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But tell me, tell me! speak again,
Thy soft response renewing-
What makes that ship drive on so fast?
What is the ocean doing?
Still as a slave before his lord,
The ocean hath no blast;
His great bright eye most silently
Up to the moon is cast-
If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously
She looketh down on him.
But why drives on that ship so fast, Without or wave or wind?
The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind.
Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
Or we shall be belated:
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the Mariner's trance is abated."
I woke, and we were sailing on
As in a gentle weather:
'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high; The dead men stood together.
All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
All fixed on me their stony eyes,
That in the moon did glitter.
The pang, the curse, with which they died,
Had never passed away:
I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.
And now this spell was snapt: once more
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen-
Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turn'd round, walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows, a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.
But soon there breathed a wind on me,
Nor sound nor motion made:
Its path was not upon the sea,
In ripple or in shade.
It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
Like a meadow-gale of spring-
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.
Swiftly, swiftly, flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly, blew the breeze-
On me alone it blew.
Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
The light-house top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own countree?
We drifted o'er the harbour-bar,
And I with sobs did pray-
O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway.
The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
So smoothly it was strewn!
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the moon.
The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
That stands above the rock:
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.
And the bay was white with silent light, Till rising from the same,
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.
A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were:
I turned my eyes upon the deck-
Oh, Christ! what saw I there!
Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
And, by the holy rood!
A man all light, a seraph-man,
On every corse there stood.
This seraph-band, each waved his hand:
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light:
This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart-
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.
But soon I heard the dash of oars,
I heard the pilot's cheer;
My head was turn'd perforce away,
And I saw a boat appear.
The pilot, and the pilot's boy,
I heard them coming fast:
Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy
The dead men could not blast.
I saw a third-I heard his voice:
It is the hermit good!
He singeth loud his godly hymns
The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone; and now the wedding-guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.
He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.
ODE TO THE DEPARTING YEAR.
Spirit who sweepest the wild harp of time!
It is most hard, with an untroubled ear
Thy dark inwoven harmonies to hear!
Yet, mine eye fixt on Heaven's unchanging clime,
Long had I listened, free from mortal fear,
With inward stillness, and submitted mind;
When lo! its folds far waving on the wind,
I saw the train of the departing year!
Starting from my silent sadness,
Then with no unholy madness,
Ere yet the enter'd cloud foreclos'd my sight,
I rais'd th’impetuous song, and solemnized his flight.
Hither, from the recent tomb,
From the prison's direr gloom,
From distemper's midnight anguish ;
And thence, where poverty doth waste and languish ; Or where, his two bright torches blending,
Love illumines manhood's maze;
Or where o'er cradled infants bending
Hope has fix'd her wishful gaze.
Hither, in perplexed dance,
Ye woes! ye young-eyed joys! advance!
By time's wild harp, and by the hand
Whose indefatigable sweep
Raises it's fateful strings from sleep,
I bid you haste, a mixt tumultuous band!
From every private bower,
And each domestic hearth,
Haste for one solemn hour;
And with a loud and yet a louder voice,
O'er nature struggling in portentous birth,
Weep and rejoice!
Still echoes the dread Name, that o'er the earth
Let slip the storm, and woke the brood of hell.
And now advance in saintly jubilee
Justice and Truth! they too have heard thy spell,
They too obey thy name, Divinest Liberty!
I mark'd Ambition in his war-array!
I heard the mailed Monarch's troublous cry"Ah! wherefore does the Northern Conqueress stay? Groans not her chariot on its onward way?"
Fly, mailed Monarch, fly!
Stunned by Death's twice mortal mace,
No more on Murder's lurid face
Th' insatiate hag shall glote with drunken eye!
Manes of th' unnumber'd slain!
Ye that gasp'd on Warsaw's plain!
Ye that erst at Ismail's tower,
When human ruin choak'd the streams,
Fell in conquest's glutted hour,
Mid women's shrieks and infant's screams! Spirits of the uncoffin'd slain,
Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,
Oft, at night, in misty train,
Rush around her narrow dwelling!
The exterminating fiend is fled-
(Foul her life, and dark her doom)
Mighty armies of the dead,
Dance like death-fires round her tomb!
Then with prophetic song relate,
Each some tyrant-murderer's fate!
Departing Year! 'twas on no earthly shore
My soul beheld thy vision! where alone,
Voiceless and stern, before the cloudy throne,
Aye Memory sits: thy robe inscrib'd with gore,
With many an unimaginable groan
Thou storied'st thy sad hours! silence ensued,
Deep silence o'er th' ethereal multitude,
Whose locks with wreaths, whose wreaths with
Then, his eye wild ardours glancing,
From the choired Gods advancing,
The spirit of the earth made reverence meet,
And stood up, beautiful, before the cloudy seat.
