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Throughout the blissful throng,
Hushed were harp and song:
Till wheeling round the throne the Lampads seven,
(The mystic Words of Heaven)
Permissive signal make: The fervent Spirit bowed, then spread his wings and spake! "Thou in stormy blackness throning
Love and uncreated Light,
By the Earth's unsolaced groaning,
Seize thy terrors, Arm of might!
By peace with proffered 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 guilt belongs
To the deaf Synod, 'full of gifts and lies!'
By wealth's insensate laugh! by torture's howl!
For ever shall the thankless Island scowl,
Her quiver full, and with unbroken bow?
Speak! from thy storm-black Heaven O speak aloud!
And on the darkling foe
Open thine eye of fire from some uncertain cloud!
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 filed;
Yet still I gasped and reeled with dread.
And ever, when the dream of night
Renews the phantom to my sight,
Cold sweat-drops gather on my limbs ;
My ears throb hot; my eye-balls start;
My brain with horrid tumult swims;
Wild is the tempest of my heart ;
And my thick and struggling breath
Imitates the toil of death!
No stranger agony confounds
The soldier on the war-field spread,
When all foredone with toil and wounds,
Death-like he dozes among heaps of dead ! (The strife is o'er, the day-light fled,
And the night-wind clamours hoarse ! See ! the starting wretch's head
Lies pillowed on a brother's corse !)
Not yet enslaved, not wholly vile,
O Albion ! O my mother Isle !
Thy valleys, fair as Eden's bowers,
Glitter green with sunny showers;
Thy grassy uplands' gentle swells
Écho 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 island-child.
Hence for many a fearless age
Has social Quiet loved thy shore ;
Nor ever proud invader's rage
Or sacked thy towers, or stained thy fields with gore.
Abandoned 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 joined 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 distempered triumph in her charmed sleep.
Away, my soul, away!
In vain, in vain the birds of warning sing-
And hark! I hear the famished 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 wailed 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.
VE Clouds! that far above me float and pause,
Whose pathless march no mortal may control!
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 Oye clouds that far above me soared !
Thou rising Sun ! thou blue rejoicing Sky!
Yea, every thing that is and will be free!
Bear witness for me, wheresoe'er ye be,
With what deep worship I have still adored
The spirit of divinest Liberty.
When France in wrath her giant-limbs upreared,
And with that oath, which smote air, earth and sca,
Stamped her strong foot and said she would be free,
Bear witness for me, how I hoped and feared !
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,
The Monarchs marched in evil day,
And Britain joined the dire array ;
Though dear her shores and circling ocean,
Though many friendships, many youthful loves
Had swol'n the patriot emotion
And flung a magic light o'er all her hills and groves;
Yet still my voice, unaltered, sang defeat
To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance,
And shame too long delayed and vain retreat !
For ne'er, O Liberty! with partial aim
I dimmed thy light or damped thy holy flame;
But blessed the pæans of delivered France,
And hung my head and wept at Britain's name.
" 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 ye hid his light !”
And when, to soothe my soul, that hoped and tremvied, The dissonance ceased, and all seemed calm and bright;
When France her front deep-scarr'd and gory
Concealed 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, crushed beneath her fatal stamp,
Writhed like a wounded dragon in his gore;
Then I reproached my fears that would no
"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 own.”
Forgive me, Freedom! O forgive those dreams !
I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament,
From bleak Helvetia's icy cavern sent-
I hear thy groans upon her blood-stained streams !
Heroes, that for your peaceful country perished,
And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain-snows
With bleeding wounds ; forgive me, that I cherished
One thought that ever blessed 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?
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,
(Nor 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 travelled 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.
WRITTEN IN APRIL, 1798, DURING THE ALARM OF AN INVASION.
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 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 ! 'tis 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 withered 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 oer 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 ;
Chat 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 :