« PoprzedniaDalej »
To move the deep stagnation of his soul,—
But mean lust
All things are sold: the very light of heaven
Is venal; earth's unsparing gifts of love.
The smallest and most despicable things
That lurk in the abysses of the deep,
All objects of our life,—even life itself,
And the poor pittance which the laws allow
Of liberty,—the fellowship of man,
Those duties which his heart of human love
Should urge him to perform instinctively,
Are bought and sold as in a public mart
Of undisguising selfishness, that sets
On each its price, the stamp-mark of her reign.
Even love is sold: the solace of all woe
Is turned to deadliest agony:—old age
Shivers in selfish beauty's loathing arms,
And youth's corrupted impulses prepare
A life of horror from the blighting bane
Of commerce; whilst the pestilence that springs
From unenjoying sensualism, has filled
All human life with hydra-headed woes.
Falsehood demands but gold to pay the pangs
Without a shudder, the slave-soldier lends
His arms to murderous deeds, and steels his heart,
When the dread eloquence of dying men,
Low mingling on the lonely field of fame,
Assails that nature, whose applause he sells
For the gross blessings of a patriot mob,
For the vile gratitude of heartless kings,
And for a cold world's good word,—viler still!
There is a nobler glory, which survives
Until our being fades, and, solacing
All human care, accompanies its change;
Deserts not virtue in the dungeon's gloom,
And, in the precincts of the palace, guides
Her footsteps through that labyrinth of crime;
Imbues her lineaments with dauntlessness,
Even when, from power's avenging hand, she takes
Her sweetest, last, and noblest title—death!
—The consciousness of good, which neither gold,
Nor sordid fame, nor hope of heavenly bliss,
Can purchase; but a life of resolute good,
Unalterable will, quenchless desire
Of universal happiness, the heart
That beats with it in unison, the brain,
Whose ever wakeful wisdom toils to change
Reason's rich stores for its eternal weal.
This commerce of sincerest virtue needs
How vainly seek
Pining regrets, and vain repentance,
But hoary-headed selfishness has felt
All touch, all eye, all ear,
O'er the thin texture of its frame,
As on a summer even,
Then thus the Spirit spoke:
Thorny, and full of care, Which every fiend can make his prey at will. O Fairy! in the lapse of years, Is there no hope in store 1 Will yon vast suns roll on Interminably, still illumining The night of so many wretched souls. And see no hope for them 1 Will not the universal Spirit e'er Revivify this withered limb of Heaven 1
The Fairy calmly smiled
Suffused the Spirit's lineaments.
Falsehood, mistake, and lust;
But the eternal world
Even in perversest time:
Of ever-living flame,
How sweet a scene will earth become!
To the red and baleful sun
That faintly twinkles there.
Spirit! on yonder earth,
Madness and misery are there!
To suit the pressure of the changing times,
Thou taintest all thou lookest upon! the stars,
Which on thy cradle beamed so brightly sweet,
Were gods to the distempered playfulness
Of thy untutored infancy; the trees,
The grass, the clouds, the mountains, and the sea,
All living things that walk, swim, creep, or fly,
Were gods; the sun had homage, and the moon ,
Her worshipper. Then thou becamest a boy,
More daring in thy frenzies: every shape,
Monstrous or vast, or beautifully wild,
Which, from sensation's relics, fancy culls;
The spirits of the air, the shuddering ghost,
The genii of the elements, the powers
That give a shape to nature's varied works,
Had life and faith in the corrupt belief
Of thy blind heart: yet still thy youthful hands
Were pure of human blood. Then manhood gave
Its strength and ardour to thy frenzied brain:
Thine eager gaze scanned the stupendous scene,
Whose wonders mocked the knowledge of thy pride:
Their everlasting and unchanging laws
Reproached thine ignorance. Awhile thou stoodst
Baffled and gloomy; then thou didst sum up
The elements of all that thou didst know;
The changing seasons, winter's leafless reign,
The budding of the heaven-breathing trees,
The eternal orbs that beautify the night,
The sun-rise, and the setting of the moon,
Earthquakes and wars, and poisons and disease,
And all their causes, to an abstract point.
Converging, thou didst bend, and called it—God!
The self-sufficing, the omnipotent,
The merciful, and the avenging God!
Who, prototype of human misrule, sits
High in heaven's realm, upon a golden throne,
Even like an earthly king: and whose dread work,
Hell gapes for ever for the unhappy slaves
Of fate, whom he created, in his sport,