« НазадПродовжити »
War in each breast, and freedom on each brow;
How much unlike the sons of Britain now !
Fir'd at the sound, my Genius spreads her wing,
And flies where Britain courts tbe western spring ;
Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride,
And brighter streams than fam'd Hydaspes glide.
There all around the gentlest breezes stray,
There gentle music melts on ev'ry spray;
Creation's mildest charms are there combin'd;
Extremes are only in the master's mind !
Stern o’er each bosom reason holds her state,
With daring aims irregularly great :
Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
I see the lords of human-kind pass by;
Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band;
By forms unfashion'd, fresh from nature's band ;
Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
True to imagin'd right, above control;
While e'en the peasant boasts these rights to scan,
And learns to venerate himself as man.
Thine, freedom, thine the blessings pictur'd here,
Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear :
Too blest indeed were such without alloy,
But foster'd e'en by freedom ills annoy.
That independence Britons prize too high,
Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie;
The self-dependent lordlings stand alone ;
AN claims that bind and sweeten life unknown.
Here, by the bonds of nature feebly held,
Minds combat minds, repelling and repellid ;
Ferments arise, imprison'd factions roar,
Repress'd ambition struggles round her shore ;
Till, over-wrought, the gen'ral system feels
Its actions stop, or phrenzy fires the wheels.
Nor tikis the worst.
As nature's ties decay, As duty, love, and honour fail to sway, Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and land, Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe. Hence all obedience bows to these alone, And talents sink, and merit weeps unknown ; Till time may come, when, stripp'd of all her charms The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms, Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame, Where kings have toild, and poets wrote for fame,
One sink of level avarice shall lie,
And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonour'd die.
Yet think not thus, when freedom's ills I state,
I mean to flatter kings, or court the great.
Ye pow'rs of truth, that bid my soul aspire,
Far from my bosom drive the low desire !
And thou, fair freedom, taught alike to feel
The rabble's rage, and tyrants angry steel;
Thou transitory flow'r alike undone
By proud contempt, or favour's fost'ring sun,
Still may thy blooms. the changeful clime endure,
I only would repress them, to secure :
For just experience tells, in ev'ry soil,
That those who think must govern those who toil:
And all that freedom's highest aims can reach,
Is but to lay proportion'd loads on each :
Hence, should one order disproportion'd grow,
Its double weight must ruin all below.
O then, how blind to all that truth requires,
Who think it freedom when a part aspires !
Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms,
Except when fast approaching danger warms :
But when contending chiefs blockade the throne,
Contracting regal pow'r to stretch their own;
When I behold a factious band agree
To call it freedom when themselves are free ;
Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw,
Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law;
The wealth of climes, where savage nations roam,*--,
Pillag'd from slaves, to purchase slaves at home;
Fear, pity, justice, indignation start,
Tear off reserve, and þare my swelling heart;
Till, half a patriot, half a coward grown,
I fly from petty tyrants, to the throne.
Ab, brother! how disastrous was that_hour,
When first ambition struck at regal pow'r ;
And thus, polluting honour in its source,
Gave wealth to sway the mind with double force!
Have we not seen, round Britain's peopled shore,
Her useful sons exchang’d for useless ore; .
Seen all her triumphs but destruction haste,
Like flaring tapers brightning as they waste;
Seen opulence, her grandeur to maintain,
Lead stern depopulation in ber train ;
And over fields, where scatter'd hamlets rose,
In barren, solitary pomp repose !
Have we not seen, at pleasure's lordly call,
The smiling long-frequented village fall ?
Bebeld the duteous son, the sire decay'd,
The modest matron, and the blushing maid,
Forc'd from their homes, a melancholy train,
To traverse climes beyond the western main ;
Where wild Oswego spreads her swamps around,
And Niagara stugs with thund'ring sound ?
E’en now, perhaps, as there some pilgrim strays
Thro' tangled forests, and thro’ dang'rous ways ;
Where beasts with man divided empire claim,
And the brown Indian marks with murd'rous aim;
There, while above the giddy tempest flies,
And all around distressful yells arise,
The pensive exite, bending with his wo,
To stop too fearful, and too faint to go,
Casts a long look where England's glories shine,
And bids his bosom sympathise with mine.
Vain, very vain, my weary search to find,
That bliss which only centres in the mind !
