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But violence can never longer sleep Than human passions please. In ev'ry heart Are sown the sparks that kindle fiery war ; Occafion needs but fan them, and they blaze. Cain had already shed a brother's blood; The deluge wafh'd it out; but left unquench'd The seeds of murder in the breast of man. Soon, by a righteous judgment, in the line Of his descending progeny was found The first artificer of death; the shrewd Contriver who first sweated at the forge, And forc'd the blunt and yet unbloodied steel To a keen edge, and made it bright for war." Him, Tubal nam'd, the Vulcan of old times, The sword and faulchion their inventor claim, And the first fmith was the first murd'rer's son. His art surviv'd the waters; and ere long, When man was multiplied and spread abroad In tribes and clans, and had begun to 'call These meadows and that range of hills his own, The tasted sweets of property begat Desire of more ; and industry in some T' improve and cultivate their juft demesne, Made others covet what they saw fo fair. ", Thus war began on earth :' these fought for spoil, And those in self-defence. Savage at first, The onfet, and irregular. At length One eminent above the rest, for strength, H 2
For stratagem, or courage, or for all,
Was chosen leader : kim they serv'd in war,
And him in peace, for fake of warlike deeds Rev'renc'd no less. Who could with him com
Or who so worthy to controul themselves
As he whose prowess had subdu'd their foes ?
Thus war affording field for the display
Of virtue, made one chief, whom times of peace,
Which have their exigencies too, and call
For kill in government, at length made king.
King was a name too proud for man to wear
With modesty and meekness; and the crown,
So dazzling in their eyes who set it ong
Was sure t'intoxicate the brows it bound,
It is the abject property of most,
That being parcel of the common mass,
And deftitute of means to raise themselves,
They link and settle lower than they need.
They know not what it is to feel within,
A comprehensive faculty, that grafps,
Great purposes with ease, that turns and wields,
Almost without an effort, plans too vaft
For their conception, which they cannot move.
Conscious of impotence, they foon grow drunk
With gazing, when they see an able man
Step forth to notice; and belotted thus,
Build him a pedestal, and say, stand there,
And be our admiration and our praise.
They roll themselves before him in the dust,
Then most deserving in their own account
When most extravagant in his applause,
As if exalting him they rais'd themselves.
Thus by degrees, felf-cheated of their found
And sober judgment, that he is but man,
They demi-deify and fume him fo,
That in due season he forgets it too.
Inflated and astrut with self-conceit,
He gulps the windy diet, and ere long,
Adopting their mistake, profoundly thinks
The world was made in vain if not for him :
Thenceforth they are his cattle : drudges, born
To bear his burdens; drawing in his gears,
And sweating in his service, his caprice
Becomes the foul that animates them all.
He deems a thousand, or ten thousand lives,
Spent in the purchase of renown for him,
An easy reck’ning, and they think the fame.
Thus kings were first invented, and thus kings
Were burnish'd into heroes, and became
The arbiters of this terraqueous swamp,
Storks among frogs, that have but croak’d and
Strange that such folly as lifts bloated man
To eminence fit only for a God,
Should ever drivel out of human lips
Evin in the cradled weakness of the world!
Still stranger much, that when at length mankind
Had reach'd the finewy firmness of their youth,
And could discriminate and argue well
On subjects more mysterious, they were yet
Babes in the cause of freedom, and should fear
And quake before the Gods themfelves had made.
But above measure strange, that neither proof
Of fad experience, nor examples fet
By fome whose patriot virtue had prevail'd,
Can even now, when they are grown mature
In wisdom, and with philofophic deep3
Familiar, ferve t'emancipate the rest!
Such dupes are men to custom, and so prone
To rev'rence what is ancient, and can plead
A course of long observance for its use,
That even fervitude, the worst of ills,
Because deliver'd down from fire to son,
Is kept and guarded as a sacred thing.
But is it fit, or can it bear the shock
Of rational discussion, that a man,
Compounded and made up like other nien
Of elements tumultuous, in whom lust
And folly in as ample measurè meet
As in the bosom of the slaves he rules,
Should be a despot absolute, and boast
Himself the only freeman of his land?
Should, when he pleases, and on whom he will
Wage war, with any or with no pretence
Of provocation giv'n'or wrong sustain’d,
And force the beggarly last doit, by means
That his own humour dictates from the clutch
Of poverty, that thus he may procure
His thousands, weary of penurious life,
A splendid-opportunity to die?
Say ye, who, (with less prudence than of old;
Jotham afcrib'd to his affembled trees
In politic convention) put your trust
I th’shadow of a bramble, and reclin'd
In fancied peace beneath his dang’rous branch,
Rejoice in him, and celebrate his sway,
Where find ye paffive fortitude ? Whence springs
Your self-denying zeal, that holds it good
To stroke the prickly grievance, and to hang
His thorns with streamers of continual praise?
We too are friends to loyalty. We love
The king who loves the law ; respects his bounds,
And reigns content within them: him we serve
Freely and with delight; who leave us free;
But récollecting ftill that he is man,
We trust him not too far. King though he be,
And king in England too, he may be weak,
And vain enough to be ambitious ftill;
May exercise amiss his proper pow'rs,
Or cover more than freemen chuse to grant :