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Ev’n with a subject's zeal. He my great work
Hail, glorious theme! But how, alas ! shall verse,
O thou to whom the Muses owe their flame ; 390 Who bidd'st beneath the pole Parnassus rise, And Hippocrené flow; with thy bold ease, The striking force, the lightning of thy thought, And thy strong phrase, that rolls profound and clear, O gracious Goddess ! re-inspire my song ; While I, to nobler than poetic fame Aspiring, thy commands to Britons bear.
PART II. GREECE
Liberty traced from the pastoral ages, and the first uniting of neighbouring
families into civil government. The several establishments of Liberty, in Egypt, Persia, Phænicia, Palestine, slightly touched upon, down to her great establishment in Greece. Geographical description of Greece. Sparta and Athens, the two principal states of Greece, described. Influence of Liberty over all the Greeian states, with regard to their Government, their Politeness, their Virtues, their Arts and Sciences. The vast superiority it gave them, in point of force and bravery, over the Persians, exemplified by the action of Thermopylæ, the battle of Marathon, and the Retreat of the Ten Thousand. Its full exertion and most beautiful effects in Athens. Liberty the source of free philosophy. The various schools which took their rise from Socrates. Enumeration of Fine Arts: Eloquence, Poetry, Music, Sculpture, Painting, and Architecture; the effects of Liberty in Greece, and brought to their utmost perfection there. Transition to the modern state of Greece. Why Liberty declined, and was at last entirely lost, among the Greeks. Concluding Reflection.
Thus spoke the Goddess of the fearless eye,
“First, in the dawn of time, with eastern swains,
Free as the common air, her prompt decree ;
13 Nor yet had stain'd her sword with subject's blood. The simpler arts were all their simple wants Had urg'd to light. But instant, these supplied, Another set of fonder wants arose, And other arts with them of finer aim; Till, from refining want to want impell’d, The mind by thinking push'd her latent pow’rs, 20 And life began to glow, and arts to shine.
“At first, on brutes alone the rustic war Launch'd the rude spear; swift, as he glar'd along, On the grim lion, or the robber wolf. For then young sportive Life was void of toil, Demanding little, and with little pleas'd: But when to manhood grown, and endless joys, Led on by equal toils, the bosom fir’d, Lewd, lazy Rapine broke primeval peace, And, hid in caves and idle forests drear, From the lone pilgrim and the wand'ring swain, Seiz'd what he durst not earn. Then brother's blood First, horrid, smok'd on the polluted skies. Awful in justice, then the burning youth, Led by their temper'd sires, on lawless men, The last worst monsters of the shaggy wood, Turn’d the keen arrow and the sharpen'd spear. Then war grew glorious. Heroes then arose, Who, scorning coward self, for others liv’d, Toild for their ease, and for their safety bled. 40 West with the living day to Greece I came : Earth smil'd beneath my beam : the Muse before Sonorous flew, that low till then in woods Had tun'd the reed, and sigh'd the shepherd's pain ; But now, to sing heroic deeds, she swellid A nobler note, and bade the banquet burn.
“For Greece my sons of Egypt I forsook :
1 * Civil Sister:' civil tyranny. – ? • Tyrant's tomb:' the pyramids. – • Dragon:' the tyrants of Egypt; see Ezekiel xxix.
To whom I first disclos'd mechanic arts,
“ Hail, Nature's utmost boast! unrivall’d Greece!
“O’er all two rival cities rear'd the brow,