English Eclogues Iii - The Funeral
The coffin as I past across the lane
Came sudden on my view. It was not here,
A sight of every day, as in the streets
Of the great city, and we paus'd and ask'd
Who to the grave was going. It was one,
A village girl, they told us, who had borne
An eighteen months strange illness, and had pined
With such slow wasting that the hour of death
Came welcome to her. We pursued our way
To the house of mirth, and with that idle talk
That passes o'er the mind and is forgot,
We wore away the time. But it was eve
When homewardly I went, and in the air
Was that cool freshness, that discolouring shade
That makes the eye turn inward. Then I heard
Over the vale the heavy toll of death
Sound slow; it made me think upon the dead,
I questioned more and learnt her sorrowful tale.
She bore unhusbanded a mother's name,
And he who should have cherished her, far off
Sail'd on the seas, self-exil'd from his home,
For he was poor. Left thus, a wretched one,
Scorn made a mock of her, and evil tongues
Were busy with her name. She had one ill
Heavier, neglect, forgetfulness from him
Whom she had loved so dearly. Once he wrote,
But only once that drop of comfort came
To mingle with her cup of wretchedness;
And when his parents had some tidings from him,
There was no mention of poor Hannah there,
Or 'twas the cold enquiry, bitterer
Than silence. So she pined and pined away
And for herself and baby toil'd and toil'd,
Nor did she, even on her death bed, rest
From labour, knitting with her outstretch'd arms
Till she sunk with very weakness. Her old mother
Omitted no kind office, and she work'd
Hard, and with hardest working barely earn'd
Enough to make life struggle and prolong
The pains of grief and sickness. Thus she lay
On the sick bed of poverty, so worn
With her long suffering and that painful thought
That at her heart lay rankling, and so weak,
That she could make no effort to express
Affection for her infant; and the child,
Whose lisping love perhaps had solaced her
With a strange infantine ingratitude
Shunn'd her as one indifferent. She was past
That anguish, for she felt her hour draw on,
And 'twas her only comfoft now to think
Upon the grave. 'Poor girl!' her mother said,
'Thou hast suffered much!' 'aye mother! there is none
'Can tell what I have suffered!' she replied,
'But I shall soon be where the weary rest.'
And she did rest her soon, for it pleased God
To take her to his mercy.
Hymn To The Penates
Yet one Song more! one high and solemn strain
Ere PAEAN! on thy temple's ruined wall
I hang the silent harp: there may its strings,
When the rude tempest shakes the aged pile,
Make melancholy music. One Song more!
PENATES! hear me! for to you I hymn
The votive lay. Whether, as sages deem,
Ye dwell in the inmost Heaven, the COUNSELLORS
Of JOVE; or if, SUPREME OF DEITIES,
All things are yours, and in your holy train
JOVE proudly ranks, and JUNO, white arm'd Queen.
And wisest of Immortals, aweful Maid
ATHENIAN PALLAS. Venerable Powers!
Hearken your hymn of praise! tho' from your rites
Estranged, and exiled from your altars long,
I have not ceased to love you, HOUSEHOLD GODS!
In many a long and melancholy hour
Of solitude and sorrow, has my heart
With earnest longings prayed to rest at length
Beside your hallowed hearth--for PEACE is there!
Yes I have loved you long. I call on you
Yourselves to witness with what holy joy,
Shunning the polished mob of human kind,
I have retired to watch your lonely fires
And commune with myself. Delightful hours
That gave mysterious pleasure, made me know
All the recesses of my wayward heart,
Taught me to cherish with devoutest care
Its strange unworldly feelings, taught me too
The best of lessons--to respect myself!
Nor have I ever ceas'd to reverence you
DOMESTIC DEITIES! from the first dawn
Of reason, thro' the adventurous paths of youth
Even to this better day, when on mine ear
The uproar of contending nations sounds,
But like the passing wind--and wakes no pulse
To tumult. When a child--(for still I love
To dwell with fondness on my childish years,
Even as that Persian favorite would retire
From the court's dangerous pageantry and pomp,
To gaze upon his shepherd garb, and weep,
Rememb'ring humble happiness.) When first
A little one, I left my father's home,
I can remember the first grief I felt,
And the first painful smile that cloathed my front
With feelings not its own: sadly at night
I sat me down beside a stranger's hearth;
And when the lingering hour of rest was come,
First wet with tears my pillow. As I grew
In years and knowledge, and the course of Time
Developed the young feelings of my heart,
When most I loved in solitude to rove
Amid the woodland gloom; or where the rocks
Darken'd old Avon's stream, in the ivied cave
Recluse to sit and brood the future song,
Yet not the less, PENATES, loved I then
Your altars, not the less at evening hour
Delighted by the well-trimm'd fire to sit,
Absorbed in many a dear deceitful dream
Of visionary joys: deceitful dreams--
Not wholly vain--for painting purest joys,
They form'd to Fancy's mould her votary's heart.
By Cherwell's sedgey side, and in the meads
Where Isis in her calm clear stream reflects
The willow's bending boughs, at earliest dawn
In the noon-tide hour, and when the night-mists rose,
I have remembered you: and when the noise
Of loud intemperance on my lonely ear
Burst with loud tumult, as recluse I sat,
Pondering on loftiest themes of man redeemed
From servitude, and vice, and wretchedness,
I blest you, HOUSEHOLD GODS! because I loved
Your peaceful altars and serener rites.
Nor did I cease to reverence you, when driven
Amid the jarring crowd, an unfit man
To mingle with the world; still, still my heart
Sighed for your sanctuary, and inly pined;
And loathing human converse, I have strayed
Where o'er the sea-beach chilly howl'd the blast,
And gaz'd upon the world of waves, and wished
That I were far beyond the Atlantic deep,
In woodland haunts--a sojourner with PEACE.
Not idly fabled they the Bards inspired,
Who peopled Earth with Deities. They trod
The wood with reverence where the DRYADS dwelt;
At day's dim dawn or evening's misty hour
They saw the OREADS on their mountain haunts.
And felt their holy influence, nor impure
Of thought--or ever with polluted hands
Touched they without a prayer the NAIAD'S spring;
Yet was their influence transient; such brief awe
Inspiring as the thunder's long loud peal
Strikes to the feeble spirit. HOUSEHOLD GODS,
Not such your empire! in your votaries' breasts
No momentary impulse ye awake--
Nor fleeting like their local energies,
The deep devotion that your fanes impart.
O ye whom YOUTH has wilder'd on your way,
Or VICE with fair-mask'd foulness, or the lure
Of FAME that calls ye to her crowded paths
With FOLLY's rattle, to your HOUSEHOLD GODS
Return! for not in VICE's gay abodes,
Not in the unquiet unsafe halls of FAME
Does HAPPINESS abide! O ye who weep
Much for the many miseries of Mankind,
More for their vices, ye whose honest eyes
Frown on OPPRESSION,--ye whose honest hearts
Beat high when FREEDOM sounds her dread tocsin;--
O ye who quit the path of peaceful life
Crusading for mankind--a spaniel race
That lick the hand that beats them, or tear all
Alike in frenzy--to your HOUSEHOLD GODS
Return, for by their altars VIRTUE dwells
And HAPPINESS with her; for by their fires
TRANQUILLITY in no unsocial mood
Sits silent, listening to the pattering shower;
For, so SUSPICION sleep not at the gate
Of WISDOM,--FALSEHOOD shall not enter there.
As on the height of some huge eminence,
Reach'd with long labour, the way-faring man
Pauses awhile, and gazing o'er the plain
With many a sore step travelled, turns him then
Serious to contemplate the onward road,
And calls to mind the comforts of his home,
And sighs that he has left them, and resolves
To stray no more: I on my way of life
Muse thus PENATES, and with firmest faith
Devote myself to you. I will not quit
To mingle with the mob your calm abodes,
Where, by the evening hearth CONTENTMENT sits
And hears the cricket chirp; where LOVE delights
To dwell, and on your altars lays his torch
That burns with no extinguishable flame.
Hear me ye POWERS benignant! there is one
Must be mine inmate--for I may not chuse
But love him. He is one whom many wrongs
Have sicken'd of the world. There was a time
When he would weep to hear of wickedness
And wonder at the tale; when for the opprest
He felt a brother's pity, to the oppressor
A good man's honest anger. His quick eye
Betray'd each rising feeling, every thought
Leapt to his tongue. When first among mankind
He mingled, by himself he judged of them,
And loved and trusted them, to Wisdom deaf,
And took them to his bosom. FALSEHOOD met
Her unsuspecting victim, fair of front,
And lovely as Apega's sculptured form,
Like that false image caught his warm embrace
And gored his open breast. The reptile race
Clung round his bosom, and with viper folds
Encircling, stung the fool who fostered them.
His mother was SIMPLICITY, his sire
BENEVOLENCE; in earlier days he bore
His father's name; the world who injured him
Call him MISANTHROPY. I may not chuse
But love him, HOUSEHOLD GODS! for we were nurst
In the same school.
PENATES! some there are
Who say, that not in the inmost heaven ye dwell,
Gazing with eye remote on all the ways
Of man, his GUARDIAN GODS; wiselier they deem
A dearer interest to the human race
Links you, yourselves the SPIRITS OF THE DEAD.
No mortal eye may pierce the invisible world,
No light of human reason penetrate
That depth where Truth lies hid. Yet to this faith
My heart with instant sympathy assents;
And I would judge all systems and all faiths
By that best touchstone, from whose test DECEIT
Shrinks like the Arch-Fiend at Ithuriel's spear,
And SOPHISTRY'S gay glittering bubble bursts,
As at the spousals of the Nereid's son,
When that false Florimel, by her prototype
Display'd in rivalry, with all her charms
Nor can the halls of Heaven
Give to the human soul such kindred joy,
As hovering o'er its earthly haunts it feels,
When with the breeze it wantons round the brow
Of one beloved on earth; or when at night
In dreams it comes, and brings with it the DAYS
And JOYS that are no more, Or when, perchance
With power permitted to alleviate ill
And fit the sufferer for the coming woe,
Some strange presage the SPIRIT breathes, and fills
The breast with ominous fear, and disciplines
For sorrow, pours into the afflicted heart
The balm of resignation, and inspires
With heavenly hope. Even as a Child delights
To visit day by day the favorite plant
His hand has sown, to mark its gradual growth,
And watch all anxious for the promised flower;
Thus to the blessed spirit, in innocence
And pure affections like a little child,
Sweet will it be to hover o'er the friends
Beloved; then sweetest if, as Duty prompts,
With earthly care we in their breasts have sown
The seeds of Truth and Virtue, holy flowers
Whose odour reacheth Heaven.
When my sick Heart,
(Sick with hope long delayed, than, which no care
Presses the crush'd heart heavier from itself
Seeks the best comfort, often have I deemed
That thou didst witness every inmost thought
SEWARD! my dear dead friend! for not in vain,
Oh early summon'd in thy heavenly course!
Was thy brief sojourn here: me didst thou leave
With strengthen'd step to follow the right path
Till we shall meet again. Meantime I soothe
The deep regret of Nature, with belief,
My EDMUND! that thine eye's celestial ken
Pervades me now, marking no mean joy
The movements of the heart that loved thee well!
Such feelings Nature prompts, and hence your rites
DOMESTIC GODS! arose. When for his son
With ceaseless grief Syrophanes bewail'd,
Mourning his age left childless, and his wealth
Heapt for an alien, he with fixed eye
Still on the imaged marble of the dead
Dwelt, pampering sorrow. Thither from his wrath
A safe asylum, fled the offending slave,
And garlanded the statue and implored
His young lost Lord to save: Remembrance then
Softened the father, and he loved to see
The votive wreath renewed, and the rich smoke
Curl from the costly censer slow and sweet.
