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Crown'd with a thousand victries, and at last
They, and they only, amongst all mankind,
Thus fell the best instructed in her day, And the most favour'd land, look where we may. Philosophy indeed on Grecian eyes Had pour'd the day, and clear'd the Roman skies ; In other climes perhaps creative art, With power surpassing theirs, perform'd her part,
Might give more life to marble, or might fill
The glowing tablets with a juster skill ;*
Their glory faded and their race dispersed,
O Israel, of all nations most undone ! Thy diadem displaced, thy sceptre gone ; Thy temple, once thy glory, fall’n and razed, 5 And thou a worshipper e'en where thou may’st ; Thy services, once holy without spot, Mere shadows now their ancient pomp forgot ; Thy Levites, once a consecrated host, No longer Levites, and their lineage lost, And thou thyself o'er every country sown, With none on earth that thou canst call thine own; Cry aloud, thou that sittest in the dust, Cry to the proud, the cruel, and unjust ; Knock at the gates of nations, 'rouse their fears ; Say wrath is coming, and the storm appears ; But raise the shrillest cry in British ears.
What ails thee, restless as the waves that roar, And Aling their foam against thy chalky shore ? Mistress, at least while Providence shall please, And trident-bearing queen of the wide seasWhy, having kept good faith, and often shown Friendship and truth to others, find'st thou none ? Thou thạt hast set the persecuted free, None interposes now to succour thee. Countries indebted to thy power, that shine With light derived from thee, would smother thine; Thy very children watch for thy disgrace, Ą lawless brood, and curse thee to thy face. 6 Thy rulers load thy credit, year by year, With sums Peruvian mines could never clear ; As if, like arches built with skilful hand, The more 'twere press'd the firmer it would stand.
The cry in all thy ships is still the same, “ Speed us away to battle and to fame." Thy mariners explore the wild expanse, Impatient to descry the flags of France ; But, though they fight as thine have ever fought, Return ashamed, without the wreaths they sought.” Thy senate is a scene of civil jar, Chaos of contrarieties at war ; Where sharp and solid, phlegmatic and light, Discordant atoms meet, ferment, and fight ; Where obstinacy takes his sturdy stand, To disconcert what policy has plann'd; Where policy is busied all night long In setting right what faction has set wrong; Where flails of oratory thrash the floor, That yields them chaff and dust, and nothing more. Thy rack'd inhabitants repine, complain, Tax'd till the brow of labour sweats in vain ; War lays a burden on the reeling state, And peace does nothing to relieve the weight; Successive loads succeeding broils impose, And sighing millions prophesy the close. 8
Is adverse Providence, when ponder'd well, So dimly writ, or difficult to spell,
Thou canst not read with readiness and ease Providence adverse in events like these? Know, then, that heavenly wisdom on this ball Creates, gives birth to, guides, consummates all ; That, while laborious and quick thoughted man Snuffs up the praise of what he seems to plan, He first conceives, then perfects his design, As a mere instrument in hands divine : Blind to the working of that secret power, That balances the wings of ev'ry hour, The busy trifler dreams himself alone, Frames many a purpose, and God works his own. States thrive or wither as moons wax and wane, E'en as His will and His decrees ordain : While honour, virtue, piety, bear sway, They flourish; and, as these decline, decay : In just resentment of His injured laws, He pours contempt on them and on their cause ; Strikes the rough thread of error right athwart The web of ev'ry scheme they have at heart; Bids rottenness invade and bring to dust The pillars of support, in which they trust, And do his errand of disgrace and shame On the chief strength and glory of the frame. None ever yet impeded what He wrought, None bars Him out from his most secret thought; Darkness itself before his eye is light, And Hell's close mischief naked in His sight.
Stand now and judge thyself: Hast thou incurr'd His anger, who can waste thee with a word, Who poises and proportions sea and land, Weighing them in the hollow of His hand, And in whose awful sight all nations seem As grasshoppers, as dust, a drop, a dream ? Hast thou (a sacrilege His soul abhors) Claim'd all the glory of thy prosp’rous wars ? Proud of thy fleets and armies, stolen the gem Of His just praise to lavish it on them ? Hast thou not learn'd, what thou art often told, A truth still sacred, and believed of old,
That no success attends on spears and swords
Hast thou, though suckled at fair freedom's breast,
Hast thou by statute shoved from its design
Hast thou, when Heaven has clothed thee with disgrace, And, long provoked, repaid thee to thy face,