Page images


Man made for kings ! those optics are but dim
That tell you so—say rather, they for him.

Oh ! bright occasions of dispensing good,
How seldom used, how little understood !

in virtue's lap her just reward,
Keep vice restrain'd behind a double guard ;
To quell the faction that affronts the throne,
By silent magnanimity alone ;
To nurse with tender care the thriving arts,
Watch every beam philosophy imparts ;
To give religion her unbridled scope,
Nor judge by statute a believer's hope ;
With close fidelity and love unfeign'd,
To keep the matrimonial bond unstain'd ;
Coveteous only of a virtuous praise,
His life a lesson to the land he sways ;
To touch the sword with conscientious awe,
Nor draw it but when duty bids hirn draw,
To sheath it in the peace-restoring close,
With joy, beyond what victory bestows-
Blest country! where these kingly glories shine,
Blest England I if this happiness be thine.

A. Your smooth eulogium, to one crown address'd,
Seems to imply a censure on the rest.
Kings then at last have but the lot of all,
By their own conduct they must stand or fall.

B. True, While they live, the courtly laureate pays His quit-rent ode, his pepper-corn of praise, And many a dunce whose fingers itch to write, Adds, as he can, his tributary mite ; A subject's faults, a subject may proclaim, A monarch's errors are forbidden game.

I pity kings whom worship waits upon Obsequious, from the cradle to the throne, Before whose iufant eyes the flatt'rer bows,


And binds a wreath about their baby brows.
Whom education stiffens into state,
And death awakens from that dream too late,
If the gilt carriage and the pamper'd steed,
That wants no driving and disdains the lead ;
If guards, mechanically form'd in ranks,
Playing, at beat of drum, their martial pranks ;
Should'ring and standing as if struck to stone,
While condescending majesty looks on;
If monarchy consist in such base things,
Sighing, I say again, I pity kings !
A. Thus men whose thoughts contemplative have

On situations that they never felt,
Start up sagacious, cover'd with the dust
Of dreaining study and pedantic rust,
And prate and preach about what others prove,
As if the world and they were hand and glove.
Leave kingly backs to cope with kingly cares,
They have their weight to carry, subjects theirs ;
Poets, of all men, ever least regret
Increasing taxes and the nation's debt.
Could you contrive the payment, and rehearse
The mighty plan, oracular, in verse,
No bard, howe'er majestic, old or new,
Should claim my fixt attention more than you.
Or tell me if you can, what pow'r maintains
A Briton's scorn of arbitrary chains ?
That were a theme might animate the dead,
And move the lips of poets cast in lead.

B. The cause, tho' worth the search, may yet elude
Conjecture and remark, however shrewd.
They take, perhaps, a well-directed aim,
Who seek it in his cliinate and his frame,
Lib'ral in all things else, yet nature here

With stern severity deals out the year.
Winter invades the spring, and often pours
A chilling flood on summer's drooping flow'rs,
Unwelcome vapours quench autumnal beams,
Ungenial blasts attending, curl the streams,
The peasants urge their harvest, ply the fork
With double toil, and shiver at their work,
Thus with a rigour, for his good design'd,
She rears her fav’rite man of all mankind.
His form robust, and of elastic tone,
Proportion'd well, half muscle and half bone,
Supplies with warm activity and force
A mind well lodged, and masculine of course.
Hence liberty, sweet liberty inspires,
And keeps alive his fierce but noble fires.
Patient of constitutional control,
He bears it with meek nianliness of soul,
But if authority grow wanton, woe
To him that treads upon his free-born toe.
One step beyond the bound'ry of the laws
Fires him at once in freedom's glorious cause.
O liberty ! the pris'ner's pleasing dream,
The poet's muse, his passion and his theme,
Genius is thine, and thou art fancy's nurse,
Lost without thee th' ennobling pow'rs of verse,
Heroic song from thy free touch acquires
Its clearest tone, the rapture it inspires ;
Place me where winter breathes its keenest air,
And I will sing it liberty be there ;
And I will sing at liberty's dear feet,
In Afric's torrid clime, or India's fiercest heat.

A. Sing where you please, in such a cause I graut
An English Poet's privilege to rant,
But is not freedom, at least is not ours
Too apt to play the wanton with her pow'rs,

Grow freakish, and o'erleaping ev'ry mound,
Spread anarchy and terror all

around ?
B. Agreed. But would you sell or slay your horse
For bounding and curveting in his course;
Or, if, when ridden with a careless rein,
He break away, and seek the distant plain ?
No. His high mettle under good control,
Gives him Olympic speed, and shoots him to the goal.

Incomparable gem ! thy worth untold, Cheap, though blood-bought, and thrown away when



May no foes ravish thee, and no false friend
Betray thee, while professing to defend ;
Prize it, ye ministers, ye monarchs spare,
Ye patriots guard it with a miser's care.

À, Patriots, alas ! the few that have been found
Where most they flourish, upon English ground,
The country's need have scantily supplied,
And the last left the scene, when Chatham died.

B. Not so—the virtue still adorns our age,
Though the chief actor died upon the stage.

Such men are raised to station and command,
When Providence means mercy to a land.
He speaks, and they appear; to him they owe
Skill to direct, and strength to strike the blow,
To manage with address, to seize with power
The crisis of a dark decisive hour.

Poor England ! thou art a devoted deer,
Beset with ev'ry ill but that of fear.
The nations hunt; all mark thee for a prey,
They swarm around thee, and thou stand'st at bay.
Undaunted still, though wearied and perplex’d,
Once Chatham saved thee, but who saves thee next?
Alas! the tide of pleasure sweeps along
All that should be the boast of British song.


'Tis not the wreath that once adorn'd the brow,
The prize of happier times will serve thee now.
Our ancestry, a gallant Christian race,
Patterns of ev'ry virtue, ev'ry grace,
Confess'd a God, they kneel'd before they fought,
And praised Him in the victories He wrought.
Now from the dust of ancient days bring forth
Their sober zeal, integrity, and worth ;
Courage, ungraced by these, affronts the skies,
Is but the fire without the sacrifice.
The stream that feeds the well-spring of the heart
Not more invigorates life's noblest part,
Than virtue quickens with a warmth divine,
The pow'rs that sin has brought to a decline.



Pensantur trutina.

HOR. Lib. ii. Ep. i.


His ship half founder'd and his compass lost,
Sees, far as human optics may command,
A sleeping fog, and fancies it dry land:
Spreads all his canvas, ev'ry sinew plies,
Pants for it, aims at it, enters it, and dies.
Then farewell all self-satisfying schemes,
His well-built systems, philosophic dreams,
Deceitful views of future bliss, farewell !
He reads his sentence at the flames of hell.

Oh, how unlike the complex works of man,
Heaven's easy, artless, unencumber'd plan!
No meretricious graces to beguile,
No clust'ring ornaments to clog the pile,

« PreviousContinue »