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Complain not if attachinents lewd and base Unworthy of the blessings of the brave,
Is base in kind, and born to be a slave.
But let eternal infamy pursue From vicious inmates and delights impure,
The wretch to nought but his ambition true, Either his gratitude shall hold him fast,
Who, for the sake of filling with one blast And keep him warm and filial to the last ;
The post-horns of all Europe, lays her waste. Or, if he prove unkind (as who can say
Think yourself station'd on a tow'ring rock,
With all the savage thirst a tiger feels;
The globe and sceptre in such hands misplicid, Or throw them up to liv'ry-nags and grooms, Those ensigns of dominion, how disgrac'd ! Or turn them into shops and auction-rooms ? The glass, that bids man mark the fleeting hour, A captious question, sir, (and yours is one,)
And Death's own scythe would better speak his pow'r; Deserves an answer similar, or none.
Then grace the bony phantom in their stead Wouldst thou, possessor of a flock, employ
With the king's shoulder-knot and gay cockale ; (Appris'd that he is such) a careless boy,
Clothe the twin-brethren in each other's dress And feed him well, and give him handsome pay,
The same their occupation and success. Merely to sleep, and let them run astray?
A. 'T is your belief the world was made for man; Survey our schools and colleges, and see
Kings do but reason on the self-same plan : A sight not much unlike my simile.
Maintaining yours, you cannot theirs condemn, From education, as the leading cause,
Who think, or seem to think, man made for thein, The public character it's colour draws;
B. Seldom, alas ! the pow'r of logic reigns Thence the prevailing manners take their cast,
With much sufficiency in royal brains; Extravagant or sober, loose or chaste.
Such reas'ning falls like an inverted cone, And, though I would not advertise them yet, Wanting it's proper base to stand upon. Nor write on each — This building to be let, Man made for kings ! those optics are but dim Unless the world were all prepar'd t' embrace That tell you so - say, rather they for him. A plan well worthy to supply their place;
That were indeed a king-ennobling thought, Yet, backward as they are, and long have been, Could they, or would they, reason as they ought. To cultivate and keep the morals clean,
The diadem, with mighty projects lin'd (Forgive the crime,) I wish them, I confess, To catch renown by ruining mankind, Or better manag'd, or encourag'd less.
Is worth, with all it's gold and glitt'ring store,
Oh! bright occasions of dispensing good,
To pour in Virtue's lap her just reward;
Keep Vice restrain'd behind a double guard;
To quell the faction, that affronts the throne,
Watch ev'ry beam Philosophy imparts;
Nor judge by statute a believer's hope;
His life a lesson to the land he sways;
Nor draw it but when duty bids him draw; B. I grant that, men continuing what they are, To sheath it in the peace-restoring close Fierce, avaricious, proud, there must be war. With joy beyond what victory bestows; And never meant the rule should be applied Blest country, where these kingly glories shine! To him, that fights with justice on his side. Blest England, if this happiness be thine!
Let laurels, drench'd in pure Parnassian dews, A. Guard what you say; the patriotic tribe Reward his mem'ry, dear to ev'ry Muse,
Will sneer and charge you with a bribe. -B. A bribe ! Who, with a courage of unshaken root,
The worth of his three kingdoms I defy, In honour's field advancing his firm foot,
To lure me to the baseness of a lie : Plants it upon the line that Justice draws, And, of all lies, (be that one poet's boast,) And will prevail or perish in her cause.
The lie that flatters I abhor the most. "T is to the virtues of such men, man owes Those arts be theirs, who hate his gentle reign, His portion in the good that Heav'n bestows. But he that loves him has no need to feign. And when recording History displays
A. Your smooth eulogium to one crown addressid, Peats of renown, though wrought in ancient days, Seeins to imply a censure on the rest. l'ells of a few stout hearts, that fought and died, B. Quevedo, as he tells his sober tale, Where duty placed them, at their country's side ; Ask'd, when in Hell, to see the royal jail ; The man, that is not mov'd with what he reads, Approv'd their method in all other things; That takes not fire at their heroic deeds,
“ But where, good sir, do you confine your kings?"
