Thoughts on the Late Proceedings in France
The Gentleman's Magazine, LXIII (1793), iv
Ye garlands, wove with Fancy's flowers,
Farewel! Thou Muse of pensive hours,
While peace is torn from weeping years,
Teach me to tell, in mournful songs,
How Men of Rights wrought mighty wrongs,
And Nations fill'd with tears!
How chill'd the patriot virtues stood
When their loud champions spurn'd their laws,
Stain'd the astonish'd land with blood,
And dar'd to call it Freedom's cause!
Indignant, generous passions rise;
Soft Pity lifts her dewy eyes.
Wonder alone no more is found,
While Vice its hydra-head can rear
In tiger-visag'd Roberspierre, [sic]
And Danton ivy-crown'd.
Santerre! ye thousands! guards to Death!
Wide ye extend one tyrant's reign,
For whom still spreads contagious breath,
The baneful family of PAINE.
Rises for kings a deeper sigh?
As men no more do monarchs die;
To undistinguish'd dust they turn;
Them, woes or joys, distress or please,
And preys to murder or disease,
Their friends, their kindred, mourn.
Yet blasts, which slender shrubs have broke,
Unmov'd the forest-trees may bear;
While the rude storm that rends the oak
All the troubled grove must share.
Say, have the storms which rent a throne
Its sovereigns overwhelm'd alone?
Has their wide sphere its rage withstood?
Our hearts, if grief compell'd to know,
Through narrow circles spread their woe,
Kings empires mourn in blood.
This—Hist'ry tells of former days;
This—now the anxious moments mourn;
And, oh! the forfeits life repays
Till Peace with her fair train return.
O, God of armies, hear our prayer!
Incline the victor's heart to spare;
Let conscience seal the murderer's doom.
As Bosworth and Philippi boast,
May Richard's dreams and Caesar's ghost
In battle overcome.
Hope beams through interposing hours,
And Gallia's injur'd lord is seen
Leading to empyreal bowers
The spirit of his slaughter'd queen.
From dungeons deep, thro' murder'd fame,
Magnanimous the sufferer came:
Thro' savage Joy's insulting breath
She pass'd serenely to the grave,
Smil'd at the freedom Frenchmen gave,
And sov'reign shone in death.
Martyr at Friendship's holy shrine,
Fair Lamballe hails to Heav'n her queen.
Cazotte! can its best joys be thine
Till there thy matchless child be seen?
Naked of good, yon gulph so near,
Does Marat's shivering shade appear?
Uncall'd, so stain'd, by Cordé sent!
Oh! could her hand those stains erase!
It took his time, Heav'n's gift for grace,
Beyond the grave were such means lent.
But check, my Muse, this daring flight,
While distant wonders round thee throng;
Shrink silent from the awful sight,
And sighing end thy sorrowing song.
Lancaster, December 1793