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Where at each step the stranger fears to wake
The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake;
Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey,
And savage men more murderous still than they :
While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies,
Mingling the ravag'd landscape with the skies.
Far different these from every former scene,
The cooling brook, the grassy-vested green,
The breezy covert of the warbling grove,
That only shelter'd thefts of harmless love.
Good Heav'n! what sorrows gloom'd that parting day,
That call'd them from their native walks away ;
When the poor exiles, every pleasure past,
Hung round the bow'rs, and fondly look'd their last,
And took a long farewell, and wish'd in vain
For seats like these beyond the western main ;
And, shuddering still to face the distant deep,
Return’d and wept, and still return’d to weep.
The good old sire the first prepar'd to go
To new-found worlds, and wept for others' woe;
But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,
He only wish'd for worlds beyond the grave.
His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
The fond companion of his helpless years,
Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
And left a lover's for a father's arms.
With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And bless'd the cot where every pleasure rose ;
And kiss'd her thoughless babes with many a tear.
And clasp'd them close, in sorrow doubly dear;
Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief
In all the silent manliness of grief.
O luxury; thou curs’d by heaven's decree,
How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee !
How do thy potions, with insidious joy,
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy!
Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown,
Boast of a florid vigor not their own :
At every draught more large and large they grow,
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe;
Till sapp'd their strength, and every part unsound,
Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round.
E'en now the devastation is begun,
And half the business of destruction done;
E'en now, methinks, as pondering here I stand,
I see the rural virtues leave the land.
Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail,
That idly waiting flaps with ev'ry gale,
Downward they move, a melancholy band,
Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand.
Contented toil, and hospitable care,
And kind connubial tenderness, are there ;
And piety with wishes plac'd above,
And steady loyalty, and faithful love.
And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid,
Still first to fly where sensual joys invade !
Unfit, in these degenerate times of shame,
To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame;
Dear charming nymph, neglected and decry'd,
My shame in crowds, my solitary pride :
Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe,
That found'st me poor at first, and keep’st me so;
Thou guide, by which the nobler arts excel,
Thou nurse of every virtue, fare thee well.
Farewell! and O! where'er thy voice be try'd,
On Torno's cliffs, or Pambamarca's side,
Whether were equinoctial fervors glow,
Or winter wraps the polar world in snow,
Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,
Redress the rigours of th’inclement clime ;
Aid slighted truth with thy persuasive strain ;
Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain ;
Teach him, that states of native strength possest,
Though very poor, may still be very blest;
That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,
As ocean sweeps the labour'd mole away;
While self-dependent pow'r can time defy,
As rocks resist the billows and the sky.
Let observation with extensive view,
Survey mankind, from China to Peru;
Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife,
And watch the busy scenes of crowded life,
Then say how hope and fear, desire and hate,
O'erspread with snares the clouded maze of fate,
Where wavering man, betray'd by venturous pride,
To tread the dreary paths without a guide ;
As treacherous phantoms in the mist delude,
Shuns fancied ills, or chases airy good.
How rarely reason guides the stubborn choice,
Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant voice ;
How nations sink, by darling schemes oppress'd,
When vengeance listens to the fool's request.
Fate wings with every wish the afflictive dart,
Each gift of nature, and each grace of art ;
With fatal heat impetuous courage glows,
With fatal sweetness elocution flows;
Impeachment stops the speaker's powerful breath,
And restless fire precipitates on death.
But scarce observ'd, the knowing and the bold
Fall in the general massacre of gold;
Wide-wasting pest ! that rages unconfin'd,
And crowds with crimes the records of mankind;
For gold his sword the bireling ruffian draws,
For gold the hireling judge distorts the laws ;
Wealth heap'd on wealth, nor truth nor safety buys,
The dangers gather as the treasures rise.
Let history tell where rival kings command,
And dubious title shakes the madded land,
When statutes glean the refuse of the sword,
How much more safe the vassal than the lord ;
Low sculks the hind beneath the rage of pow'r,
And leaves the wealthy traitor in the Tow'r,
Untouch'd his cottage, and his slumbers sound,
Though confiscation's vultures hover round.
The needy traveller, serene and gay,
Walks the wild heath, and sings his toil away.
Does envy seize thee? crush the' upbraiding joy,
Increase his riches, and his peace destroy ;
New fears in dire vicissitude invade,
The rustling brake alarms, and quivering shade ;
Nor light nor darkness bring his pain relief,
One shows the plunder, and one hides the thief.
Yet still one general cry the skies assails,
And gain and grandeur load the tainted gales ;
Few know the toiling stateman's fear or care,
The' insidious rival and the gaping heir.
Once more, Democritus, arise on earth, With cheerful wisdom and instructive mirth, See motley life in modern trappings dress’d, And feed with varied fools the eternal jest : Thou who couldst laugh where want enchain'd caprice, Toil crush'd conceit, and man was of a piece ; Where wealth unlov'd without a mourner died ; And scarce a sycophant was fed by pride!
Where ne'er was known the form of mock debate,
Or seen a new-made mayor's unwieldly state ;
Where change of favourites made no change of laws,
And senates heard before they judg’d a calise ;
How wouldst thou shake at Britain's modish tribe,
Dart the quick taunt, and edge the piercing gibe?
Attentive truth and nature to decry,
And pierce each scene with philosophic eye.
To thee were solemn toys or empty show,
The robes of pleasure and the veils of woe :
All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain,
Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are rain.
Sach was the scorn that fill'd the sage's mind,
Renew'd at every glance on human kind ;
How just that scorn ere yet thy voice declare,
Search every state, and canvass every pray’r.
Unnumber'd suppliants crowd Preferment': gate,
Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great ;
Delusive Fortune hears the' incessant call,
They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall.
On every stage the foes of peace attend,
Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their end.
Love ends with hope, the sinking stateman's door
Pours in the morning-worshipper no more ;
For growing names the weekly scribbler lies,
To growing wealth the dedicator flies ;
From every room descends the painted face,
That hung the bright Palladium of the place,
And smok'd in kitchens, or in auctions sold,
To better features yields the frame of gold;
For now no more we trace in every line
Heroic worth, benevolence divine :
The form distorted justifies the fall,
And detestation rids the' indignant wall.
But will not Britain hear the last appeal, Sign her foe's doom, or guard her favourite's zeal ? Through Freedom's sons no more remonstance rings Degrading nobles and controlling kings; Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats, And ask no questions but the price of votes ; With weekly libels and septennial ale, Their wish is full to riot and to rail.
In full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand, Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand : To him the church, the realm, their pow’rs consigi, Through him the rays of regal bounty shine,