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Upon the whirl, where sank the ship,
The boat spun round and round;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.
I moved my lips-the Pilot shrieked
And fell down in a fit;
The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.
I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro.
Ha! ha! quoth he, full plain I see,
The Devil knows how to row.
And now, all in my own countree.
I stood on the firm land!
The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,
And scarcely he could stand.
O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!
The Hermit cross'd his brow.
Say quick, quoth he, I bid thee say-
What manner of man art thou?
Forthwith this frame of mine was wrench'd
With a woeful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.
Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns ;
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.
I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech;
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.
What lond uproar bursts from that door!
The wedding-guests are there;
But in the garden-bower the bride
And bride-maids singing are;
And bark the little vesper-bell,
Which biddeth me to prayer!
It is most hard, with an untroubled ear
Thy dark inwoven harmonies to hear!
Yet, mine eye fixt on Heaven's unchanging
Long had I listened, free from mortal fear,
With inward stillness and submitted mind;
When lo! its folds far waving on the wind,
I saw the train of the DEPARTING YEAR!
Starting from my silent sadness
Then with no unholy madness,
Ere yet the enter'd cloud foreclos'd my sight,
I rais'd th' impetuous song, and solemnized
Hither, from the recent Tomb,
From the Prison's direr gloom,
From Distemper's midnight anguish;
And thence, where Poverty doth waste and
Or where, his two bright torches blending,
Love illumines Manhood's maze;
Or where o'er cradled infants bending
Hope has fix'd her wishful gaze.
Hither, in perplexed dance,
Ye Woes! ye young-eyed Joys! advance!
By Time's wild harp, and by the hand
Whose indefatigable sweep
Raises it's fateful strings from sleep,
I bid you haste, a mixt tumultuous band!
From every private bower,
And each domestic hearth,
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 thy spell,
They too obey thy name, divinest LIBERTY!
I mark'd Ambition in his war-array!
I heard the mailed Monarch's troublous
Ah! wherefore does the Northern Conqueress stay?
Groans not her chariot on it's onward way?
Fly, mailed Monarch, fly!
Stunn'd by Death's twice mortal mace,
No more on Murder's lurid face
Th' insatiate bag shall glote with drunken eye!
Mancs of th' unnumber'd slain!
Ye that gasp'd on WARSAW's plain!
Ye that erst at ISMAIL's tower,
When human ruin choak'd the streams,
Fell in conquest's glutted hour,
Mid women's shrieks and infants' screams!
Spirits of the uncoffin'd slain,
Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,
Oft, at night, in misty train,
Rush around her narrow dwelling!
The exterminating fiend is fled-
(Foul her life and dark her doom)
Mighty armies of the dead,
Dance like death-fires round her tomb!
Then with prophetic song relate,
Each some tyrant-murderer's fate!
Then, his eye wild ardours glancing,
From the choired Gods advancing,
The SPIRIT of the EARTH made reverence
And stood up,beautiful,before the cloudy seat.
Throughout the blissful throng,
Hush'd were harp and song:
Till wheeling round the throne the LAMPADS
(The mystic Words of Heaven)
Permissive signal make;
The fervent Spirit bow'd, 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 proffer'd insult scar'd,
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
For ever shall the thankless Island scowl,
Her quiver full, and with unbroken bow?
Speak! from thy storm-black heaven oh
And on the darkling foe
Open thine eye of fire from some uncertain
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 fled;
Yet still I gasp'd and reel'd 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 pillow'd on a brother's corse!)
Not yet enslav'd, not wholly vile, with glories shone. O Albion! O my mother-isle!
Thy vallics, 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 glitt'ring 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 lov'd thy shore;
Nor ever proud Invader's rage
Have made a solemn music of the wind! Where, like a man belov'd of God, Through glooms, which never woodman trod, How oft, pursuing fancies holy,
Or sack'd thy towers, or stain'd thy fields My moonlight-way o'er flow'ring weeds I
Away, my soul, away!
