The Right Honourable Edmund Burke
Why mourns the ingenuous Moralist, whose mind
Science has stored, and Piety refined,
That fading Chivalry displays no more
Her pomp and stately tournaments of yore!
Lo! when Philosophy and Truth advance,
Scared at their frown, she drops her glittering lance;
Round her reft castles the pale ivy crawls,
And sunk and silent are her bannered halls!
As when far off the golden evening sails,
And slowly sink the fancy-painted vales,
With rich pavilions spread in long array;
So rolls the enchanter's radiant realm away;
So on the sight the parting glories fade,
The gorgeous vision sets in endless shade.
But shall the musing mind for this lament,
Or mourn the wizard's Gothic fabric rent!
Shall he, with Fancy's poor and pensive child,
Gaze on his shadowy vales, and prospects wild,
With lingering love, and sighing bid farewell
To the dim pictures of his parting spell!
No, BURKE! thy heart, by juster feelings led,
Mourns for the spirit of high Honour fled;
Mourns that Philosophy, abstract and cold,
Withering should smite life's fancy-flowered mould;
And many a smiling sympathy depart,
That graced the sternness of the manly heart.
Nor shall the wise and virtuous scan severe
These fair illusions, ev'n to nature dear.
Though now no more proud Chivalry recalls
Her tourneys bright, and pealing festivals;
Though now on high her idle spear is hung,
Though Time her mouldering harp has half unstrung;
Her milder influence shall she still impart,
To decorate, but not disguise, the heart;
To nurse the tender sympathies that play
In the short sunshine of life's early way;
For female worth and meekness to inspire
Homage and love, and temper rude desire;
Nor seldom with sweet dreams sad thoughts to cheer,
And half beguile affliction of her tear!
Lo! this her boast; and still, O BURKE! be thine
Her glowing hues that warm, yet tempered shine;
Whilst whispers bland, and fairest dreams, attend
Thy evening path, till the last shade descend!
So may she soothe, with loftier wisdom's aid,
Thy musing leisure in the silent shade,
And bid poor Fancy, her cold pinions wet,
Life's cloudy skies and beating showers forget.
But can her fairest form, her sweetest song,
Soothe thee, assailed by calumny and wrong!
Ev'n now thy foes with louder accents cry:
Champion of unrelenting tyranny,
At Freedom hast thou aimed the deadly blow,
And striven with impious arm to lay her altars low!
No, BURKE! indignant at the voice we start:
We trust thy liberal views, thy generous heart;
We think of those who, naked, pale, and poor,
Relieved and blessed, have wandered from thy door;
We see thee with unwearied step explore
Each track of bloodshed on the farthest shore
Of injured Asia, and thy swelling breast
Harrowing the oppressor, mourning for the oppressed,
No, BURKE! where'er Injustice rears her head,
Where'er with blood her idol grim is fed;
Where'er fell Cruelty, at her command,
With crimson banner marches through the land,
And striding, like a giant, onward hies,
Whilst man, a trodden worm, looks up, and dies;
Where'er pale Murder in her train appears,
With reeking axe, and garments wet with tears;
Or, lowering Jealousy, unmoved as Fate,
Bars fast the prison-cage's iron gate
Upon the buried sorrows and the cries
Of him who there, lost and forgotten, lies;--
When ministers like these, in fearful state,
Upon a bloody tyrant's bidding wait,
Thou too shalt own (and Justice lift her rod)
The cause of Freedom is the cause of GOD!
Fair spirit, who dost rise in beauteous pride,
Where proud Oppression hath thine arm defied!
When led by Virtue thou dost firm advance,
And bathe in Guilt's warm blood thy burning lance;
When all thy form its awful port assumes,
And in the tempest shake thy crimson plumes,
I mark thy lofty mien, thy steady eye,
So fall thy foes! with tears of joy I cry.
But ne'er may Anarchy, with eyes a-flame,
And mien distract, assume thy awful name;
Her pale torch sheds afar its hideous glare,
And shows the blood-drops in her dabbled hair;
The fiends of discord hear her hollow voice,
The spirits of the deathful storm rejoice:
As when the rising blast with muttering sweep
Sounds 'mid the branches of the forest deep,
The sad horizon lowers, the parting sun
Is hid, strange murmurs through the high wood run,
The falcon wheels away his mournful flight,
And leaves the glens to solitude and night;
Till soon the hurricane, in dismal shroud,
Comes fearful forth, and sounds her conch aloud;
The oak majestic bows his hoary head,
And ruin round his ancient reign is spread:
So the dark fiend, rejoicing in her might,
Pours desolation and the storm of night;
Before her dread career the good and just
Fly far, or sink expiring in the dust;
Wide wastes and mighty wrecks around her lie,
And the earth trembles at her impious cry!
Whether her temple, wet with human gore,
She thus may raise on Gallia's ravaged shore,
Belongs to HIM alone, and His high will,
Who bids the tempests of the world be still.
With joy we turn to Albion's happier plain,
Where ancient Freedom holds her temperate reign;
Where Justice sits majestic on her throne;
Where Mercy turns her ear to every groan.
O Albion! fairest isle, whose verdant plain
Springs beauteous from the blue and billowy main;
In peaceful pomp whose glittering cities rise,
And lift their crowded temples to the skies;
Whose navy on the broad brine awful rolls;
Whose commerce glows beneath the distant poles;
Whose streams reflect full many an Attic pile;
Whose velvet lawns in long luxuriance smile;
Amid whose winding coombs contentment dwells,
Whose vales rejoice to hear the Sabbath bells;
Whose humblest shed, that steady laws protect,
The villager with woodbine bowers hath decked!
Sweet native land, whose every haunt is dear,
Whose every gale is music to mine ear;
Amidst whose hills one poor retreat I sought,
Where I might sometimes hide a saddening thought,
And having wandered far, and marked mankind
In their vain mask, might rest and safety find:
Oh! still may Freedom, with majestic mien,
Pacing thy rocks and the green vales, be seen;
Around thy cliffs, that glitter o'er the main,
May smiling Order wind her silver chain;
Whilst from thy calm abodes, and azure skies,
Far off the fiend of Discord murmuring flies!
To him who firm thy injured cause has fought,
This humble offering, lo! the Muse has brought;
Nor heed thou, BURKE, if, with averted eye,
Scowling, cold Envy may thy worth decry!
It is the lot of man:--the best oft mourn,
As sad they journey through this cloudy bourne:
If conscious Genius stamp their chosen breast,
And on the forehead show her seal impressed,
Perhaps they mourn, in bleak Misfortune's shade,
Their age and cares with penury repaid;
Their errors deeply scanned, their worth forgot,
Or marked by hard injustice with a blot.
If high they soar, and keep their distant way,
And spread their ample pinions to the day,
Malignant Faction hears with hate their name,
And all her tongues are busy with their fame.
But 'tis enough to hold, as best we may,
Our destined track, till sets the closing day;
Whether with living lustre we adorn
Our high sphere, like the radiance of the morn;
Or whether silent in the shade we move,
Cheered by the lonely star of pensive love;
Or whether wild opposing storms we stem,
Panting for Virtue's distant diadem;
'Tis the unshaken mind, the conscience pure,
That bids us firmly act, meekly endure;
'Tis this may shield us when the storm beats hard,
Content, though poor, had we no other guard!
The Spirit Of Discovery By Sea - Book The Third
My heart has sighed in secret, when I thought
That the dark tide of time might one day close,
England, o'er thee, as long since it has closed
On Egypt and on Tyre: that ages hence,
From the Pacific's billowy loneliness,
Whose tract thy daring search revealed, some isle
Might rise in green-haired beauty eminent,
And like a goddess, glittering from the deep,
Hereafter sway the sceptre of domain
From pole to pole; and such as now thou art,
Perhaps NEW-HOLLAND be. For who shall say
What the OMNIPOTENT ETERNAL ONE,
That made the world, hath purposed! Thoughts like these,
Though visionary, rise; and sometimes move
A moment's sadness, when I think of thee,
My country, of thy greatness, and thy name,
Among the nations; and thy character,--
Though some few spots be on thy flowing robe,--
Of loveliest beauty: I have never passed
Through thy green hamlets on a summer's morn,
Nor heard thy sweet bells ring, nor seen the youths
And smiling maidens of thy villages,
Gay in their Sunday tire, but I have said,
With passing tenderness--Live, happy land,
Where the poor peasant feels his shed, though small,
An independence and a pride, that fill
His honest heart with joy--joy such as they
Who crowd the mart of men may never feel!
