Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem. With Notes.

       HOW wonderful is Death,
       Death, and his brother Sleep!
     One, pale as yonder waning moon
       With lips of lurid blue;
       The other, rosy as the morn
     When throned on ocean's wave
           It blushes o'er the world;
     Yet both so passing wonderful!

       Hath then the gloomy Power
   Whose reign is in the tainted sepulchres                           10
       Seized on her sinless soul?
       Must then that peerless form
   Which love and admiration cannot view
   Without a beating heart, those azure veins
   Which steal like streams along a field of snow,
     That lovely outline which is fair
       As breathing marble, perish?
       Must putrefaction's breath
     Leave nothing of this heavenly sight
       But loathsomeness and ruin?                                    20
     Spare nothing but a gloomy theme,
   On which the lightest heart might moralize?
       Or is it only a sweet slumber
       Stealing o'er sensation,
     Which the breath of roseate morning
           Chaseth into darkness?
           Will Ianthe wake again,
       And give that faithful bosom joy
     Whose sleepless spirit waits to catch
     Light, life and rapture, from her smile?                         30

           Yes! she will wake again,
   Although her glowing limbs are motionless,
           And silent those sweet lips,
           Once breathing eloquence
     That might have soothed a tiger's rage
   Or thawed the cold heart of a conqueror.
           Her dewy eyes are closed,
     And on their lids, whose texture fine
     Scarce hides the dark blue orbs beneath,
           The baby Sleep is pillowed;                                40
           Her golden tresses shade
           The bosom's stainless pride,
       Curling like tendrils of the parasite
           Around a marble column.

       Hark! whence that rushing sound?
           'T is like the wondrous strain
       That round a lonely ruin swells,
       Which, wandering on the echoing shore,
           The enthusiast hears at evening;
       'T is softer than the west wind's sigh;                        50
       'T is wilder than the unmeasured notes
       Of that strange lyre whose strings
       The genii of the breezes sweep;
           Those lines of rainbow light
       Are like the moonbeams when they fall
   Through some cathedral window, but the tints
           Are such as may not find
           Comparison on earth.

   Behold the chariot of the Fairy Queen!
   Celestial coursers paw the unyielding air;                         60
   Their filmy pennons at her word they furl,
   And stop obedient to the reins of light;
     These the Queen of Spells drew in;
     She spread a charm around the spot,
   And, leaning graceful from the ethereal car,
     Long did she gaze, and silently,
           Upon the slumbering maid.

   Oh! not the visioned poet in his dreams,
   When silvery clouds float through the wildered brain,
   When every sight of lovely, wild and grand                         70
     Astonishes, enraptures, elevates,
       When fancy at a glance combines
       The wondrous and the beautiful,--
     So bright, so fair, so wild a shape
           Hath ever yet beheld,
   As that which reined the coursers of the air
     And poured the magic of her gaze
           Upon the maiden's sleep.

       The broad and yellow moon
       Shone dimly through her form--                                 80
     That form of faultless symmetry;
     The pearly and pellucid car
       Moved not the moonlight's line.
       'T was not an earthly pageant.
     Those, who had looked upon the sight
       Passing all human glory,
       Saw not the yellow moon,
       Saw not the mortal scene,
       Heard not the night-wind's rush,
       Heard not an earthly sound,                                    90
       Saw but the fairy pageant,
       Heard but the heavenly strains
       That filled the lonely dwelling.

   The Fairy's frame was slight--yon fibrous cloud,
   That catches but the palest tinge of even,
   And which the straining eye can hardly seize
   When melting into eastern twilight's shadow,
   Were scarce so thin, so slight; but the fair star
   That gems the glittering coronet of morn,
   Sheds not a light so mild, so powerful,                           100
   As that which, bursting from the Fairy's form,
   Spread a purpureal halo round the scene,
       Yet with an undulating motion,
       Swayed to her outline gracefully.

       From her celestial car
       The Fairy Queen descended,
       And thrice she waved her wand
     Circled with wreaths of amaranth;
       Her thin and misty form
       Moved with the moving air,                                    110
       And the clear silver tones,
       As thus she spoke, were such
     As are unheard by all but gifted ear.

    'Stars! your balmiest influence shed!
     Elements! your wrath suspend!
     Sleep, Ocean, in the rocky bounds
       That circle thy domain!
     Let not a breath be seen to stir
     Around yon grass-grown ruin's height!
       Let even the restless gossamer                                120
       Sleep on the moveless air!
       Soul of Ianthe! thou,
   Judged alone worthy of the envied boon
   That waits the good and the sincere; that waits
   Those who have struggled, and with resolute will
   Vanquished earth's pride and meanness, burst the chains,
   The icy chains of custom, and have shone
   The day-stars of their age;--Soul of
           Awake! arise!'

           Sudden arose                                              130
       Ianthe's Soul; it stood
     All beautiful in naked purity,
   The perfect semblance of its bodily frame;
   Instinct with inexpressible beauty and grace--
         Each stain of earthliness
       Had passed away--it reassumed
       Its native dignity and stood
         Immortal amid ruin.

       Upon the couch the body lay,
       Wrapt in the depth of slumber;                                140
   Its features were fixed and meaningless,
       Yet animal life was there,
       And every organ yet performed
       Its natural functions; 'twas a sight
   Of wonder to behold the body and the soul.
       The self-same lineaments, the same
       Marks of identity were there;
   Yet, oh, how different! One aspires to Heaven,
   Pants for its sempiternal heritage,
   And, ever changing, ever rising still,                            150
       Wantons in endless being:
   The other, for a time the unwilling sport
   Of circumstance and passion, struggles on;
   Fleets through its sad duration rapidly;
   Then like an useless and worn-out machine,
       Rots, perishes, and passes.

      'Spirit! who hast dived so deep;
       Spirit! who hast soared so high;
       Thou the fearless, thou the mild,
     Accept the boon thy worth hath earned,                          160
       Ascend the car with me!'

      'Do I dream? Is this new feeling
       But a visioned ghost of slumber?
           If indeed I am a soul,
       A free, a disembodied soul,
           Speak again to me.'

    'I am the Fairy MAB: to me 'tis given
     The wonders of the human world to keep;
     The secrets of the immeasurable past,
     In the unfailing consciences of men,                            170
     Those stern, unflattering chroniclers, I find;
     The future, from the causes which arise
     In each event, I gather; not the sting
     Which retributive memory implants
     In the hard bosom of the selfish man,
     Nor that ecstatic and exulting throb
     Which virtue's votary feels when he sums up
     The thoughts and actions of a well-spent day,
     Are unforeseen, unregistered by me;
     And it is yet permitted me to rend                              180
     The veil of mortal frailty, that the spirit,
     Clothed in its changeless purity, may know
     How soonest to accomplish the great end
     For which it hath its being, and may taste
     That peace which in the end all life will share.
     This is the meed of virtue; happy Soul,
        Ascend the car with me!'

     The chains of earth's immurement
       Fell from Ianthe's spirit;
   They shrank and brake like bandages of straw                      190
     Beneath a wakened giant's strength.
       She knew her glorious change,
     And felt in apprehension uncontrolled
       New raptures opening round;
     Each day-dream of her mortal life,
     Each frenzied vision of the slumbers
       That closed each well-spent day,
       Seemed now to meet reality.
     The Fairy and the Soul proceeded;
       The silver clouds disparted;                                  200
     And as the car of magic they ascended,
       Again the speechless music swelled,
       Again the coursers of the air
   Unfurled their azure pennons, and the Queen,
       Shaking the beamy reins,
       Bade them pursue their way.

       The magic car moved on.
     The night was fair, and countless stars
     Studded heaven's dark blue vault;
       Just o'er the eastern wave 210
     Peeped the first faint smile of morn.
       The magic car moved on--
       From the celestial hoofs
     The atmosphere in flaming sparkles flew,
       And where the burning wheels
     Eddied above the mountain's loftiest peak,
       Was traced a line of lightning.
       Now it flew far above a rock,
       The utmost verge of earth,
     The rival of the Andes, whose dark brow                         220
       Lowered o'er the silver sea.

       Far, far below the chariot's path,
         Calm as a slumbering babe,
         Tremendous Ocean lay.
       The mirror of its stillness showed
         The pale and waning stars,
         The chariot's fiery track,
         And the gray light of morn
         Tinging those fleecy clouds
         That canopied the dawn.                                     230

     Seemed it that the chariot's way
   Lay through the midst of an immense concave
   Radiant with million constellations, tinged
       With shades of infinite color,
       And semicircled with a belt
       Flashing incessant meteors.

       The magic car moved on.
       As they approached their goal,
     The coursers seemed to gather speed;
   The sea no longer was distinguished; earth                        240
     Appeared a vast and shadowy sphere;
       The sun's unclouded orb
       Rolled through the black concave;
       Its rays of rapid light
   Parted around the chariot's swifter course,
     And fell, like ocean's feathery spray
       Dashed from the boiling surge
       Before a vessel's prow.

       The magic car moved on.
       Earth's distant orb appeared                                  250
   The smallest light that twinkles in the heaven;
       Whilst round the chariot's way
       Innumerable systems rolled
       And countless spheres diffused
       An ever-varying glory.
     It was a sight of wonder: some
     Were hornèd like the crescent moon;
     Some shed a mild and silver beam
     Like Hesperus o'er the western sea;
     Some dashed athwart with trains of flame,                       260
     Like worlds to death and ruin driven;
   Some shone like suns, and as the chariot passed,
       Eclipsed all other light.

           Spirit of Nature! here--
       In this interminable wilderness
       Of worlds, at whose immensity
           Even soaring fancy staggers,
           Here is thy fitting temple!
             Yet not the lightest leaf
         That quivers to the passing breeze                          270
           Is less instinct with thee;
           Yet not the meanest worm
     That lurks in graves and fattens on the dead,
       Less shares thy eternal breath!
         Spirit of Nature! thou,
       Imperishable as this scene--
         Here is thy fitting temple!

     If solitude hath ever led thy steps
       To the wild ocean's echoing shore,
       And thou hast lingered there,
       Until the sun's broad orb
     Seemed resting on the burnished wave,
       Thou must have marked the lines
     Of purple gold that motionless
       Hung o'er the sinking sphere;
     Thou must have marked the billowy clouds,
     Edged with intolerable radiancy,                                 10
       Towering like rocks of jet
       Crowned with a diamond wreath;
       And yet there is a moment,
       When the sun's highest point
   Peeps like a star o'er ocean's western edge,
   When those far clouds of feathery gold,
     Shaded with deepest purple, gleam
     Like islands on a dark blue sea;
   Then has thy fancy soared above the earth
       And furled its wearied wing                                    20
       Within the Fairy's fane.

       Yet not the golden islands
       Gleaming in yon flood of light,
           Nor the feathery curtains
       Stretching o'er the sun's bright couch,
       Nor the burnished ocean-waves
           Paving that gorgeous dome,
     So fair, so wonderful a sight
   As Mab's ethereal palace could afford.
   Yet likest evening's vault, that faëry Hall!                  30
   As Heaven, low resting on the wave, it spread
           Its floors of flashing light,
           Its vast and azure dome,
           Its fertile golden islands
           Floating on a silver sea;
   Whilst suns their mingling beamings darted
   Through clouds of circumambient darkness,
     And pearly battlements around
     Looked o'er the immense of Heaven.

     The magic car no longer moved.                                   40
       The Fairy and the Spirit
       Entered the Hall of Spells.
         Those golden clouds
       That rolled in glittering billows
       Beneath the azure canopy,
   With the ethereal footsteps trembled not;
           The light and crimson mists,
   Floating to strains of thrilling melody
       Through that unearthly dwelling,
   Yielded to every movement of the will;                             50
   Upon their passive swell the Spirit leaned,
   And, for the varied bliss that pressed around,
     Used not the glorious privilege
       Of virtue and of wisdom.

