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POEMS

DEDICATED TO

NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE

AND

LIBERTY

PART I

COMPOSED BY THE SEA-SIDE, NEAR
CALAIS, AUGUST, 1802

FAIR star of evening, splendour of the west,
Star of my country! on the horizon's brink
Thou hangest, stooping, as might seem, to sink
On England's bosom; yet well pleased to rest,
Meanwhile, and be to her a glorious crest
Conspicuous to the nations. Thou, I think,
Shouldst be my country's emblem; and shouldst
wink,

Bright star! with laughter on her banners, drest
In thy fresh beauty. There! that dusky spot
Beneath thee, it is England; there she lies.
Blessings be on you both! one hope, one lot,
One life, one glory! I, with many a fear
For my dear country, many heartfelt sighs,
Among men who do not love her, linger here.

COMPOSED NEAR CALAIS, ON THE ROAD LEADING TO ARDRES, AUGUST 7, 1802

JONES! when from Calais southward you and I
Went pacing side by side, this public way
Streamed with the pomp of a too-credulous day.
When faith was pledged to new-born liberty:
A homeless sound of joy was in the sky:
From hour to hour the antiquated earth

Beat like the heart of man: songs, garlands, mirth,
Banners, and happy faces, far and nigh!
And now, sole register that these things were,
Two solitary greetings have I heard,

Good morrow, citizen! a hollow word,
As if a dead man spake it! Yet despair
Touches me not, though pensive as a bird
Whose vernal coverts winter hath laid bare.

1801

I GRIEVED for Buonaparté, with a vain

And an unthinking grief! The tenderest mood
Of that man's mind, what can it be? what food
Fed his first hopes? what knowledge could he gain?
'Tis not in battles that from youth we train
The governor who must be wise and good,
And temper with the sternness of the brain
Thoughts motherly, and meek as womanhood.
Wisdom doth live with children round her knees:
Books, leisure, perfect freedom, and the talk
Man holds with week-day man in the hourly walk
Of the mind's business: these are the degrees
By which true sway doth mount; this is the stalk
True power doth grow on; and her rights are these.

CALAIS, AUGUST 15, 1802

FESTIVALS have I seen that were not names:
This is young Buonaparté's natal day,

And his is henceforth an established sway,
Consul for life. With worship France proclaims
Her approbation, and with pomps and games.
Heaven grant that other cities may be gay!
Calais is not: and I have bent my way
To the sea-coast, noting that each man frames
His business as he likes. Far other show
My youth here witnessed, in a prouder time;
The senselessness of joy was then sublime!
Happy is he, who, caring not for Pope,
Consul, or King, can sound himself to know
The destiny of man, and live in hope.

ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE VENETIAN REPUBLIC

ONCE did she hold the gorgeous east in fee;
And was the safeguard of the west: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest child of liberty.

She was a maiden city, bright and free;
No guile seduced, no force could violate;
And, when she took unto herself a mate,
She must espouse the everlasting sea.
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reached its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the shade
Of that which once was great is passed away.

TO TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE

TOUSSAINT, the most unhappy man of men!
Whether the whistling rustic tend his plough
Within thy hearing, or thy head be now
Pillowed in some deep dungeon's earless den;
O miserable chieftain! where and when
Wilt thou find patience! Yet die not; do thou
Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow:
Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies;
There's not a breathing of the common wind
That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
And love, and man's unconquerable mind.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1802

Among the capricious acts of tyranny that disgraced those times, was the chasing of all negroes from France by decree of the Government: we had a fellow-passenger who was one of the expelled.

WE had a female passenger who came
From Calais with us, spotless in array,
A white-robed negro, like a lady gay,
Yet downcast as a woman fearing blame;
Meek, destitute, as seemed, of hope or aim
She sate, from notice turning not away,
But on all proffered intercourse did lay
A weight of languid speech, or to the same
No sign of answer made by word or face:
Yet still her eyes retained their tropic fire,
That, burning independent of the mind,
Joined with the lustre of her rich attire
To mock the outcast. O ye Heavens, be kind!
And feel, thou earth, for this afflicted race!

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