« PreviousContinue »
The infuriate spirits of the Murder'd make Thus saying, from the answering Maid he passid,
All-conscious Presence of the Universe !
Nature's vast Ever-acting Energy! * Maiden beloved, and Delegate of Heaven!”
In Will, in Deed, Impulse of All to All! To her the tutelary Spirit said)
Whether thy love with unrefracted ray • Soon shall the Morning struggle into Day,
Beam on the Prophet's purged eye, or if The storiny Morning into cloudless Noon.
Diseasing realms the enthusiast, wild of thought, Much hast thou seen, nor all canst understand
Scatter new frenzies on the infected throng,
Thou both inspiring and predooming both, But this be thy best Omen—Save thy Country!"
Fit instruments and best, of perfect end :
Glory to Thee, Father of Earth and Heaven!” lacerations of cheeks, nor with funeral ululation--but with eucling dances and the joy of songs. Thou art terrible indeed,
And first a landscape rose, yet thou dwellest with Liberty, stern Genius ! Borne on thy More wild and waste and desolate than where dark pinions over the swelling of ocean, they return to their native country. There, by the side of Fountains beneath The while bear, drifting on a field of ice, Citroo-groves, the lovers tell to their beloved what horrors, Howls to her sunder'd cubs with piteous rage being Men, they had endured from Men.
And savage agony.
I POEMS OCCASIONED BY POLITICAL (may appear to mortals. The second Strophe calls EVENTS OR FEELINGS CONNECTED on men to suspend their private joys and sorrows,
and devote them for a while to the cause of human WITH THEM.
nature in general. The first Epode speaks of the Empress of Russia, who died of an apoplexy on the
17th of November, 1796 ; having just concluded a When I have borne in memory what has tamed subsidiary treaty with the Kings combined against Great nations, bow ennobling thoughts depart
France. The first and second Antistrophe describe When men change swords for legers, and desert The student's bower for gold, some fears unnamed
the Image of the Departing Year, etc. as in a vision I had, my country! Am I to be blamed ?
The second Epode prophesies, in anguish of spirit, But, when I think of Thee, and what Thou art,
the downfall of this country.
1.' In thee a bulwark of the cause of men ;
Spirit who sweepest the wild Harp of Time ! And I by ny affection was beguiled.
It is most hard, with an untroubled ear
Thy dark inwoven harmonies to hear !
Yet, mine eye fix'd on Heaven's unchanging clime,
With inward stillness, and submitted mind; ODE TO THE DEPARTING YEAR.*
When lo! its folds far waving on the wind,
I saw the train of the DEPARTING YEAR! loù, loù, w o kaxá.
Starting from my silent sadness, Yr ad με δεινός ορθομαντείας πόνος
Then with no unholy madness, Στροβεί, ταράσσων φροιμίοις εφημίοις.
Ere yet the enter'd clond foreclosed my sight,
I raised the impetuous song, and solemnized his Το μέλλον ήξει. Και συ μην πάχει παρών
From the prison's direr gloom,
From Distemper's midnight anguish;
Or where, his two bright torches blending,
Love illuminez manhood's maze ; he events of time, however calamitous some of them
Or where, o'er cradled infants bending, This Ode was composed on the 24th, 25th, and 26th days
Hope has fix'd her wishful gaze, of December, 1796; and was first published on the last day of
Hither, in perplexed dance, a year.
Ye Woes! ye young-eyed Joys! advance'
By Time's wild harp, and by the hand
“ Thou in stormy blackness thrcning
Love and uncreated Light,
By the Earth's unsolaced groaning,
Seize thy terrors, Arm of might!
By Peace with profler'd insult sacred,
Masked llaie and envying Scorn!
By Years of Havoc yet unborn!
And Hunger's bosom to the frost-winds barel! O'er Nature struggling in portentous birth
But chief by Afric's wrongs,
Strange, horrible, and foul !
By what deep guilt belongs Let slip the storm, and woke the brood of Hell :
To the deaf Synod, · full of gifts and lies" And now advance in saintly Jubilee
By Wealth's insensate laugh! by Torture's howl! Justice and Truth! They too have heard thy spell,
Avenger, rise ! They too obey thy name, Divinest Liberty!
For ever shall the thankless Island scowl,
Her quiver full, and with unbroken bow ?
Speak! from thy storm-black Heaven, O speak aloud III.
And on the darkling foe I mark'd Ambition in his war-array!
