GODDESS of the LYRE! with thee comes Majestic TRUTH; and where TRUTH deigns to come, Her sister LIBERTY will not be far.
With wayworn feet a Pilgrim woe-begone Life's upward road I journeyed many a day, And hymning many a sad yet soothing lay Beguil'd my wandering with the charms of song. Lonely my heart and rugged was my way, Yet often pluck'd I as I past along The wild and simple flowers of Poesy, And as beseem'd the wayward Fancy's child Entwin'd each random weed that pleas'd mine eye. Accept the wreath, BELOVED! it is wild And rudely garlanded; yet scorn not thou The humble offering, where the sad rue weaves 'Mid gayer flowers its intermingled leaves, And I have twin'd the myrtle for thy brow.
I have collected in this Volume the productions of very distant periods. The lyric pieces were written in earlier youth; I now think the Ode the most worthless species of composition as well as the most difficult, and should never again attempt it, even if my future pursuits were such as allowed leisure for poetry. The poems addressed to the heart and the understanding are those of my maturer judgment. The Inscriptions will be found to differ from the Greek simplicity of Akenside's in the point that generally concludes them. The Sonnets were written first, or I would have adopted a different title, and avoided the shackle of rhyme and the confinement to fourteen lines.
To Mary Wollstonecraft ............. 3 The Triumph of Woman ............... 7 Poems on the Slave-Trade .......... 29 Sonnet 1 .......................... 33 2 .......................... 34 3 .......................... 35 4 .......................... 36 5 .......................... 37 6 .......................... 38 To the Genius of Africa ........... 39 To my own Miniature Picture ....... 44 The Pauper's Funeral .............. 47 Ode written on 1st of January ..... 49 Inscription 1 ..................... 55 2 ..................... 56 3 ..................... 57 4 ..................... 59 5 ..................... 61 6 ..................... 62 7 ..................... 63 8 ..................... 64 Birth-Day Ode ..................... 67 Birth-Day Ode ..................... 71 Botany-bay Eclogues ............... 75 Elinor ............................ 77 Humphrey and William .............. 83 John, Samuel, and Richard ......... 92 Frederic .......................... 99 Sonnet 1 ......................... 107 2 ......................... 108 3 ......................... 109 4 ......................... 110 5 ......................... 111 6 ......................... 112 7 ......................... 113 8 ......................... 114 9 ......................... 115 10 ......................... 116 Sappho ........................... 121 Ode written on 1st. Dece. ........ 126 Written on Sunday Morning ........ 129 On the death of a favorite old Spaniel .................... 132 To Contemplation ................. 135 To Horror ........................ 140 The Soldier's Wife ............... 145 The Widow ........................ 147 The Chapel Bell .................. 149 The Race of Banquo ............... 152 Musings on a landscape of Caspar Poussin ................. 154 Mary ............................. 163 Donica ........................... 175 Rudiger .......................... 187 Hymn to the Penates .............. 203
p.151 - in the last line but one, for nosal, read nasal. p.192 - line 8, for wild, read mild. p. 203 - in the note, for Complicces, read Complices.
THE TRIUMPH OF WOMAN
[Greek (transliterated): Ou gar thaeluierais demas opasen aemiielesion Morphaen, ophra xai allaperi chroi technaesainio.
TO MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT.
The lilly cheek, the "purple light of love," The liquid lustre of the melting eye,— Mary! of these the Poet sung, for these Did Woman triumph! with no angry frown View this degrading conquest. At that age No MAID OF ARC had snatch'd from coward man The heaven-blest sword of Liberty; thy sex Could boast no female ROLAND'S martyrdom; No CORDE'S angel and avenging arm Had sanctified again the Murderer's name As erst when Caesar perish'd: yet some strains May even adorn this theme, befitting me To offer, nor unworthy thy regard.
The Subject of the following Poem may be found in the Third and Fourth Chapters of the first Book of Esdras.
THE TRIUMPH of WOMAN.
Glad as the weary traveller tempest-tost To reach secure at length his native coast, Who wandering long o'er distant lands has sped, The night-blast wildly howling round his head, Known all the woes of want, and felt the storm Of the bleak winter parch his shivering form; The journey o'er and every peril past Beholds his little cottage-home at last, And as he sees afar the smoke curl slow, Feels his full eyes with transport overflow: So from the scene where Death and Anguish reign, And Vice and Folly drench with blood the plain, Joyful I turn, to sing how Woman's praise Avail'd again Jerusalem to raise, Call'd forth the sanction of the Despot's nod, And freed the nation best-belov'd of God.
Darius gives the feast: to Persia's court, Awed by his will, the obedient throng resort, Attending Satraps swell the Prince's pride, And vanquish'd Monarchs grace their Conqueror's side. No more the Warrior wears the garb of war, Sharps the strong steel, or mounts the scythed car; No more Judaea's sons dejected go, And hang the head and heave the sigh of woe. From Persia's rugged hills descend the train. From where Orontes foams along the plain, From where Choaspes rolls his royal waves, And India sends her sons, submissive slaves. Thy daughters Babylon to grace the feast Weave the loose robe, and paint the flowery vest, With roseate wreaths they braid the glossy hair. They tinge the cheek which Nature form'd so fair, Learn the soft step, the soul-subduing glance, Melt in the song, and swim adown the dance. Exalted on the Monarch's golden throne In royal state the fair Apame shone;
Her form of majesty, her eyes of fire Chill with respect, or kindle with desire. The admiring multitude her charms adore, And own her worthy of the crown she wore.
Now on his couch reclin'd Darius lay, Tir'd with the toilsome pleasures of the day; Without Judaea's watchful sons await To guard the sleeping pageant of the state. Three youths were these of Judah's royal race, Three youths whom Nature dower'd with every grace, To each the form of symmetry she gave, And haughty Genius curs'd each favorite slave; These fill'd the cup, around the Monarch kept, Serv'd as he spake, and guarded whilst he slept.
Yet oft for Salem's hallowed towers laid low The sigh would heave, the unbidden tear would flow; And when the dull and wearying round of Power Allowed Zorobabel one vacant hour, He lov'd on Babylon's high wall to roam, And stretch the gaze towards his distant home, Or on Euphrates' willowy banks reclin'd Hear the sad harp moan fitful to the wind.
As now the perfum'd lamps stream wide their light, And social converse chears the livelong night, Thus spake Zorobabel, "too long in vain "For Sion desolate her sons complain; "In anguish worn the joyless years lag slow, "And these proud conquerors mock their captive's woe. "Whilst Cyrus triumph'd here in victor state "A brighter prospect chear'd our exil'd fate, "Our sacred walls again he bade us raise, "And to Jehovah rear the pile of praise. "Quickly these fond hopes faded from our eyes, "As the frail sun that gilds the wintry skies, "And spreads a moment's radiance o'er the plain, "Soon hid by clouds that dim the scene again.
"Opprest by Artaxerxes' jealous reign "We vainly pleaded here, and wept in vain. "Now when Darius, chief of mild command, "Bids joy and pleasure fill the festive land, "Still shall we droop the head in sullen grief, "And sternly silent shun to seek relief? "What if amid the Monarch's mirthful throng "Our harps should echo to the chearful song?
"Fair is the occasion," thus the one replied, "And now let all our tuneful skill be tried. "Whilst the gay courtiers quaff the smiling bowl, "And wine's strong fumes inspire the madden'd soul, "Where all around is merriment, be mine "To strike the lute, and praise the power of Wine.
"And whilst" his friend replied in state alone "Lord of the earth Darius fills the throne, "Be yours the mighty power of Wine to sing, "My lute shall sound the praise of Persia's King."
To them Zorobabel, on themes like these "Seek ye the Monarch of Mankind to please; "To Wine superior or to Power's strong arms, "Be mine to sing resistless Woman's charms. "To him victorious in the rival lays "Shall just Darius give the meed of praise; "The purple robe his honor'd frame shall fold, "The beverage sparkle in his cup of gold; "A golden couch support his bed of rest, "The chain of honor grace his favor'd breast; "His the soft turban, his the car's array "O'er Babylon's high wall to wheel its way; "And for his wisdom seated on the throne, "For the KING'S COUSIN shall the Bard be known."
Intent they meditate the future lay, And watch impatient for the dawn of day. The morn rose clear, and shrill were heard the flute, The cornet, sackbut, dulcimer, and lute; To Babylon's gay streets the throng resort, Swarm thro' the gates, and fill the festive court. High on his throne Darius tower'd in pride, The fair Apame grac'd the Sovereign's side; And now she smil'd, and now with mimic frown Placed on her brow the Monarch's sacred crown. In transport o'er her faultless form he bends, Loves every look, and every act commends.
And now Darius bids the herald call Judaea's Bard to grace the thronging hall. Hush'd is each sound—the attending crowd are mute, The Hebrew lightly strikes the chearful lute:
When the Traveller on his way, Who has toil'd the livelong day, Feels around on every side The chilly mists of eventide, Fatigued and faint his wearied mind Recurs to all he leaves behind; He thinks upon the well-trimm'd hearth, The evening hour of social mirth, And her who at departing day Weeps for her husband far away. Oh give to him the flowing bowl, Bid it renovate his soul; Then shall sorrow sink to sleep, And he who wept, no more shall weep; For his care-clouded brow shall clear, And his glad eye shall sparkle thro' the tear.
When the poor man heart-opprest Betakes him to his evening rest, And worn with labour thinks in sorrow Of the labor of to-morrow; When sadly musing on his lot He hies him to his joyless cot, And loathes to meet his children there, The rivals for his scanty fare: Oh give to him the flowing bowl, Bid it renovate his soul; The generous juice with magic power Shall cheat with happiness the hour, And with each warm affection fill The heart by want and wretchedness made chill.
