« AnteriorContinuar »
The fiend hag on her perilous couch doth leap, For ne'er, 0 Liberty! with partial aim
But bless'd the pæans of deliver'd France,
And hung my head, and wept at Britain's name.
III. And hark! I hear the famish'd brood of prey
“ And what,” I said, “though blasphemy's loud Flap their lank pennons on the groaning wind ! Away, my soul, away!
With that sweet music of deliverance strove ! I, unpartaking of the evil thing,
Though all the fierce and drunken passions wov With daily prayer and daily toil
A dance more wild than e'er was maniac's dream! Soliciting for food my scanty soil,
Ye storms, that round the dawning east assembled, Have wail'd my country with a loud lament.
The sun was rising, though he hid his light! Now I recentre my immortal mind
And when, to soothe my soul, that hoped and In the deep sabbath of meek self-content;
trembled, Cleansed from the vaporous passions that bedim
The dissonance ceased, and all seem'd calm and God's Image, sister of the Seraphim.
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, I.
Writhed like a wounded dragon in his gore ; Ye clouds! that far above me float and pause,
Then I reproach'd my fears that would not flee; Whose pathless march no mortal may control !
“ And soon,” I said, “ shall wisdom teach her lore Ye ocean waves! that, wheresoe'er ye roll,
In the low huts of them that toil and groan! Yield homage only to eternal laws!
And, conquering by her happiness alone, Ye woods ! that listen to the night-birds' singing,
Shall France compel the nations to be free, Midway the smooth and perilous slope reclined,
Till love and joy look round, and call the earth Save when your own imperious branches swinging,
their own." Have made a solemn music of the wind !
IV. Where, like a man beloved of God, Through glooms, which never woodman trod, Forgive me, Freedom! O forgive those dreams! How oft, pursuing fancies holy,
I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament, My moonlight way o'er flowering weeds I wound, From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns sentInspired, beyond the guess of folly,
I hear thy groans upon her blood-stain'd streams! By each rude shape and wild unconquerable sound ! Heroes, that for your peaceful country perishd; ( ye loud waves! and Oye forests high !
And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain snows And () ye clouds that far above me soar'd!
With bleeding wounds; forgive me that I cherish'd Thou rising sun! thou blue, rejoicing sky! One thought that ever bless'd your cruel foes ! Yea, every thing that is and will be free!
To scatter rage, and traitorous guilt, Bear witness for me, wheresoe'er ye be,
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-
Are these thy boasts, champion of human kind? Stamp'd her strong foot, and said she would be To mix with kings in the low lust of sway, free,
Yell in the hunt, and share the murderous prey; Bear witness for me, how I hoped and fear'd! To insult the shrine of liberty with spoils With what a joy my lofty gratulation
From freemen torn; to tempt and to betray ? Unawed I sang, amid a slavish band : And when to whelm the disenchanted nation,
The sensual and the dark rebel in vain,
Slaves by their own compulsion! In mad game
They burst their manacles, and wear the name Though dear her shores and circling ocean,
Of freedom, graven on a heavier chain ! Though many friendships, many youthful loves O Liberty! with profitless endeavour Had swoln the patriot emotion,
Have I pursued thee, many a weary hour; And Aung a magic light o'er all her hills and groves ; But thou nor swell'st the victor's strain, nor ever Yet still my voice, unalter'd, sang defeat
Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human power. To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance, Alike from all, howe'er they praise thce, And shame too long delay'd and vain retreat! (Not prayer nor boastful name delays thee,)
Alike from priestcraft's harpy minions, Our brethren! Like a cloud that travels on, And factious blasphemy's obscener slaves, Steam'd up from Cairo's swamps of pestilence, Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions,
E'en so, my countrymen! have we gone forth, The guide of homeless winds, and playmates of the And borne to distant tribes slavery and pangs, waves!
And, deadlier far, our vices, whose deep taint And there I felt thee on that sea-cliff's verge, With slow perdition murders the whole man,
Whose pines, scarce travell’d by the breeze above, His body and his soul! Meanwhile, at home, Had made one murmur with the distant surge! All individual dignity and power Yes, while I stood and gazed, my temples bare, Ingulf’d in courts, committees, institutions, And shot my being through earth, sea, and air, Associations and societies,
Possessing all things with intensest love, A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-reporting guild, O Liberty ! my spirit felt thee there.
One benefit club for mutual flattery,
We have drunk up, demure as at a grace,
Yet bartering freedom and the poor man's life
For gold, as at a market! The sweet words WRITTEN IN APRIL, 1798, DURING THE ALARM OF
of Christian promise, words that even yet
Are mutter'd o'er by men whose tones proclaim A GREEN and silent spot amid the hills,
How flat and wearisome they feel their trade: A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place
Rank scoffers some, but most too indolent No sinking skylark ever poised himself.
