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O Friend! I know not which way I must look

For comfort, being, as I am, opprest,

To think that now our Life is only drest

For shew; mean handy-work of craftsman, cook,

Or groom ! — We must run glittering like a Brook

In the open sunshine, or we are unblest:

The wealthiest man among us is the best:

No grandeur now in nature or in book

Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expense,

This is idolatry; and these we adore:

Plain living and high thinking are no more:

The homely beauty of the good old cause

Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence,

And pure religion breathing household laws.



LONDON, 1802.

Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour:

England hath need of thee: she is a fen

Of stagnant waters: altar, sword and pen,

Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,

Have forfeited their ancient English dower

Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;

Oh! raise us up, return to us again;

And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.

Thy soul was like a Star and dwelt apart:

Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea;

Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,

So didst thou travel on life's common way,

In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart

The lowliest duties on herself did lay.

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Great Men have been among us; hands that penned

And tongues that uttered wisdom, better none:

The later Sydney, Marvel, Harington,

Young Vane and others who called Milton Friend.

These Moralists could act and comprehend:

They knew how genuine glory was put on;

Taught us how rightfully a nation shone

In splendor: what strength was, that would not bend

But in magnanimous meekness. France, 'tis strange

Hath brought forth no such souls as we had then.

Perpetual emptiness! unceasing change!

No single Volume paramount, no code,

No master spirit, no determined road;

But equally a want of Books and Men!

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It is not to be thought of that the Flood
Of British freedom, which to the open Sea
Of the world's praise from dark antiquity
Hath flowed, "with pomp of waters, unwithstood;"
Road by which all might come and go that would,
And bear out freights of worth to foreign lands;
That this most famous Stream in Bogs and Sands
Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our Halls is hung
Armoury of the invincible Knights of old:
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold Which Milton held In every thing we are sprung Of Earth's first blood, have titles manifold.


When I have borne in memory what has tamed

Great Nations, how ennobling thoughts depart

When men change Swords for Ledgers, and desert

The Student's bower for gold, some fears unnamed

I had my Country! — am I to be blamed?

But when I think of Thee, and what Thou art,

Verily, in the bottom of my heart,

Of those unfilial fears I am ashamed.

But dearly must we prize thee; we who find

In thee a bulwark of the cause of men;

And I by my affection was beguiled.

What wonder if a Poet now and then,

Among the many movements of his mind,

Felt for thee as a Lover or a Child. ,

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