“ There,” said his guide, " the group is full in However humble and confind the sphere, view."
Happy the state, that has not these to fear. (dwelt “ Indeed !” replied the don, “ there are but few." A. Thus men, whose thoughts contemplative bare His black interpreter the charge disdain'd
On situations, that they never felt, “ Few, fellow ! – there are all that ever reign'd." Start up sagacious, cover'd with the dust Wit, undistinguishing, is apt to strike
Of dreaming study and pedantic rust, The guilty and not guilty both alike :
And prate and preach about what others prove, I grant the sarcasm is too severe,
As if the world and they were hand and glove. And we can readily refute it here ;
Leave kingly backs to cope with kingly cares; While Alfred's naine, the father of his age, They have their weight to carry, subjects theirs; And the Sixth Edward's, grace th' historic page. Poets, of all men, ever least regret
A. Kings then at last have but the lot of all: Increasing taxes and the nation's debt.
B. True. While they live, the courtly laureat pays The mighty plan, oracular, in verse,
B. Not Brindley nor Bridgewater would essay A subject's faults a subject may proclaim,
To turn the course of Helicon that way; A monarch's errours are forbidden game !
Nor would the Nine consent the sacred tide
Should pur) amidst the traffic of Cheapside,
The leathern ears of stock-jobbers and Jews
I pity kings, whom Worship waits upon Patriots, who love good places at their hearts; Obsequious from the cradle to the throne ; When admirals, extoll'd for standing still, Before whose infant eyes the fatt'rer bows, Or doing nothing with a deal of skill; And binds a wreath about their baby brows; Gen'rals, who will not conquer when they may, Whom Education stiffens into state,
Firm friends to peace, to pleasure, and good pay; And Death awakens from that dream too late. When Freedom, wounded almost to despair, Oh! if Servility with supple knees,
Though Discontent alone can find out where; Whose trade it is to smile, to crouch, to please;
When themes like these employ the poet's tongue, If smooth Dissimulation, skill'd to grace
I hear as mute as if a syren sung: A devil's purpose with an angel's face ;
Or tell me, if you can, what pow'r maintains If smiling peeresses, and simp'ring peers,
A Briton's scorn of arbitrary chains : Encompassing his throne a few short years ; That were a theme might animate the dead, If the gilt carriage and the pamper'd steed, And move the lips of poets cast in lead. (elude That wants no driving, and disdains the lead ; B. The cause, though worth the search, may yet If guards, mechanically form'd in ranks,
Conjecture and remark, however shrewd. Playing, at beat of drum, their inartial pranks, They take perhaps a well-directed aim, Should'ring and standing as if stuck to stone, Who seek it in his climate and his frame. While condescending majesty looks on;
Lib'ral in all things else, yet Nature here If monarchy consist in such base things,
With stern severity deals out the year. Sighing, I say again, “ I pity kings !"
