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As if, like him of fabulous renown,
700 In the lost kind, extracting from the lips Of asps their venom, overpow'ring strength By weakness, and hostility by love.
Patriots have toil'd, and, in their country's cause Bled nobly; and their deeds, as they deserve, 705 Receive proud recompense. We give in charge Their names to the sweet lyre. Th' historick muse, Proud of the treasure, marches with it down To latest times; and Sculpture, in her turn, Gives bond in stone and ever-during brass
710 To guard them, and t' immortalize her trust : But fairer wreaths are due, though never paid, To those who, posted at the shrine of Truth, Have fall’n in her defence. A patriot's blood, Well spent in such a strife, may earn indeed, 715 And, for a time, ensure to his lov'd land The sweets of liberty and equal laws; But martyrs struggle for a brighter prize, And win it with more pain. Their blood is shed In confirmation of the noblest claim
720 Our claim to feed upon immortal truth, To walk with God, to be divinely free, To soar, and to anticipate the skies. Yet few remember them. They liv'd unknown, Till persecution dragg’d them into fame, 725 And chas'd them up to Heaven. Their ashes flew -No marble tells us whither. With their names No bard embalms and sanctifies his song :
And history, so warm on meaner themes,
730 The tyranny that doom'd them to the fire, But gives the glorious suff'rers little praise.*
He is the freeman whom the truth makes free, And all are slaves beside. There's not a chain That hellish foes, confed'rate for his harm, 735 Can wind around him, but he casts it off With as much ease as Samson his green withes. He looks abroad into the varied field Of nature, and though poor, perhaps, compar'd With those whose mansions glitter in his sight, 740 Calls the delightful scenery all his own. His are the mountains, and the valleys his, And the resplendent rivers. His t' enjoy With a propriety that none can feel, But who, with filial confidence inspir’d,
745 Can lift to heav'n an unpresumptuous eye, And smiling say—“My Father made them all !" Are they not his by a peculiar right, And by an emphasis of int’rest his, Whose eye they fill with tears of holy joy, 750 Whose heart with praise, and whose exalted mind With worthy thoughts of that unwearied love, That plann'd, and built, and still upholds a world So cloth’d with beauty for rebellious man? Yes—ye may fill your garners, ye that reap 755 The loaded soil, and ye may waste much good In senseless riot; but ye will not find In feast or in the chase, in song or dance, A liberty like his, who, unimpeach'd Of usurpation, and to no man's wrong,
760 Appropriates nature as his Father's work, And has a richer use of yours than you. He is indeed a freeman Free by birth Of no mean city; plann'd or ere the hills
* See Hume.
Were built, the fountains open'd, or the sea, 765
Acquaint thyself with God, if thou would'st taste His works. Admitted once to his embrace, 780 Thou shalt perceive that thou wast blind before : Thine eye shall be instructed ; and thine heart, Made pure, shall relish with divine delight, Till then unfelt, what hands divine have wrought. Brutes graze the mountain-top, with faces prone, 785 And eyes intent upon the scanty herb It yields them; or, recumbent on its brow, Ruminate heedless of the scene outspread Beneath, beyond, and stretching far away From inland regions to the distant main.
790 Man views it, and admires; but rests content With what he views. The landscape has his praise, But not its author. Unconcern'd who formid The Paradise he sees, he finds it such, And such well pleas'd to find it, asks no more. 795 Not so the mind that has been touch'd from Heav'n, And in the school of sacred wisdom taught To read His wonders, in whose thought the world, Fair as it is, existed ere it was. Nor for its own sake merely, but for his
800 Much more who fashion'd it, he gives it praise ; Praise that from earth resulting, as it ought,
To earth’s acknowledg’d sov’reign, finds at once
820 Sent forth a voice, and all the sons of God Shouted for joy.-"Tell me, ye shining hosts, That navigate a sea that knows no storms, Beneath a vault unsullied with a cloud, If from your elevation, whence ye view
825 Distinctly scenes invisible to man, And systems, of whose birth no tidings yet Have reach'd this nether world, ye spy a race Favour'd as ours; transgressors from the womb And hasting to a grave, yet doom'd to rise,
830 And to possess a brighter Heaven than yours ? As one, who, long detain'd on foreign shores, Pants to roturn, and when he sees afar His country's weather-bleach'd and batter'd rocks, From the green wave emerging, darts an eye
835 Radiant with joy toward the happy land; So I with animated hopes behold, And many an aching wish, your beamy fires, That show like beacons in the blue abyss, Ordain'd to guide th’ embodied spirit home
From toilsome life to never-ending rest.
So reads he Nature, whom the lamp of truth 845
855 In vain thy creasures testify of thee, Till thou proclaim thyself. Theirs is indeed A teaching voice; but 'tis the praise of thine, That whom it teaches it makes prompt to learn, And with the boon gives talents for its use. 860 Till thou art heard, imaginations vain Possess the heart, and fables false as hell : Yet deem'd oracular, lure down to death The uninform’d and heedless souls of men. We give to chance, blind chance, ourselves as blind, The glory of thy work; which yet appears
866 Perfect and urimpeachable of blame, Challenging human scrutiny, and provid Then skilful most when most severely judg'd. But chance is not ; or is not where thou reign'st : 870 Thy providence forbids that fickle pow'r (If pow'r she be, that works but to confound) To mix her wild vagaries with thy laws. Yet thus we dote, refusing while we can Instruction, and inventing to ourselves
875 Gods such as guilt makes welcome ; gods that sleep, Or disregard our follies, or that sit Amus d spectators of this bustling stage. VOL. IL