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From all that man's performance could present,
Stoops to that closing deed magnificent,
And with the embrace is satisfied. - Fly, ministers of Fame, Whate'er your means, whatever help ye claim, Bear through the world these tidings of delight! -Hours, Days, and Months, have borne them, in the sight
Of mortals, travelling faster than the shower,
That land-ward stretches from the sea,
The morning's splendours to devour;
But this appearance scattered ecstasy,
And heart-sick Europe blessed the healing power.
— The shock is given — the Adversaries bleed·
Lo, Justice triumphs! —Earth is freed!
Such glad assurance suddenly went forth —
It pierced the caverns of the sluggish North —
It found no barrier on the ridge
Of Andes frozen gulfs became its bridge-
The vast Pacific gladdens with the freight-
Upon the Lakes of Asia 't is bestowed -
The Arabian desert shapes a willing road,
Across her burning breast,
For this refreshing incense from the West!
- Where snakes and lions breed,
Where towns and cities thick as stars appear
Wherever fruits are gathered, and where'er
The upturned soil receives the hopeful seed ·
While the Sun rules, and cross the shades of night-
The unwearied arrow hath pursued its flight!
The eyes of good men thankfully give heed,
And in its sparkling progress read
How virtue triumphs, from her bondage freed!
Tyrants exult to hear of kingdoms won,
And slaves are pleased to learn that mighty feats are
Even the proud Realm, from whose distracted borders
This messenger of good was launched in air,
France, conquered France, amid her wild disorders,
Feels, and hereafter shall the truth declare
That she too lacks not reason to rejoice,
And utter England's name with sadly-plausive voice.
Upon the inward victories of ach,
Her hope of lasting glory for the whole.
— Yet might it well become that city now,
Into whose breast the tides of grandeur flow,
To whom all persecuted men retreat;
If a new Temple lift her votive brow
Upon the shore of silver Thames
The peaceful guest advancing from afar.
Bright be the distant Fabric, as a star
Fresh risen- and beautiful within!- there meet
Dependence infinite, proportion just;
-A Pile that Grace approves, that Time can trust
With his most sacred wealth, heroic dust!
And sins, that point their terrors,
We bow our heads before Thee, and we laud
And magnify thy name, Almighty God!
But thy most dreaded instrument
In working out a pure intent,
Is Man arrayed for mutual slaughter,
Yea, Carnage is thy daughter!
Thou cloth'st the wicked in their dazzling mail,
And by thy just permission they prevail;
Thine arm from peril guards the coasts Of them who in thy laws delight; Thy presence turns the scale of doubtful fight, Tremendous God of battles, Lord of Hosts!
TO THEE TO THEE
On this appointed day shall thanks ascend,
That Thou hast brought our warfare to an end,
And that we need no second victory!
Ha! what a ghastly sight for man to see!
And to the heavenly saints in peace who dwell,
For a brief moment, terrible;
But, to thy sovereign penetration, fair,
Before whom all things are, that were,
All judgments that have been, or e'er shall be;
Links in the chain of thy tranquillity!
Along the bosom of this favoured Nation,
Breathe Thou, this day, a vital undulation!
Let all who do this land inherit
Be conscious of Thy moving spirit!
Oh, 't is a goodly Ordinance,
Though sprung from bleeding war, is one of pure de-
Bless Thou the hour, or ere the hour arrive,
When a whole people shall kneel down in prayer,
And, at one moment, in one rapture, strive
With lip and heart to tell their gratitude
For Thy protecting care,
Their solemn joy-praising the Eternal Lord
For tyranny subdued,
And for the sway of equity renewed,
For liberty confirmed, and peace restored!
But hark the summons-down the placid Lake
Floats the soft cadence of the Church-tower bells;
Bright shines the Sun, as if his beams might wake
The tender insects sleeping in their cells;
Bright shines the Sun and not a breeze to shake
The drops that tip the melting icicles.
O, enter now his temple gate!
Inviting words-perchance already flung,
(As the crowd press devoutly down the aisle
Of some old Minster's venerable pile)
From voices into zealous passion stung,
While the tubed engine feels the inspiring blast,
And has begun its clouds of sound to cast
Towards the empyreal Heaven,
As if the fretted roof were riven.
Us, humbler ceremonies now await;
But in the bosom, with devout respect,
The banner of our joy we will erect,
And strength of love our souls shall elevate:
For to a few collected in his name,
Their heavenly Father will incline an ear
Gracious to service hallowed by its aim;-
Awake! the majesty of God revere!
Go-and with foreheads meekly bowed
ADDITIONAL PIECES TO POEMS DEDICATED TO NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE AND LIBERTY.
