1777 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Dodd

J. T., "The Clerk's Mite" Public Advertiser (26 April 1777).



Father of Mercies! Great Jehovah — God!
Visit, relieve and bless thy Servant DODD;
Thy Presence makes a palace of a Jail,
Thou canst support when all Resources fail:
See where he lies of Liberty restrain'd;
If just the Verdict — 'twas by Fraud obtain'd;
JUSTICE, tho' blind, does manly Acts pursue,
Treachery, with open Eyes, was manly too.
What has he done? Justice, say all you can,
Tell us, "he's broke the Laws of God and Man;"
Bring forth thy Scales, throw in his recent Crime,
Search well the former and the present Time,
Let Malice keep the Scale till it runs o'er,
And seek for Faults till she can find no more,
Then ENVY hide thy Head, forbear to rail,
And let Humanity fill t' other Scale;
Humanity! thou darling Gift of Heaven,
Which in Abundance unto Dodd was given;
Firmly he stood the Orphans Cause to plead,
And raise the Widow from distressful Need.
Ye MAGDALENS, you've Cause his Loss to moan,
For many Years his Zeal for you was shewn;
I've seen, when Indigence has him addrest,
Relief flow quick, tho' he himself distrest.
At these and many more will Envy rail,
And deem too light a Balance for the Scale.
Then be it so, let Envy have her Way,
Till I produce a Deed the Whole to sway.
DEBTORS come forth! appear to public View,
Malice confront, she can't object to you;
Bring forth your Wives and Children, own the Man
That first propos'd and form'd your glorious Plan!
He to full fourteen Thousand Souls and more,
By this great Plan did ope the Prison Door.
Impartial Judges this one Act will deem
Sufficient Weight itself to sway the Beam.
Grant, gracious God! these Facts, tho' simply drest,
May draw some Pity from his Sovereign's Breast;
Tho' Justice pleads that Punishment's his Due,
Mercy revive an Object worthy you!
We're told, "the Merciful shall Mercy gain;"
Grant, Lord, he Royal Pardon may obtain.
Here I conclude my Prayer, and drop my Pen,
In hopes his Majesty will say, Amen.