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2 But though my novice-hands are all too weak
To grasp the sounding pipe, my voice unskill'd
The tuneful phrase of poesy to speak,
Uncouth the cadence of my carols wild ;
A nation's tears shall teach my song to trace
The prince that deck'd his crown with every
3 How well he knew to turn from flattery's shrine,
To drop the sweeping pall of scepter'd pride ;
Led by calm thought to paths of eglantine,
And rural walks on Isis' tufted side;
To rove at large amid the landscapes still,
Where Contemplation sate on Clifden's beech-clad hill!
4 How, lock'd in pure affection's golden band,
Through sacred wedlock’s unambitious ways,
With even step he walk’d, and constant hand,
His temples binding with domestic bays :
Rare pattern of the chaste connubial knot,
Firm in a palace kept, as in the clay-built cot!
5 How with discerning choice, to nature true,
He cropp'd the simple flowers, or violet,
Or crocus-bud, that with ambrosial hue
The banks of silver Helicon beset :
Nor seldom waked the Muse's living lyre
To sounds that call’d around Aonia's listening quire !
6 How to the few with sparks ethereal stored,
He never barr'd his castle's genial gate,
But bade sweet Thomson share the friendly board,
Soothing with verse divine the toil of state !
Hence fired, the bard forsook the flowery plain,
And deck'd the regal mask, and tried the tragic strain.
ON THE DEATH OF KING GEORGE THE
So stream the sorrows that embalm the brave,
The tears that Science sheds on Glory's grave!
So pure the vows which classic duty pays
To bless another Brunswick's rising rays!
O Pitt, if chosen strains have power to steal
Thy watchful breast awhile from Britain's weal ;
If votive verse from sacred Isis sent,
Might hope to charm thy manly mind, intent
On patriot plans, which ancient Freedom drew,
Awhile with fond attention deign to view
This ample wreath, which all th' assembled Nine
With skill united have conspired to twine.
Yes, guide and guardian of thy country's cause !
Thy conscious heart shall hail with just applause
The duteous Muse, whose haste officious brings
Her blameless offering to the shrine of kings :
Thy tongue, well tutord in historic lore,
Can speak her office and her use of yore :
For such the tribute of ingenuous praise
Her harp dispensed in Græcia's golden days;
Such were the palms, in isles of old renown,
She cull’d, to deck the guiltless monarch's crown;
When virtuous Pindar told, with Tuscan gore
How scepter'd Hiero1 stain'd Sicilia's shore,
Or to mild Theron's 2 raptured eye disclosed
Bright vales, where spirits of the brave reposed ·
1 Scepter'd Hiero : ' Hiero was Tyrant of Syracuse about five hundred years before Christ. — ? • Mild Theron : ' agreeably to the character given of him,
Yet still beneath the throne, unbribed, she sate,
The decent handmaid, not the slave, of state ;
Pleased in the radiance of the regal name
To blend the lustre of her country's fame :
For, taught like ours, she dared, with prudent pride,
Obedience from dependence to divide :
Though princes claim'd her tributary lays,
With truth severe she temper'd partial praise ;
Conscious she kept her native dignity,
Bold as her flights, and as her numbers free.
And sure if e'er the Muse indulged her strains,
With just regard, to grace heroic reigns,
Where could her glance a theme of triumph own
So dear to fame as George's trophied throne ?
At whose firm base thy steadfast soul aspires
To wake a mighty nation's ancient fires :
Aspires to baffle Faction's specious claim,
Rouse England's rage, and give her thunder aim :
Once more the main her conquering banners sweep,
Again her commerce darkens all the deep.
Thy fix'd resolve renews each firm decree
That made, that kept of yore, thy country free.
Call’d by thy voice, nor deaf to war’s alarms,
Its willing youth the rural empire arms :
Again the lords of Albion's cultured plains
March the firm leaders of their faithful swains;
As erst stout archers, from the farm or fold,
Flamed in the van of many a baron bold.
Nor thine the pomp of indolent debate,
The war of words, the sophistries of state ;
Nor frigid caution checks thy free design,
Nor stops thy stream of eloquence divine :
Olymp. ii. 165 and following verses. Theron was Tyrant of Agrigentum ;
his victories are celebrated in the 2d and 3d Olympic Odes.
For thine the privilege, on few bestow'd,
To feel, to think, to speak, for public good.
In vain Corruption calls her venal tribes ;
One common cause one common end prescribes :
Nor fear nor fraud or spares or screens the foe,
But spirit prompts, and valour strikes, the blow.
O Pitt, while honour points thy liberal plan,
And o'er the minister exalts the man,
Isis congenial greets thy faithful sway,
Nor scorns to bid a statesman grace her lay.
For 'tis not hers, by false connexions drawn,
At splendid Slavery's sordid shrine to fawn ;
Each native effort of the feeling breast,
To friends, to foes, in equal fear, supprest :
'Tis not for her to purchase or pursue
The phantom favours of the cringing crew :
More useful toils her studious hours engage,
And fairer lessons fill her spotless page :
Beneath ambition, but above disgrace,
With nobler arts she forms the rising race :
With happier tasks, and less refined pretence,
In elder times, she woo'd Munificence
To rear her arched roofs in regal guise,
And lift her temples nearer to the skies;
Princes and prelates stretch'd the social hand,
To form, diffuse, and fix, her high command :
From kings she claim'd, yet scorn'd to seek, the prize,
From kings, like George, benignant, just, and wise.
Lo, this her genuine lore.—Nor thou refuse This humble present of no partial Muse From that calm Bower," which nursed thy thoughtful youth In the pure precepts of Athenian truth;
1 'From that calm Bower :' Trinity College, Oxford: in which also Lord Somers, and James Harrington, author of the Oceana,' were educated.
Where first the form of British Liberty
Beam'd in full radiance on thy musing eye;
That form, whose mien sublime, with equal awe,
In the same shade unblemish'd Somers saw :
Where once (for well she loved the friendly grove
had learn’d to rove)
Her whispers waked sage Harrington to feign
The blessings of her visionary reign ;
That reign, which, now no more an empty theme,
Adorns Philosophy's ideal dream,
But crowns at last, beneath a George's smile,
In full reality this favour'd isle.
ON THE MARRIAGE OF KING GEORGE
When first the kingdom to thy virtues due
Rose from the billowy deep in distant view;
When Albion's isle, old Ocean's peerless pride,
Tower'd in imperial state above the tide ;
What bright ideas of the new domain
Form’d the fair prospect of thy promised reign !
And well with conscious joy thy breast might beat
That Albion was ordain'd thy regal seat :
Lo! this the land, where Freedom's sacred rage
Has glow'd untamed through many a martial age.
Here patriot Alfred, stain'd with Danish blood,
Reard on one base the king's, the people's good :
Here Henry's archers framed the stubborn bow
That laid Alanzon's haughty helmet low;