Page images
PDF
EPUB

Diff'ring in language, manners, or in face,
Might feel themselves allied to all the race.
When Cook-lamented, and with tears as just
As ever mingled with heroick dust,
Steer'd Britain's oak into a world unknown,
And in his country's glory sought his own,
Wherever he found man, to naturo true,
The rights of man were sacred in his view;
He sooth'd with gifts, and greeted with a smile,
The simple native of the new-found isle ;

30
He spurn'd the wretch that slighted or withstood
The tender argument of kindred blood,
Nor would endure that any should control
His freeborn brethren of the southern pole.

But though some nobler minds a law respect, 35 That none shall with impunity neglect, In baser souls unnumber'd evils meet, To thwart its influence and its end defeat. While Cook is lov'd for savage lives he sav'd, See Cortez odious for a world enslav'd !

40 Where wast thou then, sweet Charity! where then Thou tutelary friend of helpless men; Wast thou in monkish cells and nunn'ries found, Or building hospitals on English ground? No.—Mammon makes the world his legatee 45 Through fear, not love : and Heav'n abhors the fee • ' Wherever found, (and all men need thy care,) Nor age nor infancy could find thee there. The hand that slew till it could slay no moro, Was glued to the sword hilt with Indian gore. 50 Their prince, as justly scated on luis throne, As vain imperial Philip on his own, Trick'd out of all his royalty by art, That stripp'd him bare, and broke his honest heart, Died by the sentence of a shaven priest,

55 For scorning what they taught him to detest. How dark the veil that intercepts the blaze Of Heav'n's mysterious purposes and ways •

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

God stood not, though he seem'd to stand, aloof;
And at this hour the conqu’ror feels the proof;
The wreath he won drew down an instant curse,
The fretting plague is in the publick purse,
The canker'd spoil corrodes the pining state,
Starv'd by that indolence their mines create.

O could their ancient Incas rise again,
How would they take up Israel's taunting strain !
Art thou too fall'n, Iberia ? Do we see
The robber and the murderer weak as we ?
Thou, that hast wasted earth, and dar'd despise
Alike the wrath and mercy of the skies,
Thy pomp is in the grave, thy glory laid
Low in the pits thine avarice has made.
We come with joy from our eternal rest,
To see th’ oppressor in his turn oppress'd.
Art thou the god, the thunder of whose hand
Rollid over all our desolated land,
Shook principalities and kingdoms down,
And made the mountains tremble at his frown?
The sword shall light upon thy boasted pow'rs,
And waste them, as thy sword has wasted ours.
'Tis thus Omnipotcnce his law fulfils,
And Vengeance executes what Justice wills.

Again-the band of commerce was design'd
T'associate all the branches of mankind.;
And if a boundless plenty be the robe,
Trade is the golden girdle of the globe.
Wise to promote whatever end he means,
God opens fruitful nature's various scenes .
Each climate needs what other climes produce,
And offers something to the gen’ral use;
No land but listens to the common call,
And in return receives supply from all.
This genial intercourse, and mutual aid,
Cheers what were else a universa! shade,
Calls nature from her ivy-mantled den,
And softens human rock-work into men.

80

83

90

95

Ingenious Art, with her expressive face,
Steps forth to fashion and refine the race ;
Not only fills necessity's demand,
But overcharges her capacious hand:

100
Capricious taste itself can crave no more
Than she supplies from her abounding store.
She strikes out all that luxury can ask,
And gains new vigour at her endless task.
Her's is the spacious arch, the shapely spire, 105
The painter's pencil, and the poet's lyre ;
From her the canvass borrows light and share,
And verse, more lasting, hues that never fade.
She guides the finger o'er the dancing keys,
Gives difficulty all the grace of ease,

110 And pours a torrent of sweet notes around, Fast as the thirsting ear can drink the sound.

These are the gifts of Art, and Art thrives most
Where Commerce has enrich'd the busy coast.
He catches all improvements in his flight,

