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POEMS

DEDICATED TO NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE AND LIBERTY.

PART I.

Composed By The Sea-side, Near Calais.
August, 1802.

Fair Star of evening, Splendour of the west,
Star of my Country!—on the horizon's brink
Thou hangest, stooping, as might seem, to

sink On England's bosom; yet well pleased to

rest, Meanwhile, and be to her a glorious crest 5 Conspicuous to the Nations. Thou, I think, Should'st be my Country's emblem; and

should'st wink, Bright Star! with laughter on her banners,

drest In thy fresh beauty. There! that dusky spot Beneath thee, that is England; there she lies. 10 Blessings be on you both! one hope, one lot, One life, one glory!—I, with many a fear For my dear Country, many heartfelt sighs, Among men who do not love her, linger here.

II.
CALAIS, AUGUST, 1802.

Is it a reed that's shaken by the wind,
Or what is it that ye go forth to see?
Lords, lawyers, statesmen, squires of low degree,
Men known, and men unknown, sick, lame, and

blind,
Post forward all, like creatures of one kind, 5
With first-fruit offerings crowd to bend the knee
In Prance, before the new-born Majesty.
'Tis ever thus. Ye men of prostrate mind,
A seemly reverence may be paid to power;
But that's a loyal virtue, never sown 10

In haste, nor springing with a transient shower: When truth, when sense, when liberty were

flown, What hardship had it been to wait an hour? Shame on you, feeble Heads, to slavery prone!

in.

COMPOSED NEAR CALAIS, ON THE ROAD LEADING TO
ARDRES, AUGUST 7, 1802.

Jones! as from Calais southward you and I
Went pacing side by side, this public Way .
Streamed with the pomp of a too-credulous day,1
When faith was pledged to new-born Liberty:
A homeless sound of joy was in the sky: 5
From hour to hour the antiquated Earth,
Beat like the heart of Man: songs, garlands,

mirth,
Banners, and happy faces, far and nigh!
And now, sole register that these things were,
Two solitary greetings have I heard, 10

1 July 14th, 1790.

"Good morrow, Citizen!" a hollow word,
As if a dead man spake it! Yet despair
Touches me not, though pensive as a bird
Whose vernal coverts winter hath laid bare.1

IV.

1801.

I Grieved for Buonaparte, with a vain
And an unthinking grief! The tenderest mood
Of that Man's mind—what can it be? what food
Fed his first hopes? what knowledge could he

gain?
'Tis not in battles that from youth we train 5
The Governor who must be wise and good,
And temper with the sternness of the brain
Thoughts motherly, and meek as womanhood.
Wisdom doth live with children round her

knees: Books, leisure, perfect freedom, and the talk 10 Man holds with week-day man in the hourly

walk Of the mind's business: these are the degrees By which true Sway doth mount; this is the

stalk True Power doth grow on; and her rights are • these.

May 21, 1802.

v.

CALAIS, AUGUST 15, 1802.

Festivals have I seen that were not names:
This is young Buonaparte's natal day,
And his is henceforth an established sway—
Consul for life. With worship France proclaims

1 See Note.

Her approbation, and with pomps and games. 5
Heaven grant that other Cities may be gay!
Calais is not: and I have bent my way
To the sea-coast, noting that each man frames
His business as he likes. Far other show
My youth here witnessed, in a prouder time; 10
The senselessness of joy was then sublime!
Happy is he, who, caring not for Pope,
Consul, or King, can sound himself to know
The destiny of Man, and live in hope.

ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE VENETIAN REPUBLIC.

Once did She hold the gorgeous east in fee;
And was the safeguard of the west: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty. .
She was a maiden City, bright and free; 5

No guile seduced, no force could violate;
And, when she took unto herself a Mate,
She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay; 10
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reached its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the

Shade
Of that which once was great is passed away.

1802.

VII.

THE KING OF SWEDEN.

The Voice of song from distant lands shall call To that great King: shall hail the crowned

Youth Who, taking counsel of unbending Truth, By one example hath set forth to all How they with dignity may stand; or fall, 5 If fall they must. Now, whither doth it tend? And what to him and his shall be the end? That thought is one which neither can appal Nor cheer him; for the illustrious Swede hath

done The thing which ought to be; is raised above 10 All consequences: work he hath begun Of fortitude, and piety, and love, Which all his glorious ancestors approve: The heroes bless him, him their rightful son.1

1802.

VIII.

TO TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE.

T0U8SA.INT, the most unhappy man of men!
Whether the whistling Rustic tend his plough
Within thy hearing, or thy head be now
Pillowed in some deep dungeon's earliest den;—
O miserable Chieftain! where and when 5

Wilt thou find patience! Yet die not; do thou
Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow:
Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and
skies; 10

There's not a breathing of the common wind
That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
And love, and man's unconquerable mind.

1802. 1 See note.

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