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By Time's wild harp, and by the hand Whose indefatigable sweep Raises its fateful strings from sleep, I bid you haste, a mix'd tumultuous band From every private bower, And each domestic hearth, Haste for one solemn hour; And with a loud and yet a louder voice, O'er Nature struggling in portentous birth Weep and rejoice Still echoes the dread Name that o'er the earth Let slip the storm, and woke the brood of Hell: And now advance in saintly Jubilee Justice and Truth! They too have heard thy spell, They too obey thy name, Divinest Liberty!
I mark'd Ambition in his war-array!
• Thou in stormy blackness throning Love and uncreated Light, By the Earth's unsolaced groaning, Seize thy terrors, Arm of might ! By Peace with proffer'd insult scared, Masked Hate and envying Scorn By Years of Havoc yet unborn And Hunger's bosom to the frost-winds bared But chief by Afric's wrongs, Strange, horrible, and foul . By what deep built belongs To the deaf Synod, ‘full of gifts and lies." By Wealth's insensate laugh! by Torture's howl! Avenger, rise! For ever shall the thankless Island scowl, Her quiver full, and with unbroken bow 1 Speak! from thy storm-black Heaven, O speak aloud! And on the darkling foe Open thine eye of fire from some uncertain cloud 1 O dart the flash O rise and deal the blow ! The past to thee, to thee the future cries : Hark! how wide Nature joins her groans below: Rise, God of Nature | rise."
The voice had ceased, the vision sled;
Wii. Not yet enslaved, not wholly vile, O Albion 1 O my mother Isle! Thy valleys, fair as Eden's bowers, Glitter green with sunny showers; Thy grassy uplands gentle swells Echo to the bleat of flocks (Those grassy hills, those glittering dells Proudly ramparted with rocks); And Ocean, 'mid his uproar wild Speaks safety to his islann-child Hence, for many a fearless age Has social Quiet loved thy shore Nor ever proud Invader's rage Or sack'd thy towers, or stain'd thy fields with gore.
Abandon'd of Heaven mad Avarice thy guide, At cowardly distance, yet kindling with pride
YE Clouds! that far above me float and pause,
When France in wrath her giant-limbs uprear'd,
The Monarchs march'd in evil day, And Britain join'd the dire array; Though dear her shores and circling ocean, Though many friendships, many youthful loves Had swoln the patriot emotion, And flung a magic light o'er all her hills and groves; Yet still my voice, unalter'd, sang defeat To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance, And shame too long delay'd and vain retreat! For ne'er, O Liberty! with partial aim I dimm'd thy light or damp'd thy holy flame; But bless'd the paeans of deliver'd France, And hung my head and wept at Britain's name.
III. • And what,' I said, “ though Blasphemy's loud scream With that sweet music of deliverance strove! Though all the fierce and drunken passions wove A dance more wild than e'er was maniac's dream Ye storms, that round the dawning east assembled, The Sun was rising, though he hid his light! And when, to soothe my soul, that hoped and trembled, The dissonance ceased, and all seemed calm and bright; When France her front deep-scarr'd and gory Conceal’d with clustering wreaths of glory; When, insupportably advancing, Her arm made mockery of the warrior's tramp; While timid looks of fury glancing, Domestic treason, crush'd beneath her fatal stamp, Writhed like a wounded dragon in his gore; Then I reproach'd my fears that would not flee; • And soon," I said, - shall Wisdom teach her lore In the low huts of them that toil and groan' And, conquering by her happiness alone, Shall France compel the nations to be free, Till Love and Joy look round, and call the Earth their
IV. Forgive me, Freedom O forgive those dreams! I hearthy voice, I hearthy loud lament, From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns sent— I hearthy groans upon her blood-stain'd streams! Heroes, that for your peaceful country perish'd; And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain-snows With bleeding wounds; forgive me that I cherish'd One thought that ever bless'd your cruel foes! To scatter rage, and traitorous guilt, Where peace her jealous home had built; A patriot-race to disinherit Of all that made their stormy wilds so dear; And with inexpiable spirit To taint the bloodless freedom of the mountaineer— O France, that mockest Heaven, adulterous, blind, And patriot only in pernicious toils! Are these thy boasts, Champion of human kind? To mix with Kings in the low lust of sway, Yell in the hunt, and share the murderous prey; To insult the shrine of Liberty with spoils From freemen torn; to tempt and to betray?
