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Poor Stumbler on the rocky coast of Woe,
Tutor'd by Pain each source of Pain to know!
Alike the foodful fruit and scorching fire
Awake thy eager grasp and young desire;
Alike the Good, the Ill offend thy sight,
And rouse the stormy sense of shrill affright!
Untaught, yet wise! 'mid all thy brief alarms
Thou closely clingest to thy Mother's arms,
Nestling thy little face in that fond breast
Whose anxious heavings lull thee to thy rest'
Man's breathing Miniature! thou makest me sigh-
A Babe art thou—and such a thing am I |
To anger rapid and as soon appeased,
For trifles mourning and by trifles pleased,
Break Friendship's Mirror with a tetchy blow,
Yet snatch what coals of fire on Pleasure's altar glow!
O thou that rearest with celestial aim
The future Seraph in my mortal frame,
Thrice holy Faith! whatever thorns I meet
As on I totter with unpractised feet,
Still let me stretch my arms and cling to thee,
Meek Nurse of Souls through their long Infancy!
whitten At shunton BARS, NEAR BRilogewate R, sepTEMBER, 1795, IN ANSWER to A Letter FROM Bristol.
Good verse most good, and bad verse then seems better
Received from absent friend by way of Letter.
For what so sweet can laboured lays impart
As one rude rhyme warm from a friendly heart?
Noa travels my meandering eye
The starry wilderness on high;
Nor now with curious sight
I mark the glow-worm, as I pass,
Move with . green radiance” through the grass, An emerald of light.
O ever present to my views
My wafted spirit is with you,
And soothes your boding fears:
I see you all oppress'd with gloom
Sit lonely in that cheerless room—
Ah me! You are in tears!
Beloved Woman! did you fly
Chill'd Friendship's dark disliking eye,
Or Mirth's untimely din?
with cruel weight these trifles press
A temper sore with tenderness,
When aches the void within.
But why with sable wand unblessed
Should Fancy rouse within my breast
Dim-visaged shapes of Dread?
Untenanting its beauteous clay
My Sara's soul has wing'd its way,
And hovers round my head'
I felt it prompt the tender Dream, When slowly sunk the day's last gleam;
You roused each gentler sense As, sighing o'er the Blossom's bloom, Meek Evening wakes its soft perfume
With viewless influence.
And hark, my Love! The sea-breeze moans
Through yon reft house! O'er rolling stones
In bold ambitious sweep
The onward-surging tides supply
The silence of the cloudless sky
With mimic thunders deep.
Dark reddening from the channell'd Isle"
(Where stands one solitary pile
Unslated by the blast)
The Watchfire, like a sullen star
Twinkles to many a dozing Tar
Rude cradled on the mast.
Even there—beneath that light-house tower—
In the tumultuous evil hour
Ere Peace with Sara came,
Time was, I should have thought it sweet
To count the echoings of my feet,
And watch the storm-vex'd flame.
And there in black soul-jaundiced fit
A sad gloom-pamper'd Man to sit,
And listen to the roar:
When Mountain Surges bellowing deep
With an uncouth monster leap
Plunged foaming on the shore.
Then by the Lightning's blaze to mark
Some toiling tempest-shattered bark;
Her vain distress-guns hear;
And when a second sheet of light
Flash'd o'er the blackness of the night—
To see no Wessel there !
But Fancy now more gaily sings;
Or if awhile she droop her wings,
As sky-larks 'mid the corn,
On summer fields she grounds her breast :
The oblivious Poppy o'er her nest
Nods, till returning morn.
O mark those smiling tears, that swell
The open'd Rose! From heaven they fell,
And with the sun-beam blend.
Bless'd visitations from above,
Such are the tender woes of Love
Fostering the heart, they bend!
When stormy Midnight howling round
Beats on our roof with clattering sound,
To me your arms you'll stretch :
Great God you'll say—To us so kind,
O shelter from this loud bleak wind
The houseless, friendless wretch!
The tears that tremble down your cheek, Shall bathe my kisses chaste and meek
* The Holmes, in the Bristol Channel.
In Pity's dew divine; And from your heart the sighs that steal Shall make your rising bosom feel
The answering swell of mine!
