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Oh, if thou e'er hast wrong'd her, if thou e'er
From those mild eyes hast caused one bitter tear
To flow unseen-repent, and sin no more!
For richest gems, compared with her, are poor ;
Gold, weigh'd against her heart, is light-is vile,
And when thou sufferest, who shall see her smile?
Sighing, ye wake, and sighing sink to sleep,
And seldom smile, without fresh cause to weep;
(Scarce dry the pebble, by the wave dash'd o'er,
Another comes to wet it as before ;)
Yet, while in gloom your freezing day declines,
How fair the wintry sunbeam when it shines !
Your foliage, where no summer leaf is seen,
Sweetly embroiders earth's white veil with green;
And your broad branches, proud of storm-tried strength,
Stretch to the winds in sport their stalwart length;
And calmly wave, beneath the darkest hour,
The ice-born fruit, the frost-defying flower.
Let Luxury, sickening in Profusion's chair,
Unwisely pamper his unworthy heir ;
And, while he feeds him, blush and tremble, too!
But, Love and Labour, blush not, fear not, you !
Your children, (splinters from the mountain's side,)
With rugged hands shall for themselves provide.
Parent of Valour, cast away thy fear!
Mother of Men, be proud without a tear!
While round your hearth the woe-nursed virtues move,
And all that manliness can ask of love;
Remember Hogarth, and abjure despair,
Remember Arkwright, and the peasant Clare.
Burns, o'er the plough, sung sweet his wood-notes wild,
And richest Shakspere was a poor man's child.
Sire, green in age, mild, patient, toil-inured,
Endure thine evils, as thou hast endured.
Behold thy wedded daughter, and rejoice!
Hear Hope's sweet accents in a grandchild's voice !
See Freedom's bulwarks in thy sons arise,
And Hampden, Russell, Sidney, in their eyes!
And should some new Napoleon's curse subdue
All hearths but thine, let him behold them, too,
And timely shun a deadlier Waterloo !
Northumbrian vales ! ye saw, in silent pride,
The pensive brow of lowly Akenside,
When poor, yet learn’d, he wander'd young and free,
And felt within the strong divinity.
Scenes of his youth, where first he wood the Nine,
His spirit still is with you, vales of Tyne !
As when he breathed, your blue-bell'd paths along,
The soul of Plato into British song.
Born in a lowly hut, an infant slept, Dreamful in sleep, and, sleeping, smiled or wept: Silent the youth--the man was grave and shy : His parents loved to watch his wondering eye: And, lo, he waved a prophet's hand, and gave, Where the wind soars, a pathway to the wave! From hill to hill bade air-hung rivers stride, And flow through mountains with a conqueror's pride : O’er grazing herds, lo, ships suspended sail, And Brindley's praise hath wings on every gale !
The worm came up to drink the welcome shower ; The redbreast quaff'd the rain-drop in the bower; The flaskering duck through freshen'd lilies swam; The bright roach took the fly below the dam; Ramp'd the glad colt, and cropp'd the pensile spray; No more in dust uprose the sultry way; The lark was in the cloud; the woodbine hung More sweetly o'er the chaffinch while he sung; And the wild rose, from every dripping bush, Beheld on silvery Sheaf the mirror'd blush; When, calmly seated on his pannier'd ass, Where travellers hear the steel hiss as they pass, A milkboy, sheltering from the transient storm, Chalk'd, on the grinder's wall, an infant's form, Young Chantrey smiled; no critic praised or blamed; And golden promise smiled, and thus exclaim'd;
Go, child of genius ! rich be thine increase ;
Go ;-- be the Phidias of the second Greece!”
Greece! thou art fallen, by huxury o’erthrown,
Not vanquish'd by the man of Macedon!
For ever fall’n! and Sculpture fell with thee.
But from the ranks of British poverty
A glory hath burst forth, and matchless powers
Shall make th' eternal grace of Sculpture ours.
Th' eternal grace! Alas! the date assign'd
To works, call'd deathless, of creative mind,
Is but a speck upon the sea of days;
And frail man's immortality of praise,
A moment to th' eternity of Time,
That is, and was, and shall be, the sublime,
The unbeginning, the unending sea,
Dimensionless as God's infinity!
