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Nor did the inexperience of my youth
Preclude conviction, that a spirit strong
In hope, and trained to noble aspirations.
A spirit thoroughly faithful to itself,
Is for Society's unreasoning herd
A domineering instinct, serves at once
For way and guide, a fluent receptacle
That gathers up each petty straggling riii
And vein of water, glad to be rolled on
In safe obedience; that a mind, whose rest
Is where it ought to be, in self-restraint,
In circumspection and simplicity,
Falls rarely in entire discomfiture

Below its aim, or meets with, from without,
A treachery that foils it or defeats :
And, lastly, if the means on human will,
Frail human will, dependent should betray
Him who too boldly trusted them, I felt

That 'mid the loud distractions of the world

A sovereign voice subsists within the soul,
Arbiter undisturbed of right and wrong,
Of life and death, in majesty severe
Enjoining, as may best promote the aims
Of truth and justice, either sacrifice,
From whatsoever region of our cares
Or our infirm affections Nature pleads,
Earnest and blind, against the stern decree.

On the other side, I called to mind those truths That are the commonplaces of the schools, -


(A theme for boys, too hackneyed for their sires,) Yet, with a revelation's liveliness,

In all their comprehensive bearings known.
And visible to philosophers of old,

Men who, to business of the world untrained,
Lived in the shade; and to Harmodius known
And his compeer Aristogiton, known

To Brutus, that tyrannic power is weak,

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Hath neither gratitude, nor faith, nor love,
Nor the support of good or evil men

To trust in; that the godhead which is ours
Can never utterly be charmed or stilled;
That nothing hath a natural right to last
But equity and reason; that all else
Meets foes irreconcilable, and at best
Lives only by variety of disease.

Well might my wishes be intense, my thoughts Strong and perturbed, not doubting at that time But that the virtue of one paramount mind Would have abashed those impious crests, have quelled

Outrage and bloody power, and, in despite

Of what the People long had been and were Through ignorance and false teaching, sadder prco. Of immaturity, and in the teeth

Of desperate opposition from without,

Have cleared a passage for just government,
And left a solid birthright to the State,
Redeemed, according to example given
By ancient lawgivers.

In this frame of mind,

Dragged by a chain of harsh necessity,

So seemed it, now, I thankfully acknowledge,
Forced by the gracious providence of Heaven, —
To England I returned, else, (though assured
That I both was and must be of small weight,
No better than a landsman on the deck
Of a ship struggling with a hideous storm,)
Doubtless, I should have then made common cause
With some who perished,- haply perished, too,
A poor mistaken and bewildered offering, -
Should to the breast of Nature have gone back,
With all my resolutions, all my hopes,

A Poet only to myself, to men

Useless, and even, beloved Friend! a soul
To thee unknown!

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Twice had the trees let fall

Their leaves, as often Winter had put on
His hoary crown, since I had seen the surge
Beat against Albion's shore, since ear of mine
Had caught the accents of my native speech
Upon our native country's sacred ground.
A patriot of the world, how could I glide
Into communion with her sylvan shades,
Erewhile my tuneful haunt? It pleased me more
To abide in the great City, where I found
The general air still busy with the stir

Of that first memorable onset made

By a strong levy of humanity

Upon the traffickers in Negro blood;

Effort which, though defeated, had recalled
To notice old forgotten principles,

And through the nation spread a novel heat
Of virtuous feeling. For myself, I own
That this particular strife had wanted power
To rivet my affections; nor did now

Its unsuccessful issue much excite

My sorrow; for I brought with me the faith
That, if France prospered, good men would not long
Pay fruitless worship to humanity,

And this most rotten branch of human shame,
Object, so seemed it, of superfluous pains,
Would fall together with its parent tree.

What, then, were my emotions, when in arms
Britain put forth her free-born strength in league,
O pity and shame! with those confederate Powers!
Not in my single self alone I found,

But in the minds of all ingenuous youth,
Change and subversion from that hour. No shock
Given to my moral nature had I known
Down to that very moment; neither lapse
Nor turn of sentiment that might be named
A revolution, save at this one time;
All else was progress on the selfsame path
On which, with a diversity of pace,

I had been travelling: this, a stride at once
Into another region. As a light

And pliant harebell, swinging in the breeze
On some gray rock, its birthplace, so had I
Wantoned, fast rooted on the ancient tower

Of my beloved country, wishing not

A happier fortune than to wither there:
Now was I from that pleasant station torn
And tossed about in whirlwind. I rejoiced,
Yea, afterwards,-truth most painful to record!-
Exulted, in the triumph of my soul,

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When Englishmen by thousands were o'erthrown,
Left without glory on the field, or driven,
Brave hearts! to shameful flight. It was a grief, -
Grief call it not, 't was anything but that,
A conflict of sensations without name,
Of which he only, who may love the sight
Of a village steeple, as I do, can judge,
When, in the congregation bending all

To their great Father, prayers were offered up,
Or praises for our country's victories;
And, 'mid the simple worshippers, perchance
I only, like an uninvited guest

Whom no one owned, sat silent, - shall I add,

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Fed on the day of vengeance yet to come?

Oh! much they have to account for, who could tear,

By violence, at one decisive rent,

From the best youth in England their dear pride,
Their joy, in England; this, too, at a time
In which worst losses easily might wean
The best of names, when patriotic love
Did of itself in modesty give way,
Like the Precursor when the Deity

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