Or, an OFFERING to LIBERTY.
Quisnam igitur liber? Sapiens, sibique imperiosus;
Quem neque pauperies, neque mors, neque vincula terrent:
Responsare cupidinibus, contemnere honores
Fortis; et in seipso totus teres atque rotundus.
HOR. Serm. Lib. II. Sat. 7.
1 HAIL LIBERTY! whose presence glads th' abode
2 Of heav'n itself, great attribute of God!
3 By thee sustain'd, th' unbounded spirit runs,
4 Moulds orbs on orbs, and lights up suns on suns;
5 By thee sustain'd, in love unwearied lives,
6 And uncontroul'd creates, supports, forgives:
7 No pow'r, or time, or space his will withstood;
8 Almighty! endless! infinite in good!
9 "If so, why not communicate the bliss,
10 "And let man know what this great blessing is? "
11 Say what proportion, creature, wouldst thou claim;
12 As thy Creator's, in extent, the same![Page 45]
13 Unless his other attributes were join'd
14 To poise the will, and regulate the mind,
15 Goodness to aim, and wisdom to direct,
16 What mighty mischiefs must we thence expect?
17 The maker knows his work; nor judg'd it fit
18 To trust the rash resolves of human wit:
19 Which prone to hurt, too blind to help, is still
20 Alike pernicious, mean it good or ill.
21 A whim, t' improvements making fond pretence,
22 Would burst a system in experiments;
23 Sparrows and cats indeed no more should fear,
24 But Saturn tremble in his distant sphere:
25 Give thee but footing in another world,
26 Say, Archimedes, where should we be hurl'd?
27 A sprightly wit, with liquor in his head,
28 Would burn a globe to light him drunk to bed:
29 Th' Ephesian temple had escap'd the flame,
30 And heaven's high dome had built the madman's fame.
31 The sullen might (when malice boil'd within)
32 Strike out the stars to intimate his spleen:
33 Not poppy-heads had spoke a Tarquin crost;
34 Nature's chief spring had broke, and all been lost.
35 Nor less destructive would this license prove,
36 Tho' thy breast flam'd with universal love.
37 In vain were thy benevolence of soul;
38 Soon would thy folly disconcert the whole.
39 No rains, or snows, should discompose the air;
40 But flow'rs and sun-shine drain the weary year:[Page 46]
41 No clouds should sully the clear face of day;
42 No tempests rise, — to blow a plague away.
43 Mercy should reign untir'd, unstain'd with blood;
44 Spare the frail guilty, — to eat up the good:
45 In their defence, rise, sacred Justice, rise!
46 Awake the thunder sleeping in the skies,
47 Sink a corrupted city in a minute:
48 — Wo! to the righteous ten who may be in it.
49 Pick out the bad, and sweep them all away!
50 — So leave their babes, to cats and dogs a prey.
51 Such pow'r without God's wisdom and his will,
52 Were only an omnipotence of ill.
53 Suited to man can we such pow'r esteem!
54 Fiends would be harmless, if compar'd with him.
55 Say then, shall all his attributes be given?
56 His essence follows, and his throne of heav'n;
57 His very unity. Proud wretch! shall he
58 Un-god himself to make a god of thee?
59 How wide, such lust of liberty confounds!
60 Would less content thee, prudent mark the bounds!
61 "Those which th' almighty Monarch first design'd,
62 "When his great image seal'd the human mind;
63 "When to the beasts the fruitful earth was giv'n;
64 "To fish the ocean, and to birds their heaven;
65 "And all to man: whom full creation, stor'd,
66 "Receiv'd as its proprietor, and lord.
67 "Ere earth, whose spacious tract unmeasur'd spreads,
68 "Was slic'd by acres and by roods to shreds;[Page 47]
69 "When trees and streams were made a general good;
70 "And not as limits, meanly to exclude:
71 "When all to all belong'd; ere pow'r was told
72 "By number'd troops, or wealth by counted gold:
73 "Ere kings, or priests, their tyranny began;
74 "Or man was vassal'd to his fellow-man. "
75 O halcyon state! when man begun to live!
76 A blessing, worthy of a god to give!
77 Who on th' unspotted mind his Maker drew
78 The heav'nly characters, correct and true.
79 All useful knowledge, from that source, supply'd;
80 No blindness sprung from ignorance, or pride:
81 All proper blessings, from that hand, bestow'd;
82 No mischiefs, or for want, or fulness, flow'd:
83 The quick'ning passions gave a pleasing zest;
84 While thankful man submitted to be blest.
85 Simplicity, was wisdom; temperance, health:
86 Obedience, pow'r; and full contentment, wealth.
87 So happy once was man! till the vain elf
88 Shook off his guide, and set up for himself.
89 Smit with the charms of independency,
90 He scorns protection, raging to be free.
91 Now, self-expos'd, he feels his naked state;
92 Shrinks with the blast, or melts before the heat:
93 And blindly wanders, as his fancy leads,
94 To starve on wastes, or feast on pois'nous weeds.
95 Now to the savage beasts an obvious prey;
96 Or crafty men, more savage still than they:[Page 48]
97 No less imprudent to his breast to take
98 The friend unfaithful, or th' envenom'd snake;
99 Equally fatal, whether on the Nile,
100 Or in the city, weeps the crocodile.
101 Nor yet less blindly deviates learned pride;
102 In Aetna burn'd, or drown'd amid the tide:
103 Boasts of superior sense; then raves to see
104 (When contradicted) fools less wise than he.
