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T" impress a value, not to be eras'd,
To double all thy pleasure in thy child,
On moments squander'd else, and running all to waste. His mind inform'd, his morals undefil'd.
And seems it nothing in a father's eye,
That unimprov'd those many moments fly?
And is he well content his son should find
No nourishment to feed his growing mind,
But conjugated verbs, and nouns declin'd?
For such is all the mental food purvey'd
By public hackneys in the schooling trade;
Who feed a pupil's intellect with store
Of syntax, truly, but with little more;
Dismiss their cares, when they dismiss their flock,
Machines themselves, and govern'd by a clock.
Perhaps a father, blest with any brains,
Would deem it no abuse, or waste of pains,
T'improve this diet, at no great expense,
With sav'ry truth and wholesome common sense;
To lead his son, for prospects of delight,
To some not steep, though philosophic, height,
Thence to exhibit to his wond'ring eyes
Yon circling worlds, their distance, and their size,
The moons of Jove, and Saturn's belted ball,
And the harmonious order of them all;
To show him in an insect or a flow'r
Such microscopic proof of skill and pow'r,
As, hid from ages past, God now displays,
To combat atheists with in modern days;
To spread the Earth before him, and commend,
With designation of the finger's-end,
Its various parts to his attentive note,
Thus bringing home to him the most remote;
To teach his heart to glow with gen'rous flame,
Caught from the deeds of men of ancient fame :
And, more than all, with commendation due,
To set some living worthy in his view,
Whose fair example may at once inspire
A wish to copy, what he must admire.
Such knowledge gain'd betimes, and which appears,
Though solid, not too weighty for his years,
Sweet in itself, and not forbidding sport,
When health demands it, of athletic sort,
Would make him—what some lovely boys have been,
And more than one perhaps that I have seen-
An evidence and reprehension both
Of the mere school-boy's lean and tardy growth.
Art thou a man professionally tied,
With all thy faculties elsewhere applied,
Too busy to intend a meaner care,
Than how t' enrich thyself, and next thine heir?
Or art though (as though rich, perhaps thou art)
But poor in knowledge, having none t' impart ?-
Behold that figure, neat, though plainly clad;
His sprightly mingled with a shade of sad;
Not of a nimble tongue, though now and then
Heard to articulate like other men:
No jester, and yet lively in discourse,
His phrase well chosen, clear, and full of force;
And his address, if not quite French in ease,
Not English stiff, but frank, and form'd to please;
Low in the world, because he scorns its arts;
A man of letters, manners, morals, parts;
Unpatroniz'd, and therefore little known;
Wise for himself and his few friends alone-
In him thy well-appointed proxy see,
Arm'd for a work too difficult for thee;
Prepar'd by taste, by learning, and true worth,
To form thy son, to strike his genius forth;
Beneath thy roof, beneath thine eye, to prove
The force of discipline, when back'd by love;
Safe under such a wing, the boy shall show
No spots contracted among grooms below,
Nor taint his speech with meannesses, design'd
By footman Tom for witty and refin'd.
There, in his commerce with the liv'ried herd,
Lurks the contagion chiefly to be fear'd;
For since (so fashion dictates) all, who claim
A higher than a mere plebeian fame,
Find it expedient, come what mischief may,
To entertain a thief or two in pay,
(And they that can afford th' expense of more,
Some half-a-dozen and some half-a-score,)
Great cause occurs, to save him from a band
So sure to spoil him, and so near at hand;
A point secur'd, if once he be supplied
With some such Mentor always at his side.
Are such men rare? perhaps they would abound,
Were occupation easier to be found,
Were education, else so sure to fail,
Conducted on a manageable scale,
And schools, that have outliv'd all just esteem,
Exchang'd for the secure domestic scheme.-
But, having found him, be thou duke or earl,
Show thou hast sense enough to prize the pearl.
And, as thou wouldst th' advancement of thine heir
In all good faculties beneath his care,
Respect, as is but rational and just,
A man deem'd worthy of so dear a trust.
