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TERMINATION OF THE DEADLY REIGN OF THE
“ The purple conqueror in chains you bind,
And are to us physicians very kind."
WHERE's the blind child, so lovely and so fair,
With guileless dimples, and with flaxen hair
That waves in ev'ry breeze? he's often seen
Beside yon cottage wall, or on the green,
With others match'd in spirit and in size,
Health on their cheeks and rapture in their eyes;
That full expanse of voice, to childhood dear,
Soul of their sports, is duly cherished here:
And, hark! that laugh is his, that jovial cry;
He hears the ball and trundling hoop brush by,
And runs the giddy course with all his might,
A very child in every thing but sight;
With circumscrib'd but not abated pow'rs,-
Play the great object of his infant hours;-
In many a game he takes a noisy part,
And shows the native gladness of his heart;
But soon he hears, on pleasure all intent,
The new suggestion and the quick assent;
The grove invites, delight thrills every breast
To leap the ditch,'and seek the downy nest,
Away they start, leave balls and hoops behind,
And one companion leave—the boy is blind!
His fancy paints their distant paths so gay,
That childish fortitude awhile gives way,
He feels his dreadful loss—yet short the pain,
Soon he resumes his cheerfulness again;
Pond'ring how best his moments to employ,
He sings his little songs of nameless joy,
Creeps on the warm green turf for many an hour,
And plucks by chance the white and yellow flow'r;
Smoothing their stems, while, resting on his knees,.
He binds a nosegay which he never sees;
Along the homeward path then feels his way,
Lifting his brow against the shining day,
And with a playful rapture round his eyes,
Presents a sighing parent with the prize.
She blest that day, which he remembers too,
When he could gaze on heav'n's ethereal blue, .
See the young spring, so lovely to his eyes,
And all the colours of the morning rise.
“When was this work of bitterness begun?
How came the blindness of your only son?"
Thus pity prompts full many a tongue to say,
But never, till she slowly wipes away
Th’ obtruding tear that trembles in her eye,
This dagger of a question meets reply:-
-"My boy was healthy, and my rest was sound,
When last year's corn was green upon the ground:
From yonder town infection found its way;
Around me putrid dead and dying lay,
I trembled for his fate, but all my care
Avail'd not, for he breath'd the tainted air;
Sickness ensu'd-in terror and dismay
I nurs’d him in my arms both night and day,
When his soft skin from head to foot became
One swelling purple sore, unfit to name:
Hour after hour, when all was still beside,
When the pale night-light in its socket died,
Alone I sat; the thought still sooths my heart,
That surely I perform'd a mother's part,
Watching with such anxiety and pain
Till he might smile and look on me again;
But that was not to be ask me no more:
God keep smallpox and blindness from your door!*
Now, ye who think, whose souls abroad take wing,
And trace out human troubles to their spring,
Say, should Heav'n grant us, in some hallow'd hour,
Means to divest this demon of its power,
To loose his horrid grasp from early worth,
To spread a saving conquest round the earth,
Till ev'ry land shall bow the grateful knee,
Would it not be a glorious day to see?
That day is come! my soul in strength arise,
Invoke no muse, no power below the skies;
To Heav'n the energies of verse belong,
Truth is the theme, and truth shall be the song;
Arm with conviction ev'ry joyful line,
Source of all mercies, for the praise is thine!
Dear must that moment be when first the mind, Ranging the paths of science unconfin’d, Strikes a new light; when, obvious to the sense, Springs the fresh spark of bright intelligence. So felt the towering soul of Montagu, Her sex's glory, and her country's too; Who gave the spotted plague one deadly blow, And bade its mitigated poison flow With half its terrors; yet with loathing still, We hous'd a visitant with power to kill.
Then when the healthful blood, though often tried,
Foil'd the keen lancet by the Severn side,
Resisting, uncontaminated still,
The purple pest, and unremitting skill;
When the plain truth tradition seem'd to know,
And simply pointed to the harmless Cow,
Doubt and distrust to reason might appeal;
But, when hope triumph’d, what did Jenner feel!
Where even hope itself could scarcely rise
To scan the vast, inestimable prize?,
Perhaps, supreme, alone, triumphant stood
The great, the conscious power of doing good,
The power to will, and wishes to embrace
Th'emancipation of the human race;
A joy that must all mortal praise outlive,
A wealth that grateful nations cannot give. .
Forth sped the truth immediate from his hand,
And confirmations sprung in ev'ry land;
In ev'ry land, on beauty's lily arm,
An infant softness, like a magic charm,
Appear'd the gift that conquers as it goes;
The dairy's boast, the simple, saving Rose!
Momentous triumph!—fiend! thy reign is o'er;
Thou, whose blind rage hath ravag'd every shore*,
Whose name denotes destruction, whose foul breath,
For ever hov'ring round the dart of death, .
Fells, mercilessly fells, the brave and base
Through all the kindreds of the human race.
Thought takes the retrospect of years just fled, And, conjuring up the spirits of the dead, Whispers each dear and venerated name Of the last victims ere the blessing came, Worthies, who through the lands that gave them birth Breath'd the strong evidence of growing worth; Parents, cut down in life's meridian day, And childhood's thousand thousands swept away; Life's luckless mariners! ye we deplore, Who sunk within a boat's length of the shore*.
A stranger youth, from his meridian sky, Buoyant with hopes, came here--but came to die! O'er his sad fate I've ponder'd hours away, It suits the languor of a gloomy day: He left his bamboo groves, his pleasant shore, He left his friends to hear new oceans roar, All confident, ingenuqus, and bold, He heard the wonders by the white men told; With firm assurance trod the rolling deck, And saw his isle diminish to a speck, Plough'd the rough waves, and gain’d our northern clime, In manhood's ripening sense, and nature's prime.