To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth. The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope, 0! blasphemous ! the book of life is made Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on, A superstitious instrument, on which All golden with the never-bloomless furze, We gabble o'er the oaths we mean to break; Which now blooms most profusely ; but the dell, For all must swear-all and in every place, Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate
College and wharf, council and justice court; As vernal corn-field, or the unripe flax,
All, all must swear, the briber and the bribed, When, through its half-transparent stalks, at eve, Merchant and lawyer, senator and priest, The level sunshine glimmers with green light The rich, the poor, the old man and the young; 0! 'tis a quiet, spirit-healing nook !
All, all make up one scheme of perjury, Which all, methinks, would love ; but chiefly he, That faith doth reel; the very name of God The humble man, who, in his youthful years, Sounds like a juggler's charm; and, bold with joy, Knew just so much of folly as had made
Forth from his dark and lonely hiding-place, His early manhood more securely wise !
(Portentous sight!) the owlet Atheism,
And hooting at the glorious sun in heaven,
Thankless too for peace, And he, with many feelings, many thoughts, (Peace long preserved by fleets and perilous seas,) Made up a meditative joy, and found
Secure from actual warfare, we have loved Religious meanings in the forms of nature !
To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war! And so, his senses gradually wrapt
Alas! for ages ignorant of all In a half sleep, he dreams of better worlds, Its ghastlier workings (famine or blue plague, And dreaming hears thee still, 0 singing lark! Battle, or siege, or flight through wintry snows,) That singest like an angel in the clouds !
We, this whole people, have been clamorous My God! it is a melancholy thing
For war and bloodshed; animating sports, For such a man, who would full fain preserve The which we pay for as a thing to talk of, His soul in calmness, yet perforce must feel Spectators and not combatants! No guess For all his human brethren-( my God!
Anticipative of a wrong unfelt, It weighs upon the heart, that he must think No speculation or contingency, What uproar and what strile may now be stirring However dim and vague, too vague and dim This way or that way o’er these silent hills, To yield a justifying cause; and forth Invasion, and the thunder and the shout,
(Stuff’d out with big preamble, holy names, And all the crash of onset; fear and rage,
And adjurations of the God in heaven) And undetermined conflict-even now,
We send our mandates for the certain death E’en now, perchance, and in his native isle ; Of thousands and ten thousands ! Boys and girls, Carnage and groans beneath this blessed sun! And women, that would groan to see a child We have offended, 0! my countıyinen!
Pull off an insect's leg, ali read of war, We have offended very grievously,
The best amusement for our morning meal? And been most tyrannous. From east to west The poor wretch, who has learnt his only prayers A groan of accusation pierces heaven!
From curses, who knows scarcely words enougla The wretched plead against us; multitudes To ask a blessing from his heavenly Father, Countless and vehement, the sons of God,
Becomes a fluent phraseman, absoluto
And technical in victories and defeats,
And yield them worship, they are enemies And all our dainty terms for fratricide;
E’en of their country! Terms which we trundle smoothly o'er our tongues
Such have I been deem'dLike mere abstractions, empty sounds, to which But, О dear Britain ! O my mother isle ! We join no feeling and attach no form!
Needs must thou prove a name most dear and As if the soldier died without a wound;.
holy As if the fibres of this godlike frame
| To me, a son, a brother, and a friend, Were gored without a pang; as if the wretch, A husband, and a father! who revere Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds,
All bonds of natural love, and find them all Pass'd off to heaven, translated and not kill'd: Within the limits of thy rocky shores. As though he had no wife to pine for him, O native Britain ! O my mother isle ! No God to judge him! Therefore, evil days How shouldst thou prove aught else but dear and Are corning on us, O my countrymen!
holy And what if all-avenging Providence,
To me, who from thy lakes and mountain-hills Strong and retributive, should make us know Thy clouds, thy quiet dales, thy rocks and seas, The meaning of our words, force us to feel Have drunk in all my intellectual life, The desolation and the agony
All sweet sensations, all ennobling thoughts,
All adoration of the God in nature,
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 Which grew up with you round the same fireside, I walk with awe, and sing my stately songs, And all who ever heard the Sabbath-bells
Loving the God that made me ! Without the infidel's scorn, make yourselves pure!
May my fears, Stand forth : be men ! repel an impious foe, My filial fears, be vain! and may the vaunts Impious and false, a light yet cruel race,
And menace of the vengeful enemy Who laugh away all virtue, mingling mirth Pass like the gust, that roard and died away With deeds of murder; and still promising In the distant tree: which heard, and only heard Freedom, themselves too sensual to be free, In this low dell, bow'd not the delicate grass. Poison life's amities, and cheat the heart
But now the gentle dew-fall sends abroad Of faith and quiet hope, and all that soothes The fruit-like perfume of the golden furze: And all that lifts the spirit! Stand we forth ; The light has left the summit of the hill, Render them back upon the insulted ocean, Though still a sunny gleam lies beautiful, And let them toss as idly on its waves
Aslant the ivied beacon. Now farewell, As the vile sea-weed, which some mountain blast Farewell, a while, O soft and silent spot! Swept from our shores! And 0! may we return, On the green sheep-track, up the heathy hill, Not with a drunken triumph, but with fear, Homeward I wind my way; and lo! recall’d Repenting of the wrongs with which we stung From bodings that have wellnigh wearied me, So fierce a foe to frenzy!
