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While the pent ocean, rising o'er the pile,
Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile;
The slow canal, the yellow-blossom'd vale,
And industry begets a love of gain.
The needy sell it, and the rich man buys;
Here wretches seek dishonourable graves,
And calmly bent, to servitude conform,
Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm.
Heavens! how unlike their Belgic sires of old; Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold; War in each breast, and freedom on each brow.... How much unlike the sons of Britain now!
Fir'd at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, And flies where Britain courts the western spring; Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, And brighter streams than fam'd Hydaspes glide; There all around the gentlest breezes stray, There gentle music melts on every spray; Creation's mildest charms are there combin'd....
Extremes are only in the master's mind!
Stern o’er each bosóm Reason holds her state,
With daring aims irregularly great;
Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
True to imagin'd right, above controul,
While e'en the peasant boasts these rights to scan, And learns to venerate himself as man.
Thine, Freedom, thine the blessings pictur'd here;
Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear.
Too blest indeed, were such without alloy;
All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown.
Here, by the bonds of nature feebly held,
Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay,
Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law,
Hence all obedience bows to these alone,
And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown;
One sink of level avarice shall lie,
And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonour'd die.
Yet think not, thus when Freedom's ills I state,
I mean to flatter kings, or court the great:....
Ye powers of truth, that bid my soul aspire,
I only would repress them, to secure;
For just experience tells, in every soil,
O then how blind to all that truth requires,
Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms,
Except when fast-approaching danger warms:. But when contending chiefs blockade the throne, Contracting regal power to stretch their own;
When I behold a factious band agree
To call it freedom when themselves are free;
Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw,
Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law;
The wealth of climes, where savage nations roam,
Pillag'd from slaves to purchase slaves at home;