1 HERE interposing, as the GODDESS paus'd, —
2 "Oh blest BRITANNIA! in THY Presence blest,
3 " THOU Guardian of Mankind! whence spring, alone,
4 "All human Grandeur, Happiness and Fame:
5 " For Toil, by THEE protected, feels no Pain;
6 "The poor Man's Lot with Milk and Honey flows;
7 " And, gilded with Thy Rays, even Death looks gay.
8 "Let other Lands the potent Blessings boast[Page 6]
9 " Of more exalting Suns. Let Asia's Woods,
10 "Untended, yield the vegetable Fleece:
11 " And let the little Insect-Artist form,
12 "On higher Life intent, it's silken Tomb.
13 " Let wondering Rocks, in radiant Birth, disclose,
14 "The various-tinctur'd Children of the Sun.
15 " From the prone Beam let more delicious Fruits
16 "A Flavour drink, that in one piercing Taste
17 " Bids each combine. Let Gallic Vineyards burst
18 "With Floods of Joy, with mild balsamic Juice
19 " The Tuscan Olive. Let Arabia breathe
20 "Her spicy Gales, her vital Gums distill.
21 " Turbid with Gold, let southern Rivers flow;
22 "And orient Floods draw soft, o'er Pearls, their Maze.
23 " Let Afric vaunt her Treasures; let Peru,
24 "Deep in her Bowels her own Ruin breed,
25 " The yellow Traitor that her Bliss betray'd, —
26 "Unequall'd Bliss! — and to unequall'd Rage!
27 " Yet nor the gorgeous East, nor golden South,
28 "Nor, in full Prime, that new-discover'd World,
29 " Where flames the falling Day, in Wealth and Praise,
30 "Shall with BRITANNIA vie, while, GODDESS, she[Page 7]
31 " Derives her Praise from THEE, her matchless Charms.
32 "Her hearty Fruits the Hand of Freedom own;
33 " And, warm with Culture, her thick-clustering Fields
34 "Prolific teem. Eternal Verdure crowns
35 " Her Meads; her Gardens smile eternal Spring.
36 "She gives the Hunter-Horse, unquell'd by Toil,
37 " Ardent, to rush into the rapid Chace:
38 "She, whitening o'er her Downs, diffusive, pours
39 " Unnumber'd Flocks: She weaves the fleecy Robe,
40 "That wraps the Nations: She, to lusty Droves,
41 " The richest Pasture spreads; and Her's deep-wave
42 "Autumnal Seas of pleasing Plenty round.
43 " These her Delights: And by no baneful Herb,
44 "No darting Tyger, no grim Lion's Glare,
45 " No fierce-descending Wolf, no Serpent roll'd
46 "In Spires immense progressive o'er the Land,
47 " Disturb'd. Enlivening These, add Cities, full
48 "Of Wealth, of Trade, of chearful toiling Crowds:
49 " Add thriving Towns: add Villages and Farms,
50 "Innumerous fow'd along the lively Vale,
51 " Where bold unrival'd Peasants happy dwell:
52 "Add ancient Seats, with venerable Oaks[Page 8]
53 " Embosom'd high, while kindred Floods below
54 "Wind thro' the Mead; and Those of modern Hand,
55 " More pompous, add, that splendid shine afar:
56 "Need I her limpid Lakes, her Rivers name,
57 " Where swarm the finny Race? Thee, chief, O Thames!
58 "On whose each Tide, glad with returning Sails,
59 " Flows in the mingled Harvest of Mankind?
60 "And thee, thou Severn, whose prodigious Swell,
61 " And Waves, resounding, imitate the Main?
62 "Why need I name her deep capacious Ports,
63 " That point around the World? And why her Seas?
64 "All Ocean is her own, and every Land
65 " To whom her ruling Thunder Ocean bears.
66 "She too the Mineral feeds: th' obedient Lead,
67 " The Warrior-Iron, nor the Peaceful less,
68 "Forming of Life art-civiliz'd the Bond;
69 " And*
* Tin. That the Tyrian Merchant sought of old,
70 "Not dreaming then of BRITAIN's brighter Fame.
71 " She rears to Freedom an undaunted Race:
72 "Compatriot zealous, hospitable, kind,
73 " Her's the warm CAMBRIAN: Her's the lofty SCOT,
74 "To Hardship tam'd, active in Arts and Arms,[Page 9]
75 " Fir'd with a restless an impatient Flame,
76 "That leads him raptur'd where Ambition calls:
77 " And ENGLISH MERIT Her's; where meet, combin'd,
78 "Whate'er high Fancy, sound judicious Thought,
79 " An ample generous Heart, undrooping Soul,
80 "And firm tenacious Valour can bestow.
81 " Great Nurse of Fruits, of Flocks, of Commerce, SHE!
82 "Great Nurse of Men! by THEE, O GODDESS, taught,
83 " Her old Renown I trace, disclose her Source
84 "Of Wealth, of Grandeur, and to BRITONS sing
85 " A Strain the Muses never touch'd before. "
86 "But how shall this THY mighty KINGDOM stand?
