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To avenge than to prevent the breach of law.
That she is rigid in denouncing death 43
On petty robbers, and indulges life
And liberty, and oft-times honour too
To peculators of the public gold.

735
That thieves at home must hang; but he that puts
Into his overgorged and bloated purse
The wealth of Indian provinces, escapes.
Nor is it well, nor can it come to good 44,
That through profane and infidel contempt 45 710
Of holy writ, she has presumed to annul
And abrogate, as roundly as she may,
The total ordonance and will of God;
Advancing fashion to the post of truth,
And centering all authority in modes

745 And customs of her own, till sabbath rites Have dwindled into unrespected forms, And knees and hassocks are well-nigh divorced.

God made the country, and man made the town. What wonder then 46, that health and virtue, gifts 750

43 One to destroy is murder by the law,

And gibbets keep the lifted hand in awe.
To murder thousands takes a specious name.

Young. Sutire vii.
Where little villains must submit to fate,
That great ones may enjoy the world in state.

Dispensary. Canto ii.
44 It is not, nor it cannot come to good. Hamlet.
45 An infidel contempt of holy writ

Stole by degrees upon his mind. Excursion, p. 63. 46 What wonder then, if fields and regions here

Breathe forth elixir pure. Par. Lost, iii. 606.

ye

That can alone make sweet the bitter draught
That life holds out to all, should most abound
And least be threatened in the fields and groves?
Possess
therefore, ye

who borne about In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue ?

755 But that of idleness, and taste no scenes But such as art contrives,-possess ye still Your element; there only ye can shine, There only minds like yours can do no harm. Our groves were planted to console at noon 760 The pensive wanderer in their shades. At eve The moon-beam sliding softly in between The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish, Birds warbling all the music. We can spare The splendour of your lamps, they but eclipse Our softer satellite. Your

songs

confound Our more harmonious notes. The thrush departs Scared, and the offended nightingale is mute. There is a public mischief in your mirth, It plagues your country. Folly such as yours 770 Graced with a sword, and worthier of a fan, Has made, which enemies could ne'er have done, Our arch of empire, steadfast but for you, A mutilated structure, soon to fall.

705

47 Pleasures fled to, to redress

The sad fatigue of idleness, Green. Spleen.
There too, my Paridel, she marked thee there,
Stretch'd on the rack of a too easy chair,
And heard thy everlasting yawn confess
The pains and penalties of idleness.

Dunciad, iv. 341.

THE TASK.

BOOK II.

ARGUMENT OF THE SECOND BOOK.

Which opens with reflections suggested by the conclusion of

the former. 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 miscarriages 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. Picture 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 extravagance. 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.

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