Winter invades the spring, and often pours To be suspected, thwarted, and withstood, A chilling flood on summer's drooping flow'rs; Ev’n when he labours for his country's good; Unwelcome vapours quench autumnal beams, To see a band, call'd patriot for no cause,
Ungenial blasts attending curl the streams : But that they catéh at popular applause,
The peasants urge their harvest, ply the fork Careless of all th' anxiety he feels,
With double toil, and shiver at their work; Hook disappointment on the public wheels; Thus with a rigour, for his good design d, With all their flippant fluency of tongue,
She rears her fav’rite man of all mankind. Most confident, when palpably most wrong:
His form robust and of elastic tone, If this be kingly, then farewell for me
Proportion'd well, balf muscle and half bone, All kingslip; and may I be poor and free! Supplies with warm activity and force To be the Table-Talk of clubs up stairs,
A mind well-lodg'd, and masculine of course. To which th' unwash'd artificer repairs,
Ilence Liberty, sweet Liberty inspires T' indulge his genius, after long fatigue,
And keeps alive his fierce but noble fires. By diving into cabinet-intrigue ;
Patient of constitutional controul,
But if Authority grow wanton, woe
One step beyond the bound'ry of the laws
Thus proud Prerogative, not much rever'd, If he indulge a cultivated taste,
Is seldom felt, though sometimes seen and beard, His gall’ries with the works of art well gracid, And in his cage, like parrot fine and gay, To hear it call'd extravagance and waste ;
Is kept to strut, look big, and talk away. If these attendants, and if such as these,
Born in a climate softer far than ours, Must follow royalty, then welcome ease;
Not form'd like us, with such Herculean pow'ts,
The Frenchman, casy, debonair, and brisk, Or if, when ridden with a careless rein,
He break away, and seek the distant plain ?
No. His high mettle, under good control, (goal. And laughs the sense of mis'ry far away.
Gives luim Olympic speed, and shoots him to the He drinks his simple bev'rage with a gust;
Let Discipline employ her wholesome arts; And, feasting on an onion and a crust,
Let magistrates alert perform their parts, We never feel the alacrity and joy,
Not skulk or put on a prudential mask, With which he shouts and carols Vive le Roy ! As if their duty were a desp'rate task; Fill'd with as much true merriment and glee, Let active Laws apply the needful curb, As if he heard his king say—“ Slave, be free." To guard the Peace, that Riot would disturb;
Thus happiness depends, as Nature shows, And Liberty, preserv'd from wild excess, Less on exterior things than most suppose.
Shall raise no feuds for armies to suppress. Vigilant over all that he has made,
When Tumult lately burst his prison-door, Kind Providence attends with gracious aid; And set plebeian thousands in a roar ; Bids equity throughout his works prevail, | When he usurp'd Authority's just place, And weighs the nations in an even scale;
And dar'd to look lis master in the face ; He can encourage Slav'ry to a smile,
When the rude rabble's watchword was - Destroy! And fill with discontent a British isle.
And blazing London seem'd a second Troy; A. Freeman and slave then, if the case be such, Liberty blush'd, and hung her drooping head, Stand on a level ; and you prove too much : Beheld their progress with the deepest dread; If all men indiscriminately share
Blush'd, that effects like these she should produce, His fost'ring power and tutelary care,
Worse than the deeds of galley-slaves broke loose. As well be yok'd by Despotism's hand,
She loses in such storms her very name, As dwell at large in Britain's charter'd land. And fierce Licentiousness should bear the blame.
B. No. Freedom has a thousand charms to show, Incomparable gem ! thy worth untold; (sold ; That slaves, howe'er contented, never know. Cheap though blood-bought, and thrown away when The mind attains beneath her happy reign
May no foes ravish thee, and no false friend The growth, that Nature meant she should attain; Betray thee, while professing to defend ! The varied fields of science, ever new,
Prize it, ye ministers; ye monarchs, spare ; Op'ning and wider op'ning on her view,
Ye patriots, guard it with a miser's care. She ventures onward with a prosp'rous force,
A. Patriots, alas! the few that have been found, While no base fear impedes her in her course. Where most they flourish, upon English ground, Religion, richest favour of the skies,
The country's need have scantily supplied, Stands most reveal'd before the freeman's eyes; And the last left the scene, when Chatham died. No shades of superstition blot the day,
