Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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 Priostcraft's harpy minions,

And been most tyrannous. From east to west
And factious Blasphemy's obscener slaves, A groan of accusation pierces Ileaven!
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's swamps of pestilence,

Whose pines, scarce travell’d 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 pange, 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
February, 1797.

Ingulf'd in Courts, Committees, Institutions,
Associations and Societies,
A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-reporting Guild,
One Benefit-Club for mutual flattery,
We have drunk up, demure as at a grace,

Pollutions from the brimming cup of wealth ;
FEARS IN SOLITUDE.

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
AN INVASION.

Might stem destruction were they wisely preachd, 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

To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth. The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope, 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 nome of God Knew just so much of folly, as had made

Sounds like a juggler's charm; and, bold with joy His early manhood more securely wise !

Forth from his dark and lonely hiding-place, Here he might lie on fern or wither'd heath,

(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,
Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame;

Cries out, " Where is it?"
And he, with many feelings, many thoughts,
Made up a meditative joy, and found

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
In a half-sleep, he dreams of better worlds, To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war!
And dreaming hears thee still, O singing-lark! Alas! for ages ignorant of all
That singest like an angel in the clouds!

Its ghastlier workings (famine or blue plague,
Batile, or siege, or flight through wintry snows),

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-O my God!

Anticipative of a wrong unfelt,
It weighs upon the heart, that he must think No speculation or contingency,
What uproar and what strife may now be stirring However dim and vague, 100 vague and dim
This way or that way o'er these silent hills To yield a justifying cause; and forth
Pavasion, and the thunder and the shout,

(Stuff"d 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 all our dainty terms for fratricide;

And yield them worship, they are enemies
Terms which we trundle smoothly o'er our tongues Even of their country!
Like mere abstractions, empty sounds, to which
We join no feeling and attach no form!
As if the soldier died without a wound;

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 battle, 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,
Spare us yet awhile,

All lovely and all honorable things,
Father and God! O! spare us yet awhile!

Whatever makes this mortal spirit feel Oh! let not English women drag their flight

The joy and greatness of 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
Which grew up with you round the same fire-side, 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!
Stand forth: be men! repel an impious foe,

May my fears,
Impious and false, a light yet cruel race,

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 tou 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.
Of faith and quiet hope, and all that soothes
And all that lists the spirit! Stand we forth;
Render them back upon the insulted ocean,

But now the gentle dew-fall sends abroad
And let them toss as idly on its waves

The fruit-like perfume of the golden furze :
As the vile sea-weed, which some mountain-blast The light has left the summit of the hill,
Swept from our shores! And oh! may we return Though still a sunny gleam lies beautiful,
Not with a drunken triumph, but with fear, Aslant the ivied beacon. Now farewell,
Repenting of the wrongs with which we stung Farewell, awhile, O soft and silent spot!
So fierce a foe to frenzy!

On the green sheep-track, up the heathy hill,
Homeward I wind my way; and lo! recall'd

From bodings that have well-nigh wearied me,
I have told,

I find myself upon the brow, and pause O Britons! O my brethren! I have told

Startled! And after lonely sojourning Most bitter truth, but without bitterness.

In such a quiet and surrounding nook, Nor deem may 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 societyDupes of a deep delusion! Some, belike,

Conversing with the mind, and giving it
Groaning with restless enmity, expect

A livelier impulse and a dance of thought!
All change from change of constituted power; And now, beloved Stowey! I behold
As if a Government had been a robe,

Thy church-tower, and, methinks, the four huge elma

Letters four do form his name.
Ile let me loose, and cried Halloo!
To him alone the praise is due.

FAMINE.

Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend,
And close behind them, hidden froin my view,
Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe
And my babe's mother dwell in peace! With light
And quicken'd footsteps thitherward I tend,
Remembering thee, O green and silent dell!
And grateful, that, by nature's quietness
And solitary musings, all my heart
Is sofien'd, and made worthy to indulge
Love, and the thoughts that yearn for human-kind.

Nether Slowey, April 28th, 1798.

Thanks, sister, thanks! the men have bled,
Their wives and their children faint for bread
I stood in a swampy field of battle;
With bones and sculls I made a rattle,
To frighten the wolf and carrion crow,
And the homeless dog—but they would not go.
So off I flew; for how could I bear
To see them gorge their dainty fare?
I heard a groan and a peevish squall,

And through the chink of a cottage-wall-
Can you guess what I saw there?