      'Spirit!' the Fairy said,
     And pointed to the gorgeous dome,
      'This is a wondrous sight
       And mocks all human grandeur;
   But, were it virtue's only meed to dwell
   In a celestial palace, all resigned                                60
   To pleasurable impulses, immured
   Within the prison of itself, the will
   Of changeless Nature would be unfulfilled.
   Learn to make others happy. Spirit, come!
   This is thine high reward:--the past shall rise;
   Thou shalt behold the present; I will teach
           The secrets of the future.'

           The Fairy and the Spirit
   Approached the overhanging battlement.
       Below lay stretched the universe!                              70
       There, far as the remotest line
       That bounds imagination's flight,
         Countless and unending orbs
       In mazy motion intermingled,
       Yet still fulfilled immutably
           Eternal Nature's law.
           Above, below, around,
           The circling systems formed
           A wilderness of harmony;
       Each with undeviating aim,                                     80
   In eloquent silence, through the depths of space
           Pursued its wondrous way.

           There was a little light
   That twinkled in the misty distance.
           None but a spirit's eye
           Might ken that rolling orb.
           None but a spirit's eye,
           And in no other place
   But that celestial dwelling, might behold
   Each action of this earth's inhabitants.                           90
           But matter, space, and time,
   In those aërial mansions cease to act;
   And all-prevailing wisdom, when it reaps
   The harvest of its excellence, o'erbounds
   Those obstacles of which an earthly soul
       Fears to attempt the conquest.

       The Fairy pointed to the earth.
       The Spirit's intellectual eye
       Its kindred beings recognized.
   The thronging thousands, to a passing view,                       100
       Seemed like an ant-hill's citizens.
           How wonderful! that even
     The passions, prejudices, interests,
   That sway the meanest being--the weak touch
           That moves the finest nerve
           And in one human brain
   Causes the faintest thought, becomes a link
       In the great chain of Nature!

      'Behold,' the Fairy cried,
      'Palmyra's ruined palaces!                                     110
       Behold where grandeur frowned!
       Behold where pleasure smiled!
     What now remains?--the memory
       Of senselessness and shame.
       What is immortal there?
       Nothing--it stands to tell
       A melancholy tale, to give
       An awful warning; soon
     Oblivion will steal silently
       The remnant of its fame.                                      120
       Monarchs and conquerors there
     Proud o'er prostrate millions trod--
     The earthquakes of the human race;
     Like them, forgotten when the ruin
       That marks their shock is past.

      'Beside the eternal Nile
       The Pyramids have risen.
     Nile shall pursue his changeless way;
         Those Pyramids shall fall.
     Yea! not a stone shall stand to tell                            130
         The spot whereon they stood;
     Their very site shall be forgotten,
         As is their builder's name!

        'Behold yon sterile spot,
     Where now the wandering Arab's tent
         Flaps in the desert blast!
     There once old Salem's haughty fane
   Reared high to heaven its thousand golden domes,
     And in the blushing face of day
       Exposed its shameful glory.                                   140
   Oh! many a widow, many an orphan cursed
   The building of that fane; and many a father,
   Worn out with toil and slavery, implored
   The poor man's God to sweep it from the earth
   And spare his children the detested task
   Of piling stone on stone and poisoning
         The choicest days of life
         To soothe a dotard's vanity.
   There an inhuman and uncultured race
   Howled hideous praises to their Demon-God;                        150
   They rushed to war, tore from the mother's womb
   The unborn child--old age and infancy
   Promiscuous perished; their victorious arms
   Left not a soul to breathe. Oh! they were fiends!
   But what was he who taught them that the God
   Of Nature and benevolence had given
   A special sanction to the trade of blood?
   His name and theirs are fading, and the tales
   Of this barbarian nation, which imposture
   Recites till terror credits, are pursuing                         160
     Itself into forgetfulness.

    'Where Athens, Rome, and Sparta stood,
     There is a moral desert now.
     The mean and miserable huts,
     The yet more wretched palaces,
     Contrasted with those ancient fanes
     Now crumbling to oblivion,--
     The long and lonely colonnades
     Through which the ghost of Freedom stalks,--
       Seem like a well-known tune,                                  170
   Which in some dear scene we have loved to hear,
       Remembered now in sadness.
       But, oh! how much more changed,
       How gloomier is the contrast
       Of human nature there!
   Where Socrates expired, a tyrant's slave,
   A coward and a fool, spreads death around--
       Then, shuddering, meets his own.
     Where Cicero and Antoninus lived,
     A cowled and hypocritical monk                                  180
         Prays, curses and deceives.

      'Spirit! ten thousand years
       Have scarcely passed away,
   Since in the waste, where now the savage drinks
   His enemy's blood, and, aping Europe's sons,
       Wakes the unholy song of war,
           Arose a stately city,
   Metropolis of the western continent.
     There, now, the mossy column-stone,
   Indented by time's unrelaxing grasp,                              190
       Which once appeared to brave
       All, save its country's ruin,--
       There the wide forest scene,
   Rude in the uncultivated loveliness
       Of gardens long run wild,--
   Seems, to the unwilling sojourner whose steps
     Chance in that desert has delayed,
   Thus to have stood since earth was what it is.
     Yet once it was the busiest haunt,
   Whither, as to a common centre, flocked                           200
     Strangers, and ships, and merchandise;
       Once peace and freedom blest
       The cultivated plain;
       But wealth, that curse of man,
   Blighted the bud of its prosperity;
   Virtue and wisdom, truth and liberty,
   Fled, to return not, until man shall know
     That they alone can give the bliss
       Worthy a soul that claims
       Its kindred with eternity.                                    210

    'There 's not one atom of yon earth
       But once was living man;
     Nor the minutest drop of rain,
     That hangeth in its thinnest cloud,
       But flowed in human veins;
       And from the burning plains
       Where Libyan monsters yell,
       From the most gloomy glens
       Of Greenland's sunless clime,
       To where the golden fields                                    220
       Of fertile England spread
       Their harvest to the day,
       Thou canst not find one spot
       Whereon no city stood.

      'How strange is human pride!
     I tell thee that those living things,
     To whom the fragile blade of grass
       That springeth in the morn
       And perisheth ere noon,
       Is an unbounded world;                                        230
     I tell thee that those viewless beings,
     Whose mansion is the smallest particle
       Of the impassive atmosphere,
       Think, feel and live like man;
     That their affections and antipathies,
       Like his, produce the laws
       Ruling their moral state;
       And the minutest throb
     That through their frame diffuses
       The slightest, faintest motion,                               240
       Is fixed and indispensable
       As the majestic laws
       That rule yon rolling orbs.'

       The Fairy paused. The Spirit,
   In ecstasy of admiration, felt
   All knowledge of the past revived; the events
       Of old and wondrous times,
   Which dim tradition interruptedly
   Teaches the credulous vulgar, were unfolded
     In just perspective to the view;                                250
     Yet dim from their infinitude.
       The Spirit seemed to stand
   High on an isolated pinnacle;
   The flood of ages combating below,
   The depth of the unbounded universe
       Above, and all around
     Nature's unchanging harmony.

      'Fairy!' the Spirit said,
       And on the Queen of Spells
       Fixed her ethereal eyes,
      'I thank thee. Thou hast given
   A boon which I will not resign, and taught
   A lesson not to be unlearned. I know
   The past, and thence I will essay to glean
   A warning for the future, so that man
   May profit by his errors and derive
       Experience from his folly;                                     10
   For, when the power of imparting joy
   Is equal to the will, the human soul
       Requires no other heaven.'

      'Turn thee, surpassing Spirit!
       Much yet remains unscanned.
       Thou knowest how great is man,
       Thou knowest his imbecility;
       Yet learn thou what he is;
       Yet learn the lofty destiny
       Which restless Time prepares                                   20
       For every living soul.

   'Behold a gorgeous palace that amid
   Yon populous city rears its thousand towers
   And seems itself a city. Gloomy troops
   Of sentinels in stern and silent ranks
   Encompass it around; the dweller there
   Cannot be free and happy; hearest thou not
   The curses of the fatherless, the groans
   Of those who have no friend? He passes on--
   The King, the wearer of a gilded chain                             30
   That binds his soul to abjectness, the fool
   Whom courtiers nickname monarch, whilst a slave
   Even to the basest appetites--that man
   Heeds not the shriek of penury; he smiles
   At the deep curses which the destitute
   Mutter in secret, and a sullen joy
   Pervades his bloodless heart when thousands groan
   But for those morsels which his wantonness
   Wastes in unjoyous revelry, to save
   All that they love from famine; when he hears                      40
   The tale of horror, to some ready-made face
   Of hypocritical assent he turns,
   Smothering the glow of shame, that, spite of him,
   Flushes his bloated cheek.

                               Now to the meal
   Of silence, grandeur and excess he drags
   His palled unwilling appetite. If gold,
   Gleaming around, and numerous viands culled
   From every clime could force the loathing sense
   To overcome satiety,--if wealth
   The spring it draws from poisons not,--or vice,                    50
   Unfeeling, stubborn vice, converteth not
   Its food to deadliest venom; then that king
   Is happy; and the peasant who fulfils
   His unforced task, when he returns at even
   And by the blazing fagot meets again
   Her welcome for whom all his toil is sped,
   Tastes not a sweeter meal.

                               Behold him now
   Stretched on the gorgeous couch; his fevered brain
   Reels dizzily awhile; but ah! too soon
   The slumber of intemperance subsides,                              60
   And conscience, that undying serpent, calls
   Her venomous brood to their nocturnal task.
   Listen! he speaks! oh! mark that frenzied eye--
   Oh! mark that deadly visage!'

                                  'No cessation!
   Oh! must this last forever! Awful death,
   I wish, yet fear to clasp thee!--Not one moment
   Of dreamless sleep! O dear and blessèd Peace,
   Why dost thou shroud thy vestal purity
   In penury and dungeons? Wherefore lurkest
   With danger, death, and solitude; yet shun'st                      70
   The palace I have built thee? Sacred Peace!
   Oh, visit me but once,--but pitying shed
   One drop of balm upon my withered soul!'

   'Vain man! that palace is the virtuous heart,
   And Peace defileth not her snowy robes
   In such a shed as thine. Hark! yet he mutters;
   His slumbers are but varied agonies;
   They prey like scorpions on the springs of life.
   There needeth not the hell that bigots frame
   To punish those who err; earth in itself                           80
   Contains at once the evil and the cure;
   And all-sufficing Nature can chastise
   Those who transgress her law; she only knows
   How justly to proportion to the fault
   The punishment it merits.

                              Is it strange
   That this poor wretch should pride him in his woe?
   Take pleasure in his abjectness, and hug
   The scorpion that consumes him? Is it strange
   That, placed on a conspicuous throne of thorns,
   Grasping an iron sceptre, and immured                              90
   Within a splendid prison whose stern bounds
   Shut him from all that's good or dear on earth,
   His soul asserts not its humanity?
   That man's mild nature rises not in war
   Against a king's employ? No--'tis not strange.
   He, like the vulgar, thinks, feels, acts, and lives
   Just as his father did; the unconquered powers
   Of precedent and custom interpose
   Between a king and virtue. Stranger yet,
   To those who know not Nature nor deduce                           100
   The future from the present, it may seem,
   That not one slave, who suffers from the crimes
   Of this unnatural being, not one wretch,
   Whose children famish and whose nuptial bed
   Is earth's unpitying bosom, rears an arm
   To dash him from his throne!

