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Stooped to the Victory, on that Belgic field,
Achieved, this closing deed magnificent,
And with the embrace was satisfied.
-Fly, ministers of Fame,
With every help that ye from earth and heaven may claim!
Bear through the world these tidings of delight! —Hours, Days, and Months, have borne them in
Of mortals, hurrying like a sudden shower
That land-ward stretches from the sea,
The morning's splendours to devour ;
But this swift travel scorns the company
Of irksome change, or threats from saddening
-The shock is given-the Adversaries bleed—
Lo, Justice triumphs! Earth is freed!
Joyful annunciation!—it went forth—
It pierced the caverns of the sluggish North-
It found no barrier on the ridge
Of Andes-frozen gulphs became its bridge-
The vast Pacific gladdens with the freight-
Upon the Lakes of Asia 'tis bestowed—
The Arabian desart shapes a willing road
Across her burning breast,
For this refreshing incense from the West!-
-Where snakes and lions breed,
Where towns and cities thick as stars appear,
Wherever fruits are gathered, and where'er
The upturned soil receives the hopeful seed—
While the Sun rules, and cross the shades of night—
The unwearied arrow hath pursued its flight!
The eyes of good men thankfully give heed,
And in its sparkling progress read
Of virtue crowned with glory's deathless meed : Tyrants exult to hear of kingdoms won,
And slaves are pleased to learn that mighty feats
But if the valiant of this land
In reverential modesty demand,
That all observance, due to them, be paid
Where their serene progenitors are laid;
Kings, warriors, high-souled poets, saint-like sages,
England's illustrious sons of long, long ages;
Be it not unordained that solemn rites,
Within the circuit of those Gothic walls,
Shall be performed at pregnant intervals;
Commemoration holy that unites
The living generations with the dead;
By the deep soul-moving sense
Of religious eloquence,-
By visual pomp, and by the tie
Of sweet and threatening harmony;
Soft notes, awful as the omen
Of destructive tempests coming,
And escaping from that sadness
Into elevated gladness;
While the white-rob'd choir attendant,
Under mouldering banners pendant,
Provoke all potent symphonies to raise
Songs of victory and praise,
For them who bravely stood unhurt, or bled
With medicable wounds, or found their graves
Upon the battle field, or under ocean's waves;
Or were conducted home in single state,
And long procession-there to lie,
Where their sons' sons, and all posterity,
Unheard by them, their deeds shall celebrate!
Nor will the God of peace and love
Such martial service disapprove.
He guides the Pestilence-the cloud
Of locusts travels on his breath;
The region that in hope was ploughed
His drought consumes, his mildew taints with death;
He springs the hushed Volcano's mine,
He puts the Earthquake on her still design,
Darkens the sun, hath bade the forest sink,
And, drinking towns and cities, still can drink
Cities and towns-'tis Thou-the work is Thine!-
The fierce Tornado sleeps within thy courts-
He hears the word-he flies-
And navies perish in their ports;
For Thou art angry with thine enemies!
For these, and mourning for our errors,
And sins, that point their terrors,
We bow our heads before Thee, and we laud
And magnify thy name, Almighty God!
But Man is thy most awful instrument,
In working out a pure intent;
Thou cloth'st the wicked in their dazzling mail,
And for thy righteous purpose they prevail;
Thine arm from peril guards the coasts
Of them who in thy laws delight:
Thy presence turns the scale of doubtful fight,
Tremendous God of battles, Lord of Hosts!
Father and Judge of all, with fervent tongue
But in a gentler strain
Of contemplation, by no sense of wrong,
(Too quick and keen) incited to disdain
Of pity pleading from the heart in vain—
TO THEE TO THEE
Just God of christianised Humanity
Shall praises be poured forth, and thanks ascend,
That thou hast brought our warfare to an end,
And that we need no second victory!
Blest, above measure blest,
If on thy love our Land her hopes shall rest,
And all the Nations labour to fulfil
As aptly suits therewith that modest pace
Submitted to the chains
That bind thee to the path which God ordains
That thou shalt trace,
Till, with the heavens and earth, thou pass away!
