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To forms of beauty, and by sensual wants
Unsensualized the mind, which in the means
Learnt to forget the grossness of the end,
Best pleasured with its own activity.
And hence Disease that withers manhood's arm,
The daggered Envy, spirit-quenching Want,
Warriors, and Lords, and Priests-all the sore ills
That vex and desolate our mortal life.
Wide-wasting ills! yet each the immediate source
Of mightier good. Their keen necessities
To ceaseless action goading human thought,
Have made Earth's reasoning animal her Lord;
And the pale-featured Sage's trembling hand
Strong as a host of armed Deities,
Such as the blind Ionian fabled erst.
From avarice thus, from luxury and war
Sprang heavenly science; and from science freedom.
O'er wakened realms Philosophers and Bards
Spread in concentric circles; they whose souls,
Conscious of their high dignities from God,
Brook not wealth's rivalry! and they who long
Enamored with the charms of order hate
The unseemly disproportion; and whoe'er
Turn with mild sorrow from the victor's car
And the low puppetry of thrones, to muse
On that blest triumph, when the patriot Sage
Called the red lightnings from the o'er-rushing cloud
And dashed the beauteous terrors on the earth
Smiling majestic. Such a phalanx ne'er
Measured firm paces to the calming sound
Of Spartan flute! These on the fated day,
When, stung to rage by pity, eloquent men
Have roused with pealing voice the unnumbered
That toil and groan and bleed, hungry and blind,—
These hushed awhile with patient eye serene
Shall watch the mad careering of the storm;
Then o'er the wild and wavy chaos rush
And tame the outrageous mass, with plastic might
Moulding confusion to such perfect forms,
As erst were wont,-bright visions of the day!—
To float before them, when, the summer noon,
Beneath some arch'd romantic rock reclined,
They felt the sea breeze lift their youthful locks ;
Or in the month of blossoms, at mild eve,
Wandering with desultory feet inhaled.
The wafted perfumes, and the flocks and woods
And many-tinted streams, and setting sun
With all his gorgeous company of clouds
Ecstatic gazed! then homeward as they strayed
Cast the sad eye to earth, and inly mused
Why there was misery in a world so fair.
Ah! far removed from all that glads the sense,
From all that softens or ennobles Man,
The wretched Many! bent beneath their loads
They gape at pageant Power, nor recognise
Their cots' transmuted plunder! From the tree
Of Knowledge, ere the vernal sap had risen,
Rudely disbranched! Blest Society!
Fitliest depictured by some sun-scorched waste,
Where oft majestic through the tainted noon
The Simoom sails, before whose purple pomp
Who falls not prostrate dies! And where by
Fast by each precious fountain on green herbs
The lion couches; or hyæna dips
Deep in the lucid stream his bloody jaws;
Or serpent plants his vast moon-glittering bulk,
Caught in whose monstrous twine Behemoth* yells, His bones loud-crashing!
O ye numberless, Whom foul oppression's ruffian gluttony, Drives from life's plenteous feast!
Who nursed in darkness and made wild by want,
Roamest for prey, yea thy unnatural hand
Dost lift to deeds of blood! O pale-eyed form,
The victim of seduction, doomed to know
Polluted nights and days of blasphemy!
Who in loathed orgies with lewd wassailers
Must gaily laugh, while thy remembered home
O aged women! ye who weekly catch
The morsel tossed by law-forced charity,
And die so slowly, that none call it murder!
O loathly suppliants! ye, that unreceived
Totter heart-broken from the closing gates
Of the full Lazar house, or, gazing, stand,
Sick with despair! O ye to glory's field
Forced or ensnared, who, as ye gasp in death,
Bleed with new wounds beneath the vulture's beak!
O thou poor widow, who, in dreams dost view
Thy husband's mangled corse, and from short doze
Start'st with a shriek; or in thy half-thatched cot
Waked by the wintry night-storm, wet and cold,
Cow'rst o'er thy screaming baby! Rest awhile,
Children of wretchedness! More groans must rise,
More blood must stream, or ere your wrongs be full.
Behemoth, in Hebrew, signifies wild beasts in general. Some believe it is the elephant, some the hippopotamus; some affirm it is the wild bull. Poetically, it designates any large quadruped.
Yet is the day of retribution nigh:
The Lamb of God hath opened the fifth seal:
And upward rush on swiftest wing of fire
The innumerable multitude of Wrongs
By man on man inflicted! Rest awhile,
Children of wretchedness! The hour is nigh;
And lo! the great, the rich, the mighty Men,
The Kings and the chief Captains of the World,
With all that fixed on high like stars of Heaven
Shot baleful influence, shall be cast to earth,
Vile and down-trodden, as the untimely fruit
Shook from the fig-tree by a sudden storm.
Even now the storm begins;* each gentle name
Faith and meek Piety, with fearful joy
Tremble far-off-for lo! the giant Frenzy
Uprooting empires with his whirlwind arm
Mocketh high heaven; burst hideous from the cell
Where the old Hag, unconquerable, huge,
Creation's eyeless drudge, black Ruin, sits
Nursing the impatient earthquake.
Pure Faith! meek Piety! The abhorred Form
Whose scarlet robe was stiff with earthly pomp,
Who drank iniquity in cups of gold,
Whose names were many and all blasphemous,
Hath met the horrible judgment! Whence that cry?
The mighty army of foul Spirits shrieked
Disherited of earth! For she hath fallen
On whose black front was written Mystery;
She that reeled heavily, whose wine was blood;
She that worked whoredom with the Demon Power,
And from the dark embrace all evil things
Alluding to the French Revolution.
Brought forth and nurtured: mitred Atheism !
And patient Folly who on bended knee
Gives back the steel that stabbed him: and pale
Haunted by ghastlier shapings than surrouna
Moon-blasted Madness when he yells at midnight!
Return, pure Faith! return, meek Piety!
The kingdoms of the world are yours: each heart
Self-governed, the vast family of Love
Raised from the common earth by common toil
Enjoy the equal produce. Such delights
As float to earth, permitted visitants!
When in some hour of solemn jubilee
The massy gates of Paradise are thrown
Wide open, and forth come in fragments wild
Sweet echoes of unearthly melodies,
And odors snatched from beds of amaranth.
And they, that from the crystal river of life
Spring up on freshened wing, ambrosial gales!
The favored good man in his lonely walk
Perceives them, and his silent spirit drinks
Strange bliss which he shall recognise in heaven.
And such delights, such strange beatitudes
Seize on my young anticipating heart
When that blest future rushes on my view!
For in his own and in his father's might
The Saviour comes! While as the Thousand Years
Lead up their mystic dance, the Desert shouts !
Old Ocean claps his hands The mighty Dead
Rise to new life, whoe'er from earliest time
With conscious zeal had urged Love's wondrous plan
Coadjutors of God. To Milton's trump
The high groves of the renovated Earth
Unbosom their glad echoes; inly hushed,