Such, England, is thy boast. When I have heard
The roar of ocean bursting 'round thy rocks,
Or seen a thousand thronging masts aspire,
Far as the eye could reach, from every port
Of every nation, streaming with their flags
O'er the still mirror of the conscious Thames,--
Yes, I have felt a proud emotion swell
That I was British-born; that I had lived
A witness of thy glory, my most loved
And honoured country; and a silent prayer
Would rise to Heaven, that Fame and Peace, and Love
And Liberty, might walk thy vales, and sing
Their holy hymns, while thy brave arm repelled
Hostility, even as thy guardian cliffs
Repel the dash of that dread element
Which calls me, lingering on the banks of Thames,
On to my destined voyage, by the shores
Of Asia, and the wreck of cities old,
Ere yet we burst into the wilder deep
With Gama; or the huge Atlantic waste
With bold Columbus stem; or view the bounds
Of field-ice, stretching to the southern pole,
With thee, benevolent, lamented Cook!
Tyre be no more! said the ALMIGHTY voice:
But thou too, Monarch of the world, whose arm
Rent the proud bulwarks of the golden queen
Of cities, throned upon her subject seas,
ART THOU TOO FALL'N?
The whole earth is at rest:
'They break forth into singing:' Lebanon
Waves all his hoary pines, and seems to say,
No feller now comes here; HELL from beneath
Is moved to meet thy coming; it stirs up
The DEAD for thee; the CHIEF ONES of the earth,
Tyre and the nations, they all speak and say--
Art thou become like us! Thy pomp brought down
E'en to the dust! The noise of viols ceased,
The worm spread under thee, the crawling worm
To cover thee! How art thou fall'n from heaven,
Son of the morning! In thy heart thou saidst,
I will ascend to Heaven; I will exalt
My throne above the stars of God! Die--die,
Blasphemer! As a carcase under foot,
Defiled and trodden, so be thou cast out!
And SHE, the great, the guilty Babel--SHE
Who smote the wasted cities, and the world
Made as a wilderness--SHE, in her turn,
Sinks to the gulf oblivious at the voice
Of HIM who sits in judgment on her crimes!
Who, o'er her palaces and buried towers,
Shall bid the owl hoot, and the bittern scream;
And on her pensile groves and pleasant shades
Pour the deep waters of forgetfulness.
On that same night, when with a cry she fell,
(Like her own mighty idol dashed to earth,)
There was a strange eclipse, and long laments
Were heard, and muttering thunders o'er the towers
Of the high palace where his wassail loud
Belshazzar kept, mocking the GOD OF HEAVEN,
And flushed with impious mirth; for BEL had left
With sullen shriek his golden shrine, and sat,
With many a gloomy apparition girt,
NISROCH and NEBO chief, in the dim sphere
Of mooned ASTORETH, whose orb now rolled
In darkness:--They their earthly empire mourned;
Meantime the host of Cyrus through the night
Silent advanced more nigh; and at that hour,
In the torch-blazing hall of revelry,
The fingers of a shadowy hand distinct
Came forth, and unknown figures marked the wall,
Searing the eye-balls of the starting king:
Tyre is avenged; Babel is fall'n, is fall'n!
Bel and her gods are shattered!
PRINCE, to thee
Called by the voice of God to execute
His will on earth, and raised to Persia's throne,
CYRUS, all hearts pay homage. Touched with tints
Most clear by the historian's magic art,
Thy features wear a gentleness and grace
Unlike the stern cold aspect and the frown
Of the dark chiefs of yore, the gloomy clan
Of heroes, from humanity and love
Removed: To thee a brighter character
Belongs--high dignity, unbending truth--
Yet Nature; not that lordly apathy
Which confidence and human sympathy
Represses, but a soul that bids all hearts
Smiling approach. We almost burn in thought
To kiss the hand that loosed Panthea's chains,
And bless him with a parent's, husband's tear,
Who stood a guardian angel in distress
To the unfriended, and the beautiful,
Consigned a helpless slave. Thy portrait, touched
With tints of softest light, thus wins all hearts
To love thee; but severer policy,
Cyrus, pronounces otherwise: she hears
No stir of commerce on the sullen marge
Of waters that along thy empire's verge
Beat cheerless; no proud moles arise; no ships,
Freighted with Indian wealth, glide o'er the main
From cape to cape. But on the desert sands
Hurtles thy numerous host, seizing, in thought
Rapacious, the rich fields of Hindostan,
As the poor savage fells the blooming tree
To gain its tempting fruit; but woe the while!
For in the wilderness the noise is lost
Of all thy archers;--they have ceased;--the wind
Blows o'er them, and the voice of judgment cries:
So perish they who grasp with avarice
Another's blessed portion, and disdain
That interchange of mutual good, that crowns
The slow, sure toil of commerce.
It was thine,
Immortal son of Macedon! to hang
In the high fane of maritime renown
The fairest trophies of thy fame, and shine,
THEN only like a god, when thy great mind
Swayed in its master council the deep tide
Of things, predestining th' eventful roll
Of commerce, and uniting either world,
Europe and Asia, in thy vast design.
Twas when the victor, in his proud career,
O'er ravaged Hindostan, had now advanced
Beyond Hydaspes; on the flowery banks
Of Hyphasis, with banners thronged, his camp
Was spread. On high he bade the altars rise,
The awful records to succeeding years
Of his long march of glory, and to point
The spot where, like the thunder rolled away,
His army paused. Now shady eve came down;
The trumpet sounded to the setting sun,
That looked from his illumed pavilion, calm
Upon the scene of arms, as if, all still,
And lovely as his parting light, the world
Beneath him spread; nor clangours, nor deep groans,
Were heard, nor victory's shouts, nor sighs, nor shrieks,
Were ever wafted from a bleeding land,
After the havoc of a conqueror's sword.
So calm the sun declined; when from the woods,
That shone to his last beam, a Brahmin old
Came forth. His streaming beard shone in the ray,
That slanted o'er his feeble frame; his front
Was furrowed. To the sun's last light he cast
A look of sorrow, then in silence bowed
Before the conqueror of the world. At once
All, as in death, was still. The victor chief
Trembled, he knew not why; the trumpet ceased
Its clangor, and the crimson streamer waved
No more in folds insulting to the Lord
Of the reposing world. The pallid front
Of the meek man seemed for a moment calm,
Yet dark and thronging thoughts appeared to swell
His beating heart. He paused--and then abrupt:
Victor, avaunt! he cried,
Hence! and the banners of thy pride
Bear to the deep! Behold on high
Yon range of mountains mingled with the sky!
It is the place
Where the great Father of the human race
Rested, when all the world and all its sounds
Ceased; and the ocean that surrounds
The earth, leaped from its dark abode
Beneath the mountains, and enormous flowed,
The green earth deluging! List, soldier, list!
And dread His might no mortal may resist.
Great Bramah rested, hushed in sleep,
When Hayagraiva came,
With mooned horns and eyes of flame,
And bore the holy Vedas to the deep.
Far from the sun's rejoicing ray,
Beneath the huge abyss, the buried treasures lay.
Then foamed the billowy desert wide,
And all that breathed--they died,
Sunk in the rolling waters: such the crime
And violence of earth. But he above,
Great Vishnu, moved with pitying love,
Preserved the pious king, whose ark sublime
Floated, in safety borne:
For his stupendous horn,
Blazing like gold, and many a rood
Extended o'er the dismal flood,
The precious freight sustained, till on the crest
Of Himakeel, yon mountain high,
That darkly mingles with the sky,
Where many a griffin roams, the hallowed ark found rest.
And Heaven decrees that here
Shall cease thy slaughtering spear:
Enough we bleed, enough we weep,
Hence, victor, to the deep!
Ev'n now along the tide
I see thy ships triumphant ride:
I see the world of trade emerge
From ocean's solitude! What fury fires
My breast! The flood, the flood retires,
And owns its future sovereign! Urge
Thy destined way; what countless pennants stream!
(Or is it but the shadow of a dream?)
Ev'n now old Indus hails
Thy daring prows in long array,
That o'er the lone seas gliding,
Around the sea-gods riding,
Speed to Euphrates' shores their destined way.
Fill high the bowl of mirth!
From west to east the earth
Proclaims thee Lord; shall the blue main
Confine thy reign?
But tremble, tyrant; hark in many a ring,
With language dread
Above thy head,
The dark Assoors thy death-song sing.
What mortal blow
Hath laid the king of nations low?
No hand: his own despair.--
But shout, for the canvas shall swell to the air,
Thy ships explore
Unknown Persia's winding shore,
While the great dragon rolls his arms in vain.
And see, uprising from the level main,
A new and glorious city springs;--
Hither speed thy woven wings,
That glance along the azure tide;
Asia and Europe own thy might;--
The willing seas of either world unite:
Thy name shall consecrate the sands,
And glittering to the sky the mart of nations stands.
He spoke, and rushed into the thickest wood.
With flashing eyes the impatient monarch cried--
Yes, by the Lybian Ammon and the gods
Of Greece, thou bid'st me on, the self-same track
My spirit pointed; and, let death betide,
My name shall live in glory!
At his word
The pines descend; the thronging masts aspire;
The novel sails swell beauteous o'er the curves
Of INDUS; to the Moderators' song
The oars keep time, while bold Nearchus guides
Aloft the gallies. On the foremost prow
The monarch from his golden goblet pours
A full libation to the gods, and calls
By name the mighty rivers, through whose course
He seeks the sea. To Lybian Ammon loud
The songs ascend; the trumpets bray; aloft
The streamers fly, whilst on the evening wave
Majestic to the main the fleet descends.
The Spirit Of Discovery By Sea - Book The Fifth
Such are thy views, DISCOVERY! The great world
Rolls to thine eye revealed; to thee the Deep
Submits its awful empire; Industry
Awakes, and Commerce to the echoing marts
From east to west unwearied pours her wealth.
Man walks sublimer; and Humanity,
Matured by social intercourse, more high,
More animated, lifts her sovereign mien,
And waves her golden sceptre. Yet the heart
Asks trembling, is no evil found! Oh, turn,
Meek Charity, and drop a human tear
For the sad fate of Afric's injured sons,
And hide, for ever hide, the sight of chains,
Anguish, and bondage! Yes, the heart of man
Is sick, and Charity turns pale, to think
How soon, for pure religion's holy beam,
Dark crimes, that sullied the sweet day, pursued,
Like vultures, the Discoverer's ocean tract,
Screaming for blood, to fields of rich Peru,
Or ravaged Mexico, while Gold more Gold!
The caverned mountains echoed, Gold more Gold!
Then see the fell-eyed, prowling buccaneer,
Grim as a libbard! He his jealous look
Turns to the dagger at his belt, his hand
By instinct grasps a bloody scymitar,
And ghastly is his smile, as o'er the woods
He sees the smoke of burning villages
Ascend, and thinks ev'n now he counts his spoil.
See thousands destined to the lurid mine,
Never to see the sun again; all names
Of husband, sire, all tender charities
Of love, deep buried with them in that grave,
Where life is as a thing long passed; and hope
No more its sickly ray, to cheer the gloom,
Thou, too, dread Ocean, toss thine arms,
Exulting, for the treasures and the gems
That thy dark oozy realm emblaze; and call
The pale procession of the dead, from caves
Where late their bodies weltered, to attend
Thy kingly sceptre, and proclaim thy might!
Lord of the Hurricane! bid all thy winds
Swell, and destruction ride upon the surge,
Where, after the red lightning flash that shows
The labouring ship, all is at once deep night
And long suspense, till the slow dawn of day
Gleams on the scattered corses of the dead,
That strew the sounding shore!
Then think of him,
Ye who rejoice with those you love, at eve,
When winds of winter shake the window-frame,
And more endear your fire, oh, think of him,
Who, saved alone from the destroying storm,
Is cast on some deserted rock; who sees
Sun after sun descend, and hopeless hears;
At morn the long surge of the troubled main,
That beats without his wretched cave; meantime
He fears to wake the echoes with his voice,
So dread the solitude!
Let Greenland's snows
Then shine, and mark the melancholy train
There left to perish, whilst the cold pale day
Declines along the further ice, that binds
The ship, and leaves in night the sinking scene.
Sad winter closes on the deep; the smoke
Of frost, that late amusive to the eye
Rose o'er the coast, is passed, and all is now
One torpid blank; the freezing particles
Blown blistering, and the white bear seeks her cave.
Ill-fated outcasts, when the morn again
Shall streak with feeble beam the frozen waste,
Your air-bleached and unburied carcases
Shall press the ground, and, as the stars fade off,
Your stony eyes glare 'mid the desert snows!
These triumphs boast, fell Demon of the Deep!
Though never more the universal shriek
Of all that perish thou shalt hear, as when
The deep foundations of the guilty earth
Were shaken at the voice of God, and man
Ceased in his habitations; yet the sea
Thy might tempestuous still, and joyless rule,
Confesses. Ah! what bloodless shadows throng
Ev'n now, slow rising from their oozy beds,
From Mete, and those gates of burial
That guard the Erythraean; from the vast
Unfathomed caverns of the Western main
Or stormy Orcades; whilst the sad shell
Of poor Arion, to the hollow blast
Slow seems to pour its melancholy tones,
And faintly vibrate, as the dead pass by.
I see the chiefs, who fell in distant lands,
The prey of murderous savages, when yells,
And shouts, and conch, resounded through the woods.
Magellan and De Solis seem to lead
The mournful train. Shade of Perouse! oh, say
Where, in the tract of unknown seas, thy bones
Th' insulting surge has swept?
But who is he,
Whose look, though pale and bloody, wears the trace
Of pure philanthropy? The pitying sigh
Forbid not; he was dear to Britons, dear
To every beating heart, far as the world
Extends; and my faint faltering touch ev'n now
Dies on the strings, when I pronounce thy name,
Oh, lost, lamented, generous, hapless Cook!
But cease the vain complaint; turn from the shores,
Wet with his blood, Remembrance: cast thine eyes
Upon the long seas, and the wider world,
Displayed from his research. Smile, glowing Health!
For now no more the wasted seaman sinks,
With haggard eye and feeble frame diseased;
No more with tortured longings for the sight
Of fields and hillocks green, madly he calls
On Nature, when before his swimming eye
The liquid long expanse of cheerless seas
Seems all one flowery plain. Then frantic dreams
Arise; his eye's distemper'd flash is seen
From the sunk socket, as a demon there
Sat mocking, till he plunges in the flood,
And the dark wave goes o'er him.
Nor wilt thou,
O Science! fail to deck the cold morai
Of him who wider o'er earth's hemisphere
Thy views extended. On, from deep to deep,
Thou shalt retrace the windings of his track;
From the high North to where the field-ice binds
The still Antarctic. Thence, from isle to isle,
Thou shalt pursue his progress; and explore
New-Holland's eastern shores, where now the sons
Of distant Britain, from her lap cast out,
Water the ground with tears of penitence,
Perhaps, hereafter, in their destined time,
Themselves to rise pre-eminent. Now speed,
By Asia's eastern bounds, still to the North,
Where the vast continents of either world
Approach: Beyond, 'tis silent boundless ice,
Impenetrable barrier, where all thought
Is lost; where never yet the eagle flew,
Nor roamed so far the white bear through the waste.
But thou, dread POWER! whose voice from chaos called
The earth, who bad'st the Lord of light go forth,
Ev'n as a giant, and the sounding seas
Roll at thy fiat: may the dark deep clouds,
That thy pavilion shroud from mortal sight,
So pass away, as now the mystery,
Obscure through rolling ages, is disclosed;
How man, from one great Father sprung, his race
Spread to that severed continent! Ev'n so,
FATHER, in thy good time, shall all things stand
Revealed to knowledge.
As the mind revolves
The change of mighty empires, and the fate
Of HIM whom Thou hast made, back through the dusk
Of ages Contemplation turns her view:
We mark, as from its infancy, the world
Peopled again, from that mysterious shrine
That rested on the top of Ararat,
Highest of Asian mountains; spreading on,
The Cushites from their mountain caves descend;
Then before GOD the sons of Ammon stood
In their gigantic might, and first the seas
Vanquished: But still from clime to clime the groan
Of sacrifice, and Superstition's cry,
Was heard; but when the Dayspring rose of heaven,
Greece's hoar forests echoed, The great Pan
Is dead! From Egypt, and the rugged shores
Of Syrian Tyre, the gods of darkness fly;
Bel is cast down, and Nebo, horrid king,
Bows in imperial Babylon: But, ah!
Too soon, the Star of Bethlehem, whose ray
The host of heaven hailed jubilant, and sang,
Glory to God on high, and on earth peace,
With long eclipse is veiled.
