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True freedom where for ages they have lain
Bound in a dark, abominable pit,
With life's best sinews more and more unknit.
Here, there, a banded few who loathe the chain
May rise to break it: effort worse than vain
For thee, O great Italian nation, split
Into those jarring fractions. Let thy scope
Be one fixed mind for all; thy rights approve
To thy own conscience gradually renewed;
Learn to make Time the father of wise Hope;
Then trust thy cause to the arm of Fortitude,
The light of Knowledge, and the warmth of Love.
HARD task! exclaim the undisciplined, to lean
On Patience, coupled with such slow endeavor,
That long-lived servitude must last for ever.
Perish the grovelling few, who, pressed between
Wrongs and the terror of redress, would wean
Millions from glorious aims. Our chains to sever,
Let us break forth in tempests now or never!
What, is there then no space for golden mean
And gradual progress? Twilight leads to day,
And, even within the burning zones of earth,
The hastiest sunrise yields a temperate ray;
The softest breeze to fairest flowers gives birth:
Think not that Prudence dwells in dark abodes, She scans the future with the eye of gods.
As leaves are to the tree whereon they grow
And wither, every human generation
Is to the Being of a mighty nation,
Locked in our world's embrace through weal and
Thought that should teach the zealot to forego
Rash schemes, to abjure all selfish agitation,
And seek through noiseless pains and moderation
The unblemished good they only can bestow.
Alas! with most, who weigh futurity
Against time present, passion holds the scales:
Hence equal ignorance of both prevails,
And nations sink; or, struggling to be free,
Are doomed to flounder on, like wounded whales
Tossed on the bosom of a stormy sea.
Dead to the very name? Presumption fed
On empty air! That name will keep its hold
In the true filial bosom's inmost fold
The Spirit of Alfred, at the head
Of all who for her rights watched, toiled, and bled,
Knows that this prophecy is not too bold.
What! how! shall she submit in will and deed
To Beardless Boys, an imitative race,
The servum pecus of a Gallic breed?
Dear Mother! if thou must thy steps retrace,
Go where at least meek Innocency dwells;
Let Babes and Sucklings be thy oracles.
FEEL for the wrongs to universal ken
Daily exposed, woe that unshrouded lies;
And seek the Sufferer in his darkest den,
Whether conducted to the spot by sighs
And moanings, or he dwells (as if the wren
Taught him concealment) hidden from all eyes
In silence and the awful modesties
Of sorrow; feel for all, as brother Men!
Rest not in hope want's icy chain to thaw
By casual boons and formal charities;
Learn to be just, just through impartial law;
Far as ye may, erect and equalize;
And what ye cannot reach by statute, draw
Each from his fountain of self-sacrifice!
UPON THE PUNISHMENT OF DEATH.
SUGGESTED BY THE VIEW OF LANCASTER CASTLE
(ON THE ROAD FROM THE SOUTH).
THIS Spot at once unfolding sight so fair
Of sea and land, with yon gray towers that still
Rise up as if to lord it over air-
Might soothe in human breasts the sense of ill,
Or charm it out of memory; yea, might fill
The heart with joy and gratitude to God
For all his bounties upon man bestowed:
Why bears it then the name of "Weeping Hill?”
Thousands, as toward yon old Lancastrian Towers,
A prison's crown, along this way they past
For lingering durance or quick death with shame,
From this bare eminence thereon have cast
Their first look, blinded as tears fell in showers
Shed on their chains; and hence that doleful name.
TENDERLY do we feel by Nature's law
For worst offenders: though the heart will heave
With indignation, deeply moved we grieve,
In after thought, for him who stood in awe
Neither of God nor man, and only saw,
Lost wretch, a horrible device enthroned
On proud temptations, till the victim groaned
Under the steel his hand had dared to draw.
But oh! restrain compassion, if its course
As oft befalls, prevent or turn aside
Judgments and aims and acts whose higher source
Is sympathy with the unforewarned, who died
Blameless, with them that shuddered o'er his
And all who from the law firm safety crave.
THE Roman Consul doomed his sons to die
Who had betrayed their country. The stern word
Afforded (may it through all time afford)
A theme for praise and admiration high.
Upon the surface of humanity
He rested not; its depth his mind explored;
He felt; but his parental bosom's lord
Was Duty, Duty calmed his agony.
And some, we know, when they by wilful act