« السابقةمتابعة »
tenderly awakened ; nor do I remember an incident in my life where the dissipated spirits, to which my reason had been a bubble, were so suddenly called home. Mechanical as the notes were, yet so true in tune to nature were they chanted, that in one moment they overthrew all my systematic reasons upon the Bastile; and I heavily walked upstairs, unsaying every word I had said in going down them.
8. “Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, Slavery,” said I,“ still thou art a bitter draught; and though thousands in all ages have been made to drink of thee, thou art no less bitter on that account. 'Tis thou, thrice sweet and gracious goddess,” addressing myself to Liberty, " whom all in public or in private worship, whose taste is grateful, and ever will be so, till nature herself shall change; no tint of words can spot thy snowy mantle, or chemic power turn thy sceptre into iron; with thee to smile upon him as he eats his crust, the swain is happier than his monarch, from whose court thou art exiled.
9. “Gracious Heaven!” cried I, kneeling down upon the last step but one in my ascent, “grant me but health, thou great bestower of it, and give me but this fair goddess as my companion, and shower down thy mitres, if it seem good unto thy divine providence, upon those heads which are aching for them.”
10. The bird in bis cage pursued' me into
my room. I sat down close to my table, and leaning my head upon my hand, I began to figure to myself the miseries of confinement. I was in a right frame for it, and so I gave full scope to my imagination. I was going to begin with the millions of my fellow-creatures born to no inheritance but slavery ; but finding, however affecting the picture was, that I could not bring it near me, and that the multitude of sad groups in it did but distract me, I took a single captive, and having first shut him up in his dungeon, I then looked through the twilight of his grated door to take his picture.
11. I beheld his body half wasted away with long expectation and confinement, and felt what kind of sickness of the heart it was which arises from hope deferred. Upon looking nearer, I saw him pale and feverish ; in thirty years the western breeze had not once fanned his blood ; he had seen no sun, no moon, in all that time, nor had the voice of friend or kinsman breathed through his lattice; his children - but here my heart began to bleed, and I was forced to go on with another part of the portrait.
12. He was sitting upon the ground upon a little straw, in the furthest corner of his dungeon, which was alternately his chair and bed : a little calendar of small sticks lay at the head, notched all over with the dismal days and nights he had passed there ; he had one of these little sticks in his hand, and with a rusty nail he was etching another day of misery to add to the heap:
13. As I darkened the little light he had, he lifted up a hopeless eye towards the door, then cast it down, shook his head, and went on with his work of affliction. I heard his chains upon his legs, as he turned his body to lay his little stick upon the bundle. He gave a deep sigh : I saw the iron enter into his soul. I burst into tears : I could not sustain the picture of confinement which my fancy had drawn.
NOTES. 1 Bastile, a fortified place in Paris 6 Soliloquy, a speech addressed to where State prisoners were con
one's self. fined. It was destroyed in the 7 Pursued, he still kept thinking of Revolution of 1792.
the bird-not that the bird actu2 Sombre, dull, heavy.
ally followed him. 3 Vauntingly, boastfully.
8 Inheritance, fortune. 4 Fosse, the ditch or moat around it. 9 Deferred, put off, postponed. 5 Heyday, middle or height of the
ODE ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF
Ye distant spires, ye antiquel towers,
That crown the watery glade,
Her Henry's holy shade;
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
His silver-winding way;
Ah, happy hills, ah, pleasing shade,
Ah, fields beloved in vain,
A stranger yet to pain !
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
To breathe a second spring.
Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race,
The paths of pleasure trace,
The captive linnet which enthral ?
urge the flying ball ?
While some, on earnest business bent,
Their murm’ring labours ply,
To sweeten liberty ;
And unknown regions dare descry;
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possessed ; The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast : Theirs buxom health, of rosy hue; Wild wit, invention ever new;
“Ye;distant spires, ye antique towers.
That fly th' approach of morn.