Usurped the meek dominion of the Lord
Of love and charity: vast as a fiend
She rose, Heaven's light was darkened with her frown,
And the earth murmured back her hymns of blood,
As the meek martyr at the burning stake
Stood, his last look uplifted to his GOD!
But she is now cast down, her empire reft.
They who in darkness walked, and in the shade
Of death, have seen a new and holy light,
As in th' umbrageous forest, through whose boughs,
Mossy and damp, for many a league, the morn
With languid beam scarce pierces, here and there
Touching some solitary trunk, the rest
Dark waving in the noxious atmosphere:
Through the thick-matted leaves the serpent winds
His way, to find a spot of casual sun;
The gaunt hyaena through the thicket glides
At eve: then, too, the couched tiger's eye
Flames in the dusk, and oft the gnashing jaws
Of the fell crocodile are heard. At length,
By man's superior energy and toil,
The sunless brakes are cleared; the joyous morn
Shines through the opening leaves; rich culture smiles
Around; and howling to their distant wilds
The savage inmates of the wood retire.
Such is the scene of human life, till want
Bids man his strength put forth; then slowly spreads
The cultured stream of mild humanity,
And gentler virtues, and more noble aims
Employ the active mind, till beauty beams
Around, and Nature wears her richest robe,
Adorned with lovelier graces. Then the charms
Of woman, fairest of the works of Heaven,
Whom the cold savage, in his sullen pride,
Scorned as unworthy of his equal love,
With more attractive influence wins the heart
Of her protector. Then the names of sire,
Of home, of brother, and of children, grow
More sacred, more endearing; whilst the eye,
Lifted beyond this earthly scene, beholds
A Father who looks down from heaven on all!
O Britain, my loved country! dost thou rise
Most high among the nations! Do thy fleets
Ride o'er the surge of ocean, that subdued
Rolls in long sweep beneath them! Dost thou wear
Thy garb of gentler morals gracefully!
Is widest science thine, and the fair train
Of lovelier arts! While commerce throngs thy ports
With her ten thousand streamers, is the tract
Of the undeviating ploughshare white
That rips the reeking furrow, followed soon
By plenty, bidding all the scene rejoice,
Even like a cultured garden! Do the streams
That steal along thy peaceful vales, reflect
Temples, and Attic domes, and village towers!
Is beauty thine, fairest of earthly things,
Woman; and doth she gain that liberal love
And homage, which the meekness of her voice,
The rapture of her smile, commanding most
When she seems weakest, must demand from him,
Her master; whose stern strength at once submits
In manly, but endearing, confidence,
Unlike his selfish tyranny who sits
The sultan of his harem!
Oh, then, think
How great the blessing, and how high thy rank
Amid the civilised and social world!
But hast thou no deep failings, that may turn
Thy thoughts within thyself! Ask, for the sun
That shines in heaven hath seen it, hath thy power
Ne'er scattered sorrow over distant lands!
Ask of the East, have never thy proud sails
Borne plunder from dismembered provinces,
Leaving the groans of miserable men
Behind! And free thyself, and lifting high
The charter of thy freedom, bought with blood,
Hast thou not stood, in patient apathy,
A witness of the tortures and the chains
That Afric's injured sons have known! Stand up;
Yes, thou hast visited the caves, and cheered
The gloomy haunts of sorrow; thou hast shed
A beam of comfort and of righteousness
On isles remote; hast bid the bread-fruit shade
Th' Hesperian regions, and has softened much
With bland amelioration, and with charms
Of social sweetness, the hard lot of man.
But weighed in truth's firm balance, ask, if all
Be even. Do not crimes of ranker growth
Batten amid thy cities, whose loud din,
From flashing and contending cars, ascends,
Till morn! Enchanting, as if aught so sweet
Ne'er faded, do thy daughters wear the weeds
Of calm domestic peace and wedded love;
Or turn, with beautiful disdain, to dash
Gay pleasure's poisoned chalice from their lips
Untasted! Hath not sullen atheism,
Weaving gay flowers of poesy, so sought
To hide the darkness of his withered brow
With faded and fantastic gallantry
Of roses, thus to win the thoughtless smile
Of youthful ignorance! Hast thou with awe
Looked up to Him whose power is in the clouds,
Who bids the storm rush, and it sweeps to earth
The nations that offend, and they are gone,
Like Tyre and Babylon! Well weigh thyself:
Then shalt thou rise undaunted in the might
Of thy Protector, and the gathered hate
Of hostile bands shall be but as the sand
Blown on the everlasting pyramid.
Hasten, O Love and Charity! your work,
Ev'n now whilst it is day; far as the world
Extends may your divinest influence
Be felt, and more than felt, to teach mankind
They all are brothers, and to drown the cries
Of superstition, anarchy, or blood!
Not yet the hour is come: on Ganges' banks
Still superstition hails the flame of death,
Behold, gay dressed, as in her bridal tire,
The self-devoted beauteous victim slow
Ascend the pile where her dead husband lies:
She kisses his cold cheeks, inclines her breast
On his, and lights herself the fatal pile
That shall consume them both!
On Egypt's shore,
Where Science rose, now Sloth and Ignorance
Sleep like the huge Behemoth in the sun!
The turbaned Moor still stains with strangers' blood
The inmost sands of Afric. But all these
The light shall visit, and that vaster tract
From Fuego to the furthest Labrador,
Where roam the outcast Esquimaux, shall hear
The voice of social fellowship; the chief
Whose hatchet flashed amid the forest gloom,
Who to his infants bore the bleeding scalp
Of his fall'n foe, shall weep unwonted tears!
Come, Faith; come, Hope; come, meek-eyed Charity!
Complete the lovely prospect: every land
Shall lift up one hosannah; every tongue
Proclaim thee FATHER, INFINITE, and WISE,
And GOOD. The shores of palmy Senegal
(Sad Afric's injured sons no more enslaved)
Shall answer HALLELUJAH, for the LORD
Of truth and mercy reigns;--reigns KING OF KINGS;--
HOSANNAH--KING OF KINGS--and LORD OF LORDS!
So may His kingdom come, when all the earth,
Uniting thus as in one hymn of praise,
Shall wait the end of all things. This great globe,
His awful plan accomplished, then shall sink
In flames, whilst through the clouds, that wrap the place
Where it had rolled, and the sun shone, the voice
Of the ARCHANGEL, and the TRUMP OF GOD,
Amid heaven's darkness rolling fast away,
Then shall the sea give up its dead;--
But man's immortal mind, all trials past
That shook his feverish frame, amidst the scenes
Of peril and distemper, shall ascend
Exulting to its destined seat of rest,
And 'justify His ways' from whom it sprung.
The Missionary - Canto Eighth
The morn returns, and, reddening, seems to shed
One ray of glory on the patriot-dead.
Round the dark stone, the victor-chiefs behold!
Still on their locks the gouts of gore hang cold!
There stands the brave Caupolican, the pride
Of Chili, young Lautaro, by his side!
Near the grim circle, pendent from the wood,
Twelve hundred Spanish heads are dripping blood.
Shrill sound the notes of death: in festive dance,
The Indian maids with myrtle boughs advance;
The tinkling sea-shells on their ancles ring,
As, hailing thus the victor-youth, they sing:--
SONG OF INDIAN MAIDS.
Oh, shout for Lautaro, the young and the brave!
The arm of whose strength was uplifted to save,
When the steeds of the strangers came rushing amain,
And the ghosts of our fathers looked down on the slain!
'Twas eve, and the noise of the battle was o'er,
Five thousand brave warriors were cold in their gore;
When, in front, young Lautaro invincible stood,
And the horses and iron-men rolled in their blood!
As the snows of the mountain are swept by the blast,
The earthquake of death o'er the white men has passed;
Shout, Chili, in triumph! the battle is won,
And we dance round the heads that are black in the sun!
Lautaro, as if wrapt in thought profound,
Oft turned an anxious look inquiring round.
He is not here!--Say, does my father live?
Ere eager voices could an answer give,
With faltering footsteps and declining head,
And slowly by an aged Indian led,
Wounded and weak the mountain chief appears:
Live, live! Lautaro cried, with bursting tears,
And fell upon his neck, and, kissing, pressed,
With folding arms, his gray hairs to his breast.
Oh, live! I am thy son--thy long-lost child!
The warrior raised his look, and faintly smiled;
Chili, my country, is avenged! he cried:
My son!--then sunk upon a shield--and died.
