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And he abhors the jest by which he shines.
625 Its own dishonour by a worse relapse. Till Nature, unavailing Nature foiled So oft, and wearied in the vain attempt, Scoffs at her own performance. Reason now Takes part with Appetite, and pleads the cause, 630 Perversely, which of late she so condemn'd; With shallow shifts and old devices, worn And tatter'd in the service of debauch, Covering his shame from his offended sight. “ Hath God indeed given appetites to man,
635 And stored the earth so plenteously with means To gratify the hunger of his wish, And doth he reprobate and will he damn The use of his own bounty ? making first So frail a kind, and then enacting laws
610 So strict, that less than perfect must despair 18 ?
18 His other excellence they'll not dispute,
But mercy sure is his chief attribute.
Falsehood! which whoso but suspects of truth,
Such reasonings (if that name must needs belong To excuses in which reason has no part,)
656 Serve to compose a spirit well inclined 19 To live on terms of amity with vice, And sin without disturbance. Often urged (As often as libidinous discourse
660 Exhausted, he resorts to solemn themes Of theological and grave import,) They gain at last his unreserved assent; Till harden'd his heart's temper in the forge Of lust, and on the anvil of despair,
665 He slights the strokes of conscience. Nothing moves,
Poor Satan doubtless will at length be saved,
Young. Satire vi.
It is their trade; so far they're honest men, &c.
Or nothing much, his constancy in ill;
'Tis a change That turns to ridicule the turgid speech And stately tone of moralists, who boast,
From fool to wise, from earthly to divine,
Patriots have toiled, and in their country's cause Bled nobly?, and their deeds, as they deserve, 705 Receive proud recompense. We give in charge Their names to the sweet lyre. The historic Muse, Proud of the treasure, marches with it down To latest times; and Sculpture, in her turn, Gives bond in stone and ever-during brass, 710 To guard them, and to immortalize her trust. But fairer wreaths are due, though never paid, To those who posted at the shrine of truth, Have fallen in her defence. A patriot's blood
Ungrateful country, if thou e'er forget
Wordsworth. Ecc. Sketches. Sonnet ix. part 3.
Well spent in such a strife may earn indeed, 715
725 And chased them up to heaven. Their ashes flew
-No marble tells us whither. With their names No bard embalms and sanctifies his
song ; And history 23, so warm on meaner themes, Is cold on this. She execrates indeed
730 The tyranny that doom'd them to the fire, But gives the glorious sufferers little praise 24.
He is the freeman whom the truth makes free, And all are slaves beside. There's not a chain That hellish foes confederate for his harm
735 Can wind around him, but he casts it off With as much ease as Samson his green withes.
22 Wars, hitherto the only argument
Heroic deem'd ;-the better fortitude
Par. Lost, ix. 28.
Par. Lost, ix. 698. 24 See Hume.