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Or seen with least reproach; and virtue, taught
By frequent lapse, can hope no triumph there
Beyond th' achievement of successful flight.
I do confess them nurseries of the arts
In which they flourish most; where, in the beams
Of warm encouragement, and in the eye
Of public note, they reach their perfect size.
Sach London is, by taste and wealth proclaimed
The fairest capital of all the world,
By riot and incontinence the worst.
There, touched by Reynolds, a dull blank becomes
A lacid mirror, in which Nature sees
All her reflected features. Bacon there
Gives more than female beanty to a stone,
And Chatham's eloquence to marble lips.
Nor does the chisel occupy alone
The powers of sculpture, but the style as much ;
Each province of her art her equal care.
With nice incision of her guided steel
She ploughs a brazen field, and clothes a soil
So steril with what charms soever she will,
The richest scenery and the loveliest forms.
Where finds philosophy her eagle eye,
With which she gazes at yon burning disk
Undazzled, and detects and counts his spots?
In London. Where her implements exact,
With which she calculates, computes, and scans,
All distance, motion, magnitude, and now
Measures an atom, and now girds a world?
In London. Where has commerce such a mart,
So rich, so thronged, so drained, and so supplied,
As London-opulent, enlarged, and still
Increasing, London? Babylon of old
Not more the glory of the earth than she,
A more accomplished world's chief glory now.

She has her praise. Now mark a spot or two That so much beauty would do well to purge;

And show this queen of cities, that so fair
May yet be foul ; so witty, yet not wise.
It is not seemly, nor of good report,
That she is slack in discipline; more promp
T'avenge than to prevent the breach of law:
That she is rigid in denouncing death
On petty robbers, and indulges life
And liberty, and oft-times honour too,
To peculators of the public gold ;
That thieves at home must hang ; but he that puts
Into his overgorged and bloated purse
The wealth of Indian provinces, escapes.
Nor is it well, nor can it come to good,
That, through profane and infidel contempt
Of holy writ, she has presumed t’ annul
And abrogate, as roundly as she may,
The total ordinance and will of God;
Advancing fashion to the post of truth,
And centering all authority in modes
And customs of her own, till sabbath rites
Have dwindled into anrespected forms,
And knees and hassocks are well nigh divorced.

God made the country, and man made the town.
What wonder then that health and virtue, gifts,
That can alone make sweet the bitter draught,
That life holds out to all, should most abound
And least be threatened in the fields and groves ?
Possess ye therefore, ye who, borne about
In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue
But that of idleness, and taste no scenes
But such as art contrives, possess ye still
Your element; there only can ye shine ;
There only minds like yours can do no harm.
Our

groves were planted to console at noon The pensive wanderer in their shades. At eve The moon-beam, sliding softly in between The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish,

Birds warbling all the music. We can spare
The splendour of your lamps; they but eclipse
Our softer satellite. Your songs confound
Our more harmonious notes: the thrush departs
Scared, and th' offended nightingale is mute.
There is a public mischief in your mirth;
It plagues your country. Folly such as yours,
Graced with a sword, and worthier of a fan,
Has made, what enemies could ne'er have done,
Our arch of empire, stedfast but for you,
A mutilated structure, soon to full.

THE TASK.

BOOK II.

THE TIME-PIECE.

Reflections suggested by the conclusion of the former book. Peace among the nations recommended, on the ground of their common fellowship in sorrow.- Prodigies enamerated. Sicilian earthquakes.-Man rendered obnoxious to these calamities by sin.-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 Fontainbleau.- But the pulpit, not satire, the proper engine of reformation.-The Reverend Advertiser of engraved ser mons.-Petit-maitre Parson.-The good preacher. - Pictures of a theatrical clerical coxcomb.-Story-tellers and jesters in the pulpit reproved.-Apostrophe to popular applause. -Retailers of ancient pbilosophy 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 or discipline in the universities,

Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,

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Might never reach me more. My ear is pained,
My soul is sick, with every day's report
Of wrong and outrage, with which earth is filled,
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart,
It does not feel for man; the natural bond
Of brotherhood is severed as the flax,
That falls asunder at the touch of fire.
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not coloured like his own; and having power
Tenforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as a lawful prey.
Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Abhor each other. Mountains interposed
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 deplored
As human nature's broadest foulest blot,
Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat
With stripes, that mercy 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 earned.
No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
Jast estimation prized 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?
ind they themselves once ferried o'er the wave,
'That parts us, are emancipate and loosed.
Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs

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Receive our air, that moment they are free ;
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That is noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through every vein
Of all your empire ; that where Britain's power
Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.

Sure there is need of social interconrse,
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 the general doom * When were the winds
Let slip with such a warrant to destroy ?
When did the waves so haughtily o'erleap
Their ancient barriers, delaging the dry?
Fires from beneath, and meteors † from above,
Portentous, unexampled, unexplained,
Have kindled beacons in the skies ; and the old
And crazy earth has had her shaking fits
More frequent, and forgone 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, unaccomplished yet ;
Still they are frowning signals, and bespeak
Displeasure in his breast, who smites the earth
Or beals it, makes it languish or rejoice.
And 'tis bat seemly, that, where all deserve
And stand exposed by common peccancy

Alluding to the calamities in Jamaica.
August 18, 1783.

Alluding to the fog that covered both Europe and Asia during the whole summer of 1783.

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