How oft, my Love! with shapings sweet
I paint the moment we shall meet!
With eager speed I dart—
I seize you in the vacant air,
And fancy, with a Husband's care
I press you to my heart!
'T is said, on Summer's evening hour
Flashes the golden-colour'd flower
A fair electric flame:
And so shall slash my love-charged eye
When all the heart's big ecstasy
Shoots rapid through the frame!
LINES to A FRIEND IN ANSWER to A Miel ANCholy Letten.
Away, those cloudy looks, that labouring sigh,
The peevish offspring of a sickly hour !
Nor meanly thus complain of Fortune's power,
When the blind Gamester throws a luckless die.
Yon setting Sun flashes a mournful gleam
Behind those broken clouds, his stormy train:
To-morrow shall the many-coloured main
In brightness roll beneath his orient beams
Wild, as the autumnal gust, the hand of Time Flies o'er his mystic lyre : in shadowy dance The alternate groups of Joy and Grief advance Responsive to his varying strains sublime!
Bears on its wing each hour a load of Fate;
The swain, who, lull'd by Seine's mild murmurs, led
His weary oxen to their mightly shed,
To-day may rule a tempest-troubled State.
Nor shall not Fortune with a vengeful smile
Survey the sanguinary Despot's might,
And haply hurl the Pageant from his height,
Unwept to wander in some savage isle.
There shiv'ring sad beneath the tempest's frown Round his tired limbs to wrap the purple vest; And mix'd with nails and beads, an equal jest! Barter for food, the jewels of his crown.
RELIGIOUS MUSINGS ; A DESULTORY POEM, wait teN on the christ MAs Eve of 1794.
This is the time, when most divine to hear,
The voice of Adoration rouses me,
As with a Cherub's trump; and high upborne,
Yea, mingling with the Choir, I seem to view
The vision of the heavenly multitude,
Who hymn'd the song of Peace o'er Bethlehem's fields!
Yet thou more bright than all the Angel blaze,
That harbinger'd thy birth, Thou, Man of Woes!
Despised Galilaean . For the Great
Invisible (by symbols only seen)
With a peculiar and surpassing light
Shines from the visage of the oppress'd good Man,
When heedless of himself the scourged Saint
Mourns for the Oppressor. Fair the vernal Mead,
Fair the high Grove, the Sea, the Sun, the Stars;
True impress each of their creating Sire!
Yet nor high Grove, nor many-colour'd Mead,
Nor the green Ocean with his thousand Isles,
Nor the starred Azure, nor the sovran Sun,
E'er with such majesty of portraiture
Imaged the supreme beauty uncreate,
As thou, meek Saviour ! at the fearful hour
When thy insulted Anguish wing'd the prayer
Harp'd by Archangels, when they sing of Mercy
Which when the Almighty heard from forth his Throne
Diviner light fill'd Heaven with ecstasy!
Heaven's hymnings paused: and Hell her yawning mouth
Closed a brief moment.
Lovely was the death Of Him whose life was love! Holy with power He on the thought-benighted sceptic beam'd Manifest Godhead, melting into day What floating mists of dark Idolatry Broke and misshaped the Omnipresent Sire: And first by Fear uncharmed the droused Soul." Till of its nobler nature it 'gan feel Dim recollections: and thence soared to Hope, Strong to believe whate'er of mystic good The Eternal dooms for his immortal Sons. From Hope and firmer Faith to perfect Love Attracted and absorb'd : and centred there God only to behold, and know, and feel, Till by exclusive Consciousness of God All self-annihilated it shall make God its laentity: God all in all! We and our Father one!
And bless'd are they, who in this fleshly world, the elect of Heaven, Their strong eye darting through the deeds of Men, Adore with stedfast unpresuming gaze Him Nature's Essence, Mind, and Energy! And gazing, trembling, patiently ascend Treading beneath their feet all visible things As steps, that upward to their Father's Throne Lead gradual—else nor glorified nor loved. They nor Contempt embosom nor Revenge: For they dare know of what may seem deform The Supreme Fair sole Operant : in whose sight All things are pure, his strong controlling Love Alike from all educing perfect good. Theirs too celestial courage, inly armed— Dwarfing Earth's giant brood, what time they muse On their great Father, great beyond compare! And marching onwards view high o'er their heads His waving Banners of Omnipotence.
