An ODE to MANKIND.
Address'd to the Prince.INTRODUCTION to the PRINCE.
1 NOR me the glories of thy birth engage,
2 With royal names to swell my pompous page:
3 Nor meaner views allure, in soothing lays
4 To court thy favour with officious praise.
5 Yet praise it is, thus to address thine ear
6 In strains no slave dare sing, no tyrant hear;
7 While warm for Britain's rights and nature's laws,
8 I call forth Britain's HOPE in freedom's cause:
9 Assert an empire which to ALL belongs,
10 And vindicate a world's long suffer'd wrongs.
11 These saving truths import thee most to know,
12 The links that tie the mighty to the low;
13 What now, our fellow-subject, is your due,
14 And, when our lord, shall be a debt on you.
15 O! may'st thou to the throne such maxims bring!
16 And feel the free-man while thou reign'st the king.
17 Far hence the tribe, whose servile arts delude,
18 And teach the great to spurn the multitude.
19 Are those unworthy of the royal heir,
20 Who claim the future monarch's duteous care?
21 Still may thy thoughts the godlike task pursue,
22 And to the many ne'er prefer the few!
23 Still mayst thou fly thy fortune's specious friends,
24 Who deal forth sov'reign grace to private ends;
25 In narrow streams divert the copious tide,
26 Exalt one sect, and damn the world beside;
27 While with false lights directing partial rule,
28 The lord of nations falls a party's tool.
29 Such there have been — and such, in truth's despite,
30 Disgrac'd the cause of liberty and right.
31 But thou shalt rise superior to their arts,
32 And fix thy empire in a people's hearts.
[Page 222]To MANKIND: An ODE.
