On My Thirty-Third Birthday, January 22, 1821
Through life's dull road, so dim and dirty,
I have dragg'd to three-and-thirty.
What have these years left to me?
January Cold Desolate
January cold desolate;
February all dripping wet;
March wind ranges;
Birds sing in tune
To flowers of May,
And sunny June
Brings longest day;
In scorched July
The storm-clouds fly
August bears corn,
In rough October
Earth must disrobe her;
Stars fall and shoot
In keen November;
And night is long
And cold is strong
In bleak December.
A Calendar Of Sonnets: January
O Winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire,
What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn
Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn
Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire
The streams than under ice. June could not hire
Her roses to forego the strength they learn
In sleeping on thy breast. No fires can burn
The bridges thou dost lay where men desire
In vain to build.
O Heart, when Love's sun goes
To northward, and the sounds of singing cease,
Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace.
Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose.
Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows,
The winter is the winter's own release.
WHILE yet the air is keen, and no bird sings,
Nor any vaguest thrills of heart declare
The presence of the springtime in the air,
Through the raw dawn the shepherd homeward brings
The wee white lambs--the little helpless things--
For shelter, warmth, and comfortable care.
Without his help how hardly lambs would fare--
How hardly live through winter's hours to spring's!
So let me tend and minister apart
To my new hope, which some day you shall know:
It could not live in January wind
Of your disdain; but when within your heart
The bud and bloom of tenderness shall grow,
Amid the flowers my hope may welcome find.
by Edith Nesbit.
A January Morning
The glittering roofs are still with frost; each worn
Black chimney builds into the quiet sky
Its curling pile to crumble silently.
Far out to westward on the edge of morn,
The slender misty city towers up-borne
Glimmer faint rose against the pallid blue;
And yonder on those northern hills, the hue
Of amethyst, hang fleeces dull as horn.
And here behind me come the woodmen's sleighs
With shouts and clamorous squeakings; might and main
Up the steep slope the horses stamp and strain,
Urged on by hoarse-tongued drivers—cheeks ablaze,
Iced beards and frozen eyelids—team by team,
With frost-fringed flanks, and nostrils jetting steam.
The Idler’s Calendar. Twelve Sonnets For The Months. January
The week at Whinwood next to Christmas week.
Six guns, no more, but all good men and true,
Of the clean--visaged sort, with ruddy cheek
Which knows not care. Light--hearted Montagu
At the cover's end, as down the wind they flew,
Has stopped his score of pheasants, every beak,
Without more thought of Juliet than of you;
And still I hear his loud--mouthed Purdeys speak.
Tybalt and Paris, with a bet on hand,
Have fired at the same woodcock. ``Truce,'' say I,
``To civil jars.'' For look, as by command,
Bunch following bunch, a hundred pheasants fly.
Now battle, murder, death on every side!
Right, left, left, right, we pile up agony,
Till night stops all. Then home in chastened pride,
With aching heads, our slaughter satisfied.
How many have you broken up till now?
I know that yesterday you made a vow,
And most solemnly 'twas spoken;
But how many have you broken?
Oh, you kept 'em for an hour or two - But How?
You swore at twelve o'clock or thereabouts,
Most resolutely, scorning any doubts,
That the glad New Year would find you
With your vices all behind you.
And you'd be the very best of good boy scouts.
But you fell. And, oh, how quickly did you fall!
And now you're feeling low, and mean, and small;
For, despite all your devising,
You have come to realising
That you're really only human after all.
Ah, well, at least you had the will to try;
And you may reform some day before you die,
And there's this small consolation
On the road to reformation:
There's another New Year coming by and by.
Beranger's My Last Song Perhaps (January 1814)
When, to despoil my native France,
With flaming torch and cruel sword
And boisterous drums her foeman comes,
I curse him and his vandal horde!
Yet, what avail accrues to her,
If we assume the garb of woe?
Let's merry be,--in laughter we
May rescue somewhat from the foe!
Ah, many a brave man trembles now.
I (coward!) show no sign of fear;
When Bacchus sends his blessing, friends,
I drown my panic in his cheer.
Come, gather round my humble board,
And let the sparkling wassail flow,--
Chuckling to think, the while you drink,
"This much we rescue from the foe!"
