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O beauteous title to immortal fame!
The man devoted to the public, stands
In the bright records of superior worth
A step below the skies : if he succeed,
The first fair lot which earth affords, is his;
And if he falls, he falls above a throne.
When such their leader, can the brave despair ?
Freedom the cause, and Paoli the chief ! !
Success to your fair hopes! A British Muse,
Though weak and powerless, lifts her fervent voice,
And breathes a prayer for your success.
She scatter blessings as the morn sheds dews,
To drop upon your heads! But patient hope
Must wait the appointed hour; secure of this,
That never with the indolent and weak
Will Freedom deign to dwell; she must be seized
By that bold arm that wrestles for the blessing :
'Tis Heaven's best prize, and must be bought with blood.
When the storm thickens, when the combat burns,
And pain and death in every horrid shape
That can appal the feeble, prowl around,
Then Virtue triumphs; then her towering form
Dilates with kindling majesty; her mien
Breathes a diviner spirit, and enlarged
Each spreading feature, with an ampler port
And bolder tone, exulting, rides the storm;
And joys amidst the tempest. Then she reaps
Her golden harvest; fruits of nobler growth
And higher relish than meridian suns
Can ever ripen; fair, heroic deeds,
And godlike action. 'Tis not meats and drinks,
And balmy airs, and vernal suns and showers,
That feed and ripen minds; 'tis toil and danger;
And wrestling with the stubborn gripe of fate;
And war, and sharp distress, and paths obscure
And dubious. The bold swimmer joys not so
To feel the proud waves under him, and beat
With strong repelling arm the billowy surge;
generous courser does not so exult
To toss his floating mane against the wind,
And neigh amidst the thunder of the war,
As Virtue to oppose her swelling breast
Like a firm shield against the darts of fate.
And when her sons in that rough school have learned
To smile at danger, then the hand that raised
Shall hush the storm, and lead the shining train
Of peaceful years in bright procession on.
Then shall the shepherd's pipe, the Muse's lyre,
On Cyrnus' shores be heard : her grateful sons
With loud acclaim and hymns of cordial praise
Shall hail their high deliverers; every name
To Virtue dear be from oblivion snatched
And placed among the stars : but chiefly thine,
Thine, Paoli, with sweetest sound shall dwell
On their applauding lips; thy sacred name,
Endeared to long posterity, some Muse,
More worthy of the theme, shall consecrate
To after-ages, and applauding worlds
Shall bless the godlike man who saved his country.
So vainly wished, so fondly hoped the Muse:
Too fondly hoped. The iron fates prevail,
And Cyrnus is no more. Her generous sons,
Less vanquished than o’erwhelmed, by numbers crushed,
Admired, unaided fell.
So strives the moon
In dubious battle with the gathering clouds,
And strikes a splendour through them; till at length
Storms rolled on storms involve the face of heaven
And quench her struggling fires. Forgive the zeal
That, too presumptuous, whispered better things,
And read the book of destiny amiss.
Not with the purple colouring of success
Is virtue best adorned : the attempt is praise.
There yet remains a freedom, nobler far
Than kings or senates can destroy or give ;
Beyond the proud oppressor's cruel grasp
Seated secure, uninjured, undestroyed ;
Worthy of Gods :....the freedom of the mind.
Health to my friend, and long unbroken years,
By storms unruffled and unstained by tears :
Winged by new joys may each white minute fly;
Spring on her cheek, and sunshine in her
O’er that dear breast, where love and pity springs,
May peace eternal spread her downy wings :
Sweet beaming hope her path illumine still,
And fair ideas all her fancy fill!
From glittering scenes which strike the dazzled sight
With mimic grandeur and illusive light,
From idle hurry, and tumultuous noise,
From hollow friendships, and from sickly joys,