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Which God avenged on Pharoah---the Bastile.
Ye horrid towers, the abode of broken hearts;
Ye dungeons and ye cages of despair,
That monarchs have supplied from age to age
With music, such as suits their sovereign ears,
The sighs and groans of miserable men!
There's not an English heart, that would not leap
To hear that ye were fallen at last; to know
That ev'n our enemies, so oft employed
In forging chains for us, themselves were free.
For he who values liberty, confines
His zeal for her predominance within
No narrow bounds; her cause engages him
Wherever pleaded. 'Tis the cause of man.
There dwell the most forlorn of human kind,
Immured though unaccused, condemned untried,
Cruelly spared, and hopeless of escape.
There like the visionary emblem seen
By him of Babylon, life stands a stump,
And filletted about with hoops of brass,
Still lives, though all his pleasant boughs are gone.
To count the hour-bell and expect no change;
And ever, as the sullen sound is heard,
Still to reflect, that though a joyless note
To him, whose moments all have one dull pace,
Ten thousand rovers in the world at large
Account it music; that it summons some
To theatre, or jocund feast or ball :
The wearied hireling finds it a release
From labour; and the lover, who has chid
Its long delay, feels every welcome stroke
Upon his heart-strings, trembling with delight---
To fly for refugę from distracting thought
To such amusements, as ingenious woe
Contrives, hard-shifting, and without her tools---
To read engraven on the mouldy walls,
In staggering types, his predecessor's tale,
A sad memorial, and subjoin his own---
To turn purveyor to an overgorged
And bloated spider, till the pampered pest
Is made familiar, watches his approach,
Comes at his call, and serves him for a friend---
To wear out time in numbering to and fro
The studs that thick emboss his iron door;
Then downward and then upward, then aslant
And then alternate ; with a sickly hope
By dint of change to give his tasteless task
Some relish; till the sum exactly found
In all directions, he begins again---
Oh comfortless existence! hemmed around
With woes, which who that suffers would not kneel
And beg for exile, or the pangs of death?
That man should thus encroach on fellow man,
Abridge him of his just and native rights,
Eradicate him, tear him from his hold
Upon the endearments of domestic life
And social, nip bis fruitfulness and use,
And doom him for perhaps an heedless word
To barrenness, and solitude, and tears,
Moves indignation; makes the name of king
(Of king whom such prerogative can please)
As dreadful as the Manichean god,
Adored through fear, strong only to destroy.
'Tis liberty alone, that gives the flower
Of fleeting life its lustre and perfume;
And we are weeds without it. All constraint,
Except what wisdom lays on evil men,
Is evil: hurts the faculties, impedes
Their progress in the road of science; blinds
The eyesight of discovery; and begets,
In those that suffer it, a sordid mind
Bestial, a meagre intellect, unfit
To be the tenant of man's noble form.
Thee therefore still, blame-worthy as thou art,
With all thy loss of empire, and though squeezed
By public exigence till annual food
Fails for the craving hunger of the state,
Thee I account still happy, and the chief
Among the nations, seeing thou art free;
My native pook of earth! Thy clime is rude,
Replete with vapours, and disposes much
All hearts to sadness, and none more than mine :
Thine unadulterate manners are less soft
And plausible than social life requires,
And thou hast need of discipline and art
To give thee what politer France receives
From nature's bounty---that humane address
And sweetness, without which no pleasure is
In converse, either starved by cold reserve,
Or flushed with fierce dispute, a senseless brawl:
Yet being free I love thee : for the sake
Of that one feature can be well content,
Disgraced as thou hast been, poor as thou art,
To seek no sublunary rest beside.
But once enslaved, farewell ! I could endure
Chains no where patiently; and chains at home,
Where I am free by birthright, not at all.
Then what were left of roughness in the grain
Of British natures, wanting its excuse
That it belongs to freemen, would disgust
And shock me I should then with double pain
Feel all the rigour of thy fickle clime;
And, if I must bewail the blessing lost,
For which our Hampdens and our Sidneys bled,
I would at last bewail it under skies
Milder, among a people less austere ;
In scenes, which having never known me free,
Would not reproach me with the loss I felt.