My creditors beset me so
And so environed my abode,
That I agreed, despite my need,
To settle up the debts I owed;
When suddenly there came the news
Of this invasion, as you know;
I'll pay no score; pray, lend me more,--
I--I will keep it from the foe!
Now here's my mistress,--pretty dear!--
Feigns terror at this martial noise,
And yet, methinks, the artful minx
Would like to meet those soldier boys!
I tell her that they're coarse and rude,
Yet feel she don't believe 'em so,--
Well, never mind; so she be kind,
That much I rescue from the foe!
If, brothers, hope shall have in store
For us and ours no friendly glance,
Let's rather die than raise a cry
Of welcome to the foes of France!
But, like the swan that dying sings,
Let us, O Frenchmen, singing go,--
Then shall our cheer, when death is near,
Be so much rescued from the foe!
by Eugene Field.
Pavement slipp'ry, people sneezing,
Lords in ermine, beggars freezing ;
Titled gluttons dainties carving,
Genius in a garret starving.
Lofty mansions, warm and spacious ;
Courtiers clinging and voracious ;
Misers scarce the wretched heeding ;
Gallant soldiers fighting, bleeding.
Wives who laugh at passive spouses ;
Theatres, and meeting-houses ;
Balls, where simp'ring misses languish ;
Hospitals, and groans of anguish.
Arts and sciences bewailing ;
Commerce drooping, credit failing ;
Placemen mocking subjects loyal ;
Separations, weddings royal.
Authors who can't earn a dinner ;
Many a subtle rogue a winner ;
Fugitives for shelter seeking ;
Misers hoarding, tradesmen breaking.
Taste and talents quite deserted ;
All the laws of truth perverted ;
Arrogance o'er merit soaring ;
Merit silently deploring.
Ladies gambling night and morning ;
Fools the works of genius scorning ;
Ancient dames for girls mistaken,
Youthful damsels quite forsaken.
Some in luxury delighting ;
More in talking than in fighting ;
Lovers old, and beaux decrepid ;
Lordlings empty and insipid.
Poets, painters, and musicians ;
Lawyers, doctors, politicians :
Pamphlets, newspapers, and odes,
Seeking fame by diff'rent roads.
Gallant souls with empty purses ;
Gen'rals only fit for nurses ;
School-boys, smit with martial spirit,
Taking place of vet'ran merit.
Honest men who can't get places,
Knaves who shew unblushing faces ;
Ruin hasten'd, peace retarded ;
Candour spurn'd, and art rewarded.
On The Discoveries Of Captain Lewis (January 14, 1807)
Let the Nile cloak his head in the clouds, and defy
The researches of science and time;
Let the Niger escape the keen traveller's eye,
By plunging or changing his clime.
Columbus! not so shall thy boundless domain
Defraud thy brave sons of their right;
Streams, midlands, and shorelands elude us in vain.
We shall drag their dark regions to light.
Look down, sainted sage, from thy synod of Gods;
See, inspired by thy venturous soul,
Mackenzie roll northward his earth-draining floods,
And surge the broad waves to the pole.
With the same soaring genius thy Lewis ascends,
And, seizing the car of the sun,
O'er the sky-propping hills and high waters he bends,
And gives the proud earth a new zone.
Potowmak, Ohio, Missouri had felt
Half her globe in their cincture comprest;
His long curving course has completed the belt,
And tamed the last tide of the west.
Then hear the loud voice of the nation proclaim,
And all ages resound the decree:
Let our occident stream bear the young hero's name,
Who taught him his path to the sea.
These four brother floods, like a garland of flowers,
Shall entwine all our states in a band
Conform and confederate their wide-spreading powers,
And their wealth and their wisdom expand.
From Darien to Davis one garden shall bloom,
Where war's weary banners are furl'd,
And the far scenting breezes that waft its perfume,
Shall settle the storms of the world.
Then hear the loud voice of the nation proclaim
And all ages resound the decree:
Let our occident stream bear the young hero's name,
Who taught him his path to the sea.
by Joel Barlow.
A Tale, Founded On A Fact, Which Happened In January, 1779
Where Humber pours his rich commercial stream,
There dwelt a wretch, who breathed but to blaspheme.
In subterraneous caves his life he led,
Black as the mine, in which he wrought for bread.
When on a day, emerging from the deep,
A Sabbath-day, (such Sabbaths thousands keep!)
