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Is come whose harbinger he was; a time
In which apostasy from ancient faith
Seemed but conversion to a higher creed;
Withal a season dangerous and wild,

A time when sage Experience would have snatched
Flowers out of any hedge-row to compose
A chaplet in contempt of his gray locks.

When the proud fleet that bears the red-cross flag
In that unworthy service was prepared
To mingle, I beheld the vessels lie,

A brood of gallant creatures, on the deep;
I saw them in their rest, a sojourner

Through a whole month of calm and glassy days
In that delightful island which protects
Their place of convocation, there I heard,
Each evening, pacing by the still sea-shore,
A monitory sound that never failed,

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The sunset cannon. While the orb went down
In the tranquillity of nature, came

That voice, ill requiem! seldom heard by me
Without a spirit overcast by dark

Imaginations, sense of woes to come,
Sorrow for human kind, and pain of heart.

In France, the men, who, for their desperate ends, Had plucked up mercy by the roots, were glad Of this new enemy. Tyrants, strong before In wicked pleas, were strong as demons now; And thus, on every side beset with foes,

The goaded land waxed mad; the crimes of few
Spread into madness of the many; blasts
From hell came sanctified like airs from heaven.
The sternness of the just, the faith of those
Who doubted not that Providence had times
Of vengeful retribution, theirs who throned
The human Understanding paramount
And made of that their God, the hopes of men
Who were content to barter short-lived pangs
For a paradise of ages, the blind rage
Of insolent tempers, the light vanity
Of intermeddlers, steady purposes
Of the suspicious, slips of the indiscreet,
And all the accidents of life, were pressed
Into one service, busy with one work.

The Senate stood aghast, her prudence quenched,
Her wisdom stifled, and her justice scared,
Her frenzy only active to extol

Past outrages, and shape the way for new,
Which no one dared to oppose or mitigate.

Domestic carnage now filled the whole year With feast-days; old men from the chimney-nook, The maiden from the bosom of her love, The mother from the cradle of her babe, The warrior from the field,

all perished, all, —

Friends, enemies, of all parties, ages, ranks,

Head after head, and never heads enough

For those that bade them fall. They found their


They made it proudly, eager as a child,
(If like desires of innocent little ones
May with such heinous appetites be compared,)
Pleased in some open field to exercise
A toy that mimics with revolving wings
The motion of a windmill; though the air
Do of itself blow fresh, and make the vanes
Spin in his eyesight, that contents him not,
But, with the plaything at arm's length, he sets
His front against the blast, and runs amain,
That it may whirl the faster.

Amid the depth

Of those enormities, even thinking minds

Forgot, at seasons, whence they had their being; Forgot that such a sound was ever heard

As Liberty upon earth: yet all beneath

Her innocent authority was wrought,

Nor could have been, without her blessed name. The illustrious wife of Roland, in the hour

Of her composure, felt that


O Friend!

And gave it vent in her last words.
It was a lamentable time for man,
Whether a hope had e'er been his or not;
A woful time for them whose hopes survived
The shock; most woful for those few who still
Were flattered, and had trust in human kind:
They had the deepest feeling of the grief.
Meanwhile the Invaders fared as they deserved:
The Herculean Commonwealth had put forth her


And throttled with an infant godhead's might
The snakes about her cradle; that was well,
And as it should be; yet no cure for them

Whose souls were sick with pain of what would be Hereafter brought in charge against mankind.

Most melancholy at that time, O Friend!

Were my day-thoughts,


my nights were mis

Through months, through years, long after the last beat

Of those atrocities, the hour of sleep

To me came rarely charged with natural gifts,
Such ghastly visions had I of despair
And tyranny, and implements of death;
And innocent victims sinking under fear,
And momentary hope, and worn-out prayer,
Each in his separate cell, or penned in crowds
For sacrifice, and struggling with fond mirth
And levity in dungeons, where the dust

Was laid with tears.

Then suddenly the scene Changed, and the unbroken dream entangled me

In long orations, which I strove to plead
Before unjust tribunals, with a voice
Laboring, a brain confounded, and a sense,
Death-like, of treacherous desertion, felt
In the last place of refuge,

my own soul.

When I began in youth's delightful prime To yield myself to Nature, when that strong And holy passion overcame me first,

Nor day nor night, evening or morn, was free
From its oppression. But, O Power Supreme!
Without whose call this world would cease to

Who from the fountain of Thy grace dost fill
The veins that branch through every frame of life
Making man what he is, creature divine,

In single or in social eminence,

Above the rest raised infinite ascents

When reason that enables him to be

Is not sequestered, what a change is here!
How different ritual for this after-worship,
What countenance to promote this second love!
The first was service paid to things which lie
Guarded within the bosom of Thy will.
Therefore to serve was high beatitude ;
Tumult was therefore gladness, and the fear
Ennobling, venerable; sleep secure,

And waking thoughts more rich than happiest dreams.

But as the ancient Prophets, borne aloft
In vision, yet constrained by natural laws
With them to take a troubled human heart,
Wanted not consolations, nor a creed
Of reconcilement, then when they denounced
On towns and cities, wallowing in the abyss
Of their offences, punishment to come;
Or saw, like other men, with bodily eyes,
Before them, in some desolated place,

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