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YE glittring train, whom lace and velvet bless,
Suspend the soft solicitudes of dress!
From grov'ling business and superfluous care,
Ye sons of Avarice, a moment spare !
Vot'ries of Fame, and worshippers of Power,
Dismiss the pleasing phantoms for an hour !
Our daring bard, with spirit unconfin'd,
Spreads wide the mighty moral for mankind.
Learn here how Heav'n supports the virtuous mind,
Daring, though calm; and vig'rous, though resign'd.
Learn here what anguish racks the guilty breast,
In pow'r dependent, in success depress'd.
Learn here that Peace from Innocence must flow;
All else is empty sound and idle show.
If truths like these with pleasing language join;
Ennobled, yet unchang’d, if Nature shine;
If no wild draught depart from Reason's rules,
Nor gods his heroes, nor his lovers fools :
Intriguing Wits ! his artless plot forgive;
And spare him, Beauties! though his lovers live.
Be this at least his praise, be this his pride;
To force applause no modern arts are try'd.
Should partial cat-calls all his hopes confound,
He bids no trumpet quell the fatal sound.
Should welcome sleep relieve the weary wit,
He rolls no thunders o'er the drowsy pit.
No snares to captivate the judginent spreads,
Nor bribes your eyes to prejudice your heads.
Unmov'd though Witlings sneer and Rivals rail ;
Studious to please, yet not asham'd to fail.
He scorns the meek address, the suppliant strain,
With merit needless, and without it vain.
In Reason, Nature, Truth, he dares to trust:
Ye Fops, be silent : and ye Wits, be just !
DEMETRIUS and LEONTIUS, in Turkish Habits.
And is it thus Demetrius meets his friend,
Hid in the mean disguise of Turkish robes,
With servile secrecy to lurk in shades,
And vent our suff'rings in clandestine groans ?
Till breathless fury rested from destruction,
These groans were fatal, these disguises vain;
But now our Turkish conquerors have quench'd
Their rage, and pall’d their appetite of murder ;
No more the glutted sabre thirsts for blood,
And weary cruelty remits her tortures.
Yet Greece enjoys no gleam of transient hope,
No soothing interval of peaceful sorrow;
The lust of gold succeeds the rage of conquest,
The lust of gold, unfeeling and remorseless,
The last corruption of degenerate man!
Urg'd by the imperious soldier's fierce command,
The groaning Greeks break
their golden caverns Pregnant with stores that India's mines might envy, Thi accumulated wealth of toiling ages.
DEMETRIUS. That wealth, too sacred for their country's use ! That wealth too pleasing to be lost for freedom! That wealth, which, granted to their weeping prince, Had rang’d embattled nations at our gates! But, thus reserv'd to lure the wolves of Turkey, Adds shame to grief, and infamy to ruin. Lamenting Av'rice now too late discovers Her own neglected in the publick safety.
Reproach not misery.---The sons of Greece,
Ill-fated race ! so oft besieg’d in vain,
With false security beheld invasion.
Why should they fear ? --- That pow'r that kindly spreads
The clouds, a signal of impending show'rs,
To warn the wand'ring linnet to the shade,
Beheld without concern expiring Greece,
And not one prodigy foretold our fate.
A thousand horrid prodigies foretold it.
A feeble government, eluded laws,
A factious populace, luxurious nobles,
And all the maladies of sinking states.
When publick Villainy, too strong for justice,
Shews his bold front, the harbinger of ruin,
Can brave Leontius call for airy wonders,
Which cheats interpret, and which fools regard ?
When some neglected fabrick nods beneath
The weight of years, and totters to the tempest,
Must Heav'n dispatch the messengers of light,
Or wake the dead, to warn us of its fall ?
Well might the weakness of our empire sink
Before such foes of more than human force
; Some Pow'r invisible, from Heav'n or Hell, Conducts their armies, and asserts their cause.
And yet, my friend, what miracles were wrought
Beyond the pow'r of constancy and courage ?
Did unresisted lightning aid their cannon?
Did roaring whirlwinds sweep us from the ramparts ?
'Twas vice that shook our nerves, 'twas vice, Leontius,
That froze our veins, and wither'd all our pow'rs.
Whate'er our crimes, our woes demand compassion.
Each night, protected by the friendly darkness,
Quitting by close retreat, I range the city,
And, weeping, kiss the venerable ruins:
With silent pangs I view the tow'ring domes,
Sacred to pray'r; and wander through the streets,
Where commerce lavish'd unexhausted plenty,
And jollity maintain'd eternal revels.
-How chang'd, alas !-Now ghastly Desolation
In triumph sits upon our shatter'd spires;
Now superstition, ignorance, and error,
Usurp our temples, and profane our altars.
From ev'ry palace bursts a mingled clamour,
The dreadful dissonance of barb'rous triumph,
Shrieks of affright and wailings of distress.
Oft when the cries of violated beauty
Arose to Heav'n, and pierc'd my bleeding breast,
I felt thy pains, and trembled for Aspasia.
Aspasia! spare that lov'd, that mournful name:
Dear hapless maid-tempestuous grief o'erbears
My reasoning pow'rs-Dear, hapless, lost Aspasia!
Suspend the thought.
All thought on her is madness; Yet let me think I see the helpless maid, Behold the monsters gaze with savage rapture, Behold how lust and rapine struggle round her!
Awake, Demetrius, from this dismal dream,
Sink not beneath imaginary sorrows;
Call to your aid your courage and your wisdom;
Think on the sudden change of human scenes;
Think on the various accidents of war;
Think on the mighty power of awful virtue ;
Think on that Providence that guards the good.
O Providence! extend thy care to me,
For Courage droops unequal to the combat, .
And weak Philosophy denies her succours.
Sure some kind sabre in the heat of battle,
Ere yet the foe found leisure to be cruel,
Dismiss'd her to the sky.