33 Nor hence may faction boast her favour'd claim,
34 Where selfish passions borow virtue's name:
35 Free government alone preserves the free,
36 And righteous rule is gen'ral liberty;
37 Their guiding law is freedom's native voice,
38 The publick good defin'd by publick choice;
39 And justly should the bold offenders fall,
40 Who dare invade the sov'reign rights of all;
41 A king who proudly makes these claims his own,
42 Or they whose rage should shake a lawful throne.
43 From truths like these proceeds a right divine,
44 And may the pow'r that rais'd, preserve thy scepter'd line.
1 IS there, or do the schoolmen dream?
2 Is there on earth a pow'r supreme,
3 The delegate of heav'n?
4 To whom an uncontroul'd command,
5 In ev'ry realm o'er sea and land,
6 By special grace is giv'n?
7 Then say, what signs this god proclaim?
8 Dwells he amidst the diamond's flame,
9 A throne his hallow'd shrine?
10 The borrow'd pomp, the arm'd array,
11 Want, fear, and impotence betray:
12 Strange proofs of pow'r divine!
13 If service due from human kind,
14 To men in slothful ease reclin'd,
15 Can form a sov'reign claim:
16 Hail monarchs! ye, whom heav'n ordains,
17 Our toils unshar'd, to share our gains,
18 Ye ideots, blind and lame!
19 Superior virtue, wisdom, might,
20 Create and mark the ruler's right,
21 So reason must conclude:
22 Then thine it is, to whom belong
23 The wise, the virtuous, and the strong,
24 Thrice sacred multitude!
25 In thee, vast ALL! are these contain'd,
26 For thee are those, thy parts ordain'd,
27 So nature's systems roll:
28 The scepter's thine, if such there be;
29 If none there is, then thou art free,
30 Great monarch! mighty whole!
31 Let the proud tyrant rest his cause
32 On faith, prescription, force, or laws,
33 An host's or senate's voice!
34 His voice affirms thy stronger due,
35 Who for the many made the few,
36 And gave the species choice.
37 Unsanctify'd by thy command,
38 Unown'd by thee, the scepter'd hand
39 The trembling slave may bind.
40 But loose from nature's moral ties,
41 The oath by force impos'd belies
42 The unassenting mind.
43 Thy will's thy rule, thy good its end;
44 You punish only to defend
45 What parent nature gave:
46 And he who dare her gifts invade,
47 By nature's oldest law is made
48 Thy victim or thy slave.
49 Thus reason founds the just decree
50 On universal liberty,
51 Not private rights resign'd:
52 Through various nature's wide extent,
53 No private beings e'er were meant
54 To hurt the gen'ral kind.
55 Thee justice guides, thee right maintains,
56 Th' oppressor's wrong, the pilf'rer's gains,
57 Thy injur'd weal impair.
58 Thy warmest passions soon subside,
59 Nor partial envy, hate, nor pride,
60 Thy temper'd counsels share.
61 Each instance of thy vengeful rage,
62 Collected from each clime and age,
63 Tho' malice swell the sum,
64 Would seem a spotless scanty scroll,
65 Compar'd with Marius' bloody roll,
66 Or Sylla's hippodrome.
67 But thine has been imputed blame,
68 Th' unworthy few assume thy name,
69 The rabble weak and loud;
70 Or those who on thy ruins feast,
71 The lord, the lawyer, and the priest;
72 A more ignoble crowd.
73 Avails it thee, if one devours,
74 Or lesser spoilers share his pow'rs,
75 While both thy claim oppose?
76 Monsters who wore thy sully'd crown,
77 Tyrants who pull'd those monsters down,
78 Alike to thee were foes.
79 Far other shone fair Freedom's hand,
80 Far other was th' immortal stand,
81 When Hampden fought for thee:
82 They snatch'd from rapine's gripe thy spoils,
83 The fruits and prize of glorious toils,
84 Of arts and industry.
85 On thee yet foams the preacher's rage,
86 On thee fierce frowns th' historian's page,
87 A false apostate train:
88 Tears stream adown the martyr's tomb;
89 Unpity'd in their harder doom,
90 Thy thousands strow the plain.
91 These had no charms to please the sense.
92 No graceful port, no eloquence,
93 To win the Muse's throng:
94 Unknown, unsung, unmark'd they lie;
95 But Caesar's fate o'ercasts the sky,
96 And Nature mourns his wrong.
97 Thy foes, a frontless band, invade;
98 Thy friends afford a timid aid,
99 And yield up half thy right.
100 Ev'n Locke beams forth a mingled ray,
101 Afraid to pour the flood of day
102 On man's too feeble sight.
103 Hence are the motly systems fram'd,
104 Of right transfer'd, of power reclaim'd;
105 Distinctions weak and vain.
106 Wise Nature mocks the wrangling herd;
107 For unreclaim'd, and untransfer'd,
108 Her pow'rs and rights remain.
109 While law the royal agent moves,
110 The instrument thy choice approves,
111 We bow through him to you.
112 But change, or cease th' inspiring choice,
113 The sov'reign sinks a private voice,
114 Alike in one, or few!
115 Shall then the wretch, whose dastard heart
116 Shrinks at a tyrant's nobler part,
117 And only dares betray;
118 With reptile wiles, alas! prevail,
119 Where force, and rage, and priest-craft fail,
120 To pilfer pow'r away?
121 O! shall the bought, and buying tribe,
122 The slaves who take, and deal the bribe,
123 A people's claims enjoy!
124 So Indian murd'rers hope to gain
125 The pow'rs and virtues of the slain,
126 Of wretches they destroy.
127 "Avert it, heav'n! you love the brave,
128 "You hate the treach'rous, willing slave,
129 "The self-devoted head.
130 "Nor shall an hireling's voice convey
131 "That sacred prize to lawless sway,
132 "For which a nation bled. "
133 Vain pray'r, the coward's weak resource!
134 Directing reason, active force,
135 Propitious heaven bestows.
136 But ne'er shall flame the thund'ring sky,
137 To aid the trembling herd that fly
138 Before the weaker foes.
139 In names there dwell no magick charms,
140 The British virtues, British arms
141 Unloos'd our fathers' band:
142 Say, Greece and Rome! if these shou'd fail,
143 What names, what ancestors avail,
144 To save a sinking land?
145 Far, far from us such ills shall be,
146 Mankind shall boast one nation free,
147 One monarch truly great:
148 Whose title speaks a people's choice,
149 Whose sovereign will a people's voice,
150 Whose strength a prosp'rous state.