England, like Greece, shall fall despoil'd, defaced,
the Tadmor of the watery waste.
The wave shall mock her lone and manless shore;
The deep shall know her freighted wealth no more ;
And unborn wanderers, in the future wood
Where London stands, shall ask where London stood !
As melt the clouds at summer's feet sublime,
The burning forests of noon's fiery clime;
So art and power, with freedom, melt away,
In long prosperity's unclouded ray.
Let soul-sick minstrels sing of myrtle bowers,
And diadem the brow of Love with flowers,
Matured where earth brings forth the rack and scourge,
And ruthless tortures languid labours urge.
ye toil for tyrants, Love is not:
Love's noblest temple is the free man's cot!
What though each blast its humble thatch uptear?
Bold shall the tyrant be that enters there.
and see, where, throned on Alpine snow,
Valour disdains the bondsman's vales below:
So, Love, companion of the wolf, may roam,
And in the desert find a boundless home;
But will not bow the knee to
and pride, Where slaves of slaves with hate and fear reside. What are the glories that Oppression throws Around his vainly guarded throne of woes ; The marbles of divinity, and all That decks pale Freedom's pomp
of funeral ? Let Grandeur's home o'er subject fields and floods Rise, like a mountain clad in wintry woods, And columns tall, of marble wrought, uphold The spiry roof, and ceilings coved in gold; But better than the palace and the slave Is Nature's cavern that o'erlooks the wave, Rock-pav'd beneath, and granite-arch'd above, If Independence sojourn there with Love !
Star of the heart ! oh, still on Britain smile, Of old thy chosen, once thy favour'd isle, And by the nations, envious and unbless'd, Call'd thine and Freedom's Eden in the west! Then hymns to Love arose from every glen, Each British cottage was thy temple then. But now what Demon blasts thy happiest land, And bids thine exiled offspring crowd the strand ? Or pens in festering towns the victim swain, And sweeps thy cot, thy garden, from the plain? Lo, where the pauper idles in despair, Thy Eden droops, for blight and dearth are there! And like an autumn floweret, lingering late, Scarce lives a relic of thy happier state, A wreck of peace and love, with sadness seen, That faintly tells what England once hath been! Amid coeval orchards, gray with
age, Screen'd by memorial elms from winter's rage, Scarce stands a shed, where virtue loves to be, A hut of self-dependent poverty, Where want pines proudly, though distress and fear Stain thy mute votary with too sad a tear; And yet I feel thine altar still is hereHere, where thy Goldsmith's too prophetic strain,
'Mid the few ruins that attest thy reign, Deplored the sinking hind, the desecrated plain.
Alas, sweet Auburn!--since thy Bard bewail'd
" Thy bowers, by Trade's unfeeling sons assail'd,”
How many a village, sweet like thee, hath seen
The once bless d cottage joyless on the green!
Now, e'en " the last of all thy harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain,”
Now, "e'en that feeble, solitary thing"
Hath ceased“ to bend above the plashy spring;”
And her fallin children breathe their curses deep,
Far from that home of which they think and weep.
Where myriad chimneys wrap their dens in shade,
They rob the night to ply their sickly trade,
And weekly come, with subjugated soul,
Degraded, lost, to ask the workhouse dole.
Slow seems the gloomy Angel, slow, to bring
His opiate cold to hopeless suffering;
And when in death's long sleep their eyes shall close,
Not with their fathers shall their dust repose,
By hoary playmates of their boyhood laid,
Where never corse-thief plied his horrid trade:
Not in the village church-yard lone and green,
Around their graves shall weeping friends be seen;
But surly haste shall delve their shallow bed,
And hireling hands shall lay them with the dead,
Where chapmen bargain on the letter'd stone,
Or stumble, careless, o'er the frequent bone.
How long, O Love! shall loveless Avarice sow
Despair and sloth, and ask why curses grow?
Or dost thou give thy choicest gifts in vain,
And mock with seeming good the heir of pain ?
God! where thy image dwells, must sorrow dwell?
Must Famine make thy earth her hopeless hell ?
Did thy uplifted axe, Napoleon! find,
In manless deserts, barren as the wind,
Food? or, when black depopulation shed
Hunger o'er Moscow, were Gaul's armies fed ?