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For there in the ghastly pit long since a body was
His who had given me life -O father! O God! was it well?
Mangled, and flatten'd, and crush'd, and dinted into the ground:
There yet lies the rock that fell with him when he fell.
Did he fling himself down? who knows? for a great speculation had fail'd,
And ever he mutter'd and madden'd, and ever wann'd with despair,
And out he walk'd when the wind like a broken worldling wail'd,
And the flying gold of the ruin'd woodlands drove thro' the air.
I remember the time, for the roots of my hair were
By a shuffled step, by a dead weight trail'd, by a whisper'd fright,
And my pulses closed their gates with a shock on my heart as I heard
The shrill-edged shriek of a mother divide the
Villany somewhere! whose? One says, we are villains all.
Not he his honest fame should at least by me be maintain❜d :
But that old man, now lord of the broad estate and the Hall,
Dropt off gorged from a scheme that had left us flaccid and drain'd.
Why do they prate of the blessings of Peace? we have made them a curse,
Pickpockets, each hand lusting for all that is not its
And lust of gain, in the spirit of Cain, is it better or
Than the heart of the citizen. hissing in war on his own hearthstone ?
But these are the days of advance, the works of the men of mind,
When who but a fool would have faith in a tradesman's ware or his word?
Is it peace or war? Civil war, as I think, and that
of a kind
The viler, as underhand, not openly bearing the sword.
Sooner or later I too may passively take the
Of the golden age-why not? I have neither hope nor trust;
May make my heart as a millstone, set my face as a flint,
Cheat and be cheated, and die: who knows? we are
ashes and dust.
Peace sitting under her olive, and slurring the days gone by,
When the poor are hovell'd and hustled together, each sex, like swine,
When only the ledger lives, and when only not all men lie;
Peace in her vineyard — yes! but a company forges the wine.
And the vitriol madness flushes up in the ruffian's
Till the filthy by-lane rings to the yell of the trampled wife,
While chalk and alum and plaster are sold to the poor for bread,
And the spirit of murder works in the very means of life.
And Sleep must lie down arm'd, for the villanous
Grind on the wakeful ear in the hush of the moonless
While another is cheating the sick of a few last gasps, as he sits
To pestle a poison'd poison behind his crimson lights.