87 " On what unyielding Base? how finish'd shine? "
88 At this HER Eye, collecting all it's Fire,
89 Beam'd more than human; and HER awful Voice,
90 Majestic, thus SHE rais'd — "To BRITONS bear
91 " This closing Strain, and with intenser Note
92 "Loud let it sound in their awaken'd Ear."
93 On VIRTUE can alone MY KINGDOM stand,
94 On PUBLICK VIRTUE, EVERY VIRTUE JOIN'D.
95 For, lost this social Cement of Mankind,
96 The greatest Empires, by scarce-felt Degrees,[Page 10]
97 Will moulder soft away; 'till, tottering loose,
98 They prone at last to total Ruin rush.
99 Unblest by VIRTUE, Government a League
100 Becomes, a circling Junto of the Great,
101 To rob by Law; Religion mild a Yoke
102 To tame the stooping Soul, a Trick of State
103 To mask their Rapine, and to share the Prey.
104 What are without IT Senates, save a Face
105 Of Consultation deep and Reason free,
106 While the determin'd Voice and Heart are sold?
107 What boasted Freedom, save a sounding Name?
108 And what Election, but a Market vile
109 Of Slaves self-barter'd? VIRTUE! without THEE,
110 There is no ruling Eye, no Nerve, in States;
111 War has no Vigour, and no Safety Peace:
112 Even Justice warps to Party, Laws oppress,
113 Wide thro' the Land their weak Protection fails,
114 First broke the Ballance, and then scorn'd the Sword.
115 Thus Nations sink, Society dissolves;
116 Rapine and Guile and Violence break loose,
117 Everting Life, and turning Love to Gall;
118 Man hates the Face of Man, and Indian Woods[Page 11]
119 And Lybia's hissing Sands to him are tame.
120 By those THREE VIRTUES be the Frame sustain'd,
121 Of BRITISH FREEDOM: INDEPENDENT LIFE;
122 INTEGRITY IN OFFICE; and, o'er all
123 Supreme, A PASSION FOR THE COMMON-WEAL.
124 Hail! INDEPENDANCE, hail! HEAVEN's next best Gift,
125 To that of Life and an immortal Soul!
126 The Life of Life! that to the Banquet high
127 And sober Meal gives taste; to the bow'd Roof
128 Fair-dream'd Repose, and to the Cottage Charms.
129 Of publick Freedom, hail, thou secret Source!
130 Whose Streams, from every Quarter confluent, form
131 MY better Nile, that nurses human Life.
132 By Rills from Thee deduc'd, irriguous, fed,
133 The private Field looks gay, with Nature's Wealth
134 Abundant flows, and blooms with each Delight
135 That Nature craves. It's happy Master there,
136 The ONLY FREE-MAN, walks his pleasing Round:
137 Sweet-featur'd Peace attending; fearless Truth;
138 Firm Resolution; Goodness, blessing all
139 That can rejoice; Contentment, surest Friend;
140 And, still fresh Stores from Nature's Book deriv'd,[Page 12]
141 Philosophy, Companion ever-new.
142 These chear his rural, and sustain or fire,
143 When into Action call'd, his busy Hours.
144 Mean time true-judging moderate Desires,
145 Oeconomy and Taste, combin'd, direct
146 His clear Affairs, and from debauching Fiends
147 Secure his little Kingdom. Nor can Those
148 Whom Fortune heaps, without these Virtues, reach
149 That Truce with Pain, that animated Ease,
150 That Self-Enjoyment springing from within,
151 That INDEPENDANCE, active, or retir'd,
152 Which make the soundest Bliss of Man below:
153 But, lost beneath the Rubbish of their Means,
154 And drain'd by Wants to Nature all unknown,
155 A wandering, tasteless, gaily-wretched Train,
156 Tho' rich, are Beggars, and, tho' noble, Slaves.
157 Lo! damn'd to Wealth, at what a gross Expence,
158 They purchase Disappointment, Pain and Shame.
159 Instead of hearty hospitable Chear,
160 See! how the Hall with brutal Riot flows;
161 While in the foaming Flood, fermenting, steep'd,
162 The Country maddens into Party-Rage. [Page 13]
163 Mark! those disgraceful Piles of Wood and Stone;
164 Those Parks and Gardens, where, his Haunts be-trimm'd,
165 And Nature by presumptuous Art oppress'd,
166 The woodland Genius mourns. See! the full Board
167 That steams Disgust, and Bowls that give no Joy:
168 No Truth invited there, to feed the Mind;
169 Nor Wit, the Wine rejoicing Reason quaffs.
170 Hark! how the Dome with Insolence resounds,
171 With those retain'd by Vanity to scare
172 Repose and Friends. To tyrant Fashion mark!
173 The costly-Worship paid, to the broad Gaze
174 Of Fools. From still delusive Day to Day,
175 Led an eternal Round of lying Hope,
176 See! self-abandon'd, how they roam adrift,
177 Dash'd o'er the Town, a miserable Wreck!
178 Then to adore some warbling Eunuch turn'd,
179 With Midas 'Ears they crowd; or to the Buzz
180 Of Masquerade unblushing: or, to show
181 Their Scorn of Nature, at the Tragic Scene
182 They mirthful sit, or prove the Comic true.
183 But, chief, behold! around the rattling Board,
184 The civil Robbers rang'd; and even the Fair,[Page 14]
185 The tender Fair, each Sweetness laid aside,
186 As fierce for Plunder as all-licens'd' Troops
187 At some sack'd City. Thus dissolv'd their Wealth,
