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On a celebrated Event in Ancient Historyl

A Roman Master stands on Grecian ground,
And to the people at the Isthmian Games
Assembled, He, by a herald's voice, proclaims
THE LIBERTY of GREEcE:—the words rebound
Until all voices in one voice are drowned;
Glad acclamation by which air was rentl
And birds, high flying in the element,
Dropped to the earth, astonished at the sound !
Yet were the thoughtful grieved; and still that voice
Haunts, with sad echoes, musing Fancy's ear:
Ah! that a Conqueror's words should be so dear:
Ah! that a boon could shed such rapturous joys
A gift of that which is not to be given
By all the blended powers of Earth and Heaven.


Upon the same Event

WHEN, far and wide, swift as the beams of morn
The tidings passed of servitude repealed,
And of that joy which shook the Isthmian Field,
The rough Ætolians smiled with bitter scorn.
“'Tis known,” cried they, “that he who would adorn
His envied temples with the Isthmian crown
Must either win, through effort of his own,
The prize, or be content to see it worn
By more deserving brows.-Yet so ye prop,
Sons of the brave who fought at Marathon,
Your feeble spirits 1 Greece her head hath bowed,
As if the wreath of liberty thereon
Would fix itself as smoothly as a cloud
Which, at Jove's will, descends on Pelion's top.”


To Thomas Clarkson, on the final passing of the Bill for the abolition of the Slave Trade. March 1807

CLARKson 1 it was an obstinate hill to climb :
How toilsome—nay, how dire—it was, by thee
Is known; by none, perhaps, so feelingly:
But thou, who, starting in thy fervent prime,
Didst first lead forth that enterprise sublime,
Hast heard the constant Voice its charge repeat,
Which, out of thy young heart's oracular seat,
First roused thee.—C true yoke-fellow of Time,
Duty's intrepid liegeman, see, the palm
Is won, and by all Nations shall be worn 1
The blood-stained Writing is for ever torn;
And thou henceforth wilt have a good man's calm,
A great man's happiness; thy zeal shall find
Repose at length, firm friend of human kind

A Prophecy, February 1807

HIGH deeds, O Germans, are to come from you!
Thus in your books the record shall be found,
“A watchword was pronounced, a potent sound—
ARMINIUs!—all the people quaked like dew
Stirred by the breeze; they rose, a Nation, true,
True to herself—the mighty Germany,
She of the Danube and the Northern Sea,
She rose, and off at once the yoke she threw.
All power was given her in the dreadful trance:
Those new-born Kings” she withered like a flame.”
—Woe to them all ! but heaviest woe and shame
To that Bavarian who could first advance
His banner in accursed league with France,
First open traitor to the German name !


Composed by the Side of Grasmere Lake. 1807

CLouds, lingering yet, extend in solid bars
Through the grey west; and lo! these waters, steeled
By breezeless air to smoothest polish, yield
A vivid repetition of the stars;
Jove, Venus, and the ruddy crest of Mars
Amid his fellows beauteously revealed
At happy distance from earth's groaning field,
Where ruthless mortals wage incessant wars.
Is it a mirror?—or the nether Sphere
Opening to view the abyss in which she feeds
Her own calm fires 2–But list a voice is near;
Great Pan himself low-whispering through the reeds,
“Be thankful, thou; for, if unholy deeds
Ravage the world, tranquillity is here !”


Go back to antique ages, if thine eyes
The genuine mien and character would trace
Of the rash Spirit that still holds her place,
Prompting the world's audacious vanities 1
Go back, and see the Tower of Babel rise;
The pyramid extend its monstrous base,
For some Aspirant of our short-lived race,
Anxious an aery name to immortalise.
There, too, ere wiles and politic dispute
Gave specious colouring to aim and act,
See the first mighty Hunter leave the brute—
To chase mankind, with men in armies packed
For his field-pastime high and absolute,
While, to dislodge his game, cities are sacked


Composed while the Author was engaged in writing a Tract, occasioned by the Convention of Cintra. 1808

Not 'mid the World's vain objects that enslave
The free-born Soul—that World whose vaunted skill
In selfish interest perverts the will,
Whose factions lead astray the wise and brave—
Not there; but in dark wood and rocky cave,
And hollow vale which foaming torrents fill
With omnipresent murmur as they rave
Down their steep beds, that never shall be still;
Here, mighty Naturel in this school sublime
I weigh the hopes and fears of suffering Spain;
For her consult the auguries of time,
And through the human heart explore my way;
And look and listen—gathering, whence I may,
Triumph, and thoughts no bondage can restrain.


Composed at the same time and on the same occasion

I dropped my pen; and listened to the Wind
That sang of trees up-torn and vessels tost—
A midnight harmony; and wholly lost
To the general sense of men by chains confined
Of business, care, or pleasure; or resigned
To timely sleep. Thought I, the impassioned strain,
Which, without aid of numbers, I sustain,
Like acceptation from the World will find.
Yet some with apprehensive ear shall drink
A dirge devoutly breathed o'er sorrows past;
And to the attendant promise will give heed—
The prophecy, like that of this wild blast,
Which, while it makes the heart with sadness shrink,
Tells also of bright calms that shall succeed.

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OF mortal parents is the Hero born
By whom the undaunted Tyrolese are led P
Or is it Tell's great Spirit, from the dead
Returned to animate an age forlorn ?
He comes like Phoebus through the gates of morn
When dreary darkness is discomfited,
Yet mark his modest state 1 upon his head,
That simple crest, a heron's plume, is worn.
O Liberty lthey stagger at the shock
From van to rear—and with one mind would flee,
But half their host is buried :-rock on rock
Descends:–beneath this godlike Warrior, see :
Hills, torrents, woods, embodied to bemock
The Tyrant, and confound his cruelty.

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