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Of freedom, in that hope itself possess :::
All that the contest calls for ; spirit, strength,
The scorn of danger, and united hearts; :
The surest presage of the good they seek.* ....
Then shame to manhood, and opprobrious more
To France than all her losses and defeats, ..
Old or of later date, by sea or land, .
Her house of bondage, worse than that of old,
Which God aveng'd on Pharaoh-the Bastille !
Ye horrid tow'rs, th' abode of broken hearts ;
Ye dungeons and ye cages of despair, . i.
That monarchs have supplied from age to age
With music such as suits their sov’reign ears
The sighs and groans of miserable men;
There's not an English heart that would not leap
To hear that ye were fallin at last; to know
That ev'n our enemies, so oft employd
In forging chains for us, themselves were free.
For he who values liberty confines
His zeal for her predominance within
No narrow bounds; her cause engages him
Wherever pleaded. "Tis the cause of man."
There dwell the most forlorn of human kind;
Immur'd though unaccus'd, condemn'd untried,
Cruelly spar'd, and hopeless of escape!
* The Author hopes that he shall not be censured for onnecessary warmth upon so interesting a subject. He is aware that it is become almost fashionable to stigmatize such sentiments as no better than empty declamation; but it is an ill fymptom, and peculiar to modern times,
There, like the visionary emblem seen By him of Babylon, life stands a stump, And, filletted about with hoops of brass, Still lives, though all its pleasant boughs are gone. To count the hour-bell and expect no change ; And ever, as the sullen sound is heard, Still to reflect, that, though a joyless note To him whose moments all have one dull pace, Ten thousand rovers in the world at large Account it music; that it summons some To theatre, or jocund feast or ball : The wearied hireling finds it a release From labour; and the lover, who has chid Its long delay, feels ev'ry welcome stroke Upon his heart-strings, trembling with delight To fly for refuge from distracting thought To such amusements as ingenious woe Contrives, hard shifting, and without her tools To read engraven on the mouldy walls, In stagg’ring types, his predecessor's tale, A sad memorial, and subjoin his ownTo turn purveyor to an overgorg'd And bloated spider, till the pamper'd pest Is made familiar, watches his approach, Comes at his call, and serves him for a friend To wear out time in numb'ring to and fro The studs that thick emboss his iron door ;
And then alternate ; with a sickly hope
By dint of change to give his tasteless task
Some relish ; till the sum, exactly found
In all directions, he begins again :
Oh comfortless existence ! hemm'd around
With woes, which who that suffers would not kneel
And beg for exile, or the pangs of death?
That man should thus encroach on fellow man,
Abridge him of his just and native rights,
Eradicate him, tear him from his hold
And social, nip his fruitfulness and use,
And doom him for perhaps a heedless word
To barrenness, and solitude, and tears,'
Moves indignation ; makes the name of king
(Of king whom such prerogative can please)
As dreadful as the Manichean god,
Ador'd through fear, strong only to destroy.
'Tis liberty alone that gives the flow'r .
Of Aeeting life its lustre and perfume ;
And we are weeds without it. All constraint,
Except what wisdom lays on evil men,
Is evil ; hurts the faculties, impedes
Their progress in the road of science ; blinds
The eyesight of discov'ry ; and begets, .
In those that suffer it, a sordid mind.
Bestial, a meagre intellect, unfit sco.
To be the tenant of man's noble form..
Thee therefore still, blame worthy as thou art,
With all thy loss of empire, and though squeez'd
By public exigence till annual food
Fails for the craving hunger of the state,
Thee I account still happy, and the chief
Among the nations, seeing thou art free:
My native nook of earth! Thy clime is rude,
Replete with vapours, and disposes much
All hearts to sadness, and none more than mine :
Thine unadult'rate manners are less soft
And plausible than social life requires,
And thou hast néed of discipline and art .
To give thee what politer France receives
From Nature's bounty--that humane address
And sweetness, without which nó pleasure is
In converse, either starv.d by cold reserve,
Or flush'd with fierce dispute, a senseless brawl :
Yet, being free, I love thee: for the sake ”
Of that one feature can be well content,
Disgrac'd as thou hast been, poor as thou art,
To seek no sublunary rest beside.
But, once enslav’d, farewel! I could endure
Chains no where patiently; and chains at home,
Where I am free by birthright, not at all.
Then what were left of roughness in the grain
Of British natures, wanting its excuse .
That it belongs to freemen, would disgust
And shock me. . I should then, with double pain,
Feel all the rigour of thy fickle clime ;
And, if I must bewail the blessing lost,
For which our Hampdens and our Sidneys bled,
I would at least bewail it under skies
Milder, among a people less austere;
In scenes, which, having never known me free,
Would not reproach me with the loss I felt.
Do I forebode impossible events,
And tremble at vain dreams? Heav'n grant I may!
But th' age of virtuous politics is past,
And we are deep in that of cold pretence.
Patriots are grown too shrewd to be sincere,
And we too wise to trust them. He that takes
Design'd by loud declaimers on the part
Of liberty, themselves the slaves of lust,
Incurs derision for his easy faith
And lack of knowledge, and with cause enough :
For when was public virtue to be found
Where private was not ? Can he love the whole
Who loves no part ? He be a nation's friend,
Who is, in truth, the friend of no man there?
Can he be strenuous in his country's cause
Who slights the charities, for whose dear sake
That country, if at all, must be belov'd ?
'Tis therefore sober and good men are sad
For England's glory, seeing it wax pale
And sickly, while her champions wear their hearts
So loose to private duty, that no brain,
Healthful and undisturb’d by factious fumes,
Can dream them trusty to the gen’ral weal.
Such were they not of old, whose temper'd blades
Dispers’d the shackles of usurp'd control,
And hew'd them link from link: then Albion's sons
Were sons indeed ; they felt a filial heart
Beat high within them at a mother's wrongs ;