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Here Truth's collected beams first fill'd his mind,
Ere long to burst in blessings on mankind;
Ere long to shew to Reason's purged eye,
That Nature's first best gift was Liberty."
Proud of this wondrous son, sublime I stood
(While louder surges swell'd my rapid flood);
Then, vain as Niobe, exulting cried,
Ilissus! roll thy fam'd Athenian tide;
Tho' Plato'ssteps oft mark'd thy neighb'ring glade,
Tho' fair Lycaeum lent its awful shade,
Tho' every Academic green impress'd
Its image full on thy reflecting breast,
Yet my pure stream shall boast as proud a name,
And Britain's Isis flow with Attic fame.
Alas! how chang'd! where now that Attic boast? See! Gothic Licence rage o'er all my coast; See I Hydra Faction spread its impious reign, Poison each breast, and madden ev'ry brain: Hence frontless crowds, that, not content to fright The blushing Cynthia from her throne of night,
Blast the fair face of day; and, madly bold,
To Freedom's foes infernal orgies hold;
To Freedom's foes, ah! see the goblet crown'd,
Hear plausive shouts to Freedom's foes resound;
The horrid notes my refluent waters daunt,
The Echoes groan, the Dryads quit their haunt j
Learning, that once to all diffus'd her beam,
Now sheds, by stealth, a partial private gleam
In some loan cloister's melancholy shade,
Where a firm few support her sickly head,
Despis'd, insulted, by the barb'rous train, [plain,
Who scour, like Thracia's moon-struck rout, the
Sworn foes, like them, to all the Muse approves,
All Phoebus favours, or Minerva loves.
Are these the sons my fost'ring breast must rear,
Grac'd with my name, and nurtur'd by my care?
Must these go forth from my maternal hand
To deal their insults through a peaceful land;
And boast, while Freedom bleeds, and Virtue
groans, That " Isis taught Rebellion to her sonsi"
Forbid it, Heaven! arid let my rising waves
Indignant swell, and whelm the recreant slaves!
In England's cause their patriot floods employ,
As Xanthus delug'd in the cause of Troy.
Is this denied; then "point some secret way
Where far, far hence these guiltless streams may
Some unknown channel lend, where Nature
Inglorious vales, and unfrequented meadst
There, where a hind scarce tunes his rustic strain,
Where scarce a pilgrim treads the pathless plain,
Content I'll flow; forget that e'er my tide
Saw yon majestic structures crown its side;
Forget that e'er my rapt attention hung
Or on the sage's or the poet's tongue;
Calm and resign'd my humbler lot embrace,
And, pleas'd, prefer oblivion to disgrace.
OCCASIONED BY " ISIS," AN ELEGT.
Quid mihi nescio quam, proprio cum Tybride, Roman)
Semper in ore geris? Referunt si vera parentes,
[lane Urbein insano nullus qui Marte petivir,
Lartatus violasse redit. Nee Numina Sedem
Vj N closing flow'rs when genial gales diffuse
The fragrant tribute of refreshing dews;
When chants the milk-maid at her balmy pail,
And weary reapers whistle o'er the vale;
Charm'd by the murmurs of the quivering shade,
O'er Isis* willow-fringed banks I stray'd:
And calmly musing through the twilight way,
In pensive mood I fram'd the Doric lay.
When, lo! from op'ning clouds a golden gleam
Pour'd sudden splendors o'er the shadowy stream;
And from the wave arose its guardian queen,
Known by her sweeping stole of glossy green;
While in the coral crown that bound her brow
Was wove the Delphic laurel's verdant bough.
As the smooth surface of the dimply flood
The silvcr-slipper'd virgin lightly trod;
From her loose hair the dropping dew she press'd,
And thus mine ear in accents mild address'd:
No more, my son, the rural reed employ,
Nor trill the tinkling strain of empty joy;
No more thy love-resounding sonnets suit
To notes of pastoral pipe or oaten flute.
For hark! high-thron'd on yon majestic walls,
To the dear Muse afflicted Freedom calls:
When Freedom calls, and Oxford bids thee sing,
Why stays thy hand to strike the sounding string?
While thus, in Freedom's and in Phoebus' spite,
The venal sons of slavish Cam unite;
To shake yon towers when malice rears her crest,
Shall all my sons in silence idly rest?