Despis'd by thee, what more can he expect
From youthful folly than the same neglect?
A flat and fatal negative obtains
That instant upon all his future pains;
His lessons tire, his mild rebukes offend,
And all th' instruction of thy son's best friend
Are a stream chok'd, or trickling to no end.
Doom him not then to solitary meals;
But recollect, that he has sense, and feels;
And that, possessor of a soul refin'd,
An upright heart, and cultivated mind,
His post not mean, his talents not unknown,
He deems it hard to vegetate alone.
And, if admitted at thy board he sit,
Account him no just mark for idle wit;
Offend not him, whom modesty restrains
From repartee, with jokes that he disdains;
Much less transfix his feelings with an oath;
Nor frown, unless he vanish with the cloth.-
And, trust me, his utility may reach
To more than he is hir'd or bound to teach;
Much trash unutter'd, and some ills undone,
Through rev'rence of the censor of thy son.
But, if thy table be indeed unclean,
Foul with excess, and with discourse obscene,
And thou a wretch, whom, foll'wing her old plan,
The world accounts an honorable man,
Because forsooth thy courage has been tried,
And stood the test, perhaps on the wrong side!
Though thou hadst never grace enough to prove,
That any thing but vice could win thy love;-
Or hast thou a polite, card-playing wife,
Chain'd to the routs that she frequents for life;
Who, just when industry begins to snore,
Flies, wing'd with joy, to some coach-crowded door;
And thrice in ev'ry winter throngs thine own
With half the chariots and sedans in town,
Thyself, meanwhile, e'en shifting as thou may'st
Not very sober though, nor very chaste ;
Or is thine house, though less superb thy rank,
If not a scene of pleasure, a mere blank,
And thou at best, and in thy sob'rest mood,
A trifler vain, and empty of all good;
Though mercy for thyself thou canst have none,
Hear Nature plead, show mercy to thy son.
Sav'd from his home, where ev'ry day brings forth
Some mischief fatal to his future worth,
Find him a better in a distant spot,
Within some pious pastor's humble cot,
Where vile example (yours I chiefly mean,
The most seducing, and the oft'nest seen)
May never more be stamp'd upon his breast,
Nor yet perhaps incurably impress'd.
Where early rest makes early rising sure,
Disease or comes not, or finds easy cure,
Prevented much by diet neat and plain;
Or, if it enter, soon starv'd out again :
Where all th' attention of his faithful host,
Discreetly limited to two at most,
May raise such fruits as shall reward his care,
And not at last evaporate in air:
Where, stillness aiding study, and his mind
Serene, and to his duties much inclin'd,
Not occupied in day-dreams, as at home,
Of pleasures past, or follies yet to come,
His virtuous toil may terminate at last
In settled habit and decided taste.-
But whom do I advise? the fashion-led,
Th' incorrigibly wrong, the deaf and dead,
Whom care and cool deliberation suit
Not better much than spectacles a brute;
Who, if their sons some slight tuition share,
Deem it of no great moment whose or where ;
Too proud t' adopt the thoughts of one unknown,
And much too gay t' have any of their own.
"But courage, man!" methought the Muse replied,
"Mankind are various, and the world is wide:
The ostrich, silliest of the feather'd kind,
And form'd of God without a parent's mind,
Commits her eggs, incautious, to the dust,
Forgetful that the foot may crush the trust;
And, while on public nurs'ries they rely,
Not knowing, and too oft not caring, why,
Irrational in what they thus prefer,
No few, that would seem wise, resemble her.
But all are not alike. Thy warning voice
May here and there prevent erroneous choice;
And some perhaps, who, busy as they are,
Yet make their progeny their dearest care,
(Whose hearts will ache, once told what ills may reach Nor say, Go thither, conscious that there lay
And, artless as thou art, whom thou wilt choose;
Though much depends on what thy choice shall be,
Is all chance-medley, and unknown to me."
