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Cheer'st the low threshold of the peasant's cell!
-Not unrejoiced I see thee climb the sky
In naked splendour, clear from mist or haze,
Or cloud approaching to divert the rays,
Which even in deepest winter testify
Thy power and majesty,
To us who tread below)
Do with the service of this Day accord.
Of mortal man is suffered to behold;
Thou, who upon yon snow-clad Heights hast poured
Meek splendour, nor forget'st the humble Vale,
Thou who dost warm Earth's universal mould,
And for thy bounty wert not unadored
which, by rendering territorial incorporation impossible, utterly precludes the desire of conquest under the most seductive shape it can assume, enables her to rely, for her defence against foreign foes, chiefly upon a species of armed force from which her own liberties have nothing to fear. Such are the privileges of her situation; and, by permitting, they invite her to give way to the Dazzling the vision that presumes to gaze. courageous instincts of human nature, and to strengthen-Well does thine aspect usher in this Day; and to refine them by culture. But some have more As aptly suits therewith that timid pace than insinuated that a design exists to subvert the civil Submitted to the chains character of the English people by unconstitutional ap-That bind thee to the path which God ordains plications and unnecessary increase of military power. That thou shalt trace, The advisers and abettors of such a design, were it pos-Till, with the heavens and earth, thou pass away! sible that it should exist, would be guilty of the most Nor less, the stillness of these frosty plains, heinous crime, which, upon this planet, can be com- Their utter stillness, and the silent grace mitted. The author, trusting that this apprehension Of yon ethereal summits white with snow, arises from the delusive influences of an honourable (Whose tranquil pomp, and spotless purity, jealousy, hopes that the martial qualities he venerates Report of storms gone by will be fostered by adhering to those good old usages which experience has sanctioned; and by availing ourselves of new means of indisputable promise: particu--Divinest Object, which the uplifted eye larly by applying, in its utmost possible extent, that system of tuition whose master-spring is a habit of gradually enlightened subordination;-by imparting knowledge, civil, moral and religious, in such measure that the mind, among all classes of the community, may love, admire, and be prepared and accomplished to defend that country under whose protection its faculties have been unfolded, and its riches acquired; by just dealing towards all orders of the state, so that no members of it being trampled upon, courage may every where continue to rest immoveably upon its ancient English foundation, personal self-respect;-by adequate rewards, and permanent honours, conferred upon the deserving;-by encouraging athletic exercises and manly sports among the peasantry of the country;-and by especial care to provide and support Institutions, in Warbling a farewell to a vernal shower. which, during a time of peace, a reasonable proportion-There is a radiant but a short-lived flame, of the youth of the country may be instructed in mili- That burns for Poets in the dawning East; tary science. And oft my soul hath kindled at the same, When the captivity of sleep had ceased; But he who fixed immovably the frame Of the round world, and built, by laws as strong, A solid refuge for distress, The towers of righteousness; He knows that from a holier altar came The quickening spark of this day's sacrifice; Knows that the source is nobler whence doth rise The current of this matin song; That deeper far it lies
The author has only to add, that he should feel little satisfaction in giving to the world these limited attempts' to celebrate the virtues of his country, if he did not encourage a hope that a subject, which it has fallen within his province to treat only in the mass, will by other poets be illustrated in that detail which its importance calls for, and which will allow opportunities to give the merited applause to PERSONS as well as to
RYDAL MOUNT, March 18, 1816.
THE MORNING OF THE DAY APPOINTED FOR A GENERAL
THANKSGIVING. JANUARY 18, 1816.
HAIL, universal Source of pure delight!
Thou that canst shed the bliss of gratitude
On hearts howe'er insensible or rude;
Whether thy orient visitations smite
The haughty towers where monarchs dwell;
Or thou, impartial Sun, with presence bright
The Ode was published along with other pieces, now interspersed through this Volume.
Once more, heart-cheering Sun, I bid thee hail!
Bright be thy course to-day, let not this promise fail!