105 Mates with his great Creator; vainly bold
106 To make new systems, or to mend the old.
107 Shapes out a Deity; doubts, then denies:
108 And drunk with science, curses God and dies.
109 Not heav'nly wisdom, only, is with-held,
110 But the free bounty of the self-sown field:
111 No more, as erst, from Nature's ready feast,
112 Rises the satisfy'd, but temp'rate guest:
113 Cast wild abroad, no happy mean preserves;
114 By choice he surfeits, by constraint he starves:
115 Toils life away upon the stubborn plain,
116 T' extort from thence the slow reluctant grain;
117 The slow reluctant grain, procur'd to-day,
118 His less industrious neighbour steals away:
119 Hence fists and clubs the village-peace confound,
120 Till sword and cannon spread the ruin round;
121 For time and art but bring from bad to worse:
122 Unequal lots succeed unequal force,
123 Each lot a several curse. Hence rich, and poor:
124 This pines, and dies neglected at the door;[Page 49]
125 While gouts and fevers wait the loaded mess,
126 And take full vengeance for the poor's distress.
127 No more the passions are the springs of life;
128 But seeds of vice, and elements of strife:
129 Love, social love, t' extend to all design'd,
130 Back to its fountain flows; to self, confin'd.
131 Source of misfortunes; the fond husband's wrong;
132 The maid dishonour'd, and deserted young!
133 The mischief spreads; when vengeance for the lust
134 Unpeoples realms, and calls the ruin just.
135 Hence, Troy, thy fate! the blood of thousands spilt,
136 And orphans mourning for unconscious guilt.
137 Thus love destroys, for kinder purpose giv'n;
138 And man corrupts the blessings meant by heav'n;
139 Self-injur'd, let us censure HIM no more:
140 Ambition makes us slaves, and av'rice poor.
141 What arts the wild disorder shall controul,
142 And render peace with virtue to the soul?
143 Out-reason interest, ballance prejudice;
144 Give passion ears, and blinded error eyes?
145 Arm the weak hand with conquest, and protect
146 From guile, the heart too honest to suspect?
147 For this, mankind, by sad experience taught,
148 Again their safety in dependence sought:
149 Press'd to the standard, sued before the throne;
150 And durst rely on wisdom not their own.
151 Hence Saturn rul'd in peace th' Ausonian plains,
152 While Salian songs to virtue won the swains,
153 But pois'nous streams must flow from pois'ned springs:
154 The priests were mortal, and mere men the kings.
155 What aid from monarchs, mighty to enslave?
156 What good from teachers, cunning to deceive?
157 Allegiance gives defensive arms away;
158 And faith usurps imperial reason's sway.
159 Let civil Rome, from faithful records, tell
160 What royal blessings from her Nero fell.
161 When those, prefer'd all grievance to redress,
162 Bought of their prince a licence to oppress;
163 When uncorupted merit found no place,
164 But left the trade of honour to the base.
165 See industry, by draining impost curst,
166 Starve in the harvest, in the vintage thirst!
167 In vain for help th' insulted matron cries,
168 'Twas death in husbands to have ears and eyes:
169 Fatal were beauty, virtue, wealth, or fame:
170 No man in aught a property could claim;
171 No, not his sex: strange arts the monster try'd;
172 And Sporus, spight of nature, was his bride.
173 Unhurt by foes proud Rome for ages stands,
174 Secure from all, but her protector's hands.
175 Recall your pow'rs, ye Romans, back again;
176 Unmake the monarch, and ne'er fear the man.
177 Naked and scorn'd, see where the abject flies!
178 And once un-caesar'd, soon the fidler dies.
179 Next holy Rome, thy happiness declare;
180 While peace and truth watch round the sacred chair.[Page 51]
181 Peace! — which from racks and persecution flows!
182 Mysterious truths! — which every sense oppose!
183 That God made man, was all th' unlearn'd could reach;
184 That man makes God th' enlighten'd fathers teach.
185 Men, blind and partial, need a light divine:
186 Which popes new trim, and teach it how to shine.
187 Rude nature dreads accusing guilt, unknown
188 The balmy doctrine, that dead saints atone:
189 The careful pontiff, merciful to save,
190 Hoards up a fund of merit from the grave;
191 And righteous hands the equal balance hold,
192 Nor weigh it out but to just sums of gold.
193 Sole judge, he deals his pardon, or his curse;
194 Not heav'n itself the sentence can reverse:
195 Grac'd with his scepter, aweful with his rod,
196 This man of sin usurps the seat of God;
197 Disarm'd and unador'd th' Almighty lies,
198 And quits to saints his incense, and his skies:
199 No more the object of our fears, or hope;
200 The creature, and the vassal of the pope.
201 "From fanes and cities scar'd, fly swift away!"