Canst thou, the tear just trembling on thy lids,
And while the dreadful risk foreseen forbids;
Free too, and under no constraining force,
Unless the sway of custom warp thy course;
Lay such a stake upon the losing side,
Merely to gratify so blind a guide?
Thou canst not! Nature, pulling at thine heart,
Condemns th' unfatherly, th' imprudent part.
Thou wouldst not, deaf to Nature's tend'rest plea
Turn him adrift upon a rolling sea,
Their offspring, left upon so wild a beach,)
Will need no stress of argument t' enforce
Th' expedience of a less advent'rous course:
The rest will slight thy counsel, or condemn;
But they have human feelings-turn to them."
To you, then, tenants of life's middle state,
Securely plac'd between the small and great,
Whose character, yet undebauch'd, retains
Two-thirds of all the virtue that remains,
Who, wise yourselves, desire your son should learn
Your wisdom and your ways-to you I turn.
Look round you on a world perversely blind;
See what contempt is fall'n on human-kind;
See wealth abus'd, and dignities misplac'd,
Great titles, offices, and trusts disgrac'd,
Long lines of ancestry, renown'd of old,
Their noble qualities all quench'd and cold;
See Bedlam's closeted and hand-cuff'd charge
Surpass'd in frenzy by the mad at large;
A brood of asps, or quicksands, in his way:
Then only, govern'd by the self-same rule
Of nat'ral pity, send him not to school.
No-guard him better. Is he not thine own,
Thyself in miniature, thy flesh, thy bone?
And hop'st thou not ('tis ev'ry father's hope)
That, since thy strength must with thy years elope,
And thou wilt need some comfort, to assuage
Health's last farewell, a staff of thine old age,
That then, in recompense of all thy cares,
Thy child shall show respect to thy grey hairs,
Befriend thee, of all other friends bereft,
And give thy life its only cordial left?
Aware, then, how much danger intervenes,
To compass that good end, forecast the means.
His heart, now passive, yields to thy command;
Secure it thine, its key is in thine hand.
If thou desert thy charge, and throw it wide,
Nor heed what guests there enter and abide.
See great commanders making war a trade,
Great lawyers, lawyers without study made;
Churchmen, in whose esteem their blest employ
Is odious, and their wages all their joy,
Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves
With Gospel lore, turn infidels themselves;
See womanhood despis'd, and manhood sham'd
With infamy too nauseous to be nam'd,
Fops at all corners, lady-like in mien,
Civeted fellows, smelt ere they are seen,
Else coarse and rude in manners, and their tongue
On fire with curses, and with nonsense hung,
Now flush'd with drunk'ness, now with whoredom
Their breath a sample of last night's regale;
See volunteers in all the vilest arts,
Men well endow'd, of honorable parts,
Design'd by Nature wise, but self-made fools;
All these, and more like these, were bred at schools.
And if it chance, as sometimes chance it will,
That, though school-bred, the boy be virtuous still;
Such rare exceptions, shining in the dark,
Prove, rather than impeach, the just remark:
As here and there a twinkling star descried
Serves but to show how black is all beside.
Now look on him, whose very voice in tone
Just echoes thine, whose features are thine own,
And stroke his polish'd cheek of purest red,
And lay thine hand upon his flaxen head,
And say, "My boy, th' unwelcome hour is come,
When thou, transplanted from thy genial home,
Must find a colder soil and bleaker air,
And trust for safety to a stranger's care;
What character, what turn thou wilt assume
From constant converse with I know not whom ;
Who there will court thy friendship, with what
Complain not if attachments lewd and base
Supplant thee in it, and usurp thy place.
But, if thou guard its sacred chambers sure
From vicious inmates and delights impure,
Either his gratitude shall hold him fast,
And keep him warm and filial to the last;
Or, if he prove unkind (as who can say
But, being man, and therefore frail, he may?)
One comfort yet shall cheer thine aged heart,
Howe'er he slight thee, thou hast done thy part.
