« PreviousContinue »
A. Thus men whose thoughts contemplative have
On situations that they never felt,
Start up sagacious, cover'd with the dust
Of dreaming study and pedantic rust,
And prate and preach about what others prove,
As if the world and they were hand and glove.
Leave kingly backs to cope with kingly cares,
They have their weight to carry, subjects their’s;
Poets, of all men, ever leaft regret
Increasing taxes and the nation's debt.
Could you contrive the payment, and rehearse.
The mighty plan, oracular, in verse,
No bard, howe'er majestic, old or new,
Should claim ny fixt attention more than you.
B. Not Brindley nor Bridgewater would essay
To turn the course of Helicon that way;
Nor would the nine consent, the sacred tide
Should purl amidst the traffic of Cheapside,
Or tinkle in 'Change Alley, to amuse
The leathern ears of stock-jobbers and jews.
A. Vouchsafe, at least, to pitch the key of rhime
To themes more pertinent, if less sublime.
When ministers and ministerial arts,
Patriots who love good places at their hearts,
When Admirals extoll?d for standing still,
Or doing nothing with a deal of skill;
Gen'rais who will not conquer when they may,
Firm friends to peace, to pleasure, and good pay,
When freedom wounded almost to despair,
Though discontent alone can fird out where,
When themes like these employ the poet's tongue,
Hear as mute as if a syren sung.
Or tell me if
you can, what pow'r maintains
A Briton's scorn of arbitrary chains ?
That were a theme might animate the dead,
And move the lips of poets cast in lead.
B. The cause, tho’ worth the search, may yet elude
Conjecture and remark, however shrewd.
They take, perhaps, a well-directed aim,
Who seek it in his climate and his frame.
Lib'ral in all things else, yet nature here
With stern severity deals out the year.
Winter invades the spring, and often pours
A chilling food on summer's drooping flow'rs,
Unwelcome vapors quench autumnal beams,
Ungenial blasts attending, curl the streams,
The peasants urge their harvest, plie the fork
With double toil, and shiver at their work,
Thus with a rigor, for his good design'd,
She rears her fav'rite man of all mankind.
His form robust, and of elastic tone,
Proportion'd well, half muscle and lialf bone,
Supplies with warm activity and force
A mind well lodg'd, and masculine of course.
Hence liberty, sweet liberty inspires,
And keeps alive his fierce but noble fires.
Patient of constitutional controul,
He bears it with meek manliness of soul,
But if authority grow wanton, woe
To him that treads upon his free-born toe,
One step beyond the bound'ry of the laws
Fires him at once in freedom's glorious cause.
Thus proud prerogative, not much rever'd,
Is feldom felt, though sometimes seen and heard ;
And in his
cage, like parrot fine and
gay, Is kept to strut, look big, and talk away.
Born in a climate softer far than our's,
Not form'd like us, with such Herculean pow'rs,
The Frenchman, easy, debonair and brisk,
Give him his lass, his fiddle and his frisk,
Is always happy, reign whoever may,
And laughs the sense of mis’ry far away.
Hę drinks his simple bev'rage with a gust,
And feasting on an onion and a crust,
We never feel th' alacrity and joy
With which he shouts and carols, Vive le Roy,
Fill'd with as much true merriment and glee,
As if he heard his king say-Slave be free.
Thus happiness depends, as nature shews,
Less on exterior things than most suppose,
Vigilant over all that he has made,
Kind Providence attends with gracious aid,
Bids equity throughout his works prevail,
And weighs the nations in an even scale ;
He can encourage Nav'ry to a smile,
And fill with discontent a British ille.
A. Freeman and save then, if the case be such,
Stand on a level, and you prove too much.
If all men indiscriminately share,
His fost'ring pow'r and tutelary care,
As well be yok'd by despotism's hand,
As dwell at large in Britain's charter'd land.
B. No. Freedom has a thousand charms to show, That Naves, howe'er contented, never know. The mind attains beneath her happy reign, The growth that nature meant she should attain. The varied fields of science, ever new, Op’ning and wider op’ning on her view, She ventures onward with a prosp'rous force, While no base fear iinpedes her in her course.