202 — To the rude Lybian in his wilds a prey.
203 "The blood-stain'd sword from the fell tyrant wrest!"
204 — Thousands unsheath'd shall threat thy naked breast.
205 "The dogmatists imperious aid disdain!"
206 — So sink in brutish ignorance again.
207 "Is there no medium? must we victims fall
208 "To one man's LUST, or to the RAGE of all?[Page 52]
209 "Is reason doom'd a certain slave to be,
210 "To our blind PASSIONS, or a priest's DECREE? "
211 Hail happy Albion! whose distinguish'd plains
212 This temp'rate mean, so dearly earn'd, maintains!
213 Senates, (the will of individuals check'd)
214 The strength and prudence of the realm collect,
215 Each yields to all; that each may thence receive
216 The full assistance, which the whole can give.
217 For this, thy patriots lawless pow'r withstood,
218 And bought their children's charter with their blood;
219 While reverend years, and various letter'd age,
220 Dispassion'd open the mysterious page;
221 Not one alone the various judgment sways,
222 But prejudice the general voice obeys:
223 For this, thy martyrs wak'd the bloody strife,
224 Asserting truth with brave contempt of life.
225 Oh OXFORD! let deliver'd Briton know
226 From thy fam'd seats her several blessings flow.
227 Th' accouter'd barons, and assisting knights,
228 In thee prepar'd for council, or for fights,
229 Plan'd and obtain'd hera
a By the Oxford provisions, A. D. 1258; at which time the commons are supposed first to have obtained the privilege of representatives in parliament. civil liberty:
230 Truth found her fearlessb[Page 53]
b In the imprisonment, disputes, and sufferings of our first reformers, Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, at Oxford, A. D. 1554-6. witnesses in thee;
231 When, try'd as gold, saints, from thy tott'ring pyres,
232 Rose up to heav'n, Elijah-like, in fires!
233 Peace to thy walls! and honour to thy name!
234 May age to age record thy gathering fame!
235 While thy still favour'd seats pour forth their youth,
236 Brave advocates of liberty and truth!
237 In fair succession rise to bless the realm!
238 Fathers in church, and statesmen at the helm!
239 "But factious synods thro' resentment err;
240 "And venal senates private good prefer:
241 "How wild the faith which wrangling sophs dispose!
242 "The laws how harsh of pension'd aye's and no's! "
243 Wilt thou by no authority be aw'd,
244 Self-excommunicated, self-outlaw'd?
245 Expunge the creed, the decalogue reject?
246 If they oblige not, nor will they protect.
247 You fear no God; — convinc'd by what you say,
248 Knaves praise your wit, and swear your lands away.
249 Corrupt not wives, erase it if you will;
250 The injur'd husband blots out, — do not kill.
251 From God his sabbaths steal, for sport, not need;
252 Why hangs the wretch, who steals thy purse for bread?
253 Or shall each schismatic your faith new mould,
254 Or senates stand by patriot mobs controul'd?
255 Drive back, ye floods! roll, Xanthus, to your spring!
256 Go, crown the people, and subject the king;
257 Break rule to pieces, analyse its pow'r,
258 And every atom to its lord restore:[Page 54]
259 As mixt with knaves, or fools, the weak, or brave,
260 A dupe, a plague, a tyrant, or a slave.
261 "What shall I do; how hit the happy mean
262 "'Twixt blind submission, and unruly spleen? "