                                 Those gilded flies
   That, basking in the sunshine of a court,
   Fatten on its corruption! what are they?--
   The drones of the community; they feed
   On the mechanic's labor; the starved hind                         110
   For them compels the stubborn glebe to yield
   Its unshared harvests; and yon squalid form,
   Leaner than fleshless misery, that wastes
   A sunless life in the unwholesome mine,
   Drags out in labor a protracted death
   To glut their grandeur; many faint with toil
   That few may know the cares and woe of sloth.

   Whence, thinkest thou, kings and parasites arose?
   Whence that unnatural line of drones who heap
   Toil and unvanquishable penury                                    120
   On those who build their palaces and bring
   Their daily bread?--From vice, black loathsome vice;
   From rapine, madness, treachery, and wrong;
   From all that genders misery, and makes
   Of earth this thorny wilderness; from lust,
   Revenge, and murder.--And when reason's voice,
   Loud as the voice of Nature, shall have waked
   The nations; and mankind perceive that vice
   Is discord, war and misery; that virtue
   Is peace and happiness and harmony;                               130
   When man's maturer nature shall disdain
   The playthings of its childhood;--kingly glare
   Will lose its power to dazzle, its authority
   Will silently pass by; the gorgeous throne
   Shall stand unnoticed in the regal hall,
   Fast falling to decay; whilst falsehood's trade
   Shall be as hateful and unprofitable
   As that of truth is now.

                             Where is the fame
   Which the vain-glorious mighty of the earth
   Seek to eternize? Oh! the faintest sound                          140
   From time's light footfall, the minutest wave
   That swells the flood of ages, whelms in nothing
   The unsubstantial bubble. Ay! to-day
   Stern is the tyrant's mandate, red the gaze
   That flashes desolation, strong the arm
   That scatters multitudes. To-morrow comes!
   That mandate is a thunder-peal that died
   In ages past; that gaze, a transient flash
   On which the midnight closed; and on that arm
   The worm has made his meal.

                                The virtuous man,                    150
   Who, great in his humility as kings
   Are little in their grandeur; he who leads
   Invincibly a life of resolute good
   And stands amid the silent dungeon-depths
   More free and fearless than the trembling judge
   Who, clothed in venal power, vainly strove
   To bind the impassive spirit;--when he falls,
   His mild eye beams benevolence no more;
   Withered the hand outstretched but to relieve;
   Sunk reason's simple eloquence that rolled                        160
   But to appall the guilty. Yes! the grave
   Hath quenched that eye and death's relentless frost
   Withered that arm; but the unfading fame
   Which virtue hangs upon its votary's tomb,
   The deathless memory of that man whom kings
   Call to their minds and tremble, the remembrance
   With which the happy spirit contemplates
   Its well-spent pilgrimage on earth,
   Shall never pass away.

   'Nature rejects the monarch, not the man;                         170
   The subject, not the citizen; for kings
   And subjects, mutual foes, forever play
   A losing game into each other's hands,
   Whose stakes are vice and misery. The man
   Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys.
   Power, like a desolating pestilence,
   Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience,
   Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
   Makes slaves of men, and of the human frame
   A mechanized automaton.

                            When Nero                                180
   High over flaming Rome with savage joy
   Lowered like a fiend, drank with enraptured ear
   The shrieks of agonizing death, beheld
   The frightful desolation spread, and felt
   A new-created sense within his soul
   Thrill to the sight and vibrate to the sound,--
   Thinkest thou his grandeur had not overcome
   The force of human kindness? And when Rome
   With one stern blow hurled not the tyrant down,
   Crushed not the arm red with her dearest blood,                   190
   Had not submissive abjectness destroyed
   Nature's suggestions?

                          Look on yonder earth:
   The golden harvests spring; the unfailing sun
   Sheds light and life; the fruits, the flowers, the trees,
   Arise in due succession; all things speak
   Peace, harmony and love. The universe,
   In Nature's silent eloquence, declares
   That all fulfil the works of love and joy,--
   All but the outcast, Man. He fabricates
   The sword which stabs his peace; he cherisheth                    200
   The snakes that gnaw his heart; he raiseth up
   The tyrant whose delight is in his woe,
   Whose sport is in his agony. Yon sun,
   Lights it the great alone? Yon silver beams,
   Sleep they less sweetly on the cottage thatch
   Than on the dome of kings? Is mother earth
   A step-dame to her numerous sons who earn
   Her unshared gifts with unremitting toil;
   A mother only to those puling babes
   Who, nursed in ease and luxury, make men                          210
   The playthings of their babyhood and mar
   In self-important childishness that peace
   Which men alone appreciate?

      'Spirit of Nature, no!
   The pure diffusion of thy essence throbs
     Alike in every human heart.
       Thou aye erectest there
     Thy throne of power unappealable;
     Thou art the judge beneath whose nod
     Man's brief and frail authority                                 220
       Is powerless as the wind
       That passeth idly by;
     Thine the tribunal which surpasseth
       The show of human justice
       As God surpasses man!

      'Spirit of Nature! thou
   Life of interminable multitudes;
     Soul of those mighty spheres
   Whose changeless paths through Heaven's deep silence lie;
     Soul of that smallest being,                                    230
       The dwelling of whose life
     Is one faint April sun-gleam;--
       Man, like these passive things,
   Thy will unconsciously fulfilleth;
     Like theirs, his age of endless peace,
       Which time is fast maturing,
       Will swiftly, surely, come;
   And the unbounded frame which thou pervadest,
       Will be without a flaw
     Marring its perfect symmetry!                                   240

   'How beautiful this night! the balmiest sigh,
   Which vernal zephyrs breathe in evening's ear,
   Were discord to the speaking quietude
   That wraps this moveless scene. Heaven's ebon vault,
   Studded with stars unutterably bright,
   Through which the moon's unclouded grandeur rolls,
   Seems like a canopy which love had spread
   To curtain her sleeping world. Yon gentle hills.
   Robed in a garment of untrodden snow;
   Yon darksome rocks, whence icicles depend                          10
   So stainless that their white and glittering spires
   Tinge not the moon's pure beam; yon castled steep
   Whose banner hangeth o'er the time-worn tower
   So idly that rapt fancy deemeth it
   A metaphor of peace;--all form a scene
   Where musing solitude might love to lift
   Her soul above this sphere of earthliness;
   Where silence undisturbed might watch alone--
   So cold, so bright, so still.

                                  The orb of day
   In southern climes o'er ocean's waveless field                     20
   Sinks sweetly smiling; not the faintest breath
   Steals o'er the unruffled deep; the clouds of eve
   Reflect unmoved the lingering beam of day;
   And Vesper's image on the western main
   Is beautifully still. To-morrow comes:
   Cloud upon cloud, in dark and deepening mass,
   Roll o'er the blackened waters; the deep roar
   Of distant thunder mutters awfully;
   Tempest unfolds its pinion o'er the gloom
   That shrouds the boiling surge; the pitiless fiend,                30
   With all his winds and lightnings, tracks his prey;
   The torn deep yawns,--the vessel finds a grave
   Beneath its jagged gulf.

                             Ah! whence yon glare
   That fires the arch of heaven? that dark red smoke
   Blotting the silver moon? The stars are quenched
   In darkness, and the pure and spangling snow
   Gleams faintly through the gloom that gathers round.
   Hark to that roar whose swift and deafening peals
   In countless echoes through the mountains ring,
   Startling pale Midnight on her starry throne!                      40
   Now swells the intermingling din; the jar
   Frequent and frightful of the bursting bomb;
   The falling beam, the shriek, the groan, the shout,
   The ceaseless clangor, and the rush of men
   Inebriate with rage:--loud and more loud
   The discord grows; till pale Death shuts the scene
   And o'er the conqueror and the conquered draws
   His cold and bloody shroud.--Of all the men
   Whom day's departing beam saw blooming there
   In proud and vigorous health; of all the hearts                    50
   That beat with anxious life at sunset there;
   How few survive, how few are beating now!
   All is deep silence, like the fearful calm
   That slumbers in the storm's portentous pause;
   Save when the frantic wail of widowed love
   Comes shuddering on the blast, or the faint moan
   With which some soul bursts from the frame of clay
   Wrapt round its struggling powers.

                                       The gray morn
   Dawns on the mournful scene; the sulphurous smoke
   Before the icy wind slow rolls away,                               60
   And the bright beams of frosty morning dance
   Along the spangling snow. There tracks of blood
   Even to the forest's depth, and scattered arms,
   And lifeless warriors, whose hard lineaments
   Death's self could change not, mark the dreadful path
   Of the outsallying victors; far behind
   Black ashes note where their proud city stood.
   Within yon forest is a gloomy glen--
   Each tree which guards its darkness from the day,
   Waves o'er a warrior's tomb.

                                 I see thee shrink,                   70
   Surpassing Spirit!--wert thou human else?
   I see a shade of doubt and horror fleet
   Across thy stainless features; yet fear not;
   This is no unconnected misery,
   Nor stands uncaused and irretrievable.
   Man's evil nature, that apology
   Which kings who rule, and cowards who crouch, set up
   For their unnumbered crimes, sheds not the blood
   Which desolates the discord-wasted land.
   From kings and priests and statesmen war arose,                    80
   Whose safety is man's deep unbettered woe,
   Whose grandeur his debasement. Let the axe
   Strike at the root, the poison-tree will fall;
   And where its venomed exhalations spread
   Ruin, and death, and woe, where millions lay
   Quenching the serpent's famine, and their bones
   Bleaching unburied in the putrid blast,
   A garden shall arise, in loveliness
   Surpassing fabled Eden.

                            Hath Nature's soul,--
   That formed this world so beautiful, that spread                   90
   Earth's lap with plenty, and life's smallest chord
   Strung to unchanging unison, that gave
   The happy birds their dwelling in the grove,
   That yielded to the wanderers of the deep
   The lovely silence of the unfathomed main,
   And filled the meanest worm that crawls in dust
   With spirit, thought and love,--on Man alone,
   Partial in causeless malice, wantonly
   Heaped ruin, vice, and slavery; his soul
   Blasted with withering curses; placed afar                        100
   The meteor-happiness, that shuns his grasp,
   But serving on the frightful gulf to glare
   Rent wide beneath his footsteps?

   Kings, priests and statesmen blast the human flower
   Even in its tender bud; their influence darts
   Like subtle poison through the bloodless veins
   Of desolate society. The child,
   Ere he can lisp his mother's sacred name,
   Swells with the unnatural pride of crime, and lifts
   His baby-sword even in a hero's mood.                             110
   This infant arm becomes the bloodiest scourge
   Of devastated earth; whilst specious names,
   Learnt in soft childhood's unsuspecting hour,
   Serve as the sophisms with which manhood dims
   Bright reason's ray and sanctifies the sword
   Upraised to shed a brother's innocent blood.
   Let priest-led slaves cease to proclaim that man
   Inherits vice and misery, when force
   And falsehood hang even o'er the cradled babe,
   Stifling with rudest grasp all natural good.                      120

   'Ah! to the stranger-soul, when first it peeps
   From its new tenement and looks abroad
   For happiness and sympathy, how stern
   And desolate a tract is this wide world!
   How withered all the buds of natural good!
   No shade, no shelter from the sweeping storms
   Of pitiless power! On its wretched frame
   Poisoned, perchance, by the disease and woe
   Heaped on the wretched parent whence it sprung
   By morals, law and custom, the pure winds                         130
   Of heaven, that renovate the insect tribes,
   May breathe not. The untainting light of day
   May visit not its longings. It is bound
   Ere it has life; yea, all the chains are forged
   Long ere its being; all liberty and love
   And peace is torn from its defencelessness;
   Cursed from its birth, even from its cradle doomed
   To abjectness and bondage!

