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The fiend hag on her perilous couch doth leap, Muttering distemper'd triumph in her charmed sleep.


Away, my soul, away!

In vain, in vain, the birds of warning singAnd hark! I hear the famish'd brood of prey Flap their lank pennons on the groaning wind! Away, my soul, away!

I, unpartaking of the evil thing,

With daily prayer and daily toil Soliciting for food my scanty soil, Have wail'd my country with a loud lament. Now I recentre my immortal mind

In the deep sabbath of meek self-content; Cleansed from the vaporous passions that bedim God's Image, sister of the Seraphim.




YE clouds that far above me float and pause,
Whose pathless march no mortal may control!
Ye ocean waves! that, wheresoe'er ye roll,
Yield homage only to eternal laws!

Ye woods! that listen to the night-birds' singing,
Midway the smooth and perilous slope reclined,
Save when your own imperious branches swinging,
Have made a solemn music of the wind!
Where, like a man beloved of God,
Through glooms, which never woodman trod,

How oft, pursuing fancies holy,

My moonlight way o'er flowering weeds I wound, Inspired, beyond the guess of folly,

By each rude shape and wild unconquerable sound! O ye loud waves! and O ye forests high!

And O ye clouds that far above me soar'd! Thou rising sun! thou blue, rejoicing sky! Yea, every thing that is and will be free! Bear witness for me, wheresoe'er ye be, With what deep worship I have still adored The spirit of divinest Liberty.


When France in wrath her giant-limbs uprear'd, And with that oath, which smote air, earth and sea,

Stamp'd her strong foot, and said she would be free,

Bear witness for me, how I hoped and fear'd!
With what a joy my lofty gratulation
Unawed I sang, amid a slavish band:
And when to whelm the disenchanted nation,
Like fiends embattled by a wizard's wand,
The monarchs march'd in evil day,
And Britain join'd the dire array;
Though dear her shores and circling ocean,
Though many friendships, many youthful loves
Had swoln the patriot emotion,

And flung a magic light o'er all her hills and groves;
Yet still my voice, unalter'd, sang defeat

To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance, And shame too long delay'd and vain retreat!

For ne'er, O Liberty! with partial aim
I dimm'd thy light or damp'd thy holy flame;
But bless'd the pæans of deliver'd France,
And hung my head, and wept at Britain's name.


"And what," I said, "though blasphemy's loud


With that sweet music of deliverance strove! Though all the fierce and drunken passions wove A dance more wild than e'er was maniac's dream! Ye storms, that round the dawning east assembled, The sun was rising, though he hid his light!

And when, to soothe my soul, that hoped and


The dissonance ceased, and all seem'd calm and bright;

When France her front deep-scarr'd and gory
Conceal'd with clustering wreaths of glory;

When, insupportably advancing,

Her arm made mockery of the warrior's tramp; While timid looks of fury glancing, Domestic treason, crush'd beneath her fatal stamp, Writhed like a wounded dragon in his gore;

Then I reproach'd my fears that would not flee; "And soon," I said, "shall wisdom teach her lore In the low huts of them that toil and groan! And, conquering by her happiness alone,

Shall France compel the nations to be free, Till love and joy look round, and call the earth their own."


Forgive me, Freedom! O forgive those dreams!
I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud lament,
From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns sent-

I hear thy groans upon her blood-stain'd streams!
Heroes, that for your peaceful country perish'd;
And ye that, fleeing, spot your mountain snows

With bleeding wounds; forgive me that I cherish'd
One thought that ever bless'd your cruel foes!
To scatter rage, and traitorous guilt,
Where peace her jealous home had built;
A patriot race to disinherit

Of all that made their stormy wilds so dear;
And with inexpiable spirit

To taint the bloodless freedom of the mountaineer-
O France, that mockest Heaven, adulterous, blind,
And patriot only in pernicious toils!

Are these thy boasts, champion of human kind? To mix with kings in the low lust of sway, Yell in the hunt, and share the murderous prey; To insult the shrine of liberty with spoils

From freemen torn; to tempt and to betray?


