« ПретходнаНастави »
Are here display'd. Their much-lov'd wealth im
parts Convenience, plenty, elegance and arts; But view them closer, craft and fraud appear, Even liberty itself is barter'd here. At gold's superior charms all freedom flies, The needy sell it, and the rich man buye; A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves, Here wretches seek dishonourable graves, And calmly bent, to servitude conform, Dull as their lakes that sleep beneath the storm.
Heavens! how unlike their Belgic sires of old ! Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold; War in each breast, and freedom on each brow. How much unlike the sons of Britain now!
Fir'd at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, And flies where Britain courts the western spring; Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, And brighter streams than fam’d Hydaspes glide. There all around the gentlest breezes stray, There gentle music melts on every spray ; Creation's mildest charms are there combin'd, Extremes are only in the master's mind. Stern o'er each bosom Reason holds her state, With daring aims irregularly great. Pride in their port, defiance in their eye, I see the lords of human-kind pass by ; Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band, By forms unfashion'd, fresh from Nature's hand, Fierce in their native hardiness of soul, True to imagin'd right, above control, While even the peasant boasts these rights to
scan, And learns to venerate himself as man.
Thine, Freedom, thine the blessings pictur'd here, Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear;
Too blest, indeed, were such without alloy,
Bnt-foster'd even by Freedom ills annoy;
That independence Britons prize too high,
Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie,
The self-dependent lordings stand alone,
All kindred claims that soften life unknown;
Here, hy the bonds of nature feebly held,
Minds combat minds, repelling and repell’d;
Ferments arise, imprison'd factions roar,
Represt ambition struggles round her shore,
Whilst over-wrought the general system feels
Its motion stopt, or phrenzy fire the wheels.
Nor this the worst. As social bonds decay,
As duty, love, and honour, fail to sway,
Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law,
Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe.
Hence all obedience bows to these alone,
And talents sink, and merit weeps unknown;
Till time may come, when, stript of all her charms,
The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms,
Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame,
And monarchs toil, and poets pant for fame,
One sink of level avarice shall lie,
And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonoar'd die.
Yet think not, thus when Freedom's ills I state, I mean to flatter kings, or court the great. Ye powers of truth, that bid my soul aspire, Far from my bosom drive the low desire; And thou, fair Freedom, taught alike to feel The rabble's rage, and tyrant's angry steel; Thou transitory flower, alike undone By cold contempt, or favour's fostering sun; Still may thy blooms the changeful clime endure, I only would repress them to secure; For just experience tells, in every soil, That those who think must govern those that toil;
And all that freedom's highest aims can reach,
Is but to lay proportion'd loads on each.
Much on the low; the rest, as rank supplies,
Should in coluninar diminution rise:
While, should one order disproportion'd grow,
Its double weight must ruin all below.
O then how blind to all that truth requires,
Who think it freedom when a part aspires !
Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms,
Except when fast-approaching danger warms:
But when contending chiefs blockade the throne,
Contracting regal power to stretch their own;
When I behold a factions band agree
To call it freedom when themselves are free;
Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw,
Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law;
The wealth of climes, where savage nations roam,
Pillag'd from slaves, to purchase slaves at home;
Fear, pity, justice, indignation start,
Tear off reserve, and bare my swelling heart;
Till half a patriðt, half a coward grown,
I fly from petty tyrants to the throne.
Yes, brother, curse with me that baleful hour
When first ambition struck at regal power;
And, thus polluting honour in its source,
Gave wealth to sway the mind with double force.
Have we not seen, round Britain's peopled shore,
Her useful sons exchang'd for useless ore;
Seen all her triumphs but destruction baste,
Like flaring tapers brightning as they waste;
Seen Opulence, her grandeur to maintain,
Lead stern Depopulation in her train,
And over fields where scatter'd hamlets rose,
In barren solitary pomp repose?
Have we not seen, at pleasure's lordly call,
The siniling long-frequented village fall;
Beheld the duteous son, the sire decay'd,
The modest matron, and the blushing maid,
Forc'd from their homes, à melancholy train,
To traverse climes beyond the western main;
Where wild Oswego spreads her swamps around;
And Niagara stuns with thund'ring sound?
Even now, perhaps, as there some pilgrim strays
Through tangled forests, and thro’ dangerous ways;
Where beasts with man divided empire claim,
And the brown Indian marks with murd'rous aim;
There, while above the giddy tempest flies,
And all arqund distressful yells arise,
The pensive exile, bending with bis woe,
To stop too fearful, and too faint to go,
Casts a long look where England's glories shine,
And bids his bosom sympathise with mine.
Vain, very vain, my weary search to find That bliss which only centres in the mind : Why have 1 stray'd from pleasure and repose, To seek a good each government bestows ?
In every government though terrors reign,
• Though tyrant kings, or tyrant laws restrain,
How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or king can cause or cure!
Still to ourselves in every place consign'd,
Our own felicity we make or find :
With secret course, which no loud storms annoy,
Glides the smooth current of domestic joy.
The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
Luke's iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel,
To men remote from power but rarely known,
Leave reason, taith, and conscience, all our own.