   'Throughout this varied and eternal world
   Soul is the only element, the block                               140
   That for uncounted ages has remained.
   The moveless pillar of a mountain's weight
   Is active living spirit. Every grain
   Is sentient both in unity and part,
   And the minutest atom comprehends
   A world of loves and hatreds; these beget
   Evil and good; hence truth and falsehood spring;
   Hence will and thought and action, all the germs
   Of pain or pleasure, sympathy or hate,
   That variegate the eternal universe.                              150
   Soul is not more polluted than the beams
   Of heaven's pure orb ere round their rapid lines
   The taint of earth-born atmospheres arise.

   'Man is of soul and body, formed for deeds
   Of high resolve; on fancy's boldest wing
   To soar unwearied, fearlessly to turn
   The keenest pangs to peacefulness, and taste
   The joys which mingled sense and spirit yield;
   Or he is formed for abjectness and woe,
   To grovel on the dunghill of his fears,                           160
   To shrink at every sound, to quench the flame
   Of natural love in sensualism, to know
   That hour as blest when on his worthless days
   The frozen hand of death shall set its seal,
   Yet fear the cure, though hating the disease.
   The one is man that shall hereafter be;
   The other, man as vice has made him now.

   'War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight,
   The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade,
   And to those royal murderers whose mean thrones                   170
   Are bought by crimes of treachery and gore,
   The bread they eat, the staff on which they lean.
   Guards, garbed in blood-red livery, surround
   Their palaces, participate the crimes
   That force defends and from a nation's rage
   Secures the crown, which all the curses reach
   That famine, frenzy, woe and penury breathe.
   These are the hired bravos who defend
   The tyrant's throne--the bullies of his fear;
   These are the sinks and channels of worst vice,                   180
   The refuse of society, the dregs
   Of all that is most vile; their cold hearts blend
   Deceit with sternness, ignorance with pride,
   All that is mean and villainous with rage
   Which hopelessness of good and self-contempt
   Alone might kindle; they are decked in wealth,
   Honor and power, then are sent abroad
   To do their work. The pestilence that stalks
   In gloomy triumph through some eastern land
   Is less destroying. They cajole with gold                         190
   And promises of fame the thoughtless youth
   Already crushed with servitude; he knows
   His wretchedness too late, and cherishes
   Repentance for his ruin, when his doom
   Is sealed in gold and blood!
   Those too the tyrant serve, who, skilled to snare
   The feet of justice in the toils of law,
   Stand ready to oppress the weaker still,
   And right or wrong will vindicate for gold,
   Sneering at public virtue, which beneath                          200
   Their pitiless tread lies torn and trampled where
   Honor sits smiling at the sale of truth.

   'Then grave and hoary-headed hypocrites,
   Without a hope, a passion or a love,
   Who through a life of luxury and lies
   Have crept by flattery to the seats of power,
   Support the system whence their honors flow.
   They have three words--well tyrants know their use,
   Well pay them for the loan with usury
   Torn from a bleeding world!--God, Hell and Heaven:                210
   A vengeful, pitiless, and almighty fiend,
   Whose mercy is a nickname for the rage
   Of tameless tigers hungering for blood;
   Hell, a red gulf of everlasting fire,
   Where poisonous and undying worms prolong
   Eternal misery to those hapless slaves
   Whose life has been a penance for its crimes;
   And Heaven, a meed for those who dare belie
   Their human nature, quake, believe and cringe
   Before the mockeries of earthly power.                            220

   'These tools the tyrant tempers to his work,
   Wields in his wrath, and as he wills destroys,
   Omnipotent in wickedness; the while
   Youth springs, age moulders, manhood tamely does
   His bidding, bribed by short-lived joys to lend
   Force to the weakness of his trembling arm.
   They rise, they fall; one generation comes
   Yielding its harvest to destruction's scythe.
   It fades, another blossoms; yet behold!
   Red glows the tyrant's stamp-mark on its bloom,                   230
   Withering and cankering deep its passive prime.
   He has invented lying words and modes,
   Empty and vain as his own coreless heart;
   Evasive meanings, nothings of much sound,
   To lure the heedless victim to the toils
   Spread round the valley of its paradise.

   'Look to thyself, priest, conqueror or prince!
   Whether thy trade is falsehood, and thy lusts
   Deep wallow in the earnings of the poor,
   With whom thy master was; or thou delight'st                      240
   In numbering o'er the myriads of thy slain,
   All misery weighing nothing in the scale
   Against thy short-lived fame; or thou dost load
   With cowardice and crime the groaning land,
   A pomp-fed king. Look to thy wretched self!
   Ay, art thou not the veriest slave that e'er
   Crawled on the loathing earth? Are not thy days
   Days of unsatisfying listlessness?
   Dost thou not cry, ere night's long rack is o'er,
   "When will the morning come?" Is not thy youth                    250
   A vain and feverish dream of sensualism?
   Thy manhood blighted with unripe disease?
   Are not thy views of unregretted death
   Drear, comfortless and horrible? Thy mind,
   Is it not morbid as thy nerveless frame,
   Incapable of judgment, hope or love?
   And dost thou wish the errors to survive,
   That bar thee from all sympathies of good,
   After the miserable interest
   Thou hold'st in their protraction? When the grave                 260
   Has swallowed up thy memory and thyself,
   Dost thou desire the bane that poisons earth
   To twine its roots around thy coffined clay,
   Spring from thy bones, and blossom on thy tomb,
   That of its fruit thy babes may eat and die?

   'Thus do the generations of the earth
   Go to the grave and issue from the womb,
   Surviving still the imperishable change
   That renovates the world; even as the leaves
   Which the keen frost-wind of the waning year
   Has scattered on the forest-soil and heaped
   For many seasons there--though long they choke,
   Loading with loathsome rottenness the land,
   All germs of promise, yet when the tall trees
   From which they fell, shorn of their lovely shapes,                10
   Lie level with the earth to moulder there,
   They fertilize the land they long deformed;
   Till from the breathing lawn a forest springs
   Of youth, integrity and loveliness,
   Like that which gave it life, to spring and die.
   Thus suicidal selfishness, that blights
   The fairest feelings of the opening heart,
   Is destined to decay, whilst from the soil
   Shall spring all virtue, all delight, all love,
   And judgment cease to wage unnatural war                           20
   With passion's unsubduable array.
   Twin-sister of Religion, Selfishness!
   Rival in crime and falsehood, aping all
   The wanton horrors of her bloody play;
   Yet frozen, unimpassioned, spiritless,
   Shunning the light, and owning not its name,
   Compelled by its deformity to screen
   With flimsy veil of justice and of right
   Its unattractive lineaments that scare
   All save the brood of ignorance; at once                           30
   The cause and the effect of tyranny;
   Unblushing, hardened, sensual and vile;
   Dead to all love but of its abjectness;
   With heart impassive by more noble powers
   Than unshared pleasure, sordid gain, or fame;
   Despising its own miserable being,
   Which still it longs, yet fears, to disenthrall.

   'Hence commerce springs, the venal interchange
   Of all that human art or Nature yield;
   Which wealth should purchase not, but want demand,                 40
   And natural kindness hasten to supply
   From the full fountain of its boundless love,
   Forever stifled, drained and tainted now.
   Commerce! beneath whose poison-breathing shade
   No solitary virtue dares to spring,
   But poverty and wealth with equal hand
   Scatter their withering curses, and unfold
   The doors of premature and violent death
   To pining famine and full-fed disease,
   To all that shares the lot of human life,                          50
   Which, poisoned body and soul, scarce drags the chain
   That lengthens as it goes and clanks behind.

   'Commerce has set the mark of selfishness,
   The signet of its all-enslaving power,
   Upon a shining ore, and called it gold;
   Before whose image bow the vulgar great,
   The vainly rich, the miserable proud,
   The mob of peasants, nobles, priests and kings,
   And with blind feelings reverence the power
   That grinds them to the dust of misery.                            60
   But in the temple of their hireling hearts
   Gold is a living god and rules in scorn
   All earthly things but virtue.

   'Since tyrants by the sale of human life
   Heap luxuries to their sensualism, and fame
   To their wide-wasting and insatiate pride,
   Success has sanctioned to a credulous world
   The ruin, the disgrace, the woe of war.
   His hosts of blind and unresisting dupes
   The despot numbers; from his cabinet                               70
   These puppets of his schemes he moves at will,
   Even as the slaves by force or famine driven,
   Beneath a vulgar master, to perform
   A task of cold and brutal drudgery;--
   Hardened to hope, insensible to fear,
   Scarce living pulleys of a dead machine,
   Mere wheels of work and articles of trade,
   That grace the proud and noisy pomp of wealth!

   'The harmony and happiness of man
   Yields to the wealth of nations; that which lifts                  80
   His nature to the heaven of its pride,
   Is bartered for the poison of his soul;
   The weight that drags to earth his towering hopes,
   Blighting all prospect but of selfish gain,
   Withering all passion but of slavish fear,
   Extinguishing all free and generous love
   Of enterprise and daring, even the pulse
   That fancy kindles in the beating heart
   To mingle with sensation, it destroys,--
   Leaves nothing but the sordid lust of self,                        90
   The grovelling hope of interest and gold,
   Unqualified, unmingled, unredeemed
   Even by hypocrisy.

                       And statesmen boast
   Of wealth! The wordy eloquence that lives
   After the ruin of their hearts, can gild
   The bitter poison of a nation's woe;
   Can turn the worship of the servile mob
   To their corrupt and glaring idol, fame,
   From virtue, trampled by its iron tread,--
   Although its dazzling pedestal be raised                          100
   Amid the horrors of a limb-strewn field,
   With desolated dwellings smoking round.
   The man of ease, who, by his warm fireside,
   To deeds of charitable intercourse
   And bare fulfilment of the common laws
   Of decency and prejudice confines
   The struggling nature of his human heart,
   Is duped by their cold sophistry; he sheds
   A passing tear perchance upon the wreck
   Of earthly peace, when near his dwelling's door                   110
   The frightful waves are driven,--when his son
   Is murdered by the tyrant, or religion
   Drives his wife raving mad. But the poor man
   Whose life is misery, and fear and care;
   Whom the morn wakens but to fruitless toil;
   Who ever hears his famished offspring's scream;
   Whom their pale mother's uncomplaining gaze
   Forever meets, and the proud rich man's eye
   Flashing command, and the heart-breaking scene
   Of thousands like himself;--he little heeds                       120
   The rhetoric of tyranny; his hate
   Is quenchless as his wrongs; he laughs to scorn
   The vain and bitter mockery of words,
   Feeling the horror of the tyrant's deeds,
   And unrestrained but by the arm of power,
   That knows and dreads his enmity.

   'The iron rod of penury still compels
   Her wretched slave to bow the knee to wealth,
   And poison, with unprofitable toil,
   A life too void of solace to confirm                              130
   The very chains that bind him to his doom.
   Nature, impartial in munificence,
   Has gifted man with all-subduing will.
   Matter, with all its transitory shapes,
   Lies subjected and plastic at his feet,
   That, weak from bondage, tremble as they tread.
   How many a rustic Milton has passed by,
   Stifling the speechless longings of his heart,
   In unremitting drudgery and care!
   How many a vulgar Cato has compelled                              140
   His energies, no longer tameless then,
   To mould a pin or fabricate a nail!
   How many a Newton, to whose passive ken
   Those mighty spheres that gem infinity
   Were only specks of tinsel fixed in heaven
   To light the midnights of his native town!