COMPOSED AFTER READING A NEWSPAPER OF
"PEOPLE! your chains are severing link by link;
Soon shall the rich be levelled down
Meet them half-way." Vain boast! for these, the more
They thus would rise, must low and lower sink
Till, by repentance stung, they fear to think;
While all lie prostrate, save the tyrant few
Bent in quick turns each other to undo,
And mix the poison they themselves must drink.
Mistrust thyself, vain country! cease to cry,
"Knowledge will save me from the threatened woe."
For, if than other rash ones more thou know,
Yet on presumptuous wing as far would fly
Above thy knowledge as they dared to go,
Thou wilt provoke a heavier penalty.
Of terror, bear us to the ground, and tie
Our hands behind our backs with felon cords?
Yields every thing to discipline of swords?
Is man as good as man, none low, none high1-
Nor discipline nor valour can withstand
The shock, nor quell the inevitable rout,
When in some great extremity breaks out
A people, on their own beloved land
Risen, like one man, to combat in the sight
Of a just God for liberty and right.
THE EAGLE AND THE DOVE.
SHADE of Caractacus, if spirits love
The cause they fought for in their earthly home,
To see the Eagle ruffled by the Dove
May soothe thy memory of the chains of Rome.
These children claim thee for their sire; the breath
Of thy renown, from Cambrian Mountains, fans
A flame within them that despises death,
And glorifies the truant youth of Vannes.
With thy own scorn of tyrants they advance,
But truth divine has sanctified their rage,
A silver cross enchased with flowers of France,
Their badge, attests the holy fight they wage.
SONNETS DEDICATED TO LIBERTY AND 'ORDER.
The shrill defiance of the young crusade
Their veteran foes mock as an idle noise;
But unto faith and loyalty comes aid
From Heaven, gigantic force to beardless boys.*
UPON THE LATE GENERAL FAST.
RELUCTANT call it was; the rite delayed;
And in the Senate some there were who doffed
The last of their humanity, and scoffed
At providential judgments undismayed
By their own daring. But the people prayed
[* From "La Petite Chouannerie ou Histoire d'un Collége Breton Sous l'Empire, par A. F. Rio. Paris 1842," p. 62. Those stanzas were a contribution by Wordsworth, to M. Rio's interesting narrative of the romantic revolt of the royalist students of the College of Vannes in 1815, and their battles with the soldiers of the French Empire. -H. R.1
As with one voice; their flinty heart grew soft
With penitential sorrow, and aloft
Their spirit mounted, crying, "God us aid!"
Oh that with aspirations more intense,
Chustised by self-abasement more profound,
This people, once so happy, so renowned
For liberty, would seek from God defence
Against far heavier ill, the pestilence
Of revolution, impiously unbound!
SAID Secrecy to Cowardice and Fraud,
Falsehood and Treachery, in close council met,
Deep under ground, in Pluto's cabinet,
"The frost of England's pride will soon be thawed;
Hooded the open brow that overa wed
Our schemes; the faith and honour, never yet
By us with hope encountered, be upset;-
For once I burst my bands, and cry, applaud!”
Then whispered she, "The bill is carrying out!"
They heard, and, starting up, the brood of night
Clapped hands, and shook with glee their matted locks;
All powers and places that abhor the light
Joined in the transport, echoed back their shout,
Hurrah for -
hugging his ballot-box! *
"Having in this notice alluded only in general terms to the mischief which, in my opinion, the Ballot would bring along with it, without especially branding its immoral and anti-social tendency, (for which no political advantages, were they a thousand times greater than those presumed upon, could be a compensation,) I have been impelled to subjoin a reprobation of it upon that score. In no part of my writings have I mentioned the name of any cotemporary, that of Buonaparte only excepted, but for the purpose of eulogy; and therefore, as in the concluding verse of what follows, there is a deviation from this rule, (for the blank will be easily filled up) I have excluded this sonnet from the body of the collection, and placed it here as a public record of my detestation, both as a man and a citizen, of the proposed contrivance.
Since that time, I may add, that Mr. Grote's political notoriety as an advocate for the ballot has been merged in the high reputation he has already acquired, as probably the most eminent modern historian of ancient Greece. H. R.]
That, for the functions of an ancient StateStrong by her charters, free because imbound, Servant of Providence, not slave of fatePerilous is sweeping change, all chance unsound.
IN ALLUSION TO VARIOUS RECENT HISTORIES AND NOTICES OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
PORTENTOUS change when History can appear
As the cool advocate of foul device;
Reckless audacity extol, and jeer
At consciences perplexed with scruples nice!
They who bewail not, must abhor, the sneer
Born of Conceit, Power's blind Idolater;
Or haply sprung from vaunting cowardice
Betrayed by mockery of holy fear.
