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Think yourself station’d on a towering rock,
To see a people scatter'd like a flock,
Some royal mastiff panting at their heels,
With all the savage thirst a tiger feels;
Then view him self-proclaim'd in a gazette,
Chief monster that has plagued the nations yet.
The globe and sceptre in such hands misplaced,
Those ensigns of dominion, how disgraced !
The glass that bids man mark the fleeting hour,
And Death's own scythe, would better speak his power;
Then grace the bony phantom in their stead,
With the king's shoulder-knot and gay cockade;
Clothe the twin brethren in cach other's dress,
The same their occupation and success.
A. 'Tis your belief the world was made for man; Kings do but reason on the self-same plan: Maintaining yours, you cannot theirs condemn, Who think, or seem to think, man made for them.
B. Seldom, alas! the power of logic reigns
With much sufficiency in royal brains ;
Such reasoning falls like an inverted coue,
Wanting its proper base to stand upon.
Man made for kings ! those optics are but dim,
That tell you so-say, rather, they for him.
That were indeed a king-ennobling thought,
Could they, or would they, reason as they ought.
The diaum, with mighty projects lined,
To catch renown, by ruining mankind,
Is worth, with all its gold and glittering store,
Just what the toy will sell for, and no more.
Oh! bright occasions of dispensing good,
How seldom used, how little understood !
To pour in Virtue's lap her just reward;
Keep Vice restrain'd behind a double guard;
To quell the faction that affronts the throne,
By silent magnanimity alone;
To nurse with tender care the thriving arts;
Watch every beam Philosophy imparts;
To give Religion her unbridled scope,
Nor judge by statute a believer's hope;
With close fidelity and love unfeign'd,
To keep the matrimonial bond unstain'd;
Covetous only of a virtuous praise ;
His life a lesson to the land he sways;
To touch the sword with conscientious awe,
Nor draw it but when duty bids him draw;
To sheathe it in the peace-restoring close,
With joy beyond what victory bestows;-
Bless'd country, where these kingly glories shine!
Bless'd England, if this happiness be thine!
A. Guard what you say; the patriotic tribe
Will sneer, and charge you with a bribe.-B. A bribe?
The worth of these three kingdoms I defy,
To lure me to the baseness of a lie:
And, of all lies (be that one poet's boast),
The lie that flatters I abhor the most.
Those arts be theirs, who hate his gentle reign.
But he that loves him has no need to feign.
A. Your smooth eulogium to one crown address'd Seems to imply a censure on the rest.
B. Quevedo, as he tells his sober tale,
Ask’d, when in hell, to see the royal jail;
Approved their method in all other things;
But where, good sir, do you confine your kings?
There—said his guide—the group is full in view.
Indeed?-replied the don-there are but few.
His black interpreter the charge disdain'd-
Few, fellow ?—there are all that ever reign'd.
Wit, undistinguishing, is apt to strike
The guilty and not guilty both alike:
I grant the sarcasm is too severe,
And we can readily refute it here;
While Alfred's name, the father of his age,
And the sixth Edward's grace the historic page.
A. Kings then, at last, have but the lot of all:
By their own conduct they must stand or fall.
B. True. While they live, the courtly laureat pays His quitrent ode, his peppercorn of praise; And many a dunce whose fingers itch to write, Adds, as he can, his tributary mite. A subject's faults a subject may prociaim, A monarch's errors are forbidden game! Thus, free from censure, overaw'd by fear, And praised for virtues, that they scorn to wear,
The fleeting forms of majesty engage
Respect, while stalking o'er life's narrow stages
Then leave their crimes for history to scan,
And ask, with busy scorn, Was this the man?
I pity kings, whom Worship waits upon
Obsequious from the cradle to the throne;
Before whose infant eyes the flatterer bows,
And binds a wreath about their baby brows;
Whom education stiffens into state,
And death awakens from that dream too late.
Oh! if Servility, with supple knees,
Whose trade it is to smile, to crouch, to please
If smooth Dissimulation, skill'd to grace
A devil's purpose with an angel's face;
If smiling peeresses, and simpering peers,
Encompassing his throne a few short years;
If the gilt carriage and the pamper'd steed,
That wants no driving and disdains the lead;
If guards, mechanically form'd in ranks,
Playing, at beat of drum, their martial pranks,
Shouldering and standing as if struck to stone,
While condescending majesty looks on !-
If monarchy consist in such base things,
Sighing, I say again, I pity kings !
