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ARGUMENT OF THE SECOND BOOK.
Reflections suggested by the conclusion of the for
mer book.-Peace among the nations recommended, on the ground of their common fellowship in sorrow.- - Prodigies enumerated.-Sicilian earthquakes.-Man rendered obnoxious to these calamities by sid.—God the agent in them.--The philosophy that stops at secondary causes reproved. Our own late miscarriages accounted for.Satirical notice taken of our trips to FontaineBleau.--But the pulpit, not satire, the proper engine of reformation.---The Reverend Advertiser cf engraved sermons.--Petit-maitre parson. -The good preacher.--Picture of a theatrical clerical coxcomb.-Story-tellers and jesters in the pulpit reproved.--Apostrophe to popular applause.—Retailers of ancient philosophy expostulated with.-Sum of the whole matter.—Effects of sacerdotal mismanagement on the laity.- Their folly and extravagance. The mischiefs of profusion.- Profusion itself, with all its consequent evils, ascribed, as to its principal cause, to the want of discipline in the universities.
O FOR a lodge in some vast wilderness, Some boundless contiguity of shade, Where rumour of oppression and deceit, Of unsuccessful or successful war, Might never reach me more. My ear is pain'd, My soul is sick with ev'ry day's report Of wrong and outrage with which Earth is fil'd. There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart, It does not feel for man ; the nat'ral bond Of brotherhood is sever'd as the flax, That falls asunder at the touch of fire. He finds his fellow guilty of a skin Not colour'd like his own; and having pow'r T'enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey. Lands interseeted by a narrow frith Abhor each other. Mountains interpos’d Make enemies of nations, who had else
Like kindred drops been mingled into one.
Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys;
And, worse than all, and most to be deplor'd
As human nature's broadest, foulest blot,
Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat
With stripes, that Merey with a bleeding heart
Weeps, when she sees inflicted on a beast.
Then what is man? And what man, seeing this,
And having human feelings, does not blush,
And hang his head, to think himself a man?
I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earn’d.
No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
Just estimation priz'd above all price,
I had much rather be myself the slave,
And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him.
We have no slaves at home--then why abroad?
And they themselves once ferried o'er the wave
That parts us, are emancipate and loos’d.
Slaves cannot breathe in England: if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free;
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through ev'ry vein
Of all your empire; that, where Britain's pow'r
Is felt, mankind may feel her meres too.
Sure there is need of social intercourse,
Benevolence, and peace, and mutual aid,
Between the nations in a world, that seems
To toll the death bell of its own decease,
And by the voice of all its elements
To preach thegenoral doom*. When were the winds
Let slip with such a warrant to destroy?
When did the waves so haughtily o’erleap
Their ancient barriers, deluging the dry ?
Fires from beneath, and meteorst from above,
Portentous, unexampled, unexplain'd,
Have kindled beacons in the skies ; and th' old
And crazy Earth has had her shaking fits
More frequent, and foregone her usual rest.
Is it a time to wrangle, when the props
And pillars of our planet seem to fail,
And Nature with a dim and sickly eye
To wait the close of all ? But grant her end
More distant, and that prophecy demands
A longer respite, unaccomplish'd yet;
Still they are frowning signals, and bespeak
Displeasure in His breast, who smites the Earth
Or heals it, makes it languish or rejoice.
And 'tis but seemly, that, where all deserve
And stand expos'd by common peccancy
To what no few have felt, there should be peace,
And brethren in calamity should love.
Alas for Sicily! rude fragments now
Lie scatter'd, where the shapely column stood.
Her palaces are dust. In all her streets
The voice of singing and the sprightly chord
* Alluding to the calamities in Jama
† August 18, 1783. # Alluding to the fog, that covered both Europe and Asia during the whole summer of 1783.