Purgatory of Suicides: Book X.
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-1-

    HAIL, holiest Liberty! who hast thy shrine
    Deep in the faithful patriot's soul recessed,—
    Diffusing from thy visage light divine
    That glads the dungeon's gloom and drear unrest,
    Until it beams with visions overblest
    Of Right triumphant over hoary Wrong,
    And Truth victorious over Fraud confest,
    And new-born nations joining choral song
O'er earth—become one temple for thy brother-throng!

 

-2-

    Hail, sun-bright Liberty!   Life-source of Truth,
    Without whom Knowledge waxeth sere, and falls
    Into her dotage; while with lusty youth
    Thou sinewest Reason till she disenthrals
    Her essence of Time's dreams, nor basely crawls
    At eld Authority's decrepid feet;
    But calmly to the toil of search upcalls
    Her vigour, and full soon each plausive cheat
Detects, and winnoweth Folly's chaff from Wisdom's wheat.

 

-3-

    Thou great palladium of the moral man,
    If thee by sloth self-treasonous Man doth lose,—
    Or foiled by force, or duped by charlatan,—
    How soon the serfish spirit doth diffuse
    Its influence through blood, and bones, and thews,
    Until his very form, his brow, his look,
    Forfeit their grandeur, and each gesture shows,
    Ere the low whine follows his lord's rebuke,
What depth of insult, now, his slavish soul can brook!

 

-4-

    But, garbed in humblest gear, if his birthright
    Be yet unbartered, unpurloined, unstained;
    If still his forehead bear thy sigil bright;
    How noble is Man's mien, how unconstrained
    He stands a witness for the truth, unfeigned,
    Or champion for the right, o'erawing kings
    And lordly powers, who feel as if arraigned
    Before their culprit; and with homagings
Are fain to bow, and own themselves but meaner things.

 

-5-

    With dignity so godlike, stood the sage
    Of Abdera, at Nicocreon's throne,
    Foiling the Cyprian tyrant in his rage: [1]
    So stood the Caledonian captive one,
    Grand in his chains,—and from the Roman throne,
    Constrained regard: so gazed, with brow unblent,
    On vengeful Edward, Scotia's later son:
    So, while base Gesler shook, magnificent,
Stood Tell the peerless peasant, in his hardiment.

 

-6-

    Or what if Death, with grisliest terrors, scowl
    On thy brave offspring?—They can gaze and smile!
    So, in our age of grandest men, with soul
    Unpierced, that spirit universatile,
    Untiring Raleigh, at the axe could smile,
    Passing his finger calmly o'er the edge,
    And cleping it a medicine sharp, the while,
    But most remedial sickness to assuage,—
Conscious Death could not mar his fame's high heritage.

 

-7-

    So smiled our bravest, truest, martyred sire,
    Fell Superstition's victim, who could cheer,
    With heart that veritably quelled the fire,
    His brother sufferer, and more frail compeer,—
    Breathing those death-words that will fill the ear,
    And thew the heart of England, through all time,
    Until her children a mind-rampart rear
    Shall foil the Jesuit's craft, and save our clime
From witnessing, again, the Priest's bold deeds of crime.

 

-8-

    So smiled thy own, thy darling champion,
    A true-born Briton names not without pride
    That thrills the soul—our noble Algernon,
    Who gloried at the scaffold that he died
    For thine—the Good Old Cause,—nor falsified
    The promise of his youth.   When, from thy womb,
    My country! shall such men be multiplied?
    O Liberty! o'er England's germs resume
Thy quickening power,—or wake our fathers from the
            tomb!

 

-9-

    We are become a servile sordid crew:
    The grandeur of our lineage is forgot:
    We crawl as if nor peer nor franklin knew
    His fathers walked erect, and parleyed not
    With Patience ere their swords the tyrant smote,
    Or humbled him to meekness: we ne'er turn
    Unto the page where their great deeds are wrote,
    And read, and ponder, till our bosoms burn
To think the yoke they spurned, so long our necks
            have worn!

 

-10-

    Our men of promise are a recreant horde:
    Even he who bears that glorious patriot name
    For which the friend of Sydney a record,
    Gold-writ, hath won on England's roll of fame,
    Starts, like an actor who hath oped the drame,
    Back from his part, afeard to play it through!
    And he, the golden-tongued,—a thing of shame
    Made by his whims,—to self-respect untrue,—
What will he next?—the spaniel of old Waterloo?

 

-11-

    Oh! haste to hide thee in the charnel grave,
    Thou Harlequin-Demosthenes!—ere change
    Shall leave thee not a semblant speck to save
    Of that rich monument which thou, with strange
    Fatuity, hast toiled to disarrange
    As hotly as to carve!   Give up thy strife
    To mar it more; and list the White's revenge,
    Friend of the Black!   'Twill cleave to thee through life—
The 'Bastile'-curse—from Man severed from child and
            wife!

