Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

735

It is not seemly, nor of good report,
That she is slack in discipline ; more prompt

730
T'avenge than to prevent the breach of law:
That she is rigid in denouncing death
On petty robbers, and indulges life,
And liberty, and ofttimes honour too,
To peculators of the public gold :
That thieves at home must hang ; but he that puts
Into his overgorg'd and bloated purse
The wealth of Indian provinces, escapes.
Nor is it well, nor can it come to good,
That, through profane and infidel contempt 740
Of holy writ, she has presum'd t' annul
And abrogate, as roundly as she may,
The total ordinance and will of God;
Advancing Fashion to the post of Truth,
And centring all authority in modes

745 And customs of her own, till sabbath rites Have dwindled into unrespected forms, And knees and hassocks are well-nigh divorc'd.

God made the country, and man made the town. What wonder then that health and virtue, gifts 750 That can alone make sweet the bitter draught That life holds out to all, should most abound And least be threaten'd in the fields and groves ? Possess ye, therefore, ye who, borne about In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue

755 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 760 The pensive wand'rer 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 musick. We can spare The splendour of your lamps; they but eclipse 7.65 Our softer satellite. Your songs confound

Our more harmonious notes: the thrush departs
Scar'd, and th' offended nightingale is mute.
There is a publick mischief in your mirth;
It plagues your country. Folly such as yours,
Grac'd with a sword, and worthier of a fan,
Has made, what enemies could ne'er have done,
Our arch of empire, steadfast but for you,
A mutilated structure soon to fall.

770

[blocks in formation]

ARGUMENT OF THE SECOND BOOK. 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 sinGod the agent in them-The philosophy that stops at secondary causes reproved-Our own late miscarriages accounted for Satirical notice taken of our trips to Fontainbleau-But the pulpit, not satire, the proper engine of reformation - The Revorend Advertiser of engraved sermons-Petit-maitre parson- The good preacher-Picture of a theatrical clerical coxcomb-Storytellers and jesters in the pulpit reproved-Apostrophe to popular applause-- Retailers of ancient philosophy expostulated withSum of the whole matter-Effects of sacerdotal mismanagement on the laity—Their folly and extravagance_The mischiefs of profusion-Profasion itself, with all its consequent evils, ascribed, as to its principal cause, to the want of discipline in the universities.

O FOR a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more ! My ear is pain'd,
My soul is sick with ev'ry day's report
Of wrong and outrage with which earth is fill'd.
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart;
It does not feel for man; the natural bond
Of brotherhood is sever'd, as the flax,

10

That falls asunder at the touch of fire.
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not colour'd like his own; and having pow'r
T' enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as a lawful prey.

15
Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Abhor each other. Mountains interpos’d
Make enemies of nations, who had else
Like kindred drops been mingled into one.
Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys; 20
And worse than all, and most to be deplor'd,
As human nature's broadest, foulest blot,
Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat
With stripes, that Mercy with a bleeding heart,
Weeps when she sees inflicted on a beast.

25 Then what is man? And what man, seeing this, And having human feelings, does not blush, And hang his head, to think himself a man? I would not have a slave to till my ground, To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,

30 And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth That sinews bought and sold have ever earn'd. No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's Just estimation priz'd above all price, I had much rather be myself the slave,

35 And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him. We have no slaves at home.--Then why abroad? And they themselves, once ferried o'er the wave That parts us, are emancipate and loos’d., Slaves cannot breathe in England ; if their lungs 40 Receive our air, that moment they are free ; They touch our country, and their shackles fall. That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud And jealous of the blessing. Spread it, then, And let it circulate through ev'ry vein

45 Of all your empire : that, where Britain's pow'r Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.

Sure there is need of social intercourse,

Benevolence, and peace, and mutual aid,
Between the nations, in a world that seems 50
To toll the death-bell of its own decease,
And by the voice of all its elements
To preach the gen'ral doom.* When were the winds
Let slip with such a warrant to destroy ?
When did the waves so haughtily o'erleap

55
Their ancient barriers, deluging the dry?
Fires from beneath, and meteorst from above,
Portentous, unexampled, unexplain'd,
Have kindled beacons in the skies; and th' old
And crazy Earth has had her shaking fits

60 More frequent, and foregone her usual rest. Is it a time to wrangle, when the props And pillars of our planet seem to fail, And Nature with a dim and sickly eyef To wait the close of all ? But grant her end 65 More distant, and that prophecy demands A longer respite, unaccomplish'd 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 expos'd 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

75 Lie scatter'd, where the shapely columns 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 ;

80 While God performs upon the trembling stage Of his own works his dreadful part alone. How does the earth receive him ? with what signs * Alluding to the calamities in Jamaica.

August, 18, 1783. 1. Alluding to the fog that covered both Europe and Asia during the whole summer of 1783.

« AnteriorContinuar »