'Mid the deep quiet of this morning hour,
All nature seems to hear me while I speak,
By feelings urged, that do not vainly seek
Apt language, ready as the tuneful notes
That stream in blithe succession from the throats
Of birds in leafy bower,
Than aught dependent on the fickle skies.
Have we not conquered?—By the vengeful sword? Ah no, by dint of Magnanimity;
That curbed the baser passions, and left free
A loyal band to follow their liege Lord,
Clear-sighted Honour-and his staid Compeers,
Along a track of most unnatural years,
In execution of heroic deeds;
Whose memory, spotless as the crystal beads
Of morning dew upon the untrodden meads,
Shall live enrolled above the starry spheres.
-Who to the murmurs of an earthly string,
Of Britain's acts would sing,
He with enraptured voice will tell
Of One whose spirit no reverse could quell;
Of One that mid the failing never failed:
Who paints how Britain struggled and prevailed
Shall represent her labouring with an eye
Of circumspect humanity;
Shall shew her clothed with strength and skill,
All martial duties to fulfil;
Firm as a rock in stationary fight:
In motion rapid as the lightning's gleam;
Fierce as a flood-gate bursting in the night
To rouse the wicked from their giddy dream-
Woe, woe to all that face her in the field!
Appalled she may not be, and cannot yield.
And thus is missed the sole true glory
That can belong to human story!
At which they only shall arrive
Who through the abyss of weakness dive.
The very humblest are too proud of heart:
And one brief day is rightly set apart
To Him who lifteth up and layeth low;
For that Almighty God to whom we owe,
Say not that we have vanquished-but that we survive.
How dreadful the dominion of the impure!
Why should the song be tardy to proclaim
That less than power unbounded could not tame
That Soul of Evil-which, from Hell let loose,
Had filled the astonished world with such abuse,
As boundless patience only could endure?
-Wide-wasted regions-cities wrapt in flame-
Who sees, and feels, may lift a streaming eye
To heaven,-who never saw may heave a sigh;
But the foundation of our nature shakes,
And with an infinite pain the spirit aches,
When desolated countries, towns on fire,
Are but the avowed attire
Of warfare waged with desperate mind
Against the life of virtue in mankind;
Assaulting without ruth
The citadels of truth;
While the whole forest of civility
Is doomed to perish, to the last fair tree!
A crouching purpose-a distracted will-
Opposed to hopes that battened upon scorn,
And to desires whose ever-waxing horn
Not all the light of earthly power could fill;
Opposed to dark, deep plots of patient skill,
And to celerities of lawless force;
Which spurning God, had flung away remorse-
What could they gain but shadows of redress?
-So bad proceeded propagating worse;
And discipline was passion's dire excess.
Widens the fatal web, its lines extend,'
And deadlier poisons in the chalice blend-
When will your trials teach you to be wise?
-O prostrate Lands, consult your agonies!
No more the guilt is banished,
And, with the Guilt, the Shame is fled;
And, with the Guilt and Shame, the Woe hath vanished,
Shaking the dust and ashes from her head!
-No more-these lingerings of distress
Sully the limpid stream of thankfulness.
What robe can Gratitude employ
So seemly as the radiant vest of Joy?
A discipline the rule whereof is passion.-LORD BROOK.
What steps so suitable as those that move
In prompt obedience to spontaneous measures
Of glory-and felicity-and love,
Surrendering the whole heart to sacred pleasures?
Land of our fathers! precious unto me
Since the first joys of thinking infancy;
When of thy gallant chivalry I read,
And hugged the volume on my sleepless bed!
O England!-dearer far than life is dear,
If I forget thy prowess, never more
Be thy ungrateful Son allowed to hear
Thy green leaves rustle, or thy torrents roar !
But how can He be faithless to the past,
Whose soul, intolerant of base decline,
Saw in thy virtue a celestial sign,
That bade him hope, and to his hope cleave fast!
The Nations strove with puissance;-at length
Wide Europe heaved, impatient to be cast,
With all her living strength,
With all her armed Powers,
Upon the offensive shores.
The trumpet blew a universal blast!
But Thou art foremost in the field;-there stand:
Receive the triumph destined to thy Hand!
