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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 !
But thou nor swell'st the victor's strain, nor ever
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
O Liberty ! my spirit felt thee there.
FEARS IN SOLITUDE. WRITTEN IN APRIL, 1798, DURING THE ALARM OF
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 cornfield, 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 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 ! And so, 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 !
My God! it is a melancholy thing
way or that
His soul in calmness, yet perforce must feel
and what strife may now be stirring This
o'er these silent hillsInvasion, 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 : 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, Steamed up 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 Engulfed in courts, committees, institutions, Associations and societies, A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-reporting guild, One benefit-club for mutual flattery, We have drunk up, demure as at a grace, Pollutions from the brimming cup of wealth; Contemptuous of all honorable rule, Yet bartering freedom and the
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 preached,
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 ghastlier workings (famine or blue plague, Battle, 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,