To the deaf Synod, full of gifts and lies!' By Wealth's insensate laugh! by Torture's howl! Avenger, rise!
For ever shall the thankless Island scowl, Her quiver full, and with unbroken bow? Speak! from thy storm-black Heaven Ospeak aloud! And on the darkling foe
Open thine eye of fire from some uncertain cloud!
O dart the flash! O rise and deal the blow!
The past to thee, to thee the future cries!
Hark! how wide Nature joins her groans below!
Rise, God of Nature! rise."
The voice had ceased, the vision fled;
Yet still I gasp'd and reel'd with dread.
And ever, when the dream of night
Renews the phantom to my sight,
Cold sweat-drops gather on my limbs;
My ears throb hot; my eye-balls start;
My brain with horrid tumult swims;
Wild is the tempest of my heart;
And my thick and struggling breath
Imitates the toil of death!
No stranger agony confounds
The soldier on the war-field spread,
When all foredone with toil and wounds.
Death-like he dozes among heaps of dead!
(The strife is o'er, the day-light fled,
And the night-wind clamours hoarse!
See! the starting wretch's head
Lies pillow'd on a brother's corse!)
Not yet enslav'd, not wholly vile,
O Albion! O my mother Isle!
Thy vallies, fair as Eden's bowers,
Glitter green with sunny showers;
Thy grassy uplands' gentle swells
Echo to the bleat of flocks;
(Those grassy hills, those glitt'ring dells
Proudly ramparted with rocks) And Ocean mid his uproar wild Speaks safety to his Island-child! Hence, for many a fearless age,
Has social Quiet lov'd thy shore;
Nor ever proud invader's rage
Or sack'd thy towers, or stain'd thy fields with gore.
Abandon'd of Heaven! mad avarice thy guide,
At cowardly distance, yet kindling with pride-
Mid thy herds and thy corn-fields secure thou hast
And join'd the wild yelling of Famine and Blood!
The nations curse thee, and with eager wond'ring
Shall hear Destruction, like a vulture, scream!
Strange-eyed Destruction! who with many a
Of central fires thro' nether seas upthund'ring
Soothes her fierce solitude; yet as she lies
By livid fount, or red volcanic stream,
If ever to her lidless dragon-eyes,
O Albion! thy predestin'd ruins rise,
The fiend-hag on her perilous couch doth leap,
Muttering distemper'd triumph in her charmed sleep.
In vain, in vain the birds of warning singAnd hark! I hear the famish'd brood of prey Flap their lank pennons on the groaning wind! Away, my soul, away!
I unpartaking of the evil thing,
With daily prayer and daily toil
Soliciting for food my scanty soil,
Have wailed my country with a loud lament. Now I recenter my immortal mind
In the deep sabbath of meek self-content; Cleans'd from the vaporous passions that bedim God's image, sister of the Seraphim.
FEARS IN SOLITUDE.
WRITTEN IN 1798, DURING THE ALARM OF AN
A green and silent spot, amid the hills,
A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place
No singing sky-lark ever pois'd himself.
The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope,
Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on,
All golden with the never-bloomless furze,
Which now blooms most profusely; but the dell,
Bath'd by the mist, is fresh and delicate
As vernal corn-field, or the unripe flax,
When, through its half-transparent stalks, at eve,
The level sunshine glimmers with green light.
Oh! 'tis a quiet spirit-healing nook!
Which all, methinks, would love; but chiefly he,
The humble man, who, in his youthful years,
Knew just so much of folly, as had made
His early manhood more securely wise!
Here he might lie on fern or wither'd heath,
While from the singing-lark (that sings unseen
The minstrelsy that solitude loves best,)
And from the sun, and from the breezy air,
Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame;
And he, with many feelings, many thoughts,
Made up a meditative joy, and found
Religious meanings in the forms of nature!
And so his senses gradually wrapt
In a half sleep, he dreams of better worlds,
And dreaming hears thee still, O singing-lark,
That singest like an angel in the clouds!
My God! it is a melancholy thing
For such a man, who would full fain preserve
His soul in calmness, yet perforce must feel
For all his human brethren-O my God!
It is indeed a melancholy thing,
And weighs upon the heart, that he must think
What uproar and what strife may now be stirring
way or that way o'er these silent hills—
Invasion, and the thunder and the shout,
And all the crash of onset; fear and rage,
And undetermin'd conflict-even now,
Even now, perchance, and in his native isle:
Carnage and groans beneath this blessed sun!
We have offended, Oh! my countrymen!
We have offended very grievously,
And been most tyrannous. From east to west
A groan of accusation pierces Heaven!
