The Lawyer's Farewell to his Muse.
Written in the Year 1744.
1 AS, by some tyrant's stern command,
2 A wretch forsakes his native land,
3 In foreign climes condemn'd to roam
4 An endless exile from his home;[Page 225]
5 Pensive he treads the destin'd way,
6 And dreads to go, nor dares to stay;
7 'Till on some neighb'ring mountain's brow
8 He stops, and turns his eyes below;
9 There, melting at the well-known view,
10 Drops a last tear, and bids adieu:
11 So I, thus doom'd from thee to part,
12 Gay queen of Fancy and of Art,
13 Reluctant move, with doubtful mind,
14 Oft stop, and often look behind.
15 Companion of my tender age,
16 Serenely gay, and sweetly sage,
17 How blithsome were we wont to rove
18 By verdant hill, or shady grove,
19 Where fervent bees, with humming voice,
20 Around the honey'd oak rejoice,
21 And aged elms with aweful bend
22 In long cathedral walks extend!
23 Lull'd by the lapse of gliding floods,
24 Cheer'd by the warbling of the woods,
25 How blest my days, my thoughts how free,
26 In sweet society with thee!
27 Then all was joyous, all was young,
28 And years unheeded roll'd along:
29 But now the pleasing dream is o'er,
30 These scenes must charm me now no more,
31 Lost to the field, and torn from you, —
32 Farewel! — a long, a last adieu.
33 Me wrangling courts, and stubborn Law,
34 To smoak, and crowds, and cities draw;
35 There selfish Faction rules the day,
36 And Pride and Av'rice throng the way:
37 Diseases taint the murky air,
38 And midnight conflagrations glare;
39 Loose Revelry and Riot bold
40 In frighted streets their orgies hold;
41 Or, when in silence all is drown'd,
42 Fell Murder walks her lonely round:
43 No room for peace, no room for you,
44 Adieu, celestial Nymph, adieu!
45 Shakespear no more thy sylvan son,
46 Nor all the art of Addison,
47 Pope's heav'n-strung lyre, nor Waller's ease,
48 Nor Milton's mighty self must please:
49 Instead of these, a formal band
50 In furs and coifs around me stand;
51 With sounds uncouth and accents dry
52 That grate the soul of harmony,
53 Each pedant sage unlocks his store
54 Of mystic, dark, discordant lore;
55 And points with tott'ring hand the ways
56 That lead me to the thorny maze.
57 There, in a winding, close retreat,
58 Is Justice doom'd to six her seat,
59 There, fenc'd by bulwarks of the Law,
60 She keeps the wond'ring world in awe,[Page 227]
61 And there, from vulgar sight retir'd,
62 Like eastern queens is more admir'd.
63 O let me pierce the secret shade
64 Where dwells the venerable maid!
65 There humbly mark, with rev'rent awe,
66 The guardian of Britannia's Law,
67 Unfold with joy her sacred page,
68 (Th' united boast of many an age,
69 Where mix'd, yet uniform, appears
70 The wisdom of a thousand years)
71 In that pure spring the bottom view,
72 Clear, deep, and regularly true,
73 And other doctrines thence imbibe
74 Than lurk within the sordid scribe;
75 Observe how parts with parts unite
76 In one harmonious rule of right;
77 See countless wheels distinctly tend
78 By various laws to one great end;
79 While mighty Alfred's piercing soul
80 Pervades, and regulates the whole.
81 Then welcome business, welcome strife,
82 Welcome the cares, the thorns of life,
83 The visage wan, the pore-blind sight,
84 The toil by day, the lamp at night,
85 The tedious forms, the solemn prate,
86 The pert dispute, the dull debate,
87 The drowsy bench, the babling Hall,
88 For thee, fair Justice, welcome all!
89 Thus tho' my noon of life be past,
90 Yet let my setting sun, at last,
91 Find out the still, the rural cell,
92 Where sage Retirement loves to dwell!
93 There let me taste the homefelt bliss
94 Of innocence, and inward peace;
95 Untainted by the guilty bribe;
96 Uncurs'd amid the harpy-tribe;
97 No orphan's cry to wound my ear;
98 My honour, and my conscience clear;
99 Thus may I calmly meet my end,
100 Thus to the grave in peace descend!
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About this text
Title (in Source Edition): The Lawyer's Farewell to his Muse. Written in the Year 1744.
Author: Sir William Blackstone
Themes: poetry; literature; writing; law; patriotism; glory of the British nation
References: DMI 25799
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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.