188 Without one generous Luxury dissolv'd,
189 Or quarter'd on it many a needless Want,
190 At the throng'd Leve bends the venal Tribe:
191 With fair but faithless Smiles each varnish'd o'er,
192 Each smooth as Those that mutually deceive,
193 And for their Falshood each despising each;
194 'Till shook their Patron by the wintry Winds,
195 Wide flies the wither'd Shower, and leaves him bare.
196 O far superior Afric's sable Sons,
197 By Merchant pilfer'd, to these willing Slaves!
198 And, rich, as unsqueez'd Favourite, to them,
199 Is he who can his Virtue boast alone!
200 BRITONS! be firm! — nor let Corruption sly
201 Twine round your Heart indissoluble Chains!
202 The Steel of BRUTUS burst the grosser Bonds
203 By Cesar cast o'er ROME; but still remain'd
204 The soft enchanting Fetters of the Mind,
205 And other Cesars rose. Determin'd, hold
206 Your INDEPENDANCE; for, That once destroy'd. [Page 15]
207 Unfounded, FREEDOM is a Morning Dream,
208 That flits aerial from the spreading Eye.
209 Forbid it HEAVEN! that ever I need urge
210 INTEGRITY IN OFFICE on MY Sons;
211 Inculcate common Honour — not to rob. —
212 And whom? — the gracious the confiding Hand,
213 That lavishly rewards; the toiling Poor,
214 Whose Cup with many a bitter Drop is mixt;
215 The Guardian Publick; every Face they see,
216 And every Friend; nay, in Effect, themselves.
217 As, in familiar Life, the Villain's Fate
218 Admits no Cure; so, when a desperate Age
219 At This arrives, I the devoted Race
220 Indignant spurn, and hopeless soar away.
221 But, ah too little known to modern Times!
222 Be not the noblest Passion past unsung;
223 That Ray peculiar, from UNBOUNDED LOVE
224 Effus'd, which kindles the heroic Soul;
225 DEVOTION TO THE PUBLIC. Glorious Flame!
226 Celestial Ardor! in what unknown Worlds,
227 Profusely scatter'd thro' the blue Immense,
228 Hast Thou been blessing Myriads, since in ROME,[Page 16]
229 Old virtuous ROME, so many deathless Names
230 From Thee their Lustre drew? since, taught by Thee,
231 Their Poverty put Splendor to the Blush,
232 Pain grew luxurious, and even Death Delight?
233 O wilt Thou ne'er, in thy long Period, look,
234 With Blaze direct, on this MY last Retreat?
235 'Tis not enough, from Self right understood
236 Reflected, that thy Rays inflame the Heart:
237 Tho' VIRTUE not disdains Appeals to Self,
238 Dreads not the Trial; all her Joys are true,
239 Nor is there any real Joy save Her's.
240 Far less the tepid the declaiming Race,
241 Foes to Corruption, to it's Wages Friends,
242 Or those whom private Passions, for a while,
243 Beneath MY Standard list, can they suffice
244 To raise and fix the Glory of MY REIGN?
245 An active Flood of universal Love
246 Must swell the Breast. First, in Effusion wide,
247 The restless Spirit roves Creation round,
248 And seizes every Being: Stronger then
249 It tends to Life, whate'er the kindred Search
250 Of Bliss allys: then, more collected still,[Page 17]
251 It urges Human-kind: a Passion grown,,
252 At last, the central Parent-Public calls
253 It's utmost Effort forth, awakes each Sense,
254 The Comely, Grand and Tender. Without This,
255 This awful Pant, shook from sublimer Powers
256 Than those of Self, this HEAVEN-infus'd Delight,
257 This moral Gravitation, rushing prone
258 To press the public Good, MY System soon,
259 Traverse, to several selfish Centers drawn,
260 Will reel to Ruin: while for ever shut
261 Stand the bright Portals of desponding Fame.
262 From sordid Self shoot up no shining Deeds,
263 None of those ancient Lights, that gladden Earth,
264 Give Grace to Being, and arrouse the Brave
265 To just Ambition, VIRTUE's quickening Fire!
266 Life tedious grows, an idly-bustling Round,
267 Fill'd up with Actions animal and mean,
268 A dull Gazette! Th' impatient Reader scorns
269 The poor historic Page; 'till kindly comes
270 Oblivion, and redeems a People's Shame.
271 Not so the Times when, Emulation-stung,
272 GREECE shone in Genius, Science, and in Arts,[Page 18]
273 And ROME in Virtues dreadful to be told!
274 To live was Glory then! and charm'd Mankind,
275 Thro' the deep Periods of devolving Time,
276 Those, raptur'd, copy; These, astonish'd, read.
277 True, a corrupted State, with every Vice
278 And every Meanness foul, this Passion damps.
279 Who can, unshock'd, behold the cruel Eye?
280 The pale inveigling Smile? The ruffian Front?
281 The Wretch abandon'd to relentless Self,
282 Equally vile if Miser or Profuse?
283 Powers not of GOD, assiduous to corrupt?
284 The fell deputed Tyrant, who devours
285 The Poor and Weak,*
* Lord MOLESWORTH in his Account of Denmark says, — It is observed, that in limited Monarchies and Commonwealths, a Neighbourhood to the Seat of the Government is advantageous to the Subjects; whilst the distant Provinces are less thriving, and more liable to Oppression. at Distance from Redress?
