Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/169

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Book-Fires of the Revolution.

High Church party against the Dissenters that the extent of their applause at first was only equalled by that of their subsequent fury when the true author and his true object came to be known. Parliament ordered the work to be burnt by the hangman, and Defoe was soon afterwards sentenced to a ruinous fine and imprisonment, and to three days' punishment in the pillory. It was on this occasion that he wrote his famous Hymn to the Pillory, which he distributed among the spectators, and from which (as it is somewhat long) I quote a few of the more striking lines:—

"Hail, Hieroglyphick State machine,
Contrived to punish fancy in;
Men that are men in thee can feel no pain,
And all thy insignificants disdain.


Here by the errors of the town
The fools look out and knaves look on.


Actions receive their tincture from the times.
And, as they change, are virtues made or crimes.
Thou art the State-trap of the Law,
But neither can keep knaves nor honest men in awe.


Thou art no shame to Truth and Honesty,
Nor is the character of such defaced by thee.
Who suffer by oppression's injury.
Shame, like the exhalations of the Sun,
Falls back where first the motion was begun,