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Still have I found, where Tyranny prevails,
That virtue languishes and pleasure fails,1
While the remotest hamlets blessings share
In thy loved presence known, and only there; 2
Heart-blessings outward treasures too which the eye
Of the sun peeping through the clouds can spy,
And every passing breeze will testify.
There, to the porch, belike with jasmine bound
Or woodbine wreaths, a smoother path is wound;
The housewife there a brighter garden sees,
Where hum on busier wing her happy bees;
On infant cheeks there fresher roses blow;
And grey-haired men look up with livelier brow,—5
In the wide range of many a varied round,
Fleet as my passage was, I still have found
That where proud courts their blaze of gems display,
The lilies of domestic joy decay.
The casements' shed more luscious woodbine binds,
And to the door a neater pathway winds;
At early morn, the careful housewife, led
To cull her dinner from its garden bed,
Of weedless herbs a healthier prospect sees,
While hum with busier joy her happy bees;
In brighter rows her table wealth aspires,
And laugh with merrier blaze her evening fires;
Her infants' cheeks with fresher roses glow,
And wilder graces sport around their brow;
To greet the traveller needing food and rest;
Housed for the night, or but a half-hour's guest.1
And oh, fair France! though now the traveller sees
Thy three-striped banner fluctuate on the breeze;2
Though martial songs have banished songs of love,
And nightingales desert the village grove,3
Scared by the fife and rumbling drum's alarms,
And the short thunder, and the flash of arms;
That cease not till night falls, when far and nigh
Sole sound, the Sourd* prolongs his mournful cry!4
By clearer taper lit, a cleanlier board
Receives at supper hour her tempting hoard;
The chamber hearth with fresher boughs is spread,
And whiter is the hospitable bed.
And oh, fair France! though now along the shade
Where erst at will the grey-clad peasant strayed,
Gleam war's discordant garments through the trees,
And the red banner mocks the froward breeze;
discordant vestments through the trees,
And the red banner fluctuates in the breeze;
though in the rural shade
Where at his will, so late, the grey-clad peasant strayed
Now, clothed in war's discordant garb, he sees
The three-striped banner fluctuate in the breeze.
Though now no more thy maids their voices suit
To the low-warbled breath of twilight lute,
And, heard the pausing village hum between,
No solemn songstress lull the fading green,
And nightingales forsake the village grove,
While, as Night bids the startling uproar die,
Sole sound, the Sourd renews his mournful cry.
An insect so called, which emits a short, melancholy cry, heard at the close of the summer evenings, on the banks of the Loire.
-Yet, hast thou found that Freedom spreads her power
Beyond the cottage-hearth, the cottage-door:
All nature smiles, and owns beneath her eyes
Her fields peculiar, and peculiar skies.
Yes, as I roamed where Loiret's waters glide
Through rustling aspens heard from side to side,
When from October clouds a milder light
Fell where the blue flood rippled into white;
Methought from every cot the watchful bird
Crowed with ear-piercing power till then unheard;
Each clacking mill, that broke the murmuring streams,
Rocked the charmed thought in more delightful dreams;
Chasing those pleasant dreams, the falling leaf1
Awoke a fainter sense of moral grief;2
The measured echo of the distant flail
Wound in more welcome cadence down the vale;
With more majestic course the water rolled,
And ripening foliage shone with richer gold.3
-But foes are gathering-Liberty must raise
Red on the hills her beacon's far-seen blaze;
Must bid the tocsin ring from tower to tower !—
Nearer and nearer comes the trying hour! 4
A more majestic tide *the water rolled,
And glowed the sun-gilt groves in richer gold.
-Though Liberty shall soon, indignant, raise
Red on the hills his beacon's comet blaze;
* The duties upon many parts of the French rivers were so exorbitant that the poorer people, deprived of the benefit of water carriage, were obliged to transport their goods by land. 1820.
Rejoice, brave Land, though pride's perverted ire
Rouse hell's own aid, and wrap thy fields in fire:
Lo, from the flames a great and glorious birth;
As if a new-made heaven were hailing a new earth!!
-All cannot be the promise is too fair
For creatures doomed to breathe terrestrial air:
Yet not for this will sober reason frown
Upon that promise, nor the hope disown;
She knows that only from high aims ensue
Rich guerdons, and to them alone are due.2
Great God! by whom the strifes of men are weighed In an impartial balance, give thine aid
To the just cause; and, oh! do thou preside
Over the mighty stream now spreading wide:
So shall its waters, from the heavens supplied
In copious showers, from earth by wholesome springs, Brood o'er the long-parched lands with Nile-like wings!3
Bid from on high his lonely cannon sound,
And on ten thousand hearths his shout rebound;
His larum-bell from village-tower to tower
Swing on the astounded ear its dull undying roar ;
Yet, yet rejoice, though Pride's perverted ire
Rouse Hell's own aid, and wrap thy hills on fire !
Lo! from the innocuous flames, a lovely birth,
With its own virtues springs another earth;
Nature, as in her prime, her virgin reign
Begins, and Love and Truth compose her train;
While, with a pulseless hand, and steadfast gaze,
Unbreathing Justice her still beam surveys.
Oh give, great God, to Freedom's waves to ride
Sublime o'er Conquest, Avarice, and Pride,
To sweep where Pleasure decks her guilty bowers
And dark Oppression builds her thick-ribbed towers!
-Give them, beneath their breast while gladness spring
To brood the nations o'er with Nile-like wings;
And grant that every sceptred child of clay
Who cries presumptuous, "Here the flood shall stay,"
May in its progress see thy guiding hand,
And cease the acknowledged purpose to withstand;
Or, swept in anger from the insulted shore,
Sink with his servile bands, to rise no more!!
To-night, my Friend, within this humble cot
Be scorn and fear and hope alike forgot 2-
In timely sleep; and when, at break of day,
On the tall peaks the glistening sunbeams play,
With a light heart our course we may renew,
The first whose footsteps print the mountain dew.3
OR, INCIDENTS UPON SALISBURY PLAIN.
PREFIXED TO THE FIRST EDITION OF THIS POEM, PUBLISHED IN 1842.
Not less than one-third of the following poem, though it has from time to time been altered in the expression, was published so far back as the year 1798, under the title of "The Female Vagrant." The extract is of such length that an apology seems to be required for reprinting it here: but it was necessary to restore it to its original
Swept in their anger from the affrighted shore,
With all his creatures sink-to rise no more!
To-night, my friend, within this humble cot
Be the dead load of mortal ills forgot!
Renewing, when the rosy summits glow
At morn, our various journey, sad and slow.