When, at the dim close of day, The Captive loves alone to stray Along the haunts recluse and rude Of sorrow and of solitude; When he sits with moveless eye To mark the lingering radiance die, And lets distemper'd Fancy roam Amid the ruins of his home,— Oh give to him the flowing bowl, Bid it renovate his soul; The bowl shall better thoughts bestow, And lull to rest his wakeful woe, And Joy shall bless the evening hour, And make the Captive Fortune's conqueror.
When the wearying cares of state Oppress the Monarch with their weight, When from his pomp retir'd alone He feels the duties of the throne, Feels that the multitude below Depend on him for weal or woe; When his powerful will may bless A realm with peace and happiness, Or with desolating breath Breathe ruin round, and woe, and death: Oh give to him the flowing bowl, Bid it humanize his soul; He shall not feel the empire's weight, He shall not feel the cares of state, The bowl shall each dark thought beguile, And Nations live and prosper from his smile.
Husht was the lute, the Hebrew ceas'd the song; Long peals of plaudits echoed from the throng; Each tongue the liberal words of praise repaid, On every cheek a smile applauding play'd; The rival Bard advanced, he struck the string, And pour'd the loftier song to Persia's King.
Why should the wearying cares of state Oppress the Monarch with their weight? Alike to him if Peace shall bless The multitude with happiness; Alike to him if frenzied War Careers triumphant on the embattled plain, And rolling on o'er myriads slain, With gore and wounds shall clog his scythed car. What tho' the tempest rage! no sound Of the deep thunder shakes his distant throne, And the red flash that spreads destruction round, Reflects a glorious splendour on the Crown.
Where is the Man who with ennobling pride Beholds not his own nature? where is he Who but with deep amazement awe allied Must muse the mysteries of the human mind, The miniature of Deity. For Man the vernal clouds descending Shower down their fertilizing rain, For Man the ripen'd harvest bending Waves with soft murmur o'er the plenteous plain. He spreads the sail on high, The rude gale wafts him o'er the main; For him the winds of Heaven subservient blow, Earth teems for him, for him the waters flow, He thinks, and wills, and acts, a Deity below!
Where is the King who with elating pride Sees not this Man—this godlike Man his Slave? Mean are the mighty by the Monarch's side, Alike the wife, alike the brave With timid step and pale, advance, And tremble at the royal glance; Suspended millions watch his breath Whose smile is happiness, whose frown is death.
Why goes the Peasant from that little cot, Where PEACE and LOVE have blest his humble life? In vain his agonizing wife With tears bedews her husband's face, And clasps him in a long and last embrace; In vain his children round his bosom creep, And weep to see their mother weep, Fettering their father with their little arms; What are to him the wars alarms? What are to him the distant foes? He at the earliest dawn of day To daily labor went his way; And when he saw the sun decline, He sat in peace beneath his vine:— The king commands, the peasant goes, From all he lov'd on earth he flies, And for his monarch toils, and fights, and bleeds, and dies.
What tho' yon City's castled wall Casts o'er the darken'd plain its crested shade? What tho' their Priests in earnest terror call On all their host of Gods to aid? Vain is the bulwark, vain the tower; In vain her gallant youths expose Their breasts, a bulwark, to the foes. In vain at that tremendous hour, Clasp'd in the savage soldier's reeking arms, Shrieks to tame Heaven the violated Maid. By the rude hand of Ruin scatter'd round Their moss-grown towers shall spread the desart ground. Low shall the mouldering palace lie, Amid the princely halls the grass wave high, And thro' the shatter'd roof descend the inclement sky.
Gay o'er the embattled plain Moves yonder warrior train, Their banners wanton on the morning gale! Full on their bucklers beams the rising ray, Their glittering helmets flash a brighter day, The shout of war rings echoing o'er the vale: Far reaches as the aching eye can strain The splendid horror of their wide array. Ah! not in vain expectant, o'er Their glorious pomp the Vultures soar! Amid the Conqueror's palace high Shall sound the song of victory: Long after journeying o'er the plain The Traveller shall with startled eye See their white bones then blanched by many a winter sky.
Lord of the Earth! we will not raise The Temple to thy bounded praise. For thee no victim need expire, For thee no altar blaze with hallowed fire! The burning city flames for thee— Thine altar is the field of victory! Thy sacred Majesty to bless Man a self-offer'd victim freely flies; To thee he sacrifices Happiness, And Peace, and Love's endearing ties, To thee a Slave he lives, to thee a Slave he dies.
Husht was the lute, the Hebrew ceas'd to sing; The shout rush'd forth—for ever live the King! Loud was the uproar, as when Rome's decree Pronounc'd Achaia once again was free; Assembled Greece enrapt with fond belief Heard the false boon, and bless'd the villain Chief; Each breast with Freedom's holy ardor glows, From every voice the cry of rapture rose; Their thundering clamors burst the astonish'd sky, And birds o'erpassing hear, and drop, and die. Thus o'er the Persian dome their plaudits ring, And the high hall re-echoed—live the King! The Mutes bow'd reverent down before their Lord, The assembled Satraps envied and ador'd, Joy sparkled in the Monarch's conscious eyes, And his pleas'd pride already doom'd the prize.
Silent they saw Zorobabel advance: Quick on Apame shot his timid glance, With downward eye he paus'd a moment mute, And with light finger touch'd the softer lute. Apame knew the Hebrew's grateful cause, And bent her head and sweetly smil'd applause.
Why is the Warrior's cheek so red? Why downward droops his musing head? Why that slow step, that faint advance, That keen yet quick-retreating glance? That crested head in war tower'd high, No backward glance disgrac'd that eye, No flushing fear that cheek o'erspread When stern he strode o'er heaps of dead; Strange tumult now his bosom moves— The Warrior fears because he loves.
Why does the Youth delight to rove Amid the dark and lonely grove? Why in the throng where all are gay, His wandering eye with meaning fraught, Sits he alone in silent thought? Silent he sits; for far away His passion'd soul delights to stray; Recluse he roves and strives to shun All human-kind because he loves but One!
Yes, King of Persia, thou art blest; But not because the sparkling bowl To rapture lifts thy waken'd soul  But not because of Power possest, Not that the Nations dread thy nod, And Princes reverence thee their earthly God, Even on a Monarch's solitude Care the black Spectre will intrude, The bowl brief pleasure can bestow, The Purple cannot shield from Woe. But King of Persia thou art blest, For Heaven who rais'd thee thus the world above Has made thee happy in Apame's love!
Oh! I have seen his fond looks trace Each angel feature of her face, Rove o'er her form with eager eye, And sigh and gaze, and gaze and sigh. Lo! from his brow with mimic frown, Apame takes the sacred crown; Her faultless form, her lovely face Add to the diadem new grace And subject to a Woman's laws Darius sees and smiles applause!
He ceas'd, and silent still remain'd the throng Whilst rapt attention own'd the power of song. Then loud as when the wintry whirlwinds blow From ev'ry voice the thundering plaudits flow; Darius smil'd, Apame's sparkling eyes Glanc'd on the King, and Woman won the prize.
Now silent sat the expectant crowd, alone The victor Hebrew gaz'd not on the throne; With deeper hue his cheek distemper'd glows, With statelier stature, loftier now he rose; Heavenward he gaz'd, regardless of the throng, And pour'd with awful voice sublimer song.
Ancient of Days! Eternal Truth! one hymn One holier strain the Bard shall raise to thee, Thee Powerful! Thee Benevolent! Thee Just! Friend! Father! All in All! the Vines rich blood, The Monarch's might, and Woman's conquering charms,— These shall we praise alone? Oh ye who sit Beneath your vine, and quaff at evening hour The healthful bowl, remember him whose dews, Whose rains, whose sun, matur'd the growing fruit, Creator and Preserver! Reverence Him, O thou who from thy throne dispensest life And death, for He has delegated power. And thou shalt one day at the throne of God Render most strict account! O ye who gaze Enrapt on Beauty's fascinating form, Gaze on with love, and loving Beauty, learn To shun abhorrent all the mental eye Beholds deform'd and foul; for so shall Love Climb to the Source of Virtue. God of Truth! All-Just! All-Mighty! I should ill deserve Thy noblest gift, the gift divine of song, If, so content with ear-deep melodies  To please all profitless, I did not pour Severer strains; of Truth—eternal Truth, Unchanging Justice, universal Love. Such strains awake the soul to loftiest thoughts, Such strains the Blessed Spirits of the Good Waft, grateful incense, to the Halls of Heaven.
The dying notes still murmur'd on the string, When from his throne arose the raptur'd King. About to speak he stood, and wav'd his hand, And all expectant sat the obedient band.
Then just and gen'rous, thus the Monarch cries, "Be thine Zorobabel the well earned prize. "The purple robe of state thy form shall fold, "The beverage sparkle in thy cup of gold; "The golden couch, the car, and honor'd chain, "Requite the merits of thy favor'd strain, "And rais'd supreme the ennobled race among "Be call'd MY COUSIN for the victor song. "Nor these alone the victor song shall bless, "Ask what thou wilt, and what thou wilt, possess." "Fall'n is Jerusalem!" the Hebrew cries. And patriot anguish fills his streaming eyes, "Hurl'd to the earth by Rapine's vengeful rod, "Polluted lies the temple of our God, "Far in a foreign land her sons remain, "Hear the keen taunt, and drag the captive chain: "In fruitless woe they wear the wearying years, "And steep the bread of bitterness in tears. "O Monarch, greatest, mildest, best of men, "Restore us to those ruin'd walls again! "Allow our race to rear that sacred dome, "To live in liberty, and die at Home."
So spake Zorobabel—thus Woman's praise Avail'd again Jerusalem to raise, Call'd forth the sanction of the Despot's nod, And freed the Nation best belov'd of God.
[Footnote 1: text showed "foul" which we think was a long s transferred to the modern edition by mistake. Gutenberg Proofreading.]