   'Yet every heart contains perfection's germ.
   The wisest of the sages of the earth,
   That ever from the stores of reason drew
   Science and truth, and virtue's dreadless tone,                   150
   Were but a weak and inexperienced boy,
   Proud, sensual, unimpassioned, unimbued
   With pure desire and universal love,
   Compared to that high being, of cloudless brain,
   Untainted passion, elevated will,
   Which death (who even would linger long in awe
   Within his noble presence and beneath
   His changeless eye-beam) might alone subdue.
   Him, every slave now dragging through the filth
   Of some corrupted city his sad life,                              160
   Pining with famine, swoln with luxury,
   Blunting the keenness of his spiritual sense
   With narrow schemings and unworthy cares,
   Or madly rushing through all violent crime
   To move the deep stagnation of his soul,--
   Might imitate and equal.

                             But mean lust
   Has bound its chains so tight about the earth
   That all within it but the virtuous man
   Is venal; gold or fame will surely reach
   The price prefixed by Selfishness to all                          170
   But him of resolute and unchanging will;
   Whom nor the plaudits of a servile crowd,
   Nor the vile joys of tainting luxury,
   Can bribe to yield his elevated soul
   To Tyranny or Falsehood, though they wield
   With blood-red hand the sceptre of the world.

   'All things are sold: the very light of heaven
   Is venal; earth's unsparing gifts of love,
   The smallest and most despicable things
   That lurk in the abysses of the deep,                             180
   All objects of our life, even life itself,
   And the poor pittance which the laws allow
   Of liberty, the fellowship of man,
   Those duties which his heart of human love
   Should urge him to perform instinctively,
   Are bought and sold as in a public mart
   Of undisguising Selfishness, that sets
   On each its price, the stamp-mark of her reign.
   Even love is sold; the solace of all woe
   Is turned to deadliest agony, old age                             190
   Shivers in selfish beauty's loathing arms,
   And youth's corrupted impulses prepare
   A life of horror from the blighting bane
   Of commerce; whilst the pestilence that springs
   From unenjoying sensualism, has filled
   All human life with hydra-headed woes.

   'Falsehood demands but gold to pay the pangs
   Of outraged conscience; for the slavish priest
   Sets no great value on his hireling faith;
   A little passing pomp, some servile souls,                        200
   Whom cowardice itself might safely chain
   Or the spare mite of avarice could bribe
   To deck the triumph of their languid zeal,
   Can make him minister to tyranny.
   More daring crime requires a loftier meed.
   Without a shudder the slave-soldier lends
   His arm to murderous deeds, and steels his heart,
   When the dread eloquence of dying men,
   Low mingling on the lonely field of fame,
   Assails that nature whose applause he sells                       210
   For the gross blessings of the patriot mob,
   For the vile gratitude of heartless kings,
   And for a cold world's good word,--viler still!

   'There is a nobler glory which survives
   Until our being fades, and, solacing
   All human care, accompanies its change;
   Deserts not virtue in the dungeon's gloom,
   And in the precincts of the palace guides
   Its footsteps through that labyrinth of crime;
   Imbues his lineaments with dauntlessness,                         220
   Even when from power's avenging hand he takes
   Its sweetest, last and noblest title--death;
   --The consciousness of good, which neither gold,
   Nor sordid fame, nor hope of heavenly bliss,
   Can purchase; but a life of resolute good,
   Unalterable will, quenchless desire
   Of universal happiness, the heart
   That beats with it in unison, the brain
   Whose ever-wakeful wisdom toils to change
   Reason's rich stores for its eternal weal.                        230

   'This commerce of sincerest virtue needs
   No meditative signs of selfishness,
   No jealous intercourse of wretched gain,
   No balancings of prudence, cold and long;
   In just and equal measure all is weighed,
   One scale contains the sum of human weal,
   And one, the good man's heart.

                                   How vainly seek
   The selfish for that happiness denied
   To aught but virtue! Blind and hardened, they,
   Who hope for peace amid the storms of care,                       240
   Who covet power they know not how to use,
   And sigh for pleasure they refuse to give,--
   Madly they frustrate still their own designs;
   And, where they hope that quiet to enjoy
   Which virtue pictures, bitterness of soul,
   Pining regrets, and vain repentances,
   Disease, disgust and lassitude pervade
   Their valueless and miserable lives.

   'But hoary-headed selfishness has felt
   Its death-blow and is tottering to the grave;                     250
   A brighter morn awaits the human day,
   When every transfer of earth's natural gifts
   Shall be a commerce of good words and works;
   When poverty and wealth, the thirst of fame,
   The fear of infamy, disease and woe,
   War with its million horrors, and fierce hell,
   Shall live but in the memory of time,
   Who, like a penitent libertine, shall start,
   Look back, and shudder at his younger years.'

           All touch, all eye, all ear,
   The Spirit felt the Fairy's burning speech.
       O'er the thin texture of its frame
   The varying periods painted changing glows,
           As on a summer even,
   When soul-enfolding music floats around,
       The stainless mirror of the lake
       Re-images the eastern gloom,
   Mingling convulsively its purple hues
           With sunset's burnished gold.                              10
           Then thus the Spirit spoke:
   'It is a wild and miserable world!
           Thorny, and full of care,
   Which every fiend can make his prey at will!
       O Fairy! in the lapse of years,
           Is there no hope in store?
           Will yon vast suns roll on
       Interminably, still illuming
       The night of so many wretched souls,
           And see no hope for them?                                  20
   Will not the universal Spirit e'er
   Revivify this withered limb of Heaven?'

           The Fairy calmly smiled
   In comfort, and a kindling gleam of hope
   Suffused the Spirit's lineaments.
   'Oh! rest thee tranquil; chase those fearful doubts
   Which ne'er could rack an everlasting soul
   That sees the chains which bind it to its doom.
   Yes! crime and misery are in yonder earth,
           Falsehood, mistake and lust;                               30
           But the eternal world
   Contains at once the evil and the cure.
   Some eminent in virtue shall start up,
           Even in perversest time;
   The truths of their pure lips, that never die,
   Shall bind the scorpion falsehood with a wreath
           Of ever-living flame,
   Until the monster sting itself to death.

     'How sweet a scene will earth become!
   Of purest spirits a pure dwelling-place,                           40
   Symphonious with the planetary spheres;
   When man, with changeless Nature coalescing,
   Will undertake regeneration's work,
   When its ungenial poles no longer point
           To the red and baleful sun
           That faintly twinkles there!

          'Spirit, on yonder earth,
     Falsehood now triumphs; deadly power
   Has fixed its seal upon the lip of truth!
       Madness and misery are there!                                  50
   The happiest is most wretched! Yet confide
   Until pure health-drops from the cup of joy
   Fall like a dew of balm upon the world.
   Now, to the scene I show, in silence turn,
   And read the blood-stained charter of all woe,
   Which Nature soon with recreating hand
   Will blot in mercy from the book of earth.
   How bold the flight of passion's wandering wing,
   How swift the step of reason's firmer tread,
   How calm and sweet the victories of life,                          60
   How terrorless the triumph of the grave!
   How powerless were the mightiest monarch's arm,
   Vain his loud threat, and impotent his frown!
   How ludicrous the priest's dogmatic roar!
   The weight of his exterminating curse
   How light! and his affected charity,
   To suit the pressure of the changing times,
   What palpable deceit!--but for thy aid,
   Religion! but for thee, prolific fiend,
   Who peoplest earth with demons, hell with men,                     70
   And heaven with slaves!

   'Thou taintest all thou lookest upon!--the stars,
   Which on thy cradle beamed so brightly sweet,
   Were gods to the distempered playfulness
   Of thy untutored infancy; the trees,
   The grass, the clouds, the mountains and the sea,
   All living things that walk, swim, creep or fly,
   Were gods; the sun had homage, and the moon
   Her worshipper. Then thou becamest, a boy,
   More daring in thy frenzies; every shape,                          80
   Monstrous or vast, or beautifully wild,
   Which from sensation's relics fancy culls;
   The spirits of the air, the shuddering ghost,
   The genii of the elements, the powers
   That give a shape to Nature's varied works,
   Had life and place in the corrupt belief
   Of thy blind heart; yet still thy youthful hands
   Were pure of human blood. Then manhood gave
   Its strength and ardor to thy frenzied brain;
   Thine eager gaze scanned the stupendous scene,                     90
   Whose wonders mocked the knowledge of thy pride;
   Their everlasting and unchanging laws
   Reproached thine ignorance. Awhile thou stood'st
   Baffled and gloomy; then thou didst sum up
   The elements of all that thou didst know;
   The changing seasons, winter's leafless reign,
   The budding of the heaven-breathing trees,
   The eternal orbs that beautify the night,
   The sunrise, and the setting of the moon,
   Earthquakes and wars, and poisons and disease,                    100
   And all their causes, to an abstract point
   Converging thou didst bend, and called it God!
   The self-sufficing, the omnipotent,
   The merciful, and the avenging God!
   Who, prototype of human misrule, sits
   High in heaven's realm, upon a golden throne,
   Even like an earthly king; and whose dread work,
   Hell, gapes forever for the unhappy slaves
   Of fate, whom he created in his sport
   To triumph in their torments when they fell!                      110
   Earth heard the name; earth trembled as the smoke
   Of his revenge ascended up to heaven,
   Blotting the constellations; and the cries
   Of millions butchered in sweet confidence
   And unsuspecting peace, even when the bonds
   Of safety were confirmed by wordy oaths
   Sworn in his dreadful name, rung through the land;
   Whilst innocent babes writhed on thy stubborn spear,
   And thou didst laugh to hear the mother's shriek
   Of maniac gladness, as the sacred steel                           120
   Felt cold in her torn entrails!

   'Religion! thou wert then in manhood's prime;
   But age crept on; one God would not suffice
   For senile puerility; thou framedst
   A tale to suit thy dotage and to glut
   Thy misery-thirsting soul, that the mad fiend
   Thy wickedness had pictured might afford
   A plea for sating the unnatural thirst
   For murder, rapine, violence and crime,
   That still consumed thy being, even when                          130
   Thou heard'st the step of fate; that flames might light
   Thy funeral scene; and the shrill horrent shrieks
   Of parents dying on the pile that burned
   To light their children to thy paths, the roar
   Of the encircling flames, the exulting cries
   Of thine apostles loud commingling there,
         Might sate thine hungry ear
         Even on the bed of death!

   'But now contempt is mocking thy gray hairs;
   Thou art descending to the darksome grave,                        140
   Unhonored and unpitied but by those
   Whose pride is passing by like thine, and sheds,
   Like thine, a glare that fades before the sun
   Of truth, and shines but in the dreadful night
   That long has lowered above the ruined world.