 

-12-

    Arch-Traitor to thy kind!   Scourge of the Poor!
    A word from thee had dashed their poison-cup
    To atoms; but thou, wantonly, didst more
    Prefer to their lean lips to hold it up!
    Ay, wast to thine own vanity the dupe
    So fully, as to claim that thou shouldst bear
    The dread weight of the crime!   Would thou mightst
            sup
    For ages of that chalice!   'Bastile'-fare,
Perchance, a medicine were thy reason to repair.

 

-13-

    Beshrew thy heart! but it was bold, as well
    As villanous,—responsibility
    To court—so foully, darkly damnable!
    Head-robber of the savage band to be
    Should perpetrate on human misery
    A theft so daring as would make recoil
    The sternest heart of ancient Tyranny!—
    Of Nature's rights the hapless wretch to spoil—
Who hath no bread, because his lords refuse him toil.

 

-14-

    And dost thou, scouted changeling! madly dream
    This lawless law will save 'their lordships' land'?
    Or, that to gaol and eunuch men the stream
    Of discontent can stop; and Misery's band
    Convert to sneaking slaves lords may command
    At will?   As surely as thy head grows gray
    In this thy monstrous sin,—if not by brand,
    By mightier means, the Poor will win their way
To right,—and shout when worms hold riot in thy clay!

 

-15-

    Oh! not by changeling, tyrant, tool, or knave,
    Thy march, blest Liberty! can now be stayed:
    The wand of Guttemberg—behold it wave!
    The spell is burst!—the dark enchantments fade
    Of wrinkled Ignorance!   'Twas she betrayed
    Thy first-born children; and so oft threw down
    The mounds of freedom.   Lo! the Book its aid
    Hath brought! The feudal serf—though still a clown,
Doth read; and, where his sires gave homage, pays—a
            frown!

 

-16-

    The sinewy artizan, the weaver lean,
    The shrunken stockinger, the miner swarth,
    Read, think, and feel; and in their eyes the sheen
    Of burning thought betokens thy young birth
    Within their souls, blythe Liberty!   That earth
    Would thus be kindled from the humble spark
    Ye caught from him of Mentz, and scattered forth,
    Faust,—Koster,—Caxton!—not 'the clerk,'
Himself could prophesy in your own mid-age dark!

 

-17-

    And yet, O Liberty! these humble toilers
    The true foundation for thy reign begun.
    Ay, and while throne-craft decks man's murderous
                spoilers
    While feverous Power mocks the weary sun
    With steed-throned effigies of Wellington,
    And columned piles to Nelson,—Labour's child
    Turns from their haughty forms, to muse upon
    The page by their blood-chronicle defiled;
Then, bending o'er his toil, weighs well the record wild.

 

-18-

    Ay, they are thinking, at the frame and loom;
    At bench, and forge, and in the bowelled mine;
    And when the scanty hour of rest is come,
    Again they read—to think, and to divine
    How it hath come to pass that Toil must pine
    While Sloth doth revel: how the game of blood
    Hath served their tyrants; how the scheme malign
    Of priests hath crushed them; and resolve doth bud
To band, and to bring back the primal Brotherhood.

 

-19-

    What though, a while, the braggart-tongued poltroon,
    False demagogue, or hirling base, impede
    The union they affect to aid?   Right soon
    Deep thought to such 'conspiracy' shall lead
    As will result in a successful deed—
    Not forceful, but fraternal: for the Past
    Hath warned the Million that they must succeed
    By will—and not by war.   Yet, to hold fast
Men's rage when they are starving—'tis a straggle vast!

 

-20-

    A struggle that were vain, unless the Book
    Had kindled light within the Toiler's soul,
    And taught him though 'tis difficult to brook
    Contempt with hunger,—yet he must control
    Revenge, or it will leave him more a thrall:
    The pike, the brand, the blaze—his lesson saith,
    Would leave Old England as they have left Gaul—
    Bondaged to sceptred Cunning.   Thus their wrath
The million quell—but look for right with firmest faith.

 

-21-

    Oh! might I see that triumph ere I die—
    The poor, oppressed, contemned, and hungered throng
    Hold festival for Labour's victory
    O'er Mammon, Pride, and Sloth; for Right o'er Wrong;
    Oh! might I hear them swell the choral song—
    'The Toiler's Rights are won! our Fatherland
    'Is fully free!'—with joy to rest among
    The solemn dead, at Nature's high command,
I'd haste, nor ask to stay the speed of one life-sand!

