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Poem by William Whitehead


Ode for the New Year, Jan. 1, 1776


On the white Rocks which guard her Coast,
Observant of the parting Day,
Whose Orb was Half an Ocean lost,
Reclin'd Britannia lay.
Wide o'er the wat'ry Waste
A pensive Look she cast;
And scarce could check the rising Sigh,
And scarce could stop the Tear, which trembled in her Eye.

"Sheathe, sheathe the Sword which thirsts for Blood,
(She cried) deceiv'd, mistaken Men!
Nor let your Parent, o'er the Flood,
Send forth her Voice in vain!
Alas, no Tyrant She,
She courts you to be free:
Submissive hear her soft Command,
Nor force unwilling Vengeance from a Parent's Hand.

"Hear her ye Wise, to Duty true,
And teach the Rest to feel,
Nor let the Madness of a few
Distress the publick Weal!
So shall the opening Year assume,
Time's fairest Child, a happier Bloom;
The white-wing'd Hours shall lightly move,
The Sun with added Lustre shine;
'To err is human.' Ч Let us prove
'Forgiveness is divine!'"



William Whitehead


William Whitehead's other poems:
  1. Nature to Dr. Hoadly
  2. To the Same [Charles Townsend], on the Death of a Relation
  3. To the Honourable [Charles Townsend]
  4. An Hymn to the Nymph of Bristol Spring
  5. To Mr. Mason


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