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And, while he ruľd thee by the sword alone,
Made thee at last a warriour like his own.
Religion, if in heav'nly truths attir'd,
Needs only to be seen to be admir'd;
But thine, as dark as witch’ries of the night,
Was form’d to harden hearts and shock the sight;
Thy Druids struck the well-hung harps they bore
With fingers deeply dyed in human gore;
And while the victim slowly bled to death,
Upon the rolling chords rung out his dying breath.
Who brought the lamp, that with awaking beams
Dispelld thy gloom, and broke away thy dreams,
Tradition, now decrepit and worn out,
Babbler of ancient fables, leaves a doubt:
But still light reach'd thee; and those gods of thine,
Woden and Thor, each tott'ring in his shrine,
Fell broken and defac'd at his own door,
As Dagon in Philistia long before.
But Rome, with sorceries and magick wand,
Soon rais'd a cloud that darken'd ev'ry land;
And thine was smother'd in the stench and fog
Of Tiber's marshes and the papal bog.
Then priests, with bulls and briefs, and shaven
crowns, And griping fists, and unrelenting frowns, Legates and delegates with pow'rs from hell, Though heav'nly in pretension, fleec'd thee well; And to this hour, to keep it fresh in mind, Some twigs of that old scourge are left behind.
* Which may be found at Doctors' Commons.
Thy soldiery, the Pope's well-manag’d pack,
Were train'd beneath his lash, and knew the smack ;
And, when he laid them on the scent of blood,
Would hunt a Saracen through fire and flood.
Lavish of life, to win an empty tomb,
That prov'd a mint of wealth, a mine to Rome,
They left their bones beneath unfriendly skies,
His worthless absolution all the prize.
Thou wast the veriest slave in days of yore,
That ever dragg'd a chain or tugg’d an oar;
Thy monarchs, arbitrary, fierce, unjust,
Themselves the slaves of bigotry or lust,
Disdain'd thy counsels, only in distress
Found thee a goodly sponge for Pow'r to press.
Thy chiefs, the lords of many a petty fee,
Provok'd and harass’d, in return plagu'd thee;
Call’d thee away from peaceable employ,
Domestick happiness and rural joy,
To waste thy life in arms, or lay it down
In causeless feuds and biek’rings of their own.
Thy parliaments ador'd on bended knees
The sov'reignty they were conven’d to please ;
Whate'er was ask'd, too timid to resist,
Complied with, and were graciously dismiss'd ;
And if some Spartan soul a doubt express’d,
And, blushing at the tameness of the rest,
Dar'd to suppose the subject had a choice,
He was a traitor by the gen’ral voice.
Oh slave! with pow'rs thou didst not dare exert,
Verse cannot stoop so low as thy desert;
It shakes the sides of splenetick Disdain,
Thou self-entitled ruler of the main,
To trace thee to the date when yon fair sea,
That clips thy shores, had no such charms for thee;
When other nations flew from coast to coast,
And thou hadst neither fleet nor flag to boast.
and lay thy forehead in the dust ;
Blush, if thou canst ; not petrified, thou must:
Act but an honest and a faithful part;
Compare what then thou wast with what thou art;
And God's disposing providence confess’d,
Obrluracy itself must yield the rest
Then thou art bound to serve him, and to prove,
Hour after hour, thy gratitude and love.
Has he not hid thee, and thy favour'd land, For ages safe beneath his shelt'ring hand, Giv’n thee his blessing on the clearest proof, Bid nations leagu'd against thee stand aloof, And charg'd Hostility and Hate to roar Where else they would, but not upon thy shore? His pow'r secar'd thee, when presumptuous Spain Baptiz'd her fleet invincible in vain ; Her gloomy monarch, doubtful and resign'd To ev'ry pang that racks an anxious mind, Ask'd of the wayes, that broke upon his coast, What tidings ? and the surge replied-All lost! And when the Stuart leaning on the Scot, Then too much fear'd, and now too much forgot, Pierc'd to the very centre of the realm, And hop'd to seize his abdicated helm, 'Twas but to prove how quickly with a frown He that had rais'd thee could have pluck'd thee
Peculiar is the grace by thee possess’d,
Thy foes implicable, thy land at rest ;
Thy thunders travel over earth and seas,
And all at home is pleasure, wealth, and ease.
*Tis thus, extending his tempestuous arm,
Thy Maker fills the nations with alarm,
While his own Heav'n surveys the troubled scene,
And feels no change, unshaken and serene.
Freedom, in other lands scarce known to shine,
Pours out a flood of splendour upon thine;
Thou hast as bright an intrest in her rays
As ever Roman had in Rome's best days.
Truc Freedom is where no restraint is known,
That Scripture, justice, and good sense disown,
Where only vice and injury are tied,
And all from shore to shore is free beside.
Such freedom is—and Windsor's hoary tow'rs
Stood trembling at the boldness of thy pow'rs,
That won a nymph on that immortal plain
Like her the fabled Phæbus woo'd in vain;
He found the laurel only--happier you
Th' unfading laurel, and the virgin too!
Now think, if Pleasure have a thought to spare ;
If God himseli be not beneath her care;
If business, constant as the wheels of time,
Can pause an hour to read a serious rhyme;
If the new mail thy merchants now receive,
Or expectation of the next, give leave;
Oh think! if chargeable with deep arrears
For such indulgence gilding all thy years,
* Alluding to the grant of Magna Charta, which was extorted from King John by the barons at Runnymede near Windsor.
How much, though long neglected, shining yet,
The beams of heav'nly truth have swell’d the debt,
When persecuting zeal made royal sport
With tortur'd innocence in Mary's court,
And Bonner, blithe as shepherd at a wake,
Enjoyed the show, and danc'd about the stake;
The sacred Book, its value understood,
Received the seal of martyrdom in blood.
Those holy men, so full of truth and grace,
Seem to reflection of a different race;
Meek, modest, venerable, wise, sincere,
In such a cause they could not dare to fear;
They could not purchase earth with such a prize,
Or spare a life too short to reach the skies.
From them to thee convey'd along the tide,
Their streaming hearts pour'd freely when they
Those truths, which neither use nor years impair
Invite thee, woo thee, to the bliss they share.
What dotage will not vanity maintain ?
What web too weak to catch a modern brain?
The moles and bats in full assembly find,
On special search, the keen-ey'd eagle blind.
And did they dream, and art thou wiser now?
Prove it—if better, I submit and bow.
Wisdom and goodness are twin-born, one heart
Must hold both sisters, never seen apart.
So then-as darkness overspread the deep,
Ere Nature rose from her eternal sleep,
And this delightful earth, and that fair sky,
Leap'd out of nothing, call'd by the Most High;