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SONNETS DEDICATED TO LIBERTY AND ORDER.

I.

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!

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IV.

They thus would rise, must low and lower sink
Till, by repentance stung, they fear to think;
While all lie prostrate, save the tyrant few
Bent in quick turns each other to undo,
And mix the poison, they themselves must drink.
Mistrust thyself, vain Country! cease to cry,
“Knowledge will save me from the threatened woe.”
For, if than other rash ones more thou know,
Yet on presumptuous wing as far would fly
Above thy knowledge as they dared to go,
Thou wilt provoke a heavier penalty.

II.

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.

March, 1832.

V.

RELUCTANT call it was; the rite delayed;
And in the Senate some there were who doffed
The last of their humanity, and scoffed
At providential judgments, undismayed
By their own daring. But the People prayed
As with one voice; their flinty heart grew soft
With penitential sorrow, and aloft
Their spirit mounted, crying, “God us aid !"
Oh that with aspirations more intense,
Chastised by self-abasement more profound,
This People, once so happy, so renowned
For liberty, would seek from God defence
Against far heavier ill, the pestilence
Of revolution, impiously unbound !

IN ALLUSION TO VARIOUS RECENT HISTORIES AND

NOTICES OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.

III.

PORTENTOUS change when History can appear
As the cool Advocate of foul device;
Reckless audacity extol, and jeer
At consciences perplexed with scruples nice!
They who bewail not, must abhor, the sneer
Born of Conceit, Power's blind Idolater;
Or haply sprung from vaunting Cowardice
Betrayed by mockery of holy fear.
Hath it not long been said the wrath of Man
Works not the righteousness of God? Oh bend,
Bend, ye Perverse! to judgments from on High,
Laws that lay under Heaven's perpetual ban
All principles of action that transcend
The sacred limits of humanity.

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

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CONTINUED.

Who ponders National events shall find
An awful balancing of loss and gain,
Joy based on sorrow, good with ill combined,
And proud deliverance issuing out of pain
And direful throes ; as if the All-ruling Mind,
With whose perfection it consists to ordain
Volcanic burst, earthquake, and hurricane,
Dealt in like sort with feeble human kind
By laws immutable. But woe for him
Who thus deceived shall lend an eager hand
To social havoc. Is not Conscience ours,
And Truth, whose eye guilt only can make dim;
And Will, whose office, by divine command,
Is to control and check disordered Powers ?

TO THE PENNSYLVANIANS.
Days undefiled by luxury or sloth,
Firm self-denial, manners grave and staid,
Rights equal, laws with cheerfulness obeyed,
Words that require no sanction from an oath,
And simple honesty a common growth-
This high repute, with bounteous Nature's aid,
Won confidence, now ruthlessly betrayed
At will, your power the measure of your troth !
All who revere the memory of Penn
Grieve for the land on whose wild woods his name
Was fondly grafted with a virtuous aim,
Renounced, abandoned by degenerate Men
For state-dishonour black as ever came
To upper air from Mammon's loathsome den.

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LONG-FAVOURED England! be not thou misled
By monstrous theories of alien growth,
Lest alien frenzy seize thee, waxing wroth,
Self-smitten till thy garments reek dyed red
With thy own blood, which tears in torrents shed
Fail to wash out, tears flowing ere thy troth
Be plighted, not to ease but sullen sloth,
Or wan despair—the ghost of false hope fled
Into a shameful grave. Among thy youth,
My Country ! if such warning be held dear,
Then shall a Veteran's heart be thrilled with joy,
One who would gather from eternal truth,
For time and season, rules that work to cheer-
Not scourge, to save the People--not destroy.

Ah why deceive ourselves! by no mere fit
Of sudden passion roused shall men attain
True freedom where for ages they have lain
Bound in a dark abominable pit,
With life's best sinews more and more uniknit.
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.

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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.

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In the true filial bosom's inmost fold
For ever.—The Spirit of Alfred, at the head
Of all who for her rights watch’d, toild 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.

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

woe;
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.

XIV.

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 equalise ;
And, what ye cannot reach by statute, draw
Each from his fountain of self-sacrifice !

XIII.

Young ENGLAND—what is then become of Old
Of dear Old England ? Think they she is dead,
Dead to the very name? Presumption fed
On empty air! That name will keep its hold

SONNETS UPON THE PUNISHMENT OF DEATH.

IN SERIES.

1.

IV.

II.

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
Or charm it out of memory; yea, might fill

Broken with all mankind, solicit death.
The heart with joy and gratitude to God
For all his bounties upon man bestowed :
Why bears it then the name of “Weeping Hill”?

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
Their first look-blinded as tears fell in showers
Shed on their chains; and hence that doleful name.

To be most dreaded ? Lawgivers, beware,
Lest, capital pains remitting till ye spare
The murderer, ye, by sanction to that thought

Seemingly given, debase the general mind;
TENDERLY do we feel by Nature's law

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.
Lost wretch, a horrible device enthroned
On proud temptations, till the victim groaned
Under the steel his hand had dared to draw.
But 0, restrain compassion, if its course,

Nor to the object specially designed,
As oft befals, prevent or turn aside

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.

V.

III.

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Ye brood of conscience-Spectres! that frequent Though to give timely warning and deter
The bad Man's restless walk, and haunt his bed — Is one great aim of penalty, extend
Fiends in your aspect, yet beneficent

Thy mental vision further and ascend
In act, as hovering Angels when they spread Far higher, else full surely shalt thou err.
Their wings to guard the unconscious Innocent- What is a State? The wise behold in her
Slow be the Statutes of the land to share

A creature born of time, that keeps one eye
A laxity that could not but impair

Fixed on the statutes of Eternity,
Your power to punish crime, and so prevent. To which her judgments reverently defer.
And ye, Beliefs ! coiled serpent-like about Speaking through Law's dispassionate voice the
The adage on all tongues, “ Murder will out,”

State
How shall your ancient warnings work for good Endues her conscience with external life
In the full might they hitherto have shown, And being, to preclude or quell the strife
If for deliberate shedder of man's blood

Of individual will, to elevate
Survive not Judgment that requires his own ? The grovelling mind, the erring to recal,

And fortify the moral sense of all.

VII.

X.

BEFORE the world had past her time of youth
While polity and discipline were weak,

Our bodily life, some plead, that life the shrine
The precept eye for eye, and tooth for tooth, Of an immortal spirit, is a gift
Came forth—a light, though but as of day-break, So sacred, so informed with light divine,
Strong as could then be borne. A Master meek That no tribunal, though most wise to sift
Proscribed the spirit fostered by that rule, Deed and intent, should turn the Being adrift
Patience his law, long-suffering his school, Into that world where penitential tear
And love the end, which all through peace must May not avail, nor prayer have for God's ear
seek.

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.

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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.

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