« AnteriorContinuar »
Yi. Clouds' that far above me float and pause,
when France in wrath her giant-limbs uprear'd,
The Monarchs march'd in evil day, And Britain join'd the dire array; Though dear her shores and circling ocean, Though many friendships, many youthful loves Had swoln the patriot emotion, And flung a magic light o'er all her hills and groves; Yet still my voice, unalter'd, sang defeat To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance, And shame too long delay'd and vain retreat! For ne'er, O Liberty! with partial aim I dimm'd thy light or damp'd thy holy flame; But bless'd the prans of deliver'd France, And hung my head and wept at Britain's name.
lis. • And what, I said, “ though Blasphemy's loud scream With that sweet music of deliverance strove' Though all the fierce and drunken passions wove A dance more wild than e'er was maniac's dream : Ye storms, that round the dawning east assembled, The Sun was rising, though he hid his light! And when, to soothe my soul, that hoped and trembled, The dissonance ceased, and all seemed calm and bright; When France her front deep-scarr'd and gory Conceal’d with clustering wreaths of glory; When, insupportably advancing, Her arm made mockery of the warrior's tramp; While timid looks of fury glancing, Domestic treason, crush'd beneath her fatal stamp, Writhed like a wounded dragon in his gore; Then I reproach'd my fears that would not slee; • And soon, - I said, - shall Wisdom teach her lore In the low huts of them that toil and groan' And, conquering by her happiness alone, Shall France compel the nations to be free, Till Love and Joy look round, and call the Earth their
IV. Forgive me, Freedom | 0 forgive those dreams! I hearthy voice, I hearthy loud lament, From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns sent— I hearthy groans upon her blood-stain'd streams! Heroes, that for your peaceful country perish'd; And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain-snows With bleeding wounds; forgive me that I cherish'd One thought that ever bless'd your cruel foes! To scatter rage, and traitorous guilt, Where peace her jealous home had built; A patriot-race to disinherit Of all that made their stormy wilds so dear; And with inexpiable spirit To taint the bloodless freedom of the mountaineer— O France, that mockest Heaven, adulterous, blind, And patriot only in pernicious toils! Are these thy boasts, Champion of human kind? To mix with Kings in the low lust of sway, Yell in the hunt, and share the murderous prey; To insult the shrine of Liberty with spoils From freenen torn; to tempt and to betray?
W. The Sensual and the Dark rebel in vain, Slaves by their own compulsion In mad game They burst their manacles and wear the name Of Freedom, graven on a heavier chain
O Liberty! with profitless endeavour Have 1 pursued thee, many a weary hour; But thou nor swell'st the victor's strain, nor ever Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human Power. A like from all, howe'er they praise thee (Not prayer, nor boastful name delays thee, Alike from Priestcraft's harpy minions, And factious Blasphemy's obscener slaves, Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions, The guide of homeless winds, and playmate of the waves' And there I felt thee!—on that sea-cliffs weree. whose pines, scarce travell'd by the breeze above, Had made one murmur with the distant surge! Yes, while 1 stood and gazed, my temples bare, And shot inv being through earth, sea and air, possessing all things with intensest love, o Liberty! my spirit felt thee there.
FEARS in SOLITUDE.
wait TEN IN APRIL, 1798, DURING The ALARM OF AN INVASION.
A green and silent spot, amid the hills,
My God! it is a melancholy thing For such a man, who would full fain preserve His soul in calmness, yet perforce must feel For all his human brethren—O my God! It weighs upon the heart, that he must think What uproar and wha: strife may now be stirring This way or that way o'er these silent hills— Invasion, and the thunder and the shout, And all the crash of onset; fear and rage, And undetermined conflict—even now,
| Even now. Perchance, and in his native isle: career and groans beneath this blessed san' we have offended, oh! my countrymen! We have offended very grievously. : And been most tyrannous From east to west | A groan of accusation perces Heaven! The wretched plead against us; multitudes Countless and vehement, the Sons of God, Our Brethren! Like a cloud that travels on, Steam'd up from Cairo's swamps of pestilence, Even so, my countryment have we gone forth And borne to distant tribes slavery and pangs, And, deadlier far, our vices, whose deep taint With slow perdition murders the whole man, His body and his soul! Meanwhile, at home, All individual dignity and power Engulfd in Courts, Committees, Institutions, Associations and Societies, A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-reporting Guild, One Benefit-Club for mutual flauery, We have drunk up, demure as at a grace, Pollutions from the brimming cup of wealth; Contemptuous of all honourable rule, Yet bartering freedom and the poor man's life For gold, as at a market: The sweet words of Christian promise, words that even vet Might stem destruction. were they wisely preach'd, Are mutter'd o'er by men, whose tones proclaim How that and wearisome they feel their trade: Rank scoffers some, but most too indolent To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth. Oh! blasphemous! the book of life is made A superstitious instrument, on which We gabble o'er the oaths we mean to break; For all must swear—all and in every place, College and wharf, council and justice-court; All, all must swear, the briber and the bribed, Merchant and lawyer, senator and priest, The rich, the poor, the old man and the young; All, all make up one scheme of perjury, That faith doth reel; the very name of God Sounds like a juggler's charm; and, bold with joy, Forth from his dark and lonely hiding-place, (Portentous sight!) the owlet Atheism, Sailing on obscene wings athwart the noon, Drops his blue-fringed lids, and holds them close, And hooting at the glorious Sun in Heaven, Cries out, - Where is it?
