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At opening dawn, with fraudful nets supplied,
Now o'er the wondering world her name resounds, From Northern climes, to India's distant bounds.
-Where'er his shores the broad ATLANTIC laves; Where'er the Baltic rolls his wintry waves ; Where'er the honoured flood extends his tide, That clasps Sicilia like a favoured bride; Whose waves in ages past so oft have bore The storm of battle on the Punic shore; Have washed the banks of GREECE's learned bowers, And viewed at distance ROME's imperial towers; In
every clime her prosperous fleets are known, She makes the wealth of every clime her own: GREENLAND for her its bulky whale resigns, And temperate GALLIA rears her generous vines; 'Midst warm IBERIA citron-orchards blow, And the ripe fruitage bends the labouring bough: The OCCIDENT a richer tribute yields, Far different produce swells their cultured fields; Hence the strong cordial that inflames the brain, The honeyed sweetness of the juicy cane, The vegetative fleece, tbe azure dye, And every product of a warmer sky.
There AFRIC's swarthy sons their toils repeat, Beneath the fervors of the noon-tide heat;
Torn from each joy that crowned their native soil,
Shame to Mankind! But shame to BRITONS most, Who all the sweets of Liberty can boast; Yet, deaf to every human claim, deny That bliss to others, which themselves enjoy: Life's bitter draught with barsher bitter fill; Blast every joy, and add to every ill; The trembling limbs with galling iron bind, Nor loose the heavier bondage of the mind.
Yet whence these horrors? this inbuman rage, That brands with blackest infamy the age ? Is it, our varied interests disagree, And BRITAIN sinks if AFRIC's sons be free? -No-Hence a few superfluous stores we claim, That tempt our avarice, but increase our shame; The sickly palate touch with more delight, Or swell the senseless riot of the night.
-- Blest were the days ere Foreign Climes were known,
- Not madly purchased by a brother's blood-
When COMMERCE, yet an infant, raised her head, ’T was mutual want her growing empire spread: Those mutual wants a distant realm supplied, And like advantage every clime enjoyed. Distrustless then of every treacherous view, An open welcome met the stranger crew; And whilst the whitening fleet approached to land, The wondering natives hailed them from the strand; Fearless to meet, amidst the flow of soul, The lurking dagger, or the poisoned bowl.
Now, more destructive than a blighting storm,
To glut her rage, what thousands there have bled, What thrones are vacant, and what princes dead ! In vain may
War's relenting fury spare, Attendant Famine follows in the rear; And the poor natives but survive, to know The lingering horrors of severer woe.
Can this be she, who promised once to bind In leagues of strictest amity, mankind ? This fiend, whose breath inflames the spark of strife, And
pays with trivial toys the price of life?
As some industrious man, whose prudent mind To business is in earlier years inclined, With ceaseless steps, the road of wealth pursues, Bounds there his wish, and centres all his views; Till satiate with success, he quits the chase, And sighs for happier hours of rest and peace; Feels avarice in his softening breast decay, And nobler passions in their turns bear sway; Feels genuine taste, by weeds obscured too long, Spring in the mind, and boast a bloom more strong : So rose the pride of MERSEY's spacious stream, Repose her scorn, and riches all her aim : Till grown at length by long attention great, The ARTs have chosen here their blest retreat.
At their approach, see Gothic taste retire ! And true proportion raise the graceful spire, Mould the proud column, swell the spacious dome, To GRECIA's genius give the strength of ROME!
The marble, see! with mimic nature warm,
-O formed in every varied scene to please !
The Muses, too, their kindling influence bring, Wake the sweet lute, and strike the sounding string; And whilst they rove on MERSEY's favoured side, Smooth rolls the stream, and prouder swells the tide. 'T is theirs, the chains of avarice to unbind, Pour softer manners on the attentive mind; To bid the bosom gentler passions prove; The friends of Virtue, and the friends of Love.
- Here safely planted, deep they strike the root, And generous Candour guards the infant shoot. To tempt their stay, and win their lasting smile, The Friends of Genius raised yon spacious Pile : * There, whilst cold precepts ineffectual prove, The great example never fails to move.
* The Theatre Royal, erected by Subscription.