The wages of his weekly toil he bore
To buy a cock -- whose blood might win him more;
As if the noblest of the feathered kind
Were but for battle and for death designed;
As if the consecrated hours were meant
For sport, to minds on cruelty intent.
It changed, (such chances Providence obey,)
He met a fellow-labourer on the way,
Whose heart the same desires had once inflamed,
But now the savage temper was reclaimed.
Persuasion on his lips had taken place;
For all plead well who plead the cause of grace.
His iron-heart with Scripture he assailed,
Wooed him to hear a sermon, and prevailed.
His faithful bow the mighty preacher drew,
Swift as the lightning-glimpse the arrow flew.
He wept; he trembled; cast his eyes around,
To find a worse than he; but none he found.
He felt his sins, and wondered he should feel.
Grace made the wound, and grace alone could heal.
Now farewell oaths, and blasphemies, and lies!
He quits the sinner's for the martyr's prize.
That holy day was washed with many a tear,
Gilded with hope, yet shaded too by fear.
The next his swarthy brethren of the mine
Learned by his altered speech, the change divine,
Laughed when they should have wept, and swore the day
Was nigh when he would swear as fast as they.
'No,' said the penitent: 'such words shall share
This breath no more; devoted now to prayer.
Oh! if thou seest, (thine eye the future sees,)
That I shall yet again blaspheme, like these,
Now strike me to the ground, on which I kneel,
Ere yet this heart relapses into steel;
Now take me to that heaven I once defied,
Thy presence, thy embrace!' -- He spoke, and died!
by William Cowper.
Ode Written On The First Of January
Come melancholy Moralizer--come!
Gather with me the dark and wintry wreath;
With me engarland now
The SEPULCHRE OF TIME!
Come Moralizer to the funeral song!
I pour the dirge of the Departed Days,
For well the funeral song
Befits this solemn hour.
But hark! even now the merry bells ring round
With clamorous joy to welcome in this day,
This consecrated day,
To Mirth and Indolence.
Mortal! whilst Fortune with benignant hand
Fills to the brim thy cup of happiness,
Whilst her unclouded sun
Illumes thy summer day,
Canst thou rejoice--rejoice that Time flies fast?
That Night shall shadow soon thy summer sun?
That swift the stream of Years
Rolls to Eternity?
If thou hast wealth to gratify each wish,
If Power be thine, remember what thou art--
Remember thou art Man,
And Death thine heritage!
Hast thou known Love? does Beauty's better sun
Cheer thy fond heart with no capricious smile,
Her eye all eloquence,
Her voice all harmony?
Oh state of happiness! hark how the gale
Moans deep and hollow o'er the leafless grove!
Winter is dark and cold--
Where now the charms of Spring?
Sayst thou that Fancy paints the future scene
In hues too sombrous? that the dark-stol'd Maid
With stern and frowning front
Appals the shuddering soul?
And would'st thou bid me court her faery form
When, as she sports her in some happier mood,
Her many-colour'd robes
Dance varying to the Sun?
Ah vainly does the Pilgrim, whose long road
Leads o'er the barren mountain's storm-vext height,
With anxious gaze survey
The fruitful far-off vale.
Oh there are those who love the pensive song
To whom all sounds of Mirth are dissonant!
There are who at this hour
Will love to contemplate!
For hopeless Sorrow hails the lapse of Time,
Rejoicing when the fading orb of day
Is sunk again in night,
That one day more is gone.
And he who bears Affliction's heavy load
With patient piety, well pleas'd he knows
The World a pilgrimage,
The Grave the inn of rest.
by Robert Southey.
William Carleton. Died, January 30th, 1869.
Our land has lost a glory! Never more,
Tho’ years roll on, can Ireland hope to see
Another Carleton, cradled in the lore
Of our loved Country’s rich humanity.
The weird traditions, the old, plaintive strain,
The murmured legends of a vengeful past,
When a down‐trodden people stove in vain
To rend the fetters centuries made fast;
These, with the song and dance and tender tale,
Linked to our ancient music, have swept on
And died in far‐off echoes, like the wail
Of Israel’s broken Harps in Babylon.
No hand like his can wake them now, for he
Sprang from amidst the people: bathed his soul
In their strong passions, stormy as the sea,
And wild as skies before the thunder‐roll.