286 Delirious Faction bellowing loud MY Name?
287 The false fair-seeming Patriot's hollow Boast?
288 A Race resolv'd on Bondage, fierce for Chains,
289 MY sacred Rights a Merchandize alone
290 Esteeming, and to work their Feeder's Will
291 By Deeds, a Horror to Mankind, prepar'd,[Page 19]
292 As were the Dregs of Romulus of old?
293 Who These indeed can undetesting see? —
294 But who unpitying? To the generous Eye
295 Distress is Virtue; and, tho' Self-betray'd,
296 A People struggling with their Fate must rouze
297 The Hero's Throb. Nor can a Land, at once,
298 Be lost to Virtue quite. How glorious then!
299 Fit Luxury for Gods! to save the Good,
300 Protect the Feeble, dash bold Vice aside,
301 Depress the Wicked, and restore the Frail.
302 Posterity, besides, the Young are pure,
303 And Sons may tinge their Father's Cheek with Shame.
304 Should then the Times arrive (which HEAVEN avert!)
305 That BRITONS bend unnerv'd, not by the Force
306 Of Arms, more generous, and more manly, quell'd,
307 But by Corruption's Soul-dejecting Arts,
308 Arts impudent! and gross! by their own Gold,
309 In Part bestow'd, to bribe them to give All.
310 With Party raging, or immers'd in Sloth,
311 Should they BRITANNIA's well-fought Laurels yield
312 To slily-conquering Gaul; even from her Brow
313 Let her own Naval Oak be basely torn,[Page 20]
314 By such as tremble at the stiffening Gale,
315 And nerveless sink while others sing rejoic'd.
316 Or (darker Prospect! scarce one Gleam behind
317 Disclosing) should the broad corruptive Plague
318 Breathe from the City to the farthest Hut,
319 That sits serene within the Forest-Shade;
320 The sever'd People fire, inflame their Wants,
321 And their luxurious Thirst, so gathering Rage,
322 That, were a Buyer found, they stand prepar'd
323 To sell their Birthright for a cooling Draught.
324 Should shameless Pens for plain Corruption plead;
325 The hir'd Assassins of the Commonweal!
326 Deem'd the declaiming Rant of GREECE and ROME,
327 Should Public Virtue grow the Public Scoff,
328 'Till Private, failing, staggers thro' the Land:
