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worship of their obscene Ashtaroth, and the unworthy successors of Socrates and Zeno, found there a precarious subsistence by administering, under the name of freedmen, to the vices and vanities of the great. These wretched men were skilled to plead, with a superficial but plausible set of sophisms, in favour of that contempt for virtue which is the portion of slaves, and that faith in portents, the most fatal substitute for benevolence in the imaginations of men, which arising from the enslaved communities of the East, then first began to overwhelm the western nations in its stream. Were these the kind of men whose disapprobation the wise and lofty-minded Lucretius should have regarded with a salutary awe? The latest and perhaps the meanest of those who follow in his footsteps, would disdain to hold life on such conditions.

The Poem now presented to the Public occupied little more than six months in the composition. That period has been devoted to the task with unremitting ardour and enthusiasm. I have exercised a watchful and earnest criticism on my work as it grew uder my hands. I would willingly have sent it forth to the world with that perfection which long labour and revision is said to bestow. But I found that if I should gain something in exactness by this method, I might lose much of the newness and energy of imagery and language as it flowed fresh from my mind. And although the mere composition occupied no more than six months, the thoughts thus arranged were slowly gathered in as many years.

I trust that the reader will carefully distinguish between those opinions which have a dramatic propriety in reference to the characters which they are designed to elucidate, and such as are properly my own. The erroneous and degrading idea which men have conceived of a Supreme Being, for instance, is spoken against, but not the Supreme Being itself. The belief which some superstitious persons whom I have brought upon the stage, entertain of the Deity, as injurious to the character of his benevolence, is widely different from my own. In recommending also a great and important change in the spirit which animates the social institutions of mankind, I have avoided all flattery to those

violent and malignant passions of our nature, which are ever on the watch to mingle with and to alloy the most beneticial innovations. There is no quarter given to Revenge, or Envy, or Prejudice. Love is celebrated every where as the sole law which should govern the moral world.

In the personal conduct of my Hero and Heroine, there is one circumstance which was intended to startle the reader from the trance of ordinary life. It was my object to break through the crust of those outworn opinions on which established institutions depend. I have appealed therefore to the most universal of all feelings, and have endeavoured to strengthen the moral sense, by forbidding it to waste its energies in seeking to avoid actions which are only crimes of convention. It is because there is so great a multitude of artificial vices, that there are so few real virtues. Those feelings alone which are benevolent or malevolent, are essentially good or bad. The circumstance of which I speak, was introduced, however, merely to accustom men to that charity and toleration which the exhibition of a practice widely differing from their own, las a tendency to promote. Nothing indeed can be more mischievous, than many actions innocent in themselves, which might bring down upon individuals the bigotted contempt and rage of the multitude.

The sentiments connected with and characteristic of this circumstance bave no personal reference to the Writer.

DEDICATION.

TO MARY [WOLLSTONECRAFT SHELLEY).

There is no danger to a man, that knows
What life and death is : there's not any law
Exceeds his knowledge; neither is it lawful
That he should stoop to any other law.

CHAPMAX.

1.
So now my summer-task is ended, Mary,
And I return to thee, mine own heart's home;
As to his Queen some victor Knight of Faëry,
Earning bright spoils for her inchanted dome;
Nor thou disdain, that ere my fame become
A star among the stars of mortal night,
If it indeed may cleave its natal gloom,

Its doubtful promise thus I would unite
With thy beloved name, thou Child of love and light.

2. The toil which stole from thee so many an hour, Is ended, and the fruit is at thy feet! No longer where the woods to frame a bower With interlaced branches mix and meet, Or where with sound like many voices sweet, Water-falls leap among wild islands green, Which framed for my lone boat a lone retreat

Of moss-grown trees and weeds, shall I be seen : Dut beside thee, where still my heart has ever been.

3.
Thoughts of great deeds were mine, dear Friend, when first
The clouds which wrap this world from youth did pass.
I do remember well the hour which burst
My spirit's sleep: a fresh May-dawn it was,
When I walked forth upon the glittering grass,
And wept, I knew not why; until there rose
From the near school-room, voices, that, alas!

Were but one echo from a world of woes-
The harsh and grating strife of tyrants and of foes.

4.
And then I clasped my hands and looked around-
—But none was near to mock my streaming eyes,
Which poured their warm drops on the sunny ground-
So without shame, I spake:-“I will be wise,
And just, and free, and mild, if in me lies
Such power, for I grow weary to behold
The selfish and the strong still tyrannise
Without reproach or check.” I then controuled
My tears, my heart grew calm, and I was meek and bold.

And from that hour did I with earnest thought
Heap knowledge from forbidden mines of lore,
Yet nothing that my tyrants knew or taught
I cared to learn, but from that secret store
Wrought linked armour for my soul, before
It might walk forth to war among mankind;
Thus power and hope were strengthened more and more

Within me, till there came upon my mind
A sense of loneliness, a thirst with which I pined.

6.
Alas, that love should be a blight and snare
To those who seek all sympathies in one!
Such once I sought in vain; then black despair,
The shadow of a starless night, was thrown
Over the world in which I moved alone :-
Yet never found I one not false to me,
Hard hearts, and cold, like weights of icy stone

Which crushed and withered wine, that could not bo Aught but a lifeless clog, until revived by thee.

7. Thou Friend, whose presence on my wintry heart Fell, like bright Spring upon some herbless plain; How beautiful and calm and free thou wert In thy young wisdom, when the mortal chain Of Custom thou didst burst and rend in twain, And walked as free as light the clouds among, Which many an envious slave then breathed in vain

From his diin dungeon, and my spirit sprung
To meet thee from the woes which had begirt it long.

8.
No more alone through the world's wilderness,
Although I trod the paths of high intent,
I journeyed now: no more companionless,
Where solitude is like despair, I went.-
There is the wisdom of a steru content
When Poverty can blight the just and good,
When Infamy dares mock the innocent,

And cherished friends turn with the multitude
To trample: this was ours, and we unshaken stood !

9.
Now has descended a serener hour,
And with inconstant fortune, friends return;
Tho' suffering leaves the knowledge and the power
Which says :- Let scorn be not repaid with scorn.
And from thy side two gentle babes are born
To fill our home with smiles, and thus are we
Most fortunate beneath life's beaming morn;

And these delights, and thou, have been to me
The parents of the Song I consecrate to thee.

10. Is it, that now my inexperienced fingers But strike the prelude of a loftier strain ? Or, must the lyre on which my spirit lingers Soon pause in silence, ne'er to sound again, Tho' it might shake the Anarch Custom's reign, And charm the minds of men to Truth's own sway Holier than was Amphion's? I would fain

Reply in hope—but I am worn away, And Death and Love are yet contending for their prey.

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