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A. Thus men whofe thoughts contemplative have
On fituations that they never felt,
Start up fagacious, cover'd with the duft
Of dreaming ftudy and pedantic ruft,
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, fubjects their's;
Poets, of all men, ever leaft regret
Increafing taxes and the nation's debt.
Could you contrive the payment, and rehearse.
The mighty plan, oracular, in verfe,
No bard, howe'er majeftic, old or new,
Should claim my fixt attention more than you.
B. Not Brindley nor Bridgewater would effay
To turn the courfe of Helicon that way;
Nor would the nine coníent, the facred tide
Should purl amidst the traffic of Cheapfide,
Or tinkle in 'Change Alley, to amuse
The leathern ears of ftock-jobbers and jews.
A. Vouchsafe, at least, to pitch the key of rhime
To themes more pertinent, if lefs fublime.
When minifters and minifterial arts,
Patriots who love good places at their hearts,
When Admirals extoll'd for ftanding still,
Or doing nothing with a deal of fkill;
Gen'rals 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 find out where,
When themes like these employ the poet's tongue,
Hear as mute as if a fyren fung.
Or tell me if you can, what pow'r maintains
A Briton's fcorn of arbitrary chains?
That were a theme might animate the dead,
And move the lips of poets caft in lead.
B. The cause, tho' worth the search, may yet elude Conjecture and remark, however fhrewd.
They take, perhaps, a well-directed aim,
Who feek it in his climate and his frame.
Lib'ral in all things elfe, yet nature here
With stern severity deals out the year.
Winter invades the fpring, and often pours
A chilling flood on fummer's drooping flow'rs,
Unwelcome vapors quench autumnal beams,
Ungenial blasts attending, curl the streams,
The peasants urge their harveft, plie the fork
With double toil, and fhiver at their work,
Thus with a rigor, for his good defign'd,
She rears her fav'rite man of all mankind.
His form robuft, and of elaftic tone,
Proportion'd well, half muscle and half bone,
Supplies with warm activity and force
A mind well lodg'd, and masculine of course.
Hence liberty, fweet liberty infpires,
And keeps alive his fierce but noble fires.
Patient of constitutional controul,
He bears it with meek manliness of foul,
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 fometimes feen and heard;
And in his
cage, like parrot fine and gay,
Is kept to ftrut, look big, and talk away.
Born in a climate fofter far than our's,
Not form'd like us, with fuch Herculean pow'rs,
The Frenchman, eafy, 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.
He drinks his fimple bev'rage with a guft,
And feafting 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 fay-Slave be free.
Thus happiness depends, as nature shews,
Lefs on exterior things than most fuppofe,
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 flav'ry to a smile,
And fill with difcontent a British ifle.
A. Freeman and slave then, if the cafe be fuch, Stand on a level, and you prove too much.
If all men indifcriminately share,
His foft'ring pow'r and tutelary care,
As well be yok'd by defpotifm's hand,
As dwell at large in Britain's charter'd land.
B. No. Freedom has a thousand charms to fhow,
That flaves, howe'er contented, never know.
The mind attains beneath her happy reign,
The growth that nature meant she should attain.
The varied fields of fcience, ever new,
Op'ning and wider op'ning on her view,
She ventures onward with a profp'rous force,
While no bafe fear impedes her in her course.