FIRE, FAMINE, AND SLAUGHTER.

A WAR ECLOGUE.

WITH AN APOLOGETIC PREFACE.
+

BOTH.

Whisper it, sister! in our ear. The Scene a desolated Tract in La Vendée. FAMINE

FAMINE.
is discovered lying on the ground; to her enter FIRE
and SLAUGHTER.

A baby beat its dying mother.
I had starved the one, and was starving the other

[blocks in formation]

FAMINE

The same! the same!
Letters four do form his name.

He let me loose, and cried Halloo!
To him alone the praise is due.

FIRE.

No! no! no!
Spirits hear what spirits téll :
"T will make a holiday in Hell.

No! no! no!
Myself, I named him once below,
And all the souls, that damned be,
Leap'd up at once in anarchy,
Clapp'd their hands and danced for glee.
The: w longer heeded me;
But laugh'd to hear Hell's burning rafters
Unwillingly re-echo laughters !

No! no! no!
Spirits hear what spirits tell !
"T will make a holiday in Hell!

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 caule 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 hissid,
While crush! fell in the roof, I wist,
On some of those old bedrid nurses,
That deal in discontent and curses.

FAMINE.

Whisper it, sister! so and so! la a dark hint, soft and slow.

SLAUGHTER.
Letters four do form his name
And who sent you ?

BOTH.
The same! the same!

BOTH.

Who bade you do't?

SLAUGHTER.
He came by stealth, and unlock'd my den,
And I have drunk the blood since then
Of thrice three hundred thousand men.

FIRE.

The same! the same!
Letters four do form his name.

He let me loose, and cried Halloo!
To him alone the praise is due.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Should you a rat to madness tease,

Why even a rat might plague you :
There's no philosopher but sees
That rage and fear are one disease-
Though that may burn and this may freeze

They're both alike the ague.

The grass was fine, the sun was bright,

With truth I may aver it;
The Ox was glad, as well he might,
Thought a green meadow no bad sight,
And frisk'd to show his huge delight,

Much like a beast of spirit.
"Stop, neighbors! stop! why these alarms ?

The Ox is only glad.”
But still they pour from cots and farms
Halloo! the parish is up in arms
(A hoaring hunt has always charms),

Halloo! the Ox is mad.

[ocr errors]

And so this Ox, in frantic mood,

Faced round like any Bull-
The mob turn'd tail, and he pursued,
Till they with fright and fear were stew'd,
And not a chick of all this brood

But had his belly-full.

Old Nick's astride the beast, 't'is clear

Old Nicholas to a tittle!
But all agree he'd disappear,
Would but the parson venture near,
And through his teeth, right o'er the steer

Squirt out some fasting-spittle.t

The frighted beast scamper'd about,

Plunge ! through the hedge he drove-
The mob pursue with hideous rout,
A bull-dog fastens on his snout,
He gores the dog, his tongue hangs out-

He's mad, he's mad, by Jove!
« Stop, neighbors, stop!” aloud did call

A sage of sober hue,
But all at once on him they fall,
And women squeak and children squall,
"What! would you have him toss us all ?

And, damme! who are you?"

Achilles was a warrior fleet,

The Trojans he could worry-
Our parson too was swift of feet,
But show'd it chiefly in retreat!
The victor Ox scour'd down the street,

The mob fled hurry-skurry.

Ah, hapless sage! his ears they stun,

And curse him o'er and o'er * Yon bloody-minded dog!” (cries one,) * To slit your windpipe were good fun'Od bl- you for an impious* son

Of a Presbyterian w-re!

Through gardens, lanes, and fields new-plow'd,

Through his hedge and through her hedge,
He plunged and toss'd, and bellow'd loud,
Till in his madness he grew proud
To see this helter-skelter crowd

That had more wrath than courage.

One of the many fine words which the most uneducated † According to the superstition of the West Countries, if you had about this time a constant opportunity of arquiring from meet the Devil, you may either cut him in half with a straw, or the termou in the palpit, and the proclamations on the you may cause him instantly to disappear by spitting over him

horns.

