« PreviousContinue »
SONNETS DEDICATED TO LIBERTY AND ORDER.
COMPOSED AFTER READING A NEWSPAPER OF THE DAY.
“ PEOPLE! your chains are severing link by link; Soon shall the Rich be levelled down-the Poor Meet them half way." Vain boast! for These, the
“ By us with hope encountered, be upset ;“For once I burst my bands, and cry, applaud !" Then whispered she, “ The Bill is carrying out !" They heard, and, starting up, the Brood of Night Clapped hands, and shook with glee their matted
locks; All Powers and Places that abhor the light Joined in the transport, echoed back their shout, Hurrah for hugging his Ballot-box!
They thus would rise, must low and lower sink
Blest Statesman He, whose Mind's unselfish will Leaves him at ease among grand thoughts : whose Sees that, apart from magnanimity,
[eye Wisdom exists not; nor the humbler skill Of Prudence, disentangling good and ill With patient care. What tho' assaults run high, They daunt not him who holds his ministry, Resolute, at all hazards, to fulfil Its duties ;-prompt to move, but firm to wait,Knowing, things rashly sought are rarely found; That, for the functions of an ancient StateStrong by her charters, free because imbound, Servant of Providence, not slave of Fate-Perilous is sweeping change, all chance unsound.
UPON THE LATE GENERAL FAST.
RELUCTANT call it was; the rite delayed;
IN ALLUSION TO VARIOUS RECENT HISTORIES AND
NOTICES OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
PORTENTOUS change when History can appear
Said Secrecy to Cowardice and Fraud, Falsehood and Treachery, in close council met, Deep under ground, in Pluto's cabinet, “ The frost of England's pride will soon be thawed ; “Hooded the open brow that overawed “Our schemes; the faith and honour, never yet
Who ponders National events shall find
TO THE PENNSYLVANIANS.
LONG-FAVOURED England! be not thou misled
Ah why deceive ourselves! by no mere fit
Men of the Western World ! in Fate's dark book Hard task ! exclaim the undisciplined, to lean Whence these opprobrious leaves of dire portent? On Patience coupled with such slow endeavour, Think ye your British Ancestors forsook
That long-lived servitude must last for ever. Their native Land, for outrage provident; Perish the grovelling few, who, prest between From unsubmissive necks the bridle shook
Wrongs and the terror of redress, would wean To give, in their Descendants, freer vent
Millions from glorious aims. Our chains to sever And wider range to passions turbulent,
Let us break forth in tempest now or never ! To mutual tyranny a deadlier look ?
What, is there then no space for golden mean Nay, said a voice, soft as the south wind's breath, And gradual progress !—Twilight leads to day, Dive through the stormy surface of the flood And, even within the burning zones of earth, To the great current flowing underneath ;
The hastiest sunrise yields a temperate ray ; Explore the countless springs of silent good ; The softest breeze to fairest flowers gives birth : So shall the truth be better understood,
Think not that Prudence dwells in dark abodes, And thy grieved Spirit brighten strong in faith. She scans the future with the eye of gods.
In the true filial bosom's inmost fold
As leaves are to the tree whereon they grow
Feel for the wrongs to universal ken
Young ENGLAND—what is then become of Old
SONNETS UPON THE PUNISHMENT OF DEATH.
He felt; but his parental bosom's lord SUGGESTED BY THE VIEW OF LANCASTER CASTLE
Was Duty,—Duty calmed his agony. (ON THE ROAD FROM THE SOUTH).
And some, we know, when they by wilful act This Spot—at once unfolding sight so fair
A single human life have wrongly taken, Of sea and land, with yon grey towers that still
Pass sentence on themselves, confess the fact, Rise up as if to lord it over air
And, to atone for it, with soul unshaken Might soothe in human breasts the sense of ill,
Kneel at the feet of Justice, and, for faith
Broken with all mankind, solicit death.
Is Death, when evil against good has fought Thousands, as toward yon old Lancastrian Towers,
With such fell mastery that a man may dare A prison's crown, along this way they past
By deeds the blackest purpose to lay bare? For lingering durance or quick death with shame,
Is Death, for one to that condition brought, From this bare eminence thereon have cast
For him, or any one, the thing that ought
To be most dreaded ? Lawgivers, beware,
Seemingly given, debase the general mind;
Tempt the vague will tried standards to disown, For worst offenders: though the heart will heave
Nor only palpable restraints unbind, With indignation, deeply moved we grieve,
But upon Honour's head disturb the crown, In after thought, for Him who stood in awe
Whose absolute rule permits not to withstand Neither of God nor man, and only saw,
In the weak love of life his least command.
Nor to the object specially designed,
Howe'er momentous in itself it be, Judgments and aims and acts whose higher source Good to promote or curb depravity, Is sympathy with the unforewarned, who died
Is the wise Legislator's view confined. Blameless—with them that shuddered o'er his grave, His Spirit, when most severe, is oft most kind; And all who from the law firm safety crave. As all Authority in earth depends
On Love and Fear, their several powers he blends,
Copying with awe the one Paternal mind. The Roman Consul doomed his sons to die Uncaught by processes in show humane, Who had betrayed their country. The stern word He feels how far the act would derogate Afforded (may it through all time afford)
From even the humblest functions of the State ; A theme for praise and admiration high.
If she, self-shorn of Majesty, ordain Upon the surface of humanity
That never more shall hang upon her breath He rested not; its depths his mind explored ; The last alternative of Life or Death.
Ye brood of conscience-Spectres! that frequent Though to give timely warning and deter
Thy mental vision further and ascend
A creature born of time, that keeps one eye
Fixed on the statutes of Eternity,
Of individual will, to elevate
And fortify the moral sense of all.
BEFORE the world had past her time of youth
Our bodily life, some plead, that life the shrine
A voice-that world whose veil no hand can lift But lamentably do they err who strain
For earthly sight. “ Eternity and Time His mandates, given rash impulse to controul They urge, “ have interwoven claims and rights And keep vindictive thirstings from the soul, Not to be jeopardised through foulest crime: So far that, if consistent in their scheme,
The sentence rule by mercy's heaven-born lights." They must forbid the State to inflict a pain, Even so ; but measuring not by finite sense Making of social order a mere dream.
Infinite Power, perfect Intelligence.
Fır retribution, by the moral code
Ah, think how one compelled for life to abide Determined, lies beyond the State's embrace, Locked in a dungeon needs must eat the heart Yet, as she may, for each peculiar case
Out of his own humanity, and part She plants well-measured terrors in the road With every hope that mutual cares provide ; Of wrongful acts. Downward it is and broad, And, should a less unnatural doom confide And, the main fear once doomed to banishment, In life-long exile on a savage coast, Far oftener then, bad ushering worse event, Soon the relapsing penitent may boast Blood would be spilt that in his dark abode Of yet more heinous guilt, with fiercer pride. Crime might lie better hid. And, should the Hence thoughtful Mercy, Mercy sage and pure, change
Sanctions the forfeiture that Law demands, Take from the horror due to a foul deed,
Leaving the final issue in His hands Pursuit and evidence so far must fail,
Whose goodness knows no change, whose love is And, guilt escaping, passion then might plead
sure, In angry spirits for her old free range,
Who sees, foresees; who cannot judge amiss, And the “ wild justice of revenge” prevail. And wafts at will the contrite soul to bliss.