[Footnote 2: This expression is from OWEN FELLTHAM.]
I am Innocent of this Blood, SEE YE TO IT!
When first the Abolition of the SLAVE-TRADE was agitated in England, the friends of humanity endeavoured by two means to accomplish it.—To destroy the Trade immediately by the interference of Government or by the disuse of West-Indian productions: a slow but certain method. For a while Government held the language of justice, and individuals with enthusiasm banished sugar from their tables. This enthusiasm soon cooled; the majority of those who had made this sacrifice (I prostitute the word, but they thought it a sacrifice) persuaded themselves that Parliament would do all, and that individual efforts were no longer necessary. Thus ended the one attempt; and the duplicity with which Mr. Wilberforce has been amused, and the Slave-Merchants satisfied, has now effectually destroyed the other.
There are yet two other methods remaining, by which this traffic will probably be abolished. By the introduction of East-Indian or Maple Sugar, or by the just and general rebellion of the Negroes: by the vindictive justice of the Africans, or by the civilized Christians finding it their interest to be humane.
To these past and present prospects the following Poems occasionally allude: to the English custom of exciting wars upon the Slave Coast that they may purchase prisoners, and to the punishment sometimes inflicted upon a Negro for murder, of which Hector St. John was an eye-witness.
Hold your mad hands! for ever on your plain Must the gorged vulture clog his beak with blood? For ever must your Nigers tainted flood Roll to the ravenous shark his banquet slain? Hold your mad hands! what daemon prompts to rear The arm of Slaughter? on your savage shore Can hell-sprung Glory claim the feast of gore, With laurels water'd by the widow's tear Wreathing his helmet crown? lift high the spear! And like the desolating whirlwinds sweep, Plunge ye yon bark of anguish in the deep; For the pale fiend, cold-hearted Commerce there Breathes his gold-gender'd pestilence afar, And calls to share the prey his kindred Daemon War.
Why dost thou beat thy breast and rend thine hair, And to the deaf sea pour thy frantic cries? Before the gale the laden vessel flies; The Heavens all-favoring smile, the breeze is fair; Hark to the clamors of the exulting crew! Hark how their thunders mock the patient skies! Why dost thou shriek and strain thy red-swoln eyes As the white sail dim lessens from thy view? Go pine in want and anguish and despair, There is no mercy found in human-kind— Go Widow to thy grave and rest thee there! But may the God of Justice bid the wind Whelm that curst bark beneath the mountain wave, And bless with Liberty and Death the Slave!
Oh he is worn with toil! the big drops run Down his dark cheek; hold—hold thy merciless hand, Pale tyrant! for beneath thy hard command O'erwearied Nature sinks. The scorching Sun, As pityless as proud Prosperity, Darts on him his full beams; gasping he lies Arraigning with his looks the patient skies, While that inhuman trader lifts on high The mangling scourge. Oh ye who at your ease Sip the blood-sweeten'd beverage! thoughts like these Haply ye scorn: I thank thee Gracious God! That I do feel upon my cheek the glow Of indignation, when beneath the rod A sable brother writhes in silent woe.
'Tis night; the mercenary tyrants sleep As undisturb'd as Justice! but no more The wretched Slave, as on his native shore, Rests on his reedy couch: he wakes to weep! Tho' thro' the toil and anguish of the day No tear escap'd him, not one suffering groan Beneath the twisted thong, he weeps alone In bitterness; thinking that far away Tho' the gay negroes join the midnight song, Tho' merriment resounds on Niger's shore, She whom he loves far from the chearful throng Stands sad, and gazes from her lowly door With dim grown eye, silent and woe-begone, And weeps for him who will return no more.
Did then the bold Slave rear at last the Sword Of Vengeance? drench'd he deep its thirsty blade In the cold bosom of his tyrant lord? Oh! who shall blame him? thro' the midnight shade Still o'er his tortur'd memory rush'd the thought Of every past delight; his native grove, Friendship's best joys, and Liberty and Love, All lost for ever! then Remembrance wrought His soul to madness; round his restless bed Freedom's pale spectre stalk'd, with a stern smile Pointing the wounds of slavery, the while She shook her chains and hung her sullen head: No more on Heaven he calls with fruitless breath, But sweetens with revenge, the draught of death.
High in the air expos'd the Slave is hung To all the birds of Heaven, their living food! He groans not, tho' awaked by that fierce Sun New torturers live to drink their parent blood! He groans not, tho' the gorging Vulture tear The quivering fibre! hither gaze O ye Who tore this Man from Peace and Liberty! Gaze hither ye who weigh with scrupulous care The right and prudent; for beyond the grave There is another world! and call to mind, Ere your decrees proclaim to all mankind Murder is legalized, that there the Slave Before the Eternal, "thunder-tongued shall plead "Against the deep damnation of your deed."
TO THE GENIUS OF AFRICA
O thou who from the mountain's height Roll'st down thy clouds with all their weight Of waters to old Niles majestic tide; Or o'er the dark sepulchral plain Recallest thy Palmyra's ancient pride, Amid whose desolated domes Secure the savage chacal roams, Where from the fragments of the hallow'd fane The Arabs rear their miserable homes!
Hear Genius hear thy children's cry! Not always should'st thou love to brood Stern o'er the desert solitude Where seas of sand toss their hot surges high; Nor Genius should the midnight song Detain thee in some milder mood The palmy plains among Where Gambia to the torches light Flows radiant thro' the awaken'd night.
Ah, linger not to hear the song! Genius avenge thy children's wrong! The Daemon COMMERCE on your shore Pours all the horrors of his train, And hark! where from the field of gore Howls the hyena o'er the slain! Lo! where the flaming village fires the skies! Avenging Power awake—arise!
Arise thy children's wrong redress! Ah heed the mother's wretchedness When in the hot infectious air O'er her sick babe she bows opprest— Ah hear her when the Christians tear The drooping infant from her breast! Whelm'd in the waters he shall rest! Hear thou the wretched mother's cries, Avenging Power awake! arise!
By the rank infected air That taints those dungeons of despair, By those who there imprison'd die Where the black herd promiscuous lie, By the scourges blacken'd o'er And stiff and hard with human gore, By every groan of deep distress By every curse of wretchedness, By all the train of Crimes that flow From the hopelessness of Woe, By every drop of blood bespilt, By Afric's wrongs and Europe's guilt, Awake! arise! avenge!
And thou hast heard! and o'er their blood-fed plains Swept thine avenging hurricanes; And bade thy storms with whirlwind roar Dash their proud navies on the shore; And where their armies claim'd the fight Wither'd the warrior's might; And o'er the unholy host with baneful breath There Genius thou hast breath'd the gales of Death.
So perish still the robbers of mankind! What tho' from Justice bound and blind Inhuman Power has snatch'd the sword! What tho' thro' many an ignominious age That Fiend with desolating rage The tide of carnage pour'd! Justice shall yet unclose her eyes, Terrific yet in wrath arise, And trample on the tyrant's breast, And make Oppresion groan opprest.
To my own MINIATURE PICTURE taken at two years of age.
And I was once like this! that glowing cheek Was mine, those pleasure-sparkling eyes, that brow Smooth as the level lake, when not a breeze Dies o'er the sleeping surface! twenty years Have wrought strange alteration! Of the friends Who once so dearly prized this miniature, And loved it for its likeness, some are gone To their last home; and some, estranged in heart, Beholding me with quick-averted glance Pass on the other side! But still these hues Remain unalter'd, and these features wear The look of Infancy and Innocence. I search myself in vain, and find no trace Of what I was: those lightly-arching lines Dark and o'erhanging now; and that mild face Settled in these strong lineaments!—There were Who form'd high hopes and flattering ones of thee Young Robert! for thine eye was quick to speak Each opening feeling: should they not have known When the rich rainbow on the morning cloud Reflects its radiant dies, the husbandman Beholds the ominous glory sad, and fears Impending storms? they augur'd happily, For thou didst love each wild and wonderous tale Of faery fiction, and thine infant tongue Lisp'd with delight the godlike deeds of Greece And rising Rome; therefore they deem'd forsooth That thou shouldst tread PREFERMENT'S pleasant path. Ill-judging ones! they let thy little feet Stray in the pleasant paths of POESY, And when thou shouldst have prest amid the crowd There didst thou love to linger out the day Loitering beneath the laurels barren shade. SPIRIT of SPENSER! was the wanderer wrong? This little picture was for ornament Design'd, to shine amid the motley mob Of Fashion and of Folly,—is it not More honour'd by this solitary song?
THE PAUPER'S FUNERAL
What! and not one to heave the pious sigh! Not one whose sorrow-swoln and aching eye For social scenes, for life's endearments fled, Shall drop a tear and dwell upon the dead! Poor wretched Outcast! I will weep for thee, And sorrow for forlorn humanity. Yes I will weep, but not that thou art come To the stern Sabbath of the silent tomb: For squalid Want, and the black scorpion Care, Heart-withering fiends! shall never enter there. I sorrow for the ills thy life has known As thro' the world's long pilgrimage, alone, Haunted by Poverty and woe-begone, Unloved, unfriended, thou didst journey on: Thy youth in ignorance and labour past, And thine old age all barrenness and blast! Hard was thy Fate, which, while it doom'd to woe, Denied thee wisdom to support the blow; And robb'd of all its energy thy mind, Ere yet it cast thee on thy fellow-kind, Abject of thought, the victim of distress, To wander in the world's wide wilderness.
Poor Outcast sleep in peace! the wintry storm Blows bleak no more on thine unshelter'd form; Thy woes are past; thou restest in the tomb;— I pause—and ponder on the days to come.
written on the first of January, 1794
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.
The three Utilitise of Poetry: the praise of Virtue and Goodness, the Memory of things remarkable, and to invigorate the affections.