Yet, was he gentle; with divinest art
And tears that shook his nature over much,
He struck the key‐note of a people’s heart,
And all the nation answered to his touch,
Even as he swayed them, giving smiles for gloom,
And childlike tenderness for hate that kills
As rain clouds threat’ning with a weight of doom
Flash sudden, silver light upon the hills.
But, he had faults—men said. Oh, fling them back,
These cold deductions, marring praise with blame;
When earthquakes rend the rocks they leave a track
For central fires issuing forth in flame;
And by the passionate heat of gifted minds
The ruddest stones are crystallised to gems
Of glorious worth, such as a poet binds
Upon his brow, right royal diadems!
Like the great image of the Monarch’s dream,
Genius lifts up on high the head of gold,
And cleaves with iron limbs Time’s mighty stream,
Tho’ all too deep the feet may press earth’s mould.
Yet, by his gifts made dedicate to God
In noblest teachings of each gentle grace,
Through every land that Irishmen have trod
We claim for him the homage of our race.
With pen of light he drew great pictures when
Nothing but scorn was ours; and without fear
He flung them down before the face of men,
Saying, in words the whole world paused to hear:
So brave, so pure, so noble, grand, and true
Is this, our Irish People. Thus he gave
His fame to build our glory, and undo
The taunts of ages,—strong to lift and save
So, with a nation’s gratitude we vow
In every Irish heart a shrine shall be
To The Great Peasant, on whose deathless brow
Rests the star‐crown of immortality.
The kings of mind, unlike the kings of earth,
Can bear their honours with them to illume
The grave’s dark vault; so Carleton passes forth,
As through triumphal triumpal arches, to the tomb!
by Lady Jane Wilde.
Ode On The Present Times, 27th January 1795
Lo! Winter drives his horrors round;
Wide o'er the rugged soil they fly;
In their cold spells each stream is bound,
While at the magic of their eye
Each sign of Spring's gay beauty fades,
And one white wild the aching sight invades.
It is the time for Woe to reign,
And hark! she bids her haggard train,
Pale poverty and want, appear,
Disease, their darling child, draw near,
And, grateful for the favouring hour,
They feel, they seize, they riot, in their power.
But Winter! not to thee alone
Their heart-appalling sway they owe,
For they to war's despotic throne
As tributary subjects bow;
War, who bids trembling Europe gasp,
With wild convulsions in his bloody grasp.
Whence yonder groans? O wretched land!
Poland, from thee, alas! they came,
A despot speaks, and lo! a band,
Blaspheming pure Religion's name,
Bid cold, deliberate murder live,
And death's dread stroke to helpless thousands give.
And see, on Belgia's reeking plain,
Alternate horrors rise and reign!
What mingled sounds affright the ear!
Now, we the song of victory hear,
And now, despair's appalling tone,
And now, of death the deep sepulchral groan.
Freedom! for whose dear sake I'd dare
Each various ill that tortures life,
Though I thy matchless victories share,
While, towering 'midst the bloody strife,
I see thy form sublime, acquire
New power to charm, new beauty to inspire;
I cannot smile; I cannot join
The song of triumph; tho' thy foes,
Celestial power! are also mine;
And tho' I weep for all thy woes,
Yet I thy triumphs too must weep,
And in my tears thy bloody laurels steep.
For who are they that madly bear
Against thy sons the venal spear?
Are they not men?—then say, what power
Can bid my bosom mourn no more;
O where's the fiend-delighting ban
Forbidding MAN to weep for SLAUGHTERED MAN!
E'en Victory, when reflection's voice
Breathes in her ear 'thy brothers die,'
Shall bid her sons no more rejoice,
But change her shouts for pity's sigh:
She will her breast in anguish beat,
And wear the sombrous aspect of defeat.
O Britain! ill-starred land! no more
Must Peace to thee her olive bear,
But on thy once-triumphant shore,
Must we behold the form of fear
Expecting, on the swelling tide,
To see the FOE in proud defiance ride!
Avert the threatening, awful ill;
For fraught with power, and fraught with will
To make thy hardiest veterans die,
A lurking fiend, alas! is nigh,
Who threatens on thy sons to pour
The fatal cloud thou bad'st on GALLIA lower.
