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Those who transgress her law,—she only knows llow justly to proportion to the fault The punishment it merits.
And seems itself a city. Gloomy troops
Is it strange That this poor wretch should pride bim in his woe? Take pleasure in his abjectness, and hug The scorpion that consumes him? Is it strange That, placed on a conspicuous throne of thorns, Grasping an iron sceptre, and immured Within a splendid prison, whose stern bounds Shut him from all that's good or dear on earth, His soul asserts not its humanity? That man's mild nature rises not in war Against a king's employ? No-' is not strange. Hle, like the vulgar, thinks, feels, acts and lives Just as his father did; the unconquer'd powers Of precedent and custom interpose Between a king and virtue. Stranger yet, To those who know not nature, nor deduce The future from the present, it may seem, That not one slave, who suffers from the crimes Of this unnatural being; not one wretch, Whose children famish, and whose nuptial bed Is earth's inpitying bosom, rears an arm To dash him from his throne!
Now to the meal Of silence, grandeur, and excess, he drags His palld unwilling appetite. If gold, Gleaming around, and numerous viands culla From every clime, could force the loathing sense To overcome satiety, --if wealth The spring it draws from poisons not,-or vice, Unfeeling, stubborn vice, converteth not Its food to deadliest venom; then that king Is happy; and the peasant who fulfills His unforced task, when he returns at even, And by the blazing faggot meets again Her welcome for whom all his toil is sped, Tastes not a sweeter meal.
Those gilded flies That, basking in the sunshine of a court, Fatten on ils corruption !-what are they?
– The drones of the community; they feed On the mechanic's labour: the starved hind For them compels the stubborn glebe to yield Its unshared harvests; and yon squalid form, Leaner than fleshless misery, that wastes A supless life in the unwholesome mine, Drags out in labour a protracted death, To glut their grandeur; many faint with toil, That few may know the cares and woe of sloth.
Behold him now Stretch'd on the gorgeous couch; his fever'd brain Reels dizzily awhile: but alı! too soon The slumber of intemperance subsides, And conscience, that undying serpent, calls Her venomous brood to their nocturnal task. Listen! he speaks! oh! mark that frenzied eyeOh! mark that adly visage.
No cessation ! Oh! must this last for ever! Awful death, I wish, yet fear to clasp thee!—Not one moment Of dreamless sleep! O dear and blessed peace! Why dost thou shroud thy vestal purity In penury and dungeons ? wherefore lurkest With danger, death, and solitude; yet shunn'st The palace I have built thee! Sacred peace! Oh visit me but once, but pitying shed One drop of balm upon my withier'd soul. Vain man! that palace is the virtuous heart, And peace defiletlı not her snowy robes In such a shed as thine. Hark! yet he mutters; His slumbers are but varied agonies, They prey like scorpions on the springs of life. There needeth not the hell that bigots frame To punish those who err: earth in itself Contains at once the evil and the cure; And all-sufficing nature can chastise
Whence, thinkest thou, kings and parasites arose ?
and happiness and harmony;
Where is the fame Which the vain-glorious mighty of the earth Seek to eternize? Oh! the faintest sound From time's light footfall, the minutest wave
That swells the flood of ages, whelms in nothing
The snakes that gnaw his heart; he raiseth up
The virtuous man, Who, great in his humility, as kings Are little in their grandeur; he who leads lovincibly a life of resolute good, And stands amid the silent dungeon-depths More free and fearless than the trembling judge, Who, clothed in venal power, vainly strore To bind the impassive spirit; -when he falls, His mild eye beams benevolent no more : Wither'd the hand outstretch'd but to relieve; Sunk reason's simple eloquence, that rollid But to appal the guilty. Yes! the grave Hath quench'd that eye, and death's relentless frost Wither'd that arm: but the unfading fame Which virtue hangs upon its votary's tomb; The deathless
memory of that man, whom kings Call to their mind and tremble; the remembrance With which the happy spirit contemplates Its well-spent pilgrimage on earth, Shall never pass away.
Spirit of Nature ! no, The
pure diffusion of thy essence throbs Alike in every human heari,
Thou, aye, erectest there
Is powerless as the wind
That passeth idly by.
As God surpasses man,
Nature rejects the monarch, not the man;
Spirit of Nature! thou Life of interminable multitudes;
Soul of those mighty spheres
The dwelling of whose life
Man, like these passive things,
Will swiftly, surely come;
Will be without a flaw Marring its perfect symmetry.
When Nero, High over flaming Rome, with savaye joy Lower'd like a fiend, drank with enraptured ear The shrieks of agonizing death, beheld The frightful desolation spread, and felt A new created sense within his soul Thrill to the sight, and vibrate to the sound; Thinkest thou his grandeur had not overcome The force of human kindness ? and, when Rome, With one stern blow, hurl'd not the tyrant down, Crush'd not the arm redewith her dearest blood, Had not submissive abjectness destroy'd Nature's suggestions?
