Eleven Prior stanzas on James Oglethorpe, who founded the colony of Georgia in 1733 as a refuge for imprisoned debtors. In "Tomo Chachi" Thomas Fitzgerald (an usher at Westminster School) compares the present diminished age to the glory of Elizabeth's reign, which may account for the choice of the Spenserian stanza. The ode, originally anonymous, was acknowledged in Fitzgerald's Poems (1781). "Georgia, A Poem" may be the work of Samuel Wesley the Younger; see Foxon G128.
John Nichols: "June 13, 1734, he [Oglethorpe] was elected a third time for Haslemere; and, arriving in England about the same time from Georgia, was, on the 19th of that month, graciously received by their Majesties at St. James's, and afterwards by the trustees of the Colony, who expressed their great satisfaction in the eminent services he had performed on behalf of the new settlement. (See verses to him on his return, Gent. Mag. vol. IV. p. 505; and in that year his head was proposed by Mr. Urban as a prize-medal.) On this occasion he brought with him into England Tomo-chi-chi, Micho of the Creek Indians, Senauki his wife, Micho John Tooanahowki their son, and Hillispilli the war captain, with other Indians, who were introduced to their Majesties at Kensington, Aug. 1; and, having been entertained there for some time at the expence of the Government, embarked at Gravesend on their return home on the 30th of October following. Oct. 14, 1735, Mr. Oglethorpe himself set out for Gravesend, in order to embark a second time for Georgia; and carried with him the two brothers John and Charles Wesley, who went with the pious intention of instructing the Indians. He arrived there Feb. 5, 1735-36 (see accounts from him in Gent. Mag. vol. VI. pp. 219, 357, 686); in the latter end of which year he made another voyage to England, and raised a regiment to carry over, permitting every man to take a wife with him" Literary Anecdotes (1812-15) 2:20n.
Hoxie Neale Fairchild: "Writers in whom the retirement impulse is strong are also likely to indulge in sentimental primitivism. In Tomo Chachi: An Ode [Fitzgerald] eulogizes an Indian chief whom General Oglethorpe had brought to England from Georgia ... He reminds the poet of Cassibelanus or Caractacus. Such a man should not be called a savage, for he is 'Ever by Reason's equal Dictates sway'd'" Religious Trends in English Poetry (1939) 1:432.
Robert Southey: "Oglethorpe has had the honor of being mentioned by Pope and Thompson; and by the Abbe Reynal in a way which makes his notice respectable" Common-Place Book (1849-51) 3:739.
What Stranger's this? and from what Region far?
This wond'rous Form, majestic to behold?
Uncloath'd, but arm'd offensive for the War,
In hoary Age and wise Experience old?
His Limbs, inur'd to Hardiness and Toil,
His strong large Limbs, what mighty Sinews brace!
Whilst Truth sincere, and artless Virtue smile
In the expressive Features of his Face.
His bold free Aspect speaks the inward Mind,
Aw'd by no slavish Fear, from no vile Passion blind.
Erst in our Isle, with such an Air and Mien,
Whilst Britain's Glory stood in Times of Yore,
Might some redoubted Chief of hers be seen,
In all his painted Pride, upon the Shore.
Or He, who graceful from the Chariot's Height,
When conqu'ring Julius landed from the Main,
Urg'd his confederated Tribes to fight
For gen'rous Freedom, fierce Cassibelan;
Or He, whose Fame, in Roman Annals told,
Must live thro' ev'ry Age, Caractacus the Bold.
From the wide Western Continent of Land,
Where yet uncultivated Nature reigns,
Where the huge Forests undiminish'd stand,
Nor Towns nor Castles grace the naked Plains;
From That new World undaunted he pursues
To our fam'd Nation his advent'rous Way;
His Soul elated high with glorious Views,
Our Strength, our Arts, our Manners to survey;
The boasted European Skill to find,
And bear triumphant home, and civilize his Kind.
And, O the idle impotent Disdain
Of vulgar Error, partial to decide!
Must He be stil'd by Us a Savage Man?
O the blind Folly of conceited Pride!
Ever by Reason's equal Dictates sway'd,
Conscious of each great Impulse in the Soul,
And all his Words, and all his Actions weigh'd
By unaffected Wisdom's just Controul,
Must He be rank'd in an inferior Place,
In our inglorious Times, to our degenerate Race!
Alas! brave Indian, good old England's Fame
Thou seest sunk down from its Meridian Height;
The noble Ardors now no more inflame,
Of conscious Worth, and Honour's dear Delight;
As then, when welcom'd to your happy Shore,
Our Fleets first landed from the watry Way,
And each strange Region studious to explore
Pass'd the long Gulf, and vast Pacific Sea;
And round emerging to the Eastern Main,
Maintain'd from Sun to Sun their Gloriana's Reign.
Wealth without End, from such Exploits as These,
Crown'd our large Commerce, and extended Sway;
And hence, dissolv'd in soft luxurious Ease,
Our ancient Virtue vanish'd soon away.
Rare to be found is the old gen'rous Strain
So fam'd amongst us once for Patriot Zeal,
Of try'd Good Faith, and Manners stanch and plain,
And bold and active for their Country's Weal;
Clear from all Stain, superior to all Fear;
Alas! few such as These, few OGLETHORPES are here.
Oft hast thou seen His gallant Spirit prov'd,
His noble Scorn of Danger oft hast known,
Admir'd his Wisdom, and his Candor lov'd,
And Openness of Heart, so like thy own;
What time, at home before long lov'd and blest,
He to Thy Country brought his Godlike Aim,
Born as he is, to succour the Distrest,
The Prey from proud Oppression to reclaim,
Of lawless Might to curb the impious Rage,
And strike with conscious Shame the prostituted Age.
Oft hast thou seen with what assiduous Care
His own young Infant Colony he rears;
Like a fond Parent anxious to prepare
His tender Offspring for maturer Years.
To Love of Labour he subdues their Minds,
And forms their Morals with instructive Laws,
By Principle their solid Union binds,
And Zeal that only heeds the Public Cause;
Still with Example strength'ning Reason's Call,
Still by superior Toil distinguish'd from them all.
Whate'er of Empire underneath the Sun
Time thro' revolving Ages has survey'd,
First from such manly Discipline begun,
And Merit summon'd Fortune to its Aid.
And hence, when op'ning Scenes of Fate make known
The long-determin'd Purpose of the Skies,
Shall GEORGIA, to a mighty Nation grown,
In Arts, and Arms, and glorious Actions rise,
And stand renown'd upon the Western Shore,
Ev'n then, when Europe's Fame shall cease, and be no more.
Renown'd shall GEORGIA stand its own short Hour,
For soon must all that's Human pass away;
Fix'd are the gradual Dates of Earthly Pow'r,
To rise, to grow, to flourish, and decay:
Still the Effect must follow from the Cause,
And every Work of mortal Men must fall,
And Kingdoms change by Nature's stated Laws,
For ever round the habitable Ball:
All must, in turn, the self-same Tenor run;
All rais'd by honest Toil, by Licence all undone.
But sacred Virtue, ever self-sustain'd,
Whilst all things fleeting round her she surveys,
Alone to Time shall unobnoxious stand,
And live and flourish in perpetual Praise.
Thine with thy OGLETHORPE'S fair Fame shall last,
Together to Eternity consign'd,
In the immortal Roll of Heroes plac'd,
The mighty Benefactors of Mankind:
Those Heav'n-born Souls, from whose high Worth we know
The Deity himself best imag'd Here below.