[ocr errors]

Alas! to mend the breaches wide

He made for these poor ninnies, They all must work, whate'er betide, Both days and months, and pay beside (Sad news for Avarice and for Pride)

A sight of golden guineas.

But here once more to view did pop

The man that kept his senses. And now he cried—“ Stop, neighbors! stop! The Ox is mad! I would not swop, No, not a school-boy's farthing top

For all the parish fences.

"The Ox is mad! Ho! Dick, Bob, Mat!

What means this coward fuss ? Ho! stretch this rope across the plat"T will trip him up or if not that, Why, damme! we must lay him flat

See, here's my blunderbuss !"

“A lying dog! just now he said,

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!"

As thus I sat in careless chat,

With the morning's wet newspaper, In eager haste, without his hat, | As blind and blundering as a bat, In came that fierce'aristocrat,

Our pursy woollen draper.

And so my Muse perforce drew bit,

And in he rush'd and panted :“Well, have you heard ?”—“No! not a whit." "What! han't you heard ?”—Come,out with it!” “That Tierney votes for Mister Pitt,

And Sheridan 's recanted.

II. LOVE POEMS.

Quas humilis tenero stylus olim effudit in ævo.
Perlegis hic lacrymas, et quod pharetratus acuta
Ille puer puero fecit mihi cuspide vulnus,
Omnia paulatim consumit longior ætas,
Vivendoque simut morimur, rapimurque manendo.
Ispe mihi collatus enim non ille videbor:
Frons alia est, moresque alii, nova mentis imago,
Voxque aliud sonat-
Pectore nunc gelido calidos miseremur amantes,
Jamque arsisse pudet. Veteres tranquilla tumultus
Mens horret relegensque alium putat ista locutum.

Petrarch.

INTRODUCTION TO THE TALE OF THE

DARK LADIE. The following Poem is intended as the introduction to a somewhat longer one. The use of the old Ballad word Ladie for Lady, is the only piece of obsoleteness in it; and as it is professedly a tale of ancient times, I trust that the affectionate lovers of venerable antiquity (as Camden says) will grant me their pardon, and perhaps may be induced to admit a force and propriety in it A heavier objection may be adduced against the author, that in these times of fear and expectation, when novelties ezplodo around us in all directions, he should

presume to offer to the public a silly tale of old-fashioned love: and five years ago, I own I should have allowed and felt the force of this objection. But, alas ! explosion has succeeded

explosion so rapidly, that novelty itself ceases to appear new, and it is possible that now even a simple story,wholly uninspired with politics or personality, may find some attention amid the bubbub of revolutions, as to those who have remained a long time

by the falls of Niagara, the lowest whispering becomes distinct ly audible.

S. T. C
Dec. 21, 1799.

O LEAVE the lily on its stem;

O leave the rose upon the spray;
O leave the elder bloom, fair maids!

And listen to my lay.

A cypress and a myrtle-bough

This morn around my harp you twined
Because it fashion'd mournfully

Its murmurs in the wind.

And now a Tale of Love and Woe,

A woful Tale of Love I sing ;
Hark, gentle maidens, hark! it sighs

And trembles on the string.

But most, my own dear Genevieve,

It sighs and trembles most for thee!
O come, and hear what cruel wrongs

Befell the Dark Ladie.

Few Sorrows hath she of her own,

My hope, my joy, my Genevieve!
She loves me best, whene'er I sing

The songs that make her grieve.

All thoughts, all passions, all delights,

Whatever stir this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,

And feed his sacred flame.

Oh! ever in my waking dreams,

I dwell upon that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I sate,

Beside the ruin'd tower.

The moonshine, stealing o'er the scene,

Had blended with the lights of eve:
And she was there, my hope, my joy,

My own dear Genevieve!

She lean'd against the armed man,

The statue of the armed knight,
She stood and listen'd to my harp,

Amid the ling'ring light.
I play'd a sad and doleful air.

I sang an old and moving story—
An old rude song, that fitted well

That ruin wild and hoary.

She listen'd with a fitting blush,

With downcast eyes and modest graco,
For well she knew, I could not choose

But gaze upon her face.

I told her of the Knight that wore

Upon his shield a burning brand ;
And how for ten long years he wood
The Ladie of the Land :

« AnteriorContinuar »