How beautiful this night! the balmiest sigli,
Look on yonder earth: The golden harvests spring; the unfailing sun Sheds light and life; the fruits, the flowers, the trees, Arise in due succession ; all things speak Peace, harmony, and love. The universe, In nature's silent eloquence, declares That all fulfil the works of love and joy,All but the outcast man. He fabricates The sword which stabs his peace; he cherisheth
The orb of day,
Which desolates the discord-wasted land. In southern climes, o'er ocean's waveless field
From kings, and priests, and statesmen, war arose, Sinks sweetly smiling : not the faintest breath
Whose safety is man's deep unbetter'd woe, Stcals o'er the unruftled deep; the clouds of eve Whose grandeur his debasement.
Let the axe Retlect unmoved the lingering beam of day;
Strike at the root, the poison-iree will fall; And Vesper's image on the western main
And where its venom'd exhalations spread Is beautifully still. To-morrow comes :
Ruin, and death, and woe, where millions lay Cloud upon cloud, in dark and deepening mass, Quenching the serpent's famine, and their bones Roll o'er the blacken'd waters; the deep roar
Bleaching unburied in the putrid blast, Of distant thunder mutters awfully;
A garden shall arise, in loveliness
Surpassing fabled Eden.
Hath Nature's soul,
That form'd this world so beautiful, that spread Beneath ils jagged gulf.
Earth's lap with plenty, and life's smallest chord
Strung to unchanging unison, that gave
The happy birds their dwelling in the grove,
That yielded to the wanderers of the deep Blotting the silver moon? The stars are quench'd
The lovely silence of the unfathom'd main, In darkness, and the pure and spangling snow
And fill'd the meanest worm that crawls in dust Gleams faintly through the gloom that gathers round!
With spirit, thought, and love; On Man alone, Hark to that roar, whose swift and deaf ning peals
Partial in causeless malice, wantonly In countless echoes through the mountains ring,
Heap'd ruin, vice, and slavery; his soul Startling pale midnight on her starry throne!
Blasted with withering curses; placed afar Now swells the intermingling din ; the jar
The meteor-happiness, that shuns his grasp, Frequent and frightful of the bursting bomb;
But serving on the frightful gulf to glare, The falling beam, the shriek, the groan,
Rent wide beneath his footsteps ?
Nature!--no! The discord
Grows; till pale death shuts the scene, And o'er the conqueror and the conquer'd draws
Kings, priests, and statesmen, blast the human lower
Even in its tender bud; their influence darts
Like subtle poison through the bloodless veins
Of desolate society. The child, That beat with apxious life at sun-sel there;
Erc he can lisp his mother's sacred name, How few survive, how few are beating now!
Swells with the unnatural pride of crime, and lifts All is deep silence, like the fearful calm
His haby-sword even in a hero's mood. That slumbers in the storm's portentous pause;
This infant-arm becomes the bloodiest scourge
Of devastated carth; whilst specious names,
Learni in soft childhood's unsuspecting hour,
Serve as the sophisms with which manhood dims Wrapt round its struggling powers.
Bright reason's ray, and sanctifies the sword
Upraised to shed a brother's innocent blood.
Let priest-led slaves cease to proclaim that man Dawns on the mournful scene! the sulphurous smoke
Inherits vice and misery, when force
And falsehood hang even o'er the cradled babe,
Stilling with rudest grasp all natural good.
Ah! to the stranger-soul, when first it peeps
From its new tenement, and looks abroad Death's self could change not, mark the dreadful path For happiness and sympathy, how stern Of the outsallying victors: far behind,
And desolate a tract is this wide world! Black ashes note where their proud city stood.
How wither'd all the buds of natural good! Within yon forest is a gloomy glen
No shade, no shelter from the sweeping storms Each tree which guards its darkness from the day, Of pitiless power! On its wretched frame, Waves o'er a warrior's tomb.
Poison'd, perchance, by the disease and woe
Beap'd on the wretched parent whence it sprung
winds Surpassing Spirit!-wert thou human else?
Of heaven, that renovate the insect tribes, I see a shade of doubt and horror fleet
May breathe not. The untainting light of day Across thy stainless features : yet fear not;
Vay visit not its longings. It is bound This is no unconnected misery,
Ere it has life: yea, all the chains are forged Nor stands uncaused, and irretrievable.
Long ere its being : all liberty and love Man's evil nature, that apology
And peace is torn from its defencelessness; Which kings who rule, and cowards who crouch, set up Cursed from its birth, even from its cradle doom'd For their unnumber'd crimes, sheds not the blood To abjectness and bondage!