Thankless too for peace (Peace long preserved by fleets and perilous seas), Secure from actual warfare, we have loved To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war! Alas! for ages ignorant of all Its ghastlier workings (famine or blue plague, Battle, or siege, or flight through wintry snows), We, this whole people, have been clamorous For war and bloodshed; animating sports, The which we pay for as a thing to talk of, Spectators and not combatants! No Guess Anticipative of a wrong unfelt, No speculation or contingency, However dim and vague, too vague and dim To yield a justifying cause; and forth (Stuffed out with big preamble, holy names,
And adjurations of the God in Heaven), We send our mandates for the certain death Of thousands and ten thousands! Boys and girls, | And women, that would groan to see a child Pull off an insect's leg, all read of war, The best amusement for our morning-meal! The poor wretch, who has learnt his only prayers From curses, who knows scarcely words enough To ask a blessing from his Heavenly Father, Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute And technical in victories and defeats, And all our dainty terms for fratricide; Terms which we trundle smoothly oer our tongues Like mere abstractions, empty sounds to which We join no feeling and attach no form! As if the soldier died without a wound; As if the fibres of this godlike frame were gored without a pang; as if the wretch, who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds, Pass'd off to Heaven, translated and not kill'd ; As though he had no wife to pine for him, No God to judge him! Therefore, evil days Are coming on us, O my countrymen! And what if all-avenging Providence, Strong and retributive, should make us know The meaning of our words, force us to feel The desolation and the agony Of our fierce doings!
Spare us yet awhile,
Father and God! O' spare us yet awhile!
Fainting beneath the burthen of their babes,
And all who ever heard the sabbath-bells Without the infidel's scorn, make yourselves pure! Stand forth be men! repel an impious foe, Impious and false, a light yet cruel race, Who laugh away all virtue, mingling mirth With deeds of murder; and still promising Freedom, themselves too sensual to be free, Poison life's aunities, and cheat the heart Of faith and quiet hope, and all that soothes And all that lifts the spirit! Stand we forth; Render them back upon the insulted ocean, And let them toss as idly on its waves As the vile sea-weed, which some mountain-blast Swept from our shores! And oh! may we return | Not with a drunken triumph, but with fear, | Repenting of the wrongs with which we stung
So fierce a foe to frenzy!
I have told. o Britons! O my brethren! I have told Most bitter truth, but without bitterness. Nor deem my zeal or factious or mis-timed; For never can true courage dwell with them, who, playing tricks with conscience, dare not look
At their own vices. We have been too long
| Dupes of a deep delusion! Some, belike,
Croaning with restless enmity, expect
All change from change of constituted power;
: As if a Government had been a robe,
Such have I been deem’d— But, O dear Britain! O my Mother Isle! Needs must thou prove a name most dear and holy To me, a son, a brother, and a friend, A husband, and a father! who revere All bonds of natural love, and find them all Within the limits of thy rocky shores. 0 native Britain! O Iny Mother Isle! How shouldst thou prove aught else but dear and holy To me, who from thy lakes and mountain hills, Thy clouds, thy quiet dales, thy rocks and seas, Have drunk in all my intellectual life, All sweet sensations, all ennobling thoughts, All adoration of the God in nature, All lovely and all honourable things, Whatever makes this mortal spirit feel The joy and greatness of its future being? There lives nor form nor feeling in my soul Unborrow'd from my country. O divine And beauteous island thou hast been my sole And most magnificent temple, in the which I walk with awe, and sing my stately songs, Loving the God that made ine!
Startled ! And after lonely sojourning
Fine. Sisters! I from Ireland came! Hedge and corn-fields all on flame, I triumph'd o'er the setting sun And all the while the work was done, On as I strode with my huge strides, I flung back my head and I held my sides, It was so rare a piece of fun To see the swelter'd cattle run With uncouth gallop through the night, Scared by the red and noisy light! By the light of his own blazing cot Was many a naked rebel shot: The house-stream met the flame and hiss'd, While crash fell in the roof, I wist, On some of those old bed-rid nurses, That deal in discontent and curses.