« PreviousContinue »
The boat came closer to the ship, O wedding-guest! this soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea:
Scarce seemed there to be.
O sweeter than the marriage-feast, Still louder and more dread:
'Tis sweeter far to me, It reach'd the ship, it split the bays To walk together to the kirk The ship went down like lead.
With a goodly company! Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound, To walk together to the kirk, Which sky and ocean smote,
And all together pray, Like one that hath been seven days drown'd, While each to his great Father bends, My body lay afloat;
Old men, and babes, and loving friends,
Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
He prayeth well, who loveth well
He prayeth best, who loveth best
For the dear God who loveth us, The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
Ho made and loveth all. And prayed where he did sit.
The Mariner, whose eye is bright, I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
Whose beard with age is hoar, Who now doth crazy go,
Is gone; and now the wedding-guest Laughed loud and long, and all the while Turned from the bridegroom's door. His eyes went to and fro. Ha! ha! quoth he, full plain I see, He went like one that hath þeen stunned, The Devil knows how to row.
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man, And now, all in my own countree.
He rosc the morrow morn. I stood on the firm land ! The Hermit stepped forth from the boat, And scarcely he could stand. O sbrieve me, shrieve me, holy man! ODE ON THE DEPARTING YEAR. The Hermit cross'd his brow. Say quick, quoth he, I bid thee say- Composed on the 24th, 25th, and 26th day of DeWhat manner of man art thou ?
cember 1796 ; and first published on the last
day of that year. Forthwith this frame of mine was wrench'd Spirit who sweepest the wild Harp of With a woeful agony,
Time! Which forced me to begin my tale ;
It is most hard, with an untroubled ear And then it left me free.
Thy dark inwoven harmonies to hear ! Since then, at an uncertain hour,
Yet, mine eye fixt on Heaven's unchanging
clime, That agony returns;
Long had I listened, free from mortal fear, And till my ghastly tale is told,
With inward stillness and submitted mind; This heart within me burns.
When lo! its folds far waving on the wind,
I saw the train of the DEPARTING YEAR! I pass, like night, from land to land;
Starting from my silent sadness I have strange power of speech;
Then with no unholy madness, That moment that his face I see,
Ere yet the enter'd cloud foreclos'd my sight, I know the man that must hear me:
I rais'd th' impetuous song, and solemnized To him my tale I teach.
his flight. What lond uproar bursts from that door! The wedding-guests are there ;
Hither, from the recent Tomb, But in the garden-bower the brido From the Prison's direr gloom, And bride-maids singing are ;
From Distemper's midnight anguish; And bark the little vesper-bell,
And thence, where Poverty doth waste and W bich biddeth me to prayer!
Or where, his two bright torches blending, (Then, his eye wild ardours glancing,
From the choired Gods advancing,
meet, Hither, in perplexed dance,
And stood up, beautiful, before the cloudy seat. Ye Woes! ye young-eyed Joys! advance! By Time's wild harp, and by the hand Whose indefatigable sweep
Throughout the blissful throng, Raises it's fateful strings from sleep, Hush'd were harp and song: I bid you haste, a mixt tumultuous band! Till wheeling round the throne the LAMPADS From every private bower,
seven, And each domestic hearth,
(The mystic Words of Heaven) Haste for one solemn hour;
Permissive signal make; And with a loud and yet a louder voice The fervent Spirit bow'd, then spread his O’er Nature struggling in portentous birth,
wings and spake: Weep and rejoice!
Thou in stormy blackness throning Still echoes the dread Nave, that o'er the Love and uncreated Light,
By the Earth’s unsolaced groaning, Let slip the storm, and woke the brood of Seize thy terrors, Arm of might!
By Peace, with proffer'd insult scar'd, And now advance in saintly Jubilee Masked Hate and envying Scorn! Justice and Truth! They too have heard By Years of Havoc yet unborn!
And Hunger's bosom to the frost-winds bared! They too obey thy name, divinest LIBERTY! But chief by Afric's wrongs,
Strange, horrible, and foul!
By what deep guilt belongs I mark'd Ambition in his war-array! To the deaf Synod, full of gifts and lies! I heard the nailed Monarch’s troublous By Wealth's insensate laugh! by Torture's cry
howl! Ah! wherefore docs the Northern Conqueress Avenger, rise!