115 Spreads foreign wonders in his country's sight. Imports what others have invented well, And stirs his own to match them, or excel. 'Tis thus reciprocating, each with each, Alternately the nations learn and teach;

120 While Providence enjoins to ev'ry soul A union with the vast terraqueous whole.

Heav'n speed the canvass, gallantly unfurl'd
To furnish and accommodate a world,
To give the pole the produce of the sun,

193
And knit th' unsocial climates into one-
Soft airs and gentle heavings of the wave
Impel the fleet, whose errand is to save,
To succour wasted regions, and replace
The smile of Opulence in Sorrow's face.-
Let nothing adverse, nothing unforescen,
Impede the bark, that ploughs the deep serene.
Charg'd with a freight, transcending in its worth
The gems of India, Nature's rarest birth,
Vol. I

10

130

That flics, like Gabriel on his Lord's comniands, 135
A herald of God's love to pagan lands.
But ah! what wish can prosper, or what pray'r,
For merchants rich in cargoes of despair,
Who drive a loathsome traffick, gauge,

and

span, And buy the muscles and the bones of man? 140 The tender ties of father, husband, friend, All bonds of nature in that moment end ; And each endures, while yet he draws his breath, A stroke as fatal as the scythe of death. The sable warriour, frantick with regret

145 Of her he loves, and never can forget, Loses in tears the far-receding shore, But not the thought, that they must meet no more ; Depriv'd of her and freedom at a blow, What has he left, that he can yet forego ? 150 Yes, to deep sadness sullenly resign'd, He feels his body's bondage in his mind; Puts off his gen'rous nature ; and, to suit His manners with his fate, puts on the brute. O most degrading of all ills, that wait

155 On man, a mourner in his best estate ! All other sorrows Virtue may endure, And find submission more than half a cure, Grief is itself a med'cino, and bestow'd T' improve the fortitude that bears the load, 160 To teach the wand'rer, as his woes increase, The path of Wisdom, all whose paths are peace ; But slav'ry !–Virtue dreads it as her grave: Patience itself is meanness in a slavc; Or if the will and soy'reignty of God

165 Bid suffer it awhile, and kiss the rod, Wait for the dawning of a brighter day, And snap the chain the moment when you may. Nature imprints upon whate’er we see, That has a heart and life in it, Be free:

176 The beasts are charter'd-neither age nor force Can quell the love of free join in a horse :

190

He breaks tho cord, that held him at the rack;
And conscious of an unencumber'd back,
Snuffs up the morning air, forgets the rein ;

175 Loose fly his forelock and his ample mane; Responsive to the distant neigh he neighs ; Nor stops till, overlcaping all delays, lle finds the pasture where his fellows graze.

Canst thou, and honour'd with a Christian name, Buy what is woman born, and feel no shame ; 181 Trade in the blood of innocence, and plead Expedience as a warrant for the deed ? So may the wolf, whom famine has made bold To quit the forest and invade the fold :

185
So may the ruffian, who with ghostly glide,
Dagger in hand, steals close to your bedside ;
Not he, but his emergence, forc'd the door,
He found it inconvenient to be poor.
Has God then giv'n its sweetness to the cane,
Unless his laws be trampled on-in vain ?
Built a praye world, which cannot yet subsist,
Unless his right to rule it be dismiss'd ?
Impudent blasphemy! So Folly pleads,
And Ay'rice being judge, with ease succeeds. 195

But grant the plea, and let it stand for just,
That man makes man his prey, because he must ;
Still there is room for pity to abate
And sooth the sorrows of so sad a state.
A Briton knows, or if he knows it not,

200
The scripture plac'd within his reach, he ought,
That souls have no discriminating hue,
Alike important in their Maker's view;
That none are free from blemish since the fall,
And Love dirine has paid one price for all. 205
The wretch that works and weeps without relief,
Has one that notices his silent grief.
He, from whose hands alono all pow'r proceeds,
Ranks its abuse among the foulest deeds,

« PreviousContinue »