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What-how! shall she submit in will and deed
To Beardless Boys—an imitative race,
The servum pecus of a Gallic breed ?
Dear Mother! if thou must thy steps retrace,
Go where at least meek Innocency dwells;
Let Babes and Sucklings be thy oracles.
[This Sonnet is recommended to the perusal of all those who consider
that the evils under which we groan are to be removed or palliated by measures ungoverned by moral and religious principles.]
FEEL for the wrongs to universal ken
Daily exposed, woe that unshrouded lies;
And seek the Sufferer in his darkest den,
Whether conducted to the spot by sighs
And moanings, or he dwells (as if the wren
Taught him concealment) hidden from all eyes
In silence and the awful modesties
Of sorrow ;-feel for all, as brother Men!
Rest not in hope want's icy chain to thaw
By casual boons and formal charities;
Learn to be just, just through impartial law;
Far as ye may, erect and equalise ;
And, what ye cannot reach by statute, draw
Each from his fountain of self-sacrifice !
UPON THE PUNISHMENT OF DEATH.
SUGGESTED BY THE VIEW OF LANCASTER CASTLE (ON THE ROAD
FROM THE SOUTH).
This Spot-at once unfolding sight so fair
Of sea and land, with yon grey towers that still
Rise up as if to lord it over air-
Might soothe in human breasts the sense of ill,
Or charm it out of memory; yea, might fill
The heart with joy and gratitude to God
For all his bounties upon man bestowed :
Why bears it then the name of “ Weeping Hill”?
Thousands, as toward yon old Lancastrian Towers,
A prison's crown, along this way they past
For lingering durance or quick death with shame,
From this bare eminence thereon have cast
Their first look-blinded as tears fell in showers
Shed on their chains; and hence that doleful name.
TENDERLY do we feel by Nature's law
For worst offenders : though the heart will heave
With indignation, deeply moved we grieve,
In after thought, for Him who stood in awe
Neither of God nor man, and only saw,
Lost wretch, a horrible device enthroned
On proud temptations, till the victim groaned
Under the steel his hand had dared to draw.
But O, restrain compassion, if its course,
As oft befals, prevent or turn aside
Judgments and aims and acts whose higher source
Is sympathy with the unforewarned, who died
Blameless—with them that shuddered o'er his grave,
And all who from the law firm safety crave.
THE Roman Consul doomed his sons to die
Who had betrayed their country. The stern word
Afforded (may it through all time afford)
A theme for praise and admiration high.
Upon the surface of humanity
He rested not; its depths his mind explored;
He felt; but his parental bosom's lord
Was Duty-Duty calmed his agony.
And some, we know, when they by wilful act
A single human life have wrongly taken,
Pass sentence on themselves, confess the fact,
And, to atone for it, with soul unshaken
Kneel at the feet of Justice, and, for faith
Broken with all mankind, solicit death.
Is Death, when evil against good has fought
With such fell mastery that a man may dare
By deeds the blackest purpose to lay bare ?
Is Death, for one to that condition brought,
For him, or any one, the thing that ought
To be most dreaded ? Lawgivers, beware,
Lest, capital pains remitting till ye spare
The murderer, ye, by sanction to that thought
Seemingly given, debase the general mind;
will tried standards to disown, Nor only palpable restraints unbind, But upon
Honour's head disturb the crown, Whose absolute rule permits not to withstand In the weak love of life his least command.
Nor to the object specially designed,
Howe'er momentous in itself it be,
Good to promote or curb depravity,
Is the wise Legislator's view confined.
His Spirit, when most severe, is oft most kind;
As all Authority in earth depends
On Love and Fear, their several powers he blends,
Copying with awe the one Paternal mind.
Uncaught by processes in show humane,
He feels how far the act would derogate
From even the humblest functions of the State;
If she, self-shorn of Majesty, ordain
That never more shall hang upon her breath
The last alternative of Life or Death.
YE brood of conscience-Spectres ! that frequent
The bad Man's restless walk, and haunt his bed-
Fiends in your aspect, yet beneficent
In act, as hovering Angels when they spread
Their wings to guard the unconscious Innocent,
Slow be the Statutes of the land to share
A laxity that could not but impair
Your power to punish crime, and so prevent.
And ye, Beliefs! coiled serpent-like about
The adage on all tongues, “Murder will out,"
How shall your ancient warnings work for good
In the full might they hitherto have shown,
If for deliberate shedder of man's blood
Survive not Judgment that requires his own?