263 Consult your watch; you guide your actions by't;
264 And great its use, tho' not for ever right.
265 What tho' some think implicit faith be due,
266 And dine at twelve if their town-clock strike two?
267 Or others bravely squir their watch away,
268 Disdain a guide, and guess the time of day?
269 They guess so lucky, or their parts so great,
270 They come on all affairs, but just too late;
271 You neither choose. Nor trav'ling thro' the street,
272 Correct its hand by ev'ry one you meet;
273 Yet scruple not, if you should find at one
274 It points to six, to set it by the SUN.
275 Aim at the bliss that's suited to thy state,
276 Nor vainly hope for happiness compleat;
277 Some bounds imperfect natures must include,
278 And vice and weakness feel defects of good.
279 Nor is it blind necessity alone:
280 Contriving wisdom, in the whole, we own:
281 And in that wisdom satisfy'd may trust,
282 In its restraints, as merciful, as just.
283 By these thy selfish passions it corrects;
284 By these from wrong thy weakness it protects;
285 In sovereign power thy safety's heaven's design;
286 Some faults permitted, as the scourge of thine.[Page 55]
287 Absurd the wish of all men, if exprest;
288 Each grieves that he's not lord of all the rest.
289 Why then should we complain, or thankless live,
290 Because not blest with more than God can give?
291 Would you be safe from others? 'tis but due,
292 That others also should be safe from you.
293 It is not virtue wakes the clam'rous throng;
294 Each claims th' exclusive privilege, to wrong.
295 When ceaseless faction must embroil the mad;
296 Alike impatient, under A' or Zad.
297 How patriot Cromwell fights for liberty!
298 He shifts the yoke, then calls the nation free.
299 He cannot bear a monarch on the throne;
300 But vindicates his right — to rule alone.
301 Macheath roars out for freedom in his cell;
302 And Tindal wisely would extinguish hell.
303 Macheath's approv'd by all whom Tyburn awes,
304 And trembling guilt gives Tindal's page applause.
305 O sage device, to set the conscience free
306 From dread! he winks; then says that heav'n can't see.
307 Both blindly plan the paradise of fools;
308 Peace without laws, and virtue without rules.
309 Full of the Roman let the school-boy quote,
310 And rant all Lucian's rhapsodies by rote.
311 Gods! shall he tremble at a mortal's nod!
312 His generous soul disdains the tyrant's rod.
313 Forc'd to submit, at last he tastes the fruit;
314 Finds wealth and honours blossom from its root.[Page 56]
315 Would thy young soul be like the Roman free?
316 From Romans paint thy form of LIBERTY:
317 The goddess offers gifts from either hand;
c In this manner they represent LIBERTY on their medals. Th' auspicious bonnet, with the PRAETOR'S wand;
319 The privilege of that would'st thou not miss,
320 Bend, and submit beneath the stroke of this.
321 See Furioso on his keeper frown,
322 Depriv'd the precious privilege to drown;
323 Greatly he claims a right to his undoing;
324 The chains that hold him, hold him from his ruin.
325 Kindly proceed; strict discipline dispense;
326 Till water-gruel low'rs him down to sense.
327 "Why this to me? am I the froward boy,
328 "Or knave to wrong, or madman to destroy? "
329 Will thy denial prove that thou art none!
330 'Tis Newgate's logick: thou art all in one.
331 Blind to their good, to be instructed loth,
d Dryden in All for Love. Men are but children of a larger growth;
333 If no superior force the will controul,
334 Self-love's a villain, and corrupts the soul;
335 Wild and destructive projects fire our brains;
336 We all are madmen, and demand our chains.
337 Know your own sphere, content to be a man;
338 Well pleas'd, to be as happy as you can:
339 Lose not all good, by shunning ills in vain;
340 'Tis wiser to enjoy than to complain.[Page 57]
341 Some evils must attend imperfect states;
342 But discontent new worlds of ills creates.
343 Hush thy complaints, nor quarrel with thy God;
344 If just the stroke, approve and kiss the rod.
345 By man if injur'd, turn thy eyes within;
346 Thou'lt find recorded some unpunish'd sin;
347 Then heav'n acquit: and with regard to man,
348 Coolly th' amount of good and evil scan;
349 If greater evils wait the wish'd redress,
350 Grieve not that thou art free to chuse the less.
351 Unknown to courts, ambition's thirst subdu'd,
352 My lesson is to be obscurely good;
353 In life's still shade, which no man's envy draws,
e Legum idcirco servi sumus, ut liberi esse possimus. CIC. To reap the fruit of government and laws,
355 In fortune's round, as on the globe I know
356 No top, no bottom, no where high or low;
357 Where-ever station'd, heav'n in prospect still,
358 That points to me, the zenith of her wheel.
359 "What! double tax'd, unpension'd, unprefer'd,
360 "In such bad times be easy? most absurd! "
361 Yet heav'n vouchsafes the daily bread intreated;
362 And these bad times have left me free to eat it:
363 My taxes, gladly paid, their nature shift;
364 If just, cheap purchase; if unjust, a gift:
365 Nor knows ambition any rank so great;
366 My servants, kings, and ministers of state![Page 58]
367 They watch my couch, my humble roof defend;
368 Their toil the means, my happiness the end.
369 My freedom to compleat, convinc'd I see
f 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. PLUT. de Audit. Thy service, Heav'n, is perfect LIBERTY.
g 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Ibid. will, conform'd to thy celestial voice,
372 Knows no restraint! for duty is her choice:
373 What ills thou sendest, thankfully approve,
374 As kind corrections, pledges of thy love;
375 In every change, whatever stage I run,
376 My daily wish succeeds; THY WILL BE DONE.