For a TABLET at GODSTOW NUNNERY.
Here Stranger rest thee! from the neighbouring towers Of Oxford, haply thou hast forced thy bark Up this strong stream, whose broken waters here Send pleasant murmurs to the listening sense: Rest thee beneath this hazel; its green boughs Afford a grateful shade, and to the eye Fair is its fruit: Stranger! the seemly fruit Is worthless, all is hollowness within, For on the grave of ROSAMUND it grows! Young lovely and beloved she fell seduced, And here retir'd to wear her wretched age In earnest prayer and bitter penitence, Despis'd and self-despising: think of her Young Man! and learn to reverence Womankind!
[Footnote 1: I have often seen this hazel: its nuts are apparently very fine, but always without a kernel.]
For a COLUMN at NEWBURY.
Art thou a Patriot Traveller? on this field Did FALKLAND fall the blameless and the brave Beneath a Tyrant's banners: dost thou boast Of loyal ardor? HAMBDEN perish'd here, The rebel HAMBDEN, at whose glorious name The heart of every honest Englishman Beats high with conscious pride. Both uncorrupt, Friends to their common country both, they fought, They died in adverse armies. Traveller! If with thy neighbour thou should'st not accord, In charity remember these good men, And quell each angry and injurious thought.
For a CAVERN that overlooks the River AVON.
Enter this cavern Stranger! the ascent Is long and steep and toilsome; here awhile Thou mayest repose thee, from the noontide heat O'ercanopied by this arch'd rock that strikes A grateful coolness: clasping its rough arms Round the rude portal, the old ivy hangs Its dark green branches down, and the wild Bees, O'er its grey blossoms murmuring ceaseless, make Most pleasant melody. No common spot Receives thee, for the Power who prompts the song, Loves this secluded haunt. The tide below Scarce sends the sound of waters to thine ear; And this high-hanging forest to the wind Varies its many hues. Gaze Stranger here! And let thy soften'd heart intensely feel How good, how lovely, Nature! When from hence Departing to the City's crouded streets, Thy sickening eye at every step revolts From scenes of vice and wretchedness; reflect That Man creates the evil he endures.
For the Apartment in CHEPSTOW-CASTLE where HENRY MARTEN the Regicide was imprisoned Thirty Years.
For thirty years secluded from mankind, Here Marten linger'd. Often have these walls Echoed his footsteps, as with even tread He paced around his prison: not to him Did Nature's fair varieties exist; He never saw the Sun's delightful beams, Save when thro' yon high bars it pour'd a sad And broken splendor. Dost thou ask his crime? He had rebell'd against the King, and sat In judgment on him; for his ardent mind Shaped goodliest plans of happiness on earth, And peace and liberty. Wild dreams! But such As PLATO lov'd; such as with holy zeal Our MILTON worshipp'd. Blessed hopes! awhile From man withheld, even to the latter days, When CHRIST shall come and all things be fulfill'd.
For a MONUMENT at SILBURY-HILL.
This mound in some remote and dateless day Rear'd o'er a Chieftain of the Age  of Hills, May here detain thee Traveller! from thy road Not idly lingering. In his narrow house Some Warrior sleeps below: his gallant deeds Haply at many a solemn festival The Bard has harp'd, but perish'd is the song Of praise, as o'er these bleak and barren downs The wind that passes and is heard no more. Go Traveller on thy way, and contemplate Glory's brief pageant, and remember then That one good deed was never wrought in vain.
[Footnote 1: The Northern Nations distinguished the two periods when the bodies of the dead were consumed by fire, and when they were buried beneath the tumuli so common in this country, by the Age of Fire and the Age of Hills.]
For a MONUMENT in the NEW FOREST.
This is the place where William's kingly power Did from their poor and peaceful homes expel, Unfriended, desolate, and shelterless, The habitants of all the fertile track Far as these wilds extend. He levell'd down Their little cottages, he bade their fields Lie barren, so that o'er the forest waste He might most royally pursue his sports! If that thine heart be human, Passenger! Sure it will swell within thee, and thy lips Will mutter curses on him. Think thou then What cities flame, what hosts unsepulchred Pollute the passing wind, when raging Power Drives on his blood-hounds to the chase of Man; And as thy thoughts anticipate that day When God shall judge aright, in charity Pray for the wicked rulers of mankind.
For a TABLET on the Banks of a Stream.
Stranger! awhile upon this mossy bank Recline thee. If the Sun rides high, the breeze, That loves to ripple o'er the rivulet, Will play around thy brow, and the cool sound Of running waters soothe thee. Mark how clear It sparkles o'er the shallows, and behold Where o'er its surface wheels with restless speed Yon glossy insect, on the sand below How the swift shadow flies. The stream is pure In solitude, and many a healthful herb Bends o'er its course and drinks the vital wave: But passing on amid the haunts of man, It finds pollution there, and rolls from thence A tainted tide. Seek'st thou for HAPPINESS? Go Stranger, sojourn in the woodland cot Of INNOCENCE, and thou shalt find her there.
For the CENOTAPH at ERMENONVILLE.
STRANGER! the MAN OF NATURE lies not here: Enshrin'd far distant by his  rival's side His relics rest, there by the giddy throng With blind idolatry alike revered! Wiselier directed have thy pilgrim feet Explor'd the scenes of Ermenonville. ROUSSEAU Loved these calm haunts of Solitude and Peace; Here he has heard the murmurs of the stream, And the soft rustling of the poplar grove, When o'er their bending boughs the passing wind Swept a grey shade. Here if thy breast be full, If in thine eye the tear devout should gush, His SPIRIT shall behold thee, to thine home From hence returning, purified of heart.
[Footnote 1: Voltaire.]
O my faithful Friend! O early chosen, ever found the same, And trusted and beloved! once more the verse Long destin'd, always obvious to thine ear, Attend indulgent.
BIRTH-DAY ODE, 1793.
Small is the new-born plant scarce seen Amid the soft encircling green, Where yonder budding acorn rears, Just o'er the waving grass, its tender head: Slow pass along the train of years, And on the growing plant, their dews and showers they shed. Anon it rears aloft its giant form, And spreads its broad-brown arms to meet the storm. Beneath its boughs far shadowing o'er the plain, From summer suns, repair the grateful village train.
Nor BEDFORD will my friend survey The book of Nature with unheeding eye; For never beams the rising orb of day, For never dimly dies the refluent ray, But as the moralizer marks the sky, He broods with strange delight upon futurity.
And we must muse my friend! maturer years Arise, and other Hopes and other Fears, For we have past the pleasant plains of Youth. Oh pleasant plains! that we might stray For ever o'er your faery ground— For ever roam your vales around, Nor onward tempt the dangerous way— For oh—what numerous foes assail The Traveller, from that chearful vale!
With toil and heaviness opprest Seek not the flowery bank for rest, Tho' there the bowering woodbine spread Its fragrant shelter o'er thy head, Tho' Zephyr there should linger long To hear the sky-lark's wildly-warbled song, There heedless Youth shalt thou awake The vengeance of the coiling snake!
Tho' fairly smiles the vernal mead To tempt thy pilgrim feet, proceed Hold on thy steady course aright, Else shalt thou wandering o'er the pathless plain, When damp and dark descends the night Shivering and shelterless, repent in vain.
And yet—tho' Dangers lurk on every side Receive not WORLDLY WISDOM for thy guide! Beneath his care thou wilt not know The throb of unavailing woe, No tear shall tremble in thine eye Thy breast shall struggle with no sigh, He will security impart, But he will apathize thy heart!
Ah no! Fly Fly that fatal foe, Virtue shall shrink from his torpedo grasp— For not more fatal thro' the Wretches veins Benumb'd in Death's cold pains Creeps the chill poison of the deadly asp.
Serener joys my friend await Maturer manhood's steady state. The wild brook bursting from its source Meanders on its early course, Delighting there with winding way Amid the vernal vale to stray, Emerging thence more widely spread It foams along its craggy bed, And shatter'd with the mighty shock Rushes from the giddy rock— Hurl'd headlong o'er the dangerous steep On runs the current to the deep, And gathering waters as it goes Serene and calm the river flows, Diffuses plenty o'er the smiling coast, Rolls on its stately waves and is in ocean lost.
BIRTH-DAY ODE, 1796.
And wouldst thou seek the low abode Where PEACE delights to dwell? Pause Traveller on thy way of life! With many a snare and peril rife Is that long labyrinth of road: Dark is the vale of years before Pause Traveller on thy way! Nor dare the dangerous path explore Till old EXPERIENCE comes to lend his leading ray.
Not he who comes with lanthorn light Shall guide thy groping pace aright With faltering feet and slow; No! let him rear the torch on high And every maze shall meet thine eye, And every snare and every foe; Then with steady step and strong, Traveller, shalt thou march along.
Tho' POWER invite thee to her hall, Regard not thou her tempting call Her splendors meteor glare; Tho' courteous Flattery there await And Wealth adorn the dome of State, There stalks the midnight spectre CARE; PEACE, Traveller! does not sojourn there.
If FAME allure thee, climb not thou To that steep mountain's craggy brow Where stands her stately pile; For far from thence does PEACE abide, And thou shall find FAME'S favouring smile Cold as the feeble Sun on Heclas snow-clad side,
And Traveller! as thou hopest to find That low and loved abode, Retire thee from the thronging road And shun the mob of human kind. Ah I hear how old EXPERIENCE schools, "Fly fly the crowd of Knaves and Fools "And thou shalt fly from woe; "The one thy heedless heart will greet "With Judas smile, and thou wilt meet "In every Fool a Foe!"
So safely mayest thou pass from these, And reach secure the home of PEACE, And FRIENDSHIP find thee there. No happier state can mortal know, No happier lot can Earth bestow If LOVE thy lot shall share. Yet still CONTENT with him may dwell Whom HYMEN will not bless, And VIRTUE sojourn in the cell Of HERMIT HAPPINESS.
