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And measure of th' offence, rebukes a deed
Less impious than absurd, and owing more
To want of judgment than to wrong design.
So in the chapel of old Ely House,
When wand'ring Charles, who meant to bethe third,
Had fled from William, and the news was fresh,
The simple clerk, but loyal, did announce,
And eke did rear right merrily, two staves,
Sung to the praise and glory of King George!
-Man praises man; and Garrick's mem'ry next,
When time hath somewhat mellow'd it, and made
The idol of our worship while he liv’d
The god of our idolatry once more,
Shall have its altar; and the world shall go
In pilgrimage to bow before his shrine.
The theatre, too small, shall suffocate
Its squeez'd contents, and more than it admits
Shall sigh at their exclusion, and return
Ungratified. For there some noble lord
Shall stuff his shoulders with king Richard's bunch,
Or wrap himself in Hamlet's inky cloak,
And strut, and storm, and straddle, stamp, and stare,
To show the world how Garrick did not act-
For Garrick was a worshipper himself;
He drew the liturgy, and fram'd the rites
And solemn ceremonial of the day,
And call’d the world to worship on the banks
Of Avon, fam'd in song. Ah, pleasant proof
That piety has still in human hearts
Some place, a spark or two not yet extinct.
The mulb’ry-tree was hung with blooming wreaths;
The mulb’ry tree stood centre of the dance;
The mulb'ry tree was hymn'd with dulcet airs;
And from his touchwood trunk the mulb'ry-tree
Supplied such relics as devotion holds
Still sacred, and preserves with pious care.
So 'twas an hallow'd time: decorum reign’d,
And mirth without offence. No few return’d,
Doubtless, much edified, and all refresh'd.
From tippling-benches, cellars, stalls, and styes, Swarm in the streets. The statesman of the day, A pompous and slow-moving pageant, comes. Some shout him, and some hang upon his car, To
gaze in 's eyes, and bless him. Maidens wave Their 'kerchiefs, and old women weep for joy: While others, not so satisfied, unhorse The gilded equipage, and, turning loose His steeds, usurp a place they well deserve. Why? what has charm’d them? Hath he sav'd the
No. Doth he purpose its salvation? No.
Enchanting novelty, that moon at full,
That finds out ev'ry crevice of the head
That is not sound and perfect, hath in their's
Wrought this disturbance. But the wane is near,
And his own cattle must suffice him soon.
Thus idly do we waste the breath of praise,
And dedicate a tribute, in its use
And just direction sacred, to a thing
Doom'd to the dust, or lodg’d already there!
Encomium in old time was poet's work;
But, poets having lavishly long since
Exhausted all materials of the art,
The task now falls into the public hand;
And I, contented with an humble theme,
Have pour'd my stream of panegyric down
The vale of nature, where it creeps, and winds
Among her lovely works with a secure
And unambitious course, reflecting clear,
If not the virtues, yet the worth, of brutes.
And I am recompens'd, and deem the toils
Of poetry not lost, if verse of mine
May stand between an animal and woe,
And teach one tyrant pity for his drudge.
The groans of nature in this nether world, Which Heav'n has heard for ages, have an end. Foretold by prophets, and by poets sung, Whose fire was kindled at the prophets' lamp,
The time of rest, the promis'd sabbath, comes.
Six thousand years of sorrow have well-nigh
Fulfill’d their tardy and disastrous course
Over a sinful world; and what remains
Of this tempestuous state of human things
Is merely as the working of a sea
Before a calm, that rocks itself to rest:
For He, whose car the winds are, and the clouds
The dust that waits upon his sultry march,
When sin hath mov'd him, and his wrath is hot,
Shall visit earth in mercy; shall descend, Propitious, in his chariot pav'd with love; And what his storms have blasted and defac'd
For man's revolt shall with a smile repair.
Sweet is the harp of prophecy; too sweet Not to be wrong'd by a mere mortal touch: Nor can the wonders it records be sung
To meaner music, and not suffer loss.
But, when a poet, or when one like me,