Oh barb'rous! wouldst thou with a Gothic hand Pull down the schools-what!—all the schools i' th' land?
Or throw them up to liv'ry-nags and grooms,
Or turn them into shops and auction-rooms?
A captious question, sir, (and yours is one,)
Deserves an answer similar, or none.
Wouldst thou, possessor of a flock, employ
(Appriz'd that he is such) a careless boy,
And feed him well, and give him handsome pay,
Merely to sleep, and let them run astray?
Survey our schools and colleges, and see
A sight not much unlike my simile.
From education, as the leading cause,
The public character its color draws;
Thence the prevailing manners take their cast,
Extravagant or sober, loose or chaste.
And, though I would not advertise them yet,
Nor write on each-This building to be let,
Unless the world were all prepar'd t' embrace
A plan well worthy to supply their place;
Yet, backward as they are, and long have been,
To cultivate and keep the MORALS clean,
(Forgive the crime,) I wish them, I confess,
Or better manag'd, or encourag'd less.
Si te fortè meæ gravis uret sarcina chartæ,
Hor. Lib. i. Epist. 13.
A. You told me, I remember, "Glory, built On selfish principles, is shame and guilt; The deeds, that men admire as half divine, Stark naught, because corrupt in their design." Strange doctrine this! that without scruple tears The laurel, that the very lightning spares; Brings down the warrior's trophy to the dust, And eats into his bloody sword like rust.
B. I grant that, men continuing what they are, Fierce, avaricious, proud, there must be war. And never meant the rule should be applied To him, that fights with justice on his side.
Let laurels, drench'd in pure Parnassian dews, Reward his mem'ry, dear to ev'ry Muse, Who, with a courage of unshaken root, In honor's field advancing his firm foot, Plants it upon the line that Justice draws, And will prevail or perish in her cause. "Tis to the virtues of such men, man owes His portion in the good that Heav'n bestows. And when recording History displays Feats of renown, though wrought in ancient days, Tells of a few stout hearts, that fought and died, Where duty placed them, at their country's side; The man, that is not mov'd with what he reads, That takes not fire at their heroic deeds,
Unworthy of the blessings of the brave, Is base in kind, and born to be a slave. But let eternal infamy pursue
The wretch to nought but his ambition true,
Who, for the sake of filling with one blast
The post-horns of all Europe, lays her waste.
Think yourself station'd on a tow'ring rock,
To see a people scatter'd like a flock,
Some royal mastiff panting at their heels,
With all the savage thirst a tiger feels;
Then view him self-proclaim'd in a gazette
Chief monster that has plagu'd the nations yet.
The globe and sceptre in such hands misplac'd,
Those ensigns of dominion, how disgrac'd!
The glass, that bids man mark the fleeting hour,
And Death's own scythe would better speak his pow'r;
Then grace the bony phantom in their stead
With the king's shoulder-knot and gay cockade;
Clothe the twin-brethren in each other's dress,
The same their occupation and success.
A. 'Tis your belief the world was made for man;
Kings do but reason on the self-same plan:
Maintaining yours, you cannot theirs condemn,
Who think, or seem to think, man made for them.
B. Seldom, alas! the pow'r of logic reigns
With much sufficiency in royal brains;
Such reas'ning falls like an inverted cone,
Wanting its proper base to stand upon.
Man made for kings! those optics are but dim
That tell you so-say, rather they for him.
That were indeed a king-ennobling thought,
Could they, or would they, reason as they ought
The diadem, with mighty projects lin'd
To catch renown by ruining mankind,
Is worth, with all its gold and glitt'ring store,
Just what the toy will sell for, and no more.
Oh! bright occasions of dispensing good,
How seldom us'd, how little understood!
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,
By silent magnanimity alone;
To nurse with tender care the thriving arts;
Watch ev'ry beam Philosophy imparts;
To give Religion her unbridled scope,
Nor judge by statute a believer's hope;
With close fidelity and love unfeign'd
To keep the matrimonial bond unstain'd;
Covetous only of a virtuous praise;
His life a lesson to the land he sways;
To touch the sword with conscientious awe,
Nor draw it but when duty bids him draw;
To sheathe it in the peace-restoring close
With joy beyond what victory bestows;
Blest country, where these kingly glories shine!