Where a sight shall shuddering Sorrow find. Sad as the ruins of the human mind!
(Time, Morning. Scene, the Shore.)
Once more to daily toil—once more to wear The weeds of infamy—from every joy The heart can feel excluded, I arise Worn out and faint with unremitting woe; And once again with wearied steps I trace The hollow-sounding shore. The swelling waves Gleam to the morning sun, and dazzle o'er With many a splendid hue the breezy strand. Oh there was once a time when ELINOR Gazed on thy opening beam with joyous eye Undimm'd by guilt and grief! when her full soul Felt thy mild radiance, and the rising day Waked but to pleasure! on thy sea-girt verge Oft England! have my evening steps stole on, Oft have mine eyes surveyed the blue expanse, And mark'd the wild wind swell the ruffled surge, And seen the upheaved billows bosomed rage Rush on the rock; and then my timid soul Shrunk at the perils of the boundless deep, And heaved a sigh for suffering mariners. Ah! little deeming I myself was doom'd. To tempt the perils of the boundless deep, An Outcast—unbeloved and unbewail'd.
Why stern Remembrance! must thine iron hand Harrow my soul? why calls thy cruel power The fields of England to my exil'd eyes, The joys which once were mine? even now I see The lowly lovely dwelling! even now Behold the woodbine clasping its white walls And hear the fearless red-breasts chirp around To ask their morning meal:—for I was wont With friendly band to give their morning meal, Was wont to love their song, when lingering morn Streak'd o'er the chilly landskip the dim light, And thro' the open'd lattice hung my head To view the snow-drop's bud: and thence at eve When mildly fading sunk the summer sun, Oft have I loved to mark the rook's slow course And hear his hollow croak, what time he sought The church-yard elm, whose wide-embowering boughs Full foliaged, half conceal'd the house of God. There, my dead father! often have I heard Thy hallowed voice explain the wonderous works Of Heaven to sinful man. Ah! little deem'd Thy virtuous bosom, that thy shameless child So soon should spurn the lesson! sink the slave Of Vice and Infamy! the hireling prey Of brutal appetite! at length worn out With famine, and the avenging scourge of guilt, Should dare dishonesty—yet dread to die!
Welcome ye savage lands, ye barbarous climes, Where angry England sends her outcast sons— I hail your joyless shores! my weary bark Long tempest-tost on Life's inclement sea, Here hails her haven! welcomes the drear scene, The marshy plain, the briar-entangled wood, And all the perils of a world unknown. For Elinor has nothing new to fear From fickle Fortune! all her rankling shafts Barb'd with disgrace, and venom'd with disease. Have pierced my bosom, and the dart of death Has lost its terrors to a wretch like me.
Welcome ye marshy heaths! ye pathless woods, Where the rude native rests his wearied frame Beneath the sheltering shade; where, when the storm, As rough and bleak it rolls along the sky, Benumbs his naked limbs, he flies to seek The dripping shelter. Welcome ye wild plains Unbroken by the plough, undelv'd by hand Of patient rustic; where for lowing herds, And for the music of the bleating flocks, Alone is heard the kangaroo's sad note Deepening in distance. Welcome ye rude climes, The realm of Nature! for as yet unknown The crimes and comforts of luxurious life, Nature benignly gives to all enough, Denies to all a superfluity, What tho' the garb of infamy I wear, Tho' day by day along the echoing beach I cull the wave-worn shells, yet day by day I earn in honesty my frugal food, And lay me down at night to calm repose. No more condemn'd the mercenary tool Of brutal lust, while heaves the indignant heart With Virtue's stiffled sigh, to fold my arms Round the rank felon, and for daily bread To hug contagion to my poison'd breast; On these wild shores Repentance' saviour hand Shall probe my secret soul, shall cleanse its wounds And fit the faithful penitent for Heaven.
[Footnote 1: The female convicts are frequently employed in collecting shells for the purpose of making lime.]
HUMPHREY and WILLIAM.
See'st thou not William that the scorching Sun By this time half his daily race has run? The savage thrusts his light canoe to shore And hurries homeward with his fishy store. Suppose we leave awhile this stubborn soil To eat our dinner and to rest from toil!
Agreed. Yon tree whose purple gum bestows A ready medicine for the sick-man's woes, Forms with its shadowy boughs a cool retreat To shield us from the noontide's sultry heat. Ah Humphrey! now upon old England's shore The weary labourer's morning work is o'er: The woodman now rests from his measur'd stroke Flings down his axe and sits beneath the oak, Savour'd with hunger there he eats his food, There drinks the cooling streamlet of the wood. To us no cooling streamlet winds its way, No joys domestic crown for us the day, The felon's name, the outcast's garb we wear, Toil all the day, and all the night despair.
Ah William! labouring up the furrowed ground I used to love the village clock's dull sound, Rejoice to hear my morning toil was done, And trudge it homewards when the clock went one. 'Twas ere I turn'd a soldier and a sinner! Pshaw! curse this whining—let us fall to dinner.
I too have loved this hour, nor yet forgot Each joy domestic of my little cot. For at this hour my wife with watchful care Was wont each humbler dainty to prepare, The keenest sauce by hunger was supplied And my poor children prattled at my side. Methinks I see the old oak table spread, The clean white trencher and the good brown bread, The cheese my daily food which Mary made, For Mary knew full well the housewife's trade: The jug of cyder,—cyder I could make, And then the knives—I won 'em at the wake. Another has them now! I toiling here Look backward like a child and drop a tear.
I love a dismal story, tell me thine, Meantime, good Will, I'll listen as I dine. I too my friend can tell a piteous story When I turn'd hero how I purchas'd glory.
But Humphrey, sure thou never canst have known The comforts of a little home thine own: A home so snug, So chearful too as mine, 'Twas always clean, and we could make it fine; For there King Charles's golden rules were seen, And there—God bless 'em both—the King and Queen. The pewter plates our garnish'd chimney grace So nicely scour'd, you might have seen your face; And over all, to frighten thieves, was hung Well clean'd, altho' but seldom us'd, my gun. Ah! that damn'd gun! I took it down one morn— A desperate deal of harm they did my corn! Our testy Squire too loved to save the breed, So covey upon covey eat my seed. I mark'd the mischievous rogues, and took my aim, I fir'd, they fell, and—up the keeper came. That cursed morning brought on my undoing, I went to prison and my farm to ruin. Poor Mary! for her grave the parish paid, No tomb-stone tells where her cold corpse is laid! My children—my dear boys—
Come—Grief is dry— You to your dinner—to my story I. To you my friend who happier days have known And each calm comfort of a home your own, This is bad living: I have spent my life In hardest toil and unavailing strife, And here (from forest ambush safe at least) To me this scanty pittance seems a feast. I was a plough-boy once; as free from woes And blithesome as the lark with whom I rose. Each evening at return a meal I found And, tho' my bed was hard, my sleep was sound. One Whitsuntide, to go to fair, I drest Like a great bumkin in my Sunday's best; A primrose posey in my hat I stuck And to the revel went to try my luck. From show to show, from booth to booth I stray, See stare and wonder all the live-long day. A Serjeant to the fair recruiting came Skill'd in man-catching to beat up for game; Our booth he enter'd and sat down by me;— Methinks even now the very scene I see! The canvass roof, the hogshead's running store, The old blind fiddler seated next the door, The frothy tankard passing to and fro And the rude rabble round the puppet-show; The Serjeant eyed me well—the punch-bowl comes, And as we laugh'd and drank, up struck the drums— And now he gives a bumper to his Wench— God save the King, and then—God damn the French. Then tells the story of his last campaign. How many wounded and how many slain, Flags flying, cannons roaring, drums a-beating, The English marching on, the French retreating,— "Push on—push on my lads! they fly before ye, "March on to riches, happiness and glory!" At first I wonder'd, by degrees grew bolder, Then cried—"tis a fine thing to be a soldier!" "Aye Humphrey!" says the Serjeant—"that's your name? "'Tis a fine thing to fight the French for fame! "March to the field—knock out a Mounseer's brains "And pick the scoundrel's pocket for your pains. "Come Humphrey come! thou art a lad of spirit! "Rise to a halbert—as I did—by merit! "Would'st thou believe it? even I was once "As thou art now, a plough-boy and a dunce; "But Courage rais'd me to my rank. How now boy! "Shall Hero Humphrey still be Numps the plough-boy? "A proper shaped young fellow! tall and straight! "Why thou wert made for glory! five feet eight! "The road to riches is the field of fight,— "Didst ever see a guinea look so bright? "Why regimentals Numps would give thee grace, "A hat and feather would become that face; "The girls would crowd around thee to be kist— "Dost love a girl?" "Od Zounds!" I cried "I'll list!" So past the night: anon the morning came, And off I set a volunteer for fame. "Back shoulders, turn out your toes, hold up your head, "Stand easy!" so I did—till almost dead. Oh how I long'd to tend the plough again Trudge up the field and whistle o'er the plain, When tir'd and sore amid the piteous throng Hungry and cold and wet I limp'd along, And growing fainter as I pass'd and colder, Curs'd that ill hour when I became a soldier! In town I found the hours more gayly pass And Time fled swiftly with my girl and glass; The girls were wonderous kind and wonderous fair, They soon transferred me to the Doctor's care, The Doctor undertook to cure the evil, And he almost transferred me to the Devil. 'Twere tedious to relate the dismal story Of fighting, fasting, wretchedness and glory. At last discharg'd, to England's shores I came Paid for my wounds with want instead of fame, Found my fair friends and plunder'd as they bade me, They kist me, coax'd me, robb'd me and betray'd me. Tried and condemn'd his Majesty transports me, And here in peace, I thank him, he supports me, So ends my dismal and heroic story And Humphrey gets more good from guilt than glory.
