To the Genius and Pride of Adversity

W HAT'S the (Herald's) pride of birth?
'Tis an heir-loom for the earth.
Pride of station! where 's your friend?
Ask when you and Power descend!
Pride of riches unenjoy'd!
Ideot's treasure, self-destroy'd!
Pride of beauty! what art thou?
Foliage of a Summer's bough!
Pride of talents , in despair
Think of St. John , or Voltaire!
Pride of honour, when oppress'd,
Thou alone art great and bless'd!
Genius of Adversity!
Wreaths and crowns are due to thee!
Pride above Ambition's reach!
Liberty of heart and speech!
Calmly firm, and brac'd the knee,
From the Tyrant thou art free:
God himself has joy to see
His accomplish'd work in thee.
But from thy imperial train
Thou hast banish'd all the vain:
Courtly sycophants oppress'd
Never elevate their crest;
They in Fortune's bark are toss'd,
In her tempest they are lost.
Thus , in France , and with a look,
Regal pride the Minion shook —
When, if he had stemm'd the wave,
He 'd have bound the Master-slave .
Thus of scepter'd pride and spleen
Died the eloquent Racine ;
Half-indignant o'er his bier,
Genius veil'd its glowing tear.
When from airy summits hurl'd,
Thou art still above the world;
Guilt and perfidy of heart
Never act thy Hero's part;
The unfeeling or unjust
Are as abject as the dust.
'Tis the dignity of mind
That alone can be resign'd,
In itself can find its place
Through confusion or disgrace.
Aristides knew it well, —
Fearless of the penal shell;
When, his back on Athens turn'd,
Thy attractions he discern'd,
None were then so great as he, —
Rich in pride , and proud of thee.
Caesar pass'd unheeded by
In the rabble's prompted eye;
When its tear for Cato fell,
Priz'd and lov'd by thee so well,
Who, when Liberty had fled,
As a Roman fought and bled,
Spurn'd the insult of applause,
And preferr'd the vanquish'd cause .
Dearly as we cherish those,
Regulus above them rose,
When to racks and flames he went,
Calm as to a Roman tent.
" Or as to his villa bound,
And with peaceful honours crown'd,
See him, with indignant pride,
Stem the people's love aside;
Yet his calculating mind
Left no tortures undefin'd,
In the Punic Tyrant's rage,
Or in Fury's hostile page:
With his nerves and sinews brac'd,
Agonizing Nature trac'd,
And, superior to his doom,
Broke the fetters of his tomb. "
When Caractacus appear'd,
Though disarm'd, he was rever'd;
Shaken was the Tyrant's throne,
And the day was thine alone.
When the Patriot William fail'd,
Then his planet most prevail'd;
Other laurels on the shelf,
Then his conquest was — himself .
Thee, to abject wealth preferr'd,
Milton rais'd above the herd:
Inmate of his cloud-capt home,
Built on centuries to come;
Too reserv'd in Courts to rise,
Homer's fame before his eyes;
Mark of Envy's coward hate,
Felt in thee his tower of state:
Though his " evil days " he sung,
Rescued from their evil tongue ,
Parted with his lamp of sight,
Chang'd for that prophetic light
Which enabled him to see
Time's revenge — for him and thee.
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