Page images
[ocr errors]


Tho' Power should make from land to

land And when the zoning eve has died

The name of Britain trebly greatWhere yon dark valleys wind forlorn,

Tho' every channel of the State Come Hope and Memory, spouse and should fill and choke with golden sand

bride, From out the borders of the morn, Yet waft me from the harbour-mouth, With that fair child betwixt them born. Wild wind! I seek a warmer sky,

And I will see before I die

The palms and temples of the South. And when no mortal motion jars

The blackness round the tombing sod, Thro silence and the trembling stars Comes Faith from tracts no feet have

Of old sat Freedom on the heights, trod, And Virtue, like a household god

The thunders breaking at her feet :

Above her shook the starry lights:

She heard the torrents meet.
Promising empire ; such as those

There in her place she did rejoice, Once heard at dead of night to greet

Self-gather'd in her prophet-mind, Troy's wandering prince, so that he rose

But fragments of her mighty voice With sacrifice, while all the fleet

Came rolling on the wind. Had rest by stony hills of Crete.

Then stept she down thro' town and fiel.

To mingle with the human race, You ask me, why, tho' ill at ease, And part by part to men reveal'd Within this region I subsist,

The fullness of her face-
Whose spirits falter in the mist,
And languish for the purple seas.

Grave mother of majestic works,

From her isle-altar gazing down, It is the land that freemen till,

Who, God-like, grasps the triple forks, That sober-suited Freedom chose,

And, King-like, wears the crown : The land, where girt with friends or foes

Her open eyes desire the truth. A man may speak the thing he will ;

The wisdom of a thousand years

Is in them. May perpetual youth A land of settled government,

Keep dry their light from tears ; A land of just and old renown, Where Freedom slowly broadens That her fair form may stand and shine, down

Make bright our days and light our From precedent to precedent :

dreams, Where faction seldom gathers head,

Turning to scorn with lips divine

The falsehood of extremes ! But by degrees to fullness wrought,

The strength of some diffusive thought Hath time and space to work and spread. Should banded unions persecute

Love thou thy land, with love far-brought Opinion, and induce a time

From out the storied Past, and used When single thought is civil crime, Within the Present, but transfused And individual freedom mute ;

Thro' future time by power of thought.

True love turn'd round on fixed poles, So let the change which comes be free

Love, that endures not sordid ends, To ingroove itself with that which flies,

For English natures, freemen, friends, And work, a joint of state, that plies Thy brothers and immortal souls. Its office, moved with sympathy. But pamper not a hasty time,

A saying, hard to shape in act ; Nor feed with crude imaginings

For all the past of Time reveals The herd, wild hearts and feeble wings A bridal dawn of thunder-peals, That every sophister can lime.

Wherever Thought hath wedded Fact. Deliver not the tasks of might

Ev'n now we hear with inward strife To weakness, neither hide the ray

A motion toiling in the gloomFrom those, not blind, who wait for

The Spirit of the years to come

Yearning to mix himself with Life.
Tho' sitting girt with doubtful light.
Make knowledge circle with the winds;

A slow-develop'd strength awaits
But let her herald, Reverence, fly

Completion in a painful school ;

Phantoms of other forms of rule,
Before her to whatever sky
Bear seed of men and growth of minds.

New Majesties of mighty States—
Watch what main-currents draw the years: The warders of the growing hour,

Cut Prejudice against the grain : But vague in vapour, hard to mark ; But gentle words are always gain :

And round them sea and air are dark Regard the weakness of thy peers :

With great contrivances of Power.
Nor toil for title, place, or touch Of many changes, aptly join'd,

Of pension, neither count on praise : Is bodied forth the second whole.
It grows to guerdon after-days :

Regard gradation, lest the soul
Nor deal in watch-words overmuch : Of Discord race the rising wind;

[blocks in formation]



Not less, tho' dogs of Faction bay, He held a goose upon his arm,

Would serve his kind in deed and word, He utter'd rhyme and reason,

Certain, if knowledge bring the sword, 'Here, take the goose, and keep you That knowledge takes the sword away


It is a stormy season.' Would love the gleams of good that broke

From either side, nor veil his eyes : She caught the white goose by the leg, And if some dreadful need should rise

A goose-'twas no great matter. Would strike, and firmly, and one stroke : The goose let fall a golden egg

With cackle and with clatter. To-morrow yet would reap to-day,

As we bear blossom of the dead; She dropt the goose, and caught the Earn well the thrifty months, nor wed

pelf, Raw Haste, half-sister to Delay.

And ran to tell her neighbours ;
And bless'd herself, and cursed herself,

And rested from her labours.
IN 1782.

And feeding high, and living soft,

Grew plump and able-bodied ; O THOU, that sendest out the man Until the grave churchwarden doffd, To rule by land and sea,

The parson smirk'd and nodded. Strong mother of a Lion-line, Be proud of those strong sons of thine So sitting, served by man and maid, Who wrench'd their rights from thee!

She felt her heart grow prouder :

But ah ! the more the white goose laid What wonder, if in noble heat

It clack'd and cackled louder.
Those men thine arms withstood,
Retaught the lesson thou hadst taught, It clutter'd here, it chuckled there;
And in thy spirit with thee fought-

It stirr'd the old wife's mettle :
Who sprang from English blood ! She shifted in her elbow-chair,

And hurl'd the pan and kettle.
But Thou rejoice with liberal joy,
Lift up thy rocky face,

'A quinsy choke thy cursed note !'
And shatter, when the storms are black, Then wax'd her anger stronger.
In many a streaming torrent back, Go, take the goose, and wring her throat,
The seas that shock thy base !