Lo! FAMINE spreads her banners wide;
She comes arrayed in horrid state;
But, not to humble Gallia's pride,
And on the rear of victory wait;
She comes the humbled to subdue,
And twine round fading wreaths, death's baleful yew.
She comes to Britain!—at the thought,
Winter! thy scene with horrors fraught,
Fades from my sight—the present ill
Appears to lose its power to kill:
To future scenes pale Fancy flies,
Lifts her dim tearful eyes to heaven, and dies.
by Amelia Opie.
The Shepherds Calendar - January- Winters Day
Withering and keen the winter comes
While comfort flyes to close shut rooms
And sees the snow in feathers pass
Winnowing by the window glass
And unfelt tempests howl and beat
Above his head in corner seat
And musing oer the changing scene
Farmers behind the tavern screen
Sit-or wi elbow idly prest
On hob reclines the corners guest
Reading the news to mark again
The bankrupt lists or price of grain
Or old moores anual prophecys
That many a theme for talk supplys
Whose almanacks thumbd pages swarm
Wi frost and snow and many a storm
And wisdom gossipd from the stars
Of polities and bloody wars
He shakes his head and still proceeds
Neer doubting once of what he reads
All wonders are wi faith supplyd
Bible at once and weather guide
Puffing the while his red tipt pipe
Dreaming oer troubles nearly ripe
Yet not quite lost in profits way
He'll turn to next years harvest day
And winters leisure to regale
Hopes better times and sips his ale
While labour still pursues his way
And braves the tempest as he may
The thresher first thro darkness deep
Awakes the mornings winter sleep
Scaring the owlet from her prey
Long before she dreams of day
That blinks above head on the snow
Watching the mice that squeaks below
And foddering boys sojourn again
By ryhme hung hedge and frozen plain
Shuffling thro the sinking snows
Blowing his fingers as he goes
To where the stock in bellowings hoarse
Call for their meals in dreary close
And print full many a hungry track
Round circling hedge that guards the stack
Wi higgling tug he cuts the hay
And bares the forkfull loads away
And morn and evening daily throws
The little heaps upon the snows
The shepherd too in great coat wrapt
And straw bands round his stockings lapt
Wi plodding dog that sheltering steals
To shun the wind behind his heels
Takes rough and smooth the winter weather
And paces thro the snow together
While in the fields the lonly plough
Enjoys its frozen sabbath now
And horses too pass time away
In leisures hungry holiday
Rubbing and lunging round the yard
Dreaming no doubt of summer sward
As near wi idle pace they draw
To brouze the upheapd cribs of straw
While whining hogs wi hungry roar
Crowd around the kitchen door
Or when their scanty meal is done
Creep in the straw the cold to shun
And old hens scratting all the day
Seeks curnels chance may throw away
Pausing to pick the seed and grain
Then dusting up the chaff again
While in the barn holes hid from view
The cats their patient watch pursue
For birds which want in flocks will draw
From woods and fields to pick the straw
The soodling boy that saunters round
The yard on homward dutys bound
Now fills the troughs for noisy hogs
Oft asking aid from barking dogs
That tuggles at each flopping ear
Of such as scramble on too near
Or circld round wi thirsty stock
That for his swinging labours flock
At clanking pump his station takes
Half hid in mist their breathing makes
Or at the pond before the door
Which every night leaves frozen oer
Wi heavy beetle1 splinters round
The glossy ice wi jarring sound
While huddling geese as half asleep
Doth round the imprisond water creep
Silent and sad to wait his aid
And soon as ere a hole is made
They din his ears wi pleasures cry
And hiss at all that ventures nigh
Splashing wi jealous joys & vain
Their fill ere it be froze again
And woodstack climbs at maids desire
Throwing down faggots for the fire
Where stealing time he often stands
To warm his half froze tingling hands
The schoolboy still in dithering joys
Pastime in leisure hours employs
And be the weather as it may
Is never at a loss for play
Rolling up giant heaps of snow
As noontide frets its little thaw
Making rude things of various names
Snow men or aught their fancy frames
Till numbd wi cold they quake away
And join at hotter sports to play
Kicking wi many a flying bound
The football oer the frozen ground
Or seeking bright glib ice to play
To sailing slide the hours away
As smooth and quick as shadows run
When clouds in autumn pass the sun
Some hurrying rambles eager take
To skait upon the meadow lake