JOHN, SAMUEL, & RICHARD.
'Tis a calm pleasant evening, the light fades away, And the Sun going down has done watch for the day. To my mind we live wonderous well when transported, It is but to work and we must be supported. Fill the cann, Dick! success here to Botany Bay!
Success if you will,—but God send me away.
Ah! you lubberly landsmen don't know when you're well; Hadst thou known half the hardships of which I can tell! The sailor has no place of safety in store— From the tempest at sea, to the press-gang on shore! When Roguery rules all the rest of the earth, God be thanked in this corner I've got a good birth. Talk of hardships! what these are the sailor don't know! 'Tis the soldier my friend that's acquainted with woe, Long journeys, short halting, hard work and small pay, To be popt at like pidgeons for sixpence a day!— Thank God! I'm safe quarter'd at Botany Bay.
Ah! you know but little! I'll wager a pot I have suffer'd more evils than fell to your lot. Come we'll have it all fairly and properly tried, Tell story for story, and Dick shall decide.
Done. 'Tis a wager and I shall be winner; Thou wilt go without grog Sam to-morrow at dinner.
I was trapp'd by the Serjeant's palavering pretences, He listed me when I was out of my senses. So I took leave to-day of all care and all sorrow And was drill'd to repentance and reason to-morrow.
I would be a sailor and plough the wide ocean, And was soon sick and sad with the billow's commotion. So the Captain he sent me aloft on the mast, And curs'd me, and bid me cry there—and hold fast!
After marching all day, faint and hungry and sore, I have lain down at night on the swamps of the moor, Unshelter'd and forced by fatigue to remain. All chill'd by the wind and benumb'd by the rain.
I have rode out the storm when the billows beat high And the red gleaming lightnings flash'd thro' the dark sky, When the tempest of night the black sea overcast Wet and weary I labour'd, yet sung to the blast.
I have march'd, trumpets sounding—drums beating—flags flying, Where the music of war drown'd the shrieks of the dying, When the shots whizz'd around me all dangers defied, Push'd on when my comrades fell dead at my side, Drove the foe from the mouth of the Cannon away, Fought, conquer'd and bled, all for sixpence a day.
And I too friend Samuel! have heard the shots rattle, But we seamen rejoice in the play of the battle; Tho' the chain and the grape-shot roll splintering around, With the blood of our messmates tho' slippery the ground, The fiercer the fight, still the fiercer we grow, We heed not our loss so we conquer the foe. And the hard battle won, so the prize be not sunk, The Captain gets rich, and the Sailors get drunk.
God help the poor soldier when backward he goes In disgraceful retreat thro' a country of foes! No respite from danger by day or by night He is still forced to fly, still o'ertaken to fight, Every step that he takes he must battle his way, He must force his hard meal from the peasant away; No rest—and no hope, from all succour afar, God forgive the poor Soldier for going to the war!
But what are these dangers to those I have past When the dark billows roar'd to the roar of the blast? When we work'd at the pumps worn with labour and weak And with dread still beheld the increase of the leak, Sometimes as we rose on the wave could our sight From the rocks of the shore catch the light-houses light; In vain to the beach to assist us they press, We fire faster and faster our guns of distress, Still with rage unabating the wind and waves roar— How the giddy wreck reels—as the billows burst o'er— Leap—leap—for she yawns—for she sinks in the wave— Call on God to preserve—for God only can save!
There's an end of all troubles however at last! And when I in the waggon of wounded was cast, When my wounds with the chilly night-wind smarted sore And I thought of the friends I should never see more, No hand to relieve—scarce a morsel of bread— Sick at heart I have envied the peace of the dead! Left to rot in a jail till by treaty set free, Old England's white cliffs with what joy did I see! I had gain'd enough glory, some wounds, but no good, And was turn'd on the public to shift how I could. When I think what I've suffer'd and where I am now I curse him who snared me away from the plough.
When I was discharged I went home to my wife, There in comfort to spend all the rest of my life. My wife was industrious, we earn'd what we spent, And tho' little we had, were with little content; And whenever I listen'd and heard the wind roar, I bless'd God for my little snug cabin on shore. At midnight they seiz'd me, they dragg'd me away, They wounded me sore when I would not obey, And because for my country I'd ventur'd my life, I was dragg'd like a thief from my home and my wife. Then the fair wind of Fortune chopp'd round in my face And Want at length drove me to guilt and disgrace— But all's for the best;—on the world's wide sea cast, I am haven'd in peace in this corner at last.
Come Dick! we have done—and for judgment we call.
And in faith I can give ye no judgment at all. I've been listening to all the hard labours you've past And think in plain troth, you're two blockheads at last. My lads where the Deuce was the wit which God gave ye When you sold yourselves first to the army or navy? By land and by sea hunting dangers to roam, When you might have been hang'd so much easier at home! But you're now snug and settled and safe from foul weather, So drink up your grog and be merry together.
(Time Night. Scene the woods.)
Where shall I turn me? whither shall I bend My weary way? thus worn with toil and faint How thro' the thorny mazes of this wood Attain my distant dwelling? that deep cry That rings along the forest seems to sound My parting knell: it is the midnight howl Of hungry monsters prowling for their prey! Again! oh save me—save me gracious Heaven! I am not fit to die! Thou coward wretch Why heaves thy trembling heart? why shake thy limbs Beneath their palsied burden? is there ought So lovely in existence? would'st thou drain Even to its dregs the bitter draught of life? Dash down the loathly bowl! poor outcast slave Stamp'd with the brand of Vice and Infamy Why should the villain Frederic shrink from Death?
Death! where the magic in that empty name That chills my inmost heart? why at the thought Starts the cold dew of fear on every limb? There are no terrors to surround the Grave, When the calm Mind collected in itself Surveys that narrow house: the ghastly train That haunt the midnight of delirious Guilt Then vanish; in that home of endless rest All sorrows cease.—Would I might slumber there!
Why then this panting of the fearful heart? This miser love of Life that dreads to lose Its cherish'd torment? shall the diseased man Yield up his members to the surgeon's knife, Doubtful of succour, but to ease his frame Of fleshly anguish, and the coward wretch, Whose ulcered soul can know no human help Shrink from the best Physician's certain aid? Oh it were better far to lay me down Here on this cold damp earth, till some wild beast Seize on his willing victim!
If to die Were all, it were most sweet to rest my head On the cold clod, and sleep the sleep of Death. But if the Archangel's trump at the last hour Startle the ear of Death and wake the soul To frenzy!—dreams of infancy! fit tales For garrulous beldames to affrighten babes! I have been guilty, yet my mind can bear The retrospect of guilt, yet in the hour Of deep contrition to THE ETERNAL look For mercy! for the child of Poverty, And "disinherited of happiness,"
What if I warr'd upon the world? the world Had wrong'd me first: I had endur'd the ills Of hard injustice; all this goodly earth Was but to me one wild waste wilderness; I had no share in Nature's patrimony, Blasted were all my morning hopes of Youth, Dark DISAPPOINTMENT follow'd on my ways, CARE was my bosom inmate, and keen WANT Gnaw'd at my heart. ETERNAL ONE thou know'st How that poor heart even in the bitter hour Of lewdest revelry has inly yearn'd For peace!
My FATHER! I will call on thee, Pour to thy mercy seat my earnest prayer, And wait thy peace in bowedness of soul. Oh thoughts of comfort! how the afflicted heart, Tired with the tempest of its passions, rests On you with holy hope! the hollow howl Of yonder harmless tenant of the woods Bursts not with terror on the sober'd sense. If I have sinn'd against mankind, on them Be that past sin; they made me what I was. In these extremest climes can Want no more Urge to the deeds of darkness, and at length Here shall I rest. What tho' my hut be poor— The rains descend not thro' its humble roof: Would I were there again! the night is cold; And what if in my wanderings I should rouse The savage from his thicket!
Hark! the gun! And lo—the fire of safety! I shall reach My little hut again! again by toil Force from the stubborn earth my sustenance, And quick-ear'd guilt will never start alarm'd Amid the well-earn'd meal. This felon's garb— Will it not shield me from the winds of Heaven? And what could purple more? Oh strengthen me Eternal One in this serener state! Cleanse thou mine heart, so PENITENCE and FAITH Shall heal my soul and my last days be peace.
Go Valentine and tell that lovely maid Whom Fancy still will pourtray to my sight, How her Bard lingers in this sullen shade, This dreary gloom of dull monastic night. Say that from every joy of life remote At evening's closing hour he quits the throng, Listening alone the ring-dove's plaintive note Who pours like him her solitary song. Say that her absence calls the sorrowing sigh, Say that of all her charms he loves to speak, In fancy feels the magic of her eye, In fancy views the smile illume her cheek, Courts the lone hour when Silence stills the grove And heaves the sigh of Memory and of Love.
Think Valentine, as speeding on thy way Homeward thou hastest light of heart along, If heavily creep on one little day The medley crew of travellers among, Think on thine absent friend: reflect that here On Life's sad journey comfortless he roves, Remote from every scene his heart holds dear, From him he values, and from her he loves. And when disgusted with the vain and dull Whom chance companions of thy way may doom, Thy mind, of each domestic comfort full, Turns to itself and meditates on home, Ah think what Cares must ache within his breast Who loaths the lingering road, yet has no home of rest!
Not to thee Bedford mournful is the tale Of days departed. Time in his career Arraigns not thee that the neglected year Has past unheeded onward. To the vale Of years thou journeyest. May the future road Be pleasant as the past! and on my friend Friendship and Love, best blessings! still attend, 'Till full of days he reach the calm abode Where Nature slumbers. Lovely is the age Of Virtue. With such reverence we behold The silver hairs, as some grey oak grown old That whilome mock'd the rushing tempest's rage Now like the monument of strength decayed With rarely-sprinkled leaves casting a trembling shade.
