« السابقةمتابعة »
Contemn the giddy crowd, the vulgar wind,
And shut thy eyes that others may be blind.
O long revered, and late resigned to shame! If this uncourtly page thy notice claim When the loud cares of business are withdrawn, Nor well-drest beggars round thy footsteps fawn; In that still, thoughtful, solitary hour, When Truth exerts her unresisted power, Breaks the false optics tinged with fortune's glare, Unlocks the breast, and lays the passions bare: Then turn thy eyes on that important scene, And ask thyself - if all be well within. Where is the heart-felt worth and weight of soul, Which labor could not stop, nor fear control? Where the known dignity, the stamp of awe, Which, half abashed, the proud and venal saw? Where the calm triumphs of an honest cause? Where the delightful taste of just applause? Where the strong reason, the commanding tongue, On which the Senate fired or trembling hung! All vanished, all are sold — and in their room, Couched in thy bosom's deep, distracted gloom, See the pale form of barbarous Grandeur dwell Like some grim idol in a sorcerer's cell! To her in chains thy dignity was led; At her polluted shrine thy honor bled; With blasted weeds thy awful brow she crowned, Thy powerful tongue with poisoned philters bound, That baffled Reason straight indignant flew, And fair Persuasion from her seat withdrew: For now no longer Truth supports thy cause; No longer Glory prompts thee to applause; No longer Virtue breathing in thy breast, With all her conscious majesty confest, Still bright and brighter wakes the almighty flame, To rouse the feeble, and the wilful tame, And where she sees the catching glimpses roll, Spreads the strong blaze, and all involves the soul; But cold restraints thy conscious fancy chill, And formal passions mock thy struggling will; Or, if thy Genius e'er forget his chain, And reach impatient at a nobler strain, Soon the sad bodings of contemptuous mirth Shoot through thy breast, and stab the generous birth,
Till, blind with smart, from truth to frenzy tost,
And all the tenor of thy reason lost,
Perhaps thy anguish drains a real tear;
While some with pity, some with laughter hear.
Ye mighty foes of liberty and rest,
Give way, do homage to a mightier guest!
Ye daring spirits of the Roman race,
See Curio's toil your proudest claims efface! -
Awed at the name, fierce Appius rising bends,
And hardy Cinna from his throne attends :
"He comes,” they cry, "to whom the fates assigned
With surer arts to work what we designed,
From year to year the stubborn herd to sway,
Mouth all their wrongs, and all their rage obey;
Till owned their guide, and trusted with their power,
He mocked their hopes in one decisive hour;
Then, tired and yielding, led them to the chain,
And quenched the spirit we provoked in vain."
But thou, Supreme, by whose eternal hands
Fair Liberty's heroic empire stands;
Whose thunders the rebellious deep control,
And quell the triumphs of the traitor's soul,
O turn this dreadful omen far away!
On Freedom's foes their own attempts repay;
Relume her sacred fire so near suppressed,
And fix her shrine in every Roman breast:
Though bold corruption boast around the land,
“Let virtue, if she can, my baits withstand!”
Though bolder now she urge the accursed claim,
Gay with her trophies raised on Curio's shame;
Yet some there are who scorn her impious mirth,
Who know what conscience and a heart are worth.
ASPIRATIONS AFTER THE INFINITE.
(From “ Pleasures of the Imagination.”) Who that, from Alpine heights, his laboring eye Shoots round the wide horizon, to survey Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave Thro' mountains, plains, thro' empires black with shade, And continents of sand, will turn his gaze To mark the windings of a scanty rill That murmurs at his feet? The high-born soul
Disdains to rest her heaven-aspiring wing
Beneath its native quarry. Tired of earth
And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft
Through fields of air; pursues the flying storm;
Rides on the volleyed lightning through the heavens;
Or, yoked with whirlwinds and the northern blast,
Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars
The blue profound, and, hovering round the sun,
Beholds him pouring the redundant stream
Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway
Bend the reluctant planets to absolve
The fated rounds of Time. Thence, far effused,
She darts her swiftness up the long career
Of devious comets; through its burning signs
Exulting measures the perennial wheel
Of Nature, and looks back on all the stars,
Whose blended light, as with a milky zone,
Invests the orient. Now, amazed she views
The empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold,
Beyond this concave heaven, their calm abode;
And fields of radiance, whose unfading light
Has travelled the profound six thousand years,
Nor yet arrived in sight of mortal things.
Even on the barriers of the world, untired
She meditates the eternal depth below;
Till half-recoiling, down the headlong steep
She plunges; soon o’erwhelmed and swallowed up
In that immense of being. There her hopes
Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth
Of mortal man, the sovereign Maker said,
That not in humble nor in brief delight,
Nor in the fading echoes of Renown,
Power's purple robes, nor Pleasure's flowery lap,
The soul should find enjoyment: but from these
Turning disdainful to an equal good,
Through all the ascent of things enlarge her view,
Till every bound at length should disappear,
And infinite perfection close the scene.
Not for themselves did human kind
Contrive the parts by Heaven assigned
On life's wide scene to play.
Not Scipio's force nor Cæsar's skill
Can conquer Glory's arduous hill
If Fortune close the way.
Yet still the self-depending soul,
Though last and least on Fortune's roll,
His proper sphere commands;
And knows what Nature's seal bestowed,
And sees, before the throne of God
The rank in which he stands.
Who trained by laws the future age,
Who rescued nations from the rage
Of partial, factious power,
My heart with distant homage views;
Content if thou, Celestial Muse,
Didst rule my natal hour.
Not far beneath the hero's feet,
Nor from the legislator's seat,
Stands far remote the bard.
Though not with public terrors crowned,
Yet wider shall his rule be found,
More lasting his award.
Lycurgus fashioned Sparta's fame,
And Pompey to the Roman name
Gave universal sway:
Where are they? - Homer's reverend page
Holds empire to the thirtieth age,
And tongues and climes obey.
And thus when William's acts divine
No longer shall from Bourbon's line
Draw one vindictive vow;
When Sydney shall with Cato rest,
And Russell move the patriot's breast
No more than Brutus now;
Yet then shall Shakespeare's powerful art
O'er every passion, every heart,
Confirm his awful throne:
Tyrants shall bow before his laws;
And Freedom's, Glory's, Virtue's cause,
Their dread assertor own.
FOR A COLUMN AT RUNNYMEDE.
Thou, who the verdant plain dost traverse here,
While Thames among his willows from thy view
Retires: O stranger! stay thee, and the scene
Around contemplate well. This is the place
Where England's ancient barons, clad in arms,
And stern with conquest, from their tyrant King -
Then rendered tame — did challenge and secure
The charter of thy freedom. Pass not on
Till thou hast blessed their memory, and paid
Those thanks which God appointed the reward
Of public virtue. And if chance thy home
Salute thee with a father's honored name,
Go, call their sons: instruct them what a debt
They owe their ancestors; and make them swear
To pay it by transmitting down entire
Those sacred rights to which themselves were born.
Such was old Chaucer: Such the placid mien
Of him who first with harmony informed
The language of our fathers. Here he dwelt
For many a cheerful day. These ancient walls
Have often heard him, while his legends blithe
He sang: of love or knighthood, or the wiles
Of homely life; through each estate and age,
The fashions and the follies of the world
With cunning hand portraying. Though perchance
From Blenheim's towers, O Stranger, thou art come,
Glowing with Churchill's trophies; yet in vain
Dost thou applaud them, if thy breast be cold
To him, this other hero; who in times
Dark and untaught, began with charming verse
To tame the rudeness of his native land.