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SONNETS DEDICATED TO
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 Conspicuous to the nations. Thou, I think, Shouldst be my country's emblem ; and shouldst wink, Bright star! with laughter on her banners, dressed In thy fresh beauty. There ! that dusky spot Beneath thee, it is England; there it lies. 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.
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, With first-fruit offerings crowd to bend the knee
In France, before the new-born majesty.
TO A FRIEND, NEAR CALAIS.
AUGUST 7, 1802. Jones! while from Calais southward you and I Urged our accordant steps, this public way Streamed with the pomp of a too-credulous day, When faith was pledged to new-born Liberty: A homeless sound of joy was in the sky; The antiquated earth, as one might say, Beat like the heart of man: songs, garlands, play, Banners, and happy faces, far and nigh! And now, sole register that these things were, Two solitary greetings have I heard, '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.
And temper with the sternness of the brain
Festivals have I seen that were not names :
Look now on that adventurer who hath paid His vows to Fortune; who, in cruel slight Of virtuous hope, of liberty, and right, Hath followed wheresoe'er a way was made By the blind goddess; ruthless, undismayed ; And so hath gained at length a prosperous height Round which the elements of worldly might Beneath his haughty feet, like clouds, are laid ! Oh, joyless power that stands by lawless force! Curses are his dire portion, scorn and hate,
• Written at Calais, August 15th, 1802.
1x** var ness and unquiet breath;
as height shall Heaven precipitate
- XIIXCTION OF THE VENETIAN
w ws the safeguard of the West : the worth
sa maiden city, bright and free;
ile seduced, no force could violate ; was when she took unto herself a mate,
must espouse the everlasting sea! Two what if she had seen those glories fade,
w sales vanish, and that strength decay ;
Wall some tribute of regret be paid Whoa her long life hath reached its final day: Det are we, and must grieve when even the shade
hat which once was great is passed away.
THE KING OF SWEDEN.
with dignity may stand; or fall;
ust. Now, whither doth it tend?
All consequences; work he hath begun
Call not the royal Swede unfortunate,
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE. TOUSSAINT, 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 earless den; O miserable chieftain! where and when 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 : 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.