ODE TO LIBERTY.
1 O Goddess, on whose steps attend
2 Pleasure and laughter-loving Health,
3 White-mantled Peace with olive-wand,
4 Young Joy, and diamond-scepter'd Wealth,
5 Blithe Plenty, with her loaded horn,
6 With Science bright-ey'd as the morn,[Page 244]
7 In Britain, which for ages past
8 Has been thy choicest darling care,
9 Who mad'st her wise, and strong, and fair,
10 May thy best blessings ever last.
11 For thee, the pining prisoner mourns,
12 Depriv'd of food, of mirth, of light;
13 For thee pale slaves to galleys chain'd,
14 That ply tough oars from morn to night;
15 Thee the proud Sultan's beauteous train,
16 By eunuchs guarded, weep in vain,
17 Tearing the roses from their locks;
18 And Guinea's captive kings lament,
19 By Christian lords to labour sent,
20 Whipt like the dull, unfeeling ox.
21 Inspir'd by thee, deaf to fond Nature's cries,
22 Stern Brutus, when Rome's Genius loudly spoke,
23 Gave her the matchless filial sacrifice,
24 Nor turn'd, nor trembled at the deathful stroke!
25 And he of later age, but equal fame,
26 Dar'd stab the tyrant, tho' he lov'd the friend.
27 How burnt they
y Leonidas. Spartan with warm patriot-flame,
28 In thy great cause his valorous life to end!
29 How burst Gustavus from the Swedish mine!
30 Like light from chaos dark, eternally to shine.
31 When heaven to all thy joys bestows,
32 And graves upon our hearts — Be free —
33 Shall coward man those joys resign,
34 And dare reverse this great decree?
35 Submit him to some idol-king,
36 Some selfish, passion-guided thing,
37 Abhorring man, by man abhorr'd,
38 Around whose throne stands trembling Doubt,
39 Whose jealous eyes still rowl about,
40 And Murder with his reeking sword?
41 Where trampling Tyranny with Fate
42 And black Revenge gigantic goes:
43 Hark, how the dying infants shriek,
44 How hopeless Age is sunk in woes!
45 Fly, mortals, from that fated land,
46 Tho' rivers roll o'er golden sand:
47 Tho' birds in shades of Cassia sing,
48 Harvests and fruits spontaneous rise,
49 No storms disturb the smiling skies,
50 And each sost breeze rich odours bring.
51 Britannia, watch! — remember peerless Rome,
52 Her high-tower'd head dash'd meanly to the ground;
53 Remember, Freedom's guardian, Grecia's doom,
54 Whom weeping the despotic Turk has bound:
55 May ne'er thy oak-crown'd hills, rich meads and downs,
56 (Fame, Virtue, Courage, Poverty, forgot)[Page 246]
57 Thy peaceful villages, and bufy towns,
58 Be doom'd some death-dispensing tyrant's lot;
59 On deep foundations may thy freedom stand,
60 Long as the surge shall lash thy sea-encircled land.