Ode Vii: On Liberty - Poem by George Dyer
Hail! more refulgent than the morning star,
Gay queen of bliss, fair daughter of the sky,
I woo thee, Freedom! May I hope from far
To catch the brightness of thy raptur'd eye?
While not unseemly streams thy zoneless vest,
Thy wild locks dancing to the frolic wind;
And, borne on flying feet, thou scorn'st to rest,
Save where meek truth her modest seat may find.
Hail! radiant from divine, blest Liberty!
Where'er thou deign'st to rove, oh! let me rove with thee.
Say, dost thou choose to tread the mountain's brow,
Or haunt meand'ring stream, or wanton plain?
Up the steep mountain's height with thee I'll go;
Or wake by river's brink the merry strain:
Or o'er the laughing plain I'll trip along,
A simple swain, 'midst hinds and virgins gay;
And still will chant to thee the even-song,
Unwearied with the raptures of the day.
And e'en when lock'd in sleep's soft arms I lie,
Still flatt'ring dreams shall wake the midnight ecstasy.
Or dost thou choose to wear the sober veil
Of mild philosophy, and walk unseen,
Serenely grave, along the cloister pale,
Or in the pensive grove, or shaven green:
Then will I tend thee on thy secret way,
And from thy musing catch the patriot flame,
Gentle and clear, as the sun's smiling ray
At dawn, yet warm, as his meridian beam,
When wond'ring nations feel the piercing rays,
And think they view their God, and kindle into praise.
Such wast thou seen by Isis' silver flood,
In converse sweet with Locke, immortal sage;
Such too by Cam with him, whose bosom glow'd
With thy sweet raptures, and the muses rage.
Nor less with him, who bore to distant climes
His country's love, and o'er her mis'ries sigh'd;
Brave injur'd patriot he, in evil times
Who nobly liv'd, and not ignobly died.
Whol nobly liv'd, whose name shall ever live,
While zeal in Britain glows, while freedom shall survive.
With Jebb and Price thou pass'dst the studious hour,
And stor'dst with gen'rous truths their ample mind;
Thou bad'st them glow, with patriot zeal; and more,
Thou bad'st them glow with low of human kind.
And oh! fair queen, still think for Albion's weal!
Still with our Parrs and Masons, still abide!
Still may those gen'rous friends thine influence feel,
Alike in manners' and; in worth allied.
When civil broils an injur'd nation rend,
Be thou fair learning's pride, the muse's constant friend.
So shall my Disney still thy call obey,
And deck the patriot's tomb with wreathes of fame;
And still o'er classic fields shall Porson stray,
And Aikin still adore his Howard's name:
May Fitzroy too the gen'rous transport share;
And rais'd by love of thee and love of truth,
View Liberty's long lustre mild and clear,
Till its full orb illume Britannia's youth.
And I, the meanest of the tuneful throng,
On Cam's fair banks will chant to thee the grateful song.
Or dost thou from Columbus' blissful plains,
Invite thy Paine, to rouse the languid hearts
Of Albion's foes, and through their feeble veins
Dart the electric fire, which quick imparts
Passions, which make them wonder, while they feel.
Auspicious queen! still shew thy beauteous face,
Till Britons kindle into rapture—
Or dost thou, sweet enthusiast! choose to warm
With more than manly fire the female breast?
And urge thy Wollstonecraft to break the charm,
Where beauty lies in durance vile opprest
Then will I from my Jebb's fair pages prove,
That female minds might teach a patriot throng,
Or 'on the Loire's sweet banks' with Williams rove;
Or hear thee warble in Laetitia's song;
Or see thee weep in Charlotte's melting page;
And from Macaulay learn to scourge a venal age.
Or dost thou, near Maria's early tomb,
Clad like the muse of sorrow, dropp a tear.
Oh! I will kiss that sacred drop, and roam
To strew the cypress on Maria's bier.
Or I will hear thee, fair Melpomene,
In my own Charlotte's pensive notes complain.
Faithful to thee, though pensive—
Or art thou wont to couch with lion pride
Near Britons genius, slumb'ring as in ire;
Waiting what time thy children shall abide
Thy noblest form, and glow with purest fire?
Sweet slumb'rer rest! yet shall the times be found,
When Britain's bards shall wake no venal strain,
Her prophets give no more a double sound;
No more her patriots thirst for sordid gain:
And lawless zeal shall fink to endless shame,
Nor longer keep thy seat, nor bear thy sacred name
But shouldst thou scorn at length Britannia's isle,
Then would I pass with Penn the dang'rous sea
Yes! I would hasten to some happier soil,
Where tyrants hold no rule, no slaves obey.
There would I woo thee, goddess, heav'nly fair;
Sing my wild notes to thee, where'er I roam;
Britons no more the muse's praise should share,
Tyrants abroad, and miscreants at home—
E'en Britain's friend would publish Britain's shame;
While barb'rous tribes should hear, and scorn a Briton's name—
But shouldst thou e'en from Britain speed thy way,
On Gallia's plains still linger with delight;
And while her patriots hail this sacred day ,
Oh! aid their counsels, end their battles fight;
May tyrants ne'er, those murd'rers of the world,
Austria's proud Lord, and Prussia's faithless king,
Their blood-stain'd banners to the air unfurl'd,
O'er freedom's sons the note of triumph sing;
Still with the great resolve the Polish heroes fire,
To live in thine embrace, or at thy feet expire.
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