From Egypt soon the sorrow-soothing rites
Divulging spread; before your idol forms
By every hearth the blinded Pagan knelt,
Pouring his prayers to these, and offering there
Vain sacrifice or impious, and sometimes
With human blood your sanctuary defil'd:
Till the first BRUTUS, tyrant-conquering chief,
Arose; he first the impious rites put down,
He fitliest, who for FREEDOM lived and died,
The friend of humankind. Then did your feasts
Frequent recur and blameless; and when came
The solemn festival, whose happiest rites
Emblem'd EQUALITY, the holiest truth!
Crown'd with gay garlands were your statues seen,
To you the fragrant censer smok'd, to you
The rich libation flow'd: vain sacrifice!
For nor the poppy wreath nor fruits nor wine.
Ye ask, PENATES! nor the altar cleans'd
With many a mystic form; ye ask the heart
Made pure, and by domestic Peace and Love
Hallowed to you.
Hearken your hymn of praise,
PENATES! to your shrines I come for rest,
There only to be found. Often at eve,
Amid my wanderings I have seen far off
The lonely light that spake of comfort there,
It told my heart of many a joy of home,
And my poor heart was sad. When I have gazed
From some high eminence on goodly vales
And cots and villages embower'd below,
The thought would rise that all to me was strange
Amid the scene so fair, nor one small spot
Where my tir'd mind might rest and call it home,
There is a magic in that little word;
It is a mystic circle that surrounds
Comforts and Virtues never known beyond
The hallowed limit. Often has my heart
Ached for that quiet haven; haven'd now,
I think of those in this world's wilderness
Who wander on and find no home of rest
Till to the grave they go! them POVERTY
Hollow-eyed fiend, the child of WEALTH and POWER,
Bad offspring of worse parents, aye afflicts,
Cankering with her foul mildews the chill'd heart--
Them WANT with scorpion scourge drives to the den
Of GUILT--them SLAUGHTER with the price of death
Buys for her raven brood. Oh not on them
GOD OF ETERNAL JUSTICE! not on them
Let fall thy thunder!
Then only shall be Happiness on earth
When Man shall feel your sacred power, and love
Your tranquil joys; then shall the city stand
A huge void sepulchre, and rising fair
Amid the ruins of the palace pile
The Olive grow, there shall the TREE OF PEACE
Strike its roots deep and flourish. This the state
Shall bless the race redeemed of Man, when WEALTH
And POWER and all their hideous progeny
Shall sink annihilate, and all mankind
Live in the equal brotherhood of LOVE.
Heart-calming hope and sure! for hitherward
Tend all the tumults of the troubled world,
Its woes, its wisdom, and its wickedness
Alike: so he hath will'd whose will is just.
Meantime, all hoping and expecting all
In patient faith, to you, DOMESTIC GODS!
I come, studious of other lore than song,
Of my past years the solace and support:
Yet shall my Heart remember the past years
With honest pride, trusting that not in vain
Lives the pure song of LIBERTY and TRUTH.
The Vision Of The Maid Of Orleans - The Third Book
The Maiden, musing on the Warrior's words,
Turn'd from the Hall of Glory. Now they reach'd
A cavern, at whose mouth a Genius stood,
In front a beardless youth, whose smiling eye
Beam'd promise, but behind, withered and old,
And all unlovely. Underneath his feet
Lay records trampled, and the laurel wreath
Now rent and faded: in his hand he held
An hour-glass, and as fall the restless sands,
So pass the lives of men. By him they past
Along the darksome cave, and reach'd a stream,
Still rolling onward its perpetual waves,
Noiseless and undisturbed. Here they ascend
A Bark unpiloted, that down the flood,
Borne by the current, rush'd. The circling stream,
Returning to itself, an island form'd;
Nor had the Maiden's footsteps ever reach'd
The insulated coast, eternally
Rapt round the endless course; but Theodore
Drove with an angel's will the obedient bark.
They land, a mighty fabric meets their eyes,
Seen by its gem-born light. Of adamant
The pile was framed, for ever to abide
Firm in eternal strength. Before the gate
Stood eager EXPECTATION, as to list
The half-heard murmurs issuing from within,
Her mouth half-open'd, and her head stretch'd forth.
On the other side there stood an aged Crone,
Listening to every breath of air; she knew
Vague suppositions and uncertain dreams,
Of what was soon to come, for she would mark
The paley glow-worm's self-created light,
And argue thence of kingdoms overthrown,
And desolated nations; ever fill'd
With undetermin'd terror, as she heard
Or distant screech-owl, or the regular beat
Of evening death-watch.
'Maid,' the Spirit cried,
Here, robed in shadows, dwells FUTURITY.
There is no eye hath seen her secret form,
For round the MOTHER OF TIME, unpierced mists
Aye hover. Would'st thou read the book of Fate,
The Damsel for a moment paus'd,
Then to the Angel spake: 'All-gracious Heaven!
Benignant in withholding, hath denied
To man that knowledge. I, in faith assured,
That he, my heavenly Father, for the best
Ordaineth all things, in that faith remain
'Well and wisely hast thou said,
So Theodore replied; 'and now O Maid!
Is there amid this boundless universe
One whom thy soul would visit? is there place
To memory dear, or visioned out by hope,
Where thou would'st now be present? form the wish,
And I am with thee, there.'
His closing speech
Yet sounded on her ear, and lo! they stood
Swift as the sudden thought that guided them,
Within the little cottage that she loved.
'He sleeps! the good man sleeps!' enrapt she cried,
As bending o'er her Uncle's lowly bed
Her eye retraced his features. 'See the beads
That never morn nor night he fails to tell,
Remembering me, his child, in every prayer.
Oh! quiet be thy sleep, thou dear old man!
Good Angels guard thy rest! and when thine hour
Is come, as gently mayest thou wake to life,
As when thro' yonder lattice the next sun
Shall bid thee to thy morning orisons!
Thy voice is heard, the Angel guide rejoin'd,
He sees thee in his dreams, he hears thee breathe
Blessings, and pleasant is the good man's rest.
Thy fame has reached him, for who has not heard
Thy wonderous exploits? and his aged heart
Hath felt the deepest joy that ever yet
Made his glad blood flow fast. Sleep on old Claude!
Peaceful, pure Spirit, be thy sojourn here,
And short and soon thy passage to that world
Where friends shall part no more!
'Does thy soul own
No other wish? or sleeps poor Madelon
Forgotten in her grave? seest thou yon star,'
The Spirit pursued, regardless of her eye
That look'd reproach; 'seest thou that evening star
Whose lovely light so often we beheld
From yonder woodbine porch? how have we gazed
Into the dark deep sky, till the baffled soul,
Lost in the infinite, returned, and felt
The burthen of her bodily load, and yearned
For freedom! Maid, in yonder evening slar
Lives thy departed friend. I read that glance,
And we are there!'
He said and they had past
The immeasurable space.
Then on her ear
The lonely song of adoration rose,
Sweet as the cloister'd virgins vesper hymn,
Whose spirit, happily dead to earthly hopes
Already lives in Heaven. Abrupt the song
Ceas'd, tremulous and quick a cry
Of joyful wonder rous'd the astonish'd Maid,
And instant Madelon was in her arms;
No airy form, no unsubstantial shape,
She felt her friend, she prest her to her heart,
Their tears of rapture mingled.
She drew back
And eagerly she gazed on Madelon,
Then fell upon her neck again and wept.
No more she saw the long-drawn lines of grief,
The emaciate form, the hue of sickliness,
The languid eye: youth's loveliest freshness now
Mantled her cheek, whose every lineament
Bespake the soul at rest, a holy calm,
A deep and full tranquillity of bliss.
'Thou then art come, my first and dearest friend!'
The well known voice of Madelon began,
'Thou then art come! and was thy pilgrimage
So short on earth? and was it painful too,
Painful and short as mine? but blessed they
Who from the crimes and miseries of the world
'Nay,' Theodore replied,
She hath not yet fulfill'd her mortal work.
Permitted visitant from earth she comes
To see the seat of rest, and oftentimes
In sorrow shall her soul remember this,
And patient of the transitory woe
Partake the anticipated peace again.'
'Soon be that work perform'd!' the Maid exclaimed,
'O Madelon! O Theodore! my soul,
Spurning the cold communion of the world,
Will dwell with you! but I shall patiently,
Yea even with joy, endure the allotted ills
Of which the memory in this better state
Shall heighten bliss. That hour of agony,
When, Madelon, I felt thy dying grasp,
And from thy forehead wiped the dews of death,
The very horrors of that hour assume
A shape that now delights.'
'O earliest friend!
I too remember,' Madelon replied,
'That hour, thy looks of watchful agony,
The suppressed grief that struggled in thine eye
Endearing love's last kindness. Thou didst know
With what a deep and melancholy joy
I felt the hour draw on: but who can speak
The unutterable transport, when mine eyes,
As from a long and dreary dream, unclosed
Amid this peaceful vale, unclos'd on him,
My Arnaud! he had built me up a bower,
A bower of rest.--See, Maiden, where he comes,
His manly lineaments, his beaming eye
The same, but now a holier innocence
Sits on his cheek, and loftier thoughts illume
The enlighten'd glance.'
They met, what joy was theirs
He best can feel, who for a dear friend dead
Has wet the midnight pillow with his tears.
Fair was the scene around; an ample vale
Whose mountain circle at the distant verge
Lay softened on the sight; the near ascent
Rose bolder up, in part abrupt and bare,
Part with the ancient majesty of woods
Adorn'd, or lifting high its rocks sublime.
The river's liquid radiance roll'd beneath,
Beside the bower of Madelon it wound
A broken stream, whose shallows, tho' the waves
Roll'd on their way with rapid melody,
A child might tread. Behind, an orange grove
Its gay green foliage starr'd with golden fruit;
But with what odours did their blossoms load
The passing gale of eve! less thrilling sweet
Rose from the marble's perforated floor,
Where kneeling at her prayers, the Moorish queen
Inhaled the cool delight, and whilst she asked
The Prophet for his promised paradise,
Shaped from the present scene its utmost joys.
A goodly scene! fair as that faery land
Where Arthur lives, by ministering spirits borne
From Camlan's bloody banks; or as the groves
Of earliest Eden, where, so legends say,
Enoch abides, and he who rapt away
By fiery steeds, and chariotted in fire,
Past in his mortal form the eternal ways;
And John, beloved of Christ, enjoying there
The beatific vision, sometimes seen
The distant dawning of eternal day,
Till all things be fulfilled.
'Survey this scene!'
So Theodore address'd the Maid of Arc,
'There is no evil here, no wretchedness,
It is the Heaven of those who nurst on earth
Their nature's gentlest feelings. Yet not here
Centering their joys, but with a patient hope,
Waiting the allotted hour when capable
Of loftier callings, to a better state
They pass; and hither from that better state
Frequent they come, preserving so those ties
That thro' the infinite progressiveness
Complete our perfect bliss.
'Even such, so blest,
Save that the memory of no sorrows past
Heightened the present joy, our world was once,
In the first aera of its innocence
Ere man had learnt to bow the knee to man.
Was there a youth whom warm affection fill'd,
He spake his honest heart; the earliest fruits
His toil produced, the sweetest flowers that deck'd
The sunny bank, he gather'd for the maid,
Nor she disdain'd the gift; for VICE not yet
Had burst the dungeons of her hell, and rear'd
Those artificial boundaries that divide
Man from his species. State of blessedness!
Till that ill-omen'd hour when Cain's stern son
Delved in the bowels of the earth for gold,
Accursed bane of virtue! of such force
As poets feign dwelt in the Gorgon's locks,
Which whoso saw, felt instant the life-blood
Cold curdle in his veins, the creeping flesh
Grew stiff with horror, and the heart forgot
To beat. Accursed hour! for man no more
To JUSTICE paid his homage, but forsook
Her altars, and bow'd down before the shrine
Of WEALTH and POWER, the Idols he had made.