Throughout this varied and eternal world
has remain d. The moveless pillar of a mountain's weight Is active, living spirit. Every grain Is sentient both in unity and part, And the minutest atom comprehends A world of loves and hatreds; these beget Evil and good: hence truth and falsehood spring; Hence will and thought and action, all the germs Of pain or pleasure, sympathy or bale, That variegate the eternal universe. Soul is not more polluted than the beams Of heaven's pure orb, ere round their rapid lines The taint of earth-born atmospheres arise.
grave and hoary-headed hypocrites, Without a hope, a passion, or a love, Who, through a life of luxury and lies, Have crept by tlattery to the seats of power, Support the system wlience their honours flowThey have three words :-well tyrants know their use, Well pay them for the loan, with usury Torn from a bleeding world! – God, Hell, and Heaven. A vengeful, pitiless, and almighty fiend, Whose mercy is a nick-name for the rage Of tameless tigers hungering for blood. Hell, a red gulf of everlasting fire, Where poisonous and undying worms prolong Eternal misery to those bapless slaves Whose life bas been a penance for its crimes. And Heaven, a meed for those wlio dare belie Their human nature, quake, believe, and cringe Before the mockeries of earthly power.
Man is of soul and body, form'd for deeds
These tools the tyrant tempers to his work,
They rise, they fall; one generation comes
War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade, And, to those royal murderers, whose mean tlırones Are bought by crimes of treachery and gore, The bread they eat, the staff on which they lean. Guards, garb'd in blood-red livery, surround Their palaces, participate the crimes That force defends, and from a nation's rage Secures the crown, which all the curses reach That famine, frenzy, woe and penury breathe. These are the hired bravoes who defend The tyrant's throne (3)—the bullies of his fear: These are the sinks and channels of worst vice, The refuse of society, the dreys Of all that is most vile: their cold hearts blend Deceit with sternness, ignorance with pride, All that is mean and villanous, with rage Which hopelessness of good, and self-contempi, Alone might kindle; they are deck'd in wealth, Honour and power, then are sent abroad To do their work. The pestilence that stalks In gloomy triumph through some eastern land Is less destroying. They cajole with gold, And promises of fame, the thoughtless youth Already crush'd with servitude: he knows His wretchedness too late, and cherishes Repentance for his ruin, when his doom Is seal'd in gold and blood ! These too the tyrant serve, who, skill'd to snare The feet of justice in the toils of law, Stand, ready to oppress the weaker still; And, right or wrong, will vindicate for gold, Sneering at public virtue, which beneath Their pitiless tread lies torn and trampled, where Honour sits smiling at the sale of truth.
Look to thyself, priest, conqueror, or prince!
Gold is a living god, and rules in scorn All earthly things but virtue.
V. Taus do the generations of the earth Go to the grave, and issue from the womb, (4) Surviving still the imperishable change That renovates the world, even as the leaves Which the keen frost-wind of the waning year Has scatter'd on the forest soil, (5) and heap'd For many seasons there, though long they choke, Loading with loathsome rottenness the land, All germs of promise. Yet when the tall trees From which they fell, shorn of their lovely shapes, Lie level with the earth to moulder there, They fertilize the land they long deform’d, Till from the breathing lawn a forest springs of youth, integrity, and loveliness, Like that which gave it life, lo spring and die. Thus suicidal selfishness, that blights The fairest feelings of the opening heart, Is destined to decay, whilst from the soil Shall spring all virtue, all delight, all love, And judgment cease to wage unnatural war With passion's unsubduable array.
Since tyrants, by the sale of human life,
grace the proud and noisy pomp of wealth!
Twin-sister of religion, selfishness!
The harmony and happiness of man
Hence commerce springs, the venal interchange
And statesmen boast Of wealth : () The wordy eloquence that lives After the ruin of their hearts, can gild The bitter poison of a nation's woe, Can turn the worship of the servile mob To their corrupt and glaring idol fame, From virtue, trampled by its iron tread, Although its dazzling pedestal be raised Amid the liorrors of a limb-strewn field, With desolated dwellings smoking round. The man of case, who, by his warın fire-side, To deeds of charitable intercourse And bare fulfilment of the common laws Of decency and prejudice, confines The struggling nature of his human heart, Is duped by their cold sophistry; he sheds A passing tear perchance upon the wreck Of carthly peace, when near his dwelling's door The frightful waves are driven, - when his son Is murder'd by the tyrant, or religion Drives his wife raving mad. (8) But the poor man, Whose life is misery, and fear, and care; Whom the morn wakens but to fruitless toil; Who ever hears his famish'd offspring's scream, Whom their pale mother's uncomplaining gaze For ever meets, and the proud rich man's eye Flashing command, and the heart-breaking scene Of thousands like bimself;- he little heeds The rhetoric of tyranny; his hate Is quencbless as his wrongs; he laughs to scorn The vain and bitter mockcry of words,
Commerce has set the mark of selfishness,