   'Throughout these infinite orbs of mingling light
   Of which yon earth is one, is wide diffused
   A Spirit of activity and life,
   That knows no term, cessation or decay;
   That fades not when the lamp of earthly life,                     150
   Extinguished in the dampness of the grave,
   Awhile there slumbers, more than when the babe
   In the dim newness of its being feels
   The impulses of sublunary things,
   And all is wonder to unpractised sense;
   But, active, steadfast and eternal, still
   Guides the fierce whirlwind, in the tempest roars,
   Cheers in the day, breathes in the balmy groves,
   Strengthens in health, and poisons in disease;
   And in the storm of change, that ceaselessly                      160
   Rolls round the eternal universe and shakes
   Its undecaying battlement, presides,
   Apportioning with irresistible law
   The place each spring of its machine shall fill;
   So that, when waves on waves tumultuous heap
   Confusion to the clouds, and fiercely driven
   Heaven's lightnings scorch the uprooted ocean-fords--
   Whilst, to the eye of shipwrecked mariner,
   Lone sitting on the bare and shuddering rock,
   All seems unlinked contingency and chance--                       170
   No atom of this turbulence fulfils
   A vague and unnecessitated task
   Or acts but as it must and ought to act.
   Even the minutest molecule of light,
   That in an April sunbeam's fleeting glow
   Fulfils its destined though invisible work,
   The universal Spirit guides; nor less
   When merciless ambition, or mad zeal,
   Has led two hosts of dupes to battle-field,
   That, blind, they there may dig each other's graves               180
   And call the sad work glory, does it rule
   All passions; not a thought, a will, an act,
   No working of the tyrant's moody mind,
   Nor one misgiving of the slaves who boast
   Their servitude to hide the shame they feel,
   Nor the events enchaining every will,
   That from the depths of unrecorded time
   Have drawn all-influencing virtue, pass
   Unrecognized or unforeseen by thee,
   Soul of the Universe! eternal spring                              190
   Of life and death, of happiness and woe,
   Of all that chequers the phantasmal scene
   That floats before our eyes in wavering light,
   Which gleams but on the darkness of our prison
       Whose chains and massy walls
       We feel but cannot see.

   'Spirit of Nature! all-sufficing Power,
   Necessity! thou mother of the world!
   Unlike the God of human error, thou
   Requirest no prayers or praises; the caprice                      200
   Of man's weak will belongs no more to thee
   Than do the changeful passions of his breast
   To thy unvarying harmony; the slave,
   Whose horrible lusts spread misery o'er the world,
   And the good man, who lifts with virtuous pride
   His being in the sight of happiness
   That springs from his own works; the poison-tree,
   Beneath whose shade all life is withered up,
   And the fair oak, whose leafy dome affords
   A temple where the vows of happy love                             210
   Are registered, are equal in thy sight;
   No love, no hate thou cherishest; revenge
   And favoritism, and worst desire of fame
   Thou knowest not; all that the wide world contains
   Are but thy passive instruments, and thou
   Regard'st them all with an impartial eye,
   Whose joy or pain thy nature cannot feel,
     Because thou hast not human sense,
     Because thou art not human mind.

    'Yes! when the sweeping storm of time                            220
   Has sung its death-dirge o'er the ruined fanes
   And broken altars of the almighty fiend,
   Whose name usurps thy honors, and the blood
   Through centuries clotted there has floated down
   The tainted flood of ages, shalt thou live
   Unchangeable! A shrine is raised to thee,
     Which nor the tempest breath of time,
     Nor the interminable flood
     Over earth's slight pageant rolling,
         Availeth to destroy,--                                      230
   The sensitive extension of the world;
     That wondrous and eternal fane,
   Where pain and pleasure, good and evil join,
   To do the will of strong necessity,
     And life, in multitudinous shapes,
   Still pressing forward where no term can be,
     Like hungry and unresting flame
   Curls round the eternal columns of its strength.'

   'I was an infant when my mother went
   To see an atheist burned. She took me there.
   The dark-robed priests were met around the pile;
   The multitude was gazing silently;
   And as the culprit passed with dauntless mien,
   Tempered disdain in his unaltering eye,
   Mixed with a quiet smile, shone calmly forth;
   The thirsty fire crept round his manly limbs;
   His resolute eyes were scorched to blindness soon;
   His death-pang rent my heart! the insensate mob                    10
   Uttered a cry of triumph, and I wept.
   "Weep not, child!" cried my mother, "for that man
   Has said, There is no God."'

                                'There is no God!
   Nature confirms the faith his death-groan sealed.
   Let heaven and earth, let man's revolving race,
   His ceaseless generations, tell their tale;
   Let every part depending on the chain
   That links it to the whole, point to the hand
   That grasps its term! Let every seed that falls
   In silent eloquence unfold its store                               20
   Of argument; infinity within,
   Infinity without, belie creation;
   The exterminable spirit it contains
   Is Nature's only God; but human pride
   Is skilful to invent most serious names
   To hide its ignorance.
                           'The name of God
   Has fenced about all crime with holiness,
   Himself the creature of his worshippers,
   Whose names and attributes and passions change,
   Seeva, Buddh, Foh, Jehovah, God, or Lord,                          30
   Even with the human dupes who build his shrines,
   Still serving o'er the war-polluted world
   For desolation's watchword; whether hosts
   Stain his death-blushing chariot-wheels, as on
   Triumphantly they roll, whilst Brahmins raise
   A sacred hymn to mingle with the groans;
   Or countless partners of his power divide
   His tyranny to weakness; or the smoke
   Of burning towns, the cries of female helplessness,
   Unarmed old age, and youth, and infancy,                           40
   Horribly massacred, ascend to heaven
   In honor of his name; or, last and worst,
   Earth groans beneath religion's iron age,
   And priests dare babble of a God of peace,
   Even whilst their hands are red with guiltless blood,
   Murdering the while, uprooting every germ
   Of truth, exterminating, spoiling all,
   Making the earth a slaughter-house!

          'O Spirit! through the sense
   By which thy inner nature was apprised                             50
     Of outward shows, vague dreams have rolled,
     And varied reminiscences have waked
           Tablets that never fade;
     All things have been imprinted there,
     The stars, the sea, the earth, the sky,
     Even the unshapeliest lineaments
       Of wild and fleeting visions
           Have left a record there
           To testify of earth.

   'These are my empire, for to me is given                           60
   The wonders of the human world to keep,
   And fancy's thin creations to endow
   With manner, being and reality;
   Therefore a wondrous phantom from the dreams
   Of human error's dense and purblind faith
   I will evoke, to meet thy questioning.
           Ahasuerus, rise!'

           A strange and woe-worn wight
       Arose beside the battlement,
           And stood unmoving there.                                  70
   His inessential figure cast no shade
           Upon the golden floor;
   His port and mien bore mark of many years,
   And chronicles of untold ancientness
   Were legible within his beamless eye;
       Yet his cheek bore the mark of youth;
   Freshness and vigor knit his manly frame;
   The wisdom of old age was mingled there
       With youth's primeval dauntlessness;
           And inexpressible woe,                                     80
   Chastened by fearless resignation, gave
   An awful grace to his all-speaking brow.

          'Is there a God?'

   'Is there a God!--ay, an almighty God,
   And vengeful as almighty! Once his voice
   Was heard on earth; earth shuddered at the sound;
   The fiery-visaged firmament expressed
   Abhorrence, and the grave of Nature yawned
   To swallow all the dauntless and the good
   That dared to hurl defiance at his throne,                         90
   Girt as it was with power. None but slaves
   Survived,--cold-blooded slaves, who did the work
   Of tyrannous omnipotence; whose souls
   No honest indignation ever urged
   To elevated daring, to one deed
   Which gross and sensual self did not pollute.
   These slaves built temples for the omnipotent fiend,
   Gorgeous and vast; the costly altars smoked
   With human blood, and hideous pæans rung
   Through all the long-drawn aisles. A murderer heard               100
   His voice in Egypt, one whose gifts and arts
   Had raised him to his eminence in power,
   Accomplice of omnipotence in crime
   And confidant of the all-knowing one.
         These were Jehovah's words.

   '"From an eternity of idleness
   I, God, awoke; in seven days' toil made earth
   From nothing; rested, and created man;
   I placed him in a paradise, and there
   Planted the tree of evil, so that he                              110
   Might eat and perish, and my soul procure
   Wherewith to sate its malice and to turn,
   Even like a heartless conqueror of the earth,
   All misery to my fame. The race of men,
   Chosen to my honor, with impunity
   May sate the lusts I planted in their heart.
   Here I command thee hence to lead them on,
   Until with hardened feet their conquering troops
   Wade on the promised soil through woman's blood,
   And make my name be dreaded through the land.                     120
   Yet ever-burning flame and ceaseless woe
   Shall be the doom of their eternal souls,
   With every soul on this ungrateful earth,
   Virtuous or vicious, weak or strong,--even all
   Shall perish, to fulfil the blind revenge
   (Which you, to men, call justice) of their God."

                          'The murderer's brow
   Quivered with horror.

                          '"God omnipotent,
   Is there no mercy? must our punishment
   Be endless? will long ages roll away,                             130
   And see no term? Oh! wherefore hast thou made
   In mockery and wrath this evil earth?
   Mercy becomes the powerful--be but just!
   O God! repent and save!"

                          '"One way remains:
   I will beget a son and he shall bear
   The sins of all the world; he shall arise
   In an unnoticed corner of the earth,
   And there shall die upon a cross, and purge
   The universal crime; so that the few
   On whom my grace descends, those who are marked                   140
   As vessels to the honor of their God,
   May credit this strange sacrifice and save
   Their souls alive. Millions shall live and die,
   Who ne'er shall call upon their Saviour's name,
   But, unredeemed, go to the gaping grave,
   Thousands shall deem it an old woman's tale,
   Such as the nurses frighten babes withal;
   These in a gulf of anguish and of flame
   Shall curse their reprobation endlessly,
   Yet tenfold pangs shall force them to avow,                       150
   Even on their beds of torment where they howl,
   My honor and the justice of their doom.
   What then avail their virtuous deeds, their thoughts
   Of purity, with radiant genius bright
   Or lit with human reason's earthly ray?
   Many are called, but few will I elect.
   Do thou my bidding, Moses!"

                         'Even the murderer's cheek
   Was blanched with horror, and his quivering lips
   Scarce faintly uttered--"O almighty one,
   I tremble and obey!"                                              160

   'O Spirit! centuries have set their seal
   On this heart of many wounds, and loaded brain,
   Since the Incarnate came; humbly he came,
   Veiling his horrible Godhead in the shape
   Of man, scorned by the world, his name unheard
   Save by the rabble of his native town,
   Even as a parish demagogue. He led
   The crowd; he taught them justice, truth and peace,
   In semblance; but he lit within their souls
   The quenchless flames of zeal, and blessed the sword              170
   He brought on earth to satiate with the blood
   Of truth and freedom his malignant soul
   At length his mortal frame was led to death.
   I stood beside him; on the torturing cross
   No pain assailed his unterrestrial sense;
   And yet he groaned. Indignantly I summed
   The massacres and miseries which his name
   Had sanctioned in my country, and I cried,
   "Go! go!" in mockery.
   A smile of godlike malice reillumined                             180
   His fading lineaments. "I go," he cried,
   "But thou shalt wander o'er the unquiet earth
   Eternally." The dampness of the grave
   Bathed my imperishable front. I fell,
   And long lay tranced upon the charmèd soil.
   When I awoke hell burned within my brain
   Which staggered on its seat; for all around
   The mouldering relics of my kindred lay,
   Even as the Almighty's ire arrested them,
   And in their various attitudes of death                           190
   My murdered children's mute and eyeless skulls
   Glared ghastily upon me.