Then HELL enlarged herself, her gates flew wide,
Her legion fiends rush'd forth. OPPRESSION came
Whose frown is desolation, and whose breath
Blasts like the Pestilence; and POVERTY,
A meagre monster, who with withering touch
Makes barren all the better part of man,
MOTHER OF MISERIES. Then the goodly earth
Which God had fram'd for happiness, became
One theatre of woe, and all that God
Had given to bless free men, these tyrant fiends
His bitterest curses made. Yet for the best
Hath he ordained all things, the ALL-WISE!
For by experience rous'd shall man at length
Dash down his Moloch-Idols, Samson-like
And burst his fetters, only strong whilst strong
Believed. Then in the bottomless abyss
OPPRESSION shall be chain'd, and POVERTY
Die, and with her, her brood of Miseries;
And VIRTUE and EQUALITY preserve
The reign of LOVE, and Earth shall once again
Be Paradise, whilst WISDOM shall secure
The state of bliss which IGNORANCE betrayed.'
'Oh age of happiness!' the Maid exclaim'd,
Roll fast thy current, Time till that blest age
Arrive! and happy thou my Theodore,
Permitted thus to see the sacred depths
'Such,' the blessed Spirit replied,
Beloved! such our lot; allowed to range
The vast infinity, progressive still
In knowledge and encreasing blessedness,
This our united portion. Thou hast yet
A little while to sojourn amongst men:
I will be with thee! there shall not a breeze
Wanton around thy temples, on whose wing
I will not hover near! and at that hour
When from its fleshly sepulchre let loose,
Thy phoenix soul shall soar, O best-beloved!
I will be with thee in thine agonies,
And welcome thee to life and happiness,
Eternal infinite beatitude!'
He spake, and led her near a straw-roof'd cot,
LOVE'S Palace. By the Virtues circled there,
The cherub listen'd to such melodies,
As aye, when one good deed is register'd
Above, re-echo in the halls of Heaven.
LABOUR was there, his crisp locks floating loose,
Clear was his cheek, and beaming his full eye,
And strong his arm robust; the wood-nymph HEALTH
Still follow'd on his path, and where he trod
Fresh flowers and fruits arose. And there was HOPE,
The general friend; and PITY, whose mild eye
Wept o'er the widowed dove; and, loveliest form,
Majestic CHASTITY, whose sober smile
Delights and awes the soul; a laurel wreath
Restrain'd her tresses, and upon her breast
The snow-drop hung its head, that seem'd to grow
Spontaneous, cold and fair: still by the maid
LOVE went submiss, wilh eye more dangerous
Than fancied basilisk to wound whoe'er
Too bold approached; yet anxious would he read
Her every rising wish, then only pleased
When pleasing. Hymning him the song was rais'd.
'Glory to thee whose vivifying power
Pervades all Nature's universal frame!
Glory to thee CREATOR LOVE! to thee,
Parent of all the smiling CHARITIES,
That strew the thorny path of Life with flowers!
Glory to thee PRESERVER! to thy praise
The awakened woodlands echo all the day
Their living melody; and warbling forth
To thee her twilight song, the Nightingale
Holds the lone Traveller from his way, or charms
The listening Poet's ear. Where LOVE shall deign
To fix his seat, there blameless PLEASURE sheds
Her roseate dews; CONTENT will sojourn there,
And HAPPINESS behold AFFECTION'S eye
Gleam with the Mother's smile. Thrice happy he
Who feels thy holy power! he shall not drag,
Forlorn and friendless, along Life's long path
To Age's drear abode; he shall not waste
The bitter evening of his days unsooth'd;
But HOPE shall cheer his hours of Solitude,
And VICE shall vainly strive to wound his breast,
That bears that talisman; and when he meets
The eloquent eye of TENDERNESS, and hears
The bosom-thrilling music of her voice;
The joy he feels shall purify his Soul,
And imp it for anticipated Heaven.'
Wat Tyler - Act I
SCENE, A BLACKSMITH'S-SHOP
Wat Tyler at work within. A May-pole
before the Door.
ALICE, PIERS, &c.
CHEERFUL on this holiday,
Welcome we the merry May.
On ev'ry sunny hillock spread,
The pale primrose rears her head;
Rich with sweets the western gale
Sweeps along the cowslip'd dale.
Every bank with violets gay,
Smiles to welcome in the May.
The linnet from the budding grove,
Chirps her vernal song of love.
The copse resounds the throstle's notes,
On each wild gale sweet music floats;
And melody from every spray,
Welcomes in the merry May.
Cheerful on this holiday,
Welcome we the merry May.
During the Dance, Tyler lays down his
Hammer, and sits mournfully down before
Why so sad, neighbour?—do not these gay sports,
This revelry of youth, recall the days
When we too mingled in the revelry;
And lightly tripping in the morris dance
Welcomed the merry month?
Aye, we were young;
No cares had quell'd the hey-day of the blood:
We sported deftly in the April morning,
Nor mark'd the black clouds gathering o'er our noon;
Nor fear'd the storm of night.
Beshrew me, Tyler,
But my heart joys to see the imps so cheerful!
Young, hale, and happy, why should they destroy
These blessings by reflection?
Look ye, neighbour—
You have known me long.
Since we were boys together,
And play'd at barley-brake, and danc'd the morris:—
Some five-and-twenty years!
Was not I young,
And hale and happy?
Cheerful as the best.
Have not I been a staid, hard-working man?
Up with the lark at labour—sober—honest—
Of an unblemish'd character?
Who doubts it,
There's never a man in Essex bears a better.
And shall not these, tho' young, and hale and happy,
Look on with sorrow to the future hour?
Shall not reflection poison all their pleasures?
When I—the honest, staid, hard-working
Tyler, Toil thro' the long course of the summer's day,
Still toiling, yet still poor! when with hard labour
Scarce can I furnish out my daily food—
And age comes on to steal away my strength,
And leave me poor and wretched! Why should this be?
My youth was regular—my labour constant—
I married an industrious, virtuous woman;
Nor while I toiled and sweated at the anvil,
Sat she neglectful of her spinning wheel.—
Hob—I have only six groats in the world,
And they must soon by law be taken from me.
Curse on these taxes—one succeeds another—
Our ministers—panders of a king's will—
Drain all our wealth away—waste it in revels—
And lure, or force away our boys, who should be
The props of our old age!—to fill their armies
And feed the crows of France! year follows year,
And still we madly prosecute the war;—
Draining our wealth—distressing our poor peasants—
Slaughtering our youths—and all to crown our chiefs
With Glory!—I detest the hell-sprung name.
What matters me who wears the crown of France?
Whether a Richard or a Charles possess it?
They reap the glory—they enjoy the spoil—
We pay—we bleed!—The sun would shine as cheerly
The rains of heaven as seasonably fall;
Tho' neither of these royal pests existed.
Nay—as for that, we poor men should fare better!
No legal robbers then should force away
The hard-earn'd wages of our honest toil.
The Parliament for ever cries more money,
The service of the state demands more money.
Just heaven! of what service is the state?
Oh! 'tis of vast importance! who should pay for
The luxuries and riots of the court?
Who should support the flaunting courtier's pride,
Pay for their midnight revels, their rich garments,
Did not the state enforce?—Think ye, my friend,
That I—a humble blacksmith, here at Deptford,
Would part with these six groats—earn'd by hard toil,
All that I have! To massacre the Frenchmen,
Murder as enemies men I never saw!
Did not the state compel me?
(Tax gatherers pass by)
There they go, privileg'd r———s!—
(PIERS and ALICE advance to him. )
Did we not dance it well to-day, my father?
You know I always lov'd these village sports,
Even from my infancy, and yet methinks
I never tript along the mead so gaily.
You know they chose me queen, and your friend Piers
Wreath'd me this cowslip garland for my head—
Is it not simple?—you are sad, my father!
You should have rested from your work to-day,
And given a few hours up to merriment—
But you are so serious!
Serious, my good girl!
I may well be so: when I look at thee
It makes me sad! thou art too fair a flower
To bear the wintry wind of poverty!
Yet I have often head you speak of riches
Even with contempt: they cannot purchase peace,
Or innocence; or virtue—sounder sleep
Waits on the weary plowman's lowly bed,
Than on the downy couch of luxury
Lulls the rich slave of pride and indolence.
I never wish for wealth! My arm is strong,
And I can purchase by it a coarse meal,
And hunger savours it.
Young man, thy mind
Has yet to bear the hard lesson of experience.
Thou art yet young, the blasting breath of want
Has not yet froze the current of thy blood.
Fare not the birds well, as from spray to spray
Blithsome they bound—yet find their simple food
No fancied boundaries of mine and thine
Restrain their wanderings: Nature gives enough
For all; but Man, with arrogant selfishness,
Proud of his heaps, hoards up superfluous stores
Robb'd from his weaker fellows, starves the poor,
Or gives to pity what he owes to justice!
So I have heard our good friend John Ball preach.
My father, wherefore was John Ball imprisoned?
Was he not charitable, good, and pious?
I have heard him say that all mankind are brethren,
And that like brethren they should love each other;—
Was not that doctrine pious?
High treason, every syllable, my child!
The priests cry out on him for heresy,
The nobles all detest him as a rebel,
And this good man, this minister of Christ,
This man, the friend and brother of mankind,
Lingers in the dark dungeon!—my dear Alice,
Piers, I would speak to thee
Even with a father's love! you are much with me,
And I believe do court my conversation;
Thou could'st not chuse thee forth a truer friend;
I would fain see thee happy, but I fear
Thy very virtues will destroy thy peace.
My daughter—she is young—not yet fifteen—
Piers, thou art generous, and thy youthful heart
Warm with affection; this close intimacy
Will ere long grow to love.
Suppose it so;
Were that an evil, Walter? She is mild
And cheerful, and industrious—now methinks
With such a partner life would be most happy!
Why would you warn me then of wretchedness?
Is there an evil that can harm our lot?
I have been told the virtuous must be happy,
And have believed it true; tell me, my friend,
What shall disturb the virtuous?
A bitter foe?
Nay, you have often told me
That happiness does not consist in riches.
It is most true: but tell me, my dear boy,
Could'st thou be happy to behold thy wife
Pining with want?—the children of your loves
Clad in the squalid rags of wretchedness?
And when thy hard and unremitting toil
Had earn'd with pain a scanty recompense,
Could'st thou be patient when the law should rob thee,
And leave thee without bread and pennyless?
It is a dreadful picture.
'Tis a true one.
But yet methinks our sober industry
Might drive away the danger, 'tis but little
That I could wish—food for our frugal meals,
Raiment, however homely, and a bed
To shield us from the night.
Thy honest reason
Could wish no more: but were it not most wretched
To want the coarse food for the frugal meal?
And by the orders of your merciless lord,
If you by chance were guilty of being poor,
To be turned out adrift to the bleak world,
Unhoused, unfriended?—Piers, I have not been idle,
I never ate the bread of indolence—
Could Alice be more thrifty than her mother?
Yet but with one child, and that one, how good
Thou knowest, I scarcely can provide the wants
Of nature: look at these wolves of the law,
They come to drain me of my hard earn'd wages.
I have already paid the heavy tax
Laid on the wool that clothes me—on my leather,
On all the needful articles of life!
And now three groats (and I work'd hard to earn them)
The Parliament demands—and I must pay them,
Forsooth, for liberty to wear my head.—
Three groats a head for all your family.
Why is this money gathered?—'tis a hard tax
On the poor labourer!—It can never be
That government should thus distress the people.
Go to the rich for money—honest labour
Ought to enjoy its fruits.
The state wants money.
War is expensive—'tis a glorious war,
A war of honour, and must be supported.—
Three groats a head.