Nor less, the stillness of these frosty plains,
Their utter stillness, and the silent grace
Of yon ethereal summits white with snow,
(Whose tranquil pomp and spotless purity
Report of storms gone by
Do with the service of this Day accord.
-Divinest Object which the uplifted eye
Of mortal man is suffered to behold;
Thou, who upon yon snow-clad Heights has poured
Meek lustre, nor forget'st the humble Vale;
Thou who dost warm Earth's universal mould,
And for thy bounty wert not unadored
Once more, heart-cheering Sun, I bid thee hail!
Bright be thy course to-day, let not this promise fail!
'Mid the deep quiet of this morning hour,
All nature seems to hear me while I speak,
By feelings urged that do not vainly seek
Apt language, ready as the tuneful notes
That stream in blithe succession from the throats
Of birds, in leafy bower,
Thy law, and live henceforth in peace, in pure Warbling a farewell to a vernal shower.
THE MORNING OF THE DAY APPOINTED FOR A GENERAL
THANKSGIVING. JANUARY 18, 1816.
HAIL, orient Conqueror of gloomy Night!
Thou that canst shed the bliss of gratitude
On hearts howe'er insensible or rude;
Whether thy punctual visitations smite
The haughty towers where monarchs dwell;
Or thou, impartial Sun, with presence bright
Cheer'st the low threshold of the peasant's cell!
Not unrejoiced I see thee climb the sky
In naked splendour, clear from mist or haze,
Or cloud approaching to divert the rays,
Which even in deepest winter testify
Thy power and majesty,
Dazzling the vision that presumes to gaze.
-Well does thine aspect usher in this Day;
-There is a radiant though a short-lived flame,
That burns for Poets in the dawning east ;
And oft my soul hath kindled at the same,
When the captivity of sleep had ceased;
But He who fixed immoveably the frame
Of the round world, and built, by laws as strong,
A solid refuge for distress-
The towers of righteousness;
He knows that from a holier altar came
The quickening spark of this day's sacrifice;
Knows that the source is nobler whence doth rise
The current of this matin song;
That deeper far it lies
Than aught dependent on the fickle skies.
Have we not conquered?-by the vengeful sword? Ah no, by dint of Magnanimity;
That curbed the baser passions, and left free
A loyal band to follow their liege Lord
Clear-sighted Honour, and his staid Compeers,
Along a track of most unnatural years;
In execution of heroic deeds
Whose memory, spotless as the crystal beads
Of morning dew upon the untrodden meads,
Shall live enrolled above the starry spheres.
He, who in concert with an earthly string
Of Britain's acts would sing,
He with enraptured voice will tell Of One whose spirit no reverse could quell; Of One that mid the failing never failedWho paints how Britain struggled and prevailed Shall represent her labouring with an eye
Of circumspect humanity;
Shall show her clothed with strength and skill,
All martial duties to fulfil;
Firm as a rock in stationary fight;
In motion rapid as the lightning's gleam;
Fierce as a flood-gate bursting at mid night
To rouse the wicked from their giddy dream-
Woe, woe to all that face her in the field!
Appalled she may not be, and cannot yield.
And thus is missed the sole true glory
That can belong to human story!
At which they only shall arrive
Who through the abyss of weakness dive.
The very humblest are too proud of heart;
And one brief day is rightly set apart
For Him who lifteth up and layeth low;
For that Almighty God to whom we owe,
Say not that we have vanquished-but that we survive.
A crouching purpose-a distracted willOpposed to hopes that battened upon scorn, And to desires whose ever-waxing horn Not all the light of earthly power could fill; Opposed to dark, deep plots of patient skill, And to celerities of lawless force;
Which, spurning God, had flung away remorse—
What could they gain but shadows of redress?
-So bad proceeded propagating worse;
And discipline was passion's dire excess.
Widens the fatal web, its lines extend,
And deadlier poisons in the chalice blend.
When will your trials teach you to be wise?