W. The Sensual and the Dark rebel in vain, Slaves by their own compulsion In mad game They burst their manacles and wear the name Of Freedom, graven on a heavier chain
O Liberty! with profitless endeavour Have I pursued thee, many a weary hour; But thou nor swell'st the victor's strain, nor ever Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human power. Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee (Not prayer, nor boastful name delays thee), Alike from Priestcraft's harpy minions, And factious Blasphemy's obscener slaves, Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions, The guide of homeless winds, and playmate of the waves! And there I felt thee!—on that sea-cliff's verge, Whose pines, scarce travell'd by the breeze above, Had made one murmur with the distant surge! Yes, while I stood and gazed, my temples bare, And shot my being through earth, sea and air, Possessing all things with intensest love, O Liberty! my spirit felt thee there.
FEARS IN SOLITUDE.
whitTEN IN April, 1798, DURING The ALARM OF AN INVAsion.
A Gheen and silent spot, amid the hills, A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place No singing sky-lark ever poised himself. The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope, Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on, All golden with the never-bloomless furze, Which now blooms most profusely; but the dell, Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate As vernal corn-field, or the unripe flax, When, through its half-transparent stalks, at eve, The level Sunshine glimmers with green light. Oh!'t is a quiet spirit-healing nook Which all, methinks, would love; but chiefly he, The humble man, who, in his youthful years, Knew just so much of folly, as had made His early manhood more securely wise! Here he might lie on fern or wither'd Heath, While from the singing-lark (that sings unseen The minstrelsy that solitude loves best), And from the Sun, and from the breezy Air, Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame; And he, with many feelings, many thoughts, Made up a meditative joy, and found Religious meanings in the forms of nature! And so, his senses gradually wrapt In a half sleep, he dreams of better worlds, And dreaming hears thee still, O singing-lark! That singest like an angel in the clouds!
My God! it is a melancholy thing For such a man, who would full fain preserve His soul in calmness, yet perforce must feel For all his human brethren—O my God! It weighs upon the heart, that he must think What uproar and what strife may now be stirring This way or that way o'er these silent hills— Invasion, and the thunder and the shout, And all the crash of onset; fear and rage, And undetermined conflict—even now,
Even now, perchance, and in his native isle: Carnage and groans beneath this blessed Sun! We have offended, Oh! my countrymen! We have offended very grievously, And been most tyrannous. From east to west A groan of accusation pierces Heaven! The wretched plead against us; multitudes Countless and vehement, the Sons of God, Our Brethren' Like a cloud that travels on, Steam'd up from Cairo's swamps of pestilence, Even so, my countrymen have we gone forth And borne to distant tribes slavery and pangs, And, deadlier far, our vices, whose deep taint With slow perdition murders the whole man, His body and his soul! Meanwhile, at home, All individual dignity and power Engulf'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; Contemptuous of all honourable rule, Yet bartering freedom and the poor man's life For gold, as at a market! The sweet words Of Christian promise, words that even yet Might stem destruction, were they wisely preach'd, Are mutter'd o'er by men, whose tones proclaim How flat and wearisome they feel their trade: Rank scoffers some, but most too indolent To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth. Oh! blasphemous! the book of life is made A superstitious instrument, on which We gabble o'er the oaths we mean to break; For all must swear—all and in every place, College and wharf, council and justice-court; All, all must swear, the briber and the bribed, Merchant and lawyer, senator and priest, The rich, the poor, the old man and the young; All, all make up one scheme of perjury, That faith doth reel; the very name of God Sounds like a juggler's charm; and, bold with joy, Forth from his dark and lonely hiding-place, (Portentous sight!) the owlet Atheism, Sailing on obscene wings athwart the noon, Drops his blue-fringed lids, and holds them close, And hooting at the glorious Sun in Heaven, Cries out, - Where is it?”
