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“ Stemmata quid faciunt."
SAY ye who perch on lofty Pedigree,
What fruit is gather'd from the parchment tree?
Broad as it spreads, and tow'ring to the skies,
From root plebeian its first glories rise.
Whất then avails, when rightly understood
The boast of ancestry, the pride of blood?
Through the long gallery's pictur'd walk to tread,
And pompous, ponder on the mighty dead;
Where greatness rattles in some rotten frame,
And the moth feasts on Beauty's fading flame?
O'er the pale picture and the noseless bust,
Oblivion strews a soft sepulchral dust;
The line illustrious seems to stain the wall,
And the sublime of soot envelopes all.
What could the trophy'd lye to **** atone
For British honour mortgag'd with his own?
His nightly cares, and watchings to sustain
A bank at Pharoah, and a chess campaign?
While Wolfe on high in pictur'd glory lies,
The cry of vict'ry hails, and smiling dyes.
Y claim the honours of his kind ? The pompous lineage shames the pigmy mind. His coat armorial chalk'd upon the floor, Costs what would satiate a thousand poor: Well pleas'd the Peer one moment to amuse, Then yields the pageant to the dancer's shoes.
Base-born such men, tho' filld with regal blood; The truly noble
are the truly good : And he whose manners through his morals shine, May boast himself of the Milesian line. Let plain Humility precede his Grace, Let modest Virtue walk before the Mace. Office and rank are duties of the mind, The rights they claim are debts they owe their kind; And not a voice among the nameless croud, That
may not cry—Tis I who make them proud.
To rule strong passions with a calm controul,
To spread around a sanctity of soul,
That meets, serene, the foam of public strife,
And perfumes every act of lesser life ;
Virtue to feel, and virtue to impart,
That household god who consecrates the heart,
Flies from the fretted roof, the gilded dome,
To rest within an humbler, happier home
-Behold the gentleman! confess'd and clear,
For Nature's patent never made a Peer,
The mean ennobled, nor adorn'd the base ;
Merit alone, with her, creates a race.
Conspicuous stars, in chart of hist'ry plac'd
To chear the dreary, biographic waste,
In their own right, they take their seat sublime,
And break illustrious through the cloud of time.
From nicknam'd curs these titles first began,
A spaniel-Cato : then my lord-a man.
The self-same irony was fram’d to suit
The fawning biped, and the fawning brute.
While Pompey shores upon my lady's lap,
The infant lordling feeds or starves on pap.
Puppies well bred are Cæsar'd into fame,
Still as the name grows soild and gathers dirt
They shift their title, as they change their shirt:
Some newer honour makes thein white and fair;
soaps Tom, and Jack is cleans’el by** But how can wash of Heraldry efface The name of * ***, and dignify disgrace ? Can peerage blazon o'er the pension’d page, Or give a gloss to ignominious age? Himself. the prime corruptor of his laws, Himself the grievance that incens'd' he draws; Not to be blam’d, but in a tender tone, Not to be prais'd but with a heart-fekt groan ; He lives a lesson for all future time, Pathetically great, and painfully sublime.
O why is genius curs'd with length of days! The head still Aourishing, the heart decays; Protracted life makes virtue less secure, The death of wits is seldom premature. Quench'd too by years gigantic J * * Th' unwieldy Elephant was taught to kneel ; Bore his strong tow'r to please a servile court, And wreatha' his lithe proboscis for their sport.
For clang of armour and for deeds sublime
Much pointed period, much syllabic chime.
Return to him from whom our satire springs,
Rich in the blood of concubines and kings :
With greatness rising from a grandsire's bone,
And bastard honour from a bastard throne.
Each turgid vein the true succession shows,
Th' imperial purple flames upon his nose.
“ Avaunt,” he cries,“ ye vulgar, and ye base,
Learn the prerogatives of royal race;
From York and Lancaster conjoin'd I come,
Sink down, ye dregs! I float at top—the scum.
Live long, great Bye-blow of the royal line,
Long as the coals are tax’d, which make you
Yet grant, that some, the lowest of the throng,
Have known the right, as well as felt the wrong;
That he who ruld with iron rod the skies,
And at whose feet the broken sceptre lies ;
He, too, whose daring democratic pen,
Gives common sense once more to common men,
Who smiles at genius in confusion hurl'd,
And with light lever elevates the world ;
Grant, that such men, the Adams of their line,
Spring from the earth, but own a sire divine,
While you, with ancestry around you plac'd
In bronze, or marble, porcelain or paste,
May rise, at death, to alabaster fame,
And gain the smoke of Honor, not the flame.
Thus far for him the proud inflated loril,
With father concubin'd, and mother whor'd!
In all so high in rank, or man, or woman,
No sense so rare as what we call the common.
Scorning that level, they ascend the skies,
Like the puft bag whose lightness makes it rise.
Tiiles and arms the varnished silk may bear,
Within 'tis nought but pestilential air.
What's honor? virtue to its height refin'd,
The felt aroma of the unseen mind,
That chears the senses, tho'it cheats the sight,
And spreads abroad its elegant delight.
Turn from the past and bring thy honors home;
'Thyself—the ancestor for times to come.
Not the low parasite, who prowls for bread,
So mean as he who lives upon the dead ;
From some dry'd mummy draws his noble claim,
Snuffs up the fætor and believes it fame.
Be just, be generous, self-dependant, brave;
Think nothing meaner than a titled slave;
Coolly resolve to act the patriot part,
Join Sidney's pulse, to Russel's zealous heart:
With proud complacence stand, like Palmer pure,
Or with mild dignity of honest Muir,
Before the brazen bulls of law, and hear
The savage sentence with a smile severe ;
A smile that deems it mercy to be hurla
Where one may tread against the present world.
What is life here? its zest and spirit gone,
What precious balm, what aromatic art,
Can cleanse pollution from the public heart?
Better to make the farthest earth our home,
With nature's commoners at large to roam ;
Than join this social war of clan to clan,
Where civil life has barbariz'd the man.
Behold yon isle, the glory of the West,
By nature's hand in lively verdure drest,
How to the world it spreads its harbour'd side,
And proudly swells above th' Atlantic tide,