Intolerance, A Satire.

A poem by Thomas Moore

"This clamor which pretends to be raised for the safety of religion has almost worn put the very appearance of it, and rendered us not only the most divided but the most immoral people upon the face of the earth."

ADDISON, Freeholder, No. 37.


Start not, my friend, nor think the Muse will stain
Her classic fingers with the dust profane
Of Bulls, Decrees and all those thundering scrolls
Which took such freedom once with royal souls,[1]
When heaven was yet the pope's exclusive trade,
And kings were damned as fast as now they're made,
No, no--let Duigenan search the papal chair
For fragrant treasures long forgotten there;
And, as the witch of sunless Lapland thinks
That little swarthy gnomes delight in stinks,
Let sallow Perceval snuff up the gale
Which wizard Duigenan's gathered sweets exhale.
Enough for me whose heart has learned to scorn
Bigots alike in Rome or England born,
Who loathe the venom whence-soe'er it springs,
From popes or lawyers,[2] pastrycooks or kings,--
Enough for me to laugh and weep by turns,
As mirth provokes or indignation burns,
As Canning Vapors or as France succeeds,
As Hawkesbury proses, or as Ireland bleeds!

And thou, my friend, if, in these headlong days,
When bigot Zeal her drunken antics plays
So near a precipice, that men the while
Look breathless on and shudder while they smile--
If in such fearful days thou'lt dare to look
To hapless Ireland, to this rankling nook
Which Heaven hath freed from poisonous things in vain,
While Gifford's tongue and Musgrave's pen remain--
If thou hast yet no golden blinkers got
To shade thine eyes from this devoted spot,
Whose wrongs tho' blazoned o'er the world they be,
Placemen alone are privileged not to see--
Oh! turn awhile, and tho' the shamrock wreathes
My homely harp, yet shall the song it breathes
Of Ireland's slavery and of Ireland's woes
Live when the memory of her tyrant foes
Shall but exist, all future knaves to warn,
Embalmed in hate and canonized by scorn.
When Castlereagh in sleep still more profound
Than his own opiate tongue now deals around,
Shall wait the impeachment of that awful day
Which even his practised hand can't bribe away.

Yes, my dear friend, wert thou but near me now,
To see how Spring lights up on Erin's brow
Smiles that shine out unconquerably fair
Even thro' the blood-marks left by Camden there,--[3]
Couldst thou but see what verdure paints the sod
Which none but tyrants and their slaves have trod,
And didst thou know the spirit, kind and brave,
That warms the soul of each insulted slave,
Who tired with struggling sinks beneath his lot
And seems by all but watchful France forgot--[4]
Thy heart would burn--yes, even thy Pittite heart
Would burn to think that such a blooming part
Of the world's garden, rich in nature's charms
And filled with social souls and vigorous arms,
Should be the victim of that canting crew,
So smooth, so godly,--yet so devilish too;
Who, armed at once with prayer-books and with whips,
Blood on their hands and Scripture on their lips,
Tyrants by creed and tortures by text,
Make this life hell in honor of the next!
Your Redesdales, Percevals,--great, glorious Heaven,
If I'm presumptuous, be my tongue forgiven,
When here I swear by my soul's hope of rest,
I'd rather have been born ere man was blest
With the pure dawn of Revelation's light,
Yes,--rather plunge me back in Pagan night,
And take my chance with Socrates for bliss,[5]
Than be the Christian of a faith like this,
Which builds on heavenly cant its earthly sway
And in a convert mourns to lose a prey;
Which, grasping human hearts with double hold,--
Like Danäe's lover mixing god and gold,[6]--
Corrupts both state and church and makes an oath
The knave and atheist's passport into both;
Which, while it dooms dissenting souls to know
Nor bliss above nor liberty below,
Adds the slave's suffering to the sinner's fear,
And lest he 'scape hereafter racks him here!
But no--far other faith, far milder beams
Of heavenly justice warm the Christian's dreams;
His creed is writ on Mercy's page above,
By the pure hands of all-atoning Love;
He weeps to see abused Religion twine
Round Tyranny's coarse brow her wreath divine;
And he, while round him sects and nations raise
To the one God their varying notes of praise,
Blesses each voice, whate'er its tone may be,
That serves to swell the general harmony.[7]

Such was the spirit, gently, grandly bright,
That filled, oh Fox! thy peaceful soul with light;
While free and spacious as that ambient air
Which folds our planet in its circling care,
The mighty sphere of thy transparent mind
Embraced the world, and breathed for all mankind.
Last of the great, farewell!--yet not the last--
Tho' Britain's sunshine hour with thee be past,
Ierne still one ray of glory gives
And feels but half thy loss while Grattan lives.

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