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A nation dwells, not envious of your throne,
Studious of their neighbours and their own.
Ill-fated race! how deeply muft they rue
Their only crime, vicinity to you!
The trumpet founds, your legions fwarm abroad,
Through the ripe harveft lies their deftin'd road,
At ev'ry step beneath their feet they tread
The life of multitudes, a nation's bread;
Earth feems a garden in its loveliest dress
Before them, and behind a wilderness;
Famine and peftilence, her first-born son,
Attend to finish what the sword begun,
And ecchoing praises fuch as fiends might earn,
And folly pays, refound at your return.
A calm fucceeds-but plenty with her train
Of heart-felt joys, fucceeds not foon again,
And years of pining indigence must show
What fcourges are the gods that rule below.
Yet man, laborious man, by flow degrees, (Such is his thirst of opulence and ease)
Plies all the finews of industrious toil,
Gleans up the refuse of the general spoil,
Rebuilds the tow'rs that smok'd upon the plain,
And the fun gilds the fhining fpires again.
Increasing commerce and reviving art
Renew the quarrel on the conqu'rors part,
And the fad leffon must be learn'd once more,
That wealth within is ruin at the door.
What are ye monarchs, laurel'd heroes, fay,
But Etnas of the fuff'ring world ye fway?
Sweet nature stripp'd of her embroider'd robe,
Deplores the wafted regions of her globe,
And ftands a witnefs at truth's awful bar,
prove you there, deftroyers as ye are.
Oh place me in fome heav'n-protected ifle,
peace and equity and freedom smile,
Where no Volcano pours his fiery flood,
No crefted warrior dips his plume in blood,
Where pow'r fecures what industry has won,
Where to fucceed is not to be undone,
A land that diftant tyrants hate in vain,
In Britain's ifle, beneath a George's reign.
THE POET, THE OYSTER, AND SENSITIVE PLANT.
AN Oyster caft upon the fhore
Was heard, though never heard before;
Complaining in a speech well worded,
And worthy thus to be recorded:
Ah hapless wretch! condemned to dwell
For ever in my native shell,
Ordain'd to move when others please,
Not for my own content or ease,
But tofs'd and buffeted about,
Now in the water, and now out.
'Twere better to be born a ftone
Of ruder shape and feeling none,
Than with a tenderness like mine,
And fenfibilities so fine;
I envy that unfeeling fhrub,
Faft-rooted against ev'ry rub.
The plant he meant grew not far off,
And felt the fneer with scorn enough,
Was hurt, difgufted, mortified,
And with afperity replied.
When cry the botanists, and stare,
Did plants call'd fenfitive grow there?
No matter when a poet's mufe is
To make them grow juft where fhe chufes.
You shapeless nothing in a dish,
You that are but almost a fish,
I fcorn your coarse infinuation,
And have most plentiful occafion
To with myself the rock I view,
Or fuch another dolt as you.
For many a grave and learned clerk,
And many a gay unletter'd spark,
With curious touch examines me,
If I can feel as well as he;
And when I bend, retire and fhrink,
Says, well-'tis more than one would think-
Thus life is spent, oh fie upon't!
In being touch'd, and crying, don't.
A poet in his evening walk,
O'erheard and check'd this idle talk.
And your fine fenfe, he said, and yours,
Whatever evil it endures,
Deferves not, if fo foon offended,
Much to be pitied or commended.
Difputes though fhort, are far too long,
Where both alike are in the wrong;
Your feelings in their full amount,
Are all upon your own account.
You in your grotto-work inclos'd
Complain of being thus expos'd,
Yet nothing feel in that rough coat,
Save when the knife is at your throat,