Scaring the snipe from her retreat
From shelving banks unfrozen seat
Or running brook where icy spars
Which the pale sunlight specks wi stars
Shoots crizzling oer the restless tide
To many a likness petrified
Where fancy often stoops to pore
And turns again to wonder more
The more hen too wi fear opprest
Starts from her reedy shelterd nest
Bustling to get from foes away
And scarcly flies more fast then they
Skaiting along wi curving springs
Wi arms spread out like herons wings
They race away for pleasures sake
A hunters speed along the lake
And oft neath trees where ice is thin
Meet narrow scapes from breaking in
Again the robin waxes tame
And ventures pitys crumbs to claim
Picking the trifles off the snow
Which dames on purpose daily throw
And perching on the window sill
Where memory recolecting still
Knows the last winters broken pane
And there he hops and peeps again
The clouds of starnels dailey fly
Blackening thro the evening sky
To whittleseas1 reed wooded mere
And ozier holts by rivers near
And many a mingld swathy crowd
Rook crow and jackdaw noising loud
Fly too and fro to dreary fen
Dull winters weary flight agen
Flopping on heavy wings away
As soon as morning wakens grey
And when the sun sets round and red
Returns to naked woods to bed
Wood pigeons too in flocks appear
By hunger tamd from timid fear
They mid the sheep unstartld steal
And share wi them a scanty meal
Picking the green leaves want bestows
Of turnips sprouting thro the snows
The ickles from the cottage eaves
Which cold nights freakish labour leaves
Fret in the sun a partial thaw
Pattring on the pitted snow
But soon as ere hes out of sight
They eke afresh their tails at night
The sun soon creepeth out of sight
Behind the woods-and running night
Makes haste to shut the days dull eye
And grizzles oer the chilly sky
Dark deep and thick by day forsook
As cottage chimneys sooty nook
While maidens fresh as summer roses
Joining from the distant closes
Haste home wi yokes and swinging pail
And thresher too sets by his flail
And leaves the mice at peace agen
To fill their holes wi stolen grain
And owlets glad his toils are oer
Swoops by him as he shuts the door
The shepherd seeks his cottage warm
And tucks his hook beneath his arm
And weary in the cold to roam
Scenting the track that leadeth home
His dog wi swifter pace proceeds
And barks to urge his masters speed
Then turns and looks him in the face
And trotts before Wi mending pace
Till out of whistle from the swain
He sits him down and barks again
Anxious to greet the opend door
And meet the cottage fire once more
The robin that wi nimble eye
Glegs round a danger to espy
Now pops from out the opend door
From crumbs half left upon the floor
Nor wipes his bill on perching chair
Nor stays to clean a feather there
Scard at the cat that sliveth in
A chance from evenings glooms to win
To jump on chairs or tables nigh
Seeking what plunder may supply
The childerns litterd scraps to thieve
Or aught that negligence may leave
Creeping when huswives cease to watch
Or dairey doors are off the latch
On cheese or butter to regale
Or new milk reeking in .the pale
The hedger now in leathern coat
From woodland wilds and fields remote
After a journey far and slow
Knocks from his shoes the caking snow
And opes the welcome creaking door
Throwing his faggot on the floor
And at his listening wifes desire
To eke afresh the blazing fire
Wi sharp bill cuts the hazel bands
Then sets him down to warm his hands
And tell in labours happy way
His story of the passing day
While as the warm blaze cracks and gleams
The supper reeks in savoury steams
Or keetle simmers merrily
And tinkling cups are set for tea
Thus doth the winters dreary day
From morn to evening wear away.
by John Clare.
The Morning Of The Day Appointed For A General Thanksgiving. January 18, 1816
HAIL, orient Conqueror of gloomy Night!
Thou that canst shed the bliss of gratitude
On hearts howe'er insensible or rude;
Whether thy punctual visitations smite
The haughty towers where monarchs dwell;
Or thou, impartial Sun, with presence bright
Cheer'st the low threshold of the peasant's cell!
Not unrejoiced I see thee climb the sky
In naked splendour, clear from mist or haze,
Or cloud approaching to divert the rays,
Which even in deepest winter testify
Thy power and majesty,
Dazzling the vision that presumes to gaze.
--Well does thine aspect usher in this Day;
As aptly suits therewith that modest pace
Submitted to the chains
That bind thee to the path which God ordains
That thou shalt trace,
Till, with the heavens and earth, thou pass away!
