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Thou dear companion of my better days,
When hand in hand we trod the paths of praise ;
When, leagued with patriots, we maintain’d the
Of true religion, liberty, and laws,
Disdaining down the golden stream to glide,
But bravely stemm’d Corruption's rapid tide ;
Think not I come to bid thy tears to flow,
Or melt thy generous soul with tales of woe;
No: view me firm, unshaken, undismay'd,
As when the welcome mandate I obey'd
Heavens! with what pride that moment I recall!
Who would not wish, so honour'd, thus to fall !
When England's Genius, hovering o'er, inspired
Her chosen sons with love of Freedom fired,
Spite of an abject, servile, pension'd train,
Minions of Power, and worshippers of Gain,
To save from Bigotry its destin'd prey,
And shield three nations from tyrannick sway.
'Twas then my CA'NDISh caught the glorious flame,
The happy omen of his future fame;
Adorn'd by Nature, perfected by Art,
The clearest head, and warmest, noblest heart,
His words, deep-sinking in each captived ear,
Had power to make even Liberty more dear,
While I, unskill'd in Oratory's lore,
Whose tongue ne'er speaks but when the heart runs
o'er, In plain blunt phrase my honest thoughts express d Warm from the heart, and to the heart address’d.
Justice prevail'd; yes, Justice, let me say,
Well poised her scales on that auspicious day.
The watchful shepherd spies the wolf afar,
Nor trusts his flock to try the unequal war ;
What though the savage crouch in humble guise,
And cheek the fire that flashes from his eyes,
Should once his barbarous fangs the fold invade,
Vain were their cries, too late the shepherd's aid,
Thirsting for blood, he knows not how to spare,
His jaws distend, his fiery eye-balls glare,
While ghastly Desolation, stalking round,
With mangled limbs bestrews the purple ground.
Now, Memory, fail! nor let my mind revolve,
How England's Peers annull'd the just resolve,
Against her bosom aim'd a deadly blow,
And laid at once her great Palladium low!
Degenerate nobles! Yes, by Heaven I swear,
Had BEDFORD's self appear’d delinquent there,
And join'd, forgetful of his country's claims,
To thwart the exclusion of the apostate JAMES,
All filial ties had then been left at large,
And I myself the first to urge the charge.
Such the fix'd sentiments that rule my soul, Time cannot change, nor Tyranny controul ; While free, they hung upon my pensive brow, Then my chief care, my pride and glory now; Foil'd I submit, nor think the measure hard, For conscious Virtue is its own reward.
Vain then is force, and vain each subtile art,
To wring retraction from my tortured heart;
There, lie, in marks indelible engraved,
The means whereby my country must be saved;
Are to thine eyes those characters unknown?
To read my inmost heart, consult thine own;
There wilt thou find this sacred truth reveal'd,
Which shall to-morrow with my blood be seal’d,
Seek not infirm expedients to explore,
But banish James, or England is no more.
Friendship her tender offices may spare,
Nor strive to move the unforgiving pair,
Hopeless the tyrant's mercy-seat to climb-
Zeal for my country's freedom is my crime !
Ere that meets pardon, lambs with wolves shall
range, Charles be a saint, and James his nature change.
Press’d by my friends, and Rachel's fond desires,
(Who can deny what weeping love requires !)
Frailty prevail'd, and for a moment quell'd
Th' indignant pride that in my bosom swellid;
I sued--the weak attempt I blush to own-
I sued for mercy, prostrate at the throne.
O! blot the foible out, my noble friend,
With human firmness human feelings blend !
When Love's endearments softest moments seize,
And Love's dear pledges hang upon the knees,
When Nature's strongest ties the soul enthral,
(Thou canst conceive, for thou hast felt them all!)
Let him resist their prevalence who can;
He must, indeed, be more or less than man. .
Yet let me yield my Rachel honour due,
The tenderest wife, the noblest heroine too!
Anxious to save her husband's honest name,
Dear was his life, but dearer still his fame!
When suppliant prayers no pardon could obtain,
And, wonderous strange! ev'n Bedford'sgold proved
The informer's part her generous soul abhorr’d, Though life preserved had been the sure reward ; Let impious Estrick act such treacherous scenes, And shrink from death by such opprobrious means.
0! my lov'd Rachel! all accomplish'd fair !
Source of my joy, and soother of my care !
Whose heavenly virtues, and unfading charms,
Have bless'd through happy years my peaceful
Parting with thee into my cup was thrown,
Its harshest dregs else had not forc'd a groan!
But all is o'er—these eyes have gaz'd their last
And now the bitterness of death is past.
Burnet and Tillotson, with pious care,
My fleeting soul for heavenly bliss prepare,
Wide to my view the glorious realms display,
Pregnant with joy, and bright with endless day.
Charm'd, as of old when Israel's prophet sung,
Whose words distill'd like manna from his tongue,
While the great bard sublimest truths explored,
Each ravish'd hearer wonder'd and adored;
So rapt, so charm’d, my soul begins to rise,
Spurns the base earth, and seems to reach the skies.
But when, descending from the sacred theme,
Of boundless power, and excellence supreme,