What tho' no sculptur'd monument proclaim Thy fate-yet Albert in my breast I bear Inshrin'd the sad remembrance; yet thy name Will fill my throbbing bosom. When DESPAIR The child of murdered HOPE, fed on thy heart, Loved honored friend, I saw thee sink forlorn Pierced to the soul by cold Neglect's keen dart, And Penury's hard ills, and pitying Scorn, And the dark spectre of departed JOY Inhuman MEMORY. Often on thy grave Love I the solitary hour to employ Thinking on other days; and heave the sigh Responsive, when I mark the high grass wave Sad sounding as the cold breeze rustles by.
Hard by the road, where on that little mound The high grass rustles to the passing breeze, The child of Misery rests her head in peace. Pause there in sadness. That unhallowed ground Inshrines what once was Isabel. Sleep on Sleep on, poor Outcast! lovely was thy cheek, And thy mild eye was eloquent to speak The soul of Pity. Pale and woe-begone Soon did thy fair cheek fade, and thine eye weep The tear of anguish for the babe unborn, The helpless heir of Poverty and Scorn. She drank the draught that chill'd her soul to sleep. I pause and wipe the big drop from mine eye, Whilst the proud Levite scowls and passes by.
SONNET VI to a brook near the village of Corston.
As thus I bend me o'er thy babbling stream And watch thy current, Memory's hand pourtrays The faint form'd scenes of the departed days, Like the far forest by the moon's pale beam Dimly descried yet lovely. I have worn Upon thy banks the live-long hour away, When sportive Childhood wantoned thro' the day, Joy'd at the opening splendour of the morn, Or as the twilight darken'd, heaved the sigh Thinking of distant home; as down my cheek At the fond thought slow stealing on, would speak The silent eloquence of the full eye. Dim are the long past days, yet still they please As thy soft sounds half heard, borne on the inconstant breeze.
SONNET VII to the evening rainbow.
Mild arch of promise! on the evening sky Thou shinest fair with many a lovely ray Each in the other melting. Much mine eye Delights to linger on thee; for the day, Changeful and many-weather'd, seem'd to smile Flashing brief splendor thro' its clouds awhile, That deepen'd dark anon and fell in rain: But pleasant is it now to pause, and view Thy various tints of frail and watery hue, And think the storm shall not return again. Such is the smile that Piety bestows On the good man's pale cheek, when he in peace Departing gently from a world of woes, Anticipates the realm where sorrows cease.
With many a weary step, at length I gain Thy summit, Lansdown; and the cool breeze plays, Gratefully round my brow, as hence the gaze Returns to dwell upon the journeyed plain. 'Twas a long way and tedious! to the eye Tho fair the extended vale, and fair to view The falling leaves of many a faded hue, That eddy in the wild gust moaning by. Even so it fared with Life! in discontent Restless thro' Fortune's mingled scenes I went, Yet wept to think they would return no more! But cease fond heart in such sad thoughts to roam, For surely thou ere long shall reach thy home, And pleasant is the way that lies before.
Fair is the rising morn when o'er the sky The orient sun expands his roseate ray, And lovely to the Bard's enthusiast eye Fades the meek radiance of departing day; But fairer is the smile of one we love, Than all the scenes in Nature's ample sway. And sweeter than the music of the grove, The voice that bids us welcome. Such delight EDITH! is mine, escaping to thy sight From the hard durance of the empty throng. Too swiftly then towards the silent night Ye Hours of happiness! ye speed along, Whilst I, from all the World's cold cares apart, Pour out the feelings of my burthen'd heart.
How darkly o'er yon far-off mountain frowns The gather'd tempest! from that lurid cloud The deep-voiced thunders roll, aweful and loud Tho' distant; while upon the misty downs Fast falls in shadowy streaks the pelting rain. I never saw so terrible a storm! Perhaps some way-worn traveller in vain Wraps his torn raiment round his shivering form Cold even as Hope within him! I the while Pause me in sadness tho' the sunbeams smile Cheerily round me. Ah that thus my lot Might be with Peace and Solitude assign'd, Where I might from some little quiet cot, Sigh for the crimes and miseries of mankind!
To leap from the promontory of LEUCADIA was believed by the Greeks to be a remedy for hopeless love, if the self-devoted victim escaped with life. Artemisia lost her life in the dangerous experiment: and Sappho is said thus to have perished, in attempting to cure her passion for Phaon.
(Scene the promontory of Leucadia.)
This is the spot:—'tis here Tradition says That hopeless Love from this high towering rock Leaps headlong to Oblivion or to Death. Oh 'tis a giddy height! my dizzy head Swims at the precipice—'tis death to fall!
Lie still, thou coward heart! this is no time To shake with thy strong throbs the frame convuls'd. To die,—to be at rest—oh pleasant thought! Perchance to leap and live; the soul all still, And the wild tempest of the passions husht In one deep calm; the heart, no more diseas'd By the quick ague fits of hope and fear, Quietly cold! Presiding Powers look down! In vain to you I pour'd my earnest prayers, In vain I sung your praises: chiefly thou VENUS! ungrateful Goddess, whom my lyre Hymn'd with such full devotion! Lesbian groves, Witness how often at the languid hour Of summer twilight, to the melting song Ye gave your choral echoes! Grecian Maids Who hear with downcast look and flushing cheek That lay of love bear witness! and ye Youths, Who hang enraptur'd on the empassion'd strain Gazing with eloquent eye, even till the heart Sinks in the deep delirium! and ye too Shall witness, unborn Ages! to that song Of warmest zeal; ah witness ye, how hard, Her fate who hymn'd the votive hymn in vain! Ungrateful Goddess! I have hung my lute In yonder holy pile: my hand no more Shall wake the melodies that fail'd to move The heart of Phaon—yet when Rumour tells How from Leucadia Sappho hurl'd her down A self-devoted victim—he may melt Too late in pity, obstinate to love.
Oh haunt his midnight dreams, black NEMESIS! Whom, self-conceiving in the inmost depths Of CHAOS, blackest NIGHT long-labouring bore, When the stern DESTINIES, her elder brood. And shapeless DEATH, from that more monstrous birth Leapt shuddering! haunt his slumbers, Nemesis, Scorch with the fires of Phlegethon his heart, Till helpless, hopeless, heaven-abandon'd wretch He too shall seek beneath the unfathom'd deep To hide him from thy fury.
How the sea Far distant glitters as the sun-beams smile, And gayly wanton o'er its heaving breast Phoebus shines forth, nor wears one cloud to mourn His votary's sorrows! God of Day shine on— By Man despis'd, forsaken by the Gods, I supplicate no more.
How many a day, O pleasant Lesbos! in thy secret streams Delighted have I plung'd, from the hot sun Screen'd by the o'er-arching groves delightful shade, And pillowed on the waters: now the waves Shall chill me to repose.
Tremendous height! Scarce to the brink will these rebellious limbs Support me. Hark! how the rude deep below Roars round the rugged base, as if it called Its long-reluctant victim! I will come. One leap, and all is over! The deep rest Of Death, or tranquil Apathy's dead calm Welcome alike to me. Away vain fears! Phaon is cold, and why should Sappho live? Phaon is cold, or with some fairer one— Thought worse than death!
(She throws herself from the precipice.)
[Footnote A: [Greek (transliterated)]: Ou tini choimaetheisa thea teche NUTH erezennae. HESIOD]
(Written on the FIRST of DECEMBER, 1793.)
Tho' now no more the musing ear Delights to listen to the breeze That lingers o'er the green wood shade, I love thee Winter! well.
Sweet are the harmonies of Spring, Sweet is the summer's evening gale, Pleasant the autumnal winds that shake The many-colour'd grove.
And pleasant to the sober'd soul The silence of the wintry scene, When Nature shrouds her in her trance
Not undelightful now to roam The wild heath sparkling on the sight; Not undelightful now to pace The forest's ample rounds;
And see the spangled branches shine, And mark the moss of many a hue That varies the old tree's brown bark, Or o'er the grey stone spreads.
The cluster'd berries claim the eye O'er the bright hollies gay green leaves, The ivy round the leafless oak Clasps its full foliage close.
So VIRTUE diffident of strength Clings to RELIGION'S firmer aid, And by RELIGION'S aid upheld Endures calamity.
Nor void of beauties now the spring, Whose waters hid from summer sun Have sooth'd the thirsty pilgrim's ear With more than melody.
The green moss shines with icey glare, The long grass bends its spear-like form, And lovely is the silvery scene When faint the sunbeams smile.
Reflection too may love the hour When Nature, hid in Winter's grave, No more expands the bursting bud Or bids the flowret bloom.
For Nature soon in Spring's best charms Shall rise reviv'd from Winter's grave. Again expand the bursting bud, And bid the flowret bloom.
Written on SUNDAY MORNING.
Go thou and seek the House of Prayer! I to the Woodlands wend, and there In lovely Nature see the GOD OF LOVE. The swelling organ's peal Wakes not my soul to zeal, Like the wild music of the wind-swept grove. The gorgeous altar and the mystic vest Rouse not such ardor in my breast, As where the noon-tide beam Flash'd from the broken stream, Quick vibrates on the dazzled sight; Or where the cloud-suspended rain Sweeps in shadows o'er the plain; Or when reclining on the clift's huge height I mark the billows burst in silver light.
Go thou and seek the House of Prayer! I to the Woodlands shall repair, Feed with all Natures charms mine eyes, And hear all Natures melodies. The primrose bank shall there dispense Faint fragrance to the awaken'd sense, The morning beams that life and joy impart Shall with their influence warm my heart. And the full tear that down my cheek will steal, Shall speak the prayer of praise I feel!
