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Yet think not thus, when Freedom's ilís I state, I mean to flatter kings, or court the great ; Ye powers of truth that bid my soul aspire, Far from
bosom drive the low desire ! And thou, fair Freedom, taught alike to feel The rabble's rage, and tyrant's angry steel ; Thou transitory flower, alike undone By cold contempt, or favour's fostering sun, Still may thy blooms the chargeful clinie endure, I only would repress them to secure : For just experience tells in every soil, That those who think must govern those who toil ; And all that freedom's highest aims can reach, Is but to lay proportion'd loads on each ; Much on the low; the rest, as rank supplies, Should in columnar diminution rise : While, should one order disproportion'd grow, Its double weight must ruin all below. O then how blind to all that truth requires, Who think it freedom when a part aspires ! Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms, Except when fast approaching danger warms : But when contending chiefs blockade the throne, Contracting regal power to stretch their own : When i behold a factious band agree To call it freedom when themselves are free ; Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw, Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law ; The wealth of climes, where savage nations roam, Pillag'd from slaves to purchase slaves at home ; Fear, pity, justice, indignation start, Tear off reserve, and bear my swelling heart; Till half a patriot, half a coward grown, I fly from petty tyrants to the tbrone.
Yes, brother, curse with me that baleful hour, When first ambition struck at regal power ; And thus polluting honour in its source, Gave wealth to sway the mind with double force.
Have we not seen, round Britain's peopled shore,
· E'en now, perhaps, as there some pilgrim strays Through tangled forest, and through dangerous
Vain, very vain my weary search to find
106 GOLDSMITH'S TRAVELLER.
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS..
I CAN have no expectations, in an address of this
kind, either to add to your reputation, or to establish my own. You can gain nothing from my admiration, as I am ignorant of that art in which you are said to excel; and I may lose much by the severity of your judgment, as few have a juster taste in poetry than you. Setting interest therefore aside, to which I never paid much attention, I must be indulged at present in following my affections. The only Dedication I ever made was to my brother, because I loved him better than most other men. He is since dead. Permit me to inscribe this poem to you.
How far you may be pleased with the versification and mere mechanical parts of this attempt, I do not pretend to inquire : but I know you will object (and indeed several of our best and wisest friends concur in the opinion) that the depopulation it deplores is no where to be seen, and the disorders it laments are only to be found in the poet's own imagination. To this I can scarce make any other answer, than that I sincerely believe what I have written ; that I have taken all possible pains, in my country excursions
for these four or five years past, to be certain of what I alledge, and that all my views and inquiries have led me to believe those miseries real, which I here attempt to display. But this is not the place to enter into an inquiry whether the country be depopulating or not : the discussion would take up much room ; and I should prove myself, at best, an indifferent politician, and tire the reader with a long preface, when I want his unfatigued attention to a long poem.
In regretting the depopulation of the country, I inveigh against the increase of our luxuries; and here also I expect the shout of modern politicians against me. For twenty or thirty years past, it has been the fashion to consider luxury as one of the greatest national advantages; and all the wisdom of antiquity in that particular as erroneous. Still, however, I must remain a professed ancient on that head, and continue to think those luxuries prejudicial to states, by which so many vices are introduced, and so many kingdoms have been undone. Indeed, so much has been poured out, of late, on the other side of the question, that, merely for the sake of novelty and variety, one would sometimes wish to be in the right.
I am, dear Sir,
Your sincere friend, and ardent admirer,