                             But my soul,
   From sight and sense of the polluting woe
   Of tyranny, had long learned to prefer
   Hell's freedom to the servitude of heaven.
   Therefore I rose, and dauntlessly began
   My lonely and unending pilgrimage,
   Resolved to wage unweariable war
   With my almighty tyrant and to hurl
   Defiance at his impotence to harm                                 200
   Beyond the curse I bore. The very hand,
   That barred my passage to the peaceful grave,
   Has crushed the earth to misery, and given
   Its empire to the chosen of his slaves.
   These I have seen, even from the earliest dawn
   Of weak, unstable and precarious power,
   Then preaching peace, as now they practise war;
   So, when they turned but from the massacre
   Of unoffending infidels to quench
   Their thirst for ruin in the very blood                           210
   That flowed in their own veins, and pitiless zeal
   Froze every human feeling as the wife
   Sheathed in her husband's heart the sacred steel,
   Even whilst its hopes were dreaming of her love;
   And friends to friends, brothers to brothers stood
   Opposed in bloodiest battle-field, and war,
   Scarce satiable by fate's last death-draught, waged,
   Drunk from the wine-press of the Almighty's wrath;
   Whilst the red cross, in mockery of peace,
   Pointed to victory! When the fray was done,                       220
   No remnant of the exterminated faith
   Survived to tell its ruin, but the flesh,
   With putrid smoke poisoning the atmosphere,
   That rotted on the half-extinguished pile.

   'Yes! I have seen God's worshippers unsheathe
   The sword of his revenge, when grace descended,
   Confirming all unnatural impulses,
   To sanctify their desolating deeds;
   And frantic priests waved the ill-omened cross
   O'er the unhappy earth; then shone the sun                        230
   On showers of gore from the upflashing steel
   Of safe assassination, and all crime
   Made stingless by the spirits of the Lord,
   And blood-red rainbows canopied the land.

   'Spirit! no year of my eventful being
   Has passed unstained by crime and misery,
   Which flows from God's own faith. I 've marked his slaves
   With tongues, whose lies are venomous, beguile
   The insensate mob, and, whilst one hand was red
   With murder, feign to stretch the other out                       240
   For brotherhood and peace; and that they now
   Babble of love and mercy, whilst their deeds
   Are marked with all the narrowness and crime
   That freedom's young arm dare not yet chastise,
   Reason may claim our gratitude, who now,
   Establishing the imperishable throne
   Of truth and stubborn virtue, maketh vain
   The unprevailing malice of my foe,
   Whose bootless rage heaps torments for the brave,
   Adds impotent eternities to pain,                                 250
   Whilst keenest disappointment racks his breast
   To see the smiles of peace around them play,
   To frustrate or to sanctify their doom.

   'Thus have I stood,--through a wild waste of years
   Struggling with whirlwinds of mad agony,
   Yet peaceful, and serene, and self-enshrined,
   Mocking my powerless tyrant's horrible curse
   With stubborn and unalterable will,
   Even as a giant oak, which heaven's fierce flame
   Had scathèd in the wilderness, to stand                           260
   A monument of fadeless ruin there;
   Yet peacefully and movelessly it braves
   The midnight conflict of the wintry storm,
     As in the sunlight's calm it spreads
     Its worn and withered arms on high
   To meet the quiet of a summer's noon.'

       The Fairy waved her wand;
       Ahasuerus fled
   Fast as the shapes of mingled shade and mist,
   That lurk in the glens of a twilight grove,                       270
       Flee from the morning beam;--
       The matter of which dreams are made
       Not more endowed with actual life
       Than this phantasmal portraiture
       Of wandering human thought.

   'The present and the past thou hast beheld.
   It was a desolate sight. Now, Spirit, learn,
     The secrets of the future.--Time!
   Unfold the brooding pinion of thy gloom,
   Render thou up thy half-devoured babes,
   And from the cradles of eternity,
   Where millions lie lulled to their portioned sleep
   By the deep murmuring stream of passing things,
   Tear thou that gloomy shroud.--Spirit, behold
       Thy glorious destiny!'                                         10

       Joy to the Spirit came.
   Through the wide rent in Time's eternal veil,
   Hope was seen beaming through the mists of fear;
       Earth was no longer hell;
       Love, freedom, health had given
   Their ripeness to the manhood of its prime,
       And all its pulses beat
   Symphonious to the planetary spheres;
       Then dulcet music swelled
   Concordant with the life-strings of the soul;                      20
   It throbbed in sweet and languid beatings there,
   Catching new life from transitory death;
   Like the vague sighings of a wind at even
   That wakes the wavelets of the slumbering sea
   And dies on the creation of its breath,
   And sinks and rises, falls and swells by fits,
     Was the pure stream of feeling
     That sprung from these sweet notes,
   And o'er the Spirit's human sympathies
   With mild and gentle motion calmly flowed.                         30

       Joy to the Spirit came,--
     Such joy as when a lover sees
   The chosen of his soul in happiness
       And witnesses her peace
   Whose woe to him were bitterer than death;
       Sees her unfaded cheek
   Glow mantling in first luxury of health,
       Thrills with her lovely eyes,
   Which like two stars amid the heaving main
       Sparkle through liquid bliss.                                  40

   Then in her triumph spoke the Fairy Queen:
   'I will not call the ghost of ages gone
   To unfold the frightful secrets of its lore;
       The present now is past,
   And those events that desolate the earth
   Have faded from the memory of Time,
   Who dares not give reality to that
   Whose being I annul. To me is given
   The wonders of the human world to keep,
   Space, matter, time and mind. Futurity                             50
   Exposes now its treasure; let the sight
   Renew and strengthen all thy failing hope.
   O human Spirit! spur thee to the goal
   Where virtue fixes universal peace,
   And, 'midst the ebb and flow of human things,
   Show somewhat stable, somewhat certain still,
   A light-house o'er the wild of dreary waves.

    'The habitable earth is full of bliss;
   Those wastes of frozen billows that were hurled
   By everlasting snow-storms round the poles,                        60
   Where matter dared not vegetate or live,
   But ceaseless frost round the vast solitude
   Bound its broad zone of stillness, are unloosed;
   And fragrant zephyrs there from spicy isles
   Ruffle the placid ocean-deep, that rolls
   Its broad, bright surges to the sloping sand,
   Whose roar is wakened into echoings sweet
   To murmur through the heaven-breathing groves
   And melodize with man's blest nature there.

   'Those deserts of immeasurable sand,                               70
   Whose age-collected fervors scarce allowed
   A bird to live, a blade of grass to spring,
   Where the shrill chirp of the green lizard's love
   Broke on the sultry silentness alone,
   Now teem with countless rills and shady woods,
   Cornfields and pastures and white cottages;
   And where the startled wilderness beheld
   A savage conqueror stained in kindred blood,
   A tigress sating with the flesh of lambs
   The unnatural famine of her toothless cubs,                        80
   Whilst shouts and howlings through the desert rang,--
   Sloping and smooth the daisy-spangled lawn,
   Offering sweet incense to the sunrise, smiles
   To see a babe before his mother's door,
       Sharing his morning's meal
     With the green and golden basilisk
       That comes to lick his feet.

   'Those trackless deeps, where many a weary sail
   Has seen above the illimitable plain
   Morning on night and night on morning rise,                        90
   Whilst still no land to greet the wanderer spread
   Its shadowy mountains on the sun-bright sea,
   Where the loud roarings of the tempest-waves
   So long have mingled with the gusty wind
   In melancholy loneliness, and swept
   The desert of those ocean solitudes
   But vocal to the sea-bird's harrowing shriek,
   The bellowing monster, and the rushing storm;
   Now to the sweet and many-mingling sounds
   Of kindliest human impulses respond.                              100
   Those lonely realms bright garden-isles begem,
   With lightsome clouds and shining seas between,
   And fertile valleys, resonant with bliss,
   Whilst green woods overcanopy the wave,
   Which like a toil-worn laborer leaps to shore
   To meet the kisses of the flowrets there.

   'All things are recreated, and the flame
   Of consentaneous love inspires all life.
   The fertile bosom of the earth gives suck
   To myriads, who still grow beneath her care,                      110
   Rewarding her with their pure perfectness;
   The balmy breathings of the wind inhale
   Her virtues and diffuse them all abroad;
   Health floats amid the gentle atmosphere,
   Glows in the fruits and mantles on the stream;
   No storms deform the beaming brow of heaven,
   Nor scatter in the freshness of its pride
   The foliage of the ever-verdant trees;
   But fruits are ever ripe, flowers ever fair,
   And autumn proudly bears her matron grace,                        120
   Kindling a flush on the fair cheek of spring,
   Whose virgin bloom beneath the ruddy fruit
   Reflects its tint and blushes into love.

   'The lion now forgets to thirst for blood;
   There might you see him sporting in the sun
   Beside the dreadless kid; his claws are sheathed,
   His teeth are harmless, custom's force has made
   His nature as the nature of a lamb.
   Like passion's fruit, the nightshade's tempting bane
   Poisons no more the pleasure it bestows;                          130
   All bitterness is past; the cup of joy
   Unmingled mantles to the goblet's brim
   And courts the thirsty lips it fled before.

     But chief, ambiguous man, he that can know
   More misery, and dream more joy than all;
   Whose keen sensations thrill within his breast
   To mingle with a loftier instinct there,
   Lending their power to pleasure and to pain,
   Yet raising, sharpening, and refining each;
   Who stands amid the ever-varying world,                           140
   The burden or the glory of the earth;
   He chief perceives the change; his being notes
   The gradual renovation and defines
   Each movement of its progress on his mind.

   'Man, where the gloom of the long polar night
   Lowers o'er the snow-clad rocks and frozen soil,
   Where scarce the hardiest herb that braves the frost
   Basks in the moonlight's ineffectual glow,
   Shrank with the plants, and darkened with the night;
   His chilled and narrow energies, his heart                        150
   Insensible to courage, truth or love,
   His stunted stature and imbecile frame,
   Marked him for some abortion of the earth,
   Fit compeer of the bears that roamed around,
   Whose habits and enjoyments were his own;
   His life a feverish dream of stagnant woe,
   Whose meagre wants, but scantily fulfilled,
   Apprised him ever of the joyless length
   Which his short being's wretchedness had reached;
   His death a pang which famine, cold and toil                      160
   Long on the mind, whilst yet the vital spark
   Clung to the body stubbornly, had brought:
   All was inflicted here that earth's revenge
   Could wreak on the infringers of her law;
   One curse alone was spared--the name of God.

   'Nor, where the tropics bound the realms of day
   With a broad belt of mingling cloud and flame,
   Where blue mists through the unmoving atmosphere
   Scattered the seeds of pestilence and fed
   Unnatural vegetation, where the land                              170
   Teemed with all earthquake, tempest and disease,
   Was man a nobler being; slavery
   Had crushed him to his country's blood-stained dust;
   Or he was bartered for the fame of power,
   Which, all internal impulses destroying,
   Makes human will an article of trade;
   Or he was changed with Christians for their gold
   And dragged to distant isles, where to the sound
   Of the flesh-mangling scourge he does the work
   Of all-polluting luxury and wealth,                               180
   Which doubly visits on the tyrants' heads
   The long-protracted fulness of their woe;
   Or he was led to legal butchery,
   To turn to worms beneath that burning sun
   Where kings first leagued against the rights of men
   And priests first traded with the name of God.

   'Even where the milder zone afforded man
   A seeming shelter, yet contagion there,
   Blighting his being with unnumbered ills,
   Spread like a quenchless fire; nor truth till late                190
   Availed to arrest its progress or create
   That peace which first in bloodless victory waved
   Her snowy standard o'er this favored clime;
   There man was long the train-bearer of slaves,
   The mimic of surrounding misery,
   The jackal of ambition's lion-rage,
   The bloodhound of religion's hungry zeal.

