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Their language simple, as their manners meek,
No shining ornaments have they to seek ;
Nor labour they, nor time nor talents waste,
In sorting flowers to suit a fickle taste;
But while they speak the wisdom of the skies,
Which art can only darken and disguise,
Th' abundant harvest, recompense divine,
Repays their work---the gleaning only mine.
Quo nihil majus meliusve terris
Fata donavere, bonique divi :
Nec dabunt, quamvis redeant in aurum
Hor Lib iv. Ode 2.
FAIREST and foremost of the train, that wait
On man's most dignified and happiest state,
Whether we name thee Charity or Love,
Chief grace below, and all in all above,
Prosper (I press thee with a powerful plea)
A task I venture on, impelled by thee :
Oh, never seen but in thy blest effects,
Or felt but in the soul that heaven selects;
Who seeks to praise thee, and to make thee known,
To other hearts, must have thee in his own.
Come, prompt me with benevolent desires,
Teach me to kindle at thy gentle fires,
And though disgraced and slighted, to redeem
A poet's name, by making thee the theme.
God, working ever on a social plan,
By various ties attaches man to man:
He made at first, though free and unconfined,
One man the common father of the kind;
That every tribe, though placed as he sees best,
Where seas or deserts part them from the rest,
Differing in language, manners, or in face,
Might feel themselves allied to all the race.
When Cook---lamented, and with tears as just
As ever mingled with heroic dust,
Steered Britain's oak into a world unknown,
And in his country's glory sought his own,
Wherever be found man, to nature true,
The rights of man were sacred in his view;
He soothed with gifts, and greeted with a smile,
The simple native of the new-found isle ;
He spurned the wretch, that slighted or withstood
The tender argument of kindred blood,
Nor would endure that any should controul
His free-born brethren of the southern pole.
But though some nobler minds a law respect,
That none shall with impunity neglect,
In baser souls unnumbered evils meet,
To thwart its influence, and its end defeat.
While Cook is loved for savage lives he saved,
See Cortez odious for a world enslaved !
Where wast thou then, sweet Charity? where then,
Thou tutelary friend of helpless men ?
Wast thou in monkish cells and nunneries found,
Or building hospitals on English ground?
No.---Mammon makes the world his legatee
Through fear, not love; and heaven abhors the fee.
Wherever found, (and all men need thy care)
Nor age nor infancy can find thee there.
The hand, that slew till it could slay no more,
Was glued to the sword-bilt with Indian gore.
Their prince, as justly seated on his throne
As vain imperial Philip on his own,
Tricked out of all his royalty by art,
That stripped him bare, and broke his honest heart,
Died by the sentence of a shaven priest,
For scorning what they taught him to detest.
How dark the veil, that intercepts the blaze
Of heaven's mysterious purposes and ways ;
God stood not, though he seemed to stand, aloof;
And at this hour the conqueror feels the proof;
The wreath he won drew down an instant curse,
The fretting plague is in the public purse,
The cankered spoil corrodes the pining state,
Starved by that indolence their mines create.
Oh could their ancient Incas rise again,
How would they take up Israel's taunting strain !
Art thou too fallen Iberia ? Do we see
The robber and the murderer weak as we?
Thou, that hast wasted earth, and dared despise
Alike the wrath and mercy of the skies,
Thy pomp is in the grave, thy glory laid
Low in the pits thine avarice has made.
We come with joy from our eternal rest,
To see th' oppressor in his turn oppressed.
Art thou the God, the thunder of whose hand
Rolled over all our desolated land,
Shook principalities and kingdoms down,
And made the mountains tremble at his frown ?
The sword shall light upon thy boasted powers,
And waste them, as thy sword has wasted ours.
'Tis thus Omnipotence his law fulfils,
And vengeance executes what justice wills.
Again---the band of commerce was designed T'associate all the branches of mankind; And if a boundless plenty bè the robe, Trade is the golden girdle of the globe. Wise to promote whatever end he means, God opens fruitful nature's various scenes : Each climate needs what other climes produce, And offers something to the general use; No land but listens to the common call, And in return receives supply from all. This genial intercourse, and mutual aid, Cheers what were else an universal shade, Calls nature from her ivy-mantled den, And softens human rock-work into men. Ingenious Art, with her expressive face, Steps forth to fashion and refine the race: Not only fills necessity's demand, But overcharges her capacious hand : 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,
Her's 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 finger 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 enriched 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 every soul
An union with the vast terraqueous whole.
Heaven speed the canvass, gallantly unfurled
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 in sorrow's face.---
Let nothing adverse, nothing unforeseen,
Impede the bark that ploughs the deep serene,
Charged with a freight transcending in its worth
The gems of India, nature's rarest birth,
That flies like Gabriel on his Lord's commands,
An herald of God's love to pagan lands.
But ah! what wish can prosper, or what prayer,
For merchants rich in cargoes of despair,
Who drive a loathsome traffic, gage, and span,
And buy the muscles and the bones of man?
The tender ties of father, hushand, 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;
Deprived of her and freedom at a blow,
What has he left that he can yet forego ?
Yes, to deep sadness sullenly resigned,
He feels his body's bondage in his mind;
Puts off his generous nature; and to suit
His manner with his fate, puts on the brute.
Oh most degrading of all ills, that wait
On man, a mourner in his best estate!
All other sorrows virtue may endure,
And find submission more than half a cure;
Grief is itself a medicine, and bestowed
T'improve the fortitude that bears the load,
To teach the wanderer, as his woes increase,
The path of wisdom, all whose paths are peace;
But slavery! virtue dreads it as her grave:
Patience itself is meanness in a slave;
Or if the will and sovereignity of God
Bid suffer it awhile, and kiss the rod,
Wait for the dawning 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 chartered---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 unincumbered back,
Snuffs up the morning air, forgets the rein,
Loose fly his forelock and his ample mane;
Responsive to the distant neigh he neighs ;
Nor stops, till overleaping all delays,
He finds the pasture where his fellows graze.
Canst thou, and honoured 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 ?
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;