Thankless too for peace (Peace long preserved by fleets and perilous seas), Secure from actual warfare, we have loved To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war! Alas! for ages ignorant of all Its ghastlier workings (famine or blue plague, Battle, or siege, or slight through wintry snows), We, this whole people, have been clamorous For war and bloodshed; animating sports, The which we pay for as a thing to talk of, Spectators and not combatants! No Guess Anticipative of a wrong unfelt, No speculation or contingency, However dim and vague, too vague and dim To yield a justifying cause; and forth (Stuffed out with big preamble, holy names,
And adjurations of the God in Heaven),
Spare us yet awhile, Father and God! O! spare us yet awhile! Oh! let not English women drag their flight Fainting beneath the burthen of their babes, Of the sweet infants, that but yesterday Laugh'd at the breast! Sons, brothers, husbands, all Who ever gazed with fondness on the forms Which grew up with you round the same fire-side, And all who ever heard the sabbath-bells Without the infidel's scorn, make yourselves pure! Stand forth! be men! repel an impious foe, Impious and false, a light yet cruel race, Who laugh away all virtue, mingling mirth With deeds of murder; and still promising Freedom, themselves too sensual to be free, Poison life's annities, and cheat the heart Of faith and quiet hope, and all that soothes And all that lifts the spirit! Stand we forth; Render them back upon the insulted ocean, And let them toss as idly on its waves As the vile sea-weed, which some mountain-blast Swept from our shores! And oh! may we return Not with a drunken triumph, but with fear, Repenting of the wrongs with which we stung So fierce a foe to frenzy!
I have told,
O Britons! O my brethren! I have told
All change from change of constituted power;
As if a Government had been a robe,
Such have I been deem’d— But, O dear Britain! O my Mother Isle! Needs must thou prove a name most dear and holy To me, a son, a brother, and a friend, A husband, and a father! who revere All bonds of natural love, and find them all Within the limits of thy rocky shores. * -O native Britain' O my Mother Isle! * How shouldst thou prove aught else but dear and holy To me, who from thy lakes and mountain-hills, Thy clouds, thy quiet dales, thy rocks and seas, Have drunk in all my intellectual life, All sweet sensations, all ennobling thoughts, All adoration of the God in nature, All lovely and all honourable things, Whatever makes this mortal spirit feel The joy and greatness of its future being? There lives nor form nor feeling in my soul Unborrow'd from my country. O divine And beauteous island! thou hast been my sole And most magnificent temple, in the which I walk with awe, and sing my stately songs, Loving the God that made me!
May my fears, My filial fears, be vain! and may the vaunts And menace of the vengeful enemy Pass like the gust, that roar'd and died away In the distant tree: which heard, and only heard In this low dell, bow’d not the delicate grass.
But now the gentle dew-fall sends abroad The fruit-like perfume of the golden furze: The light has left the summit of the hill, Though still a sunny gleam lies beautiful, Aslant the ivied beacon. Now farewell, Farewell, awhile, O soft and silent spot! 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 find myself upon the brow, and pause Startled ! And after lonely sojourning In such a quiet and surrounded nook, This burst of prospect, here the shadowy main, Dim-tinted, there the mighty majesty Of that huge amphitheatre of rich And elmy fields, seems like society— Conversing with the mind, and giving it A livelier impulse and a dance of thought ! And now, beloved Stowey! I behold Thy church-tower, and, methinks, the four huge elms
Fine. 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 cattle 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 hiss'd, While crash fell in the roof, I wist, On some of those old bed-rid nurses, That deal in discontent and curses.