329 'Till round the City loose mechanic Want,
330 Dire-prowling nightly, makes the chearful Haunts
331 Of Men more hideous than Numidian Wilds,
332 Nor from it's Fury sleeps the Vale in Peace;
333 And Murders, Horrors, Perjuries abound:
334 Nay, 'till to lowest Deeds the Highest stoop;
335 The Rich, like starving Wretches, thirst for Gold;[Page 21]
336 And those, on whom the vernal Showers of HEAVEN
337 All-bounteous fall, and that prime Lot bestow,
338 A Power to live to Nature and Themselves,
339 In sick Attendance wear their anxious Days,
340 With Fortune, joyless, and, with Honours, mean.
341 Meantime, perhaps, Profusion flows around,
342 The Waste of War, without the Works of Peace;
343 No Mark of Millions in the Gulph absorpt
344 Of uncreating Vice, none but the Rage
345 Of rouz'd Corruption still demanding more.
346 That very Portion, which (by faithful Skill
347 Employ'd) might make the smiling Public rear
348 Her ornamented Head, drill'd thro' the Hands
349 Of mercenary Tools, serves but to nurse
350 A Locust-Band within, and in the Bud
351 Leaves starv'd each Work of Dignity and Use.
352 I paint the worst. But should these Times arrive,
353 If any nobler Passion yet remain,
354 Let all MY Sons all Parties fling aside,
355 Despise their Nonsense, and together join;
356 Let Worth and Virtue, scorning low Despair,
357 Exerted full, from every Quarter shine,[Page 22]
358 Commix'd in heighten'd Blaze. Light flash'd to Light,
359 Moral, or Intellectual, more intense
360 By giving glows. As on pure Winter's Eve,
361 Gradual, the Stars effulge; fainter, at first,
362 They, straggling, rise; but when the radiant Host,
363 In thick Profusion pour'd, shine out immense,
364 Each casting vivid Influence on each,
365 From Pole to Pole a glittering Deluge plays,
366 And Worlds above rejoice, and Men below.
367 But why to BRITONS this superfluous Strain? —
368 Good-nature, honest Truth even somewhat blunt,
369 Of crooked Baseness an indignant Scorn,
370 A Zeal unyielding in their Country's Cause,
371 And ready Bounty, wont to dwell with them. —
372 Nor only wont — Wide o'er the Land diffus'd,
373 In many a blest Retirement still they dwell.
374 To softer Prospect turn we now the View,
375 To laurel'd SCIENCE, ARTS, and PUBLIC WORKS,
376 That lend MY FINISH'D FABRIC comely Pride,
377 Grandeur and Grace. Of sullen Genius he!
378 Curs'd by the Muses! by the Graces loath'd!
379 Who deems beneath the Public's high Regard[Page 23]
380 These last enlivening Touches of MY Reign.
381 However puff'd with Power, and gorg'd with Wealth,
382 A Nation be; let Trade enormous rise,
383 Let East and South their mingled Treasure pour,
384 'Till, swell'd impetuous, the corrupting Flood
385 Burst o'er the City and devour the Land:
386 Yet These neglected, These recording Arts,
387 Wealth rots, a Nusance; and, oblivious, sunk,
388 That Nation must another Carthage lie.
389 If not by Them, on monumental Brass,
390 On sculptur'd Marble, or the deathless Page
391 Imprest, Renown had left no Trace behind:
392 In vain, to future Times, the Sage had thought,
393 The Legislator plann'd, the Hero found
394 A beauteous Death, the Patriot toil'd in vain.
395 Th' Awarders They of Fame's immortal Wreathe,
396 They rouze Ambition, they the Mind exalt,
397 Give great Ideas, lovely Forms infuse,
398 Delight the general Eye, and, drest by Them,
399 The moral Venus glows with double Charms.
400 SCIENCE, MY close Associate, still attends
401 Where-e'er I go. Sometimes, in simple Guise,[Page 24]
402 She walks the Furrow with the Consul-Swain,
403 Whispering unletter'd Wisdom to the Heart,
404 Direct; or, sometimes, in the pompous Robe
405 Of Fancy drest, She charms Athenian Wits,
406 And a whole sapient City round Her burns.
407 Then o'er her Brow MINERVA'S Terrors nod:
408 With XENOPHON, sometimes, in dire Extremes,
409 She breathes deliberate Soul, and makes*
* The famous Retreat of the Ten Thousand was chiefly conducted by XENOPHON. Retreat
410 Unequal'd Glory: with the Theban Sage,
411 EPAMINONDAS, First and Best of Men!
412 Sometimes She bids the deep-embattled Host,
413 Above the vulgar Reach, resistless form'd,
414 March to sure Conquest, — never gain'd before! †
† Epaminondas, after having beat the Lacedemonians and their Allies, in the Battle of Leuctra, made an Incursion at the head of a powerful Army, into Laconia, It was now six hundred Years since the Dorians had possessed this Country, and in all that time the Face of an Enemy had not been seen within their Territories. Plutarch in Agesilaus.