The sensual and the dark rebel in vain, Slaves by their own compulsion! In mad game They burst their manacles, and wear the name Of freedom, graven on a heavier chain ! O Liberty with profitless endeavour Have I pursued thee, many a weary hour;

But thou nor swell'st the victor's strain, nor ever Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human power. Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee, (Not prayer nor boastful name delays thee,)

Alike from priesteraft's harpy minions, And factious blasphemy's obscener slaves, Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions,

Our brethren! Like a cloud that travels on, Steam'd up from Cairo's swamps of pestilence, E'en so, my countrymen! have we gone forth,

The guide of homeless winds, and playmates of the And borne to distant tribes slavery and pangs,


And there I felt thee!-on that sea-cliff's verge,
Whose pines, scarce travell'd by the breeze above,
Had made one murmur with the distant surge!
Yes, while I stood and gazed, my temples bare,
And shot my being through earth, sea, and air,
Possessing all things with intensest love,
O Liberty! my spirit felt thee there.
February, 1797.


And, deadlier far, our vices, whose deep taint
With slow perdition murders the whole man,
His body and his soul! Meanwhile, at home,
All individual dignity and power
Ingulf'd in courts, committees, institutions,
Associations and societies,

A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-reporting guild,
One benefit club for mutual flattery,
We have drunk up, demure as at a grace,
Pollutions from the brimming cup of wealth;
Contemptuous of all honourable rule,
Yet bartering freedom and the poor man's life
For gold, as at a market! The sweet words

WRITTEN IN APRIL, 1798, DURING THE ALARM OF Of Christian promise, words that even yet


A GREEN and silent spot amid the hills,
A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place
No sinking skylark ever poised himself.
The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope,
Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on,
All golden with the never-bloomless furze,
Which now blooms most profusely; but the dell,
Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate
As vernal corn-field, or the unripe flax,
When, through its half-transparent stalks, at eve,
The level sunshine glimmers with green light.
O! 'tis a quiet, spirit-healing nook!
Which all, methinks, would love; but chiefly he,
The humble man, who, in his youthful years,
Knew just so much of folly as had made
His early manhood more securely wise!
Here he might lie on fern or wither'd heath,
While from the singing lark, (that sings unseen
The minstrelsy that solitude loves best,)
And from the sun, and from the breezy air,
Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame;
And he, with many feelings, many thoughts,
Made up a meditative joy, and found
Religious meanings in the forms of nature!
And 80, his senses gradually wrapt
In a half sleep, he dreams of better worlds,
And dreaming hears thee still, O singing lark!
That singest like an angel in the clouds !

My God! it is a melancholy thing

For such a man, who would full fain preserve
His soul in calmness, yet perforce must feel
For all his human brethren-O my God!
It weighs upon the heart, that he must think
What uproar and what strife may now be stirring
This way or that way o'er these silent hills-
Invasion, and the thunder and the shout,
And all the crash of onset; fear and rage,
And undetermined conflict-even now,
E'en now, perchance, and in his native isle;
Carnage and groans beneath this blessed sun!
We have offended, O! my countrymen !
We have offended very grievously,

And been most tyrannous. From east to west
A groan of accusation pierces heaven!
The wretched plead against us; multitudes
Countless and vehement, the sons of God,

Might stem destruction were they wisely preach'd,
Are mutter'd o'er by men whose tones proclaim
How flat and wearisome they feel their trade:
Rank scoffers some, but most too indolent
To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth.
O! blasphemous! the book of life is made
A superstitious instrument, on which
We gabble o'er the oaths we mean to break;
For all must swear-all and in every place,
College and wharf, council and justice court;
All, all must swear, the briber and the bribed,
Merchant and lawyer, senator and priest,
The rich, the poor, the old man and the young;
All, all make up one scheme of perjury,
That faith doth reel; the very name of God
Sounds like a juggler's charm; and, bold with joy,
Forth from his dark and lonely hiding-place,
(Portentous sight!) the owlet Atheism,
Sailing on obscene wings athwart the noon,
Drops his blue-fringed lids, and holds them close,
And hooting at the glorious sun in heaven,
Cries out," Where is it?"

