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XXIX. On its helm, seen far away, A planet, like the Morning's, lay; And those plumes its light rained through Like a shower of crimson dew.
With step as soft as wind it passed
O'er the heads of men-so fast
That they knew the presence there,
And looked,—but all was empty air.
XXXI. As flowers beneath May's footstep waken, As stars from Night's loose hair are shaken, As waves arise when loud winds call, Thoughts sprung where'er that step did fall.
And the prostrate multitude
Looked-and ankle-deep in blood,
Hope, that maiden most serene,
Was walking with a quiet mien:
And Anarchy, the ghastly birth,
Lay dead earth upon the earth;
The Horse of Death tameless as wind
Fled, and with his hoofs did grind
To dust the murderers thronged behind.
A rushing light of clouds and splendour,
A sense awakening and yet tender,
Was heard and felt-and at its close
These words of joy and fear arose,
xxxv. As if their own indignant Earth Which gave the sons of England birth Had felt their blood upon her brow, And, shuddering with a mother's throe,
Had turned every drop of blood
By which her face had been bedewed
To an accent unwithstood,–
As if her heart had cried aloud :
“Men of England, heirs of Glory,
Heroes of unwritten story,
Nurslings of one mighty Mother,
Hopes of her, and one another;
“ Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you-
Ye are many—they are few.
“ What is Freedom ?-ye can tell
That which slavery is, too well-
For its very name has grown
To an echo of your own.
“ 'Tis to work and have such pay
As just keeps life from day to day
In your limbs, as in a cell
For the tyrants' use to dwell
XLI. “ So that ye for them are made Loom, and plough, and sword, and spade, With or without your own will bent To their defence and nourishment.
“ 'Tis to see your children weak
With their mothers pine and peak,
When the winter winds are bleak,-
They are dying whilst I speak.
“ 'Tis to hunger for such diet
As the rich man in his riot
Casts to the fat dogs that lie
Surfeiting beneath his eye ;
“ 'Tis to let the Ghost of Gold
Take from Toil a thousandfold
More than e'er its substance could
In the tyrannies of old.
xlv. “ Paper coin—that forgery Of the title-deeds which ye Hold to something of the worth Of the inheritance of Earth.
“'Tis to be a slave in soul
And to hold no strong control
Over your own will, but be
All that others make of ye.
“And at length when ye complain
With a murmur weak and vain,
'Tis to see the Tyrant's crew
Ride over your wives and you--
Blood is on the grass like dew.
“Then it is to feel revenge
Fiercely thirsting to exchange
Blood for blood-and wrong for wrong-
Do not thus when ye are strong.
“ Birds find rest in narrow nest
When weary of their wingèd quest;
Beasts find fare in woody lair
When storm and snow are in the air. ?
“Asses, swine, have litter spread
And with fitting food are fed ;
All things have a home but one-
Thou, Oh, Englishman, hast none !
LI. “ This is Slavery-savage men, Or wild beasts within a den Would endure not as ye doBut such ills they never knew. 1 A stanza désigned to go between this and the next is extant, namely :
Horses, oxen, have a home,
When from daily toil they come ;
Household dogs, when the wind roars,
Find a home within warm doors. The rejection of this passage as superfluous was doubtless wise. -ED.
LII. “ What art thou Freedom ? O! could slaves Answer from their living graves This demand-tyrants would flee Like a dream's dim imagery:
“Thou art not, as impostors say,
A shadow soon to pass away,
A superstition, and a name
Echoing from the cave of Fame.
“For the labourer thou art bread,
And a comely table spread,
From his daily labour come,
In a neat and happy home.
“ Thou art clothes, and fire, and food
For the trampled multitude-
No—in countries that are free
Such starvation cannot be
As in England now we see.
“To the rich thou art a check,
When his foot is on the neck
Of his victim, thou dost make
That he treads upon a snake.
“Thou art Justice—ne'er for gold
May thy righteous laws be sold
As laws are in England—thou
Shield'st alike the high and low.