415 Nor on the treacherous Seas of giddy State
416 Unskilful She: when the triumphant Tide
417 Of high-swoln Empire wears one boundless Smile,
418 And the Gale tempts to new Pursuits of Fame,
419 Sometimes, with SCIPIO, She collects her Sail,
420 And seeks the blissful Shore of rural Ease,[Page 25]
421 Where, but th' Aonian Maids, no Syrens sing.
422 Or should the deep-brew'd Tempest muttering rise,
423 While Rocks and Shoals perfidious lurk around,
424 With TULLY She her wide-reviving Light
425 To Senates holds, a Catiline confounds,
426 And saves awhile from Cesar sinking ROME.
427 Such the kind POWER, whose piercing Eye dissolves
428 Each mental Fetter, and sets Reason free;
429 For ME inspiring an enlighten'd Zeal,
430 The more tenacious as the more convinc'd
431 How happy Freemen, and how wretched Slaves.
432 To BRITONS not unknown, to BRITONS full
433 The GODDESS spreads her Stores, the secret Soul
434 That quickens Trade, the Breath unseen that wafts
435 To them the Treasures of a ballanc'd World.
436 But FINER ARTS (save what the MUSE has sung,
437 In daring Flight, above all modern Wing)
438 Neglected droop the Head; and PUBLIC WORKS,
439 Broke by Corruption into private Gain,
440 Not ornament, disgrace, not serve, destroy.
441 Shall BRITONS, by their own JOINT WISDOM rul'd
442 Beneath one ROYAL HEAD, whose vital Power[Page 26]
443 Connects, enlivens and exerts the WHOLE;
444 In FINER ARTS, and PUBLIC WORKS, shall They
445 To Gallia yield? — yield to a Land that bends,
446 Deprest, and broke, beneath the Will of One?
447 Of One — who, should th' unkingly Thirst of Gold,
448 Or tyrant Passions, or Ambition, prompt,
449 Calls Locust-Armies o'er the blasted Land:
450 Drains from it's thirsty Bounds the Springs of Wealth,
451 His own insatiate Reservoir to fill:
452 To the lone Desart Patriot-Merit frowns,
453 Or into Dungeons Arts, when They, their Chains,
454 Indignant, bursting, for their nobler Works
455 All other Licence scorn but TRUTH's and MINE.
456 Oh shame to think! shall BRITONS, in the Field
457 Unconquer'd still, the better Laurel lose?
458 Even in that*
* Lewis XIV. Monarch's Reign, who vainly dreamt,
459 By giddy Power, betray'd, and flatter'd Pride,
460 To grasp unbounded Sway; while, swarming round,
461 His Armies dar'd all Europe to the Field;
462 To hostile Hands while Treasure flow'd profuse,
463 And, that great Source of Treasure, Subjects 'Blood,
464 Inhuman squander'd, sicken'd every Land;[Page 27]
465 From BRITAIN, chief, while MY superior Sons,
466 In Vengeance rushing, dash'd his idle Hopes,
467 And bad his agonizing Heart be low:
468 Even then, as in the golden Calm of Peace,
469 What PUBLIC WORKS, at home, what ARTS arose!
470 What various SCIENCE shone! what GENIUS glow'd!
471 'Tis not for ME to paint, diffusive shot
472 O'er fair Extents of Land, the shining Road;
473 The Flood-compelling Arch; the long†
† The Canal of Languedoc. Canal,
474 Thro' Mountains piercing, and uniting Seas;
‖ The Hospital for Foundlings Dome resounding sweet with Infant Joy,
476 From Famine sav'd, or cruel-handed Shame,
‡ The Hospital for Invalids. That where Valour counts his noble Scars;
478 The Land where social Pleasure loves to dwell,
479 Of the fierce Demon, Gothic Duel, freed;
480 The Robber from his farthest Forest chas'd;
481 The turbid City clear'd, and, by Degrees,
482 Into sure Peace the best Police refin'd,
483 Magnificence, and Grace, and decent Joy.
484 Let Gallic Bards record, how honour'd ARTS,
485 And SCIENCE, by despotic Bounty bless'd,[Page 28]
486 At Distance flourish'd from MY PARENT-EYE.
487 Restoring ancient Taste, how BOILEAU rose.
488 How the big ROMAN Soul shook, in CORNEILLE,
489 The trembling Stage. In elegant RACINE,
490 How the more powerful tho' more humble Voice
491 Of Nature-painting GREECE, resistless, breath'd
492 The whole awaken'd Heart. How MOLIERE's Scene,
493 Chastis'd and regular, with well-judg'd Wit,
494 Not scatter'd wild, and native Humour, grac'd,
495 Was Life itself. To public Honours rais'd,
496 How Learning in warm*
* The Academies of Sciences, of the Belles Lettres and of Painting. Seminaries spread;
497 And, more for Glory than the small Reward,
498 How Emulation strove. How their pure Tongue
499 Almost obtain'd what was deny'd their Arms.
500 From Rome, awhile, how PAINTING, courted long,
501 With POUSSIN came; Ancient Design, that lifts
502 A fairer Front, and looks another Soul.
503 How the kind†
† Engraving. Art, that, of unvalu'd Price,
504 The fam'd and only Picture, easy, gives,
505 Refin'd her Touch, and, thro' the shadow'd Piece,
506 All the live Spirit of the Painter pour'd. [Page 29]
507 Coyest of Arts, how Sculpture northward deign'd
508 A Look, and bad her GIRARDON arise.
509 How lavish Grandeur blaz'd; the barren Waste,
510 Astonish'd, saw the sudden Palace swell,
511 And Fountains spout amid it's arid Shades.
512 For Leagues, bright Vistas opening to the View,
513 How Forests in majestic Gardens smil'd.
514 How menial Arts, by their gay Sisters taught,
515 Wove the deep Flower, the blooming Foliage train'd
516 In joyous Figures o'er the silky Lawn,
517 The Palace chear'd, illum'd the Story'd Wall,
518 And with the Pencil vy'd the glowing Loom*
* The Tapestry of the Gobelins. .
519 These Laurels, LOUIS, by the Droppings rais'd
520 Of thy Profusion, it's Dishonour shade,
521 And, green thro' future Times, shall bind thy Brow;
522 While the vain Honours of perfidious War
523 Wither abhorr'd, or in Oblivion lost.
524 With what prevailing Vigour had they shot,
525 And stole a deeper Root, by the full Tide
526 Of War-sunk Millions fed? Superior still,
527 How had they branch'd luxuriant to the Skies,
528 In BRITAIN planted, by the potent Juice[Page 30]
529 Of Freedom swell'd? Forc'd is the Bloom of ARTS,
530 A false uncertain Spring, when Bounty gives,
531 Weak without ME, a transitory Gleam.
532 Fair shine the slippery Days, enticing Skies
533 Of Favour smile, and courtly Breezes blow;
534 'Till ARTS, betray'd, trust to the flattering Air
535 Their tender Blossom: — then malignant rise
536 The Blights of Envy, of those Insect-Clouds,
537 That, blasting Merit, often cover Courts:
538 Nay, should, perchance, some kind MOECENAS aid
539 The doubtful Beamings of his PRINCE's Soul,
540 His wavering Ardor fix, and unconfin'd
541 Diffuse his warm Beneficence around;
542 Yet Death, at last, and wintry Tyrants come,
543 Each Sprig of Genius killing at the Root.
544 But when with ME IMPERIAL BOUNTY joins,
545 Wide o'er the Public blows eternal Spring;
546 While mingled Autumn every Harvest pours
547 Of every Land; whate'er Invention, Art,
548 Creating Toil and Nature can produce.
549 Here ceas'd the GODDESS; and HER ardent Wings,
550 Dipt in the Colours of the heavenly Bow,[Page 31]
551 Stood waving Radiance round, for sudden Flight
552 Prepar'd, when thus, impatient, burst my Prayer.
553 "Oh forming Light of Life! Oh better Sun!
