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SPIRIT! who sweepest the wild harp of Time,

It is most hard with an untroubled ear

Thy dark inwoven harmonies to hear! Yet, mine eye fix'd on Heaven's unchanging clime, Long had I listened, free from mortal fear,

With inward stillness, and a bowed mind :

When lo! far onwards waving on the wind I saw the skirts of the DEPARTING YEAR! Starting from


silent sadness Then with no unholy madness, Ere yet the enter'd cloud forbade my sight, I raised th' impetuous song, and solemniz'd his flight.


Hither from the recent tomb,
From the prison's direr gloom,
From poverty's heart-wasting languish,
From distemper's midnight anguish;
Or where his two bright torches blending,

Love illumines manhood's maze ;

• This Ode was written on the 24th, 25th, and 26th days of December, 1796; and published separately on the last day of the year.

Or where o'er cradled infants bending

Hope has fixed her wishful gaze:
Hither, in perplexed dance,
Ye Woes, and young-eyed Joys advance !
By Time's wild harp, and by the band
Whose indefatigable sweep

Forbids its fateful strings to sleep,
I bid you haste, a mix'd tumultuous band;
From every private bower, ,

And cach domestic heartli,
Haste for one solemn hour;
And with a loud and yet a louder voice,
O'er Nature struggling in portentous birth,

Weep and rejoice !
Still echoes the dread name that o'er the earth
Let slip the storm, and woke the brood of Hell;

And now advance in saintly jubilee Justice and Truth! They, too, have heard the spell,

They, too, obey thy name, divinest Liberty !



I mark'd Ambition in his war-array !

I heard the mailed Monarch's troublous cry“ Ah! wherefore does the Northern Conqueress stay! Groans not her chariot o'er its onward way?” Fly; mailed monarch fly!

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 ! Ye that erst at Ismail's tower,

When human ruin chok'd the streams, Fell in conquest's glutted hour,

Mid women's shrieks and infants' screams!

Whose shrieks, whose screams were vain to stir
Loud-laughing, red-eyed Massacre !
Spirits of th' uncoffin'd slain,

Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,
Oft, at night, in misty train,

Rush around her narrow dwelling! Th' exterminating fiend is fled

(Foul her life, and dark her doom) Mighty army of the dead

Dance, like death-fires, round her tomb !
Then with prophetic song relate,
Each some sceptred murderer's fate !



Departing Year! 'twas on no earthly shore

My soul beheld thy vision! Where alone,

Voiceless and stern, before the cloudy throne, Aye Memory sits; there, garmented with gore, With many an unimaginable groan

Thou stored’st thy sad hours ! Silence ensued,

Deep silence o'er th' ethereal multitude, Whose wreathed locks with snow-white glories shon?,

Then, his eye wild ardours glancing,

From the choired gods advancing,
The Spirit of the Earth made reverence meer,
Ana stood up beautiful before the cloudy seat !


On every harp, on every tongue,
While the mute enchantment hung;
Like midnight from a thunder-cloud,
Spake the sudden Spirit loud-
“ Thou in storiny blackness throning

Love and uncreated light,
By the Earth's unsolac'd groaning,

Seize thy terrors, Arm of might!

By Belgium's corse impeded flood !*

By Vendée's steaming brother's blood ! By Peace with proffer'd insult scar'd,

Masked hate and envying scorn!

By years of havoc yet unborn!
And hunger's bosom to the frost-winds bar'd !
But chief by Afric's wrongs,

Strange, horrible, and foul !
By what deep guilt belongs
To the deaf Senate, 'full of gifts and lies!'
By wealth's insensate laugh! by torture's howl !

Avenger, rise !

For ever shall the bloody Island scowl ? For aye, unbroken, shall her cruel bow

Shoot famine's arrows o'er thy ravag'd world? Hark! how wide Nature joins her groans below! Rise, God of Nature, rise! Ah why those bolts

unhurl'd ?"


The voice had ceas’d, the phantoms fled ;
Yet still I gasp'd and reel'd with dread.
And ever, when the dream of night .
Renews the vision to my sight,
Cold sweat-damps 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 toils and wounds,

Death-like he dozes among heaps of dead!

• The Rhine.

(The strife is o'er, the day-light fled,

And the night-wind clamours hoarse ! See! the startful wretch's head

Lies pillowed on a brother's corse !)

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O doom'd to fall, enslav'd and vile,
O Albion ! O my mother Isle !
Thy valleys, fair as Eden's bowers,
Glitter green with sunny showers;
Thy grassy uplands, gentle swells

Echo to the bleat of flocks;
(Those grassy hills, those glittring dells
Proudly ramparted with rocks)

And Ocean mid his uproar wild

Speaks safely to his island-child.
Hence for many a fearless age

Has social quiet lov'd thy shore;
Nor ever sworded foeman's rage
Or sack'd thy towers, or stained thy fields with

Disclaim’d of heaven! mad av'rice at thy side
At coward distance, yet with kindling pride-
Safe 'mid thy herds and corn-fields thou hast stood,
And join'd the yell of famine and of blood !

All nations curse thee; and with eager wond'ring
Shall hear Destruction, like a vulture, scream !
Strange-eyed Destruction, who with many a dream

Of central fires thro' nether seas upthund'ring
Soothes her fierce solitude; yet, as she lies

By livid fount, or roar of blazing stream,
If ever to her lidless dragon-eyes,
O Albion ! thy predestin'd ruins rise,
The fiend-hag on her perilous couci doua leap,
Mutt'ring distemper'd triumph in her charmed


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