Nor less, the stillness of these frosty plains,
Their utter stillness, and the silent grace
Of yon ethereal summits white with snow,
(Whose tranquil pomp and spotless purity
Report of storms gone by
To us who tread below)
Do with the service of this Day accord.
--Divinest Object which the uplifted eye
Of mortal man is suffered to behold;
Thou, who upon those snow-clad Heights has poured
Meek lustre, nor forget'st the humble Vale;
Thou who dost warm Earth's universal mould,
And for thy bounty wert not unadored
By pious men of old;
Once more, heart-cheering Sun, I bid thee hail!
Bright be thy course to-day, let not this promise fail!
'Mid the deep quiet of this morning hour,
All nature seems to hear me while I speak,
By feelings urged that do not vainly seek
Apt language, ready as the tuneful notes
That stream in blithe succession from the throats
Of birds, in leafy bower,
Warbling a farewell to a vernal shower.
--There is a radiant though a short-lived flame,
That burns for Poets in the dawning east;
And oft my soul hath kindled at the same,
When the captivity of sleep had ceased;
But He who fixed immoveably the frame
Of the round world, and built, by laws as strong,
A solid refuge for distress--
The towers of righteousness;
He knows that from a holier altar came
The quickening spark of this day's sacrifice;
Knows that the source is nobler whence doth rise
The current of this matin song;
That deeper far it lies
Than aught dependent on the fickle skies.
Have we not conquered?--by the vengeful sword?
Ah no, by dint of Magnanimity;
That curbed the baser passions, and left free
A loyal band to follow their liege Lord
Clear-sighted Honour, and his staid Compeers,
Along a track of most unnatural years;
In execution of heroic deeds
Whose memory, spotless as the crystal beads
Of morning dew upon the untrodden meads,
Shall live enrolled above the starry spheres.
He, who in concert with an earthly string
Of Britain's acts would sing,
He with enraptured voice will tell
Of One whose spirit no reverse could quell;
Of One that 'mid the failing never failed--
Who paints how Britain struggled and prevailed
Shall represent her labouring with an eye
Of circumspect humanity;
Shall show her clothed with strength and skill,
All martial duties to fulfil;
Firm as a rock in stationary fight;
In motion rapid as the lightning's gleam;
Fierce as a flood-gate bursting at midnight
To rouse the wicked from their giddy dream--
Woe, woe to all that face her in the field!
Appalled she may not be, and cannot yield.
And thus is 'missed' the sole true glory
That can belong to human story!
At which they only shall arrive
Who through the abyss of weakness dive.
The very humblest are too proud of heart;
And one brief day is rightly set apart
For Him who lifteth up and layeth low;
For that Almighty God to whom we owe,
Say not that we have vanquished--but that we survive.
How dreadful the dominion of the impure!
Why should the Song be tardy to proclaim
That less than power unbounded could not tame
That soul of Evil--which, from hell let loose,
Had filled the astonished world with such abuse
As boundless patience only could endure?
--Wide-wasted regions--cities wrapt in flame--
Who sees, may lift a streaming eye
To Heaven;--who never saw, may heave a sigh;
But the foundation of our nature shakes,
And with an infinite pain the spirit aches,
When desolated countries, towns on fire,
Are but the avowed attire
Of warfare waged with desperate mind
Against the life of virtue in mankind;
Assaulting without ruth
The citadels of truth;
While the fair gardens of civility,
By ignorance defaced,
By violence laid waste,
Perish without reprieve for flower or tree!
A crouching purpose--a distracted will--
Opposed to hopes that battened upon scorn,
And to desires whose ever-waxing horn
Not all the light of earthly power could fill;
Opposed to dark, deep plots of patient skill,
And to celerities of lawless force;
Which, spurning God, had flung away remorse--
What could they gain but shadows of redress?
--So bad proceeded propagating worse;
And discipline was passion's dire excess.
Widens the fatal web, its lines extend,
And deadlier poisons in the chalice blend.
When will your trials teach you to be wise?
--O prostrate Lands, consult your agonies!
No more--the guilt is banished,
And, with the guilt, the shame is fled;
And, with the guilt and shame, the Woe hath vanished,
Shaking the dust and ashes from her head!