All States have glorified themselves;-their claims
Are weighed by Providence, in balance even;
And now, in preference to the mightiest names,
To Thee the exterminating sword is given.
Dread mark of approbation, justly gained!
Exalted office, worthily sustained!
Imagination, ne'er before content,
But aye ascending, restless in her pride,
From all that man's performance could present,
Stoops to that closing deed magnificent,
And with the embrace is satisfied.
-Fly, ministers of Fame,
Whate'er your means, whatever help ye claim,
Bear through the world these tidings of delight!
-Hours, Days, and Months, have borne them, in the sight
Of mortals, travelling faster than the shower,
That land-ward stretches from the sea,
The morning's splendours to devour;
But this appearance scattered ecstasy,
And heart-sick Europe blessed the healing power.
-The shock is given-the Adversaries bleed-
Lo, Justice triumphs! Earth is freed!
Such glad assurance suddenly went forth-
It pierced the caverns of the sluggish North-
It found no barrier on the ridge
Of Andes-frozen gulfs became its bridge-
The vast Pacific gladdens with the freight-
Upon the Lakes of Asia 't is bestowed-
The Arabian desert shapes a willing road,
Across her burning breast,
For this refreshing incense from the West!
-Where snakes and lions breed,
Where towns and cities thick as stars appear,
Wherever fruits are gathered, and where'er
The upturned soil receives the hopeful seed-
While the Sun rules, and cross the shades of night-
The unwearied arrow hath pursued its flight!
The eyes of good men thankfully give heed,
And in its sparkling progress read
How virtue triumphs, from her bondage freed!
Tyrants exult to hear of kingdoms won,
And slaves are pleased to learn that mighty feats are done;
Even the proud Realm, from whose distracted borders
This messenger of good was launched in air,
France, conquered France, amid her wild disorders,
Feels, and hereafter shall the truth declare,
That she too lacks not reason to rejoice,
And utter England's name with sadly-plausive voice.
Preserve, O Lord! within our hearts
The memory of thy favour,
That else insensibly departs,
And loses its sweet savour!
Lodge it within us!—as the power
Lives inexhaustibly in precious gems,
Fixed on the front of Eastern diadems,
So shine our thankfulness for ever bright!
What offering, what transcendent monument
Shall our sincerity to Thee present?
-Not work of hands; but trophies that may reach
To highest Heaven-the labour of the soul;
That builds, as thy unerring precepts teach,
Upon the inward victories of each,
Her hope of lasting glory for the whole.
-Yet might it well become that City now,
Into whose breast the tides of grandeur flow,
To whom all persecuted men retreat;
If a new Temple lift her votive brow
Upon the shore of silver Thames-to greet
The peaceful guest advancing from afar.
Bright be the distant Fabric, as a star
Fresh risen-and beautiful within!-there meet
Dependence infinite, proportion just;
-A Pile that Grace approves, that Time can trust With his most sacred wealth, heroic dust!
But if the valiant of this land
In reverential modesty demand,
That all observance, due to them, be paid
Where their serene progenitors are laid;
Kings, warriors, high-souled poets, saint-like sages,
England's illustrious sons of long, long ages;
Be it not unordained that solemn rites,
Within the circuit of those Gothic walls,
Shall be performed at pregnant intervals;
Commemoration holy, that unites
The living generations with the dead;
By the deep soul-moving sense
Of religious eloquence,-
By visual pomp, and by the tie
Of sweet and threatening harmony;
Soft notes, awful as the omen
Of destructive tempests coming,
And escaping from that sadness
Into elevated gladness;
While the white-robed choir attendant,
Under mouldering banners pendant,
Provoke all potent symphonies to raise
Songs of victory and praise,
For them who bravely stood unhurt, or bled
With medicable wounds, or found their graves
Upon the battle-field, or under ocean's waves;
Or were conducted home in single state,
And long procession-there to lie,
Where their sons' sons, and all posterity,
Unheard by them, their deeds shall celebrate!
Nor will the God of peace and love
Such martial service disapprove.