Hath it not long been said the wrath of man
Works not the righteousness of God? Oh bend,
Bend, ye perverse! to judgments from on High,
Laws that lay under Heaven's perpetual ban
All principles of action that transcend
The sacred limits of humanity.
WHO ponders National events shall find
An awful balancing of loss and gain,
Joy based on sorrow, good with ill combined,
And proud deliverance issuing out of pain
And direful throes; as if the All-ruling mina,
With whose perfection it consists to ordain
Volcanic burst, earthquake, and hurricane,
Dealt in like sort with feeble human kind
By laws immutable. But woe for him
Who thus deceived shall lend an eager hand
To social havoc. Is not Conscience ours,
And Truth, whose eye guilt only can make dim;
And Will, whose office, by divine command,
Is to control and check disordered Powers?
LONG-FAVOURED England! be not thou misled
By monstrous theories of alien growth,
Lest alien frenzy seize thee, waxing wroth,
Self-smitten till thy garments reek dyed red
With thy own blood, which tears in torrents shed
Fail to wash out, tears flowing ere thy troth
Be plighted, not to ease but sullen sloth,
Or wan despair - the ghost of false hope fled
Into a shameful grave. Among thy youth,
My country! if such warning be held dear,
Then shall a veteran's heart be thrilled with joy
One who would gather from eternal truth,
For time and season, rules that work to cheer--
Not scourge, to save the people-not destroy.
MEN of the Western World! in Fate's dark book
Whence these opprobrious leaves of dire portent?
Think ye your British ancestors forsook
Their native land, for outrage provident;
From unsubmissive necks the bridle shook
To give, in their descendants, freer vent
And wider range to passions turbulent,
To mutual tyranny a deadlier look?
Nay, said a voice, soft as the south wind's breath,
Dive through the stormy surface of the flood
To the great current flowing underneath;
Explore the countless springs of silent good;
So shall the truth be better understood,
And thy grieved spirit brighten strong in faith.*
DAYS undefiled by luxury or sloth,
Firm self-denial, manners grave and staid,
Rights equal, laws with cheerfulness obeyed,
Words that require no sanction from an oath,
And simple honesty a common growth-
This high repute, with bounteous nature's aid,
Won confidence, now ruthlessly betrayed
At will, your power the measure of your troth!-
All who revere the memory of Penn
Grieve for the land on whose wild woods his name
Was fondly grafted with a virtuous aim,
Renounced, abandoned by degenerate men
For state-dishonour black as ever came
To upper air from Mammon's loathsome den.
These lines were written several years ago, when reports prevailed of cruelties committed in many parts of America, by men making a law of their own passions. A far more formidable, as being a more deliberate mischief, has appeared among those States, which have lately broken faith with the public creditor in a manner so infamous. I cannot, however, but look at both evils under a similar relation to inherent good, and hope that the time is not distant when our brethren of the West will wipe off this stain from their name and nation.
"Men of the Western World."
I am happy to add that this anticipation is already partly realized; and that the reproach addressed to the Pennsylvanians in the next sonnet is no longer applicable to them. I trust that those other states to which it may yet apply
will soon follow the example now set them in Philadelphia,
and redeem their credit with the world. 1850.
[This additional note is on a fly-leaf at the end of the fifth volume of the edition, which was completed only a short time before the Poet's death. It contains probably the last sentences composed by him for the press. It was promptly added by him in consequence of a suggestion from me, that the sonnet addressed To Pennsylvanians" was no longer just - a fact which is mentioned to show that the fine sense of truth and justice which distinguishes his writings was active to the last. — H. R.]
AT BOLOGNA, IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE LATE IN SURRECTIONS, 1837.
An why deceive ourselves! by no mere fit
Of sudden passion roused shall men attain
True freedom where for ages they have lain
Bound in a dark abominable pit,
With life's best sinews more and more unknit.
Here, there, a banded few who loathe the chain
May rise to break it: effort worse than vain
For thee, O great Italian nation, split
Into those jarring fractions. Let thy scope
Be one fixed mind for all; thy rights approve
To thy own conscience gradually renewed;
Learn to make Time the father of wise Hope;
Then trust thy cause to the arm of Fortitude,
The light of Knowledge, and the warmth of Love.
HARD task! exclaim the undisciplined, to lean
On patience coupled with such slow endeavour,
That long-lived servitude must last for ever.
Perish the grovelling few, who, prest between
Wrongs and the terror of redress, would wean
Millions from glorious aims. Our chains to sever
Let us break forth in tempest now or never! -
What, is there then no space for golden mean
And gradual progress? - Twilight leads to day,
And, even within the burning zones of earth,
The hastiest sunrise yields a temperate ray;
The softest breeze to fairest flowers gives birth:
Think not that prudence dwells in dark abodes,
She scans the future with the eye of gods.