Page images
PDF
EPUB

Ordain'd to fire th' adoring sons of earth
With every charm of wisdom and of worth;
Ordain'd to light with intellectual day,
The mazy wheels of Nature as they play,
Or, warm with Fancy's energy, to glow,
And rival all but Shakspeare's name below!

And say, supernal Powers! who deeply scan
Heav'n's dark decrees, unfathom'd yet by man,
When shall the world call down, to cleanse hershame,
That embryo spirit, yet without a name.....
That friend of Nature, whose avenging hands
Shall burst the Lybian's adamantine bands?
Who, sternly marking on his native soil,
The blood, the tears, the anguish, and the toil,
Shall bid each righteous heart exult, to see
Peace to the slave, and vengeance on the free!

Yet, yet, degraded man! th' expected day That breaks

your bitter

cup, Trade, wealth, and fashion, ask you still to bleed, And holy men give scripture for the deed; Scourg'd and debas’d, no Briton stoops to save A wretch, a coward; yes, because a slave !...

Eternal Nature ! when thy giant hand Had heav'd the floods, and fix'd the trembling land,

is far away;

When life sprung startling at thy plastic call,
Endless her forms, and Man the lord of all !
Say, was that lordly form inspir'd by thee
To wear eternal chains, and bow the knee?
Was man ordain'd the slave of man to toil,
Yok'd with the brutes, and fetter'd to the soil ;
Weigh'd in a tyrant's balance with his gold?
No!...Nature stamp'd us in a heav'nly mould !
She bade no wretch his thankless labour urge,
Nor, trembling, take the pittance and the scourge!
No homeless Lybian, on the stormy deep,
To call upon his country's name and weep!

Lo! once in triumph on his boundless plain,
The quiver'd chief of Congo lov’d to reign;
With fires proportion'd to his native sky,
Strength in his arm, and lightning in his eye;
Scour'd with wild feet his sun-illumin'd zone,
The

spear, the lion, and the woods his own; Or led the combat, bold without a plan, An artless savage, but a fearless man!

) The plunderer came :....alas ! no glory smiles For Congo's chief on yonder Indian Isles; Forever fallen! no son of Nature now, | With Freedom charter'd on his manly brow!

Faint, bleeding, bound, he weeps the night away,
And, when the sea-wind wafts the dewless day,
Starts, with a bursting heart, for evermore
To curse the sun that lights their guilty shore!,
The shrill horn blew 10

; at that alarum knell
His guardian angel took a last farewel!
That funeral dirge to darkness hath resign'd
The fiery grandeur of a generous mind!
Poor fetter'd man! I hear thee whispering low
Unhallow'd vows to Guilt, the child of Woe!
Friendless thy heart; and, canst thou harbour there
A wish but death....a passion but despair?

The widow'd Indian, when her lord expires, Mounts the dread pile, and braves the funeral fires ! So falls the heart at Thraldom's bitter sigh! So Virtue dies, the spouse of Liberty! /

But not to Lybia's barren climes alone, To Chili, or the wild Siberian zone, Belong the wretched heart and haggard eye, Degraded worth, and poor Misfortune's sigh!.... Ye orient realms, where Ganges' waters run! Prolific fields ! dominions of the sun! How long your tribes have trembled, and obey'l! How long was Timur's iron sceptre sway'd! 11

Whose marshali'd hosts, the lions of the plain,
From Scythia's northern mountains to the main,
Rag'd o'er your plunder'd shrines and altars bare,
With blazing torch and gory scymiter.....
Stunn'd with the cries of death each gentle gale,
And bath'd in blood the verdure of the vale !
Yet could no pangs the immortal spirit tame,
When Brama's children perish'd for his name;
The martyr smil'd beneath avenging pow'r,
And brav'd the tyrant in his torturing hour!

When Europe sought your subject realms to gain,
And stretch'd her giant sceptre o'er the main,
Taught her proud barks their winding way to shape,
And brav’d the stormy spirit of the Cape; 12
Children of Brama! then was mercy nigh
To wash the stain of blood's eternal dye?
Did Peace descend, to triumph and to save,
When free born Britons cross'd the Indian wave ?
Ah, no!....to more than Rome's ambition true,
"The Nurse of Freedom gave it not to you!
She the bold route of Europe's guilt began,
And in the march of nations, led the van n!

Rich in the gems of India's gaudy zone, And plunder pil'd from kingdoms not their own,

13

Degenerate Trade! thy minions could despise
The heart-born anguish of a thousand cries;
Could lock, with impious hands, their teeming store,
While famish'd nations died along the shore ;
Could mock the groans of fellow-men, and bear
The curse of kingdoms peopled with despair ;
Could stamp disgrace on man's polluted name,
And barter, with their gold eternal shame!

But, hark! as bow'd to earth the Bramin kneels,
From heav'nly climes propitious thunder peals!
Of India's fate her guardian spirits tell,
Prophetic murmurs breathing on the shell,
And solemn sounds, that awe the list'ning mind,
Roll on the azure paths of ev'ry wind.

« Foes of mankind! (her guardian spirits say), Revolving ages bring the bitter day, When Heav'n's unerring arm shall fall on you, And blood for blood these Indian plains bedew; Nine times have Brama's wheels of lightning hurl'd His awful presence o'er the alarmed world; Nine times hath Guilt, through all his giant frame, Convulsive trembled as the Mighty came; Nine times hath suffering Mercy spar'd in vain.... 1* But Heav'n shall burst her starry gates again!

« PreviousContinue »