Lautaro knelt beside him, as he bowed,
And kissed his bleeding breast, and wept aloud.
The sounds of sadness through the circle ran,
When thus, with lifted axe, Caupolican:
What, for our fathers, brothers, children, slain,
Canst thou repay, ruthless, inhuman Spain?
Here, on the scene with recent slaughter red,
To sooth the spirits of the brave who bled,
Raise we, to-day, the war-feast of the dead.
Bring forth the chief in bonds! Fathers, to-day
Devote we to our gods the noblest prey!
Lautaro turned his eyes, and, gazing round,
Beheld Valdivia and Anselmo bound!
One stood in arms, as with a stern despair,
His helmet cleft in twain, his temples bare,
Where streaks of blood that dropped upon his mail,
Served but to show his face more deadly pale:
His eyebrows, dark and resolute, he bent,
And stood, composed, to wait the dire event.
Still on the cross his looks Anselmo cast,
As if all thought of this vain world was passed,
And in a world of light, without a shade,
Ev'n now his meek and guileless spirit strayed.
Where stood the Spanish chief, a muttering sound
Rose, and each club was lifted from the ground;
When, starting from his father's corse, his sword
Waving before his once-triumphant lord,
Lautaro cried, My breast shall meet the blow:
But save--save him, to whom my life I owe!
Valdivia marked him with unmoving eye,
Then looked upon his bonds, nor deigned reply;
When Harratomac, stealing with slow pace,
And lifting high his iron-jagged mace,
Smote him to earth; a thousand voices rose,
Mingled with shouts and yells, So fall our foes!
Lautaro gave to tears a moment's space,
As black in death he marked Valdivia's face,
Then cried--Chiefs, friends, and thou, Caupolican,
Oh, spare this innocent and holy man!
He never sailed, rapacious, o'er the deep,
The gold of blood-polluted lands to heap;
He never gave the armed hosts his aid,
But meekly to the Mighty Spirit prayed,
That in all lands the sounds of woe might cease,
And brothers of the wide world dwell in peace!
The victor-youth saw generous sympathy
Already steal to every warrior's eye;
Then thus again: Oh, if this filial tear
Bear witness my own father was most dear;
If this uplifted arm, this bleeding steel
Speak for my country what I felt and feel;
If, at this hour, I meet her high applause,
While my heart beats still ardent in her cause;--
Hear, and forgive these tears that grateful flow,
Oh! hear, how much to this poor man I owe!
I was a child--when to my sire's abode,
In Chillan's vale, the armed horsemen rode:
Me, whilst my father cold and breathless lay,
Far off the crested soldiers bore away,
And for a captive sold. No friend was near,
To mark a young and orphan stranger's tear!
This humble man, with kind parental care,
Snatched me from slavery--saved from dark despair;
And as my years increased, protected, fed,
And breathed a father's blessings on my head.
A Spanish maid was with him: need I speak?
Behold, affection's tear still wets my cheek!
Years, as they passed, matured in ripening grace
Her form unfolding, and her beauteous face:
She heard my orphan tale; she loved to hear,
And sometimes for my fortunes dropped a tear.
I could have bowed to direst ills resigned,
But wept at looks so sweet, at words so kind.
Valdivia saw me, now in blooming age,
And claimed me from the father as his page;
The chief too cherished me, yea, saved my life,
When in Peru arose the civil strife.
Yet still remembering her I loved so well,
Oft I returned to the gray father's cell:
His voice instructed me; recalled my youth
From rude idolatry to heavenly truth:
Of this hereafter; he my darkling mind
Cleared, and from low and sensual thoughts refined.
Then first, with feelings new impressed, I strove
To hide the tear of tenderness and love:
Amid the fairest maidens of Peru,
My eyes, my heart, one only object knew:
I lived that object's love and faith to share;
He saw, and blessed us with a father's prayer.
Here, at Valdivia's last and stern command,
I came, a stranger in my native land!
Anselmo (so him call--now most in need--
And standing here in bonds, for whom I plead)
Came, by our chief so summoned, and for aid
To the Great Spirit of the Christians prayed:
Here as a son I loved him, but I left
A wife, a child, of my fond cares bereft,
Never to see again; for death awaits
My entrance now in Lima's jealous gates.
Caupolican, didst thou thy father love?
Did his last dying look affection move?
Pity this aged man; unbend thy brow:
He was my father--is my father, now!
Consenting mercy marks each warrior's mien.
But who is this, what pallid form is seen,
As crushed already by the fatal blow,
Bound, and with looks white as a wreath of snow,
Her hands upon her breast, scarce drawn her breath,
A Spanish woman knelt, expecting death,
Whilst, borne by a dark warrior at her side,
An infant shrunk from the red plumes, and cried!
Injured maid of Spain!
Me!--me! oh, take me to thine arms again!
She heard his voice, and, by the scene oppressed,
With one faint sigh fell senseless on his breast.
Caupolican, with warm emotion, cried,
Live, live! Lautaro and his beauteous bride!
Live, aged father!--and forthwith commands
A warrior to unbind Anselmo's hands.
She raised her head: his eyes first met her view,
As round Lautaro's neck her arms she threw,
Ah, no! she feebly spoke; it is not true!
It is some form of the distempered brain!
Then hid her face upon his breast again.
Dark flashing eyes, terrific, glared around:
Here, his brains scattered by the deadly wound,
The Spanish chief lay on the gory ground.
With lowering brows, and mace yet drooping blood,
And clotted hair, there Mariantu stood.
Anselmo here, sad, yet in sorrow mild,
Appeared: she cried, A blessing on your child,
And knelt, as slow revived her waking sense,
And then, with looks aghast, Oh bear us hence!
Now all the assembled chiefs, assenting, cried,
Live, live! Lautaro and his beauteous bride!
With eager arms Lautaro snatched his boy,
And kissed him in an agony of joy;
Then to Anselmo gave, who strove to speak,
And felt the tear first burning on his cheek:
The infant held his neck with strict embrace,
And kissed his pale emaciated face.
From the dread scene, wet with Valdivia's gore,
His wan and trembling charge Lautaro bore.
There was a bank, where slept the summer-light,
A small stream whispering went in mazes bright,
And stealing from the sea, the western wind
Waved the magnolias on the slope inclined:
The woodpecker, in glittering plumage green,
And echoing bill, beneath the boughs was seen;
And, arched with gay and pendent flowers above,
The floripondio its rich trellis wove.
Lautaro bent, with looks of love and joy,
O'er his yet trembling wife and beauteous boy:
Oh, by what miracle, beloved! say,
Hast thou escaped the perils of the way
From Lima, where our humble dwelling stood,
To these tumultuous scenes, this vale of blood?
Roused by his voice, as from the sleep of death,
Faint she replied, with slow-recovering breath,
Who shall express, when thou, best friend! wert gone,
How sunk my heart!--deserted and alone!
Would I were with thee! oft I sat and sighed,
When the pale moon shone on the silent tide--
At length resolved, I sought thee o'er the seas:
The brave bark cheer'ly went before the breeze,
That arms and soldiers to Valdivia bore,
From Lima bound to Chili's southern shore:
I seized the fair occasion--ocean smiled,
As to the sire I bore his lisping child.
The storm arose: with loud and sudden shock
The vessel sunk, disparting on a rock.
Some mariners, amidst the billows wild,
Scarce saved, in one small boat, me and my child.
What I have borne, a captive since that day--
Forgive these tears--I scarce have heart to say!
None pitied, save one gentle Indian maid--
A wild maid--of her looks I was afraid;
Her long black hair upon her shoulders fell,
And in her hand she bore a wreathed shell.
Lautaro for a moment turned aside,
And, Oh, my sister! with faint voice he cried.
Already free from sorrow and alarms,
I clasped in thought a husband in my arms,
When a dark warrior, stationed on the height,
Who held his solitary watch by night,
Before me stood, and lifting high his lance,
Exclaimed: No further, on thy life, advance!
Faint, wearied, sinking to the earth with dread,
Back to the dismal cave my steps he led.
Only at eve, within the craggy cleft,
Some water, and a cake of maize, were left.
The thirteenth sun unseen went down the sky;
When morning came, they brought me forth to die;
But hushed be every sigh, each boding fear,
Since all I sought on earth, and all I love, is here!