There, three for my own head,
Three for my wife's!—what will the state tax next?
You have a daughter.
She is below the age—not yet fifteen.
You would evade the tax.—
I have paid you fairly what the law demands.
(Alice and her Mother enter the Shop. The Tax-gathers go to her. One of them lays hold of her. She screams. TYLER goes in.)
You say she's under age.
(ALICE screams again. TYLER knocks out the Tax-gatherer's Brains. His Companions fly.
A just revenge.
Most just indeed; but in the eye of the law
'Tis murder—and the murderer's lot is mine.
(PIERS goes out.)
(TYLER sits down mournfully. )
Fly, my dear father! let us leave this place
Before they raise pursuit.
Nay, nay, my child,
Flight would be useless—I have done my duty;
I have punish'd the brute insolence of lust,
And here will wait my doom.
Oh let us fly!
My husband, my dear husband!
Quit but this place,
And we may yet be safe, and happy too.
It would be useless, Alice—'twould but lengthen
A wretched life in fear.
(Cry without. )
(Enter Mob , HOB CARTER, &c.)
(Cry ) Liberty! liberty!— No Poll tax!— No War!
We have broke our chains—we will arise in anger—
The mighty multitude shall trample down
The handful that oppress them.
Have ye heard
So soon then of my murder?
Of your vengeance.
Piers ran throughout the village—told the news—
Cried out, to arms!—arm, arm for Liberty!
For Liberty and Justice!
My good friends,
Heed well your danger, or be resolute;
Learn to laugh menaces and force to scorn,
Or leave me. I dare answer the bold deed—
Death must come once; return you to your homes,
Protect my wife and child, and on my grave
Write why I died; perhaps the time may come,
When honest Justice shall applaud the deed.
Nay, nay,—we are oppressed, and have too long
Knelt at our proud lords' feet—we have too long
Obey'd their orders—bow'd to their caprices—
Sweated for them the wearying summer's day,
Wasted for them the wages of our toil;
Fought for them, conquer'd for them, bled for them
Still to be trampled on and still despis'd;
But we have broke our chains.
Piers is gone on
Thro' all the neighbouring villages, to spread
The glorious tidings.
He is hurried on
To Maidstone, to deliver good John Ball,
Our friend, our shepherd.
Friends and Countrymen,
Will ye then rise to save an honest man
From the fierce clutches of the bloody law?
Oh do not call to mind my private wrongs,
That the state drain'd my hard-earned pittance from me;
That, of his office proud, the foul Collector
Durst with lewd hand seize on my darling child,
Insult her maiden modesty, and force
A father's hand to vengeance; heed not this:
Think not, my countrymen, on private wrongs,
Remember what yourselves have long endured.
Think of the insults, wrongs, and contumelies,
Ye bear from your proud lords—that your hard toil
Manures their fertile fields—you plow the earth,
You sow the corn, you reap the ripen'd harvest,—
They riot on the produce!—That, like beasts,
They sell you with their land—claim all the fruits
Which the kindly earth produces as their own.
The privilege, forsooth, of noble birth!
On, on to Freedom; feel but your own strength,
Be but resolved, and these destructive tyrants
Shall shrink before your vengeance.
On to London—
The tidings fly before us—the court trembles—
END OF THE FIRST ACT
Wat Tyler - Act Ii
TYLER, HOB, &c.
' When Adam delv'd, and Eve span,
' Who was then the gentleman?'
Wretched is the infant's lot,
Born within the straw-roof'd cot!
Be he generous, wise, or brave,
He must only be a slave.
Long, long labour, little rest,
Still to toil to be oppress'd;
Drain'd by taxes of his store,
Punish'd next for being poor;
This is the poor wretch's lot,
Born within the straw-roof'd cot.
While the peasant works— to sleep;
What the peasant sows— to reap;
On the couch of ease to lie,
Rioting in revelry;
Be he villain, be he fool,
Still to hold despotic rule,
Trampling on his slaves with scorn;
This is to be nobly born.
' When Adam delv'd, and Eve span,
' Who was then the gentleman?'
The mob are up in London— the proud courtiers
Begin to tremble.
Aye, aye, 'tis time to tremble;
Who'll plow their fields, who'll do their drudgery now?
And work like horses, to give them the harvest?
I only wonder we lay quiet so long.
We had always the same strength, and we deserved
The ills we met with for not using it.
Why do we fear those animals called lords?
What is there in the name to frighten us?
Is not my arm as mighty as a Baron's?
Enter PIERS and JOHN BALL.
PIERS (to TYLER).
Have I done well, my father?— I remember'd
This good man lay in prison.
My dear child,
Most well; the people rise for liberty,
And their first deed should be to break the chains
That bind the virtuous:— O thou honest priest—
How much has thou endured!
Why aye, my friend!
These squalid rags bespeak what I have suffered.
I was revil'd— insulted— left to languish
In a damp dungeon; but I bore it cheerily—
My heart was glad— for I have done my duty.
I pitied my oppressors, and I sorrowed
For the poor men of England.
They have felt
Their strength—look round this heath! 'tis thronged with men.
Ardent for freedom; mighty is the event
That waits their fortune.
I would fain address them.
Do so, my friend, and teach to them their duty;
Remind them of their long withholden rights.
What ho there! silence!
Silence there, my friends,
This good man would address you.
Aye, aye, hear him—
He is no mealy mouthed court orator,
To flatter vice, and pamper lordly pride.
Friends! Brethren! for ye are my brethren all;
Englishmen met in arms to advocate
The cause of freedom! hear me! pause awhile
In the career of vengeance; it is true
I am a priest; but, as these rags may speak,
Not one who riots in the poor man's spoil,
Or trades with his religion. I am one
Who preach the law of Christ, and in my life,
Would practice what he taught. The son of God
Came not to you in power: humble in mien,
Lowly in heart, the man of Nazareth
Preach'd mercy, justice, love: 'Woe unto ye,
Ye that are rich:—if that ye would be saved,
Sell that ye have, and give unto the poor.'
So taught the Saviour: oh, my honest friends!
Have ye not felt the strong indignant throb
Of justice in your bosoms, to behold
The lordly Baron feasting on your spoils?
Have you not in your hearts arraign'd the lot
That gave him on the couch of luxury
To pillow his head, and pass the festive day
In sportive feasts, and ease, and revelry?
Have you not often in your conscience ask'd
Why is the difference, wherefore should that man,
No worthier than myself, thus lord it over me,
And bid me labour, and enjoy the fruits?
The God within your breasts has argued thus!
The voice of truth has murmur'd; came ye not
As helpless to the world? Shines not the sun
With equal ray on both?— Do ye not feel
The self same winds of heaven as keenly parch ye?
Abundant is the earth—the Sire of all,
Saw and pronounc'd that it was very good.
Look round: the vernal fields smile with new flowers,
The budding orchard perfumes the soft breeze,
And the green corn waves to the passing gale.
There is enough for all, but your proud Baron
Stands up, and arrogant of strength exclaims,
'I am a Lord—by nature I am noble:
These fields are mine, for I was born to them,
I was born in the castle—you, poor wretches,
Whelp'd in the cottage, are by birth my slaves.'
Almighty God! such blasphemies are utter'd!
Almighty God! such blasphemies believ'd!
This is something like a sermon.
Where's the bishop
Would tell you truths like these?
There was never a bishop among all the apostles.
Silence, the good priest speaks.
My brethren, these are truths, and weighty ones:
Ye are all equal: nature made ye so.
Equality is your birth-right;—when I gaze
On the proud palace, and behold one man
In the blood-purpled robes of royalty,
Feasting at ease, and lording over millions,
Then turn me to the hut of poverty,
And see the wretched lab'rer worn with toil,
Divide his scanty morsel with his infants,
I sicken, and indignant at the sight,
' Blush for the patience of humanity.'
We will assert our rights.
We'll trample down
These insolent oppressors.
In good truth
Ye have cause for anger: but, my honest friends,
Is it revenge or justice that ye seek?
Oh then remember mercy;
And though your proud oppressors spar'd not you,
Shew you excel them in humanity.
They will use every art to disunite you,
To conquer separately, by stratagem,
Whom in a mass they fear— but be ye firm—
Boldly demand your long-forgotten rights,
Your sacred, your inalienable freedom—
Be bold—be resolute—be merciful!
And while you spurn the hated name of slaves,
Shew you are men!
Long live our honest priest!
He shall be made archbishop.
My brethren, I am plain John Ball, your friend,
Your equal: by the law of Christ enjoined
To serve you, not command.
March we for London.
Mark me, my friends—we rise for liberty—
Justice shall be our guide: let no man dare
To plunder in the tumult.
Lead us on—
(Exeunt, with cries of Liberty— no Poll Tax — no War.)
SCENE CHANGES TO THE TOWER.
KING RICHARD, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY,
SIR JOHN TRESILIAN,
What must we do? the danger grows more imminent—
The mob increases—
Every moment brings
Fresh tidings of our peril.
It were well
To yield them what they ask.
Aye, that my liege
Were politic. Go boldly forth to meet them,
Grant all they ask—however wild and ruinous—
Mean time the troops you have already summoned,
Will gather round them. Then my Christian power
Absolves you of your promise.
Were but their ringleaders cut off—the rabble
Would soon disperse.
United in a mass
There's nothing can resist them—once divide them,
And they will fall an easy sacrifice.
Lull them by promises—bespeak them fair—
Go forth, my liege—spare not, if need requires,
A solemn oath, to ratify the treaty.
I dread their fury.
'Tis a needless dread,
There is divinity about your person;
It is the sacred privilege of Kings,
Howe'er they act, to render no account
To man. The people have been taught this lesson,
Nor can they soon forget it.
I will go—
I will submit to everything they ask;
My day of triumph will arrive at last.
The mob are at the city gates.
Address them ere too late. I'll remain here,
For they detest me much.
(Shouts again. )
Enter another Messenger.
The Londoners have opened the city gates,
The rebels are admitted.
Fear then must give me courage; my Lord Mayor,
Come you with me.
(Exeunt. Shouts without.)
WAT TYLER, JOHN BALL, PIERS, &c. Mob.
So far triumphant are we: how these nobles,
These petty tyrants, who so long oppress'd us,
Shrink at the first resistance!
They were powerful
Only because we fondly thought them so.
Where is Jack Straw?
Jack Straw is gone to the tower
To seize the king, and so to end resistance.
It was well judg'd: fain would I spare the shedding
Of human blood: gain we that royal puppet,
And all will follow fairly: depriv'd of him,
The nobles lose their pretext, nor will dare
Rebel against the people's majesty.
Richard the Second, by the grace of God,
Of England, Ireland, France, and Scotland, King,
And of the town of Berwick upon Tweed,
Would parley with Wat Tyler.
Let him know
Wat Tyler is in Smithfield.
I will parley
With this young monarch; as he comes to me
Trusting my honour, on your lives I charge you
Let none attempt to harm him.
The faith of courts
Is but a weak dependence! You are honest—
And better is it even to die the victim
Of credulous honesty, than live preserved
By the cold policy that still suspects.
Enter KING, WALWORTH, PHILPOT, &c.
I would speak to thee, Wat Tyler: bid the mob
Nay, do not go alone—
Let me attend you.
Wherefore should I fear?
Am I not arm'd with a just cause?—retire,
And I will boldly plead the cause of Freedom.
Tyler, why have you kill'd my officer?
And led my honest subjects from their homes,
Thus to rebel against the Lord's anointed?
Because they were oppress'd.
Was this the way
To remedy the ill?— you should have tried
By milder means—petition'd at the throne—
The throne will always listen to petitions.
King of England,
Petitioning for pity is most weak,
The sovereign people ought to demand justice.