Do I forebode impossible events,
And tremble at vain dreams? Heaven grant I may ?
But the age of virtuous politics is past,
And we are deep in that of cold pretence.
Patriots are grown too shrewd to be sincere,
And we too wise to trust them. He that takes
Deep in his soft credulity the stamp
Designed by loud declaimers on the part
Of liberty, themselves the slaves of lust,
Incurs derision for his easy faith
And lack of knowledge, and with cause enough ;
For when was public virtue to be found
Where private was not? Can he love the whole
Who loves no part ? He be a nation's friend
Who is in truth the friend of no man there?
Can he be strenuous in his country's cause,
Who slights the charities, for whose dear sake
That country, if at all, must be beloved ?
'Tis therefore scber and good men are sad For England's glory, seeing it wax pale And sickly, while her champions wear their hearts So loose to private duty, that no brain, Healthful and undisturbed by factious fumes, Can dream them trusty to the general weal. Such were not they of old, whose tempered blades Dispersed the shackles of usurped control, And hewed them link from link : then Albion's sons Were sons indeed; they felt a filial heart Beat high within them at a mother's wrongs; And, shining each in his domestic sphere, Shone brighter still, once called to public view. 'Tis therefore many, whose sequestered lot Forbids their interference, looking on, Anticipate perforce some dire event; And, seeing the old castle of the state, That promised once more firmness, so assailed That all its tempest-beaten turrets shake, Stand motionless expectants of its fall. All has its date below; the fatal hour Was registered in heaven ere time began. We turn to dust, and all our mightiest works Die too : the deep foundations that we lay, Time ploughs them up, and not a trace remains. We build with what we deem eternal rock : A distant age asks where the fabric stood; And in the dust, sifted and searched in vain, The undiscoverable secret sleeps.
But there is yet a liberty, unsung By poets, and by senators unpraised, Which monarchs cannot grant, nor all the powers Of earth and hell confederate take away: A liberty, which persecution, fraud, Oppression, prisons, have no power to bind; Which whoso tastes can be enslaved no more. 'Tis liberty of heart derived from heaven, Bought with HIS blood who gave it to mankind, And sealed with the same token. It is held By charter, and that charter sanctioned sure By the unimpeachable and awful oath And promise of a God. His other gifts
All bear the royal stamp, that speaks them his,
And are august; but this transcends them all.
His other works, the visible display
Of all-creating energy and might,
Are grand, no doubt, and worthy of the word
That, finding an interminable space
Unoccupied, has filled the void so well,
And made so sparkling what was dark before,
But these are not his glory. Man, 'tis true,
Smit with the beauty of so fair a scene,
Might well suppose the artificer diviné.
Meant it eternal, had he not himself
Pronounced it transient, glorious as it is,
And still designing a more glorious far,
Doomed it as insufficient for his praise.
These therefore are occasional, and pass;
Formed for the confutation of the fool,
Whose lying heart disputes against a God;
That office served, they must be swept away,
Not so the labours of his love: they shine
In other heavens than these that we behold,
And fade not. There is paradise that fears
No forfeiture, and of its fruits he sends
Large prelibation oft to saints below.
Of these the first in order, and the pledge
And confident assurance of the rest,
Is liberty: a fight into his arms
Ere yet mortality's fine threads give way,
A clear escape from tyrannizing lust,
And full immunity from penal woe.
Chains are the portion of revolted man,
Stripes and a dungeon; and his body serves
The triple purpose. In that sickly, foul,
Opprobrious residence he finds them all.
Propense his heart to idols, he is held
In silly dotage on created things,
Careless of their Creator. And that low
And sordid gravitation of his powers
To a vile clod so draws him, with such force
Resistless from the centre he should seek,
That he at last forgets it. All his hopes
Tend downward ; his ambition is to sink,