VERSES to the People of ENGLAND 1758.
— Mures animos in martia bella
Versibus exacuit. —
1 BRITONS, rouse to deeds of death!
2 Waste not zeal in idle breath,
3 Nor lose the harvest of your swords
4 In a civil-war of words!
5 Wherefore teems the shameless press
6 With labour'd births of emptiness?
7 Reas'nings, which no facts produce,
8 Eloquence, that murders use;
9 Ill-tim'd Humour, that beguiles
10 Weeping idiots of their smiles;
11 Wit, that knows but to defame,
12 And Satire, that profanes the name.
13 Let th' undaunted Grecian teach
14 The use and dignity of speech,
15 At whose thunders nobly thrown
16 Shrunk the MAN of MACEDON. [Page 111]
17 If the storm of words must rise,
18 Let it blast our enemies;
19 Sure and nervous be it hurl'd
20 On the PHILIPS of the world.
21 Learn not vainly to despise
22 (Proud of EDWARD's victories!)
23 Warriors wedg'd in firm array,
24 And navies powerful to display
25 Their woven wings to every wind,
26 And leave the panting foe behind.
27 Give to France the honours due,
28 France has chiefs and statesmen too;
29 Breasts which patriot-passions feel,
30 Lovers of the common-weal.
31 And when such the foes we brave,
32 Whether on the land or wave,
33 Greater is the pride of war,
34 And the conquest nobler far.
35 Agincourt and Cressy long
36 Have flourish'd in immortal song;
37 And lisping babes aspire to praise
38 The wonders of ELIZA's days.
39 And what else of late renown
40 Has added wreaths to Britain's crown;
41 Whether on th' impetuous Rhine
42 She bade her harness'd warriors shine,
43 Or snatch'd the dangerous palm of praise
44 Where the Sambre meets the Maese;
45 Or Danube rolls her watry train;
46 Or the yellow-tressed Mayne[Page 112]
47 Thro' Dettingen's immortal vale —
48 Even Fontenoy could tell a tale,
49 Might modest worth ingenuous speak,
50 To raise a blush on Victory's cheek;
51 And bid the vanquish'd wreaths display
52 Great as on Culloden's day.
53 But glory, which aspires to last,
54 Leans not meanly on the past.
55 'Tis the present now demands
56 British hearts, and British hands.
57 Curst be he, the willing slave,
58 Who doubts, who lingers to be brave.
59 Curst be the coward tongue that dare
60 Breath one accent of despair,
61 Cold as winter's icy hand
62 To chill the genius of the land.
63 Chiefly you, who ride the deep,
64 And bid our thunders wake or sleep,
65 As pity leads, or glory calls —
66 Monarchs of your wooden walls!
67 Midst our mingling seas and skies
68 Rise ye BLAKES, ye RALEIGHS rise!
69 Let the sordid lust of gain
70 Be banish'd from the liberal main.
71 He who strikes the generous blow
72 Aims it at the public foe.
73 Let glory be the guiding star,
74 Wealth and honours follow her.
75 See! she spreads her lustre wide
76 O'er the vast Atlantic tide! [Page 113]
77 Constant as the solar ray
78 Points the path, and leads the way!
79 Other worlds demand your care,
80 Other worlds to Britain dear;
81 Where the foe insidious roves
82 O'er headlong streams, and pathless groves;
83 And justice simple laws confounds
84 With imaginary bounds.
85 If protected commerce keep
86 Her tenor o'er yon heaving deep,
87 What have we from war to fear?
88 Commerce steels the nerves of war;
89 Heals the havock rapine makes,
90 And new strength from conquest takes.
91 Nor less at home O deign to smile,
92 Goddess of Britannia's isle!
93 Thou, that from her rocks survey'st
94 Her boundless realms the watry waste;
95 Thou, that rov'st the hill and mead
96 Where her flocks and heifers feed;
97 Thou, that cheer'st the industrious swain
98 While he strows the pregnant grain;
99 Thou, that hear'st his caroll'd vows
100 When th' expanded barn o'erflows;
101 Thou, the bulwark of our cause,
102 Thou, the guardian of our laws,
103 Sweet Liberty! — O deign to smile,
104 Goddess of Britannia's isle!
105 If to us indulgent heaven
106 Nobler seeds of strength has given,[Page 114]
107 Nobler should the produce be;
108 Brave, yet gen'rous, are the free.
109 Come then, all thy powers diffuse,
110 Goddess of extended views!
111 Ev'ry breast which feels thy flame
112 Shall kindle into martial fame,
113 'Till shame shall make the coward bold,
114 And Indolence her arms unfold:
115 Ev'n Avarice shall protect his hoard,
116 And the plow-share gleam a sword.
117 Goddess, all thy powers diffuse!
118 And thou, genuine BRITISH MUSE,
119 Nurs'd amid stthe Druids old,
120 Where Deva's wizard waters roll'd,
121 Thou, that bear'st the golden key
122 To unlock eternity,
123 Summon thy poetic guard —
124 Britain still has many a bard,
125 Whom, when time and death shall join
126 T' expand the ore, and stamp the coin,
127 Late posterity shall own
128 Lineal to the Muse's throne —
129 Bid them leave th' inglorious theme
130 Of fabled shade, or haunted stream.
131 In the daisy-painted mead
132 'Tis to peace we tune the reed;
133 But when War's tremendous roar
134 Shakes the isle from shore to shore,
135 Every bard of purer fire
136 Tyrtaeus-like should grasp the lyre;[Page 115]
137 Wake with verse the hardy deed,
138 Or in the generous strife like†
† Sir Philip Sidney, mortally wounded in an action near Zutphen, in Guelderland. SIDNEY bleed.