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“ And, conquering by her happiness alone,
“ Shall France compel the nations to be free, “ Till Love and Joy look round, and call the Earth
Forgive me, Freedom! O forgive those dreams !
I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament,
From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns sent-
I hear thy groans upon her blood-stained streams !
Heroes, that for your peaceful country perished,
And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain-snows
With bleeding wounds; forgive me, that I cherished
One thought that ever blessed your cruel foes !
To scatter rage, and traitorous guilt,
Where Peace her jealous home had built;
A patriot-race to disinherit
Of all that made their stormy wilds so dear;
And with inexpiable spirit
To taint the bloodless freedom of the mountaineer-
O France, that mockest Heaven, adulterous, blind,
And patriot only in pernicious toils !
Are these thy boasts, Champion of human kind?
To mix with Kings in the low lust of sway,
Yell in the hunt, and share the murderous prey:
To insult the shrine of Liberty with spoils
From freemen torn; to tempt and to betray?
The Sensual and the Dark rebel in vain,
Slaves by their own compulsion! In mad game
They burst their manacles and wear the name
Of Freedom, graven on a heavier chain!
O Liberty! with profitless endeavour
Have I pursued thee, many a weary hour;
But thou nor swell'st the victor's strain, nor ever Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human power.
Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee,
(Not prayer, nor boastful name delays thee)
Alike from Priestcraft's harpy minions,
And factious Blasphemy's obscener slaves,
Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions, The guide of homeless winds, and playmate of the
waves! And there I felt thee on that sea-cliff's verge,
Whose pines, scarce travelled by the breeze above, Had made one murmur with the distant
! Yes, while I stood and gazed, my temples bare, And shot my being through earth, sea and air, Possessing all things with intensest love,
O Liberty! my spirit felt thee there.
Written in April, 1798, during the Alarm of an lavasiun.
A GREEN and silent spot, amid the hills,
A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place
No singing sky-lark ever poised himself.
The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope,
Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on,
All golden with the never-bloomless furze,
Which now blooms most profusely: but the dell,
Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate
As vernal corn-field, or the unripe flax,
When, through its half-transparent stalks, at eve,
The level Sunshine glimmers with green light.
Oh! 'tis a quiet spirit-healing nook!
Which all, methinks, would love; but chiefly he,
The humble man, who, in his youthful years,
Knew just so much of folly, as had made
His early manhood more securely wise !
Here he might lie on fern or withered heath,
While from the singing-lark (that sings unseen
The minstrelsy that solitude loves best,)
And from the Sun, and from the breezy Air,
Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame;
And he, with many feelings, many thoughts,
Made up a meditative joy, and found
Religious meanings in the forms of nature !
And so, his senses gradually wrapt
In a half sleep, he dreams of better worlds,
And dreaming hears thee still, O singing-lark;
That singest like an angel in the clouds !
My God ! it is a melancholy thing
For such a man, who would full fain preserve
His soul in calmness, yet perforce must feel
For all his human brethren-O my God!
It weighs upon the heart, that he must think
uproar and what strife may now be stirring This way or that way
o'er these silent hillsInvasion, and the thunder and the shout, And all the crash of onset; fear and rage, And undetermined conflict-even now, Even now, perchance, and in his native isle: Carnage and groans beneath this blessed Sun ! We have offended, Oh! my countrymen!
We have offended very grievously,
And been most tyrannous. From east to west
groan of accusation pierces Heaven !
The wretched plead against us; multitudes
Countless and vehement, the Sons of God,
Our Brethren! Like a cloud that travels on,
Steamed up from Cairo's swamps of pestilence,
Even so, my countrymen! have we gone forth
And borne to distant tribes slavery and pangs,
And, deadlier far, our vices, whose deep taint
With slow perdition murders the whole man,
His body and his soul! Meanwhile, at home,
All individual dignity and power
Engulfed in Courts, Committees, Institutions,
Associations and Societies,
A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-reporting Guild,
One BENEFIT-CLUB for mutual flattery,
We have drunk
demure as at a grace, Pollutions from the brimming cup of wealth ; Contemptuous of all honourable rule, Yet bartering freedom and the poor man's life For gold, as at a market! The sweet words Of Christian promise, words that even yet Might stem destruction, were they wisely preached Are muttered o'er by men, whose tones proclaim How flat and wearisome they feel their trade :