1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Julius Mickle

Libertas, "Parody on some Stanzas of Pollio, an Elegy. Applied to the Brentford Election" St. James's Chronicle (11 April 1769).



Near Thames' smooth Stream, where late fair Freedom's Sons
From Slavery's Minions stood a direful Shock,
Old English Liberty beheld th' Attempt
With fearful Heart, and thus the Goddess spoke:

Oft thro' these Plains, exulting from the Fight,
My valiant Sons have march'd along the Lea,
Eying their rescued Fields with proud Delight,
Now lost to them! and ah, how chang'd to me!

For see what dreary Gulf, how dark and void,
These Slaves prepare that here may be my last!
Dreadful C—t Int—st! on thy Depth untry'd
Hope faulters, and my Soul recoils aghast.

Far round the Hustings wide I cast my Eyes;
And shall base Bribery fan her sordid Fire?
Shall Slavery strengthen her inglorious Ties?
And shall my bright, my heav'n-born Flame expire?

Far be the Tho't — the Pleasures most sublime,
Friendship and every towering Wish is mine;
But every Virtue, often deem'd a Crime,
Is chill'd, and languishes at Slavery's Shrine.

So plant my Tree in Scotland's barren Land,
The languid Stranger feebly buds, and dies:
Yet shall its Boughs in England's Clime expand
With Godlike Strength beneath their native Skies.

And, lo, my Rights restor'd, before me rise,
Each County soon shall smile as Brentford's Plains:
Hark, Glynn's our Member, echoes thro' the Skies,
And all the Streets reply, "Fair Freedom reigns!"