Go thou and seek the House of Prayer! I to the woodlands bend my way And meet RELIGION there. She needs not haunt the high-arch'd dome to pray Where storied windows dim the doubtful day: With LIBERTY she loves to rove. Wide o'er the heathy hill or cowslip'd dale; Or seek the shelter of the embowering grove, Sweet are these scenes to her, and when the night Pours in the north her silver streams of light, She woos Reflexion in the silent gloom, And ponders on the world to come.
ON THE DEATH Of a Favourite Old SPANIEL.
And they have drown'd thee then at last! poor Phillis! The burthen of old age was heavy on thee. And yet thou should'st have lived! what tho' thine eye Was dim, and watch'd no more with eager joy The wonted call that on thy dull sense sunk With fruitless repetition, the warm Sun Would still have cheer'd thy slumber, thou didst love To lick the hand that fed thee, and tho' past Youth's active season, even Life itself Was comfort. Poor old friend! most earnestly Would I have pleaded for thee: thou hadst been Still the companion of my childish sports, And, as I roam'd o'er Avon's woody clifts, From many a day-dream has thy short quick bark Recall'd my wandering soul. I have beguil'd Often the melancholy hours at school, Sour'd by some little tyrant, with the thought Of distant home, and I remember'd then Thy faithful fondness: for not mean the joy, Returning at the pleasant holydays, I felt from thy dumb welcome. Pensively Sometimes have I remark'd thy slow decay, Feeling myself changed too, and musing much On many a sad vicissitude of Life! Ah poor companion! when thou followedst last Thy master's parting footsteps to the gate That clos'd for ever on him, thou didst lose Thy truest friend, and none was left to plead For the old age of brute fidelity! But fare thee well! mine is no narrow creed, And HE who gave thee being did not frame The mystery of life to be the sport Of merciless man! there is another world For all that live and move—a better one! Where the proud bipeds, who would fain confine INFINITE GOODNESS to the little bounds Of their own charity, may envy thee!
[Greek (transliterated): Kai pagas fileoimi ton enguthen aechon achthein, A terpei psopheoisa ton agrikon, thchi tarassei.
Faint gleams the evening radiance thro' the sky, The sober twilight dimly darkens round; In short quick circles the shrill bat flits by, And the slow vapour curls along the ground.
Now the pleas'd eye from yon lone cottage sees On the green mead the smoke long-shadowing play; The Red-breast on the blossom'd spray Warbles wild her latest lay, And sleeps along the dale the silent breeze. Calm CONTEMPLATION,'tis thy favorite hour! Come fill my bosom, tranquillizing Power.
Meek Power! I view thee on the calmy shore When Ocean stills his waves to rest; Or when slow-moving on the surge's hoar Meet with deep hollow roar And whiten o'er his breast; For lo! the Moon with softer radiance gleams, And lovelier heave the billows in her beams.
When the low gales of evening moan along, I love with thee to feel the calm cool breeze, And roam the pathless forest wilds among, Listening the mellow murmur of the trees Full-foliaged as they lift their arms on high And wave their shadowy heads in wildest melody.
Or lead me where amid the tranquil vale The broken stream flows on in silver light, And I will linger where the gale O'er the bank of violets sighs, Listening to hear its soften'd sounds arise; And hearken the dull beetle's drowsy flight, And watch the horn-eyed snail Creep o'er his long moon-glittering trail, And mark where radiant thro' the night Moves in the grass-green hedge the glow-worms living light.
Thee meekest Power! I love to meet, As oft with even solitary pace The scatter'd Abbeys hallowed rounds I trace And listen to the echoings of my feet. Or on the half demolished tomb, Whole warning texts anticipate my doom: Mark the clear orb of night Cast thro' the storying glass a faintly-varied light.
Nor will I not in some more gloomy hour Invoke with fearless awe thine holier power, Wandering beneath the sainted pile When the blast moans along the darksome aisle, And clattering patters all around The midnight shower with dreary sound.
But sweeter 'tis to wander wild By melancholy dreams beguil'd, While the summer moon's pale ray Faintly guides me on my way To the lone romantic glen Far from all the haunts of men, Where no noise of uproar rude Breaks the calm of solitude. But soothing Silence sleeps in all Save the neighbouring waterfall, Whose hoarse waters falling near Load with hollow sounds the ear, And with down-dasht torrent white Gleam hoary thro' the shades of night.
Thus wandering silent on and slow I'll nurse Reflection's sacred woe, And muse upon the perish'd day When Hope would weave her visions gay, Ere FANCY chill'd by adverse fate Left sad REALITY my mate.
O CONTEMPLATION! when to Memory's eyes The visions of the long-past days arise, Thy holy power imparts the best relief, And the calm'd Spirit loves the joy of grief.
[GREEK (transliterated): Tin gar potaeisomai tan chai schuliches tromeonti Erchomenan nechuon ana t'aeria, chai melan aima. Theocritos]
Dark HORROR, hear my call! Stern Genius hear from thy retreat On some old sepulchre's moss-cankered seat, Beneath the Abbey's ivied wall That trembles o'er its shade; Where wrapt in midnight gloom, alone, Thou lovest to lie and hear The roar of waters near, And listen to the deep dull groan Of some perturbed sprite Borne fitful on the heavy gales of night.
Or whether o'er some wide waste hill Thou mark'st the traveller stray, Bewilder'd on his lonely way, When, loud and keen and chill, The evening winds of winter blow Drifting deep the dismal snow.
Or if thou followest now on Greenland's shore, With all thy terrors, on the lonely way Of some wrecked mariner, when to the roar Of herded bears the floating ice-hills round Pour their deep echoing sound, And by the dim drear Boreal light Givest half his dangers to the wretches sight.
Or if thy fury form, When o'er the midnight deep The dark-wing'd tempests sweep Watches from some high cliff the encreasing storm, Listening with strange delight As the black billows to the thunder rave When by the lightnings light Thou seest the tall ship sink beneath the wave.
Dark HORROR! bear me where the field of fight Scatters contagion on the tainted gale, When to the Moon's faint beam, On many a carcase shine the dews of night And a dead silence stills the vale Save when at times is heard the glutted Raven's scream.
Where some wreck'd army from the Conquerors might Speed their disastrous flight, With thee fierce Genius! let me trace their way, And hear at times the deep heart-groan Of some poor sufferer left to die alone, His sore wounds smarting with the winds of night; And we will pause, where, on the wild, The  Mother to her frozen breast, On the heap'd snows reclining clasps her child And with him sleeps, chill'd to eternal rest!
Black HORROR! speed we to the bed of Death, Where he whose murderous power afar Blasts with the myriad plagues of war, Struggles with his last breath, Then to his wildly-starting eyes The phantoms of the murder'd rise, Then on his frenzied ear Their groans for vengeance and the Demon's yell In one heart-maddening chorus swell. Cold on his brow convulsing stands the dew, And night eternal darkens on his view.
HORROR! I call thee yet once more! Bear me to that accursed shore Where round the stake the impaled Negro writhes. Assume thy sacred terrors then! dispense The blasting gales of Pestilence! Arouse the race of Afric! holy Power, Lead them to vengeance! and in that dread hour When Ruin rages wide I will behold and smile by MERCY'S side.
[Footnote 1: I extract the following picture of consummate horror, from the notes to a Poem written in twelve syllable verse upon the campaign of 1794 and 1795; it was during the retreat to Deventer. "We could not proceed a hundred yards without perceiving the dead bodies of men, women, children and horses in every direction. One scene made an impression upon my memory which time will never be able to efface. Near another cart we perceived a stout looking man, and a beautiful young woman with an infant, about seven months old, at the breast, all three frozen and dead. The mother had most certainly expired in the act of suckling her child, as with one breast exposed, she lay upon the drifted snow, the milk to all appearance in a stream drawn from the nipple by the babe, and instantly congealed. The infant seemed as if its lips had but just then been disengaged, and it reposed its little head upon the mother's bosom, with, an overflow of milk, frozen as it trickled from the mouth; their countenances were perfectly composed and fresh, resembling those of persons in a sound and tranquil slumber."]
The SOLDIER'S WIFE.
Weary way-wanderer languid and sick at heart Travelling painfully over the rugged road, Wild-visag'd Wanderer! ah for thy heavy chance!
Sorely thy little one drags by thee bare-footed, Cold is the baby that hangs at thy bending back Meagre and livid and screaming its wretchedness.
 Woe-begone mother, half anger, half agony, As over thy shoulder thou lookest to hush the babe, Bleakly the blinding snow beats in thy hagged face.
Thy husband will never return from the war again, Cold is thy hopeless heart even as Charity— Cold are thy famish'd babes—God help thee, widow'd One!
[Footnote 1: This stanza was supplied by S.T. COLERIDGE.]
Cold was the night wind, drifting fast the snows fell, Wide were the downs and shelterless and naked, When a poor Wanderer struggled on her journey Weary and way-sore.
Drear were the downs, more dreary her reflexions; Cold was the night wind, colder was her bosom! She had no home, the world was all before her, She had no shelter.
Fast o'er the bleak heath rattling drove a chariot, "Pity me!" feebly cried the poor night wanderer. "Pity me Strangers! lest with cold and hunger Here I should perish.
"Once I had friends,—but they have all forsook me! "Once I had parents,—they are now in Heaven! "I had a home once—I had once a husband— "Pity me Strangers!
"I had a home once—I had once a husband— "I am a Widow poor and broken-hearted!" Loud blew the wind, unheard was her complaining. On drove the chariot.
On the cold snows she laid her down to rest her; She heard a horseman, "pity me!" she groan'd out; Loud blew the wind, unheard was her complaining, On went the horseman.
Worn out with anguish, toil and cold and hunger, Down sunk the Wanderer, sleep had seiz'd her senses; There, did the Traveller find her in the morning, GOD had releast her.