Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
Extract from The Letter from Italy: The Blessings of Liberty
By Joseph Addison (1672–1719)
 
  OH Liberty, thou goddess heav’nly bright,
Profuse of bliss and pregnant with delight!
Eternal pleasures in thy presence reign,
And smiling Plenty leads thy wanton train;
Eas’d of her load, Subjection grows more light,        5
And Poverty looks cheerful in thy sight;
Thou mak’st the gloomy face of nature gay,
Giv’st beauty to the sun and pleasure to the day.
  Thee, goddess, thee Britannia’s isle adores:
How has she oft exhausted all her stores,        10
How oft in fields of death thy presence sought,
Nor thinks the mighty prize too dearly bought!
On foreign mountains may the sun refine
The grape’s soft juice and mellow it to wine,
With citron groves adorn a distant soil,        15
And the fat olive swell with floods of oil:
We envy not the warmer clime, that lies
In ten degrees of more indulgent skies,
Nor at the coarseness of our heav’n repine,
Though o’er our heads the frozen Pleiads shine:        20
’Tis Liberty that crowns Britannia’s isle
And makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains smile.
Others with tow’ring piles may please the sight
And in their proud aspiring domes delight:
A nicer touch to the stretch’d canvass give,        25
Or teach their animated rocks to live:
’Tis Britain’s care to watch o’er Europe’s fate
And hold in balance each contending state,
To threaten bold presumptuous kings with war,
And answer her afflicted neighbours’ pray’r.        30
The Dane and Swede rous’d up by fierce alarms,
Bless the wise conduct of her pious arms:
Soon as her fleets appear their terrors cease,
And all the northern world lies hush’d in peace.
 
 
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