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And calmly bent to fervitude conform,
Dull as their lakes that flumber in the form.
Heav'ns! how unlike their Belgic fires of old! Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold; War in each breast, and freedom on each brow; 315 How much unlike the fons of Britain now!
Fir'd at the found my genius fpreads her wing, And flies where Britain courts the western spring; Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, And brighter freams than fam'd Hydafpis glide, 320 There all around the gentleft breezes ftray, There gentle mufic melts on ev'ry spray; Creation's mildest charms are there combin'd, Extremes are only in the mafter's mind!
Stern o'er each bofom reason holds her state
With daring aims irregularly great,
Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
I fee the lords of human kind pass by,
Intent on high defigns, 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 controul,
While ev'n the peasant boasts these rights to scan,
And learns to venerate himself as man.
Thine, Freedom, thine the bleffings pictur'd here, 335 Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear; Too bleft indeed, were fuch without alloy, But fofter'd ev'n by Freedom ills annoy ; That independence Britons prize too high, Keeps man from man, and breaks the focial tie; The felf-dependent lordlings ftand alone,
All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown;
Here by the bonds of nature feebly held,
Minds combat minds, repelling and repell'd.
Ferments arife, imprifon'd factions roar,
Repreft ambition ftruggles round her fhore,
Till over-wrought, the gen'ral fyftem feels
Its motions ftop, or phrenzy fire the wheels.
Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay,
As duty, love, and honour fail to fway,
Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law,
Still gather ftrength, and force unwilling awe.
Hence all obedience bows to these alone,
And talent finks, and merit weeps unknown;
Till time may come, when ftript of all her charms, 355
The land of fcholars, and the nurse of arms,
Where noble stems tranfmit the patriot flame,
Where kings have toil'd, and poets wrote for fame, One fink of level avarice fhall lie,
And scholars, foldiers, kings, unhonour'd die.
Yet think not, thus when Freedom's ills I ftate,
I mean to flatter kings, or court the great;
Ye pow'rs of truth, that bid my foul afpire,
Far from my bofom drive the low defire ;
And thou, fair Freedom, taught alike to feel
The rabble's rage, and tyrant's angry steel;
Thou tranfitory flow'r, alike undone
By proud contempt, or favour's foft'ring fun,
Still may thy blooms the changeful clime endure,
I only would reprefs them to fecure :
For just experience tells, in ev'ry foil,
That those who think muft govern thofe that toil O
And all that freedom's higheft aims can reach,
Is but to lay proportioned loads on each.
Hence, fhould one order difproportion'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 foul nor apt to rise in arms,
Except when faft approaching danger warms :
But when contending chiefs blockade the throne,
Contracting regal pow'r to ftretch their own,
When I behold a factious 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 favage nations roam,
Pillag'd from flaves to purchase flaves at home;
Fear, pity, juftice, indignation ftart,
Tear off referve, and bear my fwelling heart. 390
Till half a patriot, half a coward grown,
I fly from petty tyrants to the throne.
Yes, brother, curfe with me that baleful hour,
When firft ambition ftruck at regal pow'r ;
And thus polluting honour in its fource,
Gave wealth to fway the mind with double force.
Have we not feen, round Britain's peopled shore,
Her useful fons exchanged for useless ore ?
Seen all her triumphs but deftruction haste,
Like flaring tapers bright'ning as they wafte;
Seen opulence, her grandeur to maintain,
Lead ftern depopulation in her train,
And over fields where scatter'd hamlets rofe,
In barren folitary pomp repofe?
Have we not seen at pleasure's lordly call,
The fmiling long-frequented village fall?
Behold the duteous fon, the fire decay'd,
The modeft matron, and the blushing maid,
Forc'd from their homes, a melancholy train,
To traverse climes beyond the western main;
Where wild Ofwego spreads her swamps around,
And Niagara ftuns with thund'ring found?
Ev'n now, perhaps, as there fome pilgrim ftrays,
Through tangled forefts, and through dang'rous ways;
Where beafts with man divided empire claim, 415
And the brown Indian marks with murd'rous aim ;
There, while above the giddy tempeft flies,
And all around distressful yells arise,
The penfive exile, bending with his woe,
To ftop too fearful, and too faint to go,
Cafts a long look where England's glories shine,
And bids his bofom fympathize with mine.
Vain, very vain, my weary fearch to find That blifs which only centers in the mind: Why have I ftray'd from pleasure and repose, To feek a good each government bestows? In ev'ry government, though terrors reign, Though tyrant kings, or tyrant laws restrain, How fmall of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure? 430 Still to ourselves in ev'ry place confign'd,
Our own felicity we make or find :
With fecret course, which no loud ftorms annoy,
Glides the fmooth current of domestic joy.
The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
Luke's iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel,
To men remote from pow'r but rarely known,
Leave reason, faith, and confcience, all our own.
FIRST PRINTED IN M, DCC, LX I X.