I kill'd your officer, for his lewd hand
Insulted a maid's modesty: your subjects
I lead to rebel against the Lord's anointed,
Because his ministers have made him odious:
His yoke is heavy, and his burden grievous.
Why do we carry on this fatal war,
To force upon the French a king they hate;
Tearing our young men from their peaceful homes;
Forcing his hard-earn'd fruits from the honest peasant;
Distressing us to desolate our neighbours?
Why is this ruinous poll tax imposed,
But to support your court's extravagance,
And your mad title to the crown of France?
Shall we sit tamely down beneath these evils
Petitioning for pity?
King of England!
Why are we sold like cattle in your markets—
Deprived of every privilege of man?
Must we lie tamely at our tyrant's feet,
And, like your spaniels, lick the hand that beats us?
You sit at ease in your gay palaces,
The costly banquet courts your appetite,
Sweet music sooths your slumbers; we the while,
Scarce by hard toil can earn a little food,
And sleep scarce shelter'd from the cold night wind:
Whilst your wild projects wrest the little from us
Which might have cheer'd the wintry hour of age:
The Parliament for ever asks more money:
We toil and sweat for money for your taxes:
Where is the benefit, what food reap we
From all the councils of your government?
Think you that we should quarrel with the French?
What boots to us your victories, your glory?
We pay, we fight, you profit at your ease.
Do you not claim the country as your own?
Do you not call the venison of the forest,
The birds of heaven your own?—prohibiting us,
Even tho' in want of food, to seize the prey
Which nature offers?—King! is all this just?
Think you we do not feel the wrongs we suffer?
The hour of retribution is at hand,
And tyrants tremble—mark me, King of England.
(Comes behind him, and stabs him.)
Insolent rebel, threatening the King!
Seize the King.
I must be bold. (Advancing.)
My friends and loving subjects,
I will grant all you ask: you shall be free—
The tax shall be repeal'd— all, all you wish.
Your leader menaced me, he deserv'd his fate.
Quiet your angers; on my royal word
Your grievances shall all be done away.
Your vassalage abolish'd.—A free pardon
Allow'd to all: so help me God it shall be.
Revenge, my brethren, beseems not Christians.
Send us these terms sign'd with your seal of state.
We will await in peace: deceive us not.—
Act justly, so to excuse your late foul deed.
The charter shall be drawn out: on mine honour,
All shall be justly done.
END OF ACT THE SECOND.
Wat Tyler - Act Iii
PIERS (meeting JOHN BALL.)
You look disturb'd, my father?
Piers, I am so.
Jack Straw has forced the Tower: seized the Archbishop,
And beheaded him.
The curse of insurrection!
Aye, Piers! our nobles level down their vassals—
Keep them at endless labour like their brutes,
Degrading every faculty by servitude:
Repressing all the energy of the mind.
We must not wonder then, that like wild beasts,
When they have burst their chains, with brutal rage
They revenge them on their tyrants.
He was oppressive to his humble vassals:
Proud, haughty, avaricious.—
A true high-priest!
Preaching humility with his mitre on!
Praising up alms and Christian charity
Even whilst his unforgiving hand distress'd
His honest tenants.
He deserv'd his fate then.
Justice can never link with cruelty.
Is there among the catalogue of crimes
A sin so black that only Death can expiate?
Will Reason never rouse her from her slumbers,
And darting thro' the veil her eagle eye,
See in the sable garment of the law
Revenge conceal'd? —This high priest has been haughty—
He has oppress'd his vassals: tell me, Piers,
Does his Death remedy the ills he caused?
Were it not better to repress his power
Of doing wrong—that so his future life
Might expiate the evils of the past,
And benefit mankind?
But must not vice
Is not punishment revenge?
The momentary violence of anger
May be excus'd: the indignant heart will throb
Against oppression, and the outstretch'd arm
Resent its injured feelings: the Collector
Insulted Alice, and roused the keen emotions
Of a fond father. Tyler murder'd him.
Murder'd!—a most harsh word.
Yes, murder'd him:
His mangled feelings prompted the bad act,
And Nature will almost commend the deed
That Justice blames: but will the awaken'd feelings
Plead with their heart-emoving eloquence
For the cool deliberate murder of Revenge?
Would you, Piers, in your calmer hour of reason
Condemn an erring brother to be slain?
Cut him at once from all the joys of life,
All hopes of reformation! to revenge
The deed his punishment cannot recall?
My blood boil'd in me at the fate of Tyler,
Yet I revenged not.
Oh my Christian father!
They would not argue thus humanely on us,
Were we within their power.
I know they would not!
But we must pity them that they are vicious,
Not imitate their vice.
Alas, poor Tyler!
I do repent me much that I stood back,
When he advanced fearless in rectitude
To meet these royal assassins.
Not for myself,
Tho' I have lost an honest virtuous friend,
Mourn I the death of Tyler: he was one
Gifted with the strong energy of mind,
Quick to perceive the right, and prompt to act
When Justice needed: he would listen to me
With due attention, yet not yielding lightly
What had to him seem'd good; severe in virtue
He awed the ruder people whom he led
By his stern rectitude.
Witness that day
When they destroy'd the palace of the Gaunt;
And hurl'd the wealth his avarice had amass'd,
Amid the fire: the people, fierce in zeal,
Threw in the flames the wretch whose selfish hand
Purloin'd amid the tumult.
The death of Tyler, for my country's sake.
I shudder lest posterity enslav'd
Should rue his murder!—who shall now control
The giddy multitude, blind to their own good,
And listening with avidity to the tale
Of courtly falsehood!
The King must perform
His plighted promise.
(Cry without) —The Charter!—the Charter!
(Enter Mob and Herald.)
Read it out—read it out.
Aye, aye, let's hear the Charter.
Richard Plantagenet, by the grace of God,
King of England, Ireland, France, Scotland,
and the town of Berwick upon Tweed, to all
whom it may concern, These presents,
Whereas our loving subjects have complained
to us of the heavy burdens they endure,
particularly from our late enacted
poll-tax; and whereas they have risen in
arms against our officers, and demanded the
abolition of personal slavery, vassalage, and
manorial rights; we, ever ready in our sovereign
mercy to listen to the petitions of our
loving subjects, do annul all these grievances.
Huzza! long live the king!
And do of our royal mercy, grant a free
pardon to all who may have been anyways
concerned in the late insurrections. All this
shall be faithfully performed on our royal
word. So help us God.
God save the King.
(Loud and repeated shouts.)
Now then depart in quiet to your homes.
Nay, my good friend—the people will remain
Embodied peaceably, till Parliament
Confirm the royal charter: tell your king so:
We will await the Charter's confirmation,
Meanwhile comporting ourselves orderly
As peaceful citizens, not risen in tumult,
But to redress their evils.
Exit Herald, &c. HOB, PIERS, and
JOHN BALL, remain.
'Twas well order'd.
I place but little trust in courtly faith.
We must remain embodied; else the king
Will plunge again in royal luxury;
And when the storm of danger is past over,
Forget his promises.
Aye, like an aguish sinner,
He'll promise to repent when the fit's on him,
When well recover'd, laugh at his own terrors.
Oh ! I am grieved that we must gain so little!
Why are not all these empty ranks abolish'd;
King, slave, and lord, 'ennobl'd into MAN?'
Are we not equal all?—have you not told me
Equality is the sacred right of man,
Inalienable, tho' by force withheld?
Even so: but Piers, my frail and fallible judgment
Knows hardly to decide if it be right,
Peaceably to return; content with little,
With this half restitution of our rights,
Or boldly to proceed through blood and slaughter,
Till we should all be equal and all happy.
I chose the milder way:—perhaps I erred.
I fear me—by the mass, the unsteady people
Are flocking homewards! how the multitude
Go thou, my son, and stay them.
Carter, do you exert your influence.
All depends on their stay: my mind is troubl'd,
And I would fain compose my thoughts for action.
(Exeunt HOB and PIERS.)
Father of mercies! I do fear me much
That I have err'd: thou gav'st my ardent mind
To pierce the mists of superstitious falsehood;—
Gav'st me to know the truth. I should have urg'd it
Thro' every op, perhaps,
The seemly voice of pity has deceiv'd me,
And all this mighty movement ends in ruin!
I fear me, I have been like the weak leech,
Who, sparing to cut deep, with cruel mercy
Mangles his patient without curing him.
What means this tumult? hark! the clang of arms!
God of eternal justice! the false monarch
Has broke his plighted vow!
Enter PIERS, wounded.
Fly, fly, my father—the perjur'd king—fly! fly!
Nay, nay, my child—I dare abide my fate,
Let me bind up thy wounds.
'Tis useless succour,
They seek thy life; fly, fly, my honour'd father.
Fain would I die in peace to hope thee safe.
I shall soon join thee, Tyler!—they are murdering
Our unsuspecting brethren: half unarm'd,
Trusting too fondly to the tyrant's vows,
They were dispersing:—the streets swim with blood.
O! save thyself.
This is that old seditious heretic.
(Seizes JOHN BALL.)
And here the young spawn of rebellion;
My orders ar'n't to spare him.
Come, you old stirrer-up of insurrection,
You bell-wether of the mob—you ar'n't to die
(They lead off JOHN BALL—the tumult
increases—Mob fly across the Stage—
the Troops pursue them—loud cries and
KING, WALWORTH, PHILPOT, SIR JOHN TRESILIAN, &c.
My liege, 'twas wisely order'd to destroy
The dunghill rabble, but take prisoner
That old seditious priest: his strange wild notions
Of this equality, when well exposed,
Will create ridicule, and shame the people
Of their late tumults.
SIR JOHN TRESILIAN.
Aye, there's nothing like
A fair free open trial, where the king
Can chuse his jury and appoint his judges.
Walworth, I must thank you for my deliverance;
'Twas a bold deed to stab him in the parley!
Kneel down, and rise a knight, Sir William Walworth.
I left them hotly at it. Smithfield smoked
With the rebels' blood: your troops fought loyally,
There's not a man of them will lend an ear
SIR WILLIAM WALWORTH.
Is John Ball secur'd?
They have seiz'd him.
Enter Guards with JOHN BALL.
We've brought the old villain.
An old mischief-maker—
Why there's fifteen hundred of the mob are kill'd,
All thro' his preaching!
SIR JOHN TRESILIAN.
Prisoner! are you the arch-rebel, John Ball?
I am John Ball; but I am not a rebel.
Take ye the name, who, arrogant in strength,
Rebel against the people's sovereignty.
SIR JOHN TRESILIAN.
John Ball, you are accus'd of stirring up
The poor deluded people to rebellion;
Not having the fear of God and of the king
Before your eyes; of preaching up strange notions
Heretical and treasonous; such as saying
That kings have not a right from heaven to govern;
That all mankind are equal; and that ranks
And the distinctions of society,
Aye, and the sacred rights of property
Are evil and oppressive:—plead you guilty
To this most heavy charge?
If it be guilt—
To preach what you are pleas'd to call strange notions.
That all mankind as brethren must be equal;
That privileg'd orders of society
Are evil and oppressive; that the right
Of property is a juggle to deceive
The poor whom you oppress;—I plead me guilty.
SIR JOHN TRESILIAN.
It is against the custom of this court
That the prisoner should plead guilty.
Why then put you
The needless question?—Sir Judge, let me save
The vain and empty insult of a trial.
What I have done, that I dare justify.
SIR JOHN TRESILIAN.
Did you not tell the mob they were oppress'd,
And preach upon the equality of man;
With evil intent thereby to stir them up
To tumult and rebellion?
That I told them
That all mankind are equal, is most true:
Ye came as helpless infants to the world:
Ye feel alike the infirmities of nature;
And at last moulder into common clay.
Why then these vain distinctions!—bears not the earth
Food in abundance?—must your granaries
O'erflow with plenty, while the poor man starves?
