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CXXV. [loved, "Few — none —find what they love or could have Though accident, blind contact, and the strong Necessity of loving, have removed Antipathies—but to recur, ere long, Envenom'd with irrevocable wrong; And Circumstance, that unspiritual god And miscreator, makes and helps along Our coming evils with a crutch-like rod, Chave trod. Whose touch turns Hope to dust,-the dust we all ...” CXXVI. Our life is a false nature—'tis not in The harmony of things, this hard decree, This uneradicable taint of sin, This boundless upas, this all-blasting tree, Whose root is earth, whose leaves and branches be Theskieswhich rain their plaguesonmenlikedew— Disease, death, bondage—all the woes we see — And worse, the woes we see not—which throb through The immedicable soul, with heart-aches ever new. CXXVII. Yet let us ponder boldly—’tis a base (') Abandonment of reason to resign Our right of thought—our last and only place Of refuge; this, at least, shall still be mine: Though from our birth the faculty divine Is chain'dand tortured—cabin'd, cribb'd, confined, And bred in darkness, lest the truth should shine Too brightly on the unprepared mind, [blind. The beam pours in, for time and skill will couch the (1) “At all events,” says the author of the Academical Questions, “I CXXVIII. Arches on arches l as it were that Rome, Collecting the chief trophies of her line, Would build up all her triumphs in one dome, Her Coliseum stands; the moonbeams shine As 'twere its natural torches, for divine Should be the light which streams here, to illume This long-explored but still exhaustless mine Of contemplation; and the azure gloom Of an Italian night, where the deep skies assume
CXXIX. Hues which have words, and speak to ye of heaven, Floats o'er this vast and wondrous monument, And shadows forth its glory. There is given Unto the things of earth, which Time hath bent, A spirit's feeling, and where he hath leant His hand, but broke his scythe, there is a power And magic in the ruin’d battlement, For which the palace of the present hour Must yield its pomp, and wait till ages are its dower.
trust, whatever may be the fate of my own speculations, that philosophy will regain that estimation which it ought to possess. The free and philosophic spirit of our nation has been the theme of admiration to the world. This was the proud distinction of Englishmen, and the luminous source of all their glory. Shall we then forget the manly and dignified sentiments of our ancestors, to prate in the language of the mother or the nurse about our good old prejudices? This is not the way to defend the cause of truth. It was not thus that our fathers maintained it in the brilliant periods of our history. Prejudice may be trusted to guard the outworks for a short space of time, while reason slumbers in the citadel; but if the latter sink into a lethargy, the former will quickly erect a standard for herself. Philosophy, wisdom, and liberty support each other: he who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot, is a fool; and he who dares not, is a slave.”
CXXX. Oh Time ! the beautifier of the dead, Adorner of the ruin, comforter And only healer when the heart hath bled— Time! the corrector where our judgments err, The test of truth, love, – sole philosopher, For all beside are sophists, from thy thrift, Which never loses though it doth defer—
Time, the avenger! unto thee I lift [gift : My hands, and eyes, and heart, and crave of thee a CXXXI.
Amidst this wreck, where thou hast made a shrine And temple more divinely desolate, Among thy mightier offerings here are mine, Ruins of years—though few, yet full of fate:— If thou hast ever seen me too elate, Hear me not; but if calmly I have borne Good, and reserved my pride against the hate Which shall not whelm me, let me not have worn This iron in my soul in vain — shall they not mourn? CXXXII, And thou, who never yet of human wrong Left the unbalanced scale, great Nemesis I () Here, where the ancient paid thee homage long— Thou, who didst call the Furies from the abyss, And round Orestes bade them howl and hiss For that unnatural retribution—just, Had it but been from hands less near — in this Thy former realm, Icall thee from the dust! [must. Dostthounothearmy heart?—Awake! thoushalt, and
(1) See “Historical Notes” at the end of this canto, No. XXVIII.
Butlet that pass—I sleep, but thou shalt yet awake.
And pile on human heads the mountain of my curse !
Hear me, my mother Earth! behold it, Heaven!—
As rots into the souls of those whom I survey.