Blest England, if this happiness be thine!
A. Guard what you say; the patriotic tribe
Will sneer and charge you with a bribe.-B. A bribe!
The worth of his three kingdoms I defy,
To lure me to the baseness of a lie:
And, of all ties, (be that one poet's boast,)
The lie that flatters I abhor the most.
Those arts be theirs, who hate his gentle reign,
But he that loves him has no need to feign.
I grant the sarcasm is too severe,
And we can readily refute it here;
While Alfred's name, the father of his age,
And the Sixth Edward's, grace th' historic page.
A. Kings then at last have but the lot of all:
By their own conduct they must stand or fall.
B. True. While they live, the courtly laureate pays His quit-rent ode, his pepper-corn of praise; And many a dunce, whose fingers itch to write, Adds, as he can, his tributary mite:
However humble and confin'd the sphere,
Happy the state that has not these to fear.
A. Thus men, whose thoughts contemplative have On situations that they never felt, Start up sagacious, cover'd with the dust Of dreaming study and pedantic rust,
And prate and preach about what others prove,
As if the world and they were hand and glove.
Leave kingly backs to cope with kingly cares;
They have their weight to carry, subjects theirs;
Poets, of all men, ever least regret
Increasing taxes and the nation's debt.
Could you contrive the payment, and rehearse
The mighty plan, oracular, in verse,
No bard, howe'er majestic, old or new,
Should claim my fix'd attention more than you.
B. Not Brindley nor Bridgewater would essay
To turn the course of Helicon that way;
Nor would the Nine consent the sacred tide
Should purl amidst the traffic of Cheapside,
Or tinkle in 'Change Alley, to amuse
The leathern ears of stock-jobbers and Jews.
A subject's faults a subject may proclaim,
A monarch's errors are forbidden game!
Thus free from censure, overaw'd by fear,
And prais'd for virtues that they scorn to wear,
The fleeting forms of majesty engage
Respect, while stalking o'er life's narrow stage;
Then leave their crimes for history to scan,
And ask with busy scorn, "Was this the man?"
I pity kings, whom Worship waits upon
Obsequious from the cradle to the throne;
Before whose infant eyes the flatt'rer bows,
And binds a wreath about their baby brows;
Whom Education stiffens into state,
And Death awakens from that dream too late.
Oh! if Servility with supple knees,
Whose trade it is to smile, to crouch, to please;
If smooth Dissimulation, skill'd to grace
A devil's purpose with an angel's face;
If smiling peeresses, and simp'ring peers,
Encompassing his throne a few short years;
If the gilt carriage and the pamper'd steed,
That wants no driving, and disdains the lead
If guards, mechanically form'd in ranks,
Playing, at beat of drum, their martial pranks,
Should'ring and standing as if struck to stone,
While condescending majesty looks on;
If monarchy consists in such base things,
Sighing, I say again, "I pity kings!"
To be suspected, thwarted, and withstood,
Ev'n when he labors for his country's good;
To see a band, call'd patriot for no cause,
But that they catch at popular applause,
Careless of all the anxiety he feels,
Hook disappointment on the public wheels;
With all their flippant fluency of tongue,
Most confident when palpably most wrong:
If this be kingly, then farewell for me
All kingship; and may I be poor and free!
To be the Table-Talk of clubs up-stairs,
To which th' unwash'd artificer repairs,
T indulge his genius, after long fatigue,
By diving into cabinet-intrigue;
(For what kings deem a toil, as well they may,
To him is relaxation and mere play ;)
To win no praise when well-wrought plans prevail,
But to be rudely censur'd when they fail ;
To doubt the love his fav'rites may pretend,
And in reality to find no friend;
If he indulge a cultivated taste,
His gall'ries with the works of art well grac'd,
To hear it call'd extravagance and waste;
If these attendants, and if such as these,
Must follow royalty, and welcome ease;
A. Vouchsafe, at least, to pitch the key of rhyme
To themes more pertinent, if less sublime.