Open thine eye of fire from some uncertain cloud! I heard the mailed Monarch's troublous cry O dart the flash! O rise and deal the blow! “ Ah! wherefore does the Northern Conqueress stay! The past to thee, to thee the future cries ! Groans not her chariot on its onward way ?”.
Hark! how wide Nature joins her groans badaw! Fly, mailed Monarch, fly!
Rise, God of Nature ! rise."
No more on Murder's lurid face
The voice had ceased, the vision fled ;
Yet still I gasp'd and reeld with dread. When human ruin choked the streams,
And ever, when the dream of night Fell in conquest's glutted hour,
Renews the phantom to my sight, 'Mid women's shrieks and infants' screams!
Cold sweat-drops gather on my limbs ; Spirits of the uncoflin'd slain,
My ears throb hot; my eye-balls start; Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,
My brain with horrid tumult swirs;
Wild Oft, at night, in misty train,
the tempest of my heart ; Rush around her narrow dwelling!
And my thick and struggling breath The exterminating fiend is Red
Imitates the toil of Death ! (Foul her life, and dark her doom)
No stronger agony confounds Mighty armies of the dead
The Soldier on the war-field spread, Dance like death-fires round her tomb!
When all foredone with toil and wounds, Then with prophetic song relate,
Death-like he dozes among heaps of dead Each some tyrani-murderer's fate!
(The strise is o'er, the day-light ned,
And the night-wind clamors hoarse !
See! the starting wretch's head
Lies pillow'd on a brother's corse !)
My soul beheld thy vision! Where alone,
Not yet enslaved, not wholly vile, With many an unimaginable groan
O Albion! O my mother Isle ! Thou storied'st thy sad hours! Silence ensued,
Thy valleys, fair as Eden's bowers, Deep silence o'er the ethereal multitude,
Glitter green with sunny showers; Whose locks with wreaths, whose wreaths with
Thy grassy uplands' gentle swells glories shone.
Echo to the bleat of flocks Then, his eye wild ardors glancing,
(Those grassy hills, those glittering dells From the choired Gods advancing,
Proudly ramparted with rocks); The Spirit of the Earth made reverence meet, And Ocean, 'mid his uproar wild And stood up, beautiful, before the cloudy seat.
Speaks safety to his ISLAND-CHILD!
Hence, for many a fearless age
Has social Quiet loved thy shore !
Nor ever proud Invader's rage
Or sack'd thy lowers, or stain'd thy fields with gore Till wheeling round the throne the Lampads seven (The mystic Words of Heaven),
VIII. Permissi ve signal make : The fervent Spirit bow'd, then spread his wings and Abandon d of Heaven! mad Avarice thy guide, spake!
At cowardly distance yet kindling with pridem
'Mid thy herds and thy corn-fields secure thou hast The Monarchs march'd in evil day, stood,
And Britain joined the dire array ; And join'd the wild yelling of Famine and Blood ! Though dear her shores and circling ocean, The nations curse thee! They with eager wondering Though many friendships, many youthful loves
Shall hear Destruction, like a Vulture, scream! Had swoln the patriot emotion,
Strange-eyed Destruction! who with many a dream And flung a magic light o'er all her hills and groves; Of central fires through nether seas upthundering Yet still my voice, unalter'd, sang defeat
Soothes her fierce solitude; yet, as she lies To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance, By livid fount, or red volcanic stream,
And shame too long delay'd and vain retreat! If ever to her lidless dragon-eyes,
For ne'er, O Liberty! with partial aim O Albion! thy predestin'd ruins rise,
I dimm'd thy light or damp'd thy holy flame; The fiend-hag on her perilous couch doth leap, But bless'd the pæans of deliver'd France, Muttering distemper'd triumph in her charmed sleep. And hung my head and wept at Britain's name.
“ And what," I said, “ though Blasphemy's loud screaro
Ye storms, that round the dawning east assembled, I, unpartaking of the evil thing,
The Sun was rising, though he hid his light!
And when, to soothe my soul, that hoped arid
trembled, Have waild my country with a loud lament. The dissonance ceased, and all seem'd calm and Now I recentre my immortal mind
bright; In the deep sabbath of meek self-content;
When France her front deep-scarr'd and gory Cleans'd from the vaporous passions that bedim
Conceal'd with clustering wreaths of glory; God's Image, sister of the Seraphim.
When, insupportably advancing,
While timid looks of fury glancing,
Writhed like a wounded dragon in his gore ;
Then I reproach'd my fears that would not flee;
“ And soon," I said, "shall Wisdom teach her lore AN ODE.
In the low huts of them that toil and groan!
