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Into sensations near the heart: meantime,
As from the first, wild theories were afloat,
To whose pretensions, sedulously urged,
I had but lent a careless ear, assured
That time was ready to set all things right,
And that the multitude, so long oppressed,
Would be oppressed no more.

But when events
Brought less encouragement, and unto these
The immediate proof of principles no more
Could be intrusted, while the events themselves,
Worn out in greatness, stripped of novelty,
Less occupied the mind, and sentiments
Could through my understanding's natural growth
No longer keep their ground, by faith maintained
Of inward consciousness, and hope that laid

Her hand upon her object, evidence
Safer, of universal application, such

As could not be impeached, was sought elsewhere.

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But now, become oppressors in their turn,
Frenchmen had changed a war of self-defence
For one of conquest, losing sight of all

Which they had struggled for: now mounted up,
Openly in the eye of earth and heaven,
The scale of Liberty. I read her doom,
With anger vexed, with disappointment sore,
But not dismayed, nor taking to the shame
Of a false prophet. While resentment rose,
Striving to hide, what naught could heal, the wounds

Of mortified presumption, I adhered

More firmly to old tenets, and, to prove
Their temper, strained them more; and thus, in


Of contest, did opinions every day

Grow into consequence, till round my mind
They clung, as if they were its life, nay more,
The very being of the immortal soul.

This was the time, when, all things tending fast
To depravation, speculative schemes -
That promised to abstract the hopes of Man
Out of his feelings, to be fixed thenceforth
For ever in a purer element

Found ready welcome. Tempting region that
For Zeal to enter and refresh herself,
Where passions had the privilege to work,
And never hear the sound of their own names.
But, speaking more in charity, the dream
Flattered the young, pleased with extremes, nor

With that which makes our Reason's naked self
The object of its fervor. What delight!
How glorious! in self-knowledge and self-rule,
To look through all the frailties of the world,
And, with a resolute mastery shaking off
Infirmities of nature, time, and place,
Build social upon personal Liberty,
Which, to the blind restraints of general laws
Superior, magisterially adopts

One guide, the light of circumstances, flashed
Upon an independent intellect.

Thus expectation rose again; thus hope
From her first ground expelled, grew proud once


Oft, as my thoughts were turned to human kind,
I scorned indifference; but inflamed with thirst
Of a secure intelligence, and sick

Of other longing, I pursued what seemed
A more exalted nature; wished that Man

Should start out of his earthy, worm-like state,
And spread abroad the wings of Liberty,
Lord of himself, in undisturbed delight,
A noble aspiration! yet I feel

(Sustained by worthier as by wiser thoughts)
The aspiration, nor shall ever cease

To feel it;- but return we to our course.

Enough, 't is true,

Those aberrations,


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could such a plea excuse

had the clamorous friends

Of ancient Institutions said and done

To bring disgrace upon their very names;
Disgrace, of which custom and written law,
And sundry moral sentiments as props
Or emanations of those institutes,
Too justly bore a part. A veil had been
Uplifted; why deceive ourselves? in sooth,
'T was even so; and sorrow for the man
Who either had not eyes wherewith to see,
Or, seeing, had forgotten! A strong shock

Was given to old opinions; all men's minds
Had felt its power, and mine was both let loose,
Let loose and goaded. After what hath been
Already said of patriotic love,
Suffice it here to add, that, somewhat stern
In temperament, withal a happy man,

And therefore bold to look on painful things,

Free likewise of the world, and thence more hold,
I summoned my best skill, and toiled, intent
To anatomize the frame of social life,

Yea, the whole body of society
Searched to its heart.

the wish

That some dramatic tale, endued with shapes
Livelier, and flinging out less guarded words,
Than suit the work we fashion, might set forth
What then I learned, or think I learned, of truth,
And the errors into which I fell, betrayed
By present objects, and by reasonings false
From their beginnings, inasmuch as drawn
Out of a heart that had been turned aside
From Nature's way by outward accidents,
And which was thus confounded, more and more
Misguided, and misguiding. So I fared,
Dragging all precepts, judgments, maxims, creeds,
Like culprits to the bar; calling the mind,
Suspiciously, to establish in plain day

Her titles and her honors; now believing,
Now disbelieving; endlessly perplexed
With impulse, motive, right and wrong, the ground

Share with me, Friend!

Of obligation, what the rule and whence
The sanction; till, demanding formal proof
And seeking it in every thing, I lost
All feeling of conviction, and, in fine,
Sick, wearied out with contrarieties,
Yielded up moral questions in despair.

This was the crisis of that strong disease, This the soul's last and lowest ebb; I drooped, Deeming our blessed reason of the least use Where wanted most: "The lordly attributes Of will and choice," I bitterly exclaimed, "What are they but a mockery of a Being Who hath in no concerns of his a test

Of good and evil; knows not what to fear
Or hope for, what to covet or to shun;
And who, if those could be discerned, would yet
Be little profited, would see, and ask

Where is the obligation to enforce ?

And to acknowledged law rebellious, still,
As selfish passion urged, would act amiss ;
The dupe of folly, or the slave of crime."

Depressed, bewildered thus, I did not walk With scoffers, seeking light and gay revenge From indiscriminate laughter, nor sat down In reconcilement with an utter waste Of intellect such sloth I could not brook, (Too well I loved, in that my spring of life, Painstaking thoughts, and truth, their dear reward,,

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