Wilt thou, because thy Florio loves,
Forsake the giddy glitt’ring throng,
With him to dwell in peaceful groves,
With him to hear the shepherd’s song?
Can’st thou, without a sigh, resign
The homage by thy charms inspir’d?
To one, oh! say, can’st thou confine
What oft so many have admir’d?
Sweet maid! oh! bless’d shall be our love,
Till time shall bid it cease to flow;
With thee shall ev’ry moment prove
A little heaven form’d below!
In a chariot of fire, thro Hell’s flaming arch,
The Fury of Discord appear’d;
A myriad of demons attended her march,
And in Gallia her standard she rear’d.
Thy name, so enchanting, sweet Freedom! she took,
But in vain did she try to assume
Thy smile of content, thy enlivening look,
And thy roseate mountainous bloom.
For wan was her visage, and phrensied her eye,
At her girdle a poniard she wore;
Her bosom and limbs were expos’d to the sky,
And her robe was besprinkled with gore.
Nature shudder’d, and sigh’d as the wild
Each flow’r droop’d its beautiful head;
The groves became dusky, and moan’d in the blast,
And Virtue and Innocence fled.
She rose from her car ’midst the yell of her
Emblazon’d, a scroll she unfurl’d,
And on it the dreams of Philosophy drew;
“’Tis the Charter, she cried, of the World.”
Plunder, keen-ey’d and lean, rang with plaudits
Murder grinn’d as he whetted his steel;
While Blasphemy swore the Redeemer on high
Was the creature of Folly and Zeal.
The scaffold grew red with the blood of the brave,
Kings turn’d pale on their thrones at her nod;
While Loyalty fled to the gloom of the cave,
And Piety knelt to her God.
At length, after changing her chiefs at her will,
As their mischievous zeal grew remiss,
She sought a fresh fav’rite, with dexterous skill,
From Obscurity’s darkest abyss.
The pow’rs of her monstrous adoption to try,
’Midst, Syria! thy waterless waste,
She bade him the blast of thy desert outvie,
And defile all thy relics of taste.
The chieftain obey’d: with a merciful air
He wrung from thy natives a tear;
But the justice and valour of Britain, e’en there,
Shook his legions, recoiling with fear.
Well-pleas’d with his crimes, the Fury, with
To her empire safe wafted him o’er;
Whilst the spectres of Jaffa, with ghastly delight,
The murd’rer pursued to the shore.
Arriv’d, for his brow, lo! a turban she made,
Bright with gems pluck’d from Gallia’s crown;
To give him a name, she Rome’s hist’ry survey’d,
In the days of her early renown.