B. Not so — the virtue still adorns our age, Liberty chases that gloom away;
Though the chief actor died upon the stage. The soul emancipated, unoppress'd,
In him Demosthenes was heard again; Free to prove all things, and hold fast the best, Liberty taught him hier Athenian strain ; Learns much; and to a thousand list’ning minds She cloth'd him with authority and awe, Communicates with joy the good she finds : Spoke from his lips, and in his looks gave law. Courage in arms, and ever prompt to show His speech, his form, his action, full of
grace, His manly forehead to the fiercest foe;
And all his country beaming in his face, Glorious in war, but for the sake of peace,
He stood, as some inimitable hand His spirits rising as his toils increase,
Would strive to make a Paul or Tully stand. Guards well what arts and industry have won, No sycophant or slave, that dar'd oppose And Freedom claims him for her first-born son. Her sacred cause, but trembled when he rose ; Slaves fight for what were better cast away- And ev'ry venal stickler for the yoke The chain that binds them, and a tyrant's sway ; Felt himself crush'd at the first word he spoke. But they, that fight for freedom, undertake
Such men are rais'd to station and command, The noblest cause mankind can have at stake; When Providence means mercy to a land. Religion, virtue, truth, whate'er we call
He speaks, and they appear ; to him they owe A blessing - freedom is the pledge of all. Skill to direct, and strength to strike the blow; O Liberty! the pris'ner's pleasing dream, To manage with address, to seize with pow'r The poet's muse, his passion, and his theme; The crisis of a dark decisive hour. Genius is thine, and thou art Fancy's nurse ; So Gideon earn’d a victory not his own ; Lost without thee th' ennobling pow'rs of verse ; Subserviency his praise, and that alone. Heroic song from thy free touch acquires
Poor England ! thou art a devoted deer,
Beset with every ill but that of fear.
They swarm around thee, and thou stand'st at bay, And I will sing at Liberty's dear feet,
Undaunted still, though wearied and perplex'd. In Afric's torrid clime, or India's fiercest heat. Once Chatham sav'd thee : but who saves thee next?
A. Sing where you please ; in such a cause I grant Alas! the tide of pleasure sweeps along An English poet's privilege to rant :
All that should be the boast of British song. But is not Freedom - at least is not ours - 'T is not the wreath, that once adorn’d thy brow, Too apt to play the wanton with her pow'rs, The prize of happier times, will serve thee now. Grow freakish, and, o'erleaping ev'ry mound, Our ancestry, a gallant, Christian race, Spread anarchy and terrour all around ?
Patterns of ev'ry virtue, ev'ry grace, B. Agreed. But would you sell or slay your horse Confess'd a God; they kneel'd before they fought, For bounding and curvetting in his course ? And prais'd him in the victories he wrought.
Now from the dust of ancient days bring forth All are his instruments; each form of war,
What burns at home, or threatens from afa.,
The storms, that overset the joys of life,
And waste it at the bidding of his hand. Than Virtue quickens with a warmth divine He gives the word, and Mutiny soon Tours The pow'rs, that Sin has brought to a decline. In all her gates, and shakes her distant shores; A. Th' inestimable Estimate of Brown
The standards of all nations are unfurl'd; Rose like a paper-kite, and charm'd the town; She has one foe, and that one foe the world. But measures plann'd and executed well,
And, if he doom that people with a frown, Shifted the wind that rais'd it, and it fell.
And mark them with a seal of wrath press'd down, He trod the very self-same ground you tread, Obduracy takes place; callous and toughi, And Victory refuted all he said.
The reprobated race grows judgment proof: B. And yet his judgment was not fram'd amiss; Earth shakes beneath them, and Heav'n roars alore; It's errour, if it err'd, was merely this —
But nothing scares them from the course they love. He thought the dying hour already come,
To the lascivious pipe and wanton song, And a complete recov'ry struck him dumb. That charm down fear, they frolic it along. But that effeminacy, folly, lust,
With mad rapidity and unconcern, Enervate and enfeeble, and needs must;
Down to the gulf, from which is no return. And that a nation shamefully debas'd,
They trust in navies, and their navies fail Will be despis'd, and trampled on at last,
God's curse can cast away ten thousand sail ! Unless sweet Penitence her pow'rs renew;
They trust in armies, and their courage dies; Is truth, if History itself be true.
