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Is there, or do the schoolmen dream?
Is there on earth a pow'r supreme,
The delegate of heav'n,
To whom an uncontroul'd command,
In every realm, o'er sea or land,
By special grace is giv'n?
Then say, what signs this god proclaim ?
Dwells he amidst the diamond's flame,
A throne his hallow'd shrine ?
The borrow'd pomp, the arm'd array,
Want, fear, and impotence betray:
Strange proofs of pow'r divine.
If service due from human kind,
To men in slothful ease reclin'd
Can form a sovʼreign's claim :
Hail, monarchs! ye, whom heav'n ordains,
Our toils unshar'd, to share our gains,
Ye idiots, blind and lame!
Superior virtue, wisdom, might,
Create and mark the ruler's right,
So reason must conclude;
Then thine it is, to whom belong
The wise, the virtuous, and the strong,
Thrice sacred multitude!
In thee, vast ALL! are these contain'd,
For thee are those, thy parts ordain'd,
So nature's systems roll:
The sceptre's thine, if such there be;
If none there is, then thou art free,
Great monarch! mighty whole !
Let the proud tyrant rest his cause
On faith, prescription, force, or laws,
And host's or senate's voice!
His voice affirms thy stronger due,
Who for the many made the few,
And gave the species choice.
Unsanctify'd by thy command,
Unown'd by thee, the scepter'd hand
The trembling slave may bind.
But loose from nature's moral ties,
The oath by force impos'd belies
The unassenting mind.
Thy will's thy rule, thy good its end;
You punish only to defend
What parent nature gave:
And he who dares her gifts invade,
By nature's oldest law is made
Thy victim or thy slave.
Thus reason founds the just decree
On universal liberty,
Not private rights resign'd:
Through various nature's wide extent,
No private beings e'er were meant
To hurt the gen'ral kind.
Thee justice guides, thee right maintains, Th' oppressor's wrongs, the pilf'rer's gains, Thy injur'd weal impair.
Thy warmest passions soon subside,
Nor partial envy, hate, nor pride,
Thy temper'd counsels share.
Each instance of thy vengeful rage,
Collected from each clime and age,
Though malice swell the sum, Would seem a spotless scanty scroll, Compar'd with Marius' bloody roll, Or Sylla's hippodrome.
But thine has been imputed blame,
Th' unworthy few assume thy name,
The rabble weak and loud;
Or those who on thy ruins feast,
The lord, the lawyer, and the priest ;
A more ignoble crowd.
Avails it thee, if one devours,
Or lesser spoilers share his pow'rs,
While both thy claim oppose?
Monsters who wore thy sully'd crown,
Tyrants who pull'd those monsters down,
Alike to thee were foes.
Far other shone fair Freedom's hand,
Far other was th' immortal stand,
When Hampden fought for thee:
They snatch'd from rapine's gripe thy spoils,
The fruits and prize of glorious toils,
Of arts and industry.
On thee yet foams the preacher's rage,
On thee fierce frowns th' historian's page,
A false apostate train:
Tears stream adown the martyr's tomb ;
Unpity'd in their harder doom,
Thy thousands strew the plain.
These had no charms to please the sense,
No graceful port, no eloquence,
To win the Muse's throng:
Unknown, unsung, unmark'd they lie;
But Caesar's fate o'ercasts the sky,
And Nature mourns his wrong.
Thy foes, a frontless band, invade;
Thy friends afford a timid aid,
And yield up half the right.
Ev'n Locke beams forth a mingled ray,
Afraid to pour the flood of day
On man's too feeble sight.
Hence are the motley systems fram'd,
Of right transferr'd, of power reclaim'd;
Distinctions weak and vain.
Wise nature mocks the wrangling herd;
For unreclaim'd, and untransferr'd,
Her pow'rs and rights remain.
While law the royal agent moves,
The instrument thy choice approves,
We bow through him to you.
But change, or cease th' inspiring choice,
The sov'reign sinks a private voice,
Alike in one, or few!