« PreviousContinue »
Of universal sway, 1 which to reduce
1080 Such seas of blood and treasure Britain cost; The millions, by a generous people giv’n, Or squander'd vile, or to corrupt, disgrace, And awe the land with forces not their own, 2 Employ'd ; the darling Church herself betray'd ;All these, broad-glaring, op'd the general eye, And wak'd my spirit, the resisting soul.
“ Mild was, at first, and half-asham’d, the check Of senates, shook from the fantastic dream Of absolute submission,—tenets vile,
1090 Which slaves would blush to own, and which, reduc'd To practice, always honest Nature shock! Not er’n the mask remov'd, and the fierce front Of Tyranny disclos’d; nor trampled laws; Nor seiz'd each badge of freedom 3 through the land; Nor Sidney bleeding for th' unpublish'd page ; Nor on the Bench avow'd Corruption plac’d, And murderous Rage itself, in Jefferies' form; Nor endless acts of Arbitrary Pow'r, Cruel and false,—could raise the public arni. Distrustful, scatter'd, of combining chiefs Devoid, and dreading blind rapacious War, The patient Public turns not, till impell’d To the near verge of ruin. Hence I rous'd The Bigot-king, 4 and hurried fated on His measure immature. But chief his zeal, Out-flaming Rome herself, portentous scar'd The troubled nation : Mary's horrid days To Fancy bleeding rose, and the dire glare Of Smithfield lighten'd in its eyes anew.
1. Universal sway:' under Louis XIV. - Forces not their own :' & standing army, raised without the consent of parliament.—3 « Badge of freedom :' the charters of corporations.-* • Bigot-king :' James II.
Yet silence reign'd. Each on another scowl'd
“ Then dawn'd the period destin’d to confine
1 Listed winds :' the Prince of Orange, in his passage to England, though his fleet had been at first dispersed by a storm, was afterwards extremely favoured by several changes of wind.-? • Adverse navies :' the English fleet. 1. Destructive power:' by the Bill of Rights and the Act of Succession.: • Heroic prince :' William III.
By more than human hand, the Public saw,
1142 And seiz'd the white-wing'd moment. Pleas'd to yield Destructive pow'r, a wise heroic prince 2 Ev’n lent his aid. — Thrice happy, did they know Their happiness, Britannia's bounded kings! What though not theirs the boast, in dungeon-glooms To plunge bold Freedom ; or to cheerless wilds To drive him from the cordial face of friend; Or fierce to strike him at the midnight hour, By mandate blind, not Justice, that delights To dare the keenest eye of open day? What though no glory to control the laws, And make injurious Will their only rule, They deem it? What though, tools of wanton Pow’r, Pestiferous armies swarm not at their call ? What though they give not a relentless crew Of civil furies—proud Oppression's fangs !-To tear at pleasure the dejected land, With starving Labour pamp'ring idle Waste ? To clothe the naked, feed the hungry, wipe The guiltless tear from lone Affliction's eye; To raise hid Merit, set th' alluring light Of Virtue high to view ; to nourish Arts, Direct the thunder of an injur'd state, Make a whole glorious people sing for joy, Bless human-kind, and through the downward depth Of future times to spread that better Sun Which lights up British soul ;—for deeds like these, The dazzling fair career unbounded lies;
1170 While (still superior bliss !) the dark abrupt Is kindly barr'd, the precipice of Ill. Oh, luxury divine! Oh, poor to this,
Ye giddy glories of despotic thrones !
" And now, behold! exalted as the cope
PART V. THE PROSPECT.
The Author addresses the Goddess of Liberty, marking the happiness and
grandeur of Great Britain, as arising from her influence. She resumes her discourse, and points out the chief Virtues which are necessary to maintain her establishment there. Recommends, as its last ornament and finishing, Sciences, Fine Arts, and Public Works. The encourage ment of these urged from the example of France, though under a despotic government. The whole concludes with a Prospect of Future Times, given by the Goddess of Liberty : this described by the Author, as it passes in vision before him.
HERE interposing, as the Goddess paus’d,