554 " Sun of Mankind! by whom the cloudy North,
555 "Sublim'd, not envies Languedocian Skies,
556 " That, unstain'd Ether all, diffusive smile:
557 "When shall we call these ancient Laurels Ours?
558 " And when THY WORK complete? " Strait with HER Hand,
559 Celestial red, SHE touch'd my darken'd Eyes.
560 As at the Touch of Day the Shades dissolve,
561 So quick, methought, the misty Circle clear'd,
562 That dims the Dawn of Being here below:
563 The Future shone disclos'd, and, in long View,
564 Bright rising Aeras instant rush'd to Light.
565 "THEY come! GREAT GODDESS! I the TIMES behold!
566 " The TIMES our Fathers, in the bloody Field,
567 "Have earn'd so dear, and, not with less Renown,
568 " In the warm Struggles of the Senate-Fight.
569 "The TIMES I see! whose Glory to supply,
570 " For toiling Ages, Commerce round the World
571 "Has wing'd unnumber'd Sails, and from each Land
572 " Materials heap'd, that, well-employ'd, with ROME[Page 32]
573 "Might vie our Grandeur, and with GREECE our Art.
574 "Lo! PRINCES I behold! contriving still,
575 " And still conducting firm some brave Design;
576 "KINGS! that the narrow joyless Circle scorn,
577 " Burst the Blockade of false designing Men,
578 "Of treacherous Smiles, of Adulation fell,
579 " And of the blinding Clouds around them thrown:
580 "Their Court rejoicing Millions; Worth, alone,
581 " And Virtue dear to them; their best Delight,
582 "In just Proportion, to give general Joy;
583 " Their jealous Care THY KINGDOM to maintain;
584 "The public Glory Theirs; unsparing Love
585 " Their endless Treasure; and their Deeds their Praise.
586 "With THEE They work. Nought can resist YOUR Force:
587 " Life feels it quickening in her dark Retreats:
588 "Strong spread the Blooms of Genius, Science, Art;
589 " His bashful Bounds disclosing Merit breaks;
590 "And, big with Fruits of Glory, Virtue blows
591 " Expansive o'er the Land. Another Race
592 "Of GENEROUS YOUTH, of PATRIOT-SIRES, I see!
593 " Not those vain Insects fluttering in the Blaze
594 "Of Court and Ball and Play; those venal Souls,[Page 33]
595 " Corruption's veteran unrelenting Bands,
596 "That, to their Vices Slaves, can ne'er be free.
597 "I see the FOUNTAIN's purg'd! whence Life derives
598 " A clear or turbid Flow; see the young Mind.
599 "Not fed impure by Chance, by Flattery fool'd,
600 " Or by scholastic Jargon bloated proud,
601 "But fill'd and nourish'd by the Light of Truth.
602 " Then beam'd thro' Fancy the refining Ray,
603 "And pouring on the Heart, the Passions feel
604 " At once informing Light and moving Flame;
605 '"Till moral, public, graceful Action crowns
606 " The Whole. Behold! the fair Contention glows,
607 "In all that Mind or Body can adorn,
608 " And form to Life. Instead of barren Heads,
609 "Barbarian Pedants, wrangling Sons of Pride,
610 " And Truth-perplexing metaphysic Wits,
611 "Men, Patriots, Chiefs and Citizens are form'd.
612 "Lo! JUSTICE, like the liberal Light of Heaven,
613 " Unpurchas'd shines on All, and from her Beam,
614 "Appalling Guilt, retire the savage Crew,
615 " That prowl amid the Darkness they themselves
616 "Have thrown around the Laws. Oppression grieves,[Page 34]
617 " See! how her Legal Furies bite the Lip,
618 "While YORKS and TALBOTS their deep Snares detect,
619 " And seize swift Justice thro' the Clouds they raise.
620 "See! social LABOUR lifts his guarded Head,
621 " And Men not yield to Government in vain.
622 "From the sure Land is rooted ruffian Force,
623 " And, the lewd Nurse of Villains, idle Waste;
624 "Lo! raz'd their Haunts, down dash'd their maddening Bowl,
625 " A Nation's Poison! Beauteous Order reigns!
626 "Manly Submission, unimposing Toil,
627 " Trade without Guile, Civility that marks
628 "From the foul Herd of brutal Slaves THY Sons,
629 " And fearless Peace. Or should affronting War
630 "To slow but dreadful Vengeance rouse the Just,
631 " Unfailing Fields of Freemen I behold!
632 "That know, with their own proper Arm, to guard
633 " Their own blest Isle against a leaguing World.
