O SHAME! where is thy Blush?


Printed in (the Tyrannic Administration of St. Francisco) 1769.



WHEN elevated Worth commands Esteem,
Each glowing Heart surrenders to the Claim,
And pregnant Genius brooding o'er the Theme,
Inscribes his Honours on the Roll of Fame:
There TRUTH recorded by the artless Lay,
On Time's swift Pinions posts with equal Pace;
The dazling Wonder we admire to day,
Shall shine unsullied to the latest Race.
But when some Miscreant eminently vile,
Springs into place, and blindly arm'd with power;
Presuming on his privilege to spoil,
Betrays a keen impatience to devour▪
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When smother'd Rancour gnawing at the Heart,
Is rob'd in Smiles, the Villain's worst disguise;
Or couch'd beneath the triple Shield of Art,
Arrests th' unguarded Victim, by surprize:
When beggar'd Realms impress a damn'd Delight,
And guiltless Anguish feasts the recreant Mind,
When the base Plunderer of a Brother's Right,
Enjoys triumphant Mischief, he design'd:
Conflicting Passions thro' the Bosom roll,
Indignant VIRTUE stabs with every groan;
To sov'reign Vengeance, we consign the Soul,
But on the cursed Carcase wreak our own.
O B— what has Candour to commend?
Or purblind Friendship to secure thy Fame?
When rig'rous Justice prosecutes the Fiend,
And strips thee bare to everlasting Shame.
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Think not, ah think not, with thy wonted Art,
To foil stern Justice, in her vigorous Chace;
To hide the keen Conviction of the Heart,
Or with dissembled Virtue, bronze thy face:
Attend with Rev'rence, nor by Heav'n! presume,
To forge a Smile, or wink away a Tear;
Nor doze thy haggar'd Conscience, while thy Doom,
By kind Anticipation—strikes thee here.
O B— where's thy Wisdom? where's thy Pride?
Consider, can'st thou wish to be forgiven?
To launch thy brittle Bark on Folly's Tide,
And madly dare the menac'd Blast of Heaven?
Was every Avenue to Fortune clos'd,
But that forbidden Path, which led to Shame?
Or was thy black malignant Heart dispos'd,
To try the hazard of a damning Game?
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Nay I will ask thee, did'st thou not aspire,
Like Rome's fierce Tyrant nobly to destroy?
To glut thy Vengeance with a World on fire,
And wing wide Havock with infernal Joy?
Base Ingrate! how insatiate was thy Rage?
What ranc'rous Demon nurs'd the foul Design?
That erring Bounty could not ought assuage,
Th' ebullient Malice of a Soul like thine.
Have we not lavish'd Lordships to thy Shrine,
And cloy'd thine Avarice, with too gen'rous Food?
But like the Idol of great Ammon's Line,
Thy savage Favour must be brib'd with blood:
Were we not suppliant of thy poor Esteem?
Mere Slaves, attendant on thy Car of State;
But while indulging the illusive Dream,
Were doom'd the Martyrs of thy mean Deceit.
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Tell me proud Villain! shameless as thou art!
Now thine opprobrious Conduct taints the Air;
Does not Remorse harrass thy callous Heart,
And pour a poison'd Flood of Anguish there?
Does Conscience whisper Daggers to thy Mind,
Or pain'd Contrition hail thy foul Offence?
Whene'er you mingle with abus'd Mankind,
Or when the Eye of Virtue frowns thee thence.
Or if Reflection haunt thy dear Abode,
Art thou not stung to Madness, with the Guest?
Does thy Soul sicken, when she plants the Goad,
Of griding Scorpions in thy blister'd Breast?
Plunge to thy Heart's foul Core, I charge thee now,
Wring out th' invenom'd Source of Mischief there,
Then if thou durst erect a chearful Brow,
And boldly bid Defiance to despair.
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Can'st thou elaborate from the Mass of Crime,
One Gem of Worth, or ought to Worth allied?
Inscribe the Wonder on the Tale of Time,
And throw the pond'rous Wreck of Guilt aside.
Nay should Compassion her Ablution rain,
Or dove-eyed Charity incline to spare;
Thy Conscious Bosom brooding o'er it's bane,
Would spawn inexorable Furies there.
Say Parricide! what Penance can atone,
What new Sensations thrill with awkward Smart?
From dread Eternity to snatch a Groan,
Or purge Pollution from thy leprous Heart?
Th' infectious Follies of a tainted Sire,
Entail Contagion on his wretched Race,
Nor all the Wealth that Rapine can acquire,
Shall screen his Offspring from deserv'd Disgrace.
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Hie thee, poor Tyrant! to that happy Goal,
Where unsuccessful Malice may repose;
Where VERRES, ANDROSS, from Resentment stole,
Go share eternal Infamy with those.
Perhaps kind Pity, then may sluice her Balm,
While lowly wrapt in Death's umbrageous Wing;
Perhaps thy Phrenzy may possess a Calm,
Defeat our Vengeance, and elude it's Sting.
O'er Life's last Ebbs, tho' nameless horrors roll,
To One like thee, abandon'd, unforgiven,
Tho' sharp the Conflict of that parting Soul,
Which long maintain'd a desp'rate War with Heaven.
Yet trust me B— not-the Heart wrung Tear,
Shall snatch thy Name from obloquy below,
Nor sore Repentance, which absolves thee there,
Shall sooth the Vengeance of a mortal Foe.

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