I will not bear it longer.' Whatever harmonies of law

Then yelp'd the cur, and yawld the cat ; The growing world assume,

Ran Gaffer, stumbled Gammer. Thy work is thine—The single note The goose flew this way and flew that, From that deep chord which Hampden

And fill'd the house with clamour. Will vibrate to the doom.

As head and heels upon the floor

They founder'd all together,

There strode a stranger to the door,

And it was windy weather :
I KNEW an old wife lean and poor, He took the goose upon his arm,
Her rags scarce held together ;

He utter'd words of scorning ;
There strode a stranger to the door, • So keep you cold, or keep you warın,
And it was windy weather.

It is a stormy morning.'


The wild wind rang from park and plain, Her cap blew off, her gown blew up, And round the attics rumbled,

And a whirlwind clear'd the larder : Till all the tables danced again, And half the chimneys tumbled.

And while on all sides breaking loose

Her household fled the danger, The glass blew in, the fire blew out, Quoth she, “The Devil take the goose, The blast was hard and harder.

And God forget the stranger!'



[ocr errors]

that way


And none abroad : there was no anchor,

none, Ar Francis Allen's on the Christmas. | To hold by.' Francis, laughing, clapt eve,

his hand The game of forfeits done—the girls all On Everard's shoulder, with “I hold by kiss'd

him.' Beneath the sacred bush and past away- And I,' quoth Everard, by the wassail. The parson Holmes, the poet Everard

bowl.' Hall,

• Why yes,' I said, "we knew your gift The host, and I sat round the wassailbowl,

At college : but another which you had, Then half-way ebb'd : and there we held I mean of verse (for so we held it then), a talk,

What came of that?' You know,' said How all theold honour had from Christmas

Frank, he burnt gone,

His epic, his King Arthur, some twelve Or gone, or dwindled down to some odd books 'games

And then to me demanding why? Oh, In some odd nooks like this ; till I, tired

sir, out

Ile thought that nothing new was said, With cutting eights that day upon the or else pond,

Something so said 'twas nothing—that a Where, three times slipping from the

truth outer edge,

Looks freshest in the fashion of the day : I bump'd the ice into three several stars, God knows : he has a mint of reasons: ask. Fell in a doze; and half-awake I heard It pleased me well enough.' 'Nay, nay,' The parson taking wide and wider

said Hall, sweeps,

"Why take the style of those heroic times? Now harping on the church - commis- For nature brings not back the Mastodon, sioners,

Nor we those times; and why should any Now hawking at Geology and schism ; Until I woke, and found him settled down Remodel models ? these twelve books of Upon the general decay of faith

mine Right thro' the world, 'at home was little Were faint Homeric echoes, nothingleft,






Mere chaff and draff, much better burnt.' Tho' Merlin sware that I should come • But I,'

again Said Francis, “pick'd the eleventh from To rule once more—but let what will be this hearth

be, And have it : keep a thing, its use will I am so deeply smitten thro’ the helm

That without help I cannot last till morn. I hoard it as a sugar-plum for Holmes.' Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur, He laugh'd, and I, tho' sleepy, like a Which was my pride : for thou remem. horse

berest how That hears the corn-bin open, prick'd my In those old days, one summer noon, an

ears; For I remember'd Everard's college fame Rose up from out the bosom of the lake, When we were Freshmen : then at my Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonrequest

derful, He brought it ; and the poet little urged, Holding the sword—and how I rowd But with some prelude of disparagement, Read, mouthing out his hollow oes and And took it, and have worn it, like a aes,

king : Deep-chested music, and to this result. And, wheresoever I am sung or told

In aftertime, this also shall be known: MORTE D'ARTHUR.

But now delay not : take Excalibur,

And fling him far into the middle mere: So all day long the noise of battle rolld Watch what thou seëst, and lightly bring Among the mountains by the winter sea;

me word.' Until King Arthur's table, man by man, To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere . Had fallen in Lyonnesse about their Lord, 'It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee King Arthur : then, because his wound

thus, was deep,

Aidless, alone, and smitten thro' the helm. The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him, A little thing may harm a wounded man. Sir Bedivere, the last of all his knights, Yet I thy hest will all perform at full, And bore him to a chapel nigh the field, Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee A broken chancel with a broken cross,

word.' That stood on a dark strait of barren land. So saying, from the ruin'd shrine he On one side lay the Ocean, and on one

stept Lay a great water, and the moon was And in the moon athwart the place of full.

tombs, Then spake King Arthur to Sir Where lay the mighty bones of ancient Bedivere :

men, • The sequel of to-day unsolders all Old knights, and over them the sea-wind The goodliest fellowship of famous knights

sang Whereof this world holds record. Such Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, a sleep

stepping down They sleep—the men I loved. I think By zig-zag paths, and juts of pointed rock, that we

Came on the shining levels of the lake. Shall never more, at any future time, There drew he forth the brand Delight our souls with talk of knightly Excalibur, deeds,

And o'er him, drawing it, the winter Walking about the gardens and the halls Of Camelot, as in the days that were. Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran I perish by this people which I made,



« PreviousContinue »