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Upon the guiltless passenger o'erthrown.
He too is witness, noblest of the train
That wait on man, the flight-performing horse:
With unsuspecting readiness he takes
His murd'rer on his back, and, push'd all day,
With bleeding sides, and flanks that heave for life,
To the far-distant goal, arrives and dies.
So little mercy shows who needs so much!
Does law, so jealous in the cause of man,
Denounce no doom on the delinquent? None.
He lives, and o'er his brimming beaker boasts
(As if barbarity were high defert)
Th’inglorious feat, and, clamorous in praise
Of the poor brute, seems wisely to suppote
The honors of his matchless horse his own.
But many a crime, deem'd innocent on earth,
Is register'd in heav'n, and these, no doubt,
Have each their record, with a curse annext.
Man may disiniss compañion from his heart,
But God will never. When he charg'd the Jew
T'assist his foe's down-fallen beast to rise ;
And when the bush-exploring boy that seiz'd
The young, to let the
Proy'd he not plainly that his meaner works
his care, and have an int'reft all,
All, in the universal Father's love ?
On Noah, and in him on all mankind,
The charter was conferr'd, by which we hold
The flesh of animals in fee, and claim
O’er all we feed on pow'r of life and death.
But read the instrument, and mark it well:
Th'oppression of a tyrannous controul
Can find no warrant there. Feed then, and yield
Thanks for thy food. Carnivorous, through sin,
Feed on the Nain, but spare the living brute,
The Governor of all, himself to all
So bountiful, in whose attentive ear
The unfledg'd raven and the lion's whelp,
Plead not in vain for pity on the pangs
Of hunger unassuag'd, has interpos’d,
Not seldom, his avenging arm, to smite
Th’injurious trampler upon nature's law,
That claims forbearance even for a brute.
He hates the hardness of a Balaam's heart;
And, prophet as he was, he might not strike
The blameless animal, without rebuke,
On which he rode. Her opportune offence
Sav'd him, or th' unrelenting seer had died.
He sees that human equity is Nack
To interfere, though in fo just a cause,
And makes the task his own. Inspiring dumb
And helpless victims with a sense so keen
Of injury, with such knowledge of their strength,
And such sagacity to take revenge,
That oft the beast has feem'd to judge the man.
An ancient, not a legendary tale,
By one of found intelligence rehears'd
(If such, who plead for Providence, may seem
In modern eyes) shall make the doctrine clear:
Where England, stretch'd towards the setting fun,
Narrow and long, o'erlooks the western wave,
Dwelt young Misagathus ; a scorner he
Of God and goodness, atheist in oftent,
Vicious in act, in temper savage-fierce :
He journey'd; and his chance was as he went
To join a trav'ller, of far diff'rent note,
Evander, fam'd for piety, for years
Deserving honor, but for wisdom more.
Fame had not left the venerable man
A stranger to the manners of the youth,
Whose face too was familiar to his view.
Their way was on the margin of the land,
O’er the green summit of the rocks, whose base
Beats back the roaring surge, scarce heard so high.
The charity that warm’d his heart was mov'd
At sight of the man-monster. With a smile
Gentle, and affable, and full of grace,
As fearful of offending whom he wish'd
Much to persuade, he plied his ear with truths
Not harshly thunder'd forth or rudely press’d,
But, like his purpofe, gracious, kind, and sweet.
And doft thou dream, th' impenetrable man
Exclaim'd, that me, the lullabies of age,
And fantasies of dotards, such as thou,
Can cheat, or move a moment's fear in me?
Mark now the proof I give thee, that the brave
Need no such aids as fuperftition lends,
To steel their hearts against the dread of death.
He spoke, and to the precipice at hand
Push'd with a madman's fury. Fancy shrinks,
And the blood thrills and curdles, at the thought
Of such a gulph as he design'd his grave. .
But though the felon on his back could dare
The dreadful leap, more rational his steed
Declin'd the death, and wheeling swiftly round,
Or e'er his hoof had press’d the crumbling verge,
Baffled his rider, sav'd against his will.
The frenzy of the brain may be redress’d
By med'cine well applied, but without grace