For they are holy things before the Lord,
Aye unprofaned, though Earth should league with Hell;
God's Altar grasping with an eager hand
Fear, the wild-visaged, pale, eye-starting wretch,
Sure-refuged hears his hot pursuing fiends
Yell at vain distance. Soon refresh'd from Heaven,
He calms the throb and tempest of his heart.
His countenance settles; a soft solemn bliss
Swims in his eye—his swimming eye upraised :
And Faith's whole armour glitters on his limbs!
And thus transfigured with a dreadless awe,
A solemn hush of soul, meek he beholds
All things of terrible seeming : yea, unmoved
Views e'en the immitigable ministers
That shower down vengeance on these latter days.
For kindling with intenser Deity
From the celestial Mercy-seat they come,
And at the renovating Wells of Love
Have fill'd their Vials with salutary Wrath,
To sickly Nature more medicinal
Than what soft balm the weeping good man pours
Into the lone despoiled traveller's wounds!
Thus from the Elect, regenerate through faith,
Pass the dark Passions and what thirsty Cares
Drink up the spirit and the dim regards
Self-centre. Lo they vanish or acquire
New names, new features—by supernal grace
Enrobed with light, and naturalized in Heaven.
As when a shepherd on a vernal morn
Through some thick fog creeps timorous with slow foot,
Darkling he fixes on the immediate road
His downward eye: all else of fairest kind
Hid or deform'd. But lo! the bursting Sun
Touch'd by the enchantment of that sudden beam
Straight the black vapour melteth, and in globes
Of dewy glitter gems each plant and tree;
On every leaf, on every blade it hangs!
Dance glad the new-born intermingling rays,
And wide around the landscape streams with glory!
There is one Mind, one omnipresent Mind,
Omnific. His most holy name is Love.
Truth of subliming imports with the which
Who feeds and saturates his constant soul,
He from his small particular orbit flies
With bless'd outstarting ! From Hinself he flies,
Stands in the Sun, and with no partial gaze
Views all creation; and he loves it all,
And blesses it, and calls it very good!
This is indeed to dwell with the Most High
Cherubs and rapture-trembling Seraphim
Can press no nearer to the Almighty's Throne.
But that we roam unconscious, or with hearts
Unfeeling of our universal Sire,
And that in his vast family no Cain
Injures uninjured (in her best-aim'd blow
Victorious Murder a blind Suicide),
Haply for this some younger Angel now
Looks down on Human Nature: and, behold !
A sea of blood hestrew'd with wrecks, where mad
Embattling Interests on each other rush
With unhelm'd rage!
'T is the sublime of man, Our noontide Majesty, to know ourselves
Parts and proportions of one wondrous whole!
This fraternizes man, this constitutes
Our charities and bearings. But 'tis God
Diffused through all, that doth make all one whole;
This the worst superstition, him except
Aught to desire, Supreme Reality
The plenitude and permanence of bliss'
O Fiends of Superstition not that oft
The erring Priest hath stain'd with brother's blood
Your grisly idols, not for this may wrath
Thunder against you from the Holy One!
But o'er some plain that steameth to the sun,
Peopled with Death; or where more hideous Trade
Loud-laughing packs his bales of human anguish:
I will raise up a mourning, O ye Fiends!
And curse your spells, that film the eye of Faith,
Hiding the present God; whose presence lost,
The moral world's cohesion, we become
An anarchy of Spirits! Toy-bewitch'd,
Made blind by lusts, disherited of soul,
No common centre Man, no common sire
Knoweth" A sordid solitary thing,
"Mid countless brethren with a lonely heart
Through courts and cities the smooth Savage roams,
Feeling himself, his own low Self the whole;
When he by sacred sympathy might make
The whole one self! Self, that no alien knows!
Self, far diffused as Fancy's wing can travel!
Self, spreading still! Oblivious of its own,
Yet all of all possessing ! This is Faith !
This the Messiah's destined victory!
But first offences needs must come ! Even now."
