Imágenes de páginas

By Time's wild harp, and by the hand

- Thou in stormy blackness throning
Whose indefatigable sweep

Love and uncreated Light,
Raises its fateful strings from sleep,

By the Earth's unsolaced groaning,
I bid you haste, a mix'd tumultuous band !

Seize thy terrors, Arm of might!
From every private bower,

By Peace with proffer'd insult scared,
And each domestic hearth,

Masked Hate and envying Scorn!
Haste for one solemn hour;

By Years of Havoc yet unborn!
And with a loud and yet a louder voice,

And Hunger's bosom to the frost-winds bared! O'er Nature struggling in portentous birth

But chief by Afric's wrongs,
Weep and rejoice!

Strange, horrible, and foul !
Still echoes the dread Name that o'er the earth

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,

Avenger, rise!
They too obey thy name,
Divinest Liberty!

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
I heard the mailed Monarchi's troublous cry-

Open thine


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
Fly, mailed Monarch, fly!



Rise, God of Nature! rise..
Stunn'd by Death's twice mortal mace,

No more on Murder's lurid face
The insatiate hag shall gloat with drunken eye!

Manes of the unnumber'd slain!
Ye that gasp'd on Warsaw's plain!

The voice had ceased, the vision Ned;
Ye that erst at Ismail's tower,

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;
Spirits of the uncoffin'd slain,

My ears throb hot; my cye-balls start;
Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,

My brain with horrid tumult swims;
Oft, at night, in misty train,

Wild is the tempest of my heart;

Rush around her narrow dwelling!

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
Mighty armies of the dead

The Soldier on the war-held spread,
Dance like death-fires round her tomb!

When all foredone with toil and wounds,
Then with prophetic song relate,

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!)
Departing Year!'t was on no earthly shore

My soul beheld thy vision! Where alone,
Voiceless and stern, before the cloudy throne,

Aye Memory sits : thy robe inscribed with gore,

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 !
Throughout the blissful throng,

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),

Permissive signal make :
The fervent Spirit bow'd, then spread his wings and Abandon'd of Heaven! mad Avarice thy guide,

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
By livid fount, or red volcanic stream,
If ever to her lidless dragon-eyes,

O Albion! thy predestined ruins rise,
The fiend-hag on her perilous couch doth leap,
Muttering distemper'd triumph in her charmed sleep.

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 pæans of deliver'd France,
And hung my head and wept at Britain's name.


Away, my soul, away!
In vain, in vain the Birds of warning sing-
And hark! I hear the famish'd brood of prey
Flap their lank pennons on the groaning wind !

Away, my soul, away!
I, unpartaking of the evil thing,

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
Conceald 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 reproachi'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





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!
Where, like a man beloved of God,
Through glooms, which never woodman trod,

How oft, pursuing fancies holy,
My moonlight way o'er flowering weeds I wound,

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!
Thou rising Sun! thou blue rejoicing Sky!

Yea, every thing that is and will be free!
Bear witness for me, wheresoe'er
With what deep worship I have still adored

The spirit of divinest Liberty.

Forgive me, Freedom ! O forgive those dreams!

I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament,

From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns sent-
I hear thy 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 wowds; 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, dat 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?

ye be,

When France in wrath her giant-limbs uprear'd,

And with that oath, which smote air, earth and sea,
Stamp'd her

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 :
And when to whelm the disenchanted nation,

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
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 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



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,


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,
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 pow 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 Weath,
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!

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!

[blocks in formation]

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),
We send our mandates for the certain death
Of thousands and ten thousands! Boys and girls,
And women, that would groan to see a child
Pull off an insect's leg, all read of war,
The best amusement for our morning-meal!
The poor wretch, who has learnt his only prayers
From curses, who knows scarcely words enough
To ask a blessing from his Heavenly Father,
Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute
And technical in victories and defeats,
And all our dainty terms for fratricide;
Terms which we trundle smoothly o'er our tongues
Like mere abstractions, empty sounds to which
We join no feeling and allach no form!
As if the soldier died without a wound;
As if the fibres of this godlike frame
Were gored without a pang; as if the wretch,
Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds,
Pass'd off to Heaven, translated and not killd;
As though he had no wife to pine for him,
No God to judge him! Therefore, evil days
Are coming on us, O my countrymen!
And what if all-avenging Providence,
Strong and retributive, should make us know
The meaning of our words, force us to feel
The desolation and the agony
Of our fierce doings!

• As if a Government had been a robe,
On which our vice and wretchedness were taggʻd
Like fancy points and fringes, with the robe
Pull'd off at pleasure. Fondly these attach
A radical causation to a few
Poor drudges of chastising Providence,
Who bor ow all their bues and qualities
From our own folly and rank wickedness,
Which gave them birth and nursed them. Others,

Dote with a mad idolatry; and all
Who will not fall before their images,
And yield them worship, they are enemies
Even of their country!

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.

[ocr errors]

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.
He let me loose, and cried Halloo !
To him alone the praise is due.

Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend:
And close behind them, hidden from my view,
Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe
And my babe's mother dwell in peace! With light
And quicken's footsteps thitherward I tend,
Remembering thee, O green and silent dell!
And grateful, that, by nature's quietness
And solitary musings, all my heart
Is soften'd, and made worthy to indulge
Love, and the thoughts that yearn for human kind.

Nether Stowey, April 28th, 1798.

Thanks, sister, thanks! the men have bled,
Their wives and their children faint for bread.
I stood in a swampy field of battle;
With bones and skulls I made a rattle,
To frighten the woif and carrion-crow,
And the homeless dog-but they would not go.
So off I flew; for how could I bear
To see them gorge their dainty fare?
I heard a groan and a peevish squall,
And through the chink of a cottage-wall-
Can you guess what I saw there?










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


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?
I will whisper it in her ear.

The same! the same!

Letters four do form his name.
No! no! no!

He let me loose, and cried Halloo !
Spirits hear what spirits tell :

To him alone the praise is due. 'T will make a holiday in Hell.

No! no! no!
Myself, I named him once below,

Sisters! I from Ireland came!
And all the souls, that damned be,

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,
Unwillingly re-echo laughters !

It was so rare a piece of fun
No! no! no!

To see the swelter'd cattle run
Spirits hear what spirits tell :

With uncouth gallop through the night, 'T will make a holiday in Hell!

Scared by the red and noisy light!
By the light of his own blazing cot

Was many a naked rebel shot :
Whisper it, sister! so and so!

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.
Letters four do form his name-
And who sent you ?

Who bade


do 't?
The same! the same!


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.



[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »