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You ask me, why, though ill at ease,
Within this region I subsist,
Whose spirits falter in the mist,

And languish for the purple seas?

It is the land that freemen till,

That sober-suited Freedom chose,

The land where, girt with friends or foes,

A man may speak the thing he will;

A land of settled government,

A land of just and old renown,
Where Freedom broadens slowly down

From precedent to precedent:

Where faction seldom gathers head,
But by degrees to fulness wrought,
The strength of some diffusive thought

Hath time and space to work and spread.

Should banded unions persecute
Opinion, and induce a time
When single thought is civil crime,

And individual freedom mute;

Though Power should make from land to land The name of Britain trebly great— Though every channel of the State

Should almost choke with golden sand —

Yet waft me from the harbor-mouth, Wild wind! I seek a warmer sky, And I will see before I die

The palms and temples of the South. i. 14

Of old sat Freedom on the heights,

The thunders breaking at her feet:

Above her shook the starry lights:
She heard the torrents meet.

Within her place she did rejoice,

Self-gathered in her prophet-mind, But fragments of her mighty voice Came rolling on the wind.

Then stept she down through town and field
To mingle with the human race,

And part by part to men revealed
The fulness of her face —

Grave mother of majestic works,

From her isle-altar gazing down,

Who, God-like, grasps the triple forks,
And, King-like, wears the crown:

Her open eyes desire the truth.

The wisdom of a thousand years Is in them. May perpetual youth

Keep dry their light from tears;

That her fair form may stand and shine,

Make bright our days and light our dreams,

Turning to scorn with lips divine
The falsehood of extremes!

Love thou thy land, with love far brought From out the storied Past, and used Within the Present, but transfused

Through future time by power of thought.

True love turned round on fixed poles,
Love that endures not sordid ends,
For English natures, freemen, friends,

Thy brothers and immortal souls.

But pamper not a hasty time,
Nor feed with crude imaginings
The herd, wild hearts and feeble wings,

That every sophister can lime.

Deliver not the tasks of might
To weakness, neither hide the ray
From those, not blind, who wait for day,

Though sitting girt with doubtful light.

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