Page images
PDF
EPUB

COMPOSED IN THE VALLEY NEAR DOVER, ON THE DAY OF LANDING

HERE, on our native soil, we breathe once more.
The cock that crows, the smoke that curls, that sound
Of bells; those boys who in yon meadow-ground
In white-sleeved shirts are playing; and the roar
Of the waves breaking on the chalky shore:
All, all are English. Oft have I looked round
With joy in Kent's green vales; but never found
Myself so satisfied in heart before.

Europe is yet in bonds; but let that pass,
Thought for another moment. Thou art free,
My country and 'tis joy enough and pride
For one hour's perfect bliss, to tread the grass
Of England once again, and hear and see,
With such a dear companion at my side.

SEPTEMBER, 1802. NEAR DOVER

INLAND, within a hollow vale, I stood;

And saw,

while sea was calm and air was clear, The coast of France, the coast of France how near ! Drawn almost into frightful neighbourhood.

I shrunk; for verily the barrier flood

Was like a lake, or river bright and fair,
A span of waters; yet what power is there!
What mightiness for evil and for good!
Even so doth God protect us if we be
Virtuous and wise, winds blow, and waters roll,
Strength to the brave, and power, and Deity;
Yet in themselves are nothing! One decree
Spake laws to them, and said, that by the soul
Alone, the nations shall be great and free.

THOUGHT OF A BRITON ON THE SUBJUGATION OF SWITZERLAND

Two voices are there; one is of the sea,
One of the mountains; each a mighty voice:
In both from age to age thou didst rejoice,
They were thy chosen music, Liberty!
There came a tyrant, and with holy glee

Thou fought'st against him; but hast vainly striven:
Thou from thy Alpine holds at length art driven,
Where not a torrent murmurs heard by thee.
Of one deep bliss thine ear hath been bereft :
Then cleave, O cleave to that which still is left;
For, high-souled maid, what sorrow would it be
That mountain floods should thunder as before,
And ocean bellow from his rocky shore,
And neither awful voice be heard by thee!

WRITTEN IN LONDON, SEPTEMBER, 1802

O FRIEND! I know not which way I must look For comfort, being, as I am, opprest,

To think that now our life is only drest

For show; mean handy-work of craftsman, cook,
Or groom! We must run glittering like a brook
In the open sunshine, or we are unblest :
The wealthiest man among us is the best:
No grandeur now in nature or in book
Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expense,
This is idolatry; and these we adore :
Plain living and high thinking are no more:
The homely beauty of the good old cause
Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence,
And pure religion breathing household laws,

LONDON, 1802

MILTON thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;

And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart;

Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.

GREAT MEN HAVE BEEN AMONG US; HANDS THAT PENNED"

GREAT men have been among us; hands that penned
And tongues that uttered wisdom, better none:
The later Sidney, Marvel, Harrington,

Young Vane, and others who called Milton friend.
These moralists could act and comprehend:

They knew how genuine glory was put on;
Taught us how rightfully a nation shone

In splendour: what strength was, that would not bend
But in magnanimous meekness. France, 'tis strange,
Hath brought forth no such souls as we had then.
Perpetual emptiness! unceasing change!
No single volume paramount, no code,
No master spirit, no determined road;
But equally a want of books and men!

"IT IS NOT TO BE THOUGHT OF THAT THE FLOOD"

IT is not to be thought of that the flood
Of British freedom, which, to the open sea
Of the world's praise, from dark antiquity
Hath flowed, "with pomp of waters, unwithstood,"
Roused though it be full often to a mood
Which spurns the check of salutary bands,
That this most famous stream in bogs and sands
Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
Armoury of the invincible knights of old:
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakspeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held. In every thing we are sprung
Of earth's first blood, have titles manifold.

"WHEN I HAVE BORNE IN MEMORY WHAT HAS TAMED"

WHEN I have borne in memory what has tamed
Great nations, how ennobling thoughts depart
When men change swords for ledgers, and desert
The student's bower for gold, some fears unnamed
I had, my country, am I to be blamed?

Now, when I think of thee, and what thou art,
Verily, in the bottom of my heart,

Of those unfilial fears I am ashamed.

For dearly must we prize thee; we who find
In thee a bulwark for the cause of men;
And I by my affection was beguiled:
What wonder if a poet now and then,
Among the many movements of his mind,
Felt for thee as a lover or a child!

ANTICIPATION.

OCTOBER, 1803

SHOUT, for a mighty victory is won!

On British ground the invaders are laid low;
The breath of Heaven has drifted them like snow,
And left them lying in the silent sun,

Never to rise again! The work is done,
Come forth, ye old men, now in peaceful show
And greet your sons! drums beat and trumpets blow!
Make merry, wives! ye little children, stun

Your grandame's ears with transport of your noise!
Clap, infants, clap your hands! Divine must be
That triumph, when the very worst, the pain,
And even the prospect of our brethren slain,
Hath something in it which the heart enjoys:
In glory will they sleep and endless sanctity.

PART II

ON A CELEBRATED EVENT IN ANCIENT

HISTORY

A ROMAN master stands on Grecian ground,
And to the people at the Isthmian games
Assembled, he, by a herald's voice, proclaims
THE LIBERTY OF GREECE: the words rebound
Until all voices in one voice are drowned;
Glad acclamation by which air was rent!
And birds, high flying in the element,
Dropped to the earth, astonished at the sound!
Yet were the thoughtful grieved; and still that voice
Haunts, with sad echoes, musing fancy's ear:
Ah! that a conqueror's words should be so dear:
Ah! that a boon could shed such rapturous joys!
A gift of that which is not to be given

By all the blended powers of earth and heaven.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »