Page images
PDF
EPUB

And customs of her own, till sabbath rites
Have dwindled into unrespected forms,
And knees and hassocks are well nigh divorced.

God made the country, and man made the town.
What wonder then that health and virtue, gists,
That can alone make sweet the bitter draught,
That life holds out to all, should most abound
And least be threatened in the fields and groves ?
Possess ye therefore, ye who, borne about
In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue
But that of idleness, and taste no scenes
But such as art contrives, possess ye still
Your element; there only can ye shine;
There only minds like yours can do no harm.
Our groves were planted to console at noon
The pensive wanderer in their shades. At eve
The moon-beam, sliding softly in between
The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish,
Birds warbling all the music. We can spare
The splendour of your lamps; they but eclipse
Our softer satellite. Your songs confound
Our more harmonious notes: the thrush departs
Scared, and the offended nightingale is mute.
There is a public mischief in your mirth;
It plagues your country. Folly such as your's,
Graced with a sword, and worthier of a fan,
Has made, what enemies could never have done,
Our arch of empire, stedfast but for you,
A mutilated structure, soon to fall.

BOOK II.

THE TIME-PIECE.

The Argument.

Reflections suggested by the conclusion of the former "book.

-Peace among the nations recommended, on the ground of their common fellowship in sorrow.- Prodigies enumerated.-Sicilian earthquakes.--Man rendered obnoxious to these calamities by sin.-God the agent in them.com The philosophy that stops at secondary causes reproved. Our own late miscarriages accounted for. ---Satirical notice taken of our trips to Fontain bleau.--But the pulpit, not satire, the proper engine of reformation. The Reverend Advertiser of engraved sermons.-- Petit-maitre Parson. The good preacher. --Pictures of a theatrical clerical cox conib.--Story-tellers and jesters in the pulpit reproved. Apostrophe to popular applause.Retailers of ancient philosophy expostulated with. Sum of the whole matter. --- Effects of sacerdotal mismanagement on the laity.-Their folly and extravagance. The mischiefs of profusion. -Profusion itself, with all its consequent evils,' ascribed, as to its principal cause, to the want of discipline in the universities,

Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness, Some boundless contiguity of shade, 1There rumour of oppression and deceit,

Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more. My ear is painedy
My soul is sick, with every day's report
Of wrong and outrage, with which earth is filled.
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart,
It does not feel for man; the natural bond
Of brotherhood is gevered as the flax,
That falls agunder at the touch of fire.
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not coloured like his own; and having power
To enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as a lawful

prey.
Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Abhor each other. Mountains interposed
Make enemies of nations, who hnd else ·
Like kindred drops been ming!ed into one,
Thus man devotes his brother, aud destroys;
And, worse than all, and most to be deplored
As human nature's broadest, fouieso blot,
Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat.
With stripes, that mercy with a bleeding heart
Weeps, wben she sees inficted on a beast.
Then what is man? And what man, secing this,
And having human feelings, does not blush,
And hang his head, to think bimself a man?
I would not have a slave të till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And treinble when I wake, for all the wealth,
That sinews bought and sold have ever earned.
No: dear as freedom is, and in my

heart's

Just estimation prized above all price,
I had much rather be myself the slave,
And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him.
We have no slaves at home. -Then why abroad?
And they themselves once ferried over the wave,
That parts us, are emancipate and loosed.
Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free;
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That is noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through every vein
Of all your empire; that where Britain's power
Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.

Sure there is need v social intercourse,
Benevolence, and peace, and mutual aid,
Between the nations in a world, that seems
To toll the death-bell of its own decease,
And by the voice of all its elements
To preach the general doom*. When were the

winds Let slip with such a warrant to destroy ? When did the waves so haughtily overleap Their ancient barriers, deluging the dry? Fires from beneath, and meteors + froni above, Portentous, unexampled, unexplained, Have kindled beacons in the skies; and the old And

crazy earth has had her shaking fits

* Alluding to the calamities in Jamaica.
† August 18, 1783.

More frequent, and foregone her usual rest.
Is it a time to wrangle, when the props
And pillars of our plannet seem to fail,
And nature * with a dim and sickly eye
To wait the close of all? But grant her end
More distant, and that prophecy demands
A longer respite, unaccomplished yet;
Still they are frowning signals, and bespeak
Displeasure in his breast, who smites the earth
Or heals it, makes it languish or rejoice.
And 'tis but seemly, that, where all deserve
And stand exposed by common peccancy
To what no few have felt, there should be peace,
And brethren in calamity should love.

Alas for Sicily! rude fragments now
Lie scattered, where the shapely column stood.
Her palaces are dust. In all her streets
The voice of singing and the sprightly chord
Are silent. Revelry, and dance, and show
Suffer a syncope and solemn pause;
While God performs upon the trembling stage
Of his own works his dreadful part alone.
How does the earth receive him?-With what signs
Of gratulation and delight her king?
Pours she not all ber choicest fruits abroad,
Her sweetest flowers, her aromatic gums,
Disclosing paradise wherever he treads ?

* Alluding to the fog that covered both Europe and Asia diring the whole summer of 1783.

« PreviousContinue »