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3.12.3: “On Mr. Paine’s Rights of Man” (1795)

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    Thus briefly sketch’d the sacred Rights of Man,
    How inconsistent with the Royal Plan!
    Which for itself exclusive honour craves,
    Where some are masters born, and millions slaves.
    With what contempt must every eye look down
    On that base, childish bauble call’d a crown,
    The gilded bait, that lures the crowd, to come,
    Bow down their necks, and meet a slavish doom;
    The source of half the miseries men endure,
    The quack that kills them, while it seems to cure.
    Rous’d by the Reason of his manly page,
    Once more shall Paine a listening world engage:
    From Reason’s source, a bold reform he brings,
    In raising up mankind, he pulls down kings,
    Who, source of discord, patrons of all wrong,
    On blood and murder have been fed too long:
    Hid from the world, and tutor’d to be base,
    The curse, the scourge, the ruin of our race,
    Theirs was the task, a dull designing few,
    To shackle beings that they scarcely knew,
    Who made this globe the residence of slaves,
    And built their thrones on systems form’d by knaves—
    Advance, bright years, to work their final fall,
    And haste the period that shall crush them all.
    Who, that has read and scann’d the historic page
    But glows, at every line, with kindling rage,
    To see by them the rights of men aspers’d,
    Freedom restrain’d, and Nature’s law revers’d,
    Men, rank’d with beasts, by monarchs will’d away,
    And bound young fools, or madmen to obey:
    Now driven to wars, and now oppress’d at home,
    Compell’d in crowds o’er distant seas to roam,
    From India’s climes the plundered prize to bring
    To glad the strumpet, or to glut the king.
    Columbia, hail! immortal be thy reign:
    Without a king, we till the smiling plain;
    Without a king, we trace the unbounded sea,
    And traffic round the globe, through each degree;
    Each foreign clime our honour’d flag reveres,
    Which asks no monarch, to support the Stars:
    Without a king, the Laws maintain their sway,
    While honour bids each generous heart obey.
    Be ours the task the ambitious to restrain,
    And this great lesson teach—that kings are vain;
    That warring realms to certain ruin haste,
    That kings subsist by war, and wars are waste:
    So shall our nation, form’d on Virtue’s plan,
    Remain the guardian of the Rights of Man,
    A vast Republic, fam’d through every clime,
    Without a king, to see the end of time.

    3.12.3: “On Mr. Paine’s Rights of Man” (1795) is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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