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-The free-born Briton to the dungeon chained,
Or, as the last of cruelty prevailed,
At pleasure marked him with inglorious stripes ;
And crushed out lives, by secret barbarous ways,
That for their country would have toile
O great design ! if executed well,
With patient care, and wisdom-tempered zeal.
Ye sons of mercy! yet resume the search ;
Drag forth the legal monsters into light,
Wrench from their hands oppression's iron rod,
And bid the cruel feel the pains they give.
Much still untouched remains ; in this rank age,
Much is the patriot's weeding hand required.
The toils of law (what dark insidious Men
Have cumbrous added to perplex the truth,
And lengthen simple justice into trade)
How glorious were the day! that saw these broke,
And every Man within the reach of right.
By wintry famine roused, from all the tract
Of horrid mountains which the shining Alps,
And wavy Apennine, and Pyrenees,
Branch out stupendous into distant lands ;-
Cruel as death, and hungry as the grave!
Burning for blood ; bony, and gaunt, and grim! $ Assembling wolves in raging troops descend;
And, pouring o'er the country, bear along,
Keen as the north-wind sweeps the glossy snow.
All is their prize. They fasten on the steed,
Press him to earth, and pierce his mighty heart,
Nor can the bull his awful front defend,
Or shake the murdering savages away.
Rapacious, at the mother's throat they fly,
And tear the screaming infant from her breast.
The godlike face of Man avails him nought.
Even beauty, force divine ! at whose bright glance 406
The generous lion stands in softened gaze,
Here bleeds, a hapless undistinguished prey.
But if, apprized of the severe attack,
The country be shut up, lured by the scent,
On church-yards drear (inhuman to relate !) 410
The disappointed prowlers fall, and dig
The shrowded body from the grave ; o'er which,
Mixed with foul shades, and frighted ghosts, they howl.
Among those hilly regions, where embraced
In peaceful vales the happy Grisons dwell ;
Oft, rushing sudden from the loaded cliffs,
Mountains of snow their gathering terrors roll.
From steep to steep, loud-thundering down they come,
A wintry waste in dire commotion all ;
And herds, and flocks, and travellers, and swains, 420
And sometimes whole brigades of marching troops,
Or hamlets sleeping in the dead of night,
Are deep beneath the smothering ruin whelmed.
Now, all amid the rigours of the year,
In the wild depth of Winter, while without
The ceaseless winds blow ice, be my retreat,
Between the groaning forest and the shore
Beat by the boundless multitude of waves,
A rural, sheltered, solitary scene;
Where ruddy fire and beaming tapers join
430 To cheer the gloom. There studious let me sit, And hold high converse with the Mighty Dead : Sages of ancient time, as gods revered, As gods beneficent, who blest mankind
Celebrated Characters of Antiquity.
With arts, with arms, and humanized a world.
Roused at the inspiring thought, I throw aside
The long lived volume ; and, deep-musing, hail
The sacred shades, that slowly-rising pass,
Before my wondering eyes. First SOCRATES
Who, firmly good in a corrupted state,
Against the rage of tyrants single stood,
Invincible ; calm Reason's holy law,
That voice of God within the attentive mind,
Obeying, fearless, or in life, or death :
Great Moral Teacher ! Wisest of Mankind !
Solon the next, who built his common-weal
On equity's wide base ; by tender laws
A lively people curbing, yet undamped,
Preserving still that quick peculiar fire,
Whence in the laurelled field of finer arts, .
And of bold freedom, they unequalled shone,
The pride of smiling Greece, and human-kind.
LYCURGUS then, who bowed beneath the force
Of strictest discipline, severely wise,
All human passions. Following him, I see,
As at Thermopyla he glorious fell,
The firm* devoted Chief, who proved by deeds
The hardest lesson which the other taught.
Then ARISTIDES lifts his honest front ;
Spotless of heart, to whom the unflattering voice
Of freedom gave the noblest name of Just;
In pure majestic poverty revered ;
Who, even his glory to his country's weal
Submitting, swelled a haughty + rival's fame.
Reared by his care, of softer ray appears
CIMON, sweet-souled; whose genius, rising strong,
Shook off the load of young debauch ; abroad
The scourge of Persian pride, at home the friend
Of every worth and every splendid art ;
Modest, and simple, in the pomp of wealth.
Then the last worthies of declining Greece,
Late called to glory, in unequal times,
Pensive, appear. The fair Corinthian boast,
TIMOLEAN, happy temper ! mild, and firm,
Who wept the Brother, while the Tyrant bled. 475
And, equal to the best, the * Theban Pair,
Whose virtues, in heroic Concord joined,
Their country raised to freedom, empire, fame.
He too, with whom Athenian honour sunk,
And left a mass of sordid lees behind,
480 Płocion the Good ; in public life severe, To virtue still inexorably firm ; But when, beneath his low illustrious roof, Sweet peace and happy wisdom smoothed his brow, Not friendship softer was, nor love more kind. 485 And he, the last of old LYCURGUS' sons, The generous victim to that vain attempt, To save a rotten State, Agis, who saw Even SPARTA's self to servile avaricę sunk. The two Achaian keroes close the train. ARATUS, who a while relumed the soul Of fondly lingering liberty in Greece: And he her darling as her latest hope, The gallant PHILOPOEMEN ; who to arms Turned the luxuriant pomp he could not cure ;
495 Or toiling in his farm, a simple swain ;
* Pelopidas and Epaminondas.
Or, bold and skilful, thundering in the field.
Of rougher front, a mighty people come!
A race of heroes ! in those virtuous times
Which knew no stain, save that with partial flame
Their dearest country they too fondly loved :
Her better Founder first, the light of Rome,
NUMA, who softened her rapacious sons :
SERVIUS, the King, who laid the solid base
On which o'er earth the vast republic spread.
Then the great consuls venerable ise.
The * Public Father who the Private quelled,
As on the dread tribunal sternly sad.
He, whom his thankless country could not lose,
CAMILLUS, only vengeful to her foes.
FABRICIUS, scorner of all-conquering gold ;
And CINCINNATUS, awful from the plough.
Thy willing Victim, Carthage, bursting loose
From all that pleading Nature could oppose,
From a whole city's tears, by rigid faith
Imperious called, and honour's dire command.
Scipio, the gentle chief, humanely brave,
Who soon the race of spotless glory ran,
And, warm in youth, to the Poetic shade
With Friendship and Philosophy retired.
Tully, whose powerful eloquence a while
Restrained the rapid fate of rushing Rome.
Unconquered Cato, virtuous in extreme.
And thou, unhappy BRUTUS, kind of heart,
Whose steady arm, by awful virtue urged,
Lifted the Roman steel against thy Friend.
Thousands besides the tribute of a verse