ODE To the Right Reverend BENJAMIN Lord Bishop of WINCHESTER[ed.]
Addressed to Benjamin Hoadly (1676-1761), bishop of Winchester and father of Benjamin
and John Hoadly
, both contributors to Dodsley's Collection
. See also DNB
I. 1.[Page 26]
1 FOR toils which patriots have endur'd,
2 For treason quell'd and laws secur'd,
3 In every nation Time displays
4 The palm of honourable praise.
5 Envy may rail; and faction fierce
6 May strive: but what, alas, can Those
7 (Though bold, yet blind and sordid foes)
8 To gratitude and love oppose,
9 To faithful story and persuasive verse?
10 O nurse of freedom, Albion, say,
11 Thou tamer of despotic sway,
12 What man, among thy sons arround,
13 Thus heir to glory hast thou found?
14 What page, in all thy annals bright,
15 Hast thou with purer joy survey'd
16 Than that where truth, by Hoadly's aid,
17 Shines through the deep unhallow'd shade
18 Of kingly fraud and sacerdotal night?
19 To him the Teacher bless'd
20 Who sent religion, from the palmy field
21 By Jordan, like the morn to cheer the west,
22 And lifted up the veil which heaven from earth conceal'd,
23 To Hoadly thus He utter'd his behest:
24 "Go thou, and rescue my dishonour'd law
25 "From hands rapacious and from tongues impure:
26 "Let not my peaceful name be made a lure
27 "The snares of savage tyranny to aid:
28 "Let not my words be impious chains to draw
29 "The free-born soul, in more than brutal awe,
30 "To faith without assent, allegiance unrepaid."
31 No cold nor unperforming hand
32 Was arm'd by heaven with this command.
33 The world soon felt it: and, on high,
34 To William's ear with welcome joy[Page 27]
35 Did Locke among the blest unfold
36 The rising hope of Hoadly's name:
37 Godolphin then confirm'd the fame;
38 And Somers, when from earth he came,
39 And valiant Stanhope the fair sequel told. *
* Mr. Locke died in 1704, when Mr. Hoadly was beginning to distinguish himself in the cause of civil and religious liberty: Lord Godolphin in 1712, when the doctrines of the Jacobite faction were chiefly favour'd by those in power: Lord Somers in 1716, amid the practices of the nonjuring clergy against the protestant establishment; and lord Stanhope in 1721, during the controversy with the lower house of convocation.
40 Then drew the lawgivers around,
41 (Sires of the Grecian name renown'd)
42 And listening ask'd, and wondering knew,
43 What private force could thus subdue
44 The vulgar and the great combin'd;
45 Could war with sacred folly wage;
46 Could a whole nation disengage
47 From the dread bonds of many an age,
48 And to new habits mould the public mind.
49 For not a conqueror's sword,
50 Nor the strong powers to civil founders known,
51 Were his: but truth by faithful search explor'd,
52 And social sense, like seed, in genial plenty sown.[Page 28]
53 Wherever it took root, the soul (restor'd
54 To freedom) freedom too for others sought.
55 Not monkish craft the tyrant's claim divine,
56 Not regal zeal the bigot's cruel shrine
57 Could longer guard from reason's warfare sage;
58 Not the wild rabble to sedition wrought,
59 Nor synods by the papal Genius taught,
60 Nor St. John's spirit loose, nor Atterbury's rage.
61 But where shall recompence be found?
62 Or how such arduous merit crown'd?
63 For look on life's laborious scene:
64 What rugged spaces lie between
65 Adventurous virtue's early toils
66 And her triumphal throne! The shade
67 Of death, mean time, does oft invade
68 Her progress; nor, to us display'd,
69 Wears the bright heroine her expected spoils.
III. 2.[Page 29]
70 Yet born to conquer is her power:
71 — O Hoadly, if that favourite hour
72 On earth arrive, with thankful awe
73 We own just heaven's indulgent law,
74 And proudly thy success behold;
75 We 'attend thy reverend length of days
76 With benediction and with praise,
77 And hail Thee in our public ways
78 Like some great spirit fam'd in ages old.
79 While thus our vows prolong
80 Thy steps on earth, and when by us resign'd
81 Thou join'st thy seniors, that heroic throng
82 Who rescu'd or preserv'd the rights of human kind,
83 O! not unworthy may thy Albion's tongue
84 Thee still, her friend and benefactor, name:
85 O! never, Hoadly, in thy country's eyes,
86 May impious gold, or pleasure's gaudy prize,
87 Make public virtue, public freedom vile;
88 Nor our own manners tempt us to disclaim
89 That heritage, our noblest wealth and fame,
90 Which Thou hast kept intire from force and factious guile.