For ever shall the thankless Island scowl, Groans not her chariot on it's onward way? Her quiver full, and with unbroken bow? Fly, mailed Monarch, fly!
Speak! from thy storm-black heaven oh Stunn'd by Death's twice mortal mace,
speak aloud! No more on Murder's lurid face
And on the darkling foe Th’ insatiate bag shall glote with drunken Open thine eye of fire from some uncertain eye!
cloud! Mancs of th' unnumber'd slain!
o dart the flash! O rise and deal the blow! Ye that gasp'd on Warsaw's plain!
The Past to thee, to thee the Future cries! Ye that erst at Ismail's tower,
Hark! how wide Nature joins her groans When human ruin choak'd the streams,
below! Fell in conquest's glutted hour,
Rise, God of Nature! rise.
Yet still I gasp'd and reel’d with dread.
Renews the phantom to my sight,
My ears throb hot; my eye-balls start; Dance like death-fires round her tomb! My brain with horrid tumult swims; Then with prophetic song relate,
Wild is the tempest of my heart; Each some tyrant-murderer’s fate! And my thick and struggling breath
Imitates the toil of Death!
No stranger agony confounde Departing Year! 'twas on no earthly shore The Soldier on the war-field spread, My soul beheld thy vision! Where alone, When all foredone with toil and wounds. Voiceless and stern, before the cloudy throne, Death-like he dozes among heaps of dead! Aye MEMORY sits: thy robe inscrib’d with (The strife is o'er, the day-light fled,
Ànd the night-wind clamours hoarse ! With many an unimaginable groan
See! the starting wretch's head Thou storiedst thy sad bours! Silence Lies pillow'd on a brother's corse!)
ensued, Deep silence o'er th' ethereal multitude, Whose locks with wreaths, whose wreaths Not yet enslav'd, not wholly vile,
with glories shone. IO Albion! O my mother-isle !
Thy vallics, fair as Eden's bowers,
Yield homage only to eternal laws ! Glitter green with sunny showers;
Ye Woods! that listen to the night-birds' Thy grassy uplands' gentle swells
singing, Echo to the bleat of flocks;
Midway the smooth and perilous slope (Those grassy hills, those glitt'ring dells
reclin'd, Proudly ramparted with rocks)
Save when your own imperious branches And Ocean 'mid his uproar wild
swinging Speaks safety to his ISLAND-CHILD!
Have made a solemn music of the wind ! Hence, for many a fearless age,
Where, like a man below'd of God, Has social Quiet lov’d thy shore ;
Through gloome, which never woodman trod, Nor ever proud Invader's rage
How oft, pursuing fancies holy, Or sack’dthý towers, or staind thy fields My moonlight-way o'er flow'ring weeds I
wound, Inspired, beyond the guess of folly,
By each rude shape and wild unconquerable Abandon'd of Heaven! mad Avarice thy
loud Waves! and oh ye Forests high! At cowardly distance, yet kindling with And oh ye Clouds that far above me soar'd!
Thou rising Sun! thou blue rejoicing Sky! 'Mid thy herds and thy corn-fields secure Yea, every thing that is and will be free!
thou hast stood, Bear witness for me, wheresoe'er ye be, And join'd the wild yelling of Famine and with what deep worship I have still ador'd
The spirit of divinest Liberty. The nations curse thee, and with eager
wond'ring Shall hear DESTRUCTION, like a vulture, When France in wrath her giant-limbs scream!
u preared, Strange-eyed DESTRUCTION! who with many And with that oath, which smote air, earth
a dream Of central fires thro'nether seas upthund’ring Stamp'd her strong foot and said she would Soothes her fierce solitude; yet as she lies
be free, By livid fount, or red volcanic stream,
Bear witness for me, how I hop'd and fear'a! If ever to her lidless dragon-eyes,
With what a joy my lofty gratulation O Albion! thy predestin'd ruins rise,
Unaw'd I sang, amid a slavish band: The fiend-bag on her perilous couch doth leap, And when to whelm the disenchanted nation, Mattering distemper'd triumph in her charm- Like fiends embattled by a wizard's wand,
The Monarchs march'd in evil day,
Though dear her shores and circling ocean, Away, my soul, away!
Though many friendships, many youthful la vain, in vain the Birds of warning sing
loves And hark! I hear the famish'd brood of prey Had swoln the patriot emotion Flap their lank pennons on the groaning wind! And flung a magic light o'er all her hills Away, my soul, away!
and groves; I unpartaking of the evil thing,
Yet still my voice, unalter'd, sang defeat With daily prayer and daily toil
To all that brav'd the tyrant-quelling lance, Soliciting for food my scanty soil,
And shame too long delay'd and vain retreat! Have wailed my country with a loud Lament. For ne'er, O Liberty! with partial aim Now I recenter my immortal mind
I dimm'd thy light or danıp'd thy holy flame; In the deep sabbath of meek self-content;
But blest the pæans of deliver'd France, Cleans'd from the vaporous passions that And hung my head and wept at Britain's
bedim God's Image, sister of the Seraphim.
And what, I said, though Blasphemy's loud
With that sweet mnsic of deliverance strove? F R A N C E.
Though all the fierce and drunken passions
wove A dance more wild than e'er was maniac's
dream? Ya Clouds! that far above me float and Ye storms, that round the dawning east pause,
assembled, Whose pathless march" no mortal may The Sun was rising, though ye hid his light!
And when, to sooth my soul, that hoped Ye Ocean-Waves! that, wheresoe'er ye roll,
The dissonance ceas'd, and all seem'd calm|(Nor prayer, nor boastful name delay, thee)
and bright; Àlike from Priestcraft's harpy minions, When France her front deep-scar'd and gory And factious Blasphemy's obscener slaves, Conceal'd with clustering wreaths of glory; Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions, When, insupportably advancing,
The guide of homeless winds, and playmate Her arm made mockery of the warrior's
of the waves! ramp;
And there I felt thee!-on that sea-cliff's While timid looks of fury glancing,
verge, Domestic treason, crush'd beneath her fatal Whose pines, scarce travelld by the breeze stamp,
abore, Writh'd like a wounded dragon in his gore; Had made one murmur with the distant Then I reproach'd my fears that would not
Yes, while I stood and gaz'd, my temples And soon, I said, shall Wisdom teach her lore
Forgive me, Freedom! O forgive those dreams!
FEARS IN SOLITUDE. I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament, From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns sent- Written in April 1798, daring the Alarm of aa I hear thy groans upon her blood-stain'd
lavasion. streams ! Heroes, that for your peaceful country
A GREEN and silent spot, amid the hills, perish'a,
A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain- No singing sky-lark ever pois'd himself.
The hills are heathy, save that swelling With bleeding wounds; forgive me, that I
Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on, One thonght that ever blcss'd your cruel foes! | All golden with the never-bloomless furze, To scatter rage, and traitorous guilt, Which now blooms most profusely; but the Where Peace her jealous home had built;
dell, A patriot-race to disinherit
Bath'd by the mist, is fresh and delicate of all that made their stormy wilds so dear; As vernal corn-field, or the unripe flax, And with inexpiable spirit
When, through its half-transparent stalks, To taint the bloodless freedom of the moun
The level sunshine glimmers with green O France, that mockest Heaven, adulterous,
Oh! 'tis a quiet spirit-healing nook! And patriot only in pernicious toile ! Which all, methinks, would love; but chiefly Are these thy boasts, Champion of human
The humble man, who, in his youthful years, To mix with Kings the low lust of sway, Knew just so much of folly, as had made Yell in the hunt, and share the murd'rous His early manhood more securely wise!
Here he might lic on fern or wither'd heath, To insult the shrine of Liberty with spoils while from the singing-lark (that sing From freemen torn; to tempt and to betray?
unseen The minstrelsy that solitude loves best)
And from the Sun, and from the breezy Air. The Sensual and the Dark rebel in vain, Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame; Slaves by their own compulsion! In mad And he, with many feelings, many thoughts
Made up a meditative joy, and found They burst their manacles and wear the Religious meanings in the forms of nature !
