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By Time's wild harp, and by the hand
- 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! O'er Nature struggling in portentous birth
But chief by Afric's wrongs,
Strange, horrible, and foul !
By what deep guilt belongs Let slip the storm, and woke the brood of Hell:
To the deaf Synod, 'full of gifts and lies!' And now advance in saintly Jubilee
By Wealth's insensate laugh! by Torture's howl! Justice and Truth! They too have heard thy spell,
For ever shall the thankless Island scorvl,
Her quiver full, and with unbroken bow ?
Speak ! from thy storm-black Heaven, O speak aloud! I mark'd Ambition in his war-array!
And on the darkling foe
of fire from some uncertain cloud ! - Ah! wherefore does the Northern Conqueress stay!
O dart the flash ! O rise and deal the blow!
The Groans not her chariot on its onward way?.
past to thee, to thee the future cries!
Hark! how wide Nature joins her
Rise, God of Nature! rise..
No more on Murder's lurid face
The voice had ceased, the vision Ned;
Yet still I gasp'd and reeld with dread. When human ruin choked the streams,
And ever, when the dream of night Fell in conquest's glutted hour,
Renews the phantom to my sight, 'Mid women's shrieks and infants' screams!
Cold sweat-drops gather on my limbs;
My ears throb hot; my cye-balls start;
My brain with horrid tumult swims;
Wild is the tempest of my heart;
my thick and struggling breath
Imitates the toil of Death ! The exterminating fiend is fled — (Foul her life, and dark her doom)
No stranger agony confounds
The Soldier on the war-held spread,
When all foredone with toil and wounds,
Death-like he dozes among heaps of dead ! Each some tyrant-murderer's fate!
(The strife is o'er, the day-light fled,
And the night-wind clamours hoarse !
See! the starting wretch's head
Lies pillow'd on a brother's corse!)
My soul beheld thy vision! Where alone,
Not yet enslaved, not wholly vile, With many an unimaginable groan
O Albion ! O my mother Isle ! Thou storied'st thy sad hours! Silence ensued,
Thy valleys, fair as Eden's bowers, Deep silence o'er the ethereal multitude,
Glitter green with sunny showers; Whose locks with wreaths, whose wreaths with glories
Thy grassy uplands' gentle swells shone.
Echo to the bleat of flocks Then, his eye wild ardours glancing,
(Those grassy hills, those glittering dells From the choired Gods advancing,
Proudly ramparted with rocks); The Spirit of the Earth made reverence meet,
And Ocean, 'mid his uproar wild And stood up, beautiful, before the cloudy seat.
Speaks safety to his ISLAND-culp!
Hence, for many a fearless age
Ilas social Quiet loved thy shore !
Nor ever proud Invader's rage Hush'd were harp and song:
Or sack'd thy towers, or stain'd thy fields with gore. Till wheeling round the throne the Lampads seven (The mystic Words of Heaven),
At cowardly distance, yet kindling with pride
'Mid thy herds and thy corn-fields secure thou hast stood, And join'd the wild yelling of Famine and Blood ! The nations curse thee! They with eager wondering
Shall hear Destruction, like a Vulture, scream!
Strange-eyed Destruction! who with many a dream Of central fires through nether seas upthundering
Soothes her fierce solitude; yet as she lies
O Albion! thy predestined ruins rise,
The Monarchs march'd in evil day,
And Britain join'd the dire array;
Had swoln the patriot emotion,
To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance,
But bless'd the pæans of deliver'd France,
Away, my soul, away!
Away, my soul, away!
With daily prayer and daily toil
Soliciting for food my scanty soil,
Have waild my country with a loud lament. Now I recentre
my immortal mind In the deep sabbath of meek self-content; Cleansed from the vaporous passions that bedim God's Image, sister of the Seraphim.
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 ber front deep-scarr'd and gory
When, insupportably advancing,
While timid looks of fury glancing,
crush'd beneath her fatal stamp, Writhed like a wounded dragon in his gore;
Then I reproachi'd my fears that would not flee;
Shall France compel the nations to be free,
Ya Clouds! that far above me float and
pause, Whose pathless march no mortal may controul!
