BRITTANICUS

At ease you proudly spread the important page,

In high debate where demi-gods engage;

Give ocean law from Indus to the Pole,

And teach Britannia’s thunder where to roll:

You show’d the thoughtful eye what Learning found,

By curious search on philosophic ground;

To fair Industry’s buſy race display’d

Whatever Artproduc’d in Nature’s aid;

And gave, their hours of leisure to amuse,

Plans, Maps, Political Essays, and News:

The Nine you courted for the varying lay;

The varying theme the ready Nine display:

In easy verse the humorous tale they told,

The young all laughing, smiling all the old;

By Satire, sneer’d the villain into shame,

And paid the worthy their reward of fame:

Around fair Virtue bad the Graces throng,

Show’d Vice unmask’d, and moralised the song.

But when the Scots advance, a desperate band,

By right divine to desolate the land

to root up Freedom, to dethrone the King,

To stop for ever the peregrine soaring,

In popish night to bid the world forget

Thefruits of learning, and the flow’rs of wit,

Then lighter themes forgot, you fill the page

With heaven-born ardour, and an honest rage;

In Britain’s cause exerting all your art,

Rouse English virtue in each English heart;

Commend the forward, stimulate the flow,

And drive the united nation on her foe:

So Pallas taught, in peaceful Greece, we find,

Whate’er could please, instruct, and mend mankind;

Lead wond’ring Science through the devious way,

And charm’d the Poet with the various lay.

But, Greece insulted by the Phrygian boy,

At once she turn’d the theme to arms and Troy;

Each Greek became an hero at her voice,

And death, or glory, was the gen’ral choice.

Divine Achilles then was born to fame,

The type of ALFRED now the greater name.