ARISE, O Satire! -- tune thy useful song,
Silence grows criminal, when crimes grow strong;
Of meaner vice, and villains, sing no more,
But Monsters crown'd and Crime enrobed with Power!
At vice's high IMPERIAL throne begin,
Relate the ancient prodigies of sin;
With pregnant phrase, and strong impartial verse,
The crimes of men, and crimes of Kings rehearse!
What though thy labour shall to us be vain,
10 And the World's bondage must its time remain;
Let willing slaves in golden fetters lie,
There's none can save the men who will to die.
Yet some there are that would not tamely bow,
Who fain would break their chains, if they knew how;
And these, from thy inspired lines, may see,
How they choose bondage when they may go free.
He that can levy War with all mankind,
Retard the day-spring of the human mind;
Buy Justice, Sell Oppression, bribe the Law,
20 Exalt the Fool, and keep the Wise in awe;
With pious Peter,2
cant of heaven's
Pray with his lips, and murder with his hands;
Insult the wretched, trample on the poor,
And mock the miseries mankind endure;
Can ravage countries, property devour,
And trample Law beneath the feet of Power;
Scorn the restraint of oaths and promised Right,3
And ravel compacts in the people's sight;
That thing's a TYRANT!--and that People FOOLS,
30 Who basely bend to be that Tyrant's tools!
Examine then the early course of things,
And search the ancient roll of Tyrant Kings,
When the first man usurp'd upon his kind,
Assumed exotick right, assuming reigned;
Supreme in wickedness, more wicked grew;
First forced a homage, then decreed it due.
Trace the first Tyrants
to their fancied thrones,
Placed in that heaven that all their crimes disowns:--
If in the Royal lists some monsters reign'd,
40 Abhorr'd by heaven, and hated by mankind,
By lust and blood exalted to a throne,
For all the exquisites of Tyrant known,
The meaner name of monarch they despise,
Alive, usurp the throne, and dead, the skies;
Above the clouds th' incarnate devil stands,
And nations worship with polluted hands!
Old Saturn, Bacchus,
and high-thundering Jove,
And all the rabble of the Gods above,
Whose names for their immortal crimes are fear'd,
and Tyrant-princes first appear'd;
By rapes and blood the path to greatness stain'd,
By rapes and blood the glittering station gain'd;
Succeeding knaves succeeding Gods became,
And sin aspired to an immortal name!
The mighty wretches
dwell among the stars
And vice in virtue's glorious robes appears;
And Poets celebrate their praises there,
As Indians worship Devils that they fear!
Yet let us look around
the world awhile,
60 And find
a Patron-God for Albion's Isle;
Has she so many Tyrants borne in vain?
Has she no Star in the celestial train?
Heaven knows, the difficulty only lies,
In who's the fittest monster for the skies!--
Satire, reflect with care, due caution give,
Some -------- are dead, beware of those that live.
If thou too near the present age begin,
Truth will be crime, and courage will be sin!
Look back two ages,
see where shines on high
JAMES, the modern Bacchus of the sky;
But give him time before his ghost appear,
Lest his uneasy fame bewray his fear:
Alive, the patron of the tim'rous race,
Fear in his head, and frenzy in his face;
His constellation, were it felt beneath,
Would make men strive to die--for fear of death!
His exaltation with his crimes begin,
See how we worship in his House of Sin,
Aloft--we view the Bacchanalian King;
80 Below--the sacred anthems daily sing;
His vast excess the pencil's art displays,
And triumphs in the clouds above our praise:
What can, with equal force, devotion move,
pray below, and He's
Look lower down the galaxy and see,
In yon crown'd Goat another Deity;
His orgied reel and lecherous leer outvie
The old Priapian glory of the sky;
His furious lusts the other Gods deface
90 And spread his viler image through the place;
On obscene altars blaze unholy fires
To him, the God of all unchaste desires! 5
We turn disgusted from the contemplation
Nor seek more royal samples of our nation;
But leave posterity to find the place
Of other heroes, of another race.
Europe, thy thrones have many a name in store,
As bright in guilt as any crown'd before;
Who, turn'd to Gods, shall shine in Poets' rhymes,
100 And faithful Hist'ry shall record their crimes.
The first Paternal ruler of mankind
That e'er by primogenial title reign'd,
In dignity of government was high
But all his kingdom was his family.
