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A British Philippic
Occasioned by the insults of the Spaniards, and the present preperations for war. 1738. Whence this unwonted transport in my breast? Why glow my thoughts, and whither would the Muse Aspire with rapid wing? Her country's cause Demands her efforts: at that sacred call She summons all her ardour, throws aside The trembling lyre, and with the warrior's trump She means to thunder in each British ear; And if one spark of honour or of fame, Disdain of insult, dread of infamy, One thought of public virtue yet survive, She means to wake it, rouse the generous flame, With patriot zeal inspirit every breast, And fire each British heart with British wrongs. Alas, the vain attempt! what influence now Can the Muse boast! or what attention now Is paid to fame or virtue? Where is now The British spirit, generous, warm, and brave, So frequent wont from tyranny and woe To free the suppliant nations? Where, indeed! If that protection, once to strangers given, Be now withheld from sons? Each nobler thought, That warrn'd our sires, is lost and buried now In luxury and avarice. Baneful vice! How it unmans a nation! yet I'll try, I'll aim to shake this vile degenerate sloth; I'll dare to rouse Britannia's dreaming sons To fame, to virtue, and impart around A generous feeling of compatriot woes.
Mark Akenside's other poems:
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