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"Hence commerce springs, the venal inter


Of all that human art or Nature yield; 40 Which wealth should purchase not, but want demand,

And natural kindness hasten to supply From the full fountain of its boundless love,

Forever stifled, drained, and tainted now. Commerce! beneath whose poison-breathing shade

45 No solitary virtue dares to spring, But poverty and wealth with equal hand Scatter their withering curses, and unfold

The doors of premature and violent death To pining famine and full-fed disease, 50 To all that shares the lot of human life, Which, poisoned body and soul, scarce drags the chain

That lengthens as it goes and clanks behind.

"Commerce has set the mark of selfishness, The signet of its all-enslaving power 55 Upon a shining ore, and called it gold: Before whose image bow the vulgar great,

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His nature to the heaven of its pride,
Is bartered for the poison of his soul;
The weight that drags to earth his towering

Blighting all prospect but of selfish gain,
85 Withering all passion but of slavish fear,
Extinguishing all free and generous love
Of enterprise and daring, even the pulse
That fancy kindles in the beating heart
To mingle with sensation, it des.roys,-
90 Leaves nothing but the sordid lust of self,
The grovelling hope of interest and gold,
Unqualified, unmingled, unredeemed
Even by hypocrisy.


And statesmen boast
Of wealth! The wordy eloquence, that

95 After the ruin of their hearts, can gild
The bitter poison of a nation's woe,
Can turn the worship of the servile mob
To their corrupt and glaring idol, fame,
From virtue, trampled by its iron tread,
Although its dazzling pedestal be raised
Amid the horrors of a limb-strewn field,
With desolated dwellings smoking round.
The man of ease, who, by his warm fireside,
To deeds of charitable intercourse,
And bare fulfilment of the common laws
Of decency and prejudice, confines
The struggling nature of his human heart,
Is duped by their cold sophistry; he sheds
A passing tear perchance upon the wreck

The vainly rich, the miserable proud,
The mob of peasants, nobles, priests, and 105

And with blind feelings reverence the


60 That grinds them to the dust of misery.

But in the temple of their hireling hearts 110 Of earthly peace, when near his dwelling's

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Feeling the horror of the tyrant's deeds, 125 And unrestrained but by the arm of power, That knows and dreads his enmity.

"The iron rod of penury still compels

But mean lust

Has bound its chains so tight about the

That all within it but the virtuous man
Is venal: gold or fame will surely reach

Her wretched slaves to bow the knee to 170 The price prefixed by Selfishness, to all


And poison, with unprofitable toil, 130 A life too void of solace to confirm

The very chains that bind him to his doom.
Nature, impartial in munificence,
Has gifted man with all-subduing will.
Matter, with all its transitory shapes,
135 Lies subjected and plastic at his feet,

That, weak from bondage, tremble as they

How many a rustic Milton has passed by,
Stifling the speechless longings of his

In unremitting drudgery and care!
140 How many a vulgar Cato has compelled
His energies, no longer tameless then,
To mould a pin, or fabricate a nail!
How many a Newton, to whose passive ken
Those mighty spheres that gem infinity
145 Were only specks of tinsel, fixed in Heaven
To light the midnights of his native town!

"Yet every heart contains perfection's germ:1

The wisest of the sages of the earth,

That ever from the stores of reason drew

But him of resolute and unchanging

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150 Science and truth, and virtue's dreadless 225


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Its sweetest, last, and noblest title-death; -The consciousness of good, which neither gold,

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Nor sordid fame, nor hope of heavenly

Can purchase; but a life of resolute good,
Unalterable will, quenchless desire
Of universal happiness, the heart
That beats with it in unison, the brain
Whose ever wakeful wisdom toils to

Reason's rich stores for its eternal weal.

"But hoary-headed Selfishness has felt Its death-blow, and is tottering to the


A brighter morn awaits the human day, When every transfer of earth's natural gifts

Shall be a commerce of good words and works;

When poverty and wealth, the thirst of fame,

255 The fear of infamy, disease and woe, War with its million horrors, and fierce


Shall live but in the memory of Time,
Who, like a penitent libertine, shall start,
Look back, and shudder at his younger

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Sloping and smooth the daisy-spangled 120 And Autumn proudly bears her matron


Offering sweet incense to the sunrise, smiles
To see a babe before his mother's door,

Sharing his morning's meal

With the green and golden basilisk1
That comes to lick his feet.

"Those trackless deeps, where many a
weary sail

Has seen above the illimitable plain, 90 Morning on night, and night on morning rise,

Whilst still no land to greet the wanderer spread

Its shadowy mountains on the sun-bright sea,

Where the loud roarings of the tempest

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Rewarding her with their pure perfectness:
The balmy breathings of the wind inhale
Her virtues, and diffuse them all abroad:
Health floats amid the gentle atmosphere,
115 Glows in the fruits, and mantles on the 150


No storms deform the beaming brow of


Nor scatter in the freshness of its pride The foliage of the ever-verdant trees;


The gradual renovation, and defines Each movement of its progress on his mind.

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Man, where the gloom of the long polar night

Lowers o'er the snow-clad rocks and frozen soil,

Where scarce the hardiest herb that braves the frost

Basks in the moonlight's ineffectual glow,
Shrank with the plants, and darkened with
His chilled and narrow energies, his heart,
the night;
Insensible to courage, truth, or love,
His stunted stature and imbecile frame,
Marked him for some abortion of the earth,
Fit compeer of the bears that roamed

But fruits are ever ripe, flowers ever fair, 155 Whose habits and enjoyments were his

1 A fabulous serpent, or lizard, whose breath or look was fatal.

2 harmonious


1 See Isaiah, 11:6-9.

See Psalms, 23:5.

His life a feverish dream of stagnant woe,
Whose meagre wants, but scantily fulfilled,
Apprised him ever of the joyless length
Which his short being's wretchedness had

160 His death a pang which famine, cold and toil

Long on the mind, whilst yet the vital


Her snowy standard o'er this favored clime:

There man was long the train-bearer of slaves,

195 The mimic of surrounding misery,

Clung to the body stubbornly, had brought: All was inflicted here that Earth's revenge Could wreak on the infringers of her law; 165 One curse alone was spared-the name 200 of God.

"Nor where the tropics bound the realms of day

With a broad belt of mingling cloud and flame,

Where blue mists through the unmoving atmosphere

Scattered the seeds of pestilence, and fed 170 Unnatural vegetation, where the land Teemed with all earthquake, tempest and disease,

Was man a nobler being; slavery

Had crushed him to his country's bloodstained dust;

Or he was bartered for the fame of power, 175 Which, all internal impulses destroying, Makes human will an article of trade; Or he was changed with Christians for their gold,



And dragged to distant isles, where to the 215


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The jackal of ambition's lion-rage,
The bloodhound of religion's hungry zeal.

"Here now the human being stands adorning

This loveliest earth with taintless body and mind;

Blessed from his birth with all bland impulses,

Which gently in his noble bosom wake
All kindly passions and all pure desires.
Him, still from hope to hope the bliss

Which from the exhaustless lore of human weal

Dawns on the virtuous mind, the thoughts that rise

In time-destroying infiniteness, gift
With self-enshrined eternity, that mocks
The unprevailing hoariness of age;

And man, once fleeting o'er the transient

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225 All things are void of terror. Man has

His terrible prerogative, and stands
An equal amidst equals: happiness

And science dawn, though late, upon the


Peace cheers the mind, health renovates the frame;

1 In Africa, the source of the British slave trade. 230 Disease and pleasure cease to mingle here,

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