Sir Judge, why sit you there clad in your furs?
Why are your cellars stor'd with choicest wines?
Your larders hung with dainties, while your vassal,
As virtuous, and as able too by nature,
Tho' by your selfish tyranny depriv'd
Of mind's improvement, shivers in his rags,
And starves amid the plenty he creates.
I have said this is wrong, and I repeat it—
And there will be a time when this great truth
Shall be confess'd—be felt by all mankind.
The electric truth shall run from man to man,
And the blood-cemented pyramid of greatness
Shall fall before the flash!
SIR JOHN TRESILIAN
How darest thou insult this sacred court,
Blaspheming all the dignities of rank?
How could the Government be carried on
Without the sacred orders of the king,
And the nobility?
Tell me, Sir Judge,
What does the government avail the peasant?
Would not he plow his field and sow the corn,
Aye, and in peace enjoy the harvest too:
Would not the sunshine and the dews descend,
Tho' neither King nor Parliament existed?
Do your Court Politics ought matter him?
Would he be warring even unto the death
With his French neighbours?—Charles and
The people fight and suffer:—think ye, Sirs,
If neither country had been cursed with a chief,
The peasants would have quarrell'd?
This is treason!
The patience of the court has been insulted—
Condemn the foul mouth'd, contumacious rebel.
SIR JOHN TRESILIAN.
John Ball, whereas you are accused before us
Of stirring up the people to rebellion,
And preaching to them strange and dangerous doctrines;
And whereas your behavior to the court
Has been most insolent and contumacious;
Insulting Majesty—and since you have pleaded
Guilty to all these charges; I condemn you
To death: you shall be hanged by the neck,
But not till you are dead—your bowels opened—
Your heart torn out and burnt before your face—
Your traitorous head be sever'd from your body—
Your body quartered, and exposed upon
The city gates—a terrible example—
And the Lord God have mercy on your soul!
Why be it so. I can smile at your vengeance,
For I am arm'd with rectitude of soul.
The truth, which all my life I have divulg'd
And am now doom'd in torment to expire for,
Shall still survive—the destin'd hour must come,
When it shall blaze with sun-surpassing splendor,
And the dark mists of prejudice and falsehood
Fade in its strong effulgence. Flattery's incense
No more shall shadow round the gore-dyed throne;
That altar of oppression, fed with rites,
More savage than the Priests of Moloch taught,
Shall be consumed amid the fire of Justice;
The ray of truth shall emanate around,
And the whole world be lighted!
Drag him hence—
Away with him to death! order the troops
Now to give quarter and make prisoners—
Let the blood-reeking sword of war be sheathed,
That the law may take vengeance on the rebels.
The Vision Of The Maid Of Orleans - The Second Book
She spake, and lo! celestial radiance beam'd
Amid the air, such odors wafting now
As erst came blended with the evening gale,
From Eden's bowers of bliss. An angel form
Stood by the Maid; his wings, etherial white,
Flash'd like the diamond in the noon-tide sun,
Dazzling her mortal eye: all else appear'd
Amazed she saw: the Fiend
Was fled, and on her ear the well-known voice
Sounded, tho' now more musically sweet
Than ever yet had thrill'd her charmed soul,
When eloquent Affection fondly told
The day-dreams of delight.
Lo! I am with thee! still thy Theodore!
Hearts in the holy bands of Love combin'd,
Death has no power to sever. Thou art mine!
A little while and thou shalt dwell with me
In scenes where Sorrow is not. Cheerily
Tread thou the path that leads thee to the grave,
Rough tho' it be and painful, for the grave
Is but the threshold of Eternity.
Favour'd of Heaven! to thee is given to view
These secret realms. The bottom of the abyss
Thou treadest, Maiden! Here the dungeons are
Where bad men learn repentance; souls diseased
Must have their remedy; and where disease
Is rooted deep, the remedy is long
Perforce, and painful.'
Thus the Spirit spake,
And led the Maid along a narrow path,
Dark gleaming to the light of far-off flames,
More dread than darkness. Soon the distant sound
Of clanking anvils, and the lengthened breath
Provoking fire are heard: and now they reach
A wide expanded den where all around
Tremendous furnaces, with hellish blaze,
Flamed dreadful. At the heaving bellows stood
The meagre form of Care, and as he blew
To augment the fire, the fire augmented scorch'd
His wretched limbs: sleepless for ever thus
He toil'd and toil'd, of toil to reap no end
But endless toil and never-ending woe.
An aged man went round the infernal vault,
Urging his workmen to their ceaseless task:
White were his locks, as is the wintry snow
On hoar Plinlimmon's head. A golden staff
His steps supported; powerful talisman,
Which whoso feels shall never feel again
The tear of Pity, or the throb of Love.
Touch'd but by this, the massy gates give way,
The buttress trembles, and the guarded wall,
Guarded in vain, submits. Him heathens erst
Had deified, and bowed the suppliant knee
To Plutus. Nor are now his votaries few,
Tho' he the Blessed Teacher of mankind
Hath said, that easier thro' the needle's eye
Shall the huge camel pass, than the rich man
Enter the gates of heaven. 'Ye cannot serve
Your God, and worship Mammon.'
So spake the Angel, 'know that these, whose hands
Round each white furnace ply the unceasing toil,
Were Mammon's slaves on earth. They did not spare
To wring from Poverty the hard-earn'd mite,
They robb'd the orphan's pittance, they could see
Want's asking eye unmoved; and therefore these,
Ranged round the furnace, still must persevere
In Mammon's service; scorched by these fierce fires,
And frequent deluged by the o'erboiling ore:
Yet still so framed, that oft to quench their thirst
Unquenchable, large draughts of molten gold
They drink insatiate, still with pain renewed,
Pain to destroy.'
So saying, her he led
Forth from the dreadful cavern to a cell,
Brilliant with gem-born light. The rugged walls
Part gleam'd with gold, and part with silver ore
A milder radiance shone. The Carbuncle
There its strong lustre like the flamy sun
Shot forth irradiate; from the earth beneath,
And from the roof a diamond light emits;
Rubies and amethysts their glows commix'd
With the gay topaz, and the softer ray
Shot from the sapphire, and the emerald's hue,
And bright pyropus.
There on golden seats,
A numerous, sullen, melancholy train
Sat silent. 'Maiden, these,' said Theodore,
Are they who let the love of wealth absorb
All other passions; in their souls that vice
Struck deeply-rooted, like the poison-tree
That with its shade spreads barrenness around.
These, Maid! were men by no atrocious crime
Blacken'd, no fraud, nor ruffian violence:
Men of fair dealing, and respectable
On earth, but such as only for themselves
Heap'd up their treasures, deeming all their wealth
Their own, and given to them, by partial Heaven,
To bless them only: therefore here they sit,
Possessed of gold enough, and by no pain
Tormented, save the knowledge of the bliss
They lost, and vain repentance. Here they dwell,
Loathing these useless treasures, till the hour
Of general restitution.'
Thence they past,
And now arrived at such a gorgeous dome,
As even the pomp of Eastern opulence
Could never equal: wandered thro' its halls
A numerous train; some with the red-swoln eye
Of riot, and intemperance-bloated cheek;
Some pale and nerveless, and with feeble step,
And eyes lack-lustre.
Maiden? said her guide,
These are the wretched slaves of Appetite,
Curst with their wish enjoyed. The epicure
Here pampers his foul frame, till the pall'd sense
Loaths at the banquet; the voluptuous here
Plunge in the tempting torrent of delight,
And sink in misery. All they wish'd on earth,
Possessing here, whom have they to accuse,
But their own folly, for the lot they chose?
Yet, for that these injured themselves alone,
They to the house of PENITENCE may hie,
And, by a long and painful regimen,
To wearied Nature her exhausted powers
Restore, till they shall learn to form the wish
Of wisdom, and ALMIGHTY GOODNESS grants
That prize to him who seeks it.'
Whilst he spake,
The board is spread. With bloated paunch, and eye
Fat swoln, and legs whose monstrous size disgraced
The human form divine, their caterer,
Hight GLUTTONY, set forth the smoaking feast.
And by his side came on a brother form,
With fiery cheek of purple hue, and red
And scurfy-white, mix'd motley; his gross bulk,
Like some huge hogshead shapen'd, as applied.
Him had antiquity with mystic rites
Ador'd, to him the sons of Greece, and thine
Imperial Rome, on many an altar pour'd
The victim blood, with godlike titles graced,
BACCHUS, or DIONUSUS; son of JOVE,
Deem'd falsely, for from FOLLY'S ideot form
He sprung, what time MADNESS, with furious hand,
Seiz'd on the laughing female. At one birth
She brought the brethren, menial here, above
Reigning with sway supreme, and oft they hold
High revels: mid the Monastery's gloom,
The sacrifice is spread, when the grave voice
Episcopal, proclaims approaching day
Of visitation, or Churchwardens meet
To save the wretched many from the gripe
Of eager Poverty, or mid thy halls
Of London, mighty Mayor! rich Aldermen,
Of coming feast hold converse.
For tho' allied in nature as in blood,
They hold divided sway, his brother lifts
His spungy sceptre. In the noble domes
Of Princes, and state-wearied Ministers,
Maddening he reigns; and when the affrighted mind
Casts o'er a long career of guilt and blood
Its eye reluctant, then his aid is sought
To lull the worm of Conscience to repose.
He too the halls of country Squires frequents,
But chiefly loves the learned gloom that shades
Thy offspring Rhedycina! and thy walls,
Granta! nightly libations there to him
Profuse are pour'd, till from the dizzy brain
Triangles, Circles, Parallelograms,
Moods, Tenses, Dialects, and Demigods,
And Logic and Theology are swept
By the red deluge.
He reigns; till comes at length the general feast,
Septennial sacrifice; then when the sons
Of England meet, with watchful care to chuse
Their delegates, wise, independent men,
Unbribing and unbrib'd, and cull'd to guard
Their rights and charters from the encroaching grasp
Of greedy Power: then all the joyful land
Join in his sacrifices, so inspir'd
To make the important choice.
The observing Maid
Address'd her guide, 'These Theodore, thou sayest
Are men, who pampering their foul appetites,
Injured themselves alone. But where are they,
The worst of villains, viper-like, who coil
Around the guileless female, so to sting
The heart that loves them?'
'Them,' the spirit replied,
A long and dreadful punishment awaits.
For when the prey of want and infamy,
Lower and lower still the victim sinks,
Even to the depth of shame, not one lewd word,
One impious imprecation from her lips
Escapes, nay not a thought of evil lurks
In the polluted mind, that does not plead
Before the throne of Justice, thunder-tongued
Against the foul Seducer.'
Now they reach'd
The house of PENITENCE. CREDULITY
Stood at the gate, stretching her eager head
As tho' to listen; on her vacant face,
A smile that promis'd premature assent;
Tho' her REGRET behind, a meagre Fiend,
Here they entered in,
And now arrived where, as in study tranced,
She sat, the Mistress of the Dome. Her face
Spake that composed severity, that knows
No angry impulse, no weak tenderness,
Resolved and calm. Before her lay that Book
That hath the words of Life; and as she read,
Sometimes a tear would trickle down her cheek,
Tho' heavenly joy beam'd in her eye the while.
