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And the weak soul, within itself unbless'd,
To men of other minds my fancy flies,
The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,
Thus, while around, the wave-subjected soil
Heavens! how unlike their Belgick sires of
Fired 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 famed Hydaspis glide; There all around the gentlest breezes stray, There gentle musick melts on every spray; Creation's mildest charms are there combined; Extremes are only in the master's mind; Stern o'er each bosom Reason holds her state, With daring aims irregularly great; Pride in their port, defiance in their eye, I see the lords of human kind pass by; Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band, By forms unfashion'd fresh from nature's hand; Fierce in their native hardiness of soul, True to imagined right, above control; While e'en the peasant boasts these rights to scan, And learns to venerate himself as man.
Thine, freedom, thine the blessings pictured here, Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear; Too bless'd, indeed, were such without alloy; But, foster'd e'en by freedom, ills annoy; That independence, Britons prize too high, Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie;
The self-dependent lordlings stand alone,
Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay,
charms, The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms, Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame, Where kings have toil'd, and poets wrote for
fame, 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,
Far from my bosom drive the low desire!
And thou, fair freedom, taught alike to feel
The rabble's rage, and tyrant's angry steel;
Thou transitory flower, alike undone
By proud contempt, or favour's fostering sun,
Still may thy blooms the changeful clime endure,
I only would repress them, to secure:
For just experience tells, in every soil,
That those who think, must govern those who toil;
And all that freedom's highest aims can reach,
Is but to lay proportion'd loads on each.
Hence, should one order disproportion'd grow,
Its double weight must ruin all below.
O then how blind to all that truth requires, Who think it freedom when a part aspires! 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;