And, conquering by her happiness alone,
Shall France compel the nations to be free, Ye Clouds! that far above me float and pause,
Till Love and Joy look round, and call the Earth
their own." Whose pathless march no mortal may control!
Ye Ocean-Waves! that, wheresoe'er ye roll, Yield homage only to eternal laws !
IV. Ye Woods! that listen to the night-birds' singing, Forgive me, Freedom! O forgive those dreams!
Midway the smooth and perilons slope reclined, I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament, Save when your own imperious branches swinging, From bleak Helvetin's icy caverns sentHave made a solemn music of the wind !
I hear thy groans upon her blood-stain'd streams! Where, like a man beloved of God,
Heroes, that for your peaceful country perish'd Through glooms, which never woodman trod, And
ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain-snows How oft, pursuing fancies holy,
With bleeding wounds; forgive me that I cherishid My moonlight way o'er lowering weeds I wound, One thought that ever bless'd your cruel foes ! Inspired, beyond the guess of folly,
To scatter rage, and traitorous guilt,
A patriot race to disinherit
And with inexpiable spirit
O France, that mockest Heaven, adulterous, blind, With what deep worship I have still ador'd And patriot only in pernicious toils ! The spirit of divinest Liberty.
Are these thy boasts, Champion of human-kind ?
To mix with Kings in the low lust of sway, II.
Yell in the hunt, and share the murderous prey ; When France in wrath her giant-limbs uprear'd,
To insult the shrine of Liberty with spoils And with that oath, which smote air, earth and sea,
From Freemen torn; to tempt and to betray? Stamp'd her strong foot and said she would be free, Bear witness for me, how I hoped and fear'd !
V. With what a joy my lofty gratulation
The Sensual and the Dark rebel in vain, L'naw'd I sang, amid a slavish band :
Slaves by their own compulsion! In mad game And when to whelm the disenchanted nation,
They burst their manacles and wear the name Lake fiends embattled by a wizard's wand,
Of Freedom, graven on a heavier chain !
O Liberty! with profitless endeavor
And all the crash of onset; fear and rage, Have I pursued thee, many a weary hour ;
And undetermined conflict-even now, But thou nor swell'st the victor's strain, nor ever Even now, perchance, and in his native isle ; Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human power. Carnage and groans beneath this blessed Sun!
Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee We have offended, Oh! my countrymen! (Not prayer nor boastful name delays thee), We have offended very grievously,
Alike from Priestcraft's harpy minions, And been most tyrannous. From east 10 west And factious Blasphemy's obscener slaves,
A groan of accusation pierces Heaven! Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions,
The wretched plead against us; multitudes The guide of homeless winds, and playmates of the Countless and vehement, the Sons of God, waves !
Our Brethren! Like a cloud that travels on, And there I felt thee!-on that sea-cliff's verge, Steam'd up from Cairo'e swamps of pestilence,
Whose pines, scarce travellid by the breeze above, Even so, my countrymen! have we gone forth Had made one murmur with the distant surge! And borne to distant tribes slavery and pangs, Yes, while I stood and gazed, my temples bare, And, deadlier far, our vices, whose deep taint And shot my being through earth, sea, and air, With slow perdition murders the whole man, Possessing all things with intensest love, His body and his soul! Meanwhile, at home, O Liberty! my spirit felt thee there.
All individual dignity and power
Ingulf'd in Courts, Committees, Institutions,
Associations and Societies,
Pollutions from the brimming cup of wealth ;
Contemptuous of all honorable rule,
Yet bartering freedom and the poor man's life WRITTEN IN APRIL, 1798, DURING THE ALARM OF For gold, as at a market! The sweet words
Of Christian promise, words that even yet
Might stem destruction were they wisely preach'd, A GREEN and silent spot, amid the hills,
Are mutter'd o'er by men, whose tones proclaim A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place
How flat and wearisome they feel their trade: No sinking sky-lark ever poised himself.
Rank scoflers some, but most too indolent The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope,
To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth. Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on,
Oh! blasphemous! the book of life is made All golden with the never-bloomless furze,
A superstitious instrument, on which Which now blooms most profusely; but the dell,
We gabble o'er the oaths we mean to break; Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate
For all must swear-all and in every place, As vernal corn-field, or the unripe flax,
College and wharf, council and justice-court; When, through its half-transparent stalks, at eve,
All, all must swear, the briber and the bribed, The level Sunshine glimmers with green light. ,
Merchant and lawyer, senator and priest, Oh! 't is a quiet spirit-healing nook!
