1791 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Burke

Anonymous, "Song" General Evening Post (21 July 1791).



O'er the vine-covered hills and gay regions of France
See the day-star of Liberty rise;
Thro' the clouds of detraction, unwearied, advance,
And holds its new course thro' the skies.
An effulgence so mild, with a lustre so bright,
All Europe, with wonder, surveys;
And from desarts of darkness, and dungeons of night,
Contends for a share of the blaze.

Let Burke, like a bat, from its splendour retire,
A splendour — too strong for his eyes;
Let pedants and fools his effusions admire,
Entrapt in his cobwebs, like flies:
Shall phrenzy and sophistry hope to prevail,
Where reason opposes her weight;
When the welfare of millions is hung in the scale,
And the balance yet trembles with fate?

Ah! who 'midst the horrors of night would abide,
That can taste the pure breezes of morn;
Or who that has drunk of the chrystalline tide,
To the feculent flood would return?
When the bosom of beauty the throbbing heart meets,
Ah, who can the transport decline?
Or who that has tasted of Liberty's sweets,
The prize, but with life, would resign?

—But 'tis over — high Heav'n the decision approves—
Oppression has struggled in vain:
To the Hell she has form'd Superstition removes;
And Tyranny bites his own chain.
In the records of Time a new aera unfolds—
All nature exults in its birth,—
His creation benign, the Creator beholds,
And gives a new charter to Earth.

O catch its high import, ye winds, as ye blow!
O bear it, ye waves, as ye roll!
From regions that feel the Sun's vertical glow,
To the farthest extremes of the Pole.
EQUAL RIGHTS, EQUAL LAWS to the nations around,
PEACE and FRIENDSHIP its precepts impart—
And wherever the footsteps of MAN shall be found,
May he bind the Decree of his heart.