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Written in the Year 1734.
O on, my friend, the noble task pursue,
And think thy genius is thy country's due;
To vulgar wits inferior themes belong,
But Liberty and Virtue claim thy song.
Yet ceafe to hope, though grac'd with every charm,
The patriot verfe will cold Britannia warm ;
Vainly thou ftriv'ft our languid hearts to raise,
By great examples drawn from better days:
No longer we to Sparta's fame afpire,
What Sparta fcorn'd, inftructed to admire;
Nurs'd in the love of wealth, and form'd to bend
Our narrow thoughts to that inglorious end:
No generous purpose can enlarge the mind,
No focial care, no labour for mankind,
Where mean self-intereft every action guides,
In camps commands, in cabinets prefides;
Where luxury confumés the guilty store,
And bids the villain be a flave for more.
Hence, wretched nation, all thy woes arife,
Avow'd corruption, licens'd perjuries,
Eternal taxes, treaties for a day,
Servants that rule, and fenates that obey.
O people, far unlike the Grecian race,
That deems a virtuous poverty disgrace,
That fuffers public wrongs and public shame,
In council infolent, in action tame!
Say, what is now th' ambition of the great?
Is it to raise their country's finking state;
Her load of debt to eafe by frugal care,
Her trade to guard, her harrafs'd poor to spare?
Is it, like honeft Somers, to inspire
The love of laws, and Freedom's facred fire?
Is it, like wife Godolphin, to sustain
The balanc'd world, and boundless power restrain ?
Or is the mighty aim of all their toil,
Only to aid the wreck, and share the spoil?
On each relation, friend, dependant, pour,
With partial wantonnefs, the golden shower,
And, fenc'd by strong corruption, to despise
An injur’d nation's unavailing cries ?
Rouze, Britons, rouze! if fenfe of shame be weak,
Let the loud voice of threatening danger speak.
Lo! France, as Perfia once, o'er every land
Prepares to stretch her all-oppreffing hand.
Shall England fit regardless and sedate,
A calm fpectatress of the general fate;
Or call forth all her virtue, and oppofe,
Like valiant Greece, her own and Europe's foes?
Q let us feize the moment in our power,
Our follies now have reach'd the fatal hour;
No later term the angry gods ordain ;
This crifis loft, we shall be wife in vain.
And thou, great poet, in whose nervous lines
The native majefty of freedom shines,
Accept this friendly praife; and let me prove
My heart not wholly void of public love;
Though not like thee I ftrike the founding ftring
To notes which Sparta might have deign'd to fing,
But, idly sporting in the secret shade,
With tender trifles foothe fome artless maid.
TO WILLIAM PITT, ESQUIRE,
ONG had thy virtues mark'd thee out for fame,
Far, far fuperior to a Cornet's name;
This generous Walpole faw, and griev'd to find
So mean a poft difgrace that noble mind.
The fervile standard from thy freeborn hand
He took, and bade thee lead the patriot band.
COME not here your candour to implore
For scenes, whose author is, alas ! no more;
He wants no advocate his cause to plead;
You will yourselves be patrons of the dead.
No party his benevolence confin'd,
No fect alike it flow'd to all mankind.
He lov'd his friends (forgive this gushing tear:
Alas! I feel, I am no actor here)
He lov'd his friends with fuch a warmth of heart,
So clear of intereft, fo devoid of art,
Such generous friendship, such unfhaken zeal,
No words can speak it; but our tears may
O candid truth, O faith without a stain,
O manners gently firm, and nobly plain,
O fympathizing love of others' blifs,
Where will you find another breast like his ?
Such was the man- the poet well you know:
Oft has he touch'd your hearts with tender woe:
Oft in this crouded house, with juft applause,
You heard him teach fair Virtue's pureft laws;
For his chafte Mufe employ'd her heaven-taught lyre
None but the noblest paffions to inspire,
Not one immoral, one corrupted thought,
One line, which dying he could wish to blot.
Oh! may to-night your favourable doom
Another laurel add, to grace his tomb:
Whilft he, fuperior now to praise or blame,
Hears not the feeble voice of human fame.
Yet, if to thofe whom moft on earth he lov'd,
From whom his pious care is now remov'd,
With whom his liberal hand, and bounteous heart,
Shar'd all his little fortune could impart;
If to those friends your kind regard shall give
What they no longer can from his receive;
That, that, ev'n now, above yon ftarry pole,
May touch with pleasure his immortal foul.
OU, who, fupreme o'er every work of wit,
In judgment here, unaw'd, unbiass'd, sit,
The palatines and guardians of the pit;
If to your minds this merely modern play
No useful fenfe, no generous warmth convey ;
If fuftian here, through each unnatural scene,
In frain'd conceits found bigh, and nothing mean ;
If lofty dullness for your vengeance call :
Like Elmerick judge, and let the guilty fall.