« PreviousContinue »
Benevolence, and peace, and mutual aid,
Between the nations in a world, that seems
To toll the death-bell of its own decease,
And by the voice of all its elements
To preach the gen’ral doom. When were the winds
Let slip with such a warrant to destroy ?
When did the waves so haughtily o'erleap
Their ancient barriers, deluging the dry ?
Fires from beneath, and meteorst from above,
Portentous, unexampled, unexplain'd,
Have kindled beacons in the skies; and th' old
And crazy Earth has had her shaking fits
More frequent, and foregone her usual rest.
Is it a time to wrangle, when the props
And pillars of our planet seem to fail,
And Natures with a dim and sickly eye
To wait the close of all ? But grant her end
More distant, and that prophecy demands
A longer respite, unaccomplish'd yet;
Still they are frowning signals, and bespeak
Displeasure in His breast, who smites the Earth
Or heals it, makes it languish or rejoice.
And ’tis but seemly, that, where all deserve
And stand expos'd by common peccancy
To what no few have felt, there should be peace,
And brethren in calamity should love.
Alas, for Sicily! rude fragments now
Lie scatter'd, where the shapely column stood.
Her palaces are dust. In all her streets
The voice of singing and the sprightly chord
Are silent. Revelry, and dance and show,
Suffer a syncope and solemn pause ;
While God performs upon the trembling stage
Of his own works his dreadful part alone.
* Alluding to the calamities in Jamaica.
Alluding to the fog that tovered both Europe and Asia during the
How does the Earth receive him?-with what signs
Of gratulation and delight her king ?meleri
Pours she not all her choicest fruits abroad, UT
Her sweetest flow’rs, her aromatic gums,
Disclosing Paradise where'er he treads?
She quakes at his approach. Her hollow womb,
Conceiving thunders, through a thousand deeps
And fiery caverns, roars beneath his foot.
The hills move lightly, and the mountains smoke,
For he has touch'd them. From the extremest point
Of elevation down into th' abyss
His wrath is busy, and his frown is felt.
The rocks fall headlong, and the valleys rise,
The rivers die into offensive pools,
And, charg'd with putrid verdure, breathe a gross
And mortal nuisance into all the air.
What solid was, by transformation strange,
Grows fluid; and the fix'd and rooted earth,
Termented into billows, heaves and swells, and
Or with vortiginous and hideous whirl
Sucks down its prey insatiable. Immense
The tumults and the overthrow, the pangs
And agonies of human and of brute
Multitudes, fugitive on ev'ry side,
And fugitive in vain. The sylvan scene Metal
Migrates uplifted; and, with all its soil
Alighting in far distant fields, finds out
A new possessor, and survives the change.
Ocean has caught the frenzy, and, upwrought
To an enormous and o'erbearing height, Not by a mighty wind, but by that voice, Which winds and waves obey, invades the shore Resistless. Never such a sudden flood, Upridgd so high, and sent on such a charge, bo Possess’d an inland scene. Where now the throng That press'd the beach, and hasty to depart, Lookd to the sea for safety? They are gone, Gone with the refluent wave into the deep-T
A prince with half his people! Ancient tow'rs,
And roofs embattled high, the gloomy scenes,
Where beauty oft and letter'd worth consume
Life in the unproductive shades of death,
Fall prone: the pale inhabitants come forth,
And, happy in their unforeseen release
From all the rigours of restraint, enjoy
The terrors of the day that sets them free.
Who then, that has thee, would not hold thee fast,
Freedom ? whom they that lose thee so regret,
That e'en a judgment, making way for thee,
Seems in their eyes a mercy for thy sake?
Such evils Sin hath wrought; and such a flame
Kindled in Heav'n, that it burns down to Earth,
And in the furious inquest, that it makes
On God's behalf, lays waste his fairest works.
The very elements, though each be meant
The minister of man, to serve his wants,
Conspire against him. With his breath he draws
A plague into his blood; and cannot use
Life's necessary means, but he must die.
Storms rise to’erwhelm him: or, if stormy winds
Rise not, the waters of the deep shall rise,
And, needing none assistance of the storm,
Shall roll themselves ashore, and reach him there.
The earth shall shake him out of all his holds,
Or make his house his grave: nor so content,
Shall counterfeit the motions of the flood,
And drown him in her dry and dusty gulfs.
What then were they the wicked above all,
And we the righteous, whose fast-anchor'd isle
Mov'd not, while theirs was rock'd, like a light skiff,
The sport of ev'ry wave ? No: none are clear,
And none than we more guilty. But, where all
Stand chargeable with guilt, and to the shafts
Of wrath obnoxious, God may choose his mark:
May punish, if he please, the less, to warn
The more malignant. If he spar'd not them,
Tremble and be amaz'd at thine escape,
Far guiltier England, lest he spare not thee!
Happy the man, who sees a God employ'd
In all the good and ill, that chequer life!
all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.
Did not his eye rule all things, and intend
The least of our concerns (since from the least
The greatest oft originate); could chance
place in his dominion, or dispose
One lawless particle to thwart his plan;
Then God might be surpris’d, and unforeseen
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs.
This truth Philosophy, though eagle-ey'd
In nature's tendencies, oft overlooks;
And, having found his instrument, forgets,
Or disregards, or, more presumptuous still,
Denies the pow'r that wields it. God proclaims
His hot displeasure against the foolish men,
That live an atheist life: involves the Heav'ns
In tempests; quits his grasp upon the winds,
And gives them all their fury; bids a plague
Kindle a fiery boil upon the skin,
And putrefy the breath of blooming Health.
He calls for Famine, and the meager fiend
Blows mildew from between his shrivell'd lips,
And taints the golden ear. He springs his mines,
And desolates a nation at a blast.
Forth steps the spruce philosopher, and tells
Of homogeneal and discordant springs
And principles; of causes how they work
By necessary laws their sure effects;
Of action and re-action: he has found
The source of the disease, that nature feels,
And bids the world take heart and banish fear,
Thou fool! will thy discov'ry of the cause
Suspend th' effect, or heal it? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the world?
And did he not of old employ his means
To drown it? What is his creation less
Than a capacious reservoir of means
Form'd for his use, and ready at his will?
Go, dress thine eyes with eye-salve; ask of him,
Or ask of whomsoever he has taught;
And learn, though late, the genuine cause of all.
England, with all thy faults, I love thee still —
My country! and, while yet a nook is left,
Where English minds and manners may be found,
Shall be constrain'd to love thee. Though thy clime,
Be fickle, and thy year most part deform'd
With dripping rains, or wither'd by a frost,
I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies,
And fields without a flow'r, for warmer France
With all her vines : nor for Ausonia's groves
Of golden fruitage, and her myrtle bow'rs.
To shake thy senate, and from heights sublime
Of patriot eloquence to flash down fire
Upon thy foes, was never meant my task :
But I can feel thy fortunes, and partake
Thy joys and sorrows, with as true a heart
As any thund'rer there. And I can feel
Thy follies too; and with a just disdain
Frown at effeminates, whose very
looks Reflect dishonour on the land I love. How, in the name of soldiership and sense, Should England prosper,when such things, as smooth And tender as a girl, all essenc'd o'er With odours, and as profligate as sweet; Who sell their laurel for a myrtle wreath, And love when they should fight; when such as these Presume to lay their hands upon the ark Of her magnificent and awful cause ? Time was when it was praise and boast enough In ev'ry clime, and travel where we might,