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To live without a living soul
To feel the spirit daily pining,
Sinking beneath the base control
Of mindless chance, itself consigning
To the dull impulse of oppressive time,
To find the guilt without the power of crime.-
Such is the penance, and the meed
Of thoughts that, boasting to be free,
Spurning the dictates of a practic creed,
Are tangled with excess of liberty,
Making themselves sole arbiters of right,
Trampling on hallow'd use with proud delight.
Perchance they roam in Duty's sacred name,
Commission'd to erect the world anewAll worldly ties, all interests they disclaim,
Sworn votaries of the beautiful and true; But vainly deem their own device, in sooth, The very substance of eternal truth.
Their duty still is Duty to deny,
To burst her bonds and cast her cords away : As some turn rebels for pure loyalty,
And some, to save the soul, the body slay: If
any law they own, that law decrees, That sovereign right is born of each man's phantasies.
"Twere woe to tell what lamentable wreck
Such dreams may bring upon the public weal, If once restraint be broken from the neck
Of such as grossly think, and fiercely feel, In whom the noble parts by Nature lent, Are sway'd and biass'd from their kindly bent.
Thralls of the world, to whom the world affords
No hope but only this-to toil for food, And eat that they may toil-vassals of lords
With slavish minds and tyrant wills endued, Whose only charity is selfish waste, Whose brightest honour 'tis, to sin with taste.
The master of a slave is never free,
But still himself the slave of sensual fear :Woe to mankind-for ever doom'd to be
The slaves of slaves. The only freeedom here Lives in the spirit that disowns the bands, And dares refuse imperious Fate's commands.
From age to age, beneath the base control
Of servile time, we drudge in sloth or toil ; If hope of freedom fire the indignant soul,
Then follows terror wild, and bloody spoilMad Revolution, like a headlong flood, O’erwhelms alike the evil and the good.
Restless forms of living light
Quivering on your lucid wings,
Cheating still the curious sight
With a thousand shadowings ;-
Various as the tints of even,
Gorgeous as the hues of heaven,
Reflected on your native streams
In flitting, flashing, billowy gleams!
Harmless warriors, clad in mail
Of silver breastplate, golden scale ;-
Mail of Nature's own bestowing,
With peaceful radiance mildly glowing,
Fleet are ye, as fleetest galley
Or pirate rover sent from Sallee;
Keener than the Tartar's arrow,
your sea so narrow.
Was the sun himself your sire ?
Were ye born of vital fire ?
Or of the shade of golden flowers,
Such as we fetch from eastern bowers,
To mock this murky clime of ours?
Upwards, downwards, now ye glance,
Weaving many a mazy dance ;
Seeming still to grow in size
When ye would elude our eyes-
Pretty creatures ! we might deem
Ye were happy as ye seem,-
As gay, as gamesome, and as blithe,
As light, as loving, and as lithe,
As gladly earnest in your play,
As when ye gleam'd in far Cathay;
And yet, since on this hapless earth
There's small sincerity in mirth,
And laughter oft is but an art
To drown the outcry of the heart;
It may be, that your ceaseless gambols,
Your wheelings, dartings, divings, rambles,
Your restless roving round and round
The circuit of your chrystal bound, -
Is but the task of weary pain,
An endless labour, dull and vain ;
And while your forms are gaily shining,
Your little lives are inly pining!
Nay—but still I fain would dream
That ye are happy as ye seem,
Deck’d in Oriental pride,
By homely British fire-side.
I've heard the merry voice of spring,
When thousand birds their wild notes fling,
Here and there, and every where,
Stirring the young and lightsome air ;-
I've heard the many-sounding seas,
And all their various harmonies :
The tumbling tempest's dismal roar,
On the waste and wreck-strew'd shore-
The howl and the wail of the prison'd waves,
Clamouring in the ancient caves,
Like a stifled pain that asks for pity -
And I have heard the sea at peace,
When all its fearful noises cease,
Lost in one soft and multitudinous ditty,
Most like the murmur of a far off city :
Nor less the blither notes I know,
To which the inland waters flow,
The rush of rocky-bedded rivers,
That madly dash themselves to shivers ;
But anon, more prudent growing,
O’er countless pebbles smoothly flowing,
With a dull continuous roar,
Hie they onward, evermore :