To be suspected, thwarted, and withstood,
E'en when he labours for his country's good;
To see a band, call'd patriot, for no cause,
But that they catch at popular applause,
Careless of all the anxiety he feels,
Hook disappointment on the public wheels;
With all their fluent flippancy of tongue,
Most confident, when palpably most wrong ;-
If this be kingly, then farewell for me
All kingship; and may I be poor and free!
To be the Table Talk of clubs up-stairs,
To which th' unwash'd artificer repairs,
To indulge his genius after long fatigue,
By diving into cabinet intrigue
(For what kings deem a toil, as well they may,
To him is relaxation and mere play);
To win no praise when well-wrought plans prevail,
But to be rudely censured when they fail:
To doubt the love his favourites may pretend,
And in reality to find no friend;
If he indulge a cultivated taste,
His galleries with the works of art well graced,
To hear it call'd extravagance and waste;
If these attendants, and if such as these,
Must follow royalty, then welcome ease;
However humble and confined the sphere,
Happy the state, that has not these to fear. [dwelt
A. Thus men, whose thoughts contemplative have
On situations, that they never felt,
Start up sagacious, cover'd with the dust
Of dreaming study and pedantic rust,
And prate and preach about what others prove,
As if the world and they were hand and glove.
Leave kingly backs to cope with kingly cares ;
They have their weight to carry, subjects theirs ;
Poets, of all men, ever least regret
Increasing taxes and the nation's debt.
Could you contrive the payment, and rehearse
The mighty plan, oracular, in verse,
No bard, howe'er majestie, old or new,
Should claim my fix'd attention more than you.
B. Not Brindley nor Bridgewater would essay
To turn the course of Helicon that way;
Nor would the Nine consent the sacred tide
Should purl amidst the traffic of Cheapside,
Or tinkle in 'Change Alley, to amuse.
The leathern ears of stock-jobbers and Jews.
A. Vouchsafe, at least, to pitch the key of rhvine
To themes more pertinent, if less sublime.
When ministers and ministerial arts;
Patriots, who love good places at their hearts;
When admirals, extoll'd for standing still,
Or doing nothing with a deal of skill;
Generals, who will not conquer when they may,
Firm friends to peace, to pleasure, and good pay;
When Freedom, wounded alınost to despair,
Though Discontent alone can find out where
When themes like these employ the poet's tonie,
I hear as mute as if a syren sung.
Or tell me, if you can, what power maintains
A Briton's scorn of arbitrary chains :
That were a theme might animate the dead,
And move the lips of poets cast in lead. (elude
B. The cause, though worth the search, may yet
Conjecture and remark, however shrewd.
They take perhaps a well-directed aim,
Who seek it in his climate and his frame.
Liberal in all things else, yet Nature here
With stern severity deals out the year.
Winter invades the spring, and often pours
A chilling flood on summer's drooping flowers;
Unwelcome vapours quench autumnal beains,
Ungenial blasts attending curl the streams:
The peasants urge their harvest, ply the fork
With double toil, and shiver at their work;
Thus with a rigour, for his good design'd,
She rears her favourite man of all mankind.
His form robust and of elastic tone,
Proportion'd well, half muscle and half bone,
Supplies with warm activity and force
A mind well-lodged, and masculine of course.
Hence Liberty, sweet Liberty inspires
And keeps alive his fierce but noble fires.
Patient of constitutional control,
He bears it with meek manliness of soul;
But, if Authority grow wanton, woe
To him that treads upon his free-born toe;
One step beyond the boundary of the laws
Fires hiin at once in Freedom's glorious cause.
Thus proud Prerogative, not much revered,
Is seldom felt, though sometimes seen and heard;
And in his cage, like parrot fine and gay,
Is kept to strut, look big, and talk away.
Born in a climate, softer far than ours,
Not form'd like us, with such Herculean powers,
The Frenchman, easy, debonair, and brisk,
Give him his lass, his fiddle, and his frisk,
Is always happy, reign whoever may,
And laughs the sense of misery far away.
He drinks his simple beverage with a gust,
And, feasting on an onion and a crust,
We never feel the alacrity and joy
With which he shouts and carols Vive le Roi,