He guides the Pestilence-the cloud
Of locusts travels on his breath;
The region that in hope was ploughed
His drought consumes, his mildew taints with death,
He springs the hushed Volcano's mine;
He puts the Earthquake on her still design,
Darkens the sun, hath bade the forest sink,
And, drinking towns and cities, still can drink
Cities and towns-t is Thou-the work is Thine!
-The fierce Tornado sleeps within thy courts-
He hears the word-he flies-
And navies perish in their ports; For Thou art angry with thine enemies! For these, and for our errors
And sins, that point their terrors,
We bow our heads before Thee, and we laud
And magnify thy name, Almighty God!
But thy most dreaded instrument
In working out a pure intent,
Is Man-arrayed for mutual slaughter,—
Yea, Carnage is thy daughter!
Thou cloth'st the wicked in their dazzling mail,
And by thy just permission they prevail;
Thine arm from peril guards the coasts
Of them who in thy laws delight:
Thy presence turns the scale of doubtful fight,
Tremendous God of battles, Lord of Hosts!
On this appointed Day shall thanks ascend,
That Thou hast brought our warfare to an end,
And that we need no second victory!
Ha! what a ghastly sight for man to see;
And to the heavenly saints in peace who dwell,
For a brief moment, terrible;
But to thy sovereign penetration, fair,
Before whom all things are, that were,
All judgments that have been, or e'er shall be;
Links in the chain of thy tranquillity!
Along the bosom of this favoured Nation,
Breathe thou, this day, a vital undulation!
Let all who do this land inherit
Be conscious of Thy moving spirit!
Oh, 't is a goodly Ordinance,—the sight,
Though sprung from bleeding war, is one of pure delight;
Bless thou the hour, or ere the hour arrive,
When a whole people shall kneel down in prayer,
And, at one moment, in one rapture, strive
With lip and heart to tell their gratitude
For thy protecting care,
Their solemn joy-praising the Eternal Lord
For tyranny subdued,
And for the sway of equity renewed,
For liberty confirmed, and peace restored!
But hark-the summons!-down the placid Lake Floats the soft cadence of the Church-tower bells; Bright shines the Sun, as if his beams might wake The tender insects sleeping in their cells; Bright shines the Sun-and not a breeze to shake The drops that tip the melting icicles.
O, enter now his temple gate! Inviting words-perchance already flung, (As the crowd press devoutly down the aisle
Of some old Minster's venerable pile)
From voices into zealous passion stung,
While the tubed engine feels the inspiring blast,
And has begun-its clouds of sound to cast
Towards the empyreal Heaven,
As if the fretted roof were riven.
Us, humbler ceremonies now await;
But in the bosom, with devout respect,
The banner of our joy we will erect,
And strength of love our souls shall clevate:
For to a few collected in his name,
Their heavenly Father will incline an ear
Gracious to service hallowed by its aim;-
Awake! the majesty of God revere!
Go-and with foreheads meekly bowed Present your prayers-go-and rejoice aloud
The Holy One will hear!
And what, 'mid silence deep, with faith sincere,
Ye, in your low and undisturbed estate,
Shall simply feel and purely meditate
Of warnings-from the unprecedented might,
Which, in our time, the impious have disclosed;
And of more arduous duties thence imposed
Upon the future advocates of right;
Of mysteries revealed,
And judgments unrepealed,---
Of earthly revolution,
And final retribution,
To his omniscience will appear
An offering not unworthy to find place,
On this high DAY of THANKS, before the Throne of Grace!
Memorials of a Tour on the Continent. 1820.
DEAR Fellow-Travellers! think not that the Muse
Presents to notice these memorial Lays,
Hoping the general eye thereon will gaze,
As on a mirror that gives back the hues
Of living Nature; no-though free to chuse
The greenest bowers, the most inviting ways,
The fairest landscapes and the brightest days,
Her skill she tried with less ambitious views.
For You she wrought;-ye only can supply
| The life, the truth, the beauty: she confides
In that enjoyment which with you abides,
Trusts to your love and vivid memory;
Thus far contented, that for You her verse
Shall lack not power the « melting soul to pierce !»
