By Nature's law, what may be, may be now;
There's no prerogative in human hours.
In human hearts what bolder thought can rise,
Than man's presumption on to-morrow's dawn?
What do we see! Cato then become
A greater name in Britain than in Rome?
Does mankind now admire his virtues more,
Though Lucan, Horace, Virgil, wrote before?
Sooner or later, in some future date,
(A dreadful secret in the book of Fate)
This hour, for aught all human wisdom knows,
Or when ten thousand harvests more have rose;
Tired Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep, -
He, like the world, his ready visit pays
Where fortune smiles: the wretched he forsakes,
Sweet rural scene!
Of flocks and green!
At careless ease my limbs are spread;
The book unfolding, the resplendent seat
Of saints and angels, the tremendous fate
Of guilty souls, the gloomy realms of woe,
Greater than greatest! better than the best!
Kinder than kindest! with soft pity's eye
Look down -
Long, Dodington, in debt, I long have sought
To ease the burden of my graceful thought:
And now a poet's gratitude you see:
Night is fair Virtue's immemorial friend.
The conscious moon through every distant age
Has held a lamp to Wisdom, and let fall
While others sing the fortune of the great,
Empire and arms, and all the pomp of state;
With Britain's hero
set their souls on fire,