Why have I stray'd from pleasure and repose,
To seek a good each government bestows ?
In ev'ry government, though terrors reign,
Though tyrant kings or tyrant laws restrain,
How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure !
Still to ourselves in ev'ry place consign'd,
Our own felicity we make or find :
With secret course, which no loud storms annoy,
Glides the smooth current of domestic joy ;
The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
Luke's iron crown, and Damiens' bed of steel,
To men remote from pow'r but rarely known,
Leave reason, faith, and conscience, all our own.
The Vanity of human wishes.
LET Observation, with extensive view,
Survey mankind from China to Peru ;
Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife,
And watch the busy scenes of crowded life ;
Then say how bope and fear, desire and hate,
O'erspread with snares the clouded maze of fate,
Where wav'ring man, betray'd by vent'rous pride,
To tread the dreary paths without a guide,
As treach'rous phantoms in the mist delude,
Shúns fancied ills, or chases airy good.
How rarely reason guides the stubborn choice,
Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant voice :
How nations sink by darling schemes opprest,
When vengeance listens to the fool's request.
Fate wings with ev'ry wish th' afflictive dart,
Each gift of nature, and each grace of art;
With fatal heat impetuous courage glows,
With fatal sweetness elocution flows;
Impeachment stops the speaker's pow'rful breath,
And restless fire precipitates on death.
But, scarce observ'd, the knowing and the bold
Fall in the gen'ral massacre of gold ;
Wide-wasting pest! that rages unconfin'd,
And crowds with crimes the records of mankind !
For gold his sword the hireling ruffian draws,
For gold the hireling judge distorts the laws ;
Wealth heap'd on wealth nor truth nor safety buys;
The dangers gather as the treasures rise.
Let bistry tell, where rival kings command,
And dubious title shakes the madden'd land,
When statutes glean the refuse of the sword,
How much more safe the vassal than the lord.
Low sculks the hind beneath the rage of pow'r,
And leaves the wealthy traitor in the Tow'r;
Untouch'd his cottage, and his slumbers sound,
Tho' confiscation's vultures hover round.
The needy traveller, serene and gay,
Walks the wild heath, and sings his toil away:
Does envy seize thee! crush the upbraiding joy,
Increase his riches, and his peace destroy.
Now fears in dire vicissitude invade ;
The rustling brake alarms, and quiv'ring shade :
Nor light nor darkness brings his pain relief,
One shows the plunder, and one hides the thief.
Yet still one gen'ral cry the skies assails,
And gain and grandeur load the tainted gales: j
Few know the toiling statesman's fear or care,
Th' insidious rival and the gaping heir.
Once more Democritus, arise on earth,
With cheerful wisdom and instructive mirth ;
See motley life in modern trappings drest,
And feed with varied fools th' eternal jest :
Thou who couldst laugh where want enchain'd capri
Toil crush'd conceit, and man was of a piece ;
Where wealth unlov'd without a mourner died ;
And scarce a sycophant was fed by pride ;
Where ne'er was known the form of mock debate,
Or seen a new made mayor's unwieldy state ;
Where change of fav’rites made no change of laws,
And senates heard before they judg’d a cause :
How wouldst thou shake at Britain's modish tribe,
Dart the quick taunt, and edge the piercing gibe !
Attentive, truth and nature to descry,
And pierce each scene with philosophic eye.
To thee were solemn toys or empty show,
The robes of pleasure and the veils of wo:
All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain,
Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are vain,
Such was the scorn that fill'd the sage's mind,
Renew'd at ev'ry glance on human kind :
How just that scorn ere yet thy voice declare,
Search ev'ry state, and canvass ev'ry pray’r.
Unnumber'd suppliants crowd preferment's gate, Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great; Delusive fortune hears th' incessant call ; They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall. On ev'ry stage the foes of peace attend, Hate dogs their flight, and insult-mocks their end. Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door Pours in the morning worshipper no more ; For growing names the weekly scribbler lies, To growing wealth the dedicator fies; From ev'ry room descends the painted face, That hung the bright palladium of the place ; And, smok'd in kitchens, or in auctions sold, To better features yields the frame of gold ; For now no more we trace in ev'ry line, Heroic worth, benevolence divine; The form distorted justifies the fall, And detestation rids th' indignant wall.