And so, his senses gradually wrapt of Freedoın, graven on a heavier chain! In a half sleep, he dreams of better worlds O Liberty! with profitless endeavour And dreaming hears thee still, oh singingHave I pursued thee, many a weary hour;
lark, But thou nor swellst the victor's strain, That singest like an angel in the clouds! Didat breathe thy soul in forms of human
My God! it is a melancholy thing Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee, For such a man, who would full fain presente
His soul in calmness, yet perforce must feel | And hooting at the glorious Sun in Heaven, For all his human brethren--O my God! Cries out: Where is it? Thankless too for It is indeed a melancholy thing,
peace; And weighs upon the heart, that he must (Peace long preserv'd by fleets and perilous think
seas) What uproar and what strife may now be Secure from actual warfare, we have lov’d
To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war! This way or that way o'er these silent hills- Alas! for ages ignorant of all Invasion, and the thunder and the shout, It's ghastlier workings (famine or blue And all the crash of onset; fear and rage,
plague, And undetermin'd conflict-even now, Battle, or siege, or flight through wintry Even now, perchance, and in his native isle:
snows), Carnage and groans beneath this blessed Sun! We, this whole people, have been clamorous We have offended, oh! my countrymen! For war and bloodshed; animating sports, We have offended very grievously, The which we pay for as a thing to talk of, And been most tyrannous. From east to west Spectators and not combatants! No guess A groan of accusation pierces heaven! Anticipative of a wrong unfelt, The wretched plead against us; multitudes No speculation on contingency, Countless and vehement, the Sons of God, However dim and vague, too vague and dim Our Brethren! Like a cloud that travels on, To yield a justifying cause; and forth Steam'd up from Cairo's swamps of pestilence, (Stuff’d out with big preamble, holy names, Ev'n so, my countrymen! have we gone forth and adjurations of the God in Heaven) And borne to distant tribes slavery and pangs, We send our mandates for the certain death And, deadlier far, our vices, whose deep taint of thousands and ten thousands! Boys and With slow perdition murders the whole man,
girls, His body and his soul! Meanwhile, at home, And women, that would groan to see a child All individual dignity and power
Pull off an insect's leg, all read of war, Engulph'd in Courts, Committees, Institu- The best amusement for our morning-meal!
The poor wretch, who has learnt his only Associations and Societies,
prayers A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-reporting From curses, who knows scarcely words Guild,
enough One BENEPIT-Club for mutual flattery, To ask a blessing from his heavenly Father, We have drunk up, demure as at a grace, Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute Pollutions from the brimming cup of wealth; And technical in victories and deceit, Contemptuous of all honorable rule, And all our dainty terms for fratricide; Yet bartering freedom and the poor man's Terms which we trundle smoothly o'er our life
tongues For gold, as at a market! The sweet words Like mere abstractions, empty sounds to of Christian promise, words that even yet
which Might stem destruction, were they wisely We join no feeling and attach no form!
As if the soldier died without a wound; Are mutter'd o'er by men, whose tones As if the fibres of this godlike frame
Were gor'd without a pang; as if the wretch, How flat and wearisome they feel their trade: Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds, Rank scoffers some, but most too indolent Pass’d ofl' to Heaven, translated and not kill'd; To deem them falsehoods or to know their As though he had no wife to pine for him,
No God to judge him! Therefore, evil days Oh! blasphemous! the book of life is made are coming on us, oh my countrymen! A superstitious instrument, on which And what if all-avenging Providence, We gabble o'er the oaths we mean to break; Strong and retributive, should make us know For all must swear-all and in every place, The meaning of our words, force us to feel College and wharf, council and justice-court; The desolation and the agony All
, all must swear, the briber and the bribed, of our fierce doings? Spare us yet awhile, Merchant and lawyer, senator and priest, Father and God! Oh! spare ns yet awhile! The rich, the poor, the old man and the Oh! let not English women drag their flight
Fainting beneath the burthen of their babes, All, all make up one scheme of perjury, Of the sweet infants, that but yesterday That faith doth reel; the very name of God Laugh'd at the breast! Sons, brothers, husSounds like a juggler's charm; and, bold
bands, all with joy,
Who ever gaz'd with fondness on the forins Porth from his dark and lonely hiding-place, which grew up with you round the same (Portentous sight!) the owlet, Atheism,
fire-side, Sailing on obscene wings athwart the noon, And all who ever heard the sabbath-bells Drops his blue-fringed lids, and holds them without the infidel's scorn, make yourselves close,