Ode To Independence

by Elizabeth Bentley

Elizabeth Bentley

THOU, by whose gen'rous mien, whose open brow,
Thy unsubdued majestic heart we know;
Whose god-like port proclaims thy race divine,
Whose smiles in dome or cot true bliss can shed,
Where'er thy parents, born of Virtue's line,
Frugality and Toil, thy stops have led:
True Freedom shall with thee her dwelling find,
Who scorns the base subjection of the mind;
Not she, the fiend, of mad'ning discord bred,
Who falsely boasts to bear th' enrapt'ring name,
Who, nurst by Faction, rears her frantic head,
To dazzle mortals with her meteor flame.
How wretched he who bends a willing slave,
To all that can the heav'n-born soul deprave;
How happy who thy voice alone obeys,
Tho' humble his abode, tho' plain his meal,
Who heeds nor smile nor frown Caprice conveys,
Nor keen Reproach's pointed sting shall feel.
Ah! how unblest the wretch whose downcast eye,
Shall ne'er thy animating glance descry;
Whose fancy, lured by Hope's enticing strain,
Repose and Pleasure shuns, and tranquil Ease,
And strives to grasp thy airy form in vain,
That mocks his arm, and flits before the breeze.
More abject still his lot whom Vice detains
A voluntary captive in her chains;
Whose slothful mind can unresisting yield
To Wealth, to Luxury, or Passion's pow'r;
Who shuns thy path for Flatt'ry's painted field,
Whose joys precarious scarce survive an hour.
Thy nobler spirit to mankind impart,
Fix thy due empire o'er the glowing heart;
Let the warm wish to gain thy glorious prize,
Each gen'rous breast to honest toil excite;
Borne on thy tow'ring wing the thoughts shall rise,
To range th' unbounded realms of Wisdom's beamy light.

Last updated January 14, 2019