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The ship fled fast till the stars 'gan
And, round me gathered with mute
The seamen gazed, the pilot worn
With toil, the captain with gray locks,
Met mine in restless awe-they stood as in a trance.
Within your soul? care for your own, or ruth
For others' sufferings? do ye thirst to bear
A heart which not the serpent
May violate? Be free! and even here Swear to be firm till death!' They cried 'We swear! We swear!'
"The very darkness shook, as with a blast
Of subterranean thunder, at the cry; The hollow shore its thousand echoes cast
Into the night, as if the sea and sky And earth rejoiced with new-born liberty,
For in that name they swore! Bolts were undrawn,
And on the deck, with unaccustomed eye,
The captives gazing stood, and every
Shrank as the inconstant torch upon her countenance shone.
They were earth's purest children, young and fair,
With eyes the shrines of unawakened thought,
And brows as bright as Spring or morning, ere
Dark time had there its evil legend wrought
In characters of cloud which wither not.
"Recede not! pause not now! Thou art grown old,
The change was like a dream to
But Hope will make thee young,
They knew the glory of their
Are children of one mother, even
In the bright wisdom of youth's
The eternal stars gaze on us!-is Sweet talk and smiles and sighs all bosoms did attune.
Which wrap the world; a wide enthusiasm,
To cleanse the fevered world as with an earthquake's spasm!
As one who from some mountain's pyramid
Points to the unrisen sun! the shades approve
His truth, and flee from every stream and grove.
Thus, gentle thoughts did many a
Wisdom the mail of tried affections
For many a heart, and tameless scorn
Thrice steeped in molten steel the unconquerable will.
"For with strong speech I tore the
Nature and Truth and Liberty and
"Some said I was a maniac wild and lost;
Some, that I scarce had risen from the grave,
Some said I was a fiend from my weird cave,
"I walked through the great City then, but free
Who had stolen human shape, and
From shame or fear; those toil-
The forest, and the mountain, came;
And happy maidens did encompass
I was the child of God, sent down to save
And, like a subterranean wind that
Women from bonds and death, and
Some forest among caves, the hopes The burden of their sins would frightfully
From every human soul a murmur
Made as I passed: and many wept,
Of joy and awe, and wingèd thoughts
And half-extinguished words which prophesied of change.
The Prophet's virgin bride, a heavenly ghost:
"But soon my human words found sympathy
In human hearts: the purest and the best,
As friend with friend, made common cause with me,
And they were few, but resolute;— the rest,
Ere yet success the enterprise had blest,
Leagued with me in their hearts ;their meals, their slumber,
Their hourly occupations, were possest
By hopes which I had armed to overnumber
Those hosts of meaner cares which life's strong wings encumber.
"But chiefly women, whom my voice did waken
From their cold, careless, willing slavery,
Sought me one truth their dreary prison has shaken,
They looked around, and lo! they became free!
Their many tyrants, sitting desolately
In slave-deserted halls, could none restrain ;
For wrath's red fire had withered in the eye Whose lightning once was death,— nor fear nor gain
Could tempt one captive now to lock another's chain.
"Those who where sent to bind me wept, and felt
Their minds outsoar the bonds which clasped them round, Even as a waxen shape may waste and melt
In the white furnace; and a visioned swound,
A pause of hope and awe, the City bound,
Which, like the silence of a tempest's
When in its awful shadow it has wound
The sun, the wind, the ocean, and the earth,
Hung terrible, ere yet the lightnings have leapt forth.
"Like clouds inwoven in the silent sky
They said that age was truth, and
Marred with wild hopes the peace of
With which old times and men had quelled the vain and free.
Had armed with strength and wrong
His slave and his avenger aye to be;
And that the will of one was peace, and we
Should seek for nought on earth but toil and misery.
"For thus we might avoid the hell hereafter.'
"And with the falsehood of their
They breathed on the enduring
Who throng to kneel for food: nor
Of sages and of bards a brief eclipse; Nor faith nor discord dimmed hope's There was one teacher, who neces
newly kindled flame.
So spake the hypocrites, who cursed
Alas! their sway was past, and tears
Clung to their hoary hair, withering
Which in their hollow hearts dared
And yet obscener slaves with smoother
And sneers on their strait lips, thin,
Said that the rule of men was over now, And hence the subject world to women's will must bow.
In vain! the steady towers in Heaven did shine
"And gold was scattered through the
Flowed at a hundred feasts within
As they were wont, nor at the priestly call
Left Plague her banquet in the
Nor Famine from the rich man's portal
Where at her ease she ever preys on all
"For gold was as a god whose faith began
To fade, so that its worshippers were few;
And Faith itself, which in the heart of
Gives shape, voice, name, to spectral
Its downfall, as the altars lonelier
Till the priests stood alone within the fane;
The shafts of falsehood unpolluting flew,
And the cold sneers of calumny were vain
The union of the free with discord's brand to stain.