Thankless too for peace,
(Peace long preserved by fleets and perilous seas,)
Secure from actual warfare, we have loved
To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war!
Alas! for ages ignorant of all

Its ghastlier workings (famine or blue plague,
Battle, or siege, or flight through wintry snows,)
We, this whole people, have been clamorous
For war and bloodshed; animating sports,
The which we pay for as a thing to talk of,
Spectators and not combatants! No guess
Anticipative of a wrong unfelt,
No speculation or contingency,
However dim and vague, too vague and dim
To yield a justifying cause; and forth
(Stuff'd out with big preamble, holy names,
And adjurations of the God in heaven)
We send our mandates for the certain death
Of thousands and ten thousands! Boys and girls,
And women, that would groan to see a child
Pull off an insect's leg, ali read of war,
The best amusement for our morning meal?
The poor wretch, who has learnt his only prayers
From curses, who knows scarcely words enough
To ask a blessing from his heavenly Father,
Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute

And technical in victories and defeats,
And all our dainty terms for fratricide;
Terms which we trundle smoothly o'er our tongues
Like mere abstractions, empty sounds, to which
We join no feeling and attach no form!
As if the soldier died without a wounds.
As if the fibres of this godlike frame

Were gored without a pang; as if the wretch,
Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds,
Pass'd off to heaven, translated and not kill'd:
As though he had no wife to pine for him,
No God to judge him! Therefore, evil days
Are coming on us, O my countrymen !
And what if all-avenging Providence,
Strong and retributive, should make us know
The meaning of our words, force us to feel
The desolation and the agony

Of our fierce doings!

Spare us yet a while, Father and God! O! spare us yet a while? O! let not English women drag their flight Fainting beneath the burden of their babes, Of the sweet infants, that but yesterday

And yield them worship, they are enemies
E'en of their country!

Such have I been deem'd-
But, O dear Britain! O my mother isle!
Needs must thou prove a name most dear and

To me, a son, a brother, and a friend,

A husband, and a father! who revere

All bonds of natural love, and find them all
Within the limits of thy rocky shores.

O native Britain! O my mother isle!

How shouldst thou prove aught else but dear and

To me, who from thy lakes and mountain-hills
Thy clouds, thy quiet dales, thy rocks and seas,
Have drunk in all my intellectual life,
All sweet sensations, all ennobling thoughts,
All adoration of the God in nature,
All lovely and all honourable things,
Whatever makes this mortal spirit feel
The joy and greatness of its future being?
There lives nor form nor feeling in my soul
Unborrow'd from my country. O divine

Laugh'd at the breast! Sons, brothers, husbands, all And beauteous island! thou hast been my sole
Who ever gazed with fondness on the forms

Which grew up with you round the same fireside,
And all who ever heard the Sabbath-bells
Without the infidel's scorn, make yourselves pure!
Stand forth be men! repel an impious foe,
Impious and false, a light yet cruel race,
Who laugh away all virtue, mingling mirth
With deeds of murder; and still promising
Freedom, themselves too sensual to be free,
Poison life's amities, and cheat the heart
Of faith and quiet hope, and all that soothes
And all that lifts the spirit! Stand we forth;
Render them back upon the insulted ocean,
And let them toss as idly on its waves

As the vile sea-weed, which some mountain blast
Swept from our shores! And O! may we return,
Not with a drunken triumph, but with fear,
Repenting of the wrongs with which we stung
So fierce a foe to frenzy!

I have told,

O Britons! O my brethren! I have told
Most bitter truth, but without bitterness.
Nor deem my zeal or factious or mistimed;
For never can true courage dwell with them,
Who, playing tricks with conscience, dare not look
At their own vices. We have been too long
Dupes of a deep delusion! Some, belike
Groaning with restless enmity, expect
All change from change of constituted power;
As if a government had been a robe,

On which our vice and wretchedness were tagg'd
Like fancy points and fringes, with the robe
Pull'd off at pleasure. Fondly these attach
A radical causation to a few

Poor drudges of chastising Providence,
Who borrow all their hues and qualities
From our own folly and rank wickedness,
Which gave them birth and nursed them.