The wretched plead against us; multitudes
Countless and vehement, the sons of God,
Our brethren! like a cloud that travels on,
Steam'd up from Cairo's swamps of pestilence,
Ev'n so, my countrymen! have we gone forth
And borne to distant tribes slavery and pangs,
And, deadlier far, our vices, whose deep taint
With slow perdition murders the whole man,
His body and his soul! Meanwhile, at home,
All individual dignity and power
Engulph'd in courts, committees, institutions,
Associations and societies,
A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-reporting guild,
One benefit-club for mutual flattery,
We have drunk up, deniure as at a grace,
Pollutions from the brimming cup of wealth;
Contemptuous of all honorable rule,
Yet bartering freedom and the poor man's life
For gold, as at a market! The sweet words
Of christian promise, words that even yet
Might stem destruction, were they wisely preach'd,
Are mutter'd o'er by men, whose tones proclaim
How flat and wearisome they feel their trade:
Rank scoffers some, but most too indolent
To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth.
Oh! blasphemous! the book of life is made
A superstitious instrument, on which
We gabble o'er the oaths we mean to break;
For all must swear-all and in every place,
College and wharf, council and justice-court;
All, all must swear, the briber and the bribed,
Merchant and lawyer, senator and priest,
The rich, the poor, the old man and the young;
All, all make up one scheme of perjury,
That faith doth reel; the very name of God
Sounds like a juggler's charm; and, bold with joy,
Forth from his dark and lonely hiding-place,
(Portentous sight!) the owlet, Atheism,
Sailing on obscene wings athwart the noon,
Drops his blue-fringed lids, and holds them close,
And hooting at the glorious sun in Heaven,
Cries out, "Where is it?"
Thankless too for peace; (Peace long preserv'd by fleets and perilous seas) Secure from actual warfare, we have lov'd To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war! Alas! for ages ignorant of all
It's ghastlier workings, (famine or blue plague,
Battle, or siege, or flight through wintry snows,)
We, this whole people, have been clamorous
For war and bloodshed; animating sports, .
The which we pay for as a thing to talk of,
Spectators and not combatants! No guess
Anticipative of a wrong unfelt,
No speculation on contingency,
However dim and vague, too vague and dim
To yield a justifying cause; and forth,
(Stuff'd out with big preamble, holy names,
And adjurations of the God in Heaven,)
We send our mandates for the certain death
Of thousands and ten thousands! Boys and girls,
And women, that would groan to see a child
Pull off an insect's leg, all read of war,
The best amusement for our morning-meal!
The poor wretch, who has learnt his only prayers
From curses, who knows scarcely words enough
To ask a blessing from his Heavenly Father,
Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute
And technical in victories and deceit,
And all our dainty terms for fratricide;
Terms which we trundle smoothly o'er our tongues
Like mere abstractions, empty sounds to which
We join no feeling and attach no form!
As if the soldier died without a wound;
As if the fibres of this godlike frame
Were gor'd without a pang; as if the wretch,
Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds,
Pass'd off to Heaven, translated and not kill'd;—
As though he had no wife to pine for him,
No God to judge him! therefore, evil days
Are coming on us, O my countrymen!
And what if all-avenging Providence,
Strong and retributive, should make us know
The meaning of our words, force us to feel
The desolation and the agony
Of our fierce doings?
Spare us yet awhile, Father and God! Oh! spare us yet awhile! Oh! let not English women drag their flight Fainting beneath the burden of their babes, Of the sweet infants, that but yesterday Laugh'd at the breast! Sons, brothers, husbands, all Who ever gaz'd with fondness on the forms Which grew up with you round the same fire-side, And all who ever heard the sabbath-bells Without the infidel's scorn, make yourselves pure! Stand forth! be men! repel an impious foe, Impious and false, a light yet cruel race, Who laugh away all virtue, mingling mirth With deeds of murder; and still promising Freedom, themselves too sensual to be free, Poison life's amities, and cheat the heart Of faith and quiet hope, and all that soothes And all that lifts the spirit! Stand we forth; Render them back upon the insulted ocean, And let them toss as idly on it's waves
As the vile sea-weed, which some mountain-blast
Swept from our shores! and oh! may we return
Not with a drunken triumph, but with fear,
Repenting of the wrongs with which we stung
So fierce a foe to frenzy!
I have told,
O Britons! O my brethren! I have told
Most bitter truth, but without bitterness.
Nor deem my zeal or factious or mis-tim'd;
For never can true courage dwell with them,
Who, playing tricks with conscience, dare not look
At their own vices. We have been too long
Dupes of a deep delusion! Some, belike,
Groaning with restless enmity, expect
All change from change of constituted power;
As if a government had been a robe,
On which our vice and wretchedness were tagg'd
Like fancy-points and fringes, with the robe
Pull'd off at pleasure. Fondly these attach
A radical causation to a few
Poor drudges of chastising Providence, Who borrow all their hues and qualities