In wisdom, wealth, in fortune, and in lies;
When He commands, in whom they place no trust That hour elaps'd, th' incurable revolt
Vengeance at last pours down upon their coast
Tyranny sends the chain, that must abridge
Gives liberty the last, the mortal shock;
Slips the slave's collar on, and snaps the lock. 'Tis not, however, insolence and noise,
A. Such lofty strains embellish what you teach, The tempest of tumultuary joys,
Mean you to prophesy, or but to preach? Nor is it yet despondence and dismay
B. I know the mind, that feels indeed the fire Will win her visits or engage her stay ;
The Muse imparts, and can command the lyre, Pray'r only, and the penitential tear,
Acts with a force, and kindles with a zeal, Can call her smiling down, and fix her here. Whate'er the theme, that others never feel.
But when a country (one that I could name) If human woes her soft attention claim, In prostitution sinks the sense of shame;
A tender sympathy pervades the frame, When infamous Venality, grown bold,
She pours a sensibility divine Writes on his bosom, To be let or sold ;
Along the nerve of ev'ry feeling line. When Perjury, that Heav'n-defying vice,
But if a deed not tamely to be borne Sells oaths by tale, and at the lowest price,
Fire indignation and a sense of scorn, Stamps God's own name upon a lie just made, The strings are swept with such a pow's, so loud, To turn a penny in the way of trade;
The storm of music shakes th' astonish'd crowd.
Before the keen inquiry of her thought,
He hears the thunder ere the tempest low'rs;
And, arm'd with strength surpassing human pow'rs, Bespeaks a land, once Christian, fall'n, and lost, Seizes events as yet unknown to man, In all, that wars against that title most;
And darts his soul into the dawning plan. What follows next let cities of great name,
Hence, in a Roman mouth, the graceful name And regions long since desolate proclaim.
Of prophet and of poet was the same; Nineveh, Babylon, and ancient Rome,
Hence British poets, too, the priesthood shar'd, Speak to the present times, and times to come; And every hallow'd druid was a bard. They cry aloud in ev'ry careless ear,
But no prophetic fires to me belong; “ Stop, while ye may; suspend your mad career ; I play with syllables, and sport in song. O learn from our example and our fate,
4. At Westminster, where little poets strive Learn wisdom and repentance ere too late." To set a distich upon six and five, Not only Vice disposes and prepares
Where Discipline helps op'ning buds of sense, The mind, that slumbers sweetly in her snares,
And makes his pupils proud with silver pence, To stoop to Tyranny's usurp'd command,
I was a poet too; but modern taste And bend her polish'd neck beneath his hand, Is so refin'd, and delicate, and chaste, (A dire effect, by one of Nature's laws
That verse, whatever fire the fancy warms, Unchangeably connected with it's cause ;)
Without a creamy smoothness has no charms
Thus, all success depending on an ear,
If sentiment were sacrific'd to sound,
Language, above all teaching, or if taught,
As ecstasy, unmanacled by form,
Not prompted, as in our degen'rate days, And some wits flag through fear of losing it. By low ambition and the thirst of praise, Give me the line, that plows it's stately course
Was natural as is the flowing stream, Like a proud swan, conq'ring the stream by force; And yet magnificent — A God the theme ! That, like some cottage-beauty, strikes the heart, That theme on Earth exhausted, though above Quite unindebted to the tricks of art.