-O prostrate Lands, consult your agonies!
No more the guilt is banish'd,
And, with the guilt, the shame is fled; And, with the guilt and shame, the Woe hath vanish'd,
Shaking the dust and ashes from her head!
-No more these lingerings of distress
Sully the limpid stream of thankfulness.
What robe can Gratitude employ
So seemly as the radiant vest of Joy?
What steps so suitable as those that move
In prompt obedience to spontaneous measures
Of glory, and felicity, and love,
Surrendering the whole heart to sacred pleasures?
How dreadful the dominion of the impure! Why should the Song be tardy to proclaim That less than power unbounded could not tame That soul of Evil-which, from hell let loose, Had filled the astonished world with such abuse As boundless patience only could endure?
-Wide-wasted regions-cities wrapt in flameWho sees, may lift a streaming eye
To Heaven;-who never saw, may heave a sigh;
But the foundation of our nature shakes,
And with an infinite pain the spirit aches,
When desolated countries, towns on fire,
Are but the avowed attire
Of warfare waged with desperate mind
Against the life of virtue in mankind;
Assaulting without ruth
The citadels of truth;
While the fair gardens of civility,
By ignorance defaced,
By violence laid waste,
Perish without reprieve for flower or tree!
O Britain! dearer far than life is dear, If one there be
Who can forget thy prowess, never more
Be that ungrateful Son allowed to hear
Thy green leaves rustle or thy torrents roar.
As springs the lion from his den,
As from a forest-brake
Upstarts a glistering snake,
The bold Arch-despot re-appeared ;—again
Wide Europe heaves, impatient to be cast,
With all her armed Powers,
On that offensive soil, like waves upon a
The trumpet blew a universal blast!
But Thou art foremost in the field :-there stand:
Receive the triumph destined to thy hand!
All States have glorified themselves;-their claims
Are weighed by Providence, in balance even;
And now, in preference to the mightiest names, To Thee the exterminating sword is given. Dread mark of approbation, justly gained! Exalted office, worthily sustained !
Preserve, O Lord! within our hearts
The memory of thy favour,
That else insensibly departs,
And loses its sweet savour!
Lodge it within us!-as the power of light
Lives inexhaustibly in precious gems,
Fixed on the front of Eastern diadems,
So shine our thankfulness for ever bright!
What offering, what transcendent monument
Shall our sincerity to Thee present?
-Not work of hands; but trophies that may reach
To highest Heaven-the labour of the Soul;
That builds, as thy unerring precepts teach,
Upon the internal conquests made by each,
Her hope of lasting glory for the whole.
Yet will not heaven disown nor earth gainsay
The outward service of this day;
Whether the worshippers entreat
Forgiveness from God's mercy-seat;
Or thanks and praises to His throne ascend
That He has brought our warfare to an end,
And that we need no second victory!-
Ha! what a ghastly sight for man to see;
And to the heavenly saints in peace who dwell,
For a brief moment, terrible;
But, to thy sovereign penetration, fair,
Before whom all things are, that were,
All judgments that have been, or e'er shall be ;
Links in the chain of thy tranquillity!
Along the bosom of this favoured Nation,
Breathe Thou, this day, a vital undulation!
Let all who do this land inherit
Be conscious of thy moving spirit!
Oh, 'tis a goodly Ordinance,-the sight,
Though sprung from bleeding war, is one of pure
Bless Thou the hour, or ere the hour arrive,
When a whole people shall kneel down in prayer,
And, at one moment, in one rapture, strive
With lip and heart to tell their gratitude
For thy protecting care,
Their solemn joy-praising the Eternal Lord
For tyranny subdued,
And for the sway of equity renewed,
For liberty confirmed, and peace restored!
But hark-the summons !-down the placid lake
Floats the soft cadence of the church-tower bells;
Bright shines the Sun, as if his beams would wake
The tender insects sleeping in their cells;
Bright shines the Sun-and not a breeze to shake
The drops that tip the melting icicles.
O, enter now his temple gate!