RYDAL MOUNT, January, 1822.
FISH-WOMEN.-ON LANDING AT CALAIS. Tis said, fantastic Ocean doth enfold The likeness of whate'er on Land is seen; But, if the Nereid Sisters and their Queen, Above whose heads the Tide so long bath rolled, The Dames resemble whom we here behold, How terrible beneath the opening waves To sink, and meet them in their fretted caves, Withered, grotesque-immeasurably old, And shrill and fierce in accent!-Fear it not; For they Earth's fairest Daughters do excel; Pure undecaying beauty is their lot; Their voices into liquid music swell, Thrilling each pearly cleft and sparry grot― The undisturbed Abodes where Sea-nymphs dwell!
Baross I saw attired with golden light
Streamed from the west) as with a robe of power:
This is not the first poetical tribute which in our times has been paid to this beautiful City. Mr Southey, in the Poet's Pilgrimage,»
'T is passed away;—and now the sunless hour,
That slowly introducing peaceful night
Best suits with fallen grandeur, to my sight
Offers the beauty, the magnificence,
speaks of it in lines which I cannot deny myself the pleasure of connecting with my own.
Time hath not wronged her, nor hath Ruin sought
Rudely her splendid structures to destroy,
Save in those recent days, with evil fraught,
When Mutability, in drunken joy
Triumphant, and from all restraint released,
Let loose her fierce and many-headed beast.
But for the scars in that unhappy rage
Inflicted, firm she stands and undecayed;
Like our first Sires, a beautiful old age
Is hers in venerable years arrayed;
And yet, to her, benignant stars may bring,
What fate denies to man, a second spring.
When I may read of tilts in days of old,
And tourneys graced by Chieftains of renown,
Fair dames, grave citizens, and warriors bold,
If fancy would pourtray some stately town,
Which for such pomp fit theatre should be,
Fair Bruges, I shall then remember thee.
In this City are many vestiges of the splendour of the Burgundian Dukedom, and the long black mantle universally worn by the females is probably a remnant of the old Spanish connexion, which, if I do not much deceive myself, is traceable in the grave deportment of its inhabitants. Bruges is comparatively little disturbed by that curious contest, or rather conflict, of Flemish with French propensities in matters of taste, so conspicuous through other parts of Flanders. The hotel to which we drove at Ghent furnished an odd instance. In the passages were paintings and statues, after the antique, of Hebe and Apollo; and in the garden a little pond, about a yard and half in diameter, with a weeping willow bending over it, and under the shade of that tree, in the centre of the pond, a wooden painted statue of a Dutch or Flemish Foor, looking ineffably tender upon his mistress, and embracing her. A living dock, tethered at the feet of the statues, alternately tormented a miserable eel and itself with endeavours to escape from its bonds and prison. Had we chanced to espy the hostess of the hotel in this quaint rural retreat, the exhibition would have been complete. She was a true Flemish figure, in the dress of the days of Holbein,- her symbol of office a weighty bunch of keys, perdent from her portly waist. In Brussels, the modern taste in costume, architecture, etc. has got the mastery, in Ghent there is a struggle; but in Bruges old images are still paramount, and an air of monastic life among the quiet goings-on of a thinly-peopled City is inexpressil ly soothing-a pensive grace seems to be cast over all, even the very children.-Extract from Journal.
And sober graces, left her for defence
Against the injuries of Time, the spite
Of Fortune, and the desolating storms
of future War. Advance not-spare to hide,
O gentle Power of Darkness! these mild hues;
Obscure not yet these silent avenues
Of stateliest Architecture, where the forms
Of Nun-like Females, with soft motion, glide!
THE Spirit of Antiquity-enshrined
In sumptuous Buildings, vocal in sweet Song,
In Picture, speaking with heroic tongue,
And with devout solemnities entwined-
Strikes to the seat of grace within the mind:
Hence Forms that glide with swan-like case along;
Hence motions, even amid the vulgar throng,
To an harmonious decency confined;
As if the Streets were consecrated ground,
The City one vast Temple-dedicate
To mutual respect in thought and deed;
To leisure, to forbearances sedate;
To social cares from jarring passions freed;
peace than that in deserts found!
