David Mallet

Truth, In Rhyme

Astrea, eldest born of Jove,
Whom all the gods revere and love,
Was sent, while man deserv'd their care,
On earth to dwell, and govern there:
Till finding earth by heaven unaw'd,
Till sick of violence and fraud,
Abandoning the guilty crew,
Back to her native sky she flew.
There, station'd in the Virgin-sign,
She long has ceas'd on earth to shine;
Or if, at times, she deigns a smile,
'Tis chief o'er Britain's favor'd isle.
For there -- her eye with wonder fix'd!
That wonder too with pleasure mix'd!
She now beheld, in blooming youth,
The Patron of all worth and truth;
Not where the virtues most resort,
On peaceful plains, but in a court!
Not in a cottage, all-unknown;
She found him seated on a throne!
What fables paint, what poets sing,
She found in fact -- a Patriot-King!
But as a sight, so nobly new,
Deserv'd, she thought, a nearer view;
To where, by silver-streaming Thames,
Ascends the palace of St. James,
Swift thro surrounding shades of night,
The Goddess shot her beamy flight.
She stop'd; and the revealing ray
Blaz'd round her Favorite, where he lay,
In sweet repose: o'er all his face,
Repose shed softer bloom and grace!
But fearful lest her sun-bright glare
Too soon might wake him into care,
(For splendid toils and weary state
Are every monarch's envy'd fate)
The stream of circling rays to shroud,
She drew an interposing cloud.
In all the silence of surprize,
She gaz'd him o'er! She saw arise,
For gods can read the human breast,
Her own idea there imprest!
And that his plan, to bless mankind,
The plan now brightening in his mind,
May story's whitest page adorn,
May shine thro nations yet unborn,
She calls Urania to her aid.
At once, the fair ethereal Maid,
Daughter of Memory and Jove,
Descending quits her lawrel'd grove:
Loose to the gale her azure robe;
Borne, in her left, a starry globe,
Where each superior son of fame
Will find inscrib'd his deathless Name;
Her right sustains th' immortal lyre,
To praise true merit, or inspire.
Behold -- Astrea thus began --
The friend of virtue and of man!
Calm reason see, in early youth!
See, in a prince, the soul of truth!
With love of justice, tender sense
For suffering worth and innocence!
Who means to build his happy reign
On this best maxim, wise and plain --
Tho plain, how seldom understood!
That, to be great, he must be good.
His breast is open to your eye;
Approach, Urania, mark, and try.
This bosom needs no thought to hide:
This virtue dares our search abide.
The sacred fountains to secure
Of Justice, undisturb'd and pure
From hopes or fears, from fraud or force,
To ruffle or to stain their course;
That these may flow serene and free,
The Law must independent be;
Her ministers, as in my sight,
And mine alone, dispensing right;
Of piercing eye, of judgment clear,
As honor, just, as truth, sincere,
With temper, firm, with spirit, sage,
The Mansfields of each future age.
And this prime blessing is to spring
From Youth in purple! from a King!
Who, true to his imperial trust,
His greatness founds in being just;
Prepares, like yon ascending sun,
His glorious race with joy to run;
And, where his gracious eye appears,
To bless the world he lights and chears!
Such worth with equal voice to sing,
Urania, strike thy boldest string;
And Truth, whose voice alone is praise,
That here inspires, shall guide the lays.
Begin! awake his gentle ear
With sounds that monarchs rarely hear.
He merits, let him know our love,
And you record, what I approve.

She ended: and the heaven-born Maid,
With soft surprize, his form survey'd.
She saw what chastity of thought,
Within his stainless bosom wrought;
Then fix'd on earth her sober eye,
And, pausing, offer'd this reply.

Nor pomp of song, nor paint of art,
Such truths should to the world impart.
My task is but, in simple verse,
These promis'd wonders to rehearse:

And when on these our verse we raise,
The plainest is the noblest praise.
Yet more; a virtuous doubt remains:
Would such a Prince permit my strains?
Deserving, but still shunning fame,
The homage due he might disclaim.
A Prince, who rules, to save, mankind,
His praise would, in their virtue, find;
Would deem their strict regard to laws,
Their faith and worth, his best applause.
Then, Britons, your just tribute bring,
In deeds, to emulate your King;
In virtues, to redeem your age
From venal views and party-rage.
On his example safely rest;
He calls, he courts you to be blest;
As friends, as brethren, to unite
In one firm league of just and right.
My part is last; if Britain yet
A Lover boasts of truth and wit,
To Him these grateful lays to send,
The Monarch's and the Muse's friend;
And whose fair name, in sacred rhymes,
My voice may give to latest times.
She said; and after thinking o'er
The men in place near half a score,
To strike at once all scandal mute,
The Goddess found, and fix'd on BUTE.



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David Mallet