634 "Despairing Gaul her boiling Youth restrains,
635 " Dissolv'd her Dream of Universal Sway:
636 "The Winds and Seas are BRITAIN's wide Domain;
637 " And not a Sail, but by Permission, spreads.
638 "Lo! swarming southward on rejoicing Suns,[Page 35]
639 " Gay COLONIES extend; the calm Retreat
640 "Of undeserv'd Distress, the better Home
641 " Of Those whom Bigots chase from foreign Lands.
642 "Not built on Rapine, Servitude and Woe,
643 " And, in their turn, some petty Tyrant's Prey;
644 "But, bound by social Freedom, firm they rise;
645 " Such as, of late, an OGLETHORPE has form'd,
646 "And, crowding round, the charm'd Savannah fees.
647 "Horrid with Want and Misery, no more
648 " Our Streets the tender Passenger afflict.
649 "Nor shivering Age, nor Sickness without Friend,
650 " Or Home, or Bed to bear his burning Load,
651 "Nor agonizing Infant, that ne'er earn'd
652 " It's guiltless Pangs, I see! The Stores, profuse,
653 "Which British Bounty has to These assign'd,
654 " No more the sacrilegious Riot swell
655 "Of Cannibal Devourers! Right apply'd,
656 " No starving Wretch the Land of Freedom stains:
657 "If poor, Employment finds; if old demands,
658 " If sick, if maim'd, his miserable Due;
659 "And will, if young, repay the fondest Care.
660 " Sweet sets the Sun of stormy Life, and sweet[Page 36]
661 "The Morning shines, in Mercy's Dews array'd.
662 " Lo! how they rise! THESE FAMILIES OF HEAVEN!
* An Hospital for Foundlings. That! chief, (but why — ye Bigots! — why so late?)
664 "Where blooms and warbles glad a rising Age:
665 " What Smiles of Praise! And, while their Song ascends,
666 "The listening Seraph lays his Lute aside.
667 "Hark! the gay MUSES raise a nobler Strain,
668 " With active Nature, warm impassion'd Truth,
669 "Engaging Fable, lucid Order, Notes
670 " Of various String, and heart-felt Image fill'd.
671 "Behold! I see the dread delightful School
672 " Of temper'd Passions, and of polish'd Life,
673 "Restor'd: behold! the well-dissembled Scene
674 " Calls from embellish'd Eyes the lovely Tear,
675 "Or lights up Mirth in modest Cheeks again.
676 " Lo! vanish'd Monster-land. Lo! driven away
677 "Those that Apollo's sacred Walks profane:
678 " Their wild Creation scatter'd, where a World
679 "Unknown to Nature, Chaos more confus'd,
680 " O'er the brute Scene it's†[Page 37]
† A Creature which, of all Brutes, most resembles Man. — See Dr. Tyson's Treatise on this Animal. Ouran-Outangs pours;
681 "Detested Forms! that, on the Mind imprest,
682 " Corrupt, confound and barbarize an Age.
683 "Behold! all thine again the SISTER-ARTS,
684 " Thy Graces They, knit in harmonious Dance.
685 "Nurs'd by the Treasure, from a Nation drain'd
686 " Their Works to purchase, They to Nobler rouze
687 "Their untam'd Genius, their unfetter'd Thought;
688 " Of pompous Tyrants, and of dreaming Monks,
689 "The gaudy Tools, and Prisoners, no more.
690 "Lo! Numerous DOMES a BURLINGTON confess:
691 " For Kings and Senates fit, the Palace see!
692 "The Temple breathing a religious Awe;
693 " Even fram'd with Elegance the plain Retreat,
694 "The private Dwelling. Certain in his Aim,
695 " Taste, never idly working, saves Expence.
696 "See! SYLVAN SCENES, where Art, alone, pretends
697 " To dress her Mistress, and disclose her Charms:
698 "Such as a POPE in Miniature has shown;
699 " A BATHURST o'er the widening*
* Okely-Woods, near Cirencester. Forest spreads;
700 "And such as form a RICHMOND, CHISWICK, STOWE.
701 "August, around, what PUBLIC WORKS I see!
702 " Lo! stately Streets, lo! Squares that court the Breeze. [Page 38]
703 "In spite of Those to whom pertains the Care,
704 " Ingulphing more than founded Roman Ways,
705 "Lo! ray'd from Cities o'er the brighten'd Land,
706 " Connecting Sea to Sea, the Solid Road.
707 "Lo! the Proud Arch (no vile Exactor's Stand)
708 " With easy Sweep bestrides the chafing Flood.
709 "See! long Canals, and deepen'd Rivers join
710 " Each Part with each, and with the circling Main
711 "The whole enliven'd Isle. Lo! Ports expand,
712 " Free as the Winds and Waves, their sheltering Arms.
713 "Lo! streaming Comfort o'er the troubled Deep,
714 " On every pointed Coast the Light-house tow'rs;
715 "And, by the broad imperious Mole repell'd,
716 " Hark! how the baffled Storm indignant roars. "
717 As thick to View THESE VARIED WONDERS rose,
718 Shook all my Soul with Transport, unassur'd,
719 The VISION broke; And, on my waking Eye,
720 Rush'd the still RUINS of dejected ROME.