Book 1. Ode. 18.

Book I. Ode XVIII.

IMITATED BY THE RT. HON CHARLES JAMES FOX .

TO A NOBLE FRIEND.

N O Tree like that of Liberty shalt thou
In Wiltshire plant — though chilling be the soil,
Nor I in Surrey's milder bed: — " Forbid " —
They tell us gravely — " this immortal fruit; "
And so was that in Paradise — which yet
Enabled Man to be a God — his own
Creator — Magistrate — and King. — To all
But those who taste of that forbidden tree,
Hard is the rule of Conscience, and of Laws
Divine or human. — Let us plant this Tree,
And go to Dunsinane , like Burnam Wood ,
Bearing aloft her branches on the pike!
Storm'd be the Cabinet! When round her stem
The Whigs have danc'd, with Norfolk at their head,
Like David with his harp. Militia's load
Sits lightly on a Colonel's back. — The poor
Spurn at assessments, or evade, and learn
To feed upon Agrarian hopes of lot
Primaeval, man's inheritance, withheld
By artifice that 's hid in robes and cloaks
Of borrow'd sanctity. Let us , my Lord,
Give all to Appetite that Nature gave,
And, free as Air, the Charter unexcis'd,
And chain'd by no Decrees or Acts of State
Executive or Legal. — But a hint
Should regulate the gift. — The Mob should know —
And we should tell them — Liberty abus'd
Is inconvenient — ravishes, and kills;
Disorganizing States, and moral Right,
And social Peace. — It is a whirlwind's rage,
When lust of power determines right and wrong,
To Paris , and her Civic Festivals,
Give that accurs'd pre-eminence! to them ,
Self-love — ambition to destroy, and build
Upon the desert — perfidy of truce,
That laughs at human ties, or bonds divine,
Of sworn appeals to Heaven!
*****
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