--No more--these lingerings of distress
Sully the limpid stream of thankfulness.
What robe can Gratitude employ
So seemly as the radiant vest of Joy?
What steps so suitable as those that move
In prompt obedience to spontaneous measures
Of glory, and felicity, and love,
Surrendering the whole heart to sacred pleasures?
O Britain! dearer far than life is dear,
If one there be
Of all thy progeny
Who can forget thy prowess, never more
Be that ungrateful Son allowed to hear
Thy green leaves rustle or thy torrents roar.
As springs the lion from his den,
As from a forest-brake
Upstarts a glistering snake,
The bold Arch-despot re-appeared;--again
Wide Europe heaves, impatient to be cast,
With all her armed Powers,
On that offensive soil, like waves upon a thousand shores.
The trumpet blew a universal blast!
But Thou art foremost in the field:--there stand:
Receive the triumph destined to thy hand!
All States have glorified themselves;--their claims
Are weighed by Providence, in balance even;
And now, in preference to the mightiest names,
To Thee the exterminating sword is given.
Dread mark of approbation, justly gained!
Exalted office, worthily sustained!
Preserve, O Lord! within our hearts
The memory of thy favour,
That else insensibly departs,
And loses its sweet savour!
Lodge it within us!--as the power of light
Lives inexhaustibly in precious gems,
Fixed on the front of Eastern diadems,
So shine our thankfulness for ever bright!
What offering, what transcendent monument
Shall our sincerity to Thee present?
--Not work of hands; but trophies that may reach
To highest Heaven--the labour of the Soul;
That builds, as thy unerring precepts teach,
Upon the internal conquests made by each,
Her hope of lasting glory for the whole.
Yet will not heaven disown nor earth gainsay
The outward service of this day;
Whether the worshippers entreat
Forgiveness from God's mercy-seat;
Or thanks and praises to His throne ascend
That He has brought our warfare to an end,
And that we need no second victory!--
Ha! what a ghastly sight for man to see;
And to the heavenly saints in peace who dwell,
For a brief moment, terrible;
But, to thy sovereign penetration, fair,
Before whom all things are, that were,
All judgments that have been, or e'er shall be;
Links in the chain of thy tranquillity!
Along the bosom of this favoured Nation,
Breathe Thou, this day, a vital undulation!
Let all who do this land inherit
Be conscious of thy moving spirit!
Oh, 'tis a goodly Ordinance,--the sight,
Though sprung from bleeding war, is one of pure delight;
Bless Thou the hour, or ere the hour arrive,
When a whole people shall kneel down in prayer,
And, at one moment, in one rapture, strive
With lip and heart to tell their gratitude
For thy protecting care,
Their solemn joy--praising the Eternal Lord
For tyranny subdued,
And for the sway of equity renewed,
For liberty confirmed, and peace restored!
But hark--the summons!--down the placid lake
Floats the soft cadence of the church-tower bells;
Bright shines the Sun, as if his beams would wake
The tender insects sleeping in their cells;
Bright shines the Sun--and not a breeze to shake
The drops that tip the melting icicles.
'O, enter now his temple gate!'
Inviting words--perchance already flung
(As the crowd press devoutly down the aisle
Of some old Minster's venerable pile)
From voices into zealous passion stung,
While the tubed engine feels the inspiring blast,
And has begun--its clouds of sound to cast
Forth towards empyreal Heaven,
As if the fretted roof were riven.
'Us', humbler ceremonies now await;
But in the bosom, with devout respect
The banner of our joy we will erect,
And strength of love our souls shall elevate:
For to a few collected in his name,
Their heavenly Father will incline an ear
Gracious to service hallowed by its aim;--
Awake! the majesty of God revere!
Go--and with foreheads meekly bowed
Present your prayers--go--and rejoice aloud--
The Holy One will hear!
And what, 'mid silence deep, with faith sincere,
Ye, in your low and undisturbed estate,
Shall simply feel and purely meditate--
Of warnings--from the unprecedented might,
Which, in our time, the impious have disclosed;
And of more arduous duties thence imposed
Upon the future advocates of right;
Of mysteries revealed,
And judgments unrepealed,
Of earthly revolution,
And final retribution,--
To his omniscience will appear
An offering not unworthy to find place,
On this high DAY of THANKS, before the
Throne of Grace!