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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 forrow.- Prodigies enumerated.-Sicilian earthquakes.-Man rendered obnoxious to these calamities by fin.--God the agent in them.The philofophy that pops at secondary causes reproved.Our own late miscarriages accounted for.-Satirical notice taken of our trips to Fountainbleau.-But the pulpit, not fatire, the proper engine of reformation. The Reverend Advertiser of engraved fermons.-Petit maitre parfon. The good preacher.--Pi&ures of a theatricdl clerical coxcomb.-Story-tellers and jeflers in the pulpit reproved. Apostrophe to popular applaufe.Retailers of ancient philofophy expoftulated with. -Sum of the whole matter. Efeos of facerdotal mismanagement on the laity.-Their folly and extravagance. The mischiefs of profusion.-Profukon itself, with all its confequent evils, ascribed, as to its principal canse, to the want of discipline in the univerhties.

THE TASK.

BOOK II.

THE TIME-PIECE.

If

Da for a lodge in some vast wilderness, tome boundless contiguity of shade, Vhere rumour of oppression and deceit, If unsuccessful or successful war, light never reach me more. My car is pain'd, ly foul is fick, with ev'ry day's report

wrong and outrage with which earth is fill dj there is no flesh in man's obdurate heart, does not feel for man; the natral bond f brotherhood is sever'd as the fax that falls alunder at the touch of fire. le fods his fellow guilty of a skin fot colour'd like his own; and, having pow's

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 flave 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 fold' 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 flave,
And wear the bonds, than faften them on him.
We have no slaves at home-Then why abroad?
And they themselves, once ferried o'er the wave
That parts us, are emancipate and loos'd.

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's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through ev'ry vein
Of all your empire; that where Britain's pow'r
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 gen’ral doom*. When were the winds Let llip with such a warrant to destroy ? When did the waves fo haughtily o’erleap Their ancient barriers, deluging the dry? Fires from beneath, and meteors † from above, Portentous, unexampled, unexplain'd Have kindled beacons in the skies; and th' old And crazy earth has had her shaking fits More frequent, and forgone her usual rest.

* Alluding to the calamities at Jamaicz.

† August 13, 1783.

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