Leaving her undisturb'd, to the first ward
Of this great Lazar-house, the Angel led
The favour'd Maid of Orleans. Kneeling down
On the hard stone that their bare knees had worn,
In sackcloth robed, a numerous train appear'd:
Hard-featured some, and some demurely grave;
Yet such expression stealing from the eye,
As tho', that only naked, all the rest
Was one close fitting mask. A scoffing Fiend,
For Fiend he was, tho' wisely serving here
Mock'd at his patients, and did often pour
Ashes upon them, and then bid them say
Their prayers aloud, and then he louder laughed:
For these were Hypocrites, on earth revered
As holy ones, who did in public tell
Their beads, and make long prayers, and cross themselves,
And call themselves most miserable sinners,
That so they might be deem'd most pious saints;
And go all filth, and never let a smile
Bend their stern muscles, gloomy, sullen men,
Barren of all affection, and all this
To please their God, forsooth! and therefore SCORN
Grinn'd at his patients, making them repeat
Their solemn farce, with keenest raillery
Tormenting; but if earnest in their prayer,
They pour'd the silent sorrows of the soul
To Heaven, then did they not regard his mocks
Which then came painless, and HUMILITY
Soon rescued them, and led to PENITENCE,
That She might lead to Heaven.
From thence they came,
Where, in the next ward, a most wretched band
Groan'd underneath the bitter tyranny
Of a fierce Daemon. His coarse hair was red,
Pale grey his eyes, and blood-shot; and his face
Wrinkled by such a smile as Malice wears
In ecstacy. Well-pleased he went around,
Plunging his dagger in the hearts of some,
Or probing with a poison'd lance their breasts,
Or placing coals of fire within their wounds;
Or seizing some within his mighty grasp,
He fix'd them on a stake, and then drew back,
And laugh'd to see them writhe.
'These,' said the Spirit,
Are taught by CRUELTY, to loath the lives
They led themselves. Here are those wicked men
Who loved to exercise their tyrant power
On speechless brutes; bad husbands undergo
A long purgation here; the traffickers
In human flesh here too are disciplined.
Till by their suffering they have equall'd all
The miseries they inflicted, all the mass
Of wretchedness caused by the wars they waged,
The towns they burnt, for they who bribe to war
Are guilty of the blood, the widows left
In want, the slave or led to suicide,
Or murdered by the foul infected air
Of his close dungeon, or more sad than all,
His virtue lost, his very soul enslaved,
And driven by woe to wickedness.
Whom thou beholdest in this dreary room,
So sullen, and with such an eye of hate
Each on the other scowling, these have been
False friends. Tormented by their own dark thoughts
Here they dwell: in the hollow of their hearts
There is a worm that feeds, and tho' thou seest
That skilful leech who willingly would heal
The ill they suffer, judging of all else
By their own evil standard, they suspect
The aid be vainly proffers, lengthening thus
By vice its punishment.'
'But who are these,'
The Maid exclaim'd, 'that robed in flowing lawn,
And mitred, or in scarlet, and in caps
Like Cardinals, I see in every ward,
Performing menial service at the beck
Of all who bid them?'
These men are they who in the name of CHRIST
Did heap up wealth, and arrogating power,
Did make men bow the knee, and call themselves
Most Reverend Graces and Right Reverend Lords.
They dwelt in palaces, in purple clothed,
And in fine linen: therefore are they here;
And tho' they would not minister on earth,
Here penanced they perforce must minister:
For he, the lowly man of Nazareth,
Hath said, his kingdom is not of the world.'
So Saying on they past, and now arrived
Where such a hideous ghastly groupe abode,
That the Maid gazed with half-averting eye,
And shudder'd: each one was a loathly corpse,
The worm did banquet on his putrid prey,
Yet had they life and feeling exquisite
Tho' motionless and mute.
'Most wretched men
Are these, the angel cried. These, JOAN, are bards,
Whose loose lascivious lays perpetuate
Who sat them down, deliberately lewd,
So to awake and pamper lust in minds
Unborn; and therefore foul of body now
As then they were of soul, they here abide
Long as the evil works they left on earth
Shall live to taint mankind. A dreadful doom!
Yet amply merited by that bad man
Who prostitutes the sacred gift of song!'
And now they reached a huge and massy pile,
Massy it seem'd, and yet in every blast
As to its ruin shook. There, porter fit,
REMORSE for ever his sad vigils kept.
Pale, hollow-eyed, emaciate, sleepless wretch.
Inly he groan'd, or, starting, wildly shriek'd,
Aye as the fabric tottering from its base,
Threatened its fall, and so expectant still
Lived in the dread of danger still delayed.
They enter'd there a large and lofty dome,
O'er whose black marble sides a dim drear light
Struggled with darkness from the unfrequent lamp.
Enthroned around, the MURDERERS OF MANKIND,
Monarchs, the great! the glorious! the august!
Each bearing on his brow a crown of fire,
Sat stern and silent. Nimrod he was there,
First King the mighty hunter; and that Chief
Who did belie his mother's fame, that so
He might be called young Ammon. In this court
Caesar was crown'd, accurst liberticide;
And he who murdered Tully, that cold villain,
Octavius, tho' the courtly minion's lyre
Hath hymn'd his praise, tho' Maro sung to him,
And when Death levelled to original clay
The royal carcase, FLATTERY, fawning low,
Fell at his feet, and worshipped the new God.
Titus was here, the Conqueror of the Jews,
He the Delight of human-kind misnamed;
Caesars and Soldans, Emperors and Kings,
Here they were all, all who for glory fought,
Here in the COURT OF GLORY, reaping now
The meed they merited.
As gazing round
The Virgin mark'd the miserable train,
A deep and hollow voice from one went forth;
'Thou who art come to view our punishment,
Maiden of Orleans! hither turn thine eyes,
For I am he whose bloody victories
Thy power hath rendered vain. Lo! I am here,
The hero conqueror of Azincour,
HENRY OF ENGLAND!--wretched that I am,
I might have reigned in happiness and peace,
My coffers full, my subjects undisturb'd,
And PLENTY and PROSPERITY had loved
To dwell amongst them: but mine eye beheld
The realm of France, by faction tempest-torn,
And therefore I did think that it would fall
An easy prey. I persecuted those
Who taught new doctrines, tho' they taught the truth:
And when I heard of thousands by the sword
Cut off, or blasted by the pestilence,
I calmly counted up my proper gains,
And sent new herds to slaughter. Temperate
Myself, no blood that mutinied, no vice
Tainting my private life, I sent abroad
MURDER and RAPE; and therefore am I doom'd,
Like these imperial Sufferers, crown'd with fire,
Here to remain, till Man's awaken'd eye
Shall see the genuine blackness of our deeds,
And warn'd by them, till the whole human race,
Equalling in bliss the aggregate we caus'd
Of wretchedness, shall form ONE BROTHERHOOD,
ONE UNIVERSAL FAMILY OF LOVE.'
Ay, you are wretched, miserably wretched,
Almost condemn'd alive! There is a place,
(List daughter!) in a black and hollow vault,
Where day is never seen; there shines no sun,
But flaming horror of consuming fires;
A lightless sulphur, choak'd with smoaky foggs
Of an infected darkness. In this place
Dwell many thousand thousand sundry sorts
Of never-dying deaths; there damned souls
Roar without pity, there are gluttons fed
With toads and adders; there is burning oil
Pour'd down the drunkard's throat, 'the usurer
Is forced to sup whole draughts of molten gold';
There is the murderer for ever stabb'd,
Yet can he never die; there lies the wanton
On racks of burning steel, whilst in his soul
He feels the torment of his raging lust.
The Triumph Of Woman
Glad as the weary traveller tempest-tost
To reach secure at length his native coast,
Who wandering long o'er distant lands has sped,
The night-blast wildly howling round his head,
Known all the woes of want, and felt the storm
Of the bleak winter parch his shivering form;
The journey o'er and every peril past
Beholds his little cottage-home at last,
And as he sees afar the smoke curl slow,
Feels his full eyes with transport overflow:
So from the scene where Death and Anguish reign,
And Vice and Folly drench with blood the plain,
Joyful I turn, to sing how Woman's praise
Avail'd again Jerusalem to raise,
Call'd forth the sanction of the Despot's nod,
And freed the nation best-belov'd of God.
Darius gives the feast: to Persia's court,
Awed by his will, the obedient throng resort,
Attending Satraps swell the Prince's pride,
And vanquish'd Monarchs grace their Conqueror's side.
No more the Warrior wears the garb of war,
Sharps the strong steel, or mounts the scythed car;
No more Judaea's sons dejected go,
And hang the head and heave the sigh of woe.
From Persia's rugged hills descend the train.
From where Orontes foams along the plain,
From where Choaspes rolls his royal waves,
And India sends her sons, submissive slaves.
Thy daughters Babylon to grace the feast
Weave the loose robe, and paint the flowery vest,
With roseate wreaths they braid the glossy hair.
They tinge the cheek which Nature form'd so fair,
Learn the soft step, the soul-subduing glance,
Melt in the song, and swim adown the dance.
Exalted on the Monarch's golden throne
In royal state the fair Apame shone;
Her form of majesty, her eyes of fire
Chill with respect, or kindle with desire.
The admiring multitude her charms adore,
And own her worthy of the crown she wore.
Now on his couch reclin'd Darius lay,
Tir'd with the toilsome pleasures of the day;
Without Judaea's watchful sons await
To guard the sleeping pageant of the state.
Three youths were these of Judah's royal race,
Three youths whom Nature dower'd with every grace,
To each the form of symmetry she gave,
And haughty Genius curs'd each favorite slave;
These fill'd the cup, around the Monarch kept,
Serv'd as he spake, and guarded whilst he slept.
Yet oft for Salem's hallowed towers laid low
The sigh would heave, the unbidden tear would flow;
And when the dull and wearying round of Power
Allowed Zorobabel one vacant hour,
He lov'd on Babylon's high wall to roam,
And stretch the gaze towards his distant home,
Or on Euphrates' willowy banks reclin'd
Hear the sad harp moan fitful to the wind.
As now the perfum'd lamps stream wide their light,
And social converse chears the livelong night,
Thus spake Zorobabel, "too long in vain
"For Sion desolate her sons complain;
"In anguish worn the joyless years lag slow,
"And these proud conquerors mock their captive's woe.
"Whilst Cyrus triumph'd here in victor state
"A brighter prospect chear'd our exil'd fate,
"Our sacred walls again he bade us raise,
"And to Jehovah rear the pile of praise.
"Quickly these fond hopes faded from our eyes,
"As the frail sun that gilds the wintry skies,
"And spreads a moment's radiance o'er the plain,
"Soon hid by clouds that dim the scene again.
"Opprest by Artaxerxes' jealous reign
"We vainly pleaded here, and wept in vain.
"Now when Darius, chief of mild command,
"Bids joy and pleasure fill the festive land,
"Still shall we droop the head in sullen grief,
"And sternly silent shun to seek relief?
"What if amid the Monarch's mirthful throng
"Our harps should echo to the chearful song?
"Fair is the occasion," thus the one replied,
"And now let all our tuneful skill be tried.
"Whilst the gay courtiers quaff the smiling bowl,
"And wine's strong fumes inspire the madden'd soul,
"Where all around is merriment, be mine
"To strike the lute, and praise the power of Wine.
"And whilst" his friend replied in state alone
"Lord of the earth Darius fills the throne,
"Be yours the mighty power of Wine to sing,
"My lute shall sound the praise of Persia's King."
To them Zorobabel, on themes like these
"Seek ye the Monarch of Mankind to please;
"To Wine superior or to Power's strong arms,
"Be mine to sing resistless Woman's charms.
"To him victorious in the rival lays
"Shall just Darius give the meed of praise;
"The purple robe his honor'd frame shall fold,
"The beverage sparkle in his cup of gold;
"A golden couch support his bed of rest,
"The chain of honor grace his favor'd breast;
"His the soft turban, his the car's array
"O'er Babylon's high wall to wheel its way;
"And for his wisdom seated on the throne,
"For the KING'S COUSIN shall the Bard be known."
Intent they meditate the future lay,
And watch impatient for the dawn of day.
The morn rose clear, and shrill were heard the flute,
The cornet, sackbut, dulcimer, and lute;
To Babylon's gay streets the throng resort,
Swarm thro' the gates, and fill the festive court.