Inviting words-perchance already flung
(As the crowd press devoutly down the aisle
Of some old Minster's venerable pile)
From voices into zealous passion stung,
While the tubed engine feels the inspiring blast,
And has begun-its clouds of sound to cast
Forth towards empyreal Heaven,
As if the fretted roof were riven.
Us, humbler ceremonies now await;
But in the bosom, with devout respect
The banner of our joy we will erect,
And strength of love our souls shall elevate:
For to a few collected in his name,
Their heavenly Father will incline an ear
Gracious to service hallowed by its aim ;-
Awake! the majesty of God revere !
Go-and with foreheads meekly bowed Present your prayers-go-and rejoice aloud— The Holy One will hear!
And what, 'mid silence deep, with faith sincere,
Ye, in your low and undisturbed estate,
Shall simply feel and purely meditate--
Of warnings from the unprecedented might,
Which, in our time, the impious have disclosed;
And of more arduous duties thence imposed
Upon the future advocates of right;
Of mysteries revealed,
And judgments unrepealed,
Of earthly revolution,
And final retribution,—
To his omniscience will appear
An offering not unworthy to find place,
On this high DAY of THANKS, before the Throne
MEMORIALS OF A TOUR ON THE CONTINENT.
(SENT WITH THESE POEMS, IN MS., TO
DEAR Fellow-travellers! think not that the Muse,
To You presenting these memorial Lays,
Can hope the general eye thereon would gaze,
As on a mirror that gives back the hues
Of living Nature; no-though free to choose
The greenest bowers, the most inviting ways,
The fairest landscapes and the brightest days-
RYDAL MOUNT, Nov. 1821.
FISH-WOMEN.-ON LANDING AT CALAIS.
"Tis said, fantastic ocean doth enfold
The likeness of whate'er on land is seen;
But, if the Nereid Sisters and their Queen,
Above whose heads the tide so long hath rolled,
The Dames resemble whom we here behold,
How fearful were it down through opening waves
To sink, and meet them in their fretted caves,
Withered, grotesque, immeasurably old,
And shrill and fierce in accent!-Fear it not:
For they Earth's fairest daughters do excel;
Pure undecaying beauty is their lot;
Their voices into liquid music swell,
Thrilling each pearly cleft and sparry grot,
The undisturbed abodes where Sea-nymphs dwell!
Her skill she tried with less ambitious views.
For You she wrought: Ye only can supply
The life, the truth, the beauty: she confides
In that enjoyment which with You abides,
Trusts to your love and vivid memory;
Thus far contented, that for You her verse
Shall lack not power the meeting soul to pierce!'
THE Spirit of Antiquity-enshrined
In sumptuous buildings, vocal in sweet song,
In picture, speaking with heroic tongue,
And with devout solemnities entwined-
Mounts to the seat of grace within the mind:
Hence Forms that glide with swan-like ease along,
Hence motions, even amid the vulgar throng,
To an harmonious decency confined:
As if the streets were consecrated ground,
The city one vast temple, dedicate
To mutual respect in thought and deed;
To leisure, to forbearances sedate;
To social cares from jarring passions freed;
A deeper peace than that in deserts found!
BRUGES I saw attired with golden light
(Streamed from the west) as with a robe of power:
The splendour fled; and now the sunless hour,
That, slowly making way for peaceful night,
Best suits with fallen grandeur, to my sight
Offers the beauty, the magnificence,
And sober graces, left her for defence
Against the injuries of time, the spite
Of fortune, and the desolating storms
Of future war. Advance not-spare to hide,
O gentle Power of darkness! these mild hues ;
Obscure not yet these silent avenues
of stateliest architecture, where the Forms
Of nun-like females, with soft motion, glide!
INCIDENT AT BRUGÈS.
IN Brugès town is many a street
Whence busy life hath fled;
Where, without hurry, noiseless feet,
The grass-grown pavement tread.
There heard we, halting in the shade
Flung from a Convent-tower,
A harp that tuneful prelude made
To a voice of thrilling power.