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And desolates a nation at a blast.
Forth steps the spruce philosopher, and tells
Of homogeneal and discordant springs
And principles; of causes, how they work
By necessary laws their sure effects;
Of action and re-action. He has found
The source of the disease that nature feels,
And bids the world take heart and banish fear.
Thou fool! will thy discovery of the cause
Suspend the effect or heal it? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the world,
And did he not of old employ his means
To drown it? What is his creation less
Than a capacious reservoir of means
Form'd for his use, and ready at his will?
Go", dress thine eyes with eye-salve, ask of him
Or ask of whomsoever he has taught,
And learn, though late, the genuine cause of all.
England, with all thy faults, I love thee still,
My country and while yet a nook is left
Where English minds and manners may be found,
Shall be constrain'd to love thee. Though thy clime
Be fickle, and thy year, most part, deformed
With dripping rains, or wither'd by a frost,
I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies
And fields without a flower, for warmer France
With all her vines; nor for Ausonia's groves
Of golden fruitage and her myrtle bowers.
To shake thy senate, and from heights sublime
11 Go, teach eternal wisdom how to rule,
Then drop into thyself and be a fool.
Pope. Essay on Man, ii. 29.
Of patriot eloquence to flash down fire
Upon thy foes, was never meant my task;
But I can feel thy fortunes, and partake
Thy joys and sorrows with as true a heart
As any thunderer there. And I can feel
Thy follies too, and with a just disdain
Frown at effeminates, whose very looks
Reflect dishonour on the land I love.
How, in the name of soldiership and sense,
Should England prosper, when such things, as smooth
And tender as a girl, all essenced o'er
With odours, and as profligate as sweet,
Who sell their laurel for a myrtle wreath,
And love when they should fight; when such as these
Presume to lay their hand upon the ark
Of her magnificent and aweful cause?
Time was when it was praise and boast enough
In every clime, and travel where we might,
That we were born her children; praise enough 235
To fill the ambition of a private man,
That Chatham's language was his mother tongue,
And Wolfe's 12 great name compatriot with his own.
Farewell those honours, and farewell with them
The hope of such hereafter. They have fallen
Each in his field of glory: one in arms,
And one in council. Wolfe upon the lap
Of smiling victory that moment won,
And Chatham, heart-sick of his country's shame.
12 Cowper wrote from his own recollection here. In one of his letters he says, "Nothing could express my rapture when Wolfe made the conquest of Quebec."
They made us many soldiers. Chatham still
Consulting England's happiness at home,
Secured it by an unforgiving frown
If any wrong'd her. Wolfe, where'er he fought,
Put so much of his heart into his act,
That his example had a magnet's force,
And all were swift to follow whom all loved.
Those suns are set. Oh rise some other such!
Or all that we have left is empty talk
Of old achievements, and despair of new.
Now hoist the sail, and let the streamers float
Upon the wanton breezes. Strew the deck
With lavender, and sprinkle liquid sweets,
That no rude savour maritime invade
The nose of nice nobility. Breathe soft
Ye clarionets, and softer still ye flutes,
That winds and waters lull'd by magic sounds
May bear us smoothly to the Gallic shore.
True, we have lost an empire,-let it pass.
True, we may thank the perfidy of France
That pick'd the jewel out of England's crown
With all the cunning of an envious shrew.
And let that pass,-'twas but a trick of state.
A brave man knows no malice, but at once
Forgets in peace the injuries of war,
And gives his direst foe a friend's embrace 13.
And shamed as we have been, to the very beard
Braved and defied, and in our own sea proved
13 Who do for gold what Christians do for grace,
With open arms their enemies embrace.
Young. Satire vii.
Too weak for those decisive blows, that once
Insured us mastery there, we yet retain
Some small pre-eminence; we justly boast
At least superior jockeyship, and claim
The honours of the turf as all our own.
Go then, well worthy of the praise ye seek,
And show the shame ye might conceal at home,
In foreign eyes!-be grooms, and win the plate 1, 280
Where once your nobler fathers won a crown !—
'Tis generous to communicate your skill
To those that need it. Folly is soon learn'd15;
And under such preceptors, who can fail?
There is a pleasure 16 in poetic pains
Which only poets know. The shifts" and turns,
The expedients and inventions multiform
To which the mind resorts, in chase of terms
Though apt, yet coy, and difficult to win,—
To arrest the fleeting images that fill
The mirror of the mind, and hold them fast,
And force them sit, till he has pencil'd off
14 Then peers grew proud in horsemanship to excel, Newmarket's glory rose, as Britain's fell.
Pope. Imit. of Horace, ii. 1.
15 But difficulties soon abate
When birds are to be taught to prate,
And women are the teachers.
16 There is a pleasure in being mad, which only madmen know.
17 'Twere long to tell the expedients and the shifts
Which he that fights a season so severe
A faithful likeness of the forms he views;
Then to dispose his copies with such art
That each may find its most propitious light,
And shine by situation, hardly less
Than by the labour and the skill it cost,
Are occupations of the poet's mind
So pleasing, and that steal away the thought
With such address, from themes of sad import,
That lost in his own musings, happy man!
He feels the anxieties of life, denied
Their wonted entertainment, all retire.
Such joys has he that sings. But ah! not such,
Or seldom such, the hearers of his song.
Fastidious, or else listless, or perhaps
Aware of nothing arduous in a task
They never undertook, they little note
His dangers or escapes, and haply find
There least amusement where he found the most 18. 310
But is amusement all? studious of song,
And yet ambitious not to sing in vain,
I would not trifle merely, though the world
Be loudest in their praise who do no more.
Yet what can satire, whether grave or gay?
It may correct a foible, may chastise
The freaks of fashion, regulate the dress,
Retrench a sword-blade, or displace a patch;
But where are its sublimer trophies found?
18 Damnant quod non intelligunt. Cic.
Serious should be an author's final views;
Who write for pure amusement, ne'er amuse.
Young. Second Epis. to Pope.