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That in an April sunbeam's fleeting glow
I was an infant when my mother went
To see an atheist burned. She took me there : That, blind, they there may dig each other's graves The dark-robed priests were met around the pile ; And call the sad work glory, does it rule
The multitude was gazing silently; All passions: not a thought, a will, an act, And as the culprit passed with dauntless mien, No working of the tyrant's moody mind,
Tempered disdain in his unaltering eye, Nor one misgiving of the slaves who boast
Mixed with a quiet smile, shone calmly forth: Their servitude, to hide the shame they feel, The thirsty fire crept round his manly limbs ; Nor the events enchaining every will,
His resolute eyes were scorched to blindness soon ; That from the depths of unrecorded time
His death-pang rent my heart! the insensate mob Have drawn all-influencing virtue, pass
Uttered a cry of triumph, and I wept. Unrecognised or unforeseen by thee,
Weep not, child ! cried my mother, for that man Soul of the Universe ! eternal spring
Has said, There is no God.
There is no God ! Which gleams but on the darkness of our prison, Nature confirms the faith his death-groan seald: Whose chains and massy walls
Let heaven and earth, let man's revolving race, We feel but cannot see.
His ceaseless generations, tell their tale;
Let every part depending on the chain Spirit of Nature ! all-sufficing Power.
That links it to the whole, point to the hand Necessity! thou mother of the world!
That grasps its term! Let every seed that falls, Unlike the God of human error, thou
In silent eloquence unfold its store
Is nature's only God; but human pride
The name of God
Himself the creature of his worshippers,
Whose names and attributes and passions change, Are register’d, are equal in thy sight:
Seeva, Buddh, Foh, Jehovah, God, or Lord, No love, no hate thou cherishest ; revenge
Even with the human dupes who build his shrines, And favouritism, and worst desire of fame,
Still serving o'er the war-polluted world Thou knowest not: all that the wide world contains
For desolation's watch-word; whether hosts Are but thy passive instruments, and thou
Stain his death-blushing chariot wheels, as on Regard'st them all with an impartial eye
Triumphantly they roll, whilst Brahmins raise Whose joy or pain thy nature cannot feel,
A sacred hymn to mingle with the groans; Because thou hast not human sense,
Or countless partners of his power divide Because thou art not human mind.
His tyranny to weakness; or the smoke
Of burning towns, the cries of female helplessness, Yes! when the sweeping storm of time
Unarmed old age, and youth, and infancy, Has sung its death-dirge o'er the ruined fanes
Horribly massacred, ascend to heaven And broken altars of the almighty fiend
In honour of his name; or, last and worst, Whose name usurps thy honours, and the blood
Earth groans beneath religion's iron age, Through centuries clotted there, has floated down
And priests dare babble of a God of peace, The tainted flood of ages, shalt thou live
Even whilst their hands are red with guiltless blood, Unchangeable! A shrine is raised to thee,
Murdering the while, uprooting every germ Which, nor the tempest breath of time,
Of truth, exterminating, spoiling all,
Making the earth a slaughter-house !
O Spirit! through the sense
By which thy inner nature was apprised The sensitive extension of the world.
Of outward shows vague dreams have roll’d, That wondrous and eternal fane,
And varied reminiscences have waked Where pain and pleasure, good and evil join,
Tablets that never fade; To do the will of strong necessity,
All things have been imprinted there, And life in multitudinous shapes,
The stars, the sea, the earth, the sky,
Even the unshapeliest lineaments
Of wild and fleeting visions
Have left a record there
To testify of earth.
And fancy's thin creations to endow
Shall perish, to fulfil the blind revenge With manner, being, and reality ;
(Which you, to men, call justice) of their God. Therefore a wondrous phantom, from the dreams Of human error's dense and purblind faith,
The murderer's brow
Quiver'd with horror.
Is there no mercy ? must our punishment
Be endless ? will long ages roll away,
And see no term? Oh! wherefore hast thou made His inessential figure cast no shade
In mockery and wrath this evil earth ?
