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And England's prophets hailed thee as their queen, In songs

whose music cannot pass away, Though it must flow for ever: not unseen Before the spirit-sighted countenance

Of Milton didst thou pass, from the sad scene
Beyond whose night he saw, with a dejected mien.

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The eager hours and unreluctant years

As on a dawn-illumined mountain stood, Trampling to silence their loud hopes and fears,

Darkening each other with their multitude, And cried aloud, Liberty! Indignation

Answered Pity from her cave;

Death grew pale within the grave,
And desolation howled to the destroyer, Save !
When, like heaven's sun, girt by the exhalation

Of its own glorious light, thou didst arise,
Chasing thy foes from nation unto nation

Like shadows : as if day had cloven the skies
At dreaming midnight o'er the western wave,

Men started, staggering with a glad surprise,
Under the lightnings of thine unfamiliar eyes.


Thou heaven of earth! what spells could pall thee then,

In ominous eclipse? A thousand years, Bred from the slime of deep oppression's den,

Dyed all thy liquid light with blood and tears, Till thy sweet stars could weep the stain away;

How like Bacchanals of blood

Round France, the ghastly vintage, stood Destruction's sceptered slaves, and Folly's mitred brood ! When one, like them, but mightier far than they,

The Anarch of thine own bewildered powers,

Rose: armies mingled in obscure array,

Like clouds with clouds, darkening the sacred bowers Of serene heaven. He, by the past pursued,

Rests with those dead but unforgotten hours,
Whose ghosts scare victor kings in their ancestral towers.


England yet sleeps: was she not called of old ?

Spain calls her now, as with its thrilling thunder Vesuvius wakens Ætna, and the cold

Snow-crags by its reply are cloven in sunder: O’er the lit waves every Æolian isle

From Pithecusa to Pelorus

Howls, and leaps, and glares in chorus: They cry, Be dim, ye lamps of heaven suspended o'er us. Her chains are threads of gold, she need but smile

And they dissolve; but Spain's were links of steel, Till bit to dust by virtue's keenest file.

Twins of a single destiny! appeal
To the eternal years enthroned before us,

In the dim West; impress us from a seal,

ye have thought and done! Time cannot dare conceal.


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Tomb of Arminius ! render up thy dead

Till, like a standard from a watch-tower's staff,
His soul may stream over the tyrant's head !

Thy victory shall be his epitaph,
Wild Bacchanal of truth's mysterious wine,

King-deluded Germany,

His dead spirit lives in thee.
Why do we fear or hope ? thou art already free!
And thou, lost Paradise of this divine

And glorious world! thou flowery wilderness !
Thou island of eternity! thou shrine



Where desolation, clothed with loveliness,
Worships the thing thou wert! O Italy,

Gather thy blood into thy heart; repress
The beasts who make their dens thy sacred palaces.


O that the free would stamp the impious name

Of **** into the dust; or write it there,
So that this blot


of fame
Were as a serpent's path, which the light air
Erases, and the flat sands close behind !

Ye the oracle have heard :

Lift the victory-flashing sword,
And cut the snaky knots of this foul gordian word,
Which, weak itself as stubble, yet can bind

Into a mass, irrefragably firm,
The axes and the rods which awe mankind ;

The sound has poison in it, 'tis the sperm
Of what makes life foul, cankerous, and abhorred;

Disdain not thou, at thine appointed term,
To set thine armed heel on this reluctant worm.


O that the wise from their bright minds would kindle

Such lamps within the dome of this dim world, That the pale name of PRIEST might shrink and dwindle

Into the hell from which it first was hurled, A scoff of impious pride from fiends impure,

Till human thoughts might kneel alone,

Each before the judgment-throne
Of its own aweless soul, or of the power unknown!
O that the words which make the thoughts obscure

From which they spring, as clouds of glimmering dew From a white lake blot heaven's blue portraiture,

Were stript of their thin masks and various hue, And frowns and smiles and splendours not their own,

Till in the nakedness of false and true
They stand before their Lord, each to receive its due.


He who taught man to vanquish whatsoever

Can be between the cradle and the grave,
Crowned him the King of Life. O vain endeavour !

If on his own high will a willing slave,
He has enthroned the oppression and the oppressor,

What if earth can clothe and feed

Amplest millions at their need, And power in thought be as the tree within the seed ? Or what if art, an ardent intercessor,

Diving on fiery wings to Nature's throne, Checks the great mother stooping to caress her,

And cries, give me, thy child, dominion Over all height and depth ? if Life can breed

New wants, and wealth from those who toil and groan, Rend of thy gifts and hers a thousandfold for one.



Come thou, but lead out of the inmost cave

Of man's deep spirit, as the morning-star Beckons the Sun from the Eoan wave,

Wisdom. I hear the pennons of her car Self-moving like cloud charioted by flame;

Comes she not, and come ye not,

Rulers of eternal thought,
To judge with solemn truth life's ill-apportioned lot ?
Blind Love, and equal Justice, and the Fame

Of what has been, the Hope of what will be ? 0, Liberty ! if such could be thy name

Wert thou disjoined from these, or they from thee :
If thine or theirs were treasures to be bought

By blood or tears, have not the wise and free
Wept tears, and blood like tears? The solemn harmony


Paused, and the spirit of that mighty singing

To its abyss was suddenly withdrawn;
Then as a wild swan, when sublimely winging

Its path athwart the thunder-smoke of dawn,
Sinks headlong through the aerial golden light

On the heavy sounding plain,

When the bolt has pierced its brain ;
As summer clouds dissolve unburthened of their rain ;
As a far taper fades with fading night;

As a brief insect dies with dying day,
My song, its pinions disarrayed of might,
Drooped; o'er it closed the echoes far

away Of the great voice which did its flight sustain,

As waves which lately paved his watery way
Hiss round a drowner's head in their tempestuous play.




And like a dying lady, lean and pale,
Who totters forth, wrapt in a gauzy veil,
Out of her chamber, led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
The moon arose upon the murky earth,
A white and shapeless mass.

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