When ministers and ministerial arts;
Patriots, who love good places, at their hearts;
When admirals, extoll'd for standing still,
Or doing nothing with a deal of skill;
Gen'rals, who will not conquer when they may,
Firm friends to peace, to pleasure, and good pay;
When Freedom, wounded almost to despair,
Though Discontent alone can find out where;
When themes like these employ the poet's tongue
I hear as mute as if a syren sung.
Or tell me, if you can, what pow'r maintains
A Briton's scorn of arbitrary chains :
That were a theme might animate the dead,
And move the lips of poets cast in lead.
B. The cause, though worth the search, may yet Conjecture and remark, however shrewd. They take perhaps a well-directed aim, Who seek it in his climate and his frame. Lib'ral in all things else, yet Nature here With stern severity deals out the year. Winter invades the spring, and often pours A chilling flood on summer's drooping flow'rs; Unwelcome vapors quench autumnal beams, Ungenial blasts attending curl the streams: The peasants urge their harvest, ply the fork With double toil, and shiver at their work; Thus with a rigor, for his good design'd, She rears her fav'rite man of all mankind. His form robust and of elastic tone, Proportion'd well, half muscle and half bone, Supplies with warm activity and force A mind well-lodg'd, and masculine of course. Hence Liberty, sweet Liberty, inspires And keeps alive his fierce but noble fires. Patient of constitutional control,
He bears it with meek manliness of soul;
But if Authority grow wanton, woe
To him that treads upon his free-born toe;
One step beyond the bound'ry of the laws
Fires him at once in Freedom's glorious cause.
Thus proud Prerogative, not much rever'd,
Is seldom felt, though sometimes seen and heard,
And in his cage, like parrot fine and gay,
Is kept to strut, look big, and talk away.
Born in a climate softer far than ours,
Not form'd, like us, with such Herculean pow'rs,
The Frenchman, easy, debonair, and brisk,
Give him his lass, his fiddle, and his frisk,
Is always happy, reign whoever may,
And laughs the sense of mis'ry far away.
He drinks his simple bev'rage with a gust;
And, feasting on an onion and a crust,
We never feel the alacrity and joy,
With which he shouts and carols Vive le Roi!
Fill'd with as much true merriment and glee,
As if he heard his king say—“Slave, be free."
Thus happiness depends, as Nature shows,
Less on exterior things than most suppose.
Vigilant over all that he has made,
Kind Providence attends with gracious aid;
Bids equity throughout his works prevail,
And weighs the nations in an even scale;
He can encourage Slav'ry to a smile,
And fill with discontent a British isle.
A. Freeman and slave then, if the case be such,
Stand on a level; and you prove too much :
If all men indiscriminately share
His fost'ring pow'r and tutelary care,
As well be yok'd by Despotism's hand,
As dwell at large in Britain's charter'd land.
B. No. Freedom has a thousand charms to show, That slaves, howe'er contented, never know. The mind attains beneath her happy reign 'The growth, that Nature meant she should attain; The varied fields of science, ever new, Op'ning and wider op'ning on her view, She ventures onward with a prosp'rous force, While no base fear impedes her in her course. Religion, richest favor of the skies, Stands most reveal'd before the freeman's eyes; No shades of superstition blot the day, Liberty chases all that gloom away; The soul, emancipated, unoppress'd, Free to prove all things, and hold fast the best, Learns much; and to a thousand list'ning minds Communicates with joy the good she finds: Courage in arms, and ever prompt to show His manly forehead to the fiercest foe; Glorious in war, but for the sake of peace, His spirits rising as his toils increase, Guards well what arts and industry have won, And Freedom claims him for her first-born son. Slaves fight for what were better cast awayThe chain that binds them, and a tyrant's sway; But they, that fight for freedom, undertake The noblest cause mankind can have at stake ;Religion, virtue, truth, whate'er we call A blessing-freedom is the pledge of all. O Liberty! the pris'ner's pleasing dream, The poet's muse, his passion, and his theme; Genius is thine, and thou art Fancy's nurse; Lost without thee th' ennobling pow'rs of verse; Heroic song from thy free touch acquires Its clearest tone, the rapture it inspires: Place me where Winter breathes his keenest air, And I will sing, if Liberty be there; And I will sing at Liberty's dear feet,
In Afric's torrid climes, or India's fiercest heat.