Dote with a mad idolatry; and all

Who will not fall before their images,


And most magnificent temple, in the which
I walk with awe, and sing my stately songs,
Loving the God that made me !

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May my fears,
My filial fears, be vain! and may the vaunts,
And menace of the vengeful enemy
Pass like the gust, that roar'd and died away
In the distant tree: which heard, and only heard
In this low dell, bow'd not the delicate grass.
But now the gentle dew-fall sends abroad
The fruit-like perfume of the golden furze :
The light has left the summit of the hill,
Though still a sunny gleam.lies beautiful,
Aslant the ivied beacon. Now farewell,
Farewell, a while, O soft and silent spot!
On the green sheep-track, up the heathy hill,
Homeward I wind my way; and lo! recall'd
From bodings that have wellnigh wearied me,
I find myself upon the brow, and pause
Startled! And after lonely sojourning
In such a quiet and surrounding nook,
This burst of prospect, here the shadowy main,
Dim-tinted, there the mighty majesty
Of that huge amphitheatre of rich

| And elmy fields, seems like society—
Conversing with the mind, and giving it
A livelier impulse and a dance of thought!
And now, beloved Stowey! I behold

Thy church-tower, and, methinks, the four huge

Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend,
And close behind them, hidden from my view,
Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe
my babe's mother dwell in peace! With light
And quicken'd footsteps thitherward I tend,
Remembering thee, O green and silent dell!
And grateful, that, by nature's quietness
And solitary musings, all my heart

Is soften'd, and made worthy to indulge

Love, and the thoughts that yearn for human kind.
Nether Stowey, April 28th, 1798.

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Thanks, sister, thanks! the men have bled,
Their wives and their children faint for bread.
I stood in a swampy field of battle;
With bones and sculls I made a rattle,
To frighten the wolf and carrion crow,

And the homeless dog-but they would not go.
So off I flew; for how could I bear
To see them gorge their dainty fare?
I heard a groan and a peevish squall,
And through the chink of a cottage wall-
Can you guess what I saw there?


Whisper it, sister! in our ear.


A baby beat its dying mother.

I had starved the one, and was starving the other!

Who bade you do't?



The same! the same!

Letters four do form his name.

He let me loose, and cried Halloo! To him alone the praise is due.


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Sisters! I from Ireland came!
Hedge and corn-fields all on flame,
I triumph'd o'er the setting sun!
And all the while the work was done,
On as I strode with my huge strides,

I flung back my head and I held my sides,
It was so rare a piece of fun

To see the swelter'd cattle run
With uncouth gallop through the night,
Scared by the red and noisy light!
By the light of his own blazing cot
Was many a naked rebel shot:

The house-stream met the flame and hiss'd,
While crash! fell in the roof, I wist,

On some of those old bedrid nurses,
That deal in discontent and curses.

Who bade you do't?



The same! the same!

Letters four do form his name.

He let me loose, and cried Halloo! To him alone the praise is due.


He let us loose, and cried Halloo! How shall we yield him honour due?


Wisdom comes of lack of food,

I'll gnaw, I'll gnaw the multitude,
Till the cup of rage o'erbrim:
They shall seize him and his brood-


O thankless beldames and untrue!
And is this all that you can do
For him who did so much for you?
Ninety months he, by my troth!
Hath richly cater'd for you both;
And in an hour would you repay
An eight years' work?-Away! away!
I alone am faithful! I
Cling to him everlastingly.



AN Ox, long fed with musty hay,
And work'd with yoke and chain,
Was turn'd out on an April day,
When fields are in their best array,
And growing grasses sparkle gay,
At once with sun and rain.

The grass was fine, the sun was bright,
With truth I may aver it;
The ox was glad, as well he might,
Thought a green meadow no bad sight,
And frisk'd to show his huge delight,
Much like a beast of spirit.