(Black Hell laughs horrible—to hear the scoff!)
Thee to defend, meek Galilean Thee
And thy mild laws of love unutterable,
Mistrust and Enmity have burst the bands
Of social Peace; and listening Treachery lurks
with pious fraud to snare a brother's life;
And childless widows o'er the groaning land
Wail numberless; and orphans weep for bread;
Thee to defend, dear Saviour of Mankind'
Thee, Lamb of God! Thee, blameless Prince of Peace!
From all sides rush the thirsty brood of War?
Austria, and that foul Woman of the North,
The lustful Murderess of her wedded Lord!
And he, connatural Mind whom (in their songs
So bards of elder time had haply feign'd)
Some Fury fondled in her hate to man,
Bidding her serpent hair in mazy surge
Lick his young face, and at his mouth inbreathe
Horrible sympathy! And leagued with these
Each petty German princeling, nursed in gore
Soul-harden'd barterers of human blood |
1 January 21st, 1794, in the debate on the Address to his Majesty, on the speech from the Throne, the Earl of Guildford moved an Amendment to the following effect:- - That the House hoped his Majesty would seize the earliest opportunity to conclude a peace with France,” etc. This motion was opposed by the Duke of Portland, who - considered the war to be merely grounded on one principle—the preservation of the Christian Religion." May 30th, 1794, the Duke of Bedford moved a number of Resolutions, with a view to the Establishment of a Peace with France. He was opposed (among others) by Lord Abingdon in these remarkable words: - The best road to Peace, my Lords, is war and War carried on in the same manner in which we are taught to worship our Creator, namely, with all our souls, and with all our minds, and with all our hearts, and with all our strength."
Death's primeSlave-merchants! Scorpion-whips of Fate!
Nor least in savagery of holy zeal,
Apt for the yoke, the race degenerate,
Whom Britain erst had blush'd to call her sons!
Thee to defend the Moloch Priest prefers
The prayer of hate, and bellows to the herd
That Deity, Accomplice Deity
In the fierce jealousy of waken'd wrath
Will go forth with our armies and our fleets,
To scatter the red ruin on their foes?
Oblasphemy! to mingle fiendish deeds
Lord of unsleeping Love," From everlasting Thou! We shall not die. These, even these, in mercy didst thou form, Teachers of Good through Evil, by brief wrong Making Truth lovely, and her future might Magnetic o'er the fix’d untrembling heart.
In the primeval age a dateless while
The vacant Shepherd wander'd with his flock,
Pitching his tent where'er the green grass waved.
But soon Imagination conjured up
An host of new desires: with busy aim,
Each for himself, Earth's eager children toil'd,
So Property began, twy-streaming fount,
Whence Vice and Virtue flow, honey and gall.
Hence the soft couch, and many-colour'd robe,
The timbrel, and arch'd dome and costly feast,
With all the inventive arts, that nursed the soul
To forms of beauty, and by sensual wants
Unsensualized the mind, which in the means
Learnt to forget the grossness of the end,
Best pleasured with its own activity.
And hence Disease that withers manhood's arm,
The dagger'd Envy, spirit-quenching Want,
Warriors, and Lords, and Priests—all the sore ills
That vex and desolate our mortal life.
Wide-wasting ills' yet each the immediate source
Of mightier good. Their keen necessities
To ceaseless action goading human thought
Have made Earth's reasoning animal her Lord;
And the pale-featured Sage's trembling hand
Strong as an host of arm'd Deities,
Such as the blind Ionian fabled erst.
From Avarice thus, from Luxury and War
Sprang heavenly Science; and from Science Freedom.
O'er waken'd realms Philosophers and Bards
Spread in concentric circles: they whose souls,
Conscious of their high dignities from God,
Brook not wealth's rivalry! and they who long
Enamour'd with the charms of order hate
The unseemly disproportion: and whoe'er
Turn with mild sorrow from the victor's car
And the low puppetry of thrones, to muse
On that blest triumph, when the patriot Sage
Call'd the red lightnings from the o'er-rushing cloud,
And dash'd the beauteous Terrors on the earth
Smiling majestic. Such a phalanx ne'er
Measured firm paces to the calming sound
Of Spartan flute! These on the fated day,
' Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord, mine Holy one? we
When, stung to rage by Pity, eloquent men
Have roused with pealing voice unnumber'd tribes
That toil and groan and bleed, hungry and blind.