Or if, when ridden with a careless rein,
He break away, and seek the distant plain?
No. His high mettle, under good control,
Gives him Olympic speed, and shoots him to the goal.
Let Discipline employ her wholesome arts;
Let magistrates alert perform their parts,
Not skulk or put on a prudential mask,
As if their duty were a desp'rate task;
Let active Laws apply the needful curb,
To guard the Peace, that Riot would disturb;
And Liberty, preserv'd from wild excess,
Shall raise no feuds for armies to suppress.
When Tumult lately burst his prison-door,
And set plebeian thousands in a roar;
When he usurp'd Authority's just place,
And dar'd to look his master in the face;
When the rude rabble's watchword was-Destroy!
And blazing London seem'd a second Troy;
Liberty blush'd, and hung her drooping head,
Beheld their progress with the deepest dread;
Blush'd, that effects like these she should produce,
Worse than the deeds of galley-slaves broke loose.
She loses in such storms her very name,
And fierce Licentiousness should bear the blame.
Incomparable gem! thy worth untold; [sold
Cheap though blood-bought, and thrown away when
May no foes ravish thee, and no false friend
Betray thee, while professing to defend !
Prize it, ye ministers; ye monarchs, spare;
Ye patriots, guard it with a miser's care.
A. Patriots, alas! the few that have been found,
Where most they flourish, upon English ground,
The country's need have scantily supplied,
And the last left the scene, when Chatham died
A. Sing where you please; in such a cause I grant
An English poet's privilege to rant:
But is not Freedom-at least is not ours—
Too apt to play the wanton with her pow'rs,
Grow freakish, and, o'erleaping ev'ry mound,
Spread anarchy and terror all around?
B. Agreed. But would you sell or slay your horse
For bounding and curvetting in his course?
B. Not so the virtue still adorns our age,
Though the chief actor died upon the stage.
In him Demosthenes was heard again;
Liberty taught him her Athenian strain;
She cloth'd him with authority and awe,
Spoke from his lips, and in his looks gave law
His speech, his form, his action, full of grace,
And all his country beaming in his face,
He stood, as some inimitable hand
Would strive to make a Paul or Tully stand.
No sycophant or slave, that dar'd oppose
Her sacred cause, but trembled when he rose ;
And ev'ry venal stickler for the yoke
Felt himself crush'd at the first word he spoke.
Such men are rais'd to station and command,
When Providence means mercy to a land.
He speaks, and they appear; to him they owe
Skill to direct, and strength to strike the blow;
To manage with address, to seize with pow'r
The crisis of a dark decisive hour.
So Gideon earn'd a victory not his own;
Subserviency his praise, and that alone.
Poor England! thou art a devoted deer,
Beset with every ill but that of fear.
The nations hunt; all mark thee for a prey;
They swarm around thee, and thou stand'st at bay,
Undaunted still, though wearied and perplex'd.
Once Chatham sav'd thee: but who saves thee next?
Alas! the tide of pleasure sweeps along
All that should be the boast of British song.
"Tis not the wreath, that once adorn'd thy brow.
The prize of happier times, will serve thee now.
Our ancestry, a gallant, Christian race,
Patterns of ev'ry virtue, ev'ry grace,
Confess'd a God; they kneel'd before they fought,
And prais'd him in the victories he wrought.