Mercy becomes the powerful-be but just :
O God! repent and save. And chronicles of untold ancientness
One way remains : Were legible within his beamless eye :
I will beget a son, and he shall bear
And there shall die upon a cross, and purge
On whom my grace descends, those who are mark'd Chasten’d by fearless resignation, gave
As vessels to the honour of their God,
May credit this strange sacrifice, and save
Who ne'er shall call upon their Saviour's name,
But, unredeemed, go to the gaping grave.
Such as the nurses frighten babes withal :
These in a gulf of anguish and of flame And vengeful as almighty! Once his voice Shall curse their reprobation endlessly, Was heard on earth : earth shudder'd at the sound; | Yet tenfold pangs shall force them to avow, The fiery-visaged firmament express'd
Even on their beds of torment, where they howl,
Of purity, with radiant genius bright,
Do thou my bidding, Moses !
Even the murderer's cheek
On this heart of many wounds, and loaded brain, His voice in Egypt, one whose gifts and arts
Since the Incarnate came : humbly he came, Had raised him to his eminence in power,
Veiling his horrible Godhead in the shape Accomplice of omnipotence in crime,
Of man, scorned by the world, his name unheard, And confidant of the all-knowing one.
Save by the rabble of his native town,
Even as a parish demagogue. He led
The crowd; he taught them justice, truth, and From an eternity of idleness
peace, I, God, awoke ; in seven days' toil made earth In semblance ; but he lit within their souls From nothing ; rested, and created man:
The quenchless flames of zeal, and blest the sword I placed him in a paradise, and there
He brought on earth to satiate with the blood Planted the tree of evil, so that he
Of truth and freedom his malignant soul. Might eat and perish, and my soul procure
At length his mortal frame was led to death. Wherewith to sate its malice, and to turn,
I stood beside him : on the torturing cross Even like a heartless conqueror of the earth, No pain assailed his unterrestrial sense ; All misery to my fame. The race of men And yet he groaned. Indignantly I summed Chosen to my honour, with impunity
The massacres and miseries which his name May sate the lusts I planted in their heart. Had sanctioned in my country, and I cried, Here I command thee hence to lead them on, Go! go ! in mockery. Until, with harden'd feet, their conquering troops A smile of godlike malice reillumed Wade on the promised soil through woman's blood, His fading lineaments._I go, he cried, And make my name be dreaded through the land. But thou shalt wander o'er the unquiet earth Yet ever-burning flame and ceaseless woe Eternally. -The dampness of the grave Shall be the doom of their eternal souls,
Bathed my imperishable front. I fell, With every soul on this ungrateful earth,
And long lay tranced upon the charmed soil. Virtuous or vicious, weak or strong,—even all
When I awoke hell burned within my brain,
Which staggered on its seat; for all around To see the smiles of peace around them play,
To frustrate or to sanctify their doom.
Thus have I stood,—through a wild waste of years
Yet peaceful, and serene, and self-enshrined,
Mocking my powerless tyrant's horrible curse But my soul,
With stubborn and unalterable will, From sight and sense of the polluting woe
Even as a giant oak, which heaven's fierce flame Of tyranny, had long learned to prefer
Had scathed in the wilderness, to stand Hell's freedom to the servitude of heaven.
A monument of fadeless ruin there; Therefore I rose, and dauntlessly began
Yet peacefully and movelessly it braves My lonely and unending pilgrimage,
The midnight conflict of the wintry storm, Resolved to wage unweariable war
As in the sun-light's calm it spreads With my almighty tyrant, and to hurl
Its worn and withered arms on high
To meet the quiet of a summer's noon.
The Fairy waved her wand :
Ahasuerus fled Its empire to the chosen of his slaves.
Fast as the shapes of mingled shade and mist, These have I seen, even from the earliest dawn
That lurk in the glens of a twilight grove, Of weak, unstable, and precarious power;
Flee from the morning beam : Then preaching peace, as now they practise war,
The matter of which dreams are made
Not more endowed with actual life
Than this phantasmal portraiture
Of wandering human thought.
The present and the past thou hast beheld :
It was a desolate sight. Now Spirit, learn,
The secrets of the future.-Time !
Unfold the brooding pinion of thy gloom,
Render thou up thy half-devoured babes,
And from the cradles of eternity, Survived to tell its ruin, but the flesh,
Where millions lie lulled to their portioned sleep With putrid smoke poisoning the atmosphere, That rotted on the half-extinguished pile.
By the deep murmuring stream of passing things,
Tear thou that gloomy shroud.-Spirit, behold Yes! I have seen God's worshippers unsheath
Thy glorious destiny!
Joy to the Spirit came.
Through the wide rent in Time's eternal veil, And frantic priests waved the ill-omened cross Hope was seen beaming through the mists of fear: O'er the unhappy earth: then shone the sun
Earth was no longer hell ; On showers of gore from the upflashing steel
Love, freedom, health, had given Of safe assassination, and all crime
Their ripeness to the manhood of its prime, Made stingless by the spirits of the Lord,
And all its pulses beat And blood-red rainbows canopied the land.
Symphonious to the planetary spheres :
Then dulcet music swelled Spirit! no year of my eventful being
Concordant with the life-strings of the soul; Has passed unstained by crime and misery,
It throbbed in sweet and languid beatings there, Which flows from God's own faith. I've marked Catching new life from transitory death.his slaves,
Like the vague sighings of a wind at even, With tongues whose lies are venomous, beguile
That wakes the wavelets of the slumbering sea, The insensate mob, and, whilst one hand was red
And dies on the creation of its breath, With murder, feign to stretch the other out
And sinks and rises, fails and swells by fits : For brotherhood and peace; and, that they now
Was the pure stream of feeling Babble of love and mercy, whilst their deeds
That sprang from these sweet notes, Are marked with all the narrowness and crime
And o'er the Spirit's human sympathies That freedom's young arm dares not yet chastise,
With mild and gentle motion calmly flowed. Reason may claim our gratitude, who now, Establishing the imperishable throne
Joy to the Spirit came, – Of truth, and stubborn virtue, maketh vain
Such joy as when a lover sees The unprevailing malice of my foe,
The chosen of his soul in happiness, Whose bootless rage heaps torments for the brave,
And witnesses her peace Adds impotent eternities to pain,
Whose woe to him were bitterer than death ; Whilst keenest disappointment racks his breast
Sees her unfaded cheek
And fertile valleys, resonant with bliss,
Glow mantling in first luxury of health,
Thrills with her lovely eyes, Which like two stars amid the heaving main
Sparkle through liquid bliss. Then in her triumph spoke the Fairy Queen : I will not call the ghost of ages gone To unfold the frightful secrets of its lore;
The present now is past, And those events that desolate the earth Have faded from the memory of Time, Who dares not give reality to that Whose being I annul. To me is given The wonders of the human world to keep, Space, matter, time, and mind. Futurity Exposes now its treasure ; let the sight Renew and strengthen all thy failing hope. O human Spirit ! spur thee to the goal Where virtue fixes universal peace, And, ʼmidst the ebb and flow of human things, Show somewhat stable, somewhat certain still, A light-house o'er the wild of dreary waves.
All things are recreated, and the flame
The habitable earth is full of bliss ;
The lion now forgets to thirst for blood :
Those deserts of immeasurable sand,
Sharing his morning's meal
That comes to lick his feet.
But chief, ambiguous man, he that can know
Those trackless deeps, where many a weary sail
Nor, where the tropics bound the realms of day With a broad belt of mingling cloud and flame,
Where blue mists through the unmoving atmosphere Whilst every shape and mode of matter lends Scattered the seeds of pestilence, and fed
Its force to the omnipotence of mind, Unnatural vegetation, where the land
Which from its dark mine drags the gem of truth Teemed with all earthquake, tempest, and disease, To decorate its paradise of peace. Was man a nobler being; slavery Had crushed him to his country's blood-stained
dust; Or he was bartered for the fame of power,
IX. Which, all internal impulses destroying,
O HAPPY Earth! reality of Heaven ! Makes human will an article of trade;
To which those restless souls that ceaselessly Or he was changed with Christians for their gold, Throng through the human universe, aspire; And dragged to distant isles, where to the sound Thou consummation of all mortal hope ! Of the flesh-mangling scourge, he does the work Thou glorious prize of blindly-working will ! Of all-polluting luxury and wealth,
Whose rays, diffused throughout all space and time; Which doubly visits on the tyrants' heads
Verge to one point and blend for ever there: The long-protracted fulness of their woe;
Of purest spirits thou pure dwelling-place! Or he was led to legal butchery,
Where care and sorrow, impotence and crime, To turn to worms beneath that burning sun Languor, disease, and ignorance, dare not come: Where kings first leagued against the rights of men, o happy Earth, reality of Heaven! And priests first traded with the name of God.
