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As marvellously seized as in that moment
When, from the blind mist issuing, I beheld
Glory-beyond all glory ever seen,
Confusion infinite of heaven and earth,
Dazzling the soul! Meanwhile, prophetic harps
In every grove were ringing, “War shall cease;
Did ye not hear that conquest is abjured?
Bring garlands, bring forth choicest flowers, to deck
The Tree of Liberty.”—My heart rebounded;
My melancholy voice the chorus join'd;
“Be joyful, all ye nations! in all lands,
Ye that are capable of joy be glad!
Henceforth, whate'er is wanting to yourselves
In others ye shall promptly find;—and all
Be rich by mutual and reflected wealth.”
Thus was I reconverted to the world;
Society became my glittering bride,
And airy hopes iny children. From the depths
Of natural passion, seemingly escaped,
My soul diffused herself in wide embrace
Of institutions, and the forms of things ;
As they exist in mutable array,
Upon life's surface. What, though in my veins
There flow'd no Gallic blood, nor had I breathed
The air of France, not less than Gallic zeal
Kindled and burnt among the sapless twigs
Of my exhausted heart. If busy men
In sober conclave met, to weave a web
Of amity, whose living threads should stretch
Beyond the seas, and to the farthest pole,
There did I sit, assisting. If, with noise
And acclamation, crowds in open air
Express’d the tumult of their minds, my voice
There mingled, heard or not. The powers of song
I left not uninvoked; and, in still groves,
Where mild enthusiasts tuned a pensive lay
Of thanks and expectation, in accord
With their belief, I sang Saturnian rule
Return'd,-a progeny of golden years
Permitted to descend, and bless mankind.
- With promises the Hebrew scriptures teem: I felt the invitation; and resumed A long-suspended office in the house of public worship, where, the glowing phrase Of ancient inspiration serving me, I promised also,—with undaunted trust Foretold, and added prayer to prophecy;
The admiration winning of the crowd;
The help desiring of the pure
Scorn and contempt forbid me to proceed !
But History, Time's slavish scribe, will tell
How rapidly the zealots of the cause
Disbanded-or in hostile ranks appear’d;
Some, tired of honest service; these, outdone,
Disgusted, therefore, or appalld, by aims
Of fiercer zealots—so confusion reign'd,
And the more faithful were compell’d to exclaim,
As Brutus did to Virtue, “Liberty,
I worshipp'd Thee, and find thee but a Shade !"
COMPOSED AT GRASMERE, DURING A WALK, ONE EVENING, AFTER A STORMY
DAY, THE AUTHOR HAVING JUST READ IN A NEWSPAPER THAT THE DISSOLU. TION OF MR. FOX WAS HOURLY EXPECTED.
Loud is the Vale! the Voice is up
With which she speaks when storms are gone,
A mighty Unison of streams!
Of all her Voices, One!
Loud is the Vale;--this inland Depth
In peace is roaring like the Sea ;
Yon Star upon the mountain top
Is listening quietly.
Sad was I, even to pain deprest,
Importunate and heavy load!
The Comforter hath found me here,
Upon this lonely road;
thousands now are sad-
Wait the fulfilment of their fear;
For he must die who is their stay,
Their glory disappear.
A Power is passing from the earth
To breathless Nature's dark abyss;
But when the Mighty pass away
What is it more than this,
That Man, who is from God sent forth,
Doth yet again to God return?-
Such ebb and flow must ever be;
Then wherefore should we mourn?
A FACT, AND AN IMAGINATION; OR, CANUTE AND ALFRED.
The Danish Conqueror, on his royal chair,
Mustering a face of haughty sovereignty,
To aid a covert purpose, cried—“O ye
Approaching waters of the deep, that share
With this green isle my fortunes, come not where
Your Master's throne is set!”-Absurd decree!
A mandate utter'd to the foaming sea
Is to its motion less than wanton air.
-Then Canute, rising from the invaded throne,
Said to his servile courtiers, “ Poor the reach,
The undisguised extent, of mortal sway!
He only is a king, and he alone
Deserves the name (this truth the billows preach)
Whose everlasting law, sea, earth, and heaven, obey.”
This just reproof the prosperous Dane
Drew, from the influx of the main,
For some whose rugged northern mouths would strain
At oriental flattery;
And Canute (truth more worthy to be known)
From that time forth did for his brows disown
The ostentatious symbol of a crown;
Esteeming earthly royalty
Contemptible and vain.
Now hear what one of elder days,
Rich theme of England's fondest praise,
Her darling Alfred, might have spoken;
To cheer the remnant of his host
When he was driven from coast to coast,
Distress’d and harass'd, but with mind unbroken:
“My faithful followers, lo! the tide is spent;
That rose, and steadily advanced to fill
The shores and channels, working Nature's will
Among the mazy streams that backward went,
And in the sluggish pools where ships are pent:
And now, its task perform’d, the flood stands still
At the green base of many an inland hill,
In placid beauty and sublime content!
Such the repose that Sage and Hero find;
Such measured rest the sedulous and good
Of humbler name; whose souls do, like the flood
Of ocean, press right on; or gently wind,
Neither to be diverted nor withstood,
Until they reach the bounds by Heaven assign’d."
I've watch'd you now a full half hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly ! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless !--not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!
This plot of orchard ground is ours;
My trees they are, my sister's flowers;
Here rest your wings when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us, on the bough!
We'll talk of sunshine and of song;
And summer days when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.
Bright flower, whose home is every where!
A Pilgrim bold in Nature's care,
And oft, the long year through, the heir
Of joy or sorrow;
Methinks that there abides in thee
Some concord with humanity,
Given to no other flower I see
The forest thorough!
And wherefore? Man is soon deprest;
A thoughtless thing! who, once unblest,
Does little on his memory rest,
Or on his reason;
But thou wouldst teach him how to find
A shelter under every wind,
A hope for times that are unkind
And every season.
"Man's life is like a Sparrow, mighty King!
That, stealing in while by the fire you sit
Housed with rejoicing friends, is seen to flit
Safe from the storm, in comfort tarrying.
Here did it enter—there, on hasty wing
Flies out, and passes on from cold to cold;
But whence it came we know not, nor behold
Whither it goes. Even such that transient thing,
The human Soul; not utterly unknown
While in the Body lodged, her warm abode;
But from what world she came, what woe or weal
On her departure waits, no tongue hath shown;
This mystery if the Stranger can reveal,
His be a welcome cordially bestow'd !"
From Ecclesiastical Sketches.
COMPOSED UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, SEPT. 3, 1803.
Earth has not any thing to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples, lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!