Her infant raised his hands, with glistening eye,
To reach a large and radiant butterfly,
That fluttered near his face; with looks of love,
And truth and tenderness, Lautaro strove
To calm her wounded heart; the holy sire,
His eyes faint-lighted with a transient fire,
Hung o'er them, and to Heaven his prayer addressed,
While, with uplifted hands, he wept and blest.
An aged Indian came, with feathers crowned,
And knelt before Lautaro on the ground.
What tidings, Indian?
When I led thy sire,
Whom late thou saw'st upon his shield expire,
Son of our Ulmen, didst thou mark no trace,
In these sad looks, of a remembered face?
Dost thou remember Izdabel? Look here!
It is thy father's hatchet and his spear.
Friend of my infant days, how I rejoice,
Lautaro cried, once more to hear that voice!
Life like a dream, since last we met, has fled--
Oh, my beloved sister, thou art dead!
I come to guide thee through untrodden ways,
To the lone valley, where thy father's days
Were passed; where every cave and every tree,
From morn to morn, reminded him of thee!
Lautaro cried: Here, faithful Indian, stay;
I have a last sad duty yet to pay.
A little while we part:--thou here remain.
He spake, and passed like lightning o'er the plain.
Ah, cease, Castilian maid, thy vain alarms!
See where he comes--his father in his arms!
Now lead, he cried. The Indian, sad and still,
Paced on from wood to vale, from vale to hill;
Her infant tired, and hushed a while to rest,
Smiled, in a dream, upon its mother's breast;
The pensive mother gray Anselmo led;
Behind, Lautaro bore his father dead.
Beneath the branching palms they slept at night;
The small birds waked them ere the morning light.
Before their path, in distant view, appeared
The mountain-smoke, that its dark column reared
O'er Andes' summits, in the pale blue sky,
Lifting their icy pinnacles so high.
Four days they onward held their eastern way;
On the fifth rising morn, before them lay
Chillan's lone glen, amid whose windings green,
The Warrior's loved and last abode was seen.
No smoke went up, a stillness reigned around,
Save where the waters fell with soothing sound,
Save where the Thenca sang so loud and clear,
And the bright humming-bird was spinning near.
Yet here all human tumults seemed to cease,
And sunshine rested on the spot of peace;
The myrtles bloomed as fragrant and as green
As if Lautaro scarce had left the scene;
And in his ear the falling waters' spray
Seemed swelling with the sounds of yesterday.
Where yonder rock the aged cedars shade,
There shall my father's bones in peace be laid.
Beneath the cedar's shade they dug the ground;
The small and sad communion gathered round.
Beside the grave stood aged Izdabel,
And broke the spear, and cried: Farewell, farewell!
Lautaro hid his face, and sighed Adieu!
As the stone hatchet in the grave he threw.
The little child that to its mother clung,
Stretched out its arm, then on her garment hung,
With sidelong looks, half-shrinking, half-amazed,
And dropped its flowers, unconscious, as it gazed.
And now Anselmo, his pale brow inclined,
The honoured relics, dust to dust, consigned
With Christian rites, and sung, on bending knee,
'Eternam pacem dona, Domine.'
Then rising up he closed the holy book;
And lifting in the beam his lighted look,
(The cross, with meekness, folded on his breast),
Here, too, he cried, my bones in peace shall rest!
Few years remain to me, and never more
Shall I behold, O Spain! thy distant shore!
Here lay my bones, that the same tree may wave
O'er the poor Christian's and the Indian's grave.
Oh, may it (when the sons of future days
Shall hear our tale and on the hillock gaze),
Oh, may it teach, that charity should bind,
Where'er they roam, the brothers of mankind!
The time shall come, when wildest tribes shall hear
Thy voice, O Christ! and drop the slaughtering spear.
Yet we condemn not him who bravely stood,
To seal his country's freedom with his blood;
And if, in after-times, a ruthless band
Of fell invaders sweep my native land,
May she, by Chili's stern example led,
Hurl back his thunder on the assailant's head;
Sustained by Freedom, strike the avenging blow,
And learn one virtue from her ancient foe!
The Sylph Of Summer
God said, Let there be light, and there was light!
At once the glorious sun, at his command,
From space illimitable, void and dark,
Sprang jubilant, and angel hierarchies,
Whose long hosannahs pealed from orb to orb,
Sang, Glory be to Thee, God of all worlds!
Then beautiful the ball of this terrene
Rolled in the beam of first-created day,
And all its elements obeyed the voice
Of Him, the great Creator; Air, and Fire,
And Earth, and Water, each its ministry
Performed, whilst Chaos from his ebon throne
Leaped up; and so magnificent, and decked,
And mantled in its ambient atmosphere,
The living world began its state!
Spirit of Air, I lift the venturous song,
Whose viewless presence fills the living scene,
Whose element ten thousand thousand wings
Fan joyous; o'er whose fields the morning clouds
Ride high; whose rule the lightning-shafts obey,
And the deep thunder's long-careering march!
The Winds too are thy subjects; from the breeze,
That, like a child upon a holiday,
On the high mountain's van pursues the down
Of the gray thistle, ere the autumnal shower
Steals soft, and mars his pastime; to the King
Of Hurricanes, that sounds his mighty shell,
And bids Tornado sweep the Western world.
Sylph of the Summer Gale, on thee I call!
Oh, come, when now gay June is in her car,
Wafting the breath of roses as she moves;
Come to this garden bower, which I have hung
With tendrils, and the fragrant eglantine,
And mandrake, rich with many mantling stars!
'Tis pleasant, when thy breath is on the leaves
Without, to rest in this embowering shade,
And mark the green fly, circling to and fro,
O'er the still water, with his dragon wings,
Shooting from bank to bank, now in quick turns,
Then swift athwart, as is the gazer's glance,
Pursuing still his mate; they, with delight,
As if they moved in morris, to the sound
Harmonious of this ever-dripping rill,
Now in advance, now in retreat, now round,
Dart through their mazy rings, and seem to say:
The Summer and the Sun are ours!
Sylph of the Summer Gale, delay a while
Thy airy flight, whilst here Francesca leans,
And, charmed by Ossian's harp, seems in the breeze
To hear Malvina's plaint; thou to her ear
Come unperceived, like music of the song
From Cona's vale of streams; _then_ with the bee,
That sounds his horn, busied from flower to flower,
Speed o'er the yellow meadows, breathing ripe
Their summer incense; or amid the furze,
That paints with bloom intense the upland crofts,
With momentary essence tinge thy wings;
Or in the grassy lanes, one after one,
Lift light the nodding foxglove's purple bell.
Thence, to the distant sea, and where the flag
Hangs idly down, without a wavy curl,
Thou hoverest o'er the topmast, or dost raise
The full and flowing mainsail: Steadily,
The helmsman cries, as now thy breath is heard
Among the stirring cordage o'er his head;
So, steadily, he cries, as right he steers,
Speeds our proud ship along the world of waves.
Sylph, may thy favouring breath more gently blow,
More gently round the temples and the cheek
Of him, who, leaving home and friends behind,
In silence musing o'er the ocean leans,
And watches every passing shade that marks
The southern Channel's fast-retiring line;
Then, as the ship rolls on, keeps a long look
Fixed on the lessening Lizard, the last point
Of that delightful country, where he left
All his fond hopes behind: it lessens still;
Still, still it lessens, and now disappears!
He turns, and only sees the waves that rock
Boundless. How many anxious morns shall rise,
How many moons shall light the farthest seas,
O'er what new scenes and regions shall he stray,
A weary man, still thinking of his home,
Ere he again that shore shall view, and greet
With blissful thronging hopes and starting tears,
Of heartfelt welcome, and of warmest love!
Perhaps, ah! never! So didst thou go forth,
My poor lost brother!
The airs of morning as enticing played,
And gently, round thee, and their whisperings
Might sooth (if aught could sooth) a boding heart;
For thou wert bound to visit scenes of death,
Where the sick gale (alas! unlike the breeze
That bore the gently-swelling sail along)
Was tainted with the breath of pestilence,
That smote the silent camp, and night and day
Sat mocking on the putrid carcases.
Thou too didst perish! As the south-west blows,
Thy bones, perhaps, now whiten on the coast
Of old Algarva. I, meantime, these shades
Of village solitude, hoping erewhile
To welcome thee from many a toil restored,
Still deck, and now thy empty urn alone
I meet, where, swaying in the summer gale,
The willow whispers in my evening walk.
