Hail Man, exalted title! first and best

Hail man, exalted title! first and best,
On God's own image by his hand imprest;
To which at last the reas'ning race is driv'n,
And seeks anew what first it gain'd from Heav'n.
O man, my brother, how the cordial flame
Of all endearments kindles at the name!
In every clime, thy visage greets my eyes,
In every tongue thy kindred accents rise;
The thought expanding swells my heart with glee,
It finds a friend, and loves itself in thee.

Say then, fraternal family divine,
Whom mutual wants and mutual aids combine,
Say from what source the dire delusion rose,
That souls like ours were ever made for foes;
Why earth's maternal bosom, where we tread,
To rear our mansions and receive our bread,
Should blush so often for the race she bore,
So long be drench'd with floods of filial gore;
Why to small realms for ever rest confin'd
Our great affections, meant for all mankind.
Though climes divide us; shall the stream or sea,
That forms a barrier 'twixt my friend and me,
Inspire the wish his peaceful state to mar,
And meet his falchion in the ranks of war?

Not seas, nor climes, nor wild ambition's fire
In nations' minds could e'er the wish inspire;
Where equal rights each sober voice should guide,
No blood would stain them, and no war divide.
'Tis dark deception, 'tis the glare of state,
Man sunk in titles, lost in Small and Great;
'Tis Rank, Distinction, all the hell that springs
From those prolific monsters, Courts and Kings.
These are the vampires nurs'd on nature's spoils;
For these with pangs the starving peasant toils,
For these the earth's broad surface teems with grain,
Theirs the dread labours of the devious main;
And when the wasted world but dares refuse
The gifts oppressive and extorted dues,
They bid wild slaughter spread the gory plains,
The life-blood gushing from a thousand veins,
Erect their thrones amid the sanguine flood,
And dip their purple in the nation's blood.

The gazing crowd, of glittering State afraid,
Adore the Power their coward meanness made;
In war's short intervals, while regal shows
Still blind their reason and insult their woes.
What strange events for proud Processions call!
See kingdoms crowding to a Birth-night Ball!
See the long pomp in gorgeous glare display'd,
The tinsel'd guards, the squadron'd horse parade;
See herald's gay, with emblems on their vest,
In tissu'd robes, tall beauteous pages drest;
Amid superior ranks of splendid slaves,
Lords, Dukes and Princes, titulary knaves,
Confus'dly shine their crosses, gems and stars,
Sceptres and globes and crowns and spoils of wars.
On gilded orbs see thundering chariots roll'd,
Steeds, snorting fire, and champing bits of gold,
Prance to the trumpet's voice; while each assumes
A loftier gait, and lifts his neck of plumes.
High on a moving throne, and near the van,
The tyrant rides, the chosen scourge of man;
Clarions and flutes and drums his way prepare,
And shouting millions rend the troubled air;
Millions, whose ceaseless toils the pomp sustain,
Whose hour of stupid joy repays an age of pain.

Of these no more. From Orders, Slaves and Kings,
To thee, O man, my heart rebounding springs.
Behold th' ascending bliss that waits your call,
Heav'n's own bequest, the heritage of all.
Awake to wisdom, seize the proffer'd prize;
From shade to light, from grief to glory rise.
Freedom at last, with Reason in her train,
Extends o'er earth her everlasting reign;
See Gallia's sons, so late the tyrant's sport,
Machines in war and sycophants at court,
Start into men, expand their well-taught mind,
Lords of themselves and leaders of mankind.
On equal rights their base of empire lies,
On walls of wisdom see the structure rise;
Wide o'er the gazing world it towers sublime,
A modell'd form for each surrounding clime.
To useful toils they bend their noblest aim,
Make patriot views and moral views the same,
Renounce the wish of war, bid conquest cease,
Invite all men to happiness and peace,
To faith and justice rear the youthful race,
With strength exalt them and with science grace,
Till Truth's blest banners, o'er the regions hurl'd,
Shake tyrants from their thrones, and cheer the waking world.
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