Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

And curse your spells, that film the eye of Faith,
Hiding the present God; whose presence lost,
The moral world's cohesion, we become
An Anarchy of Spirits ! Toy-bewitch’d,
Made blind by lusts, disherited of soul,
No common centre Man, no common sire
Knoweth! A sordid solitary thing,
Mid countless brethren with a lonely heart
Thro' courts and cities the smooth Savage roams
Feeling himself, his own low Self the whole;
When he by sacred sympathy might make
The whole one self! self, that no alien knows !
Self, far diffus’d as Fancy's wing can travel !
Self, spreading still! Oblivious of its own,
Yet all of all possessing! This is Faith!
This the Messiah's destin'd victory!

*

But first offences needs must come! Even now
(Black Hell laughs horrible—to hear the scoff!)
Thee to defend, meek Galilæan ! Thee
And thy mild laws of Love unutterable,
Mistrust and Enmity have burst the bands

con

* January 21, 1794, in the debate on the Address to his Majesty, on the speech from the Throne, the Earl of Guildford moved an amendment to the following effect; “ That the House hoped his Majesty would seize the earliest opportunity to conclude a peace with France, &c.” This motion was opposed by the Duke of Portland, who“ sidered the war to be merely grounded on one principle--the preservation of the Christian Religion.” May 30, 1794, the Duke of Bedford moved a number of resolutions, with a view to the establishment of a peace with France. He was opposed (among others) by Lord Abingdon in these remarkable words; “The best road to peace, my Lords, is war! and war carried on in the same manner in which we are taught to worship our Creator, namely, with all our souls, and with all our minds, and with all our hearts, and with all wr strength.”

Of social Peace ! and list’ning Treachery lurks
With pious fraud to snare a brother's life ;
And childless widows o'er the groaning land
Wail numberless; and orphans weep for bread!
Thee to defend, dear Saviour of Mankind !
Thee, Lamb of God! Thee, blameless Prince of Peace !
From all sides rush the thirsty brood of War;
Austria, and that foul Woman of the North,
The lustful Murd'ress of her wedded Lord !
And he, connatural Mind! whom in their songs,
So bards of elder time had haply feign'd)
Some Fury fondled in her hate to man,
Bidding her serpent hair in mazy surge
Lick his young face, and at his mouth inbreathe
Horrible sympathy! And leagued with these
Each petty German princeling, nurs’d in gore !
Soul-harden'd harterers of human blood !
Death's prime Slave-merchants! Scorpion-whips of Fate !
Nor least in savagery of holy zeal,
Apt for the yoke, the race degenerate,
Whom Britain erst had blush'd to call her sons !
Thee to defend the Moloch Priest prefers
The prayer of hate, and bellows to the herd
That Deity, accomplice Deity
In the fierce jealousy of waken'd wrath
Will go forth with our armies and our fleets
To scatter the red ruin on their foes !
O blasphemy! to mingle fiendish deeds
With blessedness!

Lord of unsleeping Love,* From everlasting Thou! We shall not die.

Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord, mine Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for Judgment,”

These, even these, in mercy didst thou form,
Teachers of Good thro' Evil, by brief wrong
Making Truth lovely, and her future might
Magnetic o'er the fix'd untrembling heart.

In the primeval age a dateless while
The vacant Shepherd wander'd with his flock
Pitching his tent where'er the green grass wav'd.
But soon Imagination conjur'd up
A host of new desires : with busy aim,
Each for himself, Earth's eager children toil'd.
So Property began, twy-streaming fount,
Whence Vice and Virtue flow, honey and gall.
Hence the soft couch, and many-colour'd robe,
The timbrel, and arch'd dome and costly feast,
With all th' inventive arts, that nurs'd the soul
To forms of beauty, and by sensual wants
Unsensualiz'd the mind, which in the means
Learnt to forget the grossness of the end,
Best pleasur'd with its own activity.
And hence Disease that withers manhood's arm,
The dagger'd 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 th’immediate source
Of mightier good. Their keen necessities
To ceaseless action goading human thought
Have made Earth's reasoning animal her Lord;

&c.—Habakkuk, i. 12. In this paragraph the author recalls himself from his indignation against the instruments of Evil, to contemplate the uses of these evils in the great process of Divine benevolence. In the first age, men were innocent from ignorance of vice; they fell, that by the knowledge of consequences, they might attain intellectual security, i. e. Virtue, which is a wise and strong-nerved Innocence.

And the pale-featur'd 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 he enly Science; and from Science Freedom. O’er waken'd 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 Enamour'd with the charms of order hate Th’unseemly disproportion; and whoe'er Turn with mild sorrow from the victor's car And the low puppetry of thrones, to muse On that bless'd triumph, when the Patriot Sage Call’d the red lightnings from th'o'er-rushing cloud And dash'd the beauteous Terrors on the earth Smiling majestic. Such a phalanx ne'er Measur'd firm paces to the calming sound Of Spartan flute ! These on the fated day, When, stung to rage by Pity, eloquent men Have rous’d with pealing voice th' annumber'd tribes That toil and groan and bleed, hungry and blind, These hush'd awhile with patient eye serene Shall watch the mad careering of the storm ; Then o'er the wild and wavy chaos rush And tame th' 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 reclin'd They felt the sea-breeze lift their youthful locks; Or in the month of blossoms, at mild eve, Wandering with desultory feet, inhalid

The wafted perfumes, and the flocks and woods
And many-tinted streams and setting Sun,
With all his gorgeous company of clouds
Ecstatic gaz’d! then homeward as they stray'd
Cast the sad eye to earth, and inly mus'd
Why there was Misery in a world so fair.
Ah far remov'd 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 recognize
Their cots' transmuted plunder! From the tree
Of Knowledge, ere the vernal sap had risen
Rudely disbranch'd! Blessed Society !
Fitliest depictur'd by some sun-scorch'd waste,
Where oft majestic thro' the tainted noon
The Simoon sails, before whose purple pomp
Who falls not prostrate dies ! And where, by night,
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! O thou poor wretch, Who nurs’d 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, doom'd to know

* 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.

« ZurückWeiter »