Sylph, in thy airy robe, I see thee float,
A rainbow o'er thy head, and in thy hand
The magic instrument, that, as thy wing,
Lucid, and painted like the butterfly's,
Waves to and from, most musically rings;
Sometimes in joyance, as the flaunting leaf
Of the white poplar, sometimes sad and slow,
As bearing pensive airs from Pity's grave.
Soft child of air, thou tendest on his sway,
As gentle Ariel at the bidding hies
Of mighty Prospero; yet other winds
Throng to his wizard 'hest, inspiring some,
Some melancholy, and yet soothing much
The drooping wanderer in the fading copse;
Some terrible, with solitude and death
Attendant on their march:--the wild Simoom,
Riding on whirling spires of burning sand,
That move along the Nubian wilderness,
And bury deep the silent caravan;--
Monsoon, up-starting from his half-year sleep,
Upon the vernal shores of Hindostan,
And tempesting with sounds of torrent rain,
And hail, the darkening main;--and red Sameel,
Blasting and withering, like a rivelled leaf,
The pilgrim as he roams;--Sirocco sad,
That pants, all summer, on the cloudless shores
Of faint Parthenope;--deep in the mine
Oft lurks the lurid messenger of death,
The ghastly fiend that blows, when the pale light
Quivers, and leaves the gasping wretch to die;--
The imp, that when the hollow curfew knolls,
Wanders the misty marish, lighting it
At night with errant and fantastic flame.
Spirit of air, these are thy ministers,
That wait thy will; but thou art all in all,
And dead without thee were the flower, the leaf,
The waving forest rivelled, the great sea
Still, the lithe birds of heaven extinct, and ceased
The soul of melting music.
This fair scene
Lives in thy tender touch, for so it seems;
Whilst universal nature owns thy sway;
From the mute insect on the summer pool,
That with long cobweb legs, firm as on earth
The ostrich skims, flits idly to and fro,
Making no dimple on the watery mass;
To the huge grampus, spouting, as he rolls,
A cataract, amid the cold clear sky,
And furrowing far and wide the northern deep.
Thy presence permeates and fills the whole!
As the poor butterfly, that, painted gay,
With mealy wings, red, amber, white, or dropped
With golden stains, floats o'er the yellow corn,
Idly, as bent on pastime, while the morn
Smiles on his devious voyage; if inclosed
In the exhausted prison, whence thy breath
With suction slow is drawn, he feels the change
How dire! in palsied inanition drops!
Weak flags his weary wing, and weaker yet;
His frame with tremulous convulsion moves
A moment, and the next is still in death.
So were the great and glorious world itself;
The tenants of its continents, all ceased!
A wide, a motionless, a putrid waste,
Its seas! How droops the languid mariner,
When not a breath, along the sluggish main,
Strays on the sultry surface as it sleeps;
When far away the winds are flown, to dash
The congregated ocean on the Cape
Of Southern Africa, leaving the while
The flood's vast surface noiseless, waveless, white,
Beneath Mozambique's long-reflected woods,
A gleaming mirror, spread from east to west,
Where the still ship, as on a bed of glass,
Sits motionless. Awake, ye hurricanes!
Ye winds that harrow up the wintry waste,
Awake! for Thunder in his sounding car,
Flashing thick lightning from the rolling wheels,
And the red volley, charged with instant death,
Were music to this lingering, sickening calm,
The same eternal sunshine; still, all still,
Without a vapour, or a sound.
Beneath the burning, breathless atmosphere,
Faint Nature sickening droop; who shall ascend
The height, where Silence, since the world began,
Has sat on Cimborazzo's highest peak,
A thousand toises o'er the cloud's career,
Soaring in finest ether? Far below,
He sees the mountains burning at his feet,
Whose smoke ne'er reached his forehead; never there,
Though the black whirlwind shake the distant shores,
The passing gale has murmured; never there
The eagle's cry has echoed; never there
The solitary condor's weary wing
Hath yet ascended!
Let the rising thought
Beyond the confines of this vapoury vault
Be lifted, to the boundless void of space,
How dread, how infinite! where other worlds,
Ten million and ten million leagues aloft,
In other precincts with their shadows roll.
There roams the sole erratic comet, borne
With lightning speed, yet twice three hundred years
Its destined course accomplishing.
Far from the attractive orb of central fire,
Back through the dim and infinite abyss,
Dread flaming visitant, ere thou return'st,
Empires may rise and fail; the palaces,
That shone on earth, may vanish like the dews
Of morning, scarce illumined ere they fly.
Dread flaming visitant, who that pursues
Thy long and lonely voyage, ev'n in thought,
(Till thought itself seem in the effort lost,)
But tremblingly exclaims, There is a God:
There is a God who lights ten thousand suns,
Round which revolve worlds wheeling amid worlds.
He launched thy voyage through the vast abyss,
He hears his universe, through all its orbs,
As with one voice, proclaim,
There is a God!
Lifted above this dim diurnal sphere,
So fancy, rising with her theme, ascends,
And voyaging the illimitable void,
Where comets flame, sees other worlds and suns
Emerge, and on this earth, like a dim speck,
Looks down: nor in the wonderful and vast
Of the dread scene magnificent, she views
Alone the Almighty Ruler, but the web
That shines in summer time, and only seen
In the slant sunbeam, wakes a moral thought.
In autumn, when the thin long spider gains
The leafy bush's top, he from his seat
Shoots the soft filament, like threads of air,
Scarce seen, into the sky; and thus sustained,
Boldly ascends into the breezy void,
Dependent on the trembling line he wove,
Insidious, and intent on scenes of spoil
And death:--So mounts Ambition, and aloft
On his proud summit meditates new scenes
Of plunder and dominion, till the breeze
Of fortune change, that blows to empty air
His feeble, frail support, and once again
Leaves him a reptile, struggling in the dust!
But what the world itself, what in His view
Whose dread Omnipotence is over all!
A twinkling air-thread in the vast of space.
And what the works of that proud insect, Man!
His mausoleums, fanes, and pyramids,
Frown in the dusk of long-revolving years,
While generations, as they rise and drop,
Each following each to silence and to dust,
Point as they pass, and say, It was a God
That made them: but nor date, nor name
Oblivion shows; cloud only, rolling on,
And wrapping darker as it rolls, the works
Now raised on Contemplation's wing,
The blue vault, fervent with unnumbered stars,
He ranges: speeds, as with an angel's flight,
From orb to orb; sees distant suns illume
The boundless space, then bends his head to earth,
So poor is all he knows!
O'er sanguine fields
Now rides he, armed and crested like the god
Of fabled battles; where he points, pale Death
Strides over weltering carcases; nor leaves,--
But still a horrid shadow, step by step,
Stalks mocking after him, till now the noise
Of rolling acclamation, and the shout
Of multitude on multitude, is past:
The scene of all his triumphs, wormy earth,
Closes upon his perishable pride;
For 'dust he is, and shall to dust return'!
But Conscience, a small voice from heaven replies,
Conscience shall meet him in another world.
Let man, then, walk meek, humble, pure, and just;
Though meek, yet dignified; though humble, raised,
The heir of life and immortality;
Conscious that in this awful world he stands,
He only of all living things, ordained
To think, and know, and feel, there is a God!
Child of the air, though most I love to hear
Thy gentle summons whisper, when the Spring,
At the first carol of the village lark,
Looks out and smiles, or June is in her car;
Not undelightful is the purer air
In winter, when the keen north-east is high,
When frost fantastic his cold garland weaves
Of brittle flowers, or soft-succeeding snows
Gather without apace, and heavy load
The berried sweetbrier, clinging to my pane.
The blackbird, then, that marks the ruddy pods
Peep through the snow, though silent is his song,
Yet, pressed by cold and hunger, ventures near.
The robin group, familiar, muster round
The garden-shed, where, at his dinner set,
The laboured hind strews here and there a crumb
From his brown bread; then heedless of the winds
That blow without, and sweep the shivered snow,
Sees from his broken tube the smoke ascend
On an inverted barrow, as in state
He sits, though poor, the monarch of the scene,
As pondering deep the garden's future state,
His kingdom; the rude instruments of death
Lie at his feet, fashioned with simple skill,
With which he hopes to snare the prowling race,
The mice, rapacious of his vernal hopes.
