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To peculators of the public gold :
That thieves at home must hang; but he, that puts
Into his overgorged and bloated purse
The wealth of Indian provinces, escapes.
Nor is it well, nor can it come to good,
That, through profane and infidel contempt
Of holy writ, she has presumed to annul
And abrogate, as roundly as she may,
The total ordinance and will of God;
Advancing Fashion to the post of Truth,
And centering all authority in modes
And customs of her own, till sabbath rites
Have dwindled into unrespected forms,
And knees and hassocks are well-nigh divorced.

God made the country, and man made the towe,
What wonder then that health and virtue, gifts
That can alone make sweet the bitter draught
That life holds out to all, should most abound
And least be threaten'd in the fields and groves?
Possess ye therefore, ye who, borne about
In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue
But that of idleness, and taste no scenes
But such as art contrives, possess ye still
Your element; there only can ye shine;
There only minds like yours can do no harm.
Our groves were planted to console at noon
The pensive wanderer in their shades. At eve
The moon-beam, sliding softly in between
The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish,
Birds warbling all the music. We can spare
The splendour of your lamps ; they but eclipse
Our softer satellite. Your songs confound
Our more harmonious notes: the thrush departs
Scared, and the offended nightingale is mute.
There is a public mischief in your mirth;
It plagues your country. Folly such as yours,
Graced with a sword, and worthier of a fan,
Has made, what enemies could ne'er have done,
Our arch of empire, steadfast but for you,
A mutilated structure, soon to fall.

THE TASK.

BOOK II.

ARGUMENT OF THE SECOND BOOK.

Reflections suggested by the conclusion of the

former book. -Peace among the nations recommended, on the ground of their common fellow. ship in sorrow.- Prodigies enumerated.-Sicilian earthquakes.-Man rendered obnoxious to these calamities by sin.-God the agent in them. The philosophy, that stops at secondary causes reproved. Our own late miscarriages accounted for.-Satirical notice taken of our trips to Fontaine-Bleau.--But the pulpit, not satire, the pro. per engine of reformation. The Reverend Ad. vertiser of engraved sermons.-Petit maître par. son. The good preacher.—Picture of a theatrical clerical coxcomb.-Story-tellers and jesters in the pulpit reproved.-Apostrophe to popular applause.-Retailers of ancient philosophy expostu. lated with.-Sum of the whole matter.--Effects of sacerdotal mismanagement on the laity. Their folly and ex vagance.-The mischiefs of profusion.-Profusion itself, with all its consequent evils, ascribed, as to its principal cause, to the want of discipline in the universities.

THE TASK.

BOOK II.

THE TIME-PIECE.

O FOR a lodge in some vast wilderness, Some boundless contiguity of shade, Where rumour of oppression and deceit, Of unsuccessful or successful war, Might never reach me more. My ear is pain'd, My soul is sick with every day's report Of wrong and outrage with which Earth is fill'd, There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart, It does not feel for man; the natural bond Of brotherhood is sever'd as the flax, That falls asunder at the touch of fire. He finds his fellow guilty of a skin Not colour'd like his own, and having power To enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey. Lands intersected by a narrow frith Ablor each other. Mountains interposed Make enemies of nations, who had else Like kindred drops been mingled into one. Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys; And, worse than all, and most to be deplored As human nature's broadest, foulest blot, Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat With stripes, that Mercy with a bleeding heart Weeps, when she sees inflicted on a beast. Then what is man? And what man, seeing this,

And having human feelings, does not blush,
And hang his head, to thiok himself a man?
I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earn'd.
No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
Just estimation prized above all price,
I had much rather be myself the slave,
And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him.
We have no slaves at home-then why abroad?
And they themselves once ferried o'er the wave
That parts us, are emancipate and loosed.
Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free;
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through every vein
Of all your empire; that, where Britain's

power Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.

Sure there is need of social intercourse, Benevolence, and peace, and mutual aid, Between the nations in a world, that seems To toll the death-bell of its own disease, And by the voice of all its elements To preach the general doom.. When were the winds Let slip with such a warrant to destroy ? When did the waves so haughtily o'erleap Their ancient barriers, deluging the dry? Fires from beneath, and meteorst from above, Portentous, unexampled, unexplain'd, Have kindled beacons in the skies; and the old And crazy Earth has had her shaking fits More frequent, and foregone her usual rest. Is it a time to wrangle, when the props And pillars of our planet seem to fail,

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Alluding to the calamities in Jamaica.
August 18, 1783.

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