These hush'd awhile with patient eye serene,
Shall watch the mad careering of the storm;
Then o'er the wild and wavy chaos rush
And tame the outrageous mass, with plastic might
Moulding Confusion to such perfect forms,
As erst were wont, bright visions of the day!
To float before them, when, the Summer noon,
Beneath some arch'd romantic rock reclined
They felt the sea breeze lift their youthful locks;
Or in the month of blossoms, at mild eve,
Wandering with desultory feet inhaled
The wafted perfumes, and the rocks and woods
And many-tinted streams and setting Sun
With all his gorgeous company of clouds
Ecstatic gazed then homeward as they stray'd
Cast the sad eye to earth, and inly mused
Why there was Misery in a world so fair.
Ah far removed from all that glads the sense,
From all that softens or ennobles Man,
The wretched Many Bent beneath their loads
They gape at pageant Power, nor recognize
Their cots transmuted plunder! From the tree
Of Knowledge, ere the vernal sap had risen
Rudely disbranch'd Blessed Society!
Fitliest depictured by some sun-scorch'd waste,
Where oft majestic through the tainted noon
The Simoom sails, before whose purple pomp
who falls not prostrate dies! And where by night,
Fast by each precious fountain on green herbs
The lion couches; or hyaena dips
Deep in the lucid stream his bloody jaws;
Or serpent plants his vast moon-glittering bulk,
Caught in whose monstrous twine Behemoth yells,
His bones loud-crashing!
O ye numberless, Whom foul Oppression's ruffian gluttony Drives from life's plenteous feast! 0 thou poor wretch, Who nursed in darkness and made wild by want, Roamest for prey, yea thy unnatural hand Dost lift to deeds of blood! O pale-eyed form, The victim of seduction, doom'd to know Polluted nights and days of blasphemy; Who in loathed orgies with lewd wassailers Must gaily laugh, while thy remember'd home Gnaws like a viper at thy secret heart! 0 aged Women! ye who weekly catch The morsel toss'd by law-forced Charity, And die so slowly, that none call it murder! O loathly Suppliants! ye, that unreceived Totter heart-broken from the closing gates Of the full Lazar-house: or, gazing, stand Sick with despair! O ye to Glory's field Forced or ensnared, who, as ye gasp in death, Bleed with new wounds beneath the Vulture's beak! O thou poor Widow, who in dreams dost view Thy Husband's mangled corse, and from short doze Start'st with a shriek; or in thy half-thatch'd cot Waked by the wintry night-storm, wet and cold, Cow’rst o'er thy screaming baby! Rest awhile
* Behemoth, in Hebrew, signifies wild beasts in general. Some
believe it is the elephant, some the hippopotamus ; some affirm it is the wild bull. Poetically, it designates any large quadruped.
Children of Wretchedness! More groans must rise,
More blood must stream, or ere your wrongs be full.
Yet is the day of Retribution nigh:
The Lamb of God hath opened the fifth seal:
And upward rush on swiftest wing of fire
The innumerable multitude of wrongs
By man on man inflicted Rest awhile,
Children of Wretchedness! The hour is nigh;
And lo! the Great, the Rich, the Mighty Men,
The Kings and the Chief Captains of the World,
With all that fix'd on high like stars of Heaven
Shot baleful influence, shall be cast to earth,
Vile and down-trodden, as the untimely fruit
Shook from the fig-tree by a sudden storm.
Even now the storm begins: each gentle name,
Faith and meek Piety, with fearful joy
Tremble far-off—for lo! the Giant Frenzy,
Uprooting empires with his whirlwind arm,
Mocketh high Heaven; burst hideous from the cell
Where the old Hag, unconquerable, huge,
Creation's eyeless drudge, black Ruin, sits
Nursing the impatient earthquake.
O return' Pure Faith' meek Piety The abhorr'd Form Whose scarlet robe was stiff with earthly pomp, Who drank iniquity in cups of gold, Whose names were many and all blasphemous, Hath met the horrible judgment! Whence that cry? The mighty army of foul Spirits shriek'd Disherited of earth! For she hath fallen On whose black front was written Mystery; She that reel'd heavily, whose wine was blood; She that work'd whoredom with the Demon Power, And from the dark embrace all evil things Brought forth and nurtured: mitred Atheism: And patient Folly who on bended knee Gives back the steel that stabb'd him; and pale Fear Hunted by ghastlier shapings than surround Moon-blasted Madness when he yells at midnight! Return pure Faith ! return meek Piety! . The kingdoms of the world are yours: each heart, Self-govern'd, the vast family of Love Raised from the common earth by common toil Enjoy the equal produce. Such delights As float to earth, permitted visitants! When in some hour of solemn jubilee The massy gates of Paradise are thrown Wide open, and forth come in fragments wild Sweet echoes of unearthly melodies, And odours snatch'd from beds of Amaranth, And they, that from the crystal river of life Spring up on freshen'd wing, ambrosial gales! The favour'd good man in his lonely walk Perceives them, and his silent spirit drinks Strange bliss which he shall recognize in heaven. And such delights, such strange beatitude Seize on my young anticipating heart When that blest future rushes on my view! For in his own and in his Father's might The Saviour comes! While as the Thousand Years Lead up their mystic dance, the Desert shouts! Old Ocean claps his hands! The mighty Dead Rise to new life, whoe'er from earliest time
* Alluding to the French Revolution.
With conscious zeal had urged Love's wondrous plan,
Coadjutors of God. To Milton's trump
The high Groves of the renovated Earth
Unbosom their glad echoes: inly hush'd,
Adoring Newton his serener eye
Raises to heaven : and he of mortal kind
Wisest, he first who mark'd the ideal tribes
Up the fine fibres through the sentient brain.
Lo! Priestley there, Patriot, and Saint, and Sage,
Him, full of years, from his loved native land
Statesmen blood-stain’d and Priests idolatrous
By dark lies maddening the blind multitude
Drove with vain hate Calm, pitying he retired,
And mused expectant on these promised years.
0 Years! the blest pre-eminence of Saints!
Ye sweep athwart my gaze, so heavenly bright,
The wings that veil the adoring Seraph's eyes,
What time he bends before the Jasper Throne, a
Reflect no lovelier hues' yet ye depart,
And all beyond is darkness! Heights most strange,
Whence Fancy falls, fluttering her idle wing.
For who of woman born may paint the hour,
When seized in his mid course, the Sun shall wane
Making noon ghastly Who of woman born
May image in the workings of his thought,
How the black-visaged, red-eyed Fiend outstretch'd 3
Beneath the unsteady feet of Nature groans,
In feverish slumbers—destined then to wake,
When fiery whirlwinds thunder his dread name
And Angels shout, Destruction How his arm
The last great Spirit lifting high in air
Shall swear by Him, the ever-living One,
Time is no more!
Believe thou, O my soul, Life is a vision shadowy of Truth; And vice, and anguish, and the wormy grave, Shapes of a dream . The veiling clouds retire, And lo! the Throne of the redeeming God Forth flashing unimaginable day, Wraps in one blaze earth, heaven, and deepest hell.
Contemplant Spirits' ye that hover o'er
With untired gaze the immeasurable fount
Ebullient with creative Deity
And ye of plastic power, that interfused
Roll through the grosser and material mass
In organizing surge! Holies of God .
(And what if Monads of the infinite mind)
I haply journeying my immortal course
Shall sometime join your mystic choir? Till then
I discipline my young noviciate thought
In ministries of heart-stirring song,
And aye on Meditation's heaven-ward wing
Soaring aloft I breathe the empyreal air
Of Love, omnific, omnipresent Love,
Whose day-spring rises glorious in my soul
As the great Sun, when he his influence
Sheds on the frost-bound waters—The glad stream
Flows to the ray, and warbles as it flows.
* David Hartley.
* Rev. Chap. iv., v. 2 and 3.-And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold, a Throne was set in Heaven, and one sat on the Throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and sardine stone, etc.
* The final Destruction impersonated.