EMBLEM of persevering patient toil;
Pattern of long-enduring abstinence:
By thy example taught, I learn to foil
The importuning snares of every sense.
Meek, patient sufferer! O’er the burning sands
Of the long desert, parch’d with thirst like thee,
Hast thou convey’d the wealth of Indian lands,
And oft to thine oppressor bent the knee.
Crouch’d in the dust, obedient to command,
Prompt to receive the elephantine load;
Attentive to the guidance of his hand,
Down the rude mountain’s steeply rugged road.
What’s the reward of all this toilsome care,
And tame subservience to thy master’s will?
A scanty pittance of the coarsest fare,
Brouzed on the way-side of the shrubby hill?
Bondage alas! is thy unceasing lot,
And cruel stripes too oft thy toils attend;
For one false step, past services forgot:
The too submissive rarely find a friend.
A TYRANT’s doubly such to those that trust
In the base workings of his wayward mind;
And all whose aid supports his power unjust,
Or soon, or late, a dark reward will find.
Experience would instruct. How few that learn,
How many follow what they ought to flee!
An abject spirit never will discern
The sweetest joys arise from LIBERTY.
Bend thou the knee, receive thy load to-day,
Pass on, and meet with insult: check thy moan:
To-morrow, lo! a thousand shall display
This truth—That FOLLY never acts alone.
One base example oft more followers gains,
Than every precept WISDOM’s BOOK contains!