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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 ?

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 endeavor
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.
February, 1797.

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 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
For such a man, who would full fain preserve

What uproar

way or that

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

and what strife may now be stirring This

way

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

poor

man's life For gold, as at a market! The sweet words Of Christian promise, words that even yet

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Might stem destruction, were they wisely preached,
Are muttered 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 name 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, Wher is it ?”

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,
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 attach 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,
Passed off to Heaven, translated and not killed !
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 wbat 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!

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