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He mark'd the bitter tear, the broken heart,
How shall we stand acquitted ? Bow thy knee, Imperial Britain, bow, and urge thy pleaPlead for thy favor’d Isle; where full-blown pride Thrusts unpretending honesty aside ; Where venal poets prostitute the muse, And slumb'ring prelates preach to empty pews ; Where Truth shall dread if once she ope her lips, Fines, law-suits, jeers, imprisonment, and whips ; Where Justice tries to lift her voice on high, While Law, alarm’d, preserves a jealous eye; Where ribald sceptics, fav’rites of the town, Who boast their philosophical renown, Make that blest name which dying martyrs sung, The scoff of ev'ry idle babbler's tongueIf thou wouldst stand acquitted, this thy pleaBid Justice quit her throne, and bow to thee !
Is there a villain that pollutes thy shore, And turns a parson to blaspheme the more ;
In folly, guilt, and ignorance supine,
What's Virtue?--but a mask to cheat the blind ! An empty name, a phantom of the mind, A tale the sophist tells, the fool believes, An artful plea that damns, while it deceives But faith, that precious opiate of the soul ! Lulls all our fears to rest, and makes us whole, Gives colour to the vices of the times, Sets conscience free, and sanctifies our crimes !
Blest argument that proves, Avarò cries, My undisputed title to the skies ! I, who have set my heart against despair, Whose care of self, drowns ev'ry other care ; Who ne'er till earth shall take these old remains,
Will give the world one farthing of my gains ;
Strange doctrine ! let the promis'd bliss be thineMay virtue's hopes, and virtue's fate be mine! When the last day exulting seraphs bail, And Heav'n's bright throne appears without a veil, Then shall our sev'ral claims be justly try'd By Him, who, to confirm them, groan'd, and died. For virtue who shall plead? What Heav'n holds
dear, Names of high worth, tho' little valued here. Patience, on whom life's ills innocuous fall, And gentle charity that feels for all ; Nor least, the widow's and the orphan's pray’r, Shall reach the throne, and find acceptance there.
These are thy bright rewards, O truth divine ! These shall, ere long, O Wilberforce, be thine ! Such bliss awaits the man who pitying gave
Light to the blind, and freedom to the slave! And taught his ruthless ministers of woe, Mercy's blest name, and friendship’s sacred glow!
Afric, rejoice! from Britain's distant shore, Your grateful sons the welcome tidings bore; Britain, who scorns, in amity sincere, To rob you of the gem she holds so dear, Hath sent fair Liberty beyond the main, To consecrate your land, and burst your chain ! O could she her immortal truths disclose, And plant in desarts wild, sweet Sharon's rose; Then should her labours prosper in their aim, And blend with Freedom's, Faith's serener flame, Teach your believing sons on Him to call, Who shed his precious blood to ransom all.
Is there a deed that Heav'n itself approves, That god-like virtue prompts, compassion moves, That gives the human soul new light to shine, And proves indeed its origin divine, 'Tis that, which sends to earth's remotest bound, Salvation's work, the Gospel's cheering sound ! Go ye, who shall the proud distinction claim, And teach the nations your Redeemer's name! Go, plant his glorious cross in wilds unknown, And bring new subjects to Jehovah's throne !
Say, when astonish'd nature saw him die,
Here pause the sorrowing Muse with sacred dread, Το
pay her honours to th' illustrious dead,
o’rous ardor rais’d his country's fame, And gave new lustre to the patriot's name ! Who, when the civil storm began to low'r, And factious knaves call’d loud for place and pow'r, Stood forth fair Freedom's champion, nobly great, To save from tyrant hands a sinking state ! Who died unpension'd, crown'd with just applause, A faithful servant in the public cause ! Be envy silent o'er his hallow'd dust, And, if it dare not imitate, be just.