect must despair? Falsehood! which whoso but suspects of truth, Dishonours God, and makes a slave of man. Do they themselves, who undertake for hire The teacher's office, and dispense at large
645 Their weekly dole of edifying strains, Attend to their own musick? have they faith In what, with such solemnity of tone And gesture, they propound to our belief? Nay-Conduct hath the loudest tongue. The voice Is but an instrument, on which the priest
651 May play what tune he pleases. In the deed,
The unequivocal, authentick deed,
Such reas'nings (if that name must needs belong
656 Serve to compose a spirit well inclin’d To live on terms of amity with vice, And sin without disturbance. Often urg'a, (As often as, libidinous discourse
660 Exhausted, he resorts to solemn themes Of theological and grave import,) They gain at last his unreserv'd assent; Till, harden'd his heart's temper in the forge Of lust, and on the anvil of despair,
665 He slights the strokes of conscience. Nothing moves, Or nothing much, his constancy in ill; Vain tamp’ring has but fosterd his disease; 'Tis desp’rate, and he sleeps the sleep of death.
philosopher, and set him free. 670 Charm the deaf serpent wisely. Make him hear Of rectitude and fitness, moral truth How lovely, and the moral sense how sure, Consulted and obey'd, to guide his steps Directly to the first and only fair.
675 Spare not in such a cause. Spend all the pow'rs Of rant and rhapsody in virtue's praise; Be most sublimely good, verbosely grand, And with poetick trappings grace thy prose, Till it out-mantle all the pride of verse.
Tis a change
As if, like him of fabulous renown,
700 In the lost kind, extracting from the lips Of asps their venom, overpow’ring strength By weakness, and hostility by love.
Patriots have toil'd, and, in their country's cause Bled nobly; and their deeds, as they deserve, 705 Receive proud recompense. We give in charge Their names to the sweet lyre. Th’historick muse, Proud of the treasure, marches with it down To latest times; and Sculpture, in her turn, Gives bond in stone and ever-during brass 710 To guard them, and t’immortalize her trust; But fairer wreaths are due, though never paid, To those who, posted at the shrine of Truth, Have fall’n in her defence. A patriot's blood, Well spent in such a strife, may earn indeed, 715 And, for a time, ensure to his lov'd land The sweets of liberty and equal laws; But martyrs struggle for a brighter prize, And win it with more pain. Their blood is shed In confirmation of the noblest claim
720 Our claim to feed upon immortal truth, To walk with God, to be divinely free, To soar, and to anticipate the skies. Yet few remember them. They liv'd unknown, Till persecution dragg’d them into fame,
725 And chas'd them up to Heaven. Their ashes flew -No marble tells us whither. With their names No bard embalms and sanctifies his song:
And history, so warm on meaner themes,
730 The tyranny that doom'd them to the fire, But gives the glorious suff'rers little praise. *
He is the freeman whom the truth makes free, And all are slaves beside. There's not a chain That hellish foes, confed’rate for his harm,
735 Can wind around him, but he casts it off With as much ease as Samson his green withes. He looks abroad into the varied field Of nature, and though poor, perhaps, compar'd With those whose mansions glitter in his sight, 740 Calls the delightful seenery all his own. Ilis are the mountains, and the valleys his, And the resplendent rivers. His t' enjoy With a propriety that none can feel, But who, with filial confidence inspir’d,
745 Can lift to heav'n an unpresumptuous eye, And smiling say—“My Father made them all!” Are they not his by a peculiar right, And by an emphasis of int’rest his, Whose eye they fill with tears of holy joy, 750 Whose heart with praise, and whose exalted mind With worthy thoughts of that unwearied love, That plann'd, and built, and still upholds a wortu So cloth'd with beauty for rebellious man? Yes-ye may fill your garners, ye that reap 755 The loaded soil, and ye may waste much good In senseless riot; but ye will not find In feast or in the chase, in song or dance, À liberty like his, who, unimpeach'd Of usurpation, and to no man's wrong,
760 Appropriates nature as his Father's work, And has a richer use of yours than you. He is indeed a freeman. Free by birth Of no mcan city; plann'd or ere the hills,
* Sec Hume.