'T is found as everlasting as his love, When Labour and when Dulness, club in hand, Man lavish'd all his thoughts on human things Like the two figures at St. Dunstan's stand, The feats of heroes, and the wrath of kings; Beating alternately, in measur'd time,
But still, while Virtue kindled his delight, 'I he clock-work tintinnabulum of rhime,
The song was moral, and so far was right. Exact and regular the sounds will be;
'T was thus till Luxury seduc'd the mind But such mere quarter-strokes are not for me. To joys less innocent, as less refin'd;
From him, who rears a poem lank and long, Then Genius danc'd a bacchanal; he crown'il To him who strains his all into a song ;
The brimming goblet, seiz'd the thyrsus, boun: Perhaps some bonny Caledonian air,
His brows with ivy, rush'd into the fielu All birks and braes, though he was never there; Of wild imagination, and there reeld, Or, having whelp'd a prologue with great pains, The victim of his own lascivious fires, Feels himself spent, and fumbles for his brains; And, dizzy with delight, profan'd the sacred wires. A prologue interdash'd with many a stroke- Anacreon, Horace, play'd in Greece and Rome An art contriv'd to advertise a joke,
This bedlam part; and others nearer home. (reign'd So that the jest is clearly to be seen,
When Cromwell fought for pow'r, and while he Not in the words - but in the gap between : The proud protector of the pow'r he gain'd, Manner is all in all, whate'er is writ,
Religion, harsh, intolerant, austere, The substitute for genius, sense, and wit.
Parent of manners like herself severe, To dally much with subjects mean and low, Drew a rough copy of the Christian face Proves that the mind is weak, or makes it so. Without the smile, the sweetness, or the grace ; Neglected talents rust into decay,
The dark and sullen humour of the time And ev'ry effort ends in push-pin play.
Judg'd ev'ry effort of the Muse a crime ; The man that means success, should soar above Verse, in the finest mould of fancy cast, A soldier's feather, or a lady's glove;
Was lumber in an age so void of taste: Else summoning the Muse to such a theme, But when the second Charles assum'd the sway, The fruit of all her labour is whipp'd cream. And arts reviv'd beneath a softer day, As if an eagle flew aloft, and then
Then, like a bow long forc'd into a curve, Stoop'd from it's highest pitch to pounce a wren. The mind, releas'd from too constrain'd a nerve, As if the poet, purposing to wed,
Flew to it's first position with a spring, Should carve himself a wife in gingerbread. That made the vaulted roofs of pleasure ring.
Ages elaps'd ere Homer's lamp appear’d, His court, the dissolute and hateful school, And ages ere the Mantuan swan was heard. Of Wantonness, where vice was taught by rule, To carry nature lengths unknown before,
Swarm'd with a scribbling herd, as deep inlaid To give a Milton birth, ask'd ages more.
With brutal lust as ever Circe made. Thus Genius rose and set at order'd times,
From these a long succession, in the rage And shot a day-spring into distant climes, Of rank obscenity, debauch'd their age; Ennobling ev'ry region that he chose ;
Nor ceas'd, till, ever anxious to redress He sunk in Greece, in Italy he rose ;
The abuses of her sacred charge, the press, And, tedious years of Gothic darkness pass'd, The Muse instructed a well-nurtur'd train Emerg'd all splendour in our isle at last.
Of abler votaries to cleanse the stain, Thus lovely halcyons dive into the main,
And claim the palm for purity of song, Then show far off their shining plumes again. That Lewdness had usurp'd and worn so long. 4. Is genius only found in epic lays ?
Then decent Pleasantry and sterling Sense, Prove this, and forfeit all pretence to praise. That neither gave nor would endure offence, Make their heroic pow'rs your own at once, Whipp'd out of sight, with satire just and keen, Or candidly confess yourself a dunce.
The puppy pack, that had defil'd the scene.
Sublimity and Attic taste, combin'd,
To polish, furnish, and delight, the mind.
Gave virtue and morality a grace,
Ev'n on the fools that trampled on their laws. But never peep beyond the thorny bound,
But he (his musical finesse was such, Or oaken fence, that hems the paddock round. So nice his ear, so delicate his touch) In Eden, ere yet innocence of heart
Made poetry a mere mechanic art ; Had faded, poetry was not an art;
And ev'ry warbler has bis tune by heart.