Ye Ocean-Waves! that, wheresoe'er ye roll, Yield homage only to eternal laws! Ye Woods! that listen to the night-birds' singing,
Midway the smooth and perilous slope reclined, Save when your own imperious branches swinging,
Have made a solemn music of the wind!
How oft, pursuing fancies holy,
Inspired, beyond the guess of folly, By each rude shape and wild unconquerable sound! O ye loud Waves! and Oye Forests high!
And 0 ye Clouds that far above me soar'd!
Yea, every thing that is and will be free!
The spirit of divinest Liberty.
I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament,
From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns sent-
Heroes, that for your peaceful country perish'd; And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain-snows
With bleeding wowds; forgive me that I cherish'd One thought that ever bless'd your cruel foes !
To scatter rage, and traitorous guilt,
A patriot-race to disinherit
And with inexpiable spirit
And patriot only in pernicious toils !
To mix with Kings in the low lust of sway,
From freemen torn; to tempt and to betray?
And with that oath, which smote air, earth and sea,
strong foot and said she would be free, Bear witness for me, how I hoped and fear'd! With what a joy my lofty gratulation
Unawed I sang, amid a slavish band :
Like fiends embattled by a wizard's wand,
V. 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 por swell'st the victor's strain, nor ever
Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee
Alike from Priestcraft's harpy minions,
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 brecze 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. February, 1797
FEARS IN SOLITUDE.
WRITTEN IN APRIL, 1798, DURING THE ALARM OF
Even now, perchance, and in his native isle:
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 Engulfd in Courts, Committees, Institutions, Associations and Societies, A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-reporting Guild, One Benefit-Club for mutual flattery, We have drunk
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 preachd, Are multer'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 pame 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?»
A GREEN and silent spot, amid the hills,
his senses gradually wrapt
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 ghasilier workings (famine or blue plague, Batlle, or siege, or flight 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),
• As if a Government had been a robe,
Such have I been deem'dBut, О dear Britain! O my Mother Isle! Needs must thou prove a name most dear and holyTo 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!
Spare us yet awhile, Father and God! 0! 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 grey 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 aunities, 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!
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 : wbich heard, and only heard In this low dell, bow'd not the delicate grass.
I have told, O Britons! O my brethren! I have told Most bitter truth, but without bitterness. Nor deem my zeal or factious or mis-timed; For never can true courage dwell with them, Who, playing tricks with conscience, dare not look At their own vices. We have been too long Dupes of a deep delusion! Some, belike, Groaning with restless enmity, expect All change from change of constituted power;
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 greep sheep-track, up the heathy hill, Homeward I wind my way; and lo! recalls 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 societyConversing 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
Letters four do form his name.
Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend:
Nether Stowey, April 28th, 1798.
FIRE, FAMINE, AND SLAUGHTER.
A WAR ECLOGUE.
WITH AN APOLOGETIC PREFACE.
The Scene a desolated Tract in La Vendée. FAMINE is Whisper it, sister! in our ear. discovered lying on the ground ; to her enier Fire
FAMINE. and SLAUGHTER.
A baby beat its dying mother:
I had starved the one, and was starving the other! SISTERS! sisters! who sent you
Who bade you do 't?
The same! the same!
Letters four do form his name.
He let me loose, and cried Halloo !
To him alone the praise is due. 'T will make a holiday in Hell.
No! no! no!
Sisters! I from Ireland came!
Hedge and corn-fields all on flame, Leap'd up at once in anarchy,
I triumph'd o'er the setting sun! Clapp'd their hands and danced for glee.
And all the while the work was done, They no longer heeded me;
On as I strode with my huge strides, But laugh'd to hear Hell's burning rafters
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, 'T will make a holiday in Hell!
Scared by the red and noisy light!
Was many a naked rebel shot :
The house-stream met the flame and hiss'd, In a dark hint, soft and slow.
While crash ! fell in the roof, I wist,
On some of those old bed-rid purses,
That deal in discontent and curses.
The same! the same! SLAUGHTER.
Letters four do form his name. He came by stealth, and unlock'd my den,
He let me loose, and cried Halloo! And I have drunk the blood since then
To h:m alone the praise is due. Of thrice three hundred thousand men.