   'Here now the human being stands adorning
   This loveliest earth with taintless body and mind;
   Blest from his birth with all bland impulses,                     200
   Which gently in his noble bosom wake
   All kindly passions and all pure desires.
   Him, still from hope to hope the bliss pursuing
   Which from the exhaustless store of human weal
   Draws on the virtuous mind, the thoughts that rise
   In time-destroying infiniteness gift
   With self-enshrined eternity, that mocks
   The unprevailing hoariness of age;
   And man, once fleeting o'er the transient scene
   Swift as an unremembered vision, stands                           210
   Immortal upon earth; no longer now
   He slays the lamb that looks him in the face,
   And horribly devours his mangled flesh,
   Which, still avenging Nature's broken law,
   Kindled all putrid humors in his frame,
   All evil passions and all vain belief,
   Hatred, despair and loathing in his mind,
   The germs of misery, death, disease and crime.
   No longer now the wingèd habitants,
   That in the woods their sweet lives sing away,                    220
   Flee from the form of man; but gather round,
   And prune their sunny feathers on the hands
   Which little children stretch in friendly sport
   Towards these dreadless partners of their play.
   All things are void of terror; man has lost
   His terrible prerogative, and stands
   An equal amidst equals; happiness
   And science dawn, though late, upon the earth;
   Peace cheers the mind, health renovates the frame;
   Disease and pleasure cease to mingle here,                        230
   Reason and passion cease to combat there;
   Whilst each unfettered o'er the earth extend
   Their all-subduing energies, and wield
   The sceptre of a vast dominion there;
   Whilst every shape and mode of matter lends
   Its force to the omnipotence of mind,
   Which from its dark mine drags the gem of truth
   To decorate its paradise of peace.'

   'O happy Earth, reality of Heaven!
   To which those restless souls that ceaselessly
   Throng through the human universe, aspire!
   Thou consummation of all mortal hope!
   Thou glorious prize of blindly working will,
   Whose rays, diffused throughout all space and time,
   Verge to one point and blend forever there!
   Of purest spirits thou pure dwelling-place
   Where care and sorrow, impotence and crime,
   Languor, disease and ignorance dare not come!                      10
   O happy Earth, reality of Heaven!

   'Genius has seen thee in her passionate dreams;
   And dim forebodings of thy loveliness,
   Haunting the human heart, have there entwined
   Those rooted hopes of some sweet place of bliss,
   Where friends and lovers meet to part no more.
   Thou art the end of all desire and will,
   The product of all action; and the souls,
   That by the paths of an aspiring change
   Have reached thy haven of perpetual peace,                         20
   There rest from the eternity of toil
   That framed the fabric of thy perfectness.

   'Even Time, the conqueror, fled thee in his fear;
   That hoary giant, who in lonely pride
   So long had ruled the world that nations fell
   Beneath his silent footstep. Pyramids,
   That for millenniums had withstood the tide
   Of human things, his storm-breath drove in sand
   Across that desert where their stones survived
   The name of him whose pride had heaped them there.                 30
   Yon monarch, in his solitary pomp,
   Was but the mushroom of a summer day,
   That his light-wingèd footstep pressed to dust;
   Time was the king of earth; all things gave way
   Before him but the fixed and virtuous will,
   The sacred sympathies of soul and sense,
   That mocked his fury and prepared his fall.

   'Yet slow and gradual dawned the morn of love;
   Long lay the clouds of darkness o'er the scene,
   Till from its native heaven they rolled away:                      40
   First, crime triumphant o'er all hope careered
   Unblushing, undisguising, bold and strong,
   Whilst falsehood, tricked in virtue's attributes,
   Long sanctified all deeds of vice and woe,
   Till, done by her own venomous sting to death,
   She left the moral world without a law,
   No longer fettering passion's fearless wing,
   Nor searing reason with the brand of God.
   Then steadily the happy ferment worked;
   Reason was free; and wild though passion went                      50
   Through tangled glens and wood-embosomed meads,
   Gathering a garland of the strangest flowers,
   Yet, like the bee returning to her queen,
   She bound the sweetest on her sister's brow,
   Who meek and sober kissed the sportive child,
   No longer trembling at the broken rod.

   'Mild was the slow necessity of death.
   The tranquil spirit failed beneath its grasp,
   Without a groan, almost without a fear,
   Calm as a voyager to some distant land,                            60
   And full of wonder, full of hope as he.
   The deadly germs of languor and disease
   Died in the human frame, and purity
   Blessed with all gifts her earthly worshippers.
   How vigorous then the athletic form of age!
   How clear its open and unwrinkled brow!
   Where neither avarice, cunning, pride or care
   Had stamped the seal of gray deformity
   On all the mingling lineaments of time.
   How lovely the intrepid front of youth,                            70
   Which meek-eyed courage decked with freshest grace;
   Courage of soul, that dreaded not a name,
   And elevated will, that journeyed on
   Through life's phantasmal scene in fearlessness,
   With virtue, love and pleasure, hand in hand!

   'Then, that sweet bondage which is freedom's self,
   And rivets with sensation's softest tie
   The kindred sympathies of human souls,
   Needed no fetters of tyrannic law.
   Those delicate and timid impulses                                  80
   In Nature's primal modesty arose,
   And with undoubting confidence disclosed
   The growing longings of its dawning love,
   Unchecked by dull and selfish chastity,
   That virtue of the cheaply virtuous,
   Who pride themselves in senselessness and frost.
   No longer prostitution's venomed bane
   Poisoned the springs of happiness and life;
   Woman and man, in confidence and love,
   Equal and free and pure together trod                              90
   The mountain-paths of virtue, which no more
   Were stained with blood from many a pilgrim's feet.

   'Then, where, through distant ages, long in pride
   The palace of the monarch-slave had mocked
   Famine's faint groan and penury's silent tear,
   A heap of crumbling ruins stood, and threw
   Year after year their stones upon the field,
   Wakening a lonely echo; and the leaves
   Of the old thorn, that on the topmost tower
   Usurped the royal ensign's grandeur, shook                        100
   In the stern storm that swayed the topmost tower,
   And whispered strange tales in the whirlwind's ear.

   'Low through the lone cathedral's roofless aisles
   The melancholy winds a death-dirge sung.
   It were a sight of awfulness to see
   The works of faith and slavery, so vast,
   So sumptuous, yet so perishing withal,
   Even as the corpse that rests beneath its wall!
   A thousand mourners deck the pomp of death
   To-day, the breathing marble glows above                          110
   To decorate its memory, and tongues
   Are busy of its life; to-morrow, worms
   In silence and in darkness seize their prey.

   'Within the massy prison's mouldering courts,
   Fearless and free the ruddy children played,
   Weaving gay chaplets for their innocent brows
   With the green ivy and the red wall-flower
   That mock the dungeon's unavailing gloom;
   The ponderous chains and gratings of strong iron
   There rusted amid heaps of broken stone                           120
   That mingled slowly with their native earth;
   There the broad beam of day, which feebly once
   Lighted the cheek of lean captivity
   With a pale and sickly glare, then freely shone
   On the pure smiles of infant playfulness;
   No more the shuddering voice of hoarse despair
   Pealed through the echoing vaults, but soothing notes
   Of ivy-fingered winds and gladsome birds
   And merriment were resonant around.

   'These ruins soon left not a wreck behind;                        130
   Their elements, wide-scattered o'er the globe,
   To happier shapes were moulded, and became
   Ministrant to all blissful impulses;
   Thus human things were perfected, and earth,
   Even as a child beneath its mother's love,
   Was strengthened in all excellence, and grew
   Fairer and nobler with each passing year.

   'Now Time his dusky pennons o'er the scene
   Closes in steadfast darkness, and the past
   Fades from our charmèd sight. My task is done;                    140
   Thy lore is learned. Earth's wonders are thine own
   With all the fear and all the hope they bring.
   My spells are passed; the present now recurs.
   Ah me! a pathless wilderness remains
   Yet unsubdued by man's reclaiming hand.

   'Yet, human Spirit! bravely hold thy course;
   Let virtue teach thee firmly to pursue
   The gradual paths of an aspiring change;
   For birth and life and death, and that strange state
   Before the naked soul has found its home,                         150
   All tend to perfect happiness, and urge
   The restless wheels of being on their way,
   Whose flashing spokes, instinct with infinite life,
   Bicker and burn to gain their destined goal;
   For birth but wakes the spirit to the sense
   Of outward shows, whose unexperienced shape
   New modes of passion to its frame may lend;
   Life is its state of action, and the store
   Of all events is aggregated there
   That variegate the eternal universe;                              160
   Death is a gate of dreariness and gloom,
   That leads to azure isles and beaming skies
   And happy regions of eternal hope.
   Therefore, O Spirit! fearlessly bear on.
   Though storms may break the primrose on its stalk,
   Though frosts may blight the freshness of its bloom,
   Yet spring's awakening breath will woo the earth
   To feed with kindliest dews its favorite flower,
   That blooms in mossy bank and darksome glens,
   Lighting the greenwood with its sunny smile.                      170

   'Fear not then, Spirit, death's disrobing hand,
   So welcome when the tyrant is awake,
   So welcome when the bigot's hell-torch burns;
   'T is but the voyage of a darksome hour,
   The transient gulf-dream of a startling sleep.
   Death is no foe to virtue; earth has seen
   Love's brightest roses on the scaffold bloom,
   Mingling with freedom's fadeless laurels there,
   And presaging the truth of visioned bliss.
   Are there not hopes within thee, which this scene                 180
   Of linked and gradual being has confirmed?
   Whose stingings bade thy heart look further still,
   When, to the moonlight walk by Henry led,
   Sweetly and sadly thou didst talk of death?
   And wilt thou rudely tear them from thy breast,
   Listening supinely to a bigot's creed,
   Or tamely crouching to the tyrant's rod,
   Whose iron thongs are red with human gore?
   Never: but bravely bearing on, thy will
   Is destined an eternal war to wage                                190
   With tyranny and falsehood, and uproot
   The germs of misery from the human heart.
   Thine is the hand whose piety would soothe
   The thorny pillow of unhappy crime,
   Whose impotence an easy pardon gains,
   Watching its wanderings as a friend's disease;
   Thine is the brow whose mildness would defy
   Its fiercest rage, and brave its sternest will,
   When fenced by power and master of the world.
   Thou art sincere and good; of resolute mind,                      200
   Free from heart-withering custom's cold control,
   Of passion lofty, pure and unsubdued.
   Earth's pride and meanness could not vanquish thee,
   And therefore art thou worthy of the boon
   Which thou hast now received; virtue shall keep
   Thy footsteps in the path that thou hast trod,
   And many days of beaming hope shall bless
   Thy spotless life of sweet and sacred love.
   Go, happy one, and give that bosom joy,
     Whose sleepless spirit waits to catch                           210
     Light, life and rapture from thy smile!'

     The Fairy waves her wand of charm.
   Speechless with bliss the Spirit mounts the car,
     That rolled beside the battlement,
   Bending her beamy eyes in thankfulness.
     Again the enchanted steeds were yoked;
     Again the burning wheels inflame
   The steep descent of heaven's untrodden way.
     Fast and far the chariot flew;
     The vast and fiery globes that rolled                           220
     Around the Fairy's palace-gate
   Lessened by slow degrees, and soon appeared
   Such tiny twinklers as the planet orbs
   That there attendant on the solar power
   With borrowed light pursued their narrower way.

       Earth floated then below;
     The chariot paused a moment there;
       The Spirit then descended;
   The restless coursers pawed the ungenial soil,
   Snuffed the gross air, and then, their errand done,               230
   Unfurled their pinions to the winds of heaven.

     The Body and the Soul united then.
   A gentle start convulsed Ianthe's frame;
   Her veiny eyelids quietly unclosed;
   Moveless awhile the dark blue orbs remained.
   She looked around in wonder, and beheld
   Henry, who kneeled in silence by her couch,
   Watching her sleep with looks of speechless love,
       And the bright beaming stars
       That through the casement shone.                              240



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