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Lays him along the snow, a stiffened corse-
Stretched out, and bleaching in the northern blast.
Ah ! little think the gay licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround,
They who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah! little think they, while they dance along,
And all the sad variety of pain.
How many sink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame. How many bleed,
By shameful variance betwixt man and man.
How many pine in want and dungeon-glooms,
Shut from the common air, and common use
Of their own limbs. How
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of misery. Sore pierced by wintry winds,
shrink into the sordid hut
Of cheerless poverty. How many shake,
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse ;
Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life,
They furnish matter for the tragic Muse.
Even in the vale, where wisdom loves to dwell,
With friendship, peace, and contemplation joined,
How many, racked with honest passions, droop
In deep retired distress. How
Around the death-bed of their dearest friends,
And point the parting anguish. Thought fond man
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills,
That one incessant struggle render life,
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
Vice in his high career would stand appalled,
And heedless rambling impulse learn to think;
The conscious heart of charity would warm,
And her wide wish benevolence dilate;
And social tear would rise, the social sigh;
And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social passions work.
And here can I forget the generous band,
Who, touched with human woe, redressive searched
Into the horrors of the gloomy jail ?
Unpitied and unheard where misery moans ;
Where sickness pines ; where thirst and hunger burn,
And poor misfortune feels the lash of vice.
While in the land of liberty, the land
Whose every street and public meeting glow
With open freedom, little tyrants raged:
Snatched the lean morsel from the starving mouth;
Tore from cold wintry limbs the tattered weed;
Even robbed them of the last of comforts, sleep;
The free-born Briton to the dungeon chained,
Or, as the lust of cruelty prevailed,
At pleasure marked him with inglorious stripes ;
And crushed out lives, by secret barbarous ways,
That for their country would have toiled or bled.
Oh, great design! if executed well
With patient care, and wisdom-tempered zeal.
Ye sons of mercy, yet resume the search ;
Drag forth the legal monsters into light,
Wrench from their hands oppression's iron rod,
And bid the cruel feel the pains they give.
Much still untouched remains; in this rank age,
Much is the patriot's weeding hand required.
The toils of law (what dark insidious men
Have cumbrous added to perplex the truth,
And lengthen simple justice into trade),
How glorious were the day that saw these broke,
And every man within the reach of right!
By wintry famine roused, from all the tract
Of horrid mountains which the shining Alps
And wavy Apennines and Pyrenees
Branch out stupendous into distant lands-
Burning for blood ! bony, and gaunt and grim!
Assembling wolves in raging troops descend;
And, pouring o'er the country, bear along,
Keen as the north-wind sweeps the glossy snow.
All is their prize. They fasten on the steed,
Press him to earth, and pierce his mighty heart;
Nor can the bull his awful front defend,
Or shake the murdering savages away.
Rapacious, at the mother's throat they fly,
And tear the screaming infant from her breast.
The godlike face of man avails him nought.
Even beauty, force divine ! at whose bright glance
The generous lion stands in softened gaze,
Here bleeds, a hapless undistinguished prey.
But if, apprized of the severe attack,
The country be shut up-lured by the scent,
On churchyards drear (inhuman to relate !)
The disappointed prowlers fall, and dig
The shrouded body from the grave; o'er which,
Mixed with foul shades and frighted ghosts, they howl.
Among those hilly regions, where embraced
In peaceful vales the happy Grisons? dwell,
Oft, rushing sudden from the loaded cliffs,
Mountains of snow their gathering terrors roll.
From steep to steep, loud thundering, down they come,
A wintry waste in dire commotion all,
And herds, and flocks, and travellers, and swains,
And sometimes whole brigades of marching troops,
Or hamlets sleeping in the dead of night,
Are deep beneath the smothering ruin whelmed.
Now, all amid the rigours of the year,
In the wild depth of Winter, while without
The ceaseless winds blow ice, be
Between the groaning forest and the shore,
Beat by the boundless multitude of waves,
A rural, sheltered, solitary scene;
Where ruddy fire and beaming tapers join
To cheer the gloom. There studious let me sit, 430
And hold high converse with the mighty dead ;
Sages of ancient time, as gods revered,
As gods beneficent, who blessed mankind
With arts and arms, and humanized a world.
Roused at the inspiring thought, I throw aside
The long-lived volume; and, deep-musing, hail
The sacred shades, that, slowly rising, pass
Before my wondering eyes. First Socrates?,
Who, firmly good in a corrupted state,
Against the rage of tyrants single stood
Solon' the next who built his commonweal
On equity's wide base ; by tender laws
A lively people curbing, yet undamped
Preserving still that quick peculiar fire,
Whence in the laurelled field of finer arts
And of bold freedom, they unequalled shone-
The pride of smiling Greece, and human-kind.
Lycurgus then?, who bowed beneath the force
Of strictest discipline, severely wise,
All human passions. Following him, I see,
As at Thermopylæ he glorious fell,
The firm, devoted Chief), who proved by deeds
The hardest lesson which the other taught.
Then Aristides 4 lifts his honest front;
Spotless of heart, to whom the unflattering voice
Of Freedom gave the noblest name of “Just;"
In pure majestic poverty revered ;
Who, even his glory to his country's weal
Submitting, swelled a haughty rival's fame.
Reared by his care, of softer ray, appears
Cimon", sweet-souled, whose genius, rising strong,
Shook off the load of
debauch ; abroad,
The scourge of Persian pride; at home, the friend
Of every worth, and every splendid art -
Modest and simple in the pomp of wealth.
Then, the last worthies of declining Greece,
Late-called to glory, in unequal times,
Pensive appear. The fair Cor
Timoleon, tempered happy, mild and firm,
Who wept the brother while the tyrant bled.
And, equal to the best, the Theban pair,
Whose virtues, in heroic concord joined,
Their country raised to freedom, virtue, fame.
He too, with whom Athenian honour sunk,
And left a mass of sordid lees behind,
Phocion? the good ; in public life severe,
To virtue still inexorably firm ;
But when beneath his low illustrious roof,
Sweet peace and happy wisdom smoothed his brow,
Not friendship softer was, not love more kind.
And he, the last of old Lycurgus' sons,
The generous victim to that vain attempt
To save a rotten state, Agis, who saw
Even Sparta's self to servile avarice sunk.
The two Achæan heroes close the train,
Aratus, who a while relumed the soul
Of fondly lingering liberty in Greece ;
And he, her darling, as her latest, hope,
The gallant Philopoemen“, who to arms
Turned the luxurious pomp he could not cure ;
Or, toiling in his farm, a simple swain ;
Or, bold and skilful, thundering in the field.
Of rougher front, a mighty people come!
A race of heroes! in those virtuous times
Which knew no stain, save that with partial flame
Their dearest country they too fondly loved.
Her better founder first, the light of Rome,
Numa”, who softened her rapacious sons.