The rich, the poor, the old man and the young ; Which all, methinks, would love; but chiefly he,
All, all make up one scheme of perjury, The humble man, who, in his youthful years,
That faith doth reel ; the very name of God Knew just so much of folly, as had made
Sounds like a juggler's charm; and, bold with joy
Forth from his dark and lonely hiding-place,
|(Portentous sight!) the owlet Atheism, While from the singing-lark (that sings unseen
Sailing on obscene wings athwart the noon, The minstrelsy that solitude loves best),
Drops his blue-fringed lids, and holds them close, And from the Sun, and from the breezy Air,
And hooting at the glorious Sun in Heaven,
Cries out, " Where is it?".
Thankless too for peace Religious meanings in the forms of nature !
(Peace long preserved by fleets and perilous seas). And so, his senses gradually wrapt
Secure from actual warfare, we have loved
Its ghastlier workings (famine or blue plague,
We, this whole people, have been clamorous
For war and bloodshed; animating sports,
Anticipative of a wrong unselt,
(Stuffd out with big preamble, holy names.
And adjurations of the God in Heaven),
On which our vice and wretchedness were tagg'd We send our mandates for the certain death Like fancy points and fringes, with the robe Of thousands and ten thousands ! Boys and girls, Pullid off at pleasure. Fondly these attach And women, that would groan to see a child A radical causation to a few Pull off an insect's leg, all read of war,
Poor drudges of chastising Providence, The best amusement for our morning-meal! Who borrow all their hues and qualities The poor wretch, who has learnt his only prayers From our own folly and rank wickedness, From curses, who knows scarcely words enough Which gave them birth and nursed them. Others, To ask a blessing from his Heavenly Father,
meanwhile, Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute
Dote with a mad idolatry ; and all And technical in victories and defeats,
Who will not fall before their images,
And yield them worship, they are enemies
Such have I been deem'd As if the fibres of this godlike frame
But, О dear Britain! O my Mother Isle ! Were gored without a pang; as if the wretch,
Needs must thou prove a name most dear and holy Who fell in batile, doing bloody deeds,
To me, a son, a brother, and a friend, Pass'd off to Heaven, translated and not kill'd :
A husband, and a father! who revere As though he had no wife to pine for him,
All bonds of natural love, and find them all No God to judge him! Therefore, evil days
Within the limits of thy rocky shores. Are coming on us, O my countrymen!
O native Britain! O my Mother Isle ! And what if all-avenging Providence,
How shouldst thou prove aught else but dear and Strong and retributive, should make us know
holy The meaning of our words, force us to feel
To me, who from thy lakes and mountain-hills, The desolation and the agony
Thy clouds, thy quiet dales, thy rocks and seas, Of our fierce doings !
Have drunk in all my intellectual life,
All sweet sensations, all ennobling thoughts,
All adoration of the God in nature,
All lovely and all honorable things,
Whatever makes this mortal spirit feel Oh! let not English women drag their flight
The joy and greatness ot' its future being ? Fainting beneath the burthen of their babes,
There lives nor form nor feeling in my soul of the sweet infants, that but yesterday
Unborrow'd from my country. O divine Laugh'd at the breast! Sons, brothers, husbands, all And beauteous island! thou hast been my sole Who ever gazed with fondness on the forms
And most magnificent temple, in the which
Loving the God that made me!
May my fears,
My filial fears, be vain! and may the vaunts Who laugh away all virtue, mingling mirth
And menace of the vengeful enemy With deeds of murder; and still promising
Pass like the gust, that roar'd and died away Freedom, themselves too sensual to be free,
In the distant tree: which heard, and only heard Poison life's amities, and cheat the heart
In this low dell, bow'd not the delicate grass.
But now the gentle dew-fall sends abroad
The fruit-like perfume of the golden furze :
On the green sheep-track, up the heathy hill,
From bodings that have well-nigh wearied me,
I find myself upon the brow, and pause O Britons! O my brethren! I have told
Startled! And after lonely sojourning Most biller truth, but without bitterness.
In such a quiet and surrounding nook, Nor deem my zeal or factious or mistimed; This burst of prospect, here the shadowy main, For never can true courage dwell with them, Dim-tinted, there the mighty majesty Who, playing tricks with conscience, dare not look of that huge amphitheatre of rich At their own vices. We have been too long And elmy fields, seems like societyDapes of a deep delusion! Some, belike,
Conversing with the mind, and giving it
A livelier impulse and a dance of thought!
Thy church-tower, and, methinks, the four huge elma