I find myself upon the brow, and
pause I have told,
Startled! And after lonely sojourning O Britons ! O my brethren! I have told
In such a quiet and surrounding nook, Most bitter truth, but without bitterness.
This burst of prospect, here the shadowy main, Nor deem my zeal or factious or mistimed; Dim-tinted, there the mighty majesty For never can true courage dwell with them, Of that huge amphitheatre of rich Who, playing tricks with conscience, dare not look And elmy fields, seems like societyAt their own vices. We have been too long Conversing with the mind, and giving it Dupes of a deep delusion! Some, belike
A livelier impulse and a dance of thought! Groaning with restless enmity, expect
And now, beloved Stowey! I behold All change from change of constituted power ; Thy church-tower, and, methinks, the four huge As if a government had been a robe,
elms On which our vice and wretchedness were tagg'd Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend, Like fancy points and fringes, with the robe And close behind them, hidden from my view, Pull’d off at pleasure. Fondly these attach Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe A radical causation to a few
And my babe's mother dwell in peace! With light Poor drudges of chastising Providence,
And quicken'd footsteps thitherward I tend, Who borrow all their hues and qualities
Remembering thee, O green and silent dell! From our own folly and rank wickedness, And grateful, that, by nature's quietness Which gave them birth and nursed them. Others, And solitary musings, all my heart meanwhile,
Is sosten’d, and made worthy to indulge Dote with a mad idolatry; and all
Love, and the thoughts that yearn for human kind. Who will not fall before their images,
Nether Stowey, April 28th, 1798.
FIRE, FAMINE, AND SLAUGHTER.
BOTH. Who bade you do't ?
The same! the same! Letters four do form his name. He let me loose, and cried Halloo ! To him alone the praise is due.
The scene a desolated tract in La Vendée. FAMINE is
discovered lying on the ground; to her enter Fire and SLAUGHTER.
SLAUGHTER, (to FIRE.)
No! no! no!
No! no! no! Spirits hear what spirits tell: "Twill make a holiday in hell !
FIRE. 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 bedrid nurses, That deal in discontent and curses.
DOTH. Who bade you do't ?
FAMINE. Wisdom comes of lack of food, I'll gnaw, I'll gnaw the multitude, Till the cup of rage o'erbrim : They shall seize him and his brood
Who bade you do it?
The same! the same!
BOTH. Whisper it, sister! in our ear.
FAMINE . A baby beat its dying mother. I had starved the one, and was starving the other!
FIRE. O thankless beldames and untrue! And is this all that you can do For him who did so much for you? Ninety months he, by my troth! Hath richly cater'd for you both; And in an hour would you repay An eight years' work ?-Away! away! I alone am faithful! I Cling to him everlastingly.
ILLUSTRATED IN THE STORY OF THE MAD OX.
An ox, long fed with musty hay,
And work'd with yoke and chain, Was turn'd out on an April day, When fields are in their best array, And growing grasses sparkle gay,
At once with sun and rain.
The grass was fine, the sun was bright,
With truth I may aver it;
.Much like a beast of spirit. “Stop, neighbours ! stop! why these alarms ?
The ox is only glad.”
Halloo! the ox is mad.
Plunge! through the hedge he drove-
He's mad, he's mad, by Jove !
A sage of sober hue,
And, damme! who are you?”
And curse him o'er and o'er-
Of a Presbyterian w-re! “ You'd have him gore the parish-priest,
And run against the altarYou fiend!”—The sage his warnings ceased, And north, and south, and west, and east, Halloo! they follow the poor beast,
Mat, Dick, Tom, Bob, and Walter.
Stood trembling in his shoes;
And gave him his death's bruise.
The gospel scarce more true is-
A tear for good old Lewis.
All follow'd, boy and dad,
They drove the poor ox mad. Should you a rat to madness tease,
Why e'en a rat might plague you: There's no philosopher but sees
That rage and fear are one disease
They're both alike the ague.
Faced round like any bull-
But had his belly-full.
Old Nicholas to a tittle!
Squirt out some fasting-spittle.*
The Trojans he could worry-
The mob fled hurry-skurry.
Through his hedge and through her hedge,
That had more wrath than courage.
He made for these poor ninnies,
A sight of golden guineas.
The man that kept his senses.
For all the parish fences.
What means this coward fuss ?
See, here's my blunderbuss !"
The ox was only glad, Let's break his Presbyterian head!” “ Hush !" quoth the sage, “you've been misled, No quarrels now let's all make head
You drove the poor ox mad.!”
With the morning's wet newspaper,
Our pursy woollen-draper.
* One of the many fine words which the most uneducated * According to the superstition of the west countries, if ad about this time a constant opportunity of acquiring you meet the devil, you may either cut him in half with rom the sermons in the pulpit, and the proclamations on a straw, or you may cause him instantly to disappear by he
spilling over his horns.