« PreviousContinue »
How does the Earth receive him?-with what signs
Of gratulation and delight her king?
Pours she not all her choicest fruits abroad,
Her sweetest flow'rs, her aromatic gums,
Disclosing Paradise where'er he treads?
She quakes at his approach. Her hollow womb,
Conceiving thunders, through a thousand deeps
And fiery caverns, roars beneath his foot.
The hills move lightly, and the mountains smoke,
For he has touch'd them. From the extremest point
Of elevation down into th' abyss
His wrath is busy, and his frown is felt.
The rocks fall headlong, and the valleys rise,
The rivers die into offensive pools,
And, charg'd with putrid verdure, breathe a gross
And mortal nuisance into all the air.
What solid was, by transformation strange,
Grows fluid; and the fixʼd and rooted earth,
Tormented into billows, heaves and swells,
Or with vortiginous and hideous whirl
Sucks down its prey insatiable. Immense
The tumults and the overthrow, the
And agonies of human and of brute
Multitudes, fugitive on ev'ry side,
And fugitive in vain. The sylvan scene
Migrates uplifted; and, with all its soil
Alighting in far distant fields, finds out
A new possessor, and survives the change.
Ocean has caught the frenzy, and, upwrought
To an enormous and o'erbearing height,
Not by a mighty wind, but by that voice,
Which winds and waves obey, invades the shore
Resistless. Never such a sudden flood,
Upridg'd so high, and sent on such a charge,
Possess'd an inland scene. Where now the throng
That press’d the beach, and hasty to depart,
Look'd to the sea for safety? They are gone,
Gone with the refluent wave into the deep-
A prince with half his people! Ancient tow’rs,
And roofs embattled high, the gloomy scenes,
Where beauty oft and letter'd worth consume
Life in the unproductive shades of death,
Fall prone: the pale inhabitants come forth,
And, happy in their unforeseen release
From all the rigours of restraint, enjoy
The terrors of the day that sets them free.
Who then, that has thee, would not hold thee fast,
Freedom ? whom they that lose thee so regret,
That e’en a judgment, making way for thee,
Seems in their eyes a mercy for thy sake?
Such evils Sin hath wrought; and such a flame
Kindled in Heav'n, that it burns down to Earth,
And in the furious inquest, that it makes
On God's behalf, lays waste his fairest works.
The very elements, though each be meant
The minister of man, to serve his wants,
Conspire against him. With his breath he draws
A plague into his blood; and cannot use
Life's necessary means, but he must die.
Storms rise to’erwhelm him: or, if stormy winds
Rise not, the waters of the deep shall rise,
And, needing none assistance of the storm,
Shall roll themselves ashore, and reach him there.
The earth shall shake him out of all his holds,
Or make his house his grave: nor so content,
Shall counterfeit the motions of the flood,
And drown him in her dry and dusty gulfs.
What then !—were they the wicked above all,
And we the righteous, whose fast-anchor'd isle
Mov'd not, while theirs was rock'd, like a light skiff,
The sport of ev'ry wave ? No: none are clear,
And none than we more guilty. But, where all
Stand chargeable with guilt, and to the shafts
of wrath obnoxious, God may choose his mark:
May punish, if he please, the less, to warn
The more malignant. If he spar'd not them,
Tremble and be amaz'd at thine escape,
Far guiltier England, lest he spare not thee!
Happy the man, who sees a God employ'd
In all the good and ill, that chequer life!
all events, with their effects And manifold results, into the will And arbitration wise of the Supreme. Did not his eye rule all things, and intend The least of our concerns (since from the least The greatest oft originate); could chance Find place in his dominion, or dispose One lawless particle to thwart his plan; Then God might be surpris’d, and unforeseen Contingence might alarm him, and disturb The smooth and equal course of his affairs. This truth Philosophy, though eagle-ey'd In nature's tendencies, oft overlooks; And, having found his instrument, forgets, Or disregards, or, more presumptuous still, Denies the pow'r that wields it. God proclaims His hot displeasure against the foolish men, That live an atheist life: involves the Heay'ns In tempests; quits his grasp upon the winds, And gives them all their fury; bids a plague Kindle a fiery boil upon the skin, And putrefy the breath of blooming Health. He calls for Famine, and the meager fiend Blows mildew from between his shrivell d lips, And taints the golden ear. He springs his mines, And desolates a nation at a blast. Forth steps the spruce philosopher, and tells Of homogeneal and discordant springs And principles; of causes how they work By necessary laws their sure effects; Of action and re-action: he has found The source of the disease, that nature feels, And bids the world take heart and banish fear. Thou fool! will thy discov'ry of the cause
Suspend th' effect, or heal it? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the world?
And did he not of old employ his means
To drown it? What is his creation less
Than a capacious reservoir of means
Form’d for his use, and ready at his will?
Go, dress thine eyes with eye-salve; ask of him,
Or ask of whomsoever he has taught;
And learn, though late, the genuine cause of all.
England, with all thy faults, I love thee still-
My country! and, while yet a nook is left,
Where English minds and manners may be found,
Shall be constrain'd to love thee. Though thy clime,
Be fickle, and thy year most part deform’d
With dripping rains, or wither'd by a frost,
I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies,
And fields without a flow'r, for warmer France
With all her vines : nor for Ausonia's groves
Of golden fruitage, and her myrtle bow'rs.
To shake thy senate, and from heights sublime
Of patriot eloquence to flash down fire
Upon thy foes, was never meant my task:
But I can feel thy fortunes, and partake
Thy joys and sorrows, with as true a heart
thund'rer there. And I can feel Thy follies too; and with a just disdain Frown at effeminates, whose very
looks Reflect dishonour on the land I love. How, in the name of soldiership and sense, Should England prosper,when such things, as smooth And tender as a girl, all essenc'd o'er With odours, and as profligate as sweet; Who sell their laurel for a myrtle wreath, And love when they should fight; when such as these Presume to lay their hands upon the ark Of her magnificent and awful cause ? Time was when it was praise and boast enough In ev'ry clime, and travel where we might,
That we were born her children. Praise enough
To fill th' ambition of a private man,
That Chatham's language was his mother tongue,
And Wolfe’s great name compatriot with his own.
Farewell those honours, and farewell with them
The hope of such hereafter! They have fall’n
Each in his field of glory; one in arms,
And one in council-Wolfe
the lap Of smiling Victory that moment won, And Chatham heart-sick of his country's shame! They made us many soldiers. Chatham, still Consulting England's happiness at home, Secur'd it by an unforgiving frown, If any wrong'd her. Wolfe, where'er he fought, Put so much of his heart into his act, That his example had a magnet's force, And all were swift to follow whom all lov'd. Those suns are set. 0, rise some other such! Or all that we have left is empty talk Of old achievements, and despair of new. U Now hoist the sail, and let the streamers float Upon the wanton breezes. Strew the deck With lavender, and sprinkle liquid sweets, That no rude savour maritime invade The nose of nice nobility! Breathe soft Ye clarionets, and softer still ye flutes; That winds and waters, lull’d by magic sounds, May bear us smoothly to the Gallic shore ! True, we have lost an empire-let it pass. True; we may thank the perfidy of France, That pick'd the jewel out of England's crown, With all the cunning of an envious shrew. And let that pass—'twas but a trick of state ! A brave man knows no malice, but at once Forgets in peace the injuries of war, And gives his direst foe a friend's embrace. And, sham'd as we have been, to th’ very beard Brav'd and defied, and in our own sea prov'd