High on his throne Darius tower'd in pride,
The fair Apame grac'd the Sovereign's side;
And now she smil'd, and now with mimic frown
Placed on her brow the Monarch's sacred crown.
In transport o'er her faultless form he bends,
Loves every look, and every act commends.
And now Darius bids the herald call
Judaea's Bard to grace the thronging hall.
Hush'd is each sound--the attending crowd are mute,
The Hebrew lightly strikes the chearful lute:
When the Traveller on his way,
Who has toil'd the livelong day,
Feels around on every side
The chilly mists of eventide,
Fatigued and faint his wearied mind
Recurs to all he leaves behind;
He thinks upon the well-trimm'd hearth,
The evening hour of social mirth,
And her who at departing day
Weeps for her husband far away.
Oh give to him the flowing bowl,
Bid it renovate his soul;
Then shall sorrow sink to sleep,
And he who wept, no more shall weep;
For his care-clouded brow shall clear,
And his glad eye shall sparkle thro' the tear.
When the poor man heart-opprest
Betakes him to his evening rest,
And worn with labour thinks in sorrow
Of the labor of to-morrow;
When sadly musing on his lot
He hies him to his joyless cot,
And loathes to meet his children there,
The rivals for his scanty fare:
Oh give to him the flowing bowl,
Bid it renovate his soul;
The generous juice with magic power
Shall cheat with happiness the hour,
And with each warm affection fill
The heart by want and wretchedness made chill.
When, at the dim close of day,
The Captive loves alone to stray
Along the haunts recluse and rude
Of sorrow and of solitude;
When he sits with moveless eye
To mark the lingering radiance die,
And lets distemper'd Fancy roam
Amid the ruins of his home,--
Oh give to him the flowing bowl,
Bid it renovate his soul;
The bowl shall better thoughts bestow,
And lull to rest his wakeful woe,
And Joy shall bless the evening hour,
And make the Captive Fortune's conqueror.
When the wearying cares of state
Oppress the Monarch with their weight,
When from his pomp retir'd alone
He feels the duties of the throne,
Feels that the multitude below
Depend on him for weal or woe;
When his powerful will may bless
A realm with peace and happiness,
Or with desolating breath
Breathe ruin round, and woe, and death:
Oh give to him the flowing bowl,
Bid it humanize his soul;
He shall not feel the empire's weight,
He shall not feel the cares of state,
The bowl shall each dark thought beguile,
And Nations live and prosper from his smile.
Husht was the lute, the Hebrew ceas'd the song;
Long peals of plaudits echoed from the throng;
Each tongue the liberal words of praise repaid,
On every cheek a smile applauding play'd;
The rival Bard advanced, he struck the string,
And pour'd the loftier song to Persia's King.
Why should the wearying cares of state
Oppress the Monarch with their weight?
Alike to him if Peace shall bless
The multitude with happiness;
Alike to him if frenzied War
Careers triumphant on the embattled plain,
And rolling on o'er myriads slain,
With gore and wounds shall clog his scythed car.
What tho' the tempest rage! no sound
Of the deep thunder shakes his distant throne,
And the red flash that spreads destruction round,
Reflects a glorious splendour on the Crown.
Where is the Man who with ennobling pride
Beholds not his own nature? where is he
Who but with deep amazement awe allied
Must muse the mysteries of the human mind,
The miniature of Deity.
For Man the vernal clouds descending
Shower down their fertilizing rain,
For Man the ripen'd harvest bending
Waves with soft murmur o'er the plenteous plain.
He spreads the sail on high,
The rude gale wafts him o'er the main;
For him the winds of Heaven subservient blow,
Earth teems for him, for him the waters flow,
He thinks, and wills, and acts, a Deity below!
Where is the King who with elating pride
Sees not this Man--this godlike Man his Slave?
Mean are the mighty by the Monarch's side,
Alike the wife, alike the brave
With timid step and pale, advance,
And tremble at the royal glance;
Suspended millions watch his breath
Whose smile is happiness, whose frown is death.
Why goes the Peasant from that little cot,
Where PEACE and LOVE have blest his humble life?
In vain his agonizing wife
With tears bedews her husband's face,
And clasps him in a long and last embrace;
In vain his children round his bosom creep,
And weep to see their mother weep,
Fettering their father with their little arms;
What are to him the wars alarms?
What are to him the distant foes?
He at the earliest dawn of day
To daily labor went his way;
And when he saw the sun decline,
He sat in peace beneath his vine:--
The king commands, the peasant goes,
From all he lov'd on earth he flies,
And for his monarch toils, and fights, and bleeds, and dies.
What tho' yon City's castled wall
Casts o'er the darken'd plain its crested shade?
What tho' their Priests in earnest terror call
On all their host of Gods to aid?
Vain is the bulwark, vain the tower;
In vain her gallant youths expose
Their breasts, a bulwark, to the foes.
In vain at that tremendous hour,
Clasp'd in the savage soldier's reeking arms,
Shrieks to tame Heaven the violated Maid.
By the rude hand of Ruin scatter'd round
Their moss-grown towers shall spread the desart ground.
Low shall the mouldering palace lie,
Amid the princely halls the grass wave high,
And thro' the shatter'd roof descend the inclement sky.
Gay o'er the embattled plain
Moves yonder warrior train,
Their banners wanton on the morning gale!
Full on their bucklers beams the rising ray,
Their glittering helmets flash a brighter day,
The shout of war rings echoing o'er the vale:
Far reaches as the aching eye can strain
The splendid horror of their wide array.
Ah! not in vain expectant, o'er
Their glorious pomp the Vultures soar!
Amid the Conqueror's palace high
Shall sound the song of victory:
Long after journeying o'er the plain
The Traveller shall with startled eye
See their white bones then blanched by many a winter sky.
Lord of the Earth! we will not raise
The Temple to thy bounded praise.
For thee no victim need expire,
For thee no altar blaze with hallowed fire!
The burning city flames for thee--
Thine altar is the field of victory!
Thy sacred Majesty to bless
Man a self-offer'd victim freely flies;
To thee he sacrifices Happiness,
And Peace, and Love's endearing ties,
To thee a Slave he lives, to thee a Slave he dies.
Husht was the lute, the Hebrew ceas'd to sing;
The shout rush'd forth--for ever live the King!
Loud was the uproar, as when Rome's decree
Pronounc'd Achaia once again was free;
Assembled Greece enrapt with fond belief
Heard the false boon, and bless'd the villain Chief;
Each breast with Freedom's holy ardor glows,
From every voice the cry of rapture rose;
Their thundering clamors burst the astonish'd sky,
And birds o'erpassing hear, and drop, and die.
Thus o'er the Persian dome their plaudits ring,
And the high hall re-echoed--live the King!
The Mutes bow'd reverent down before their Lord,
The assembled Satraps envied and ador'd,
Joy sparkled in the Monarch's conscious eyes,
And his pleas'd pride already doom'd the prize.
Silent they saw Zorobabel advance:
Quick on Apame shot his timid glance,
With downward eye he paus'd a moment mute,
And with light finger touch'd the softer lute.
Apame knew the Hebrew's grateful cause,
And bent her head and sweetly smil'd applause.
Why is the Warrior's cheek so red?
Why downward droops his musing head?
Why that slow step, that faint advance,
That keen yet quick-retreating glance?
That crested head in war tower'd high,
No backward glance disgrac'd that eye,
No flushing fear that cheek o'erspread
When stern he strode o'er heaps of dead;
Strange tumult now his bosom moves--
The Warrior fears because he loves.
Why does the Youth delight to rove
Amid the dark and lonely grove?
Why in the throng where all are gay,
His wandering eye with meaning fraught,
Sits he alone in silent thought?
Silent he sits; for far away
His passion'd soul delights to stray;
Recluse he roves and strives to shun
All human-kind because he loves but One!
Yes, King of Persia, thou art blest;
But not because the sparkling bowl
To rapture lifts thy waken'd soul
But not because of Power possest,
Not that the Nations dread thy nod,
And Princes reverence thee their earthly God,
Even on a Monarch's solitude
Care the black Spectre will intrude,
The bowl brief pleasure can bestow,
The Purple cannot shield from Woe.
But King of Persia thou art blest,
For Heaven who rais'd thee thus the world above
Has made thee happy in Apame's love!
Oh! I have seen his fond looks trace
Each angel feature of her face,
Rove o'er her form with eager eye,
And sigh and gaze, and gaze and sigh.
Lo! from his brow with mimic frown,
Apame takes the sacred crown;
Her faultless form, her lovely face
Add to the diadem new grace
And subject to a Woman's laws
Darius sees and smiles applause!
He ceas'd, and silent still remain'd the throng
Whilst rapt attention own'd the power of song.
Then loud as when the wintry whirlwinds blow
From ev'ry voice the thundering plaudits flow;
Darius smil'd, Apame's sparkling eyes
Glanc'd on the King, and Woman won the prize.
Now silent sat the expectant crowd, alone
The victor Hebrew gaz'd not on the throne;
With deeper hue his cheek distemper'd glows,
With statelier stature, loftier now he rose;
Heavenward he gaz'd, regardless of the throng,
And pour'd with awful voice sublimer song.
Ancient of Days! Eternal Truth! one hymn
One holier strain the Bard shall raise to thee,
Thee Powerful! Thee Benevolent! Thee Just!
Friend! Father! All in All! the Vines rich blood,
The Monarch's might, and Woman's conquering charms,--
These shall we praise alone? Oh ye who sit
Beneath your vine, and quaff at evening hour
The healthful bowl, remember him whose dews,
Whose rains, whose sun, matur'd the growing fruit,
Creator and Preserver! Reverence Him,
O thou who from thy throne dispensest life
And death, for He has delegated power.
And thou shalt one day at the throne of God
Render most strict account! O ye who gaze
Enrapt on Beauty's fascinating form,
Gaze on with love, and loving Beauty, learn
To shun abhorrent all the mental eye
Beholds deform'd and foul; for so shall Love
Climb to the Source of Virtue. God of Truth!
All-Just! All-Mighty! I should ill deserve
Thy noblest gift, the gift divine of song,
If, so content with ear-deep melodies
To please all profitless, I did not pour
Severer strains; of Truth--eternal Truth,
Unchanging Justice, universal Love.
Such strains awake the soul to loftiest thoughts,
Such strains the Blessed Spirits of the Good
Waft, grateful incense, to the Halls of Heaven.
The dying notes still murmur'd on the string,
When from his throne arose the raptur'd King.
About to speak he stood, and wav'd his hand,
And all expectant sat the obedient band.
Then just and gen'rous, thus the Monarch cries,
"Be thine Zorobabel the well earned prize.
"The purple robe of state thy form shall fold,
"The beverage sparkle in thy cup of gold;
"The golden couch, the car, and honor'd chain,
"Requite the merits of thy favor'd strain,
"And rais'd supreme the ennobled race among
"Be call'd MY COUSIN for the victor song.
"Nor these alone the victor song shall bless,
"Ask what thou wilt, and what thou wilt, possess."
"Fall'n is Jerusalem!" the Hebrew cries.
And patriot anguish fills his streaming eyes,
"Hurl'd to the earth by Rapine's vengeful rod,
"Polluted lies the temple of our God,
"Far in a foreign land her sons remain,
"Hear the keen taunt, and drag the captive chain:
"In fruitless woe they wear the wearying years,
"And steep the bread of bitterness in tears.
"O Monarch, greatest, mildest, best of men,
"Restore us to those ruin'd walls again!
"Allow our race to rear that sacred dome,
"To live in liberty, and die at Home."
So spake Zorobabel--thus Woman's praise
Avail'd again Jerusalem to raise,
Call'd forth the sanction of the Despot's nod,
And freed the Nation best belov'd of God.