Изображения страниц

Legates and delegates with pow'rs from Hell,
Though heavenly in pretension, fleec'd thee well; 515
And to this hour, to keep it fresh in mind,
Some twigs of that old scourge are left behind.*
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, 520
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,
Disdaind thy counsels, only in distress

530 Found thee a goodly spunge for Power 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,

535 To waste thy life in arms, or lay it down In causeless feuds and bick’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 general voice.

O slave! with powers 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


That clips thy shores, had no such charms for thra.

to Which may be found at Doctors'




When other nations flew from coast to coast,
And thou hadst neither fleet nor flag to boast.

Kneel now, and lay thy forehead in the dust;
Blush if thou canst; not petrified, thou must; 555
Act but an honest and a faithful part;
Compare what then thou wast with what thou art;
And God's disposing providence confessd,
Obduracy itself must yield the rest-
Then thou art bound to serve him, and to prove, 560
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, 565 And charg'd Hostility and Hate to roar, Where else they would, but not upon thy shore ? His power secur'd thee when presumptuous Spain Baptiz'd her fleet invincible in vain; Her gloomy monarch, doubtful and resignd

570 To ev'ry pang that racks an anxious mind, Ask'd of the waves 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, 575 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 down. Peculiar is the grace by thee possessid,

580 Thy foes implacable, 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,

585 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 int'rest in her rays, 590
As ever Roman had in Rome's best days.
True 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,

600 Th’ unfading laurel and the virgin too !*

Now think, (if pleasure have a thought to spare ; If God himself be not beneath her care ; If business, constant as the wheels of time, Can pause an hour to read a serious rhyme ; 605 If the new mail thy merchants now receive, Or expectation of the next give leave,) O think, if chargeable with deep arrears For such indulgence gilding all thy years, How much, though long neglected, shining yet, 610 The beams of heavenly 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, Enjoy'd the show, and danc'd about the stake; 615 The sacred book, its value understood, Receiv'd 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,

620 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.

[ocr errors]


* Alluding to the grant of Magna Charta, which was extorted from King John by the barons at Runnymede, near Windsor.

From them to thee convey'd along the tide,
Their streaming hearts pour'd freely, when they died ;
Those truths, which neither use nor years impair, 626
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

630 On special search, the keen-ey'd eagle blind. And did they dream, and art thou wiser now ?

it-rif better, I submit and bow. Wisdom and goodness are twin-born, one heart Must hold both sisters, never seen apart.

635 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 ; By such a change thy darkness is made light, 640 Thy chaos order, and thy weakness might; And He whose pow'r mere nullity obeys, Who found thee nothing, form’d thee for his praise. To praise him is to serve him, and fulfil, Doing and sufføring, his unquestion d will ; 645 "Tis to believe what men inspir'd of old, Faithful, and faithfully inform’d, unfold ; Candid and just, with no false aim in view, To take for truth what cannot but be true ; To learn in God's own school the Christian part, 650 And bind the task assign’d thee to thine heart : Happy the man there seeking and there found, Happy the nation where such men abound.

How shall a verse impress thee ? by what name Shall I adjure thee not to court thy shame ? 655 By theirs, whose bright example unimpeach’d, Directs thee to that eminence they reach'd, Heroes and worthies of days past, thy sires ? Or his, who touch'd their hearts with hallow'd fires ? Their names, alas! in vain reproach an age,

660 Whom all the vanities they scorn’d engage ;

And His, that seraph's trembled at, is hung
Disgracefully on ev'ry trifler's tongue,
Or serves the champion in forensick war
To flourish and parade with at the bar.

Pleasure herself perhaps suggests a plea,
If int’rest move thee, to persuade e'en thee ;
By ev'ry charm, that smiles upon her face,
By joys possess’d, and joys still held in chase,
If dear society be worth a thought,

670 And if the feast of freedom cloy thee not, Reflect that these, and all that seem thine own, Held by the tenure of his will alone, Like angels in the service of their Lord, Remain with thee, or leave thee at his word, 675 That gratitude and temperance in our use Of what he gives, unsparing, and profuse Secure the favour, and enhance the joy, That thankless waste and wild abuse destroy. But, above all, reflect, how cheap soe’er

680 Those rights that millions envy thee appear, And though resolv'd to risk them, and swim down The tide of pleasure, heedless of his frown, That blessings truly sacred, and when giv’n, Mark'd with the signature and stamp of Heav'n, 685 The word of prophecy, those truths divine, Which make that Heav'n, if thou desire it, thine. Awful alternative! believ'd, belov'd, (Thy glory, and thy shame if unimprovd,) Are never long vouchsaf'd, if push'd aside

690 With cold disgust, or philosophick pride ; And that judicially withdrawn, disgrace, Errour, and darkness, occupy their place.

A world is up in arms, and thou, a spot. Not quickly found if negligently sought,

695 Thy soul as ample as thy bounds are small, Endur'st the brunt, and dar’st defy them all : And wilt thou join to this bold enterprise, A bolder still, a contest with the skies ?

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »