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The various treasure would resistless pour,
Ne'er to be won again ; its ancient tract
Left a vile channel, desolate, and dead,
With all around a miserable waste.
Not Egypt, where, her better heaven, the Nile
Turn'd in the pride of flow; when o'er his rocks,
And roaring cataracts, beyond the reach
Of dizzy vision pild, in one wide flash
An Ethiopian deluge foams amain;
(Whence wondering fable trac'd him from the sky)
Even not that prime of earth, where harvests crowd
On untillid harvests, all the teeming year,
If of the fat o'erflowing culture robb’d,
Were then a more uncomfortable wild,
Steril, and void; than of her trade depriv'd,
Britons, your boasted isle: her princes sunk;
Her high-built honour moulder'd to the dust;
Unnerv'd her force; her spirit vanish'd quite ;
With rapid wing her riches fled away;
Her unfrequented ports alone the sign
Of what she was ; her merchants scatter'd wide;
Her hollow shops shut up; and in her streets,
Her fields, woods, markets, villages, and roads,
The cheerful voice of labour heard no more.
Oh let not then waste luxury impair
That manly soul of toil, which strings your nerves,
And your own proper happiness creates!
Oh let not the soft, penetrating plague
Creep on the free-born mind! and working there,
With the sharp tooth of many a new-form'd want,
Endless, and idle all, eat out the heart
Of Liberty; the high conception blast;
The noble sentiment, the impatient scorn
Of base subjection, and the swelling wish
For general good, erasing from the mind:
While nought save narrow selfishness succeeds,
And low design, the sneaking passions all
Let loose, and reigning in the rankled breast.
Induc'd at last, by scarce-perceiv'd degrees,
Sapping the very frame of government,
And life, a total dissolution comes ;
Sloth, ignorance, dejection, flattery, fear.
Oppression raging o'er the waste he makes;
The human being almost quite extinct;
And the whole state in broad corruption sinks.
Oh shun that gulph: that gaping ruin shun!
And countless ages roll it far away
From you, ye heaven-belov'd! May liberty,
The light of life! the sun of human-kind !
Whence heroes, bards, and patriots borrow flame,
Even where the keen depressive North descends,
Still spread, exalt, and actuate your powers !
While slavish southern climates beam in vain.
And may a public spirit from the throne,
Where every virtue sits, go copious forth,
Live o'er the land! the finer arts inspire;
Make thoughtful Science raise his pensive head,
Blow the fresh bay, bid Industry rejoice,
And the rough sons of lowest Labour smile.
As when, profuse of spring, the loosen'd West
Lifts up the pining year, and balmy breathes
Youth, life, and love, and beauty o’er the world.
But haste we from these melancholy shores,
Nor to deaf winds, and waves, our fruitless plaint
the country claims our active aid;
That let us roam; and where we find a spark
Of public Wrtue, blow it into flame.
Lo! now my sons, the sons of freedom! meet
In awful senate; thither let us fly;
Burn in the patriot's thought, flow from his tongue
In fearless truth; myself, transform’d, preside,
And shed the spirit of Britannia round.”
This said; her fleeting form, and airy train, Sunk in the gale ; and nought but ragged rocks Rush'd on the broken eye; and nought was heard But the rough cadence of the dashing wave.
FREDERICK, PRINCE OF WALES.
SIR, When I reflect upon that ready condescension, that preventing generosity, with which your Royal Highness received the following poem under your protection; I can alone ascribe it to the recommendation, and influence of the subject. In you the cause and concerns of Liberty have so zealous a patron, as entitles whatever may have the least tendency to promote them, to the distinction of your favour. And who can entertain this delightful reflection, without feeling a pleasure far superior to that of the fondest author; and of which all true lovers of their country must participate? To behold the noblest dispositions of the prince, and of the patriot, united: an overflowing benevolence, generosity, and candour of heart, joined to an enlightened zeal for Liberty, an intimate persuasion that on it depends the happiness and glory both of kings and people: to see these shining out in public virtues, as they have hitherto smiled in all the social lights and private accomplishments of life, is a prospect that cannot but inspire a general sentiment of satisfaction and gladness, more easy to be felt than expressed.