Obrazy na stronie

VI. “What is that Power Some moon-struck sophist stood Watching the shade from his own soul upthrown Fill Heaven and darken Earth, and in such mood The Form he saw and worshipp'd was his own, His likeness in the world's vast mirror shown; And 't were an innocent dream, but that a faith Nursed by fear's dew of poison, grows thereon, And that men say, that Power has chosen Death On all who scorn its laws, to wreak immortal wrath.


“Men say that they themselves have heard and

seen, Or known from others who have known such things, A Shade, a Form, which Earth and Heaven between Wields an invisible rod—that Priests and Kings, Custom, domestic sway, ay, all that brings Man's free-born soul beneath the oppressor's heel, Are his strong ministers, and that the stings Of death will make the wise his vengeance feel,

Though truth and virtue arm their hearts with tenfold steel.

VIII. “And it is said, this Power will punish wrong; Yes, add despair to crime, and pain to pain! And deepest hell, and deathless snakes among, Will bind the wretch on whom is fix’d a stain, Which, like a plague, a burthen, and a bane, Clung to him while he lived;—for love and hate, Virtue and vice, they say, are difference vain— The will of strength is right—this human state Tyrants, that they may rule, with lies thus desolate.

IX. “Alas, what strength opinion is more frail Than yon dim cloud now fading on the moon Even while we gaze, though it awhile avail To hide the orb of truth—and every throne Of Earth or Heaven, though shadows rest thereon, One shape of many names —for this ye plow The barren waves of ocean, hence each one Is slave or tyrant; all betray and bow, Command, or kill, or fear, or wreak, or suffer woe.

X. * Its names are each a sign which maketh holy All power—ay, the ghost, the dream, the shade, Of power—lust, falsehood, hate, and pride, and folly; The pattern whence all fraud and wrong is made, A law to which mankind has been betray'd : And human love is as the name well known Of a dear mother, whom the murderer laid in bloody grave, and into darkness thrown, Gather'd her wilder'd babes around him as his own.

XI. “O love! who to the hearts of wandering men Art as the calm to Ocean's weary waves! Justice, or truth, or joy! thou only can From slavery and religion's labyrinth caves Guide us, as one clear star the seaman saves. To give to all an equal share of good, To track the steps of freedom though through ves She pass, to suffer all in patient mood, To weep for crime, though stain'd with thy friend's dearest blood.

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“This need not be : ye might arise, and will That gold should lose its power, and thrones their

glory ;
That love, which none may bind, be free to fill
The world, like light; and evil faith, grown hoary
With crime, be quench'd and die.—Yon promon-

Even now eclipses the descending moon!—
Dungeons and palaces are transitory—
High temples fade like vapor—Man alone

Remains, whose will has power when all beside is
“Let all be free and equal –from your hearts
I feel an echo; through my inmost frame
Like sweetest sound, seeking its mate, it darts—
Whence come ye, friends ! alas, I cannot name
All that I read of sorrow, toil, and shame,
On your worn faces; as in legends old
Which make immortal the disastrous fame
Of conquerors and impostors false and bold,
The discord of your hearts, I in your looks behold


“Whence come ye, friends? from pouring human

blood Forth on the earth 7 or bring ye steel and gold, That Kings may dupe and slay the multitude 1 Or from the famish'd poor, pale, weak, and cold, Bear ye the earnings of their toil unfold! Speak! are your hands in slaughter's sanguine hue Stain'd freshly 7 have your hearts in guile grown

old 2 Know yourselves thus! ye shall be pure as dew,

And I will be a friend and sister unto you.

XIX. “Disguise it not—we have one human heart— All mortal thoughts confess a common home : Blush not for what may to thyself impart Stains of inevitable crime: the doom Is this, which has, or may, or must become Thine, and all human-kind's. Ye are the spoil Which Time thus marks for the devouring tomb, Thou and thy thoughts, and they, and all the toil Wherewith ye twine the rings of life's perpetual coil.

XX. Disguise it not—ye blush for what ye hate, And Enmity is sister unto Shame; Look on your mind—it is the book of fate— Ah! it is dark with many a blazon'd name Of misery—all are mirrors of the same; But the dark fiend who with his iron pen Dipp'd in scorn's fiery poison, makes his fame. Enduring there, would o'er the heads of men Pass harmless, if they scorn'd to make their hearts his den. XXI. “Yes, it is Hate, that shapeless fiendly thing Of many names, all evil, some divine, Whom self-contempt arms with a mortal sting ; Which, when the heart its snaky folds entwine, Is wasted quite, and when it doth repine To gorge such bitter prey, on all beside It turns with ninefold rage, as with its twine When Amphisbacna some fair bird has tied, Soon o'er the putrid mass he threats on every side.


“Reproach not thine own soul, but know thyself,
Nor hate another's crime, nor lothe thine own.
It is the dark idolatry of self,
Which, when our thoughts and actions once are

gone, Demands that man should weep, and bleed, and

O vacant expiation' be at rest.—
The past is Death's, the future is thine own;
And love and joy can make the foulest breast

A paradise of flowers, where Peace might build her

“‘Speak thou! whence come ye?”—A Youth

made reply, ‘Wearily, wearily o'er the boundless deep We sail;-thou readest well the misery Told in these faded eyes, but much doth sleep Within, which there the poor heart loves to keep, Or dare not write on the dishonor'd brow; Even from our childhood have we learn'd to steep The bread of slavery in the tears of woe,

And never dream'd of hope or refuge until now.