His subjects--were his household and his wife;
His power--to regulate their way of life;
His sway--extended not beyond his gate;
That was the limit--of his regal state;
And every son might from his rule divide,
110 Be King himself, and by himself preside;
And when he died, the government went on
In natural succession to his son.
Next Families of mutual love and unity
Together join'd for friendship and community;
Form'd Laws, and then the natural order was
To trust some man to execute the Laws.
Hence him they best could trust, they trusted--chose;
And thus a Nation and a chief arose,
Both constituted by a mutual trust;
The people honest and the ruler just.6
'Tis plain, when man came from his Maker's hand,
He left him free, and at his own command;
Gave him the light of nature to direct,
And reason, 7
nature's errors to inspect;
No rules of Government were e'er set down,
Nature was furnish'd to direct her own;
The high unerring light of Providence,
Left that to latent cause and consequence.
Society to regulation tends,
130 As naturally as means pursue their ends;
The wit of man could never yet invent,
A way of life without a government;
And government has always been begun,
In those who, to be govern'd, gave the crown.
He that would other schemes of rule contrive
And search for powers the people could not give,
Must seek a spring which can those powers convey,
And seek a People too that will obey.
At length paternal rule was less complete,
140 And as mankind increas'd became unfit;
The petty Lords grew quarrelsome and proud,
And plunge their little governments in blood.
The factious rivals on pretence of right,
Urge on the people to contend and fight;
Invaded weakness to brute force submits,
Oppression rages, honesty retreats,
Justice gives way to power, and power prevails,
And universal slavery entails.
Thus broils arose, and thus the ends of life
150 Are miss'd in Wars and undecided strife!
Scotland, till late, exemplified the plan,
In many a feud, in many a Highland clan.
The Chief with whoop and whistling trumpet shrill,
Summons his slaves from ev'ry neighb'ring hill;
Tells them, his foeman's bull has stol'n his cow,
And dire revenge th' obedient vassals vow;
With mighty targe, and basket-hilted knife,
Battle and blood decide the petty strife;
The namelings fight, because the lord commands,
160 And wild confusion rules th' ungovern'd lands!
The hunter-tribes, at first, wild beasts pursued,
And then to chase mankind they left the wood;
Became Banditti, Captains, Chieftains, Kings,
And Tyrants, by the natural course of things!
As he that ravaged most could rule the best,
So he grown King that first subdued the rest,
Wheedles mankind to please themselves with chains,
With selfish Kingcraft calls it RIGHT DIVINE,8
And subtle Priestcraft santifies his line.
170 "Kings are as Gods." -- Indeed! -- why then they must
Like God be sacred, -- but like God be just.
If in a King a vicious lust prevails,
The people see it, and the Godship fails. 9
Talks he of 'sacred' then,--the man's a fool;
His high pretence a joke and ridicule;
Abandon'd to his crimes he soon will find
Himself abandon'd too, by all mankind;
With th' Assyrian Monarch turn'd to grass,
As much a Tyrant, and as much an ass!
180 Externals take from Majesty, the rest
Is but--a thing at which we laugh--a jest!
Let us to Scripture History appeal,
And see what truths its ancient rolls reveal:--
That great authority which Tyrants boast,
As most confirming, will confound them most!
When Israel with unheard of murmurs first,
Pray'd to indulgent Heaven they might be curst,
Rejected God, scorn'd his Almighty rule,
And made themselves their children's ridicule,
190 A standing banter, future ages' jest,
As damn'd to slavery at their own request--
With what just arguments did Samuel plead,
Give them the Tyrant's character to read;
Explain the lust of an ungovern'd man,
Show them the danger, preach to them in vain;
Tell them the wretched things they'd quickly find,
Within the pleasing name of King combined;
Deign with their 'wilder'd crowds t' expostulate,
And open all the dangers of their fate!--
200 Yet they sought ruin with unwearied pains,
And begg'd for fetters, slavery, and chains!
But, it's replied, heaven heard its suppliant's prayer,
Itself chose out the King, and plac'd him there;
Disown'd the People's right, and fix'd their choice
In providence, and not the people's voice;
From whence the claim of right by regal line,
Made Israel's Kings be Kings by Right
Yes, Saul was King by God's immediate hand--
But 'twas in judgment to afflict the land!
granting He corrected the request,
A king He gave them, but withheld the rest;
Gave all that they pretended to require,
But in the gift he punish'd the desire;
He gave a plague, the very selfsame thing
They ask'd, when they petition'd for a King!