"Stop, neighbours! stop! why these alarms? The ox is only glad."

But still they pour from cots and farms-
Halloo the parish is up in arms,
(A hoaxing hunt has always charms,)
Halloo the ox is mad.

The frighted beast scamper'd about,
Plunge! through the hedge he drove-
The mob pursue with hideous rout,
A bull-dog fastens on his snout,
He gores the dog, his tongue hangs out-
He's mad, he's mad, by Jove!
"Stop, neighbours, stop!" aloud did call
A sage of sober hue,

But all at once on him they fall,
And women squeak and children squall,
"What! would you have him toss us all?
And, damme! who are you?"

Ah, hapless sage! his ears they stun,

And curse him o'er and o'er"You bloody-minded dog!" (cries one,) "To slit your windpipe were good fun'Od bl-you for an impious* son Of a Presbyterian w-re!

"You'd have him gore the parish-priest,
And run against the altar-

You fiend!"-The sage his warnings ceased,
And north, and south, and west, and east,
Halloo they follow the poor beast,
Mat, Dick, Tom, Bob, and Walter.

Old Lewis, 'twas his evil day,

Stood trembling in his shoes;
The ox was his-what could he say?
His legs were stiffen'd with dismay,
The ox ran o'er him 'mid the fray,

And gave him his death's bruise.
The frighted beast ran on-but here,
The gospel scarce more true is—
My muse stops short in mid career-
Nay, gentle reader! do not sneer,
I cannot choose but drop a tear,
A tear for good old Lewis.

The frighted beast ran through the town,
All follow'd, boy and dad,
Bull-dog, parson, shopman, clown,
The Publicans rush'd from the Crown,
"Halloo! hamstring him! cut him down;"
They drove the poor ox mad.

Should you a rat to madness tease,
Why e'en a rat might plague you:
There's no philosopher but sees

One of the many fine words which the most uneducated had about this time a constant opportunity of acquiring from the sermons in the pulpit, and the proclamations on the corners,

That rage and fear are one diseaseThough that may burn and this may freeze, They're both alike the ague.

And so this ox, in frantic mood,

Faced round like any bullThe mob turn'd tail, and he pursued, Till they with fright and fear were stew'd, And not a chick of all this brood

But had his belly-full.

Old Nick's astride the beast, 'tis clear-
Old Nicholas to a tittle!

But all agree he'd disappear,
Would but the parson venture near,
And through his teeth, right o'er the steer,
Squirt out some fasting-spittle.*

Achilles was a warrior fleet,

The Trojans he could worry-
Our parson too was swift of feet,
But show'd it chiefly in retreat!
The victor ox scour'd down the street,
The mob fled hurry-skurry.

Through gardens, lanes, and fields new-plow'd,
Through his hedge and through her hedge,
He plunged and toss'd, and bellow'd loud,
Till in his madness he grew proud
To see this helter-skelter crowd,

That had more wrath than courage.

Alas! to mend the breaches wide

He made for these poor ninnies, They all must work, whate'er betide, Both days and months, and pay beside (Sad news for avarice and for pride)

A sight of golden guineas.

But here once more to view did pop

The man that kept his senses. And now he cried-"Stop, neighbours! stop! The ox is mad! I would not swop, No, not a schoolboy's farthing top For all the parish fences.

"The ox is mad! Ho! Dick, Bob, Mat!
What means this coward fuss?

Ho stretch this rope across the plat-
"Twill trip him up-or if not that,
Why, damme, we must lay him flat-
See, here's my blunderbuss!"

"A lying dog! just now he said,
The ox was only glad,-

Let's break his Presbyterian head!" "Hush!" quoth the sage, "you've been misled, No quarrels now-let's all make head

You drove the poor ox mad!"

As thus I sat in careless chat,

With the morning's wet newspaper,
In eager haste, without his hat,
As blind and blundering as a bat,
In came that fierce aristocrat,

Our pursy woollen-draper.

*According to the superstition of the west countries, if you meet the devil, you may either cut him in half with a straw, or you may cause him instantly to disappear by spitting over his horns.

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