So seated, on the spring he ruminates,
And solemn as a sophi, moves nor hand,
Nor eye, till haply some more venturous bird,
(The crumbs exhausted that he lately strewed
Upon the groundsill,) with often dipping beak,
And sidelong look, as asking larger dole,
Comes hopping to his feet: and say, ye great,
Ye mighty monarchs of this earthly scene,
What nobler views can elevate the heart
Of a proud patriot king, than thus to chase
The bold rapacious spoilers from the field,
And with an eye of merciful regard
To look on humble worth, wet from the storm,
And chilled by indigence!
But thoughts like these
Ill suit the radiant summer's rosy prime,
And the still temper of the calm blue sky.
The sunny shower is past; at intervals
The silent glittering drops descend; and mark,
Upon the blue bank of yon western cloud,
That looms direct against the emerging orb,
How bright, how beautiful the rainbow's hues
Steal out, how stately bends the graceful arch
Above the hills, and tinging at his foot
The mead and trees! Fancy might think young Hope
Pants for the vision, and with ardent eye
Pursues the unreal shade, and spreads her hands,
Weeping to see it fade, as all her dreams
These, O Air! are but the toys,
That sometimes deck thy fairy element;
So oft the eye observant loves to trace
The colours, and the shadows, and the forms,
That wander o'er the veering atmosphere.
See, in the east, the rare parhelia shine
In mimic glory, and so seem to mock
(Fixed parallel to the ascending or
The majesty, the splendour, and the shape,
Of the sole luminary that informs
The world with light and heat! The halo-ring
Bends over all!
With desultory shafts,
And long and arrowy glance, the night-lights shoot
Pale coruscations o'er the northern sky;
Now lancing to the cope, in sheets of flame,
Now wavering wild, as the reflected wave,
On the arched roof of the umbrageous grot.
Hence Superstition dreams of armaments,
Of fiery conflicts, and of bleeding fields
Of slaughter; so on great Jerusalem,
Ere yet she fell, the flaming meteor glared;
A waving sword ensanguined seemed to point
To the devoted city, and a voice
Was heard, Depart, depart!
That with the ceaseless hurry of its clouds,
Encircles the round globe, resembles oft
The passing sunshine, or the glooms that stray
O'er every human spirit.
Thin light streaks
Of thought pass vapoury o'er the vacant mind,
And fade to nothing. Now fantastic gleams
Play, flashing or expiring, of gay hope,
Or deep despair; then clouds of sadness close
In one dark settled gloom, and all the man
Droops, in despondence lost.
Please most the pensive poet: and the views
He forms, though evanescent, and as vain
As the air's mockery, seem to his eye
Ev'n as substantial images, and shapes,
Till in a hurrying rack they all dissolve.
So in the cloudless sky, amusive shines
The soft and mimic scenery; distant hills
That, in refracted light, hang beautiful
Beneath the golden car of eve, ere yet
The daylight lingering fades.
Hence, on the heights
Of Apennine, far stretching to the south,
The goat-herd, while the westering sun, far off,
Hangs o'er the hazy ocean's brim, beholds
In the horizon's faintly-glowing verge
A landscape, like the rainbow, rise, with rocks
That softened shine, and shores that trend away,
Beneath the winding woods of Sicily,
And Etna, smouldering in the still pale sky;
And dim Messina, with her spires, and bays
That wind among the mountains, and the tower
Of Faro, gleaming on the tranquil straits;
Unreal all, yet on the air impressed,
From light's refracted ray, the shadow seems
The certain scene: the hind astonished views,
Yet most delighted, till at once the light
Changes, and all has vanished!
But to him,
How different in still air the unreal view,
Who wanders in Arabian solitudes,
When, faint with thirst, he sees illusive streams
Shine in the arid desert!
A silent waste of dark gray sand is spread,
Like ashes; not a speck in heaven appears,
But the red sun, high in his burning noon,
Shoots down intolerable fire: no sound
Of beast, or blast, or moving insect, stirs
The horrid stillness. Oh! what hand will guide
The pilgrim, panting in the trackless dust,
To where the pure and sparkling fountain cheers
The green oasis. See, as now his lip
Hangs parched and quivering, see before him spread
The long and level lake!
He gazes; still
He gazes, till he drops upon the sands,
And to the vision stretches, as he faints,
His feeble hand.
Come, Sylph of Summer, come!
Return to these green pastures, that, remote
From fiery blasts, or deadly blistering frosts,
Beneath the temperate atmosphere rejoice!
A crown of flame, a javelin in his hand,
Like the red arrow that the lightning shoots
Through night, impetuous steeds, and burning wheels,
That, as they whirl, flash to the cope of heaven,
Proclaim the angel of the world of fire!
The ocean-king, lord of the waters, rides
High on his hissing car, whose concave skirrs
The azure deep beneath him, flashing wide,
As to the sun the dark-green wave upturns,
And foaming far behind: sea-horses breast
The bickering surge, with nostrils sounding far,
And eyes that flash above the wave, and necks,
Whose mane, like breakers whitening in the wind,
Toss through the broken foam: he kingly bears
His trident sceptre high; around him play
Nereids, and sea-maids, singing as he rides
Their choral song: huge Triton, weltering on,
With scaly train, at times his wreathed shell
Sounds, that the caverns of old ocean shake!
But milder thou, soft daughter of the air,
Sylph of the Summer, come! the silent shower
Is past, and 'mid the dripping fern, the wren
Peeps, till the sun looks through the clouds again.
Oh, come, and breathe thy gentler influence,
And send a home-felt quiet to my heart,
Soothed as I hear, by fits, thy whisper run,
Stirring the tall acacia's pendent leaves,
And through yon hazel alley rustling soft
Upon the vacant ear!
Yon eastern downs,
That weather-fence the blossoms of the vale,
Where winds from hill to hill the mighty Dike,
Of Woden named, with many an antique mound,
The warrior's grave, bids exercise awake,
And health, the breeze of morning to inhale:
Meantime, remote from storms, the myrtle blooms
Beneath my southern sash.
May rend the pines of snowy Labrador,
The blasting whirlwinds of the desert sweep
The Nubian wilderness--we fear them not;
Nor yet, my country, do thy breezes bear,
From citrons, or the blooming orange-grove,
As in Rousillon's jasmine-bordered vales,
Incense at eve.
But temperate airs are thine,
England; and as thy climate, so thy sons
Partake the temper of thine isle; not rude,
Nor soft, voluptuous, nor effeminate;
Sincere, indeed, and hardy, as becomes
Those who can lift their look elate, and say,
We strike for injured freedom; and yet mild,
And gentle, when the voice of charity
Pleads like a voice from heaven: and, thanks to GOD,
The chain that fettered Afric's groaning race,
The murderous chain, that, link by link, dropped blood,
Is severed; we have lost that foul reproach
To all our virtuous boast!
England, is thine! not _that_ false substitute,
That meretricious sadness, which, all sighs
For lark or lambkin, yet can hear unmoved
The bloodiest orgies of blood-boltered France;
Thine is consistent, manly, rational,
Nor needing the false glow of sentiment
To melt it into sympathy, but mild,
And looking with a gentle eye on all;
Thy manners open, social, yet refined,
Are tempered with reflection; gaiety,
In her long-lighted halls, may lead the dance,
Or wake the sprightly chord; yet nature, truth,
Still warm the ingenuous heart: there is a blush
With those most gay, and lovely; and a tear
With those most manly!
Hath yet the fairest altar on thy shores;
Such, and so warm with patriot energy,
As raised its arm when a false Stuart fled;
Yet mingled with deep wisdom's cautious lore,
That when it bade a Papal tyrant pause
And tremble, held the undeviating reins
On the fierce neck of headlong Anarchy.
Thy Church, (nor here let zealot bigotry,
Vaunting, condemn all altars but its own),
Thy Church, majestic, but not sumptuous,
Sober, but not austere, with lenity
Tempering her fair pre-eminence, sustains
Her liberal charities, yet decent state.
The tempest is abroad; the fearful sounds
Of armament, and gathering tumult, fill
The ear of anxious Europe. If, O GOD!
It is thy will, that in the storm of death,
When we have lifted the brave sword in vain,
We too should sink, sustain us in that hour!
Meantime be mine, in cheerful privacy,
To wait Thy will, not sanguine, nor depressed;
In even course, nor splendid, nor obscure,
To steal through life among my villagers!
The hum of the discordant crowd, the buzz
Of faction, the poor fly that threads the air
Self-pleased, the wasp that points its tiny sting
Unfelt, pass by me like the idle wind
That I regard not; while the Summer Sylph,
That whispers through the laurels, wakes the thought
Of quietude, and home-felt happiness,
And independence, in a land I love!