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'Mid thy herds and thy corn-fields secure thou hast The Monarchs march'd in evil day, stood,
And Britain joined the dire array ; And join'd the wild yelling of Famine and Blood ! Though dear her shores and circling ocean, The nations curse thee! They with eager wondering Though many friendships, many youthful loves
Shall hear Destruction, like a Vulturë, scream! Had swoln the patriot emotion,
Strange-eyed Destruction! who with many a dream And flung a magic light o'er all her hills and groves.
To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance, By livid fount, or red volcanic stream,
And shame too long delay'd and vain retreat! If ever to her lidless dragon-eyes,
For ne'er, O Liberty! with partial aim O Albion! thy predestin'd ruins rise,
I dimm'd thy light or damp'd thy holy flame, The fiend-hag on her perilous couch doth leap, But bless'd the pæans of deliver'd France. Muttering distemper'd triumph in her charmed sleep. And hung my head and wept at Britain's name.
“And what," I said, “ though Blasphemy's loud screeni In vain, in vain, the Birds of warning sing- With that sweet music of deliverance strove! And hark! I hear the famish'd brood of prey
Though all the fierce and drunken passions wore Flap their lank pennons on the groaning wind! A dance more wild than e'er was maniac's dream Away, my soul, away!
Ye storms, that round the dawning east assembled I, unpariaking of the evil thing,
The Sun was rising, though he hid his light!
And when, to soothe my soul, that hoped and
trembled, Have wail'd my country with a loud lament. The dissonance ceased, and all seem'd calm any Now I recentre my immortal mind
bright; In the deep sabbath of meek self-content;
When France her front deep-scarr'd and gory Cleans'd from the vaporous passions that bedim
Conceal'd with clustering wreaths of glory ; God's Image, sister of the Seraphim.
When, insupportably advancing,
While timid looks of fury glancing,
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, 1.
Shall France compel the nations to be free, Ye Clouds! that far above me float and pause,
Till Love and Joy look round, and call the Earth
their own." Whose pathless march no mortal may control!
Ye Ocean-Waves! that, wheresoe'er ye roll, Yield homage only to eternal laws!
IV. Ye Woods! that listen to the night-birds' singing, Forgive me, Freedom! O forgive those dreams !
Midway the smooth and perilous slope reclined, I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament, Save when your own imperious branches swinging, From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns sentHave made a solemn music of the wind !
I hear thy groans upon her blood-stain'd streams! Where, like a man beloved of God,
Heroes, that for your peaceful country perish'd Through glooms, which never woodman trod, And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain-snows How oft, pursuing fancies holy,
With bleeding wounds; forgive me that I cherish'd My moonlight way o'er flowering weeds I wound, One thought that ever bless'd your cruel foes! Inspired, beyond the guess of folly,
To scatter rage, and traitorous guilt,
A patriot race to disinherit
And with inexpiable spirit
O France, that mockest Heaven, adulterous, blind, With what deep worship I have still ador'd And patriot only in pernicious toils ! The spirit of divinest Liberty.
Are these thy boasts, Champion of human-kind ?
To mix with Kings in the low lust of sway, II.
Yell in the hunt, and share the murderous prey ; When France in wrath her giant-limbs upreard,
To insult the shrine of Liberty with spoils And with that oath, which smote air, earth and sea,
From Freemen torn; to tempt and to betray? Stamp'd her strong foot and said she would be free, Bear witness for me, how I hoped and fear'd !
V. With what a joy my lofty gratulation
The Sensual and the Dark rebel in vain Unaw'd I sang, amid a slavish band :
Slaves hy their own compulsion! In mad game And when to whelm the disenchanted nation,
They burst their manacles and wear the name Like fiends embattled by a wizard's wand,
of Freedom, graven on a heavier chain!
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 Priestcraft's harpy minions, And been most tyrannous. From east to west And factious Blasphemy's obscener slaves, A groan of accusation pierces Heaven! Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions,
The wretched plead against us; multitudes Tre 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'a 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 pangs, 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
Ingulf'd in Courts, Committees, Institutions,
Associations and Societies,
Pollutions from the brimming cup of wealth ;
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
or Christian promise, words that even yet
Might stem destruction were they wisely preachd, A GREEN and silent spot, amid the hills,
Are mutier'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 scoffers some, but most too indolent The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope,
To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth. 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! 'tis 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 name 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,
Cries out, “ Where is it?"
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
Its ghastlier workings (famine or blue plague,
We, this whole people, have been clamorous
For war and bloodshed; animating sports,
Anticipative of a wrong unselt,
(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 yield them worship, they are enemies
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 adoration of the God in nature,
All lovely and all honorable things,
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 sole
my Who ever gazed with fondness on the forms
And moet magnificent temple, in the which Which grew up with you round the same fire-side,
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
Pass like the gust, that roard and died away
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.
But now the gentle dow-fall sends abroad
The fruit-like perfume of the golden furze :
On the green sheep-track, up the heathy hill,
From bodings that have well-nigh wearied me,
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 my 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
A livelier impulse and a dance of thought!
| Thy church-tower, and, methinks, the four huge elma
Letters four do form his name.
Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend,
Nether Slowey, April 28th, 1798.
Thanks, sister, thanks! the men have bled,
FIRE, FAMINE, AND SLAUGHTER.
A WAR ECLOGUE.
WITH AN APOLOGETIC PREFACE.*
Whisper it, sister! in our ear. The Scene a desolated Tract in La Vendée. FAMINE
is discovered lying on the ground ; to her enter FIRE
A baby beat its dying mother.
The same! the same!
No! no! no!
No! no! no!
No! no! no!
With uncouth gallop through the night,
FAMINE. Whisper it, sister! so and so! In a dark hint, soft and slow.
SLAUGHTER. Letters four do form his nameAnd who sent you ?
Who bade you do't?
The same! the same!
Who bade you do it?
* See Appendix to " Sibylline Leaves."
* 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 acquiring from meet the Devil, you may either cut him in half with a straw, or the sermons in the pulpit, and the proclamations on the you may cause him instantly to disappear by spitting over his