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AN ESSAY, BY DANIEL DEFOE.
I'm told, for we have news among the dead,
Heaven lately spoke, but few knew what it said;
The voice in loudest tempests spoke,
Think it not strange I heard it here,
Besides, tho' I am dead in fame,
where I am. Tho' I have lost poetic breath,
I'm not in perfect state of death :
I'm in the limbus of the law.
blast it echo'd thus, REFORM ;
And every time the raging element
Newly commission'd from on high,
In lowring cloudy troops drew nigh;
They hover'd o'er the guilty land,
And pity'd those they should destroy.
But heaven, that long had gentler methods try'd
Had now resolved to be obey'd.
Told them the only way to happiness
Was by the blessed door of peace.
Scorn the high caution, and contemn the news,
And all the blessed thoughts of peace refuse.
He said, and I could hear no more,
So soon the black’ning clouds drew near,
I thought I felt the world's foundation shake,
I trembld as the winds grew high,
Man may to man his valour show,
And 'tis his virtue to do so;
Soon as I heard the horrid blast,
And understood how long 'twould last, View'd all the tury of the element,
Consider'd well by whom 'twas sent,
It brought my hero to my mind,
Short epithets to his just memory;
The mighty genius to my thought appear'd,
Just in the same concern he us’d to show,
When private tempests used to blow, Storms which the monarch more than death or battle fear'd,
THE STORM: AN ESSAY.
When party fury shook his throne,
I've heard the sighing monarch say,
It fill’d with cares his royal breast.
That when he should the reins let to,
To let the thankless nation see How they despis'd their own felicity.
This robb'd the hero of his rest, Disturb’d the calm of his serener breast.
When to the queen the sceptre he resign'd
With a resolv'd and steady mind,
Foreseeing long and vig'rous wars,
Would always interrupt her rest,
For storms of court ambition rage as high
Could I my hasty doom retrieve,
I'd now the men of flags and fortune greet,
And write an elegy upon the fleet.
They who rid out the storm, and liv'd,
Let such unthinking creatures have a care,
Let them look out for some such day,
Have left this caution, tho' too late,
That all events are known to fate. Cowards avoid no danger when they run, And courage 'scapes the death it would not shun;
'Tis nonsense from our fate to fly, All men must have heart enough to die.
Those sons of plunder are below my pen, Because they are below the names of men; Who from the shores presenting to their eyes The fatal Goodwin, where the wreck of navies lies, A thousand dying sailors talking to the skies. From the sad shores they saw the wretches walk,
By signals of distress they talk;
Off to the shatter'd ships they go,
They spare no hazard, or no pain,
As if they'd mock their dying fear.
If I had any Satire left to write,
Could I with suited spleen indite,
No footsteps of it should appear,
Or be a term of infamy ;
A just reproach to all the land.
The ships come next to be my theme,
For had they perish'd e'er they went,
THE STORM: AN ESSAY.
The ships might ha' been built again, And we had sav'd the money and the men.
There the mighty wrecks appear,
you lie too soon, there you lie too late.
To Chatham, Portsmouth, and the Nore,
Since 'tis supposed the men-of-war
The dreadful desolation;
And ruffl'd all the nation,
The universal fright
His harden'd soul began to doubt,
Flaming meteors fill’d the air,
Recall’d his black blaspheming breath,
Terror appear'd in every face,
grace; Began to feel the hated truth appear,
Began to fear,
He should at last be in the wrong.
Some power he plainly saw, (And seeing, felt a strange unusual awe ;)
Some secret hand he plainly found,
Was bringing some strange thing to pass, And he that neither God nor devil own'd,
Must needs be at a loss to guess.
Fain he would not ha' guest the worst, But guilt will always be with terror curst.