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THE TASK.

BOOK II.

ARGUMENT OF THE SECOND BOOK.

Reflections suggested by the conclusion of the former

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 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 Fontaine-Bleau.But the pulpit, not satire, the proper engine of reformation. The Reverend Advertiser of 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 it's consequent evils, ascribed, as to it's principal cause, to the want of discipline in the universities.

THE TASK.

BOOK II.

THE TIME-PIECE.

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 fill'd.
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart,
It does not feel for man; the natral 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 intersected 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 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 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?

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