XXIV. “‘Yes—I must speak—my secret should have per. ish'd Even with the heart it wasted, as a brand Fades in the dying flame whose life it chensh'd, But that no human bosom can withstand Thee, wondrous Lady, and the mild command Of thy keen eyes —yes, we are wretched slave. Who from their wonted loves and native land Are rest, and bear o'er the dividing waves The unregarded prey of calm and happy graves

XXV. “We drag afar from pastoral vales the fires, Among the daughters of those mountains late, We drag them there, where all things best and * rarest Are stain’d and trampled:—years have come old gone Since, like the ship which bears me, I have known No thought:-but now the eyes of one deat Mid On mine with light of mutual love have shootShe is my life-I am but as the shade Of her, a smoke sent up from ashes, soon to side

XXVI. “‘For she must perish in the tyrant's hallAlas, alas!"—He ceased, and by the sail Sate cowering—but his sobs were heard by all And still before the ocean and the gale The ship fled fast till the stars 'gan to sail, And round me gather'd with mute countenance. The Seamen gazed, the Pilot, worn and pale With toil, the Captain with gray locks, whose gano Met mine in restless awe-they stood as in almo


“Recede not pause not now! thou art growno. But Hope will make thee young, for Hope in

Are children of one mother, even Love-boo"
The eternal stars gaze on us!—is the truth
Within your soul t care for your own, or nth
For other's sufferings do ye thirst to bear
A heart which not the serpent custom's tooth
May violate —be free and even here,

Swear to be firm till death! they cried, we wo
we swear!”
“The very darkness shook, as with a blas
Of subterranean thunder at the cry;
The hollow shore its thousand echoes cast
Into the night, as if the sea, and sky,
And earth, rejoiced with new-born Liberty,
For in that name they swore! Bolts were undo"
And on the deck, with unaccustom'd eye,
The captives gazing stood, and every one
Shrank as the inconstant torch upon her counter"

XXIX. “They were earth's purest children, youngari” With eyes the shrines of unawakend thos” And brows as bright as spring or morning." Dark time had there its evil legend wrough In characters of cloud which wither noThe change was like a dream to them; on " They knew the glory of their alter'd lot In the bright wisdom of youth's breathless * sweet talk, and miles, and sighs, all boo"


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V. “We reach'd the port—alas! from many spirits The wisdom which had waked that cry, was fled, Like the brief glory which dark Heaven inherits From the false dawn, which fades ere it is spread, Upon the night's devouring darkness shed : Yet soon bright day will burst—even like a chasm Of fire, to burn the shrouds outworn and dead, Which wrap the world; a wide enthusiasm, To cleanse the sever'd world as with an earthquake's spasms Vi “I walk'd through the great City then, but free From shame or fear; those toil-worn Mariners And happy Maidens did encompass me; And like a subterranean wind that stirs Some forest among caves, the hopes and fears From every human soul, a murmur strange Made as I past; and many wept, with tears Of joy and awe, and winged thoughts did range, And half-extinguish'd words, which prophesied of change. VII.

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XI. “Those who were sent to bind me, wept, and felt Their minds outsoar the bonds which clasp'd them round, Even as a waxen shape may waste and melt In the white surnace; and a vision'd swound, A pause of hope and awe the City bound, Which, like the silence of a tempest's birth, When in its awful shadow it has wound The sun, the wind, the ocean, and the earth, Hung terrible, ere yet the lightnings have leapt forth.

XII. “Like clouds inwoven in the silent sky, By winds from distant regions meeting there, In the high name of truth and liberty Around the City millions gather'd were, By hopes which sprang from many a hidden lair; Words, which the lore of truth in hues of grace Array'd, thine own wild songs which in the air Like homeless odors floated, and the name Of thee, and many a tongue which thou hadst dipp'd in flame. XIII. “The Tyrant knew his power was gone, but Fear, The nurse of Vengeance, bade him wait the event— That perfidy and custom, gold and prayer, And whatsoe'er, when force is impotent, To fraud the sceptre of the world has lent, Might, as he judged, confirm his failing sway. Therefore throughout the streets the Priests he sent To curse the rebels—To their gods did they For Earthquake, Plague, and Want, kneel in the public way. XIV. . “And grave and hoary men were bribed to tell From seats where law is made the slave of wrong, How glorious Athens in her splendor fell, Because her sons were free-and that among Mankind, the many to the few belong, By Heaven, and Nature, and Necessity. They said, that age was truth, and that the young Marr'd with wild hopes the peace of slavery, With which old times and men had quell'd the vain and free. XV. “And with the falsehood of their poisonous lips They breathed on the enduring memory Of sages and of bards a brief eclipse; There was one teacher, who, necessity Had arm'd, with strength and wrong against mankind, His slave and his avenger aye to be; That we were weak and sinful, frail and blind, And that the will of one was peace, and we Should seek for naught on earth but toil and misery.


“‘For thus we might avoid the hell hereafter.”
So spake the hypocrites, who cursed and lied;
Alas, their sway was past, and tears and laughter
Clung to their hoary hair, withering the pride
Which in their hollow hearts dared still abide;
And yet obscener slaves with smoother brow,
And sneers on their strait lips, thin, blue and

Said, that the rule of men was over now,

And hence, the subject world to woman's will must bow;

XVII. “And gold was scatter'd through the streets, and wine Flow'd at a hundred feasts within the wall In vain! the steady towers in Heaven did thine As they were wont, nor at the priestly call, Left Plague her banquet in the AEthiop's hall, Nor famine from the rich man's portal came, Where at her ease she ever preys on all Who throng to kneel for food: nor fear nor shame, Nor faith, nor discord, dimm'd hope's newly-kindled flame. XVIII. “For gold was as a god whose faith begun To fade, so that its worshippers were few, And Faith itself, which in the heart of man

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