In vain, in vain the Birds of warning sing-
And hark! I hear the famish'd 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 recenter my immortal mind
In the deep sabbath of meek self-content; Cleans'd from the vaporous passions that bedim
God's Image, sister of the Seraphim.
Yg Clouds! that far above me float and pause,
Whose pathless march no mortal may controul!
Ye Ocean-Waves! that, wheresoe'er ye roll,
wound, Inspired, beyond the guess of folly, By each rude shape and wild unconquerable sound!
O ye loud Waves! and oh ye Forests high! And oh ye Clouds that far above me soar'd! 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 ador'd The spirit of divinest Liberty.
When France in wrath her giant-limbs
And with that oath, which smote air, earth
Stamp'd her strong foot and said she would
Bear witness for me, how I hop'd and fear'd!
With what a joy my lofty gratulation
Unaw'd I sang, amid a slavish band:
And when to whelm the disenchanted nation,
Like fiends embattled by a wizard's wand,
The Monarchs march'd in evil day,
And Britain join'd the dire array;
Though dear her shores and circling ocean,
Though many friendships, many youthful
Had swoln the patriot emotion
And flung a magic light o'er all her hills
Yet still my voice, unalter'd, sang defeat
To all that brav'd the tyrant-quelling lance,
And shame too long delay'd and vain retreat!
For ne'er, O Liberty! with partial aim
I dimm'd thy light or damp'd thy holy flame;
But blest the pæans of deliver'd France,
And hung my head and wept at Britain's
And what, I said, though Blasphemy's loud
With that sweet music of deliverance strove? Though all the fierce and drunken passions
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 sooth my soul, that hoped and trembled,
The dissonance ceas'd, and all seem'd calm | (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!
When France her front deep-scar'd and gory
Conceal'd with clustering wreaths of glory;
When, insupportably advancing,
Her arm made mockery of the warrior's
While timid looks of fury glancing, Domestic treason, crush'd beneath her fatal stamp,
Writh'd like a wounded dragon in his gore; Then I reproach'd my fears that would not flee;
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.
With bleeding wounds; forgive me, that I cherish'd
One thought that ever bless'd 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 murd'rous 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
Of Freedom, graven on a heavier chain!
O Liberty! with profitless endeavour
Have I pursued thee, many a weary hour;
But thou nor swellst the victor's strain,
Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human power.
Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee,
And there I felt thee!-on that sea-cliff's verge, Whose pines, scarce travell'd by the breeze above,
Had made one murmur with the distant surge!
Yes, while I stood and gaz'd, 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.
Written in April 1798, during the Alarm of an lavasion.
A GREEN and silent spot, amid the hills, A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place No singing sky-lark ever pois'd 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,
Bath'd 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 lic on fern or wither'd heath, While from the singing-lark (that sings
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, oh singing-
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 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 undetermin'd 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,
Steam'd up from Cairo's swamps of pestilence,
Ev'n 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
Engulph'd in Courts, Committees, Institu-
Associations and Societies,
A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-reporting
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
And hooting at the glorious Sun in Heaven, Cries out: Where is it? Thankless too for peace;
(Peace long preserv'd by fleets and perilous seas)
Secure from actual warfare, we have lov'd
To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war!
Alas! for ages ignorant of all
It's ghastlier workings (famine or blue
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 on contingency,
However dim and vague, too vague and dim
To yield a justifying cause; and forth
(Stuff'd 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
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 deceit, 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 gor'd without a pang; as if the wretch,
Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds,
Pass'd off to Heaven, translated and not kill'd;
As though he had no wife to pine for him,
No God to judge him! Therefore, evil days
Are coming on us, oh my countrymen!
And what 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? Spare us yet awhile,
Father and God! Oh! spare us yet awhile!
Oh! let not English women drag their flight
Fainting beneath the burthen of their babes,
Of the sweet infants, that but yesterday
Laugh'd at the breast! Sons, brothers, hus-
Who ever gaz'd with fondness on the forms Which grew up with you round the same fire-side,
And all who ever heard the sabbath-bells Without the infidel's scorn, make yourselves pure!