AFTER VISITING THE FIELD OF WATERLOO.
A WINGED Goddess, clothed in vesture wrought
Of rainbow colours; One whose port was bold,
Whose overburthened hand could scarcely hold
The glittering crowns and garlands which it brought,
Hovered in air above the far-famed Spot.
She vanished-leaving prospect blank and cold
Of wind-swept corn that wide around us rolled
In dreary billows, wood, and meagre cot,
And monuments that soon must disappear:
Yet a dread local recompense we found;
While glory seemed betrayed, while patriot zeal
Sank in our hearts, we felt as Men should feel
With such vast hoards of hidden carnage near,
And horror breathing from the silent ground!
SCENERY BETWEEN NAMUR AND LIEGE. WHAT lovelier home could gentle Fancy chuse? Is this the Stream, whose cities, heights, and plains, War's favourite play-ground, are with crimson stains Familiar, as the Morn with pearly dews? The Morn, that now, along the silver MEUSE, Spreading her peaceful ensigns, calls the Swains To tend their silent boats and ringing wains, Or strip the bough whose mellow fruit bestrews The ripening corn beneath it. As mine eyes Turn from the fortified and threatening hill, How sweet the prospect of yon watery glade, With its grey rocks clustering in pensive shade, That, shaped like old monastic turrets, rise From the smooth meadow-ground, serene and still!
Was it to disenchant, and to undo,
That we approached the Seat of Charlemaine?
To sweep from many an old romantic strain
That faith which no devotion may renew!
Why does this puny Church present to view
Its feeble columns? and that scanty Chair!
This Sword that One of our weak times might wear;
Objects of false pretence, or meanly true!
If from a Traveller's fortune I might claim
A palpable memorial of that day,
Then would I seek the Pyrenean Breach
Which ROLAND clove with huge two-handed sway,
And to the enormous labour left his name,
Where unremitting frosts the rocky Crescent bleach.'
IN THE CATHEDRAL AT COLOGNE.
O FOR the help of Angels to complete
This Temple-Angels governed by a plan
How gloriously pursued by daring Man,
Studious that He might not disdain the seat
Who dwells in Heaven! But that inspiring heat
Hath failed; and now, ye Powers! whose gorgeous wings
And splendid aspect yon emblazonings
But faintly picture, 't were an office meet
For you, on these unfinished Shafts to try
The midnight virtues of your harmony:-
This vast Design might tempt you to repeat
Strains that call forth upon empyreal ground
Immortal Fabrics-rising to the sound
Of penetrating harps and voices sweet!
IN A CARRIAGE, UPON THE BANKS OF THE
AMID this dance of objects sadness steals
O'er the defrauded heart-while sweeping by,
As in a fit of Thespian jollity,
Beneath her vine-leaf crown the green Earth reels :
Backward, in rapid evanescence, wheels
The venerable pageantry of Time,
Each beetling rampart-and each tower sublime,
And what the Dell unwillingly reveals
Of lurking cloistral arch, through trees espied
Near the bright River's edge. Yet why repine?
Pedestrian liberty shall yet be mine
To muse, to creep, to halt at will, to gaze:
Freedom which youth with copious hand supplied,
May in fit measure bless my later days.
FOR THE BOATMEN, AS THEY APPROACH THE RAPIDS UNDER THE CASTLE OF HEIDELBERG.
JESU! bless our slender Boat,
By the current swept along;
Loud its threatenings-let them not
Drown the music of a song,
Let a wall of rocks be imagined from three to six hundred fe in height, and rising between France and Spain, so as physically separate the two kingdoms-let us fancy this wall carved like crescent, with its convexity towards France. Lastly, let us suppo that in the very middle of the wall a breach of three hundred & wide has been beaten down by the famous Roland, and we may bo a good idea of what the mountaineers call the BRECHS De R