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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 miscar. riages 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 sermons.- 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 philosophy expostulated with. Sum of the whole matter. Effects of sacerdotal mismanagement on the laity -Their folly and ex. travagance.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.

THE TASK

BOOK II.

THE TIME-PIECE.

O.

u for a lodge in some vaft wilderness, Some boundless contiguity of shade, Where rumour of oppreffion and deceit, Of unsuccessful or successful war, Might never reach me more. My ear is pained, My soul is fick, 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 fevered as the flax, That falls afunder at the touch of fire. He finds his fellow guilty of a skin Not coloured like his own; and having power

To 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 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 broadeft, 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 beaft. 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 llave to till my ground, To carry me, to fan me while I sleep, And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth, That finews bought and sold have ever earned. No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's Juft eftimation prized above all price, I had much rather be myself the Nave, And wear the bonds, than faften them on him. We have no slaves at home-Then why abroad? And they themselves once ferried over the wave, That parts us, are emancipate and loosed.

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 is noble, and befpeaks a nation proud
And jealous of the bleffing. 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 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 the general doom*. -When were the winds Let slip with such a warrant to destroy ? When did the waves fo haughtily overleap Their ancient barriers, deluging 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 foregone her usual reft.

[graphic]

* Alluding to the calamities in Jamaica.

August 18, 1783.

Is it a time to wrangle, when the props
And pillars of our planet seem to fail,
And Nature * with a dim and fickly eye
To wait the close of all? But grant her end
More diftant, and that prophecy demands
A longer respite, unaccomplished yet;
Still they are frowning signals, and bespeak
Displeasure in his breaft, who smites the earth
Or heals it, makes it languish or rejoice.
And ’tis but seemly, that, where all deserve
And ftand exposed 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 scattered, where the shapely column ftood. Her palaces are duft. In all her streets The voice of singing and the sprightly chord Are filent. Revelry, and dance, and show Suffer a syncope and folemn pause; While God performs upon the trembling stage Of his own works his dreadful part alone. How does the earth receive him ?-With what signs

* Alluding to the fog, that covered both Europe and Asia during thewhole summer of 1783.

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