Genius has seen thee in her passionate dreams; Even where the milder zone afforded man
And dim forebodings of thy loveliness, A seeming shelter, yet contagion there,
Haunting the human heart, have there entwined Blighting his being with unnumbered ills,
Those rooted hopes of some sweet place of bliss, Spread like a quenchless fire; nor truth till late Where friends and lovers meet to part no more. Availed to arrest its progress, or create
Thou art the end of all desire and will, That peace which first in bloodless victory waved The product of all action; and the souls Her snowy standard o'er this favoured clime: That by the paths of an aspiring change There man was long the train-bearer of slaves, Have reached thy haven of perpetual peace, The mimic of surrounding misery,
There rest from the eternity of toil The jackal of ambition's lion-rage,
That framed the fabric of thy perfectness. The bloodhound of religion's hungry zeal.
Even Time, the conqueror, fled thee in his fear; Here now the human being stands adorning That hoary giant, who, in lonely pride, This loveliest earth with taintless body and mind; So long had ruled the world, that nations fell Blest from his birth with all bland impulses, Beneath his silent footstep. Pyramids, Which gently in his noble bosom wake
That for millenniums had withstood the tide All kindly passions and all pure desires.
Of human things, his storm-breath drove in sand Him (still from hope to hope the bliss pursuing, Across that desert where their stones survived Which from the exhaustless store of human weal The name of him whose pride had heaped them Draws on the virtuous mind) the thoughts that rise Yon monarch, in his solitary pomp, [there. In time-destroying infiniteness, gift
Was but the mushroom of a summer day, With self-enshrined eternity, that mocks
That his light-winged footstep pressed to dust : The unprevailing hoariness of age,
Time was the king of earth : all things gave way And man, once fleeting o'er the transient scene Before him, but the fixed and virtuous will, Swift as an unremembered vision, stands
The sacred sympathies of soul and sense,
That mocked his fury and prepared his fall.
Yet slow and gradual dawned the morn of love; Which, still avenging nature's broken law, Long lay the clouds of darkness o'er the scene, Kindled all putrid humours in his frame,
Till from its native heaven they rolled away: All evil passions, and all vain belief,
First, crime triumphant o'er all hope careered Hatred, despair, and loathing in his mind, Unblushing, undisguising, bold and strong; The germs of misery, death, disease, and crime. Whilst falsehood, tricked in virtue's attributes, No longer now the winged habitants,
Long sanctified all deeds of vice and woe, That in the woods their sweet lives sing away, Till, done by her own venomous sting to death, Flee from the form of man; but gather round, She left the moral world without a law, And prune their sunny feathers on the hands No longer fettering passion's fearless wing. Which little children stretch in friendly sport Then steadily the happy ferment worked; Towards these dreadless partners of their play. Reason was free; and wild though passion went All things are void of terror: man has lost Through tangled glens and wood-embosomed meads, His terrible prerogative, and stands
Gathering a garland of the strangest flowers, An equal amidst equals : happiness
Yet, like the bee returning to her queen, And science dawn, though late, upon the earth; She bound the sweetest on her sister's brow, Peace cheers the mind, health renovates the frame; Who meek and sober, kissed the sportive child, Disease and pleasure cease to mingle here, No longer trembling at the broken rod. Reason and passion cease to combat there; Whilst each unfettered o'er the earth extends Mild was the slow necessity of death : Its all-subduing energies, and wields
The tranquil Spirit failed beneath its grasp. The sceptre of a vast dominion there;
Without a groan, almost without a fear,