For 'tis remarkable when Samuel saw,
They'd have a King in spite of sense or law,
He told the consequences to the land,
And all the mischiefs that the Word contain'd;
220 Told them, that Kings were instruments design'd,
Not to improve, but to correct mankind!
Told them the Tyrant would insult their peace,
And plunder them of all their happiness!
Told them, that Kings were but exalted theives,
Would rob men first, and then would make them slaves!
Then drew the picture of a monster crown'd,
Ask'd them, if such a villain could be found, 10
Whether they'd like him, and their tribute bring?
They answer, YES:--let such a man be King!
230 And is a Tyrant King your early choice?
"Be KINGS your plague!" said the Eternal's
And with this mighty curse he gave the crown,
And Saul, to Israel's terror, mounts the throne!
Now, Muse, the parallel with caution bring,
On what condition was this man their King?
Tho' Heaven declar'd him, heaven itself set down
The sacred Postulata of the crown;
Samuel examin'd first the high record,
Then dedicates the substance to the Lord.
240 This is the coronation-cash, the bond.
The steps on whcih the throne and kingdom stand;
For which, by future Kings unjustly broke,
and the People,
Then mark the needful steps to make him King,
How sacred ends, concurring means must bring;
Not Samuel's ointment, not the mighty lot,
Could make him King, nor force his title out.
The people like not his mechanic race,
They see no greatness in his youthful face:--
250 "Is this the monarch shall our foes destroy,
Does heaven design to rule us by a boy?"
The flouting Rabbies cry? "We scorn to own,
A man that has no merit for a crown.
Our King must lead the glorious tribes to fight,
And chase the thousands of the Ammonite;
His pers'nal valour must our triumphs bring,
'Tis such a man we want, and such a King."
Away they go, reject his government,
Not Heav'n's high choice could force their due consent!
260 Samuel submits, adjourns the strong debate,
Suspends the King he offered to create;
Owns their dislike's a high material thing,
That their CONSENT alone could make him
Why did not God displeasure then express,
Resent the slight, and punish their excess;
Extort obedience by express command,
And crown his choice by his immediate hand;
Destroy the Rebels with his blasting breath,
And punish early treason with their death;
270 With mighty thunders his new King proclaim,
And force the trembling tribes to do the same?
Because He knew it was the course of things,
And Nature's law, that men should choose their
He knew the early dictate was his own,
acted from himself
"'Tis just," says the Almighty Power, "and sense,"
(For actions are the words of Providence;
The mouth of consequences speaks aloud,
And Nature's language is the voice of God:)
280 "'Tis just," says he, "the people should be shown,
The man that wears it, can deserve the crown.
Merit will make my choice appear so just,
They'll own him fit for the intended trust;
Confirm by reason my exalted choice,
And make him King by all the people's voice.
Let Ammon's troops my people's tents invade,
And Israel's trembling sons, to fear betray'd,
Fly from th' advancing legions in the fright,
Till Jabesh' walls embrace the Ammonite;
290 I'll spirit Saul, and arm his soul for war,
The boy they scorn, shall in the field appear;
I'll teach the inexperienced youth to fight,
And flesh him with the slaughter'd Ammonite.
The general suffrage then he'll justly have
To rule the people he knows how to save;
Their willing voices all the tribes will bring,
And make my chosen hero be their King."
He speaks, and all the high events obey,
The mighty voice of Nature leads the way;
300 The troops of Ammon Israel's tents invade,
His mighty fighting sons, to fear betray'd,
Fly from th' advancing squadrons in the fright,
'Till Jabesh' walls embrace the Ammonite.
Saul rouzes; God had arm'd his soul for war;
The boy they scorn'd does in the field appear;
His pers'nal merit now bespeaks the throne,
He beats the enemy, and wears his crown.
The willing tribes their purchased suffrage bring,
Their universal voice proclaims him King.
310 As if Heaven's call had been before in vain,
Saul from this proper minute, dates his reign.
The text is plain, and proper to the thing,
No GOD--but all THE PEOPLE made him King!