 

-22-

    Nor selfish is the wish,—however vain;
    From boyhood, Greece, and our old Commonweal
    I worshipped; but 'twas gnawing hunger's pain
    I saw your lank and fainting forms reveal—
    Poor trampled stockingers!—that made me feel
    'Twas time to be in earnest, nor regard
    Man's freedom merely as a theme for zeal
    In hours of emulous converse, or for bard
Weaving rapt fancies in pursuit of Fame's reward.

 

-23-

    I threw me in the gap—defying scorn,
    Threats, hatred, poisonous tongues—to front your foes;
    And this hath come of it,—that I have worn
    The fetters for your sake.   Yet, now the close
    Of this captivity is near, no throes
    Of anger, sorrow, or regret, are mine
    For aught that I have suffered; but your woes—
    Poor victims! who by grinding tricksters pine,—
Breed thoughts that with my hopes their tortures
            intertwine.

 

-24-

    I would review my course,—that so I may
    Shun, for the future, aught unwise, unjust,
    Untrue to Freedom, if my rugged way
    I sometimes trod—like other things of dust—
    In error.   Inly can I look, and trust
    My heart's clear witness, that I never swerved
    To wilful wrong.   Yet thy demands august,
    Great Truth!   I here obey, with spirit nerved
By deep reflection—healthful aid but ill preserved

 

-25-

    To him who mixeth with the whirl and rage
    Of popular commotion.  Here I hold
    Thy mirror to my soul, and deeply pledge
    My heart it shall by clamour be controlled
    No more to thread the mazes manifold
    Of crookt Expediency,—nor through ill haste
    To end the Toiler's woe, to leave the bold
    And simple path be led: union unchaste
With Faction will I shun—taught by the erring Past.

 

-26-

    Here, then, O holiest Liberty! my heart
    I lay upon thine altar,—undismayed,
    Unswerving, unsubdued: the afterpart
    Of life it aims to play with healthier aid
    Of wisdom,—but no guilty thoughts upbraid:
    It asks but to be kept from sordid stain
    As free as now: let consciousness pervade
    Each pulse through life that still by gold or gain
Unbought it beats; and it shall shun no toil, no pain.

 

-27-

    O welcome, even if its blood be shed
    For thee, blest Freedom!—only keep it pure!
    Welcome the living death more deeply dread
    Of calumny, by evil shapes obscure
    That haunt the patriot darkling, and secure
    From Truth's Ithuriel spear, their poisons vend:
    Welcome, that keenest heart-ache—forfeiture
    Of friendship true: welcome, all pangs that rend
The heart—if pure unto the grave it may descend!

 

-28-

    Night's shadows gather once more in the sky,
    Tombing another day of thraldom's term,
    And leaving few more days to fortify
    The heart so that it freedom meet with firm
    And peaceful throb.   What mingled feelings germ
    Within me,—what quick hosts of battling thought!
    Will, then, the world assume some new-born charm?
    And shall I feel, in it with change deep-fraught,
As if I had been dead, and were to life new-brought?

 

-29-

    Ah! soon it will appear the same poor vale
    Of tears; and soon my journey through its gloom
    Or radiance will be o'er.   Let me not fail
    To keep my soul's resolve; and then unwomb
    What will, ere I attain my final doom,
    Right blythely will I on!—yea, meet grim Death
    Himself in peace: for what viaticum
    Need we, if Death be unto Life the path,
But truthfulness of heart?—is it not more than faith?

 

-30-

    And, if the grave indeed hath nought beyond
    Its cold confine; of thought, or joy, or love;
    If there we bid farewell unto the fond
    Cleavings o' the heart, for ever, and shall prove
    No more what rapture 'tis when hearts commove
    With mutual tenderness—
                                                    I will pursue
    That theme no more.   This love of life enwove
    Within me, Death itself may yet subdue;
But, while I live 'twill burn its being to renew!

 

-31-

    I dreamt again,—but 'twas a gladsome dream;
    A dream of portents beatifical:
    A dream where the prophetic brain did teem
    With glorious visions of high festival
    In sculptured aisle, and dome, and rainbowed hall:
    A festival of Brotherhood and Mind
    By suicidal spirits held, from thrall
    Of Evil freed; and mystically designed
To adumbrate future bliss for Earth and humankind.

 

-32-

    As where the way to some hoar fane of Nile—
    Carnac, or Luxor, or far Ibsamboul—
    Lay through an imaged path for many a mile,
    Of sphinxes huge or lions, so that lull
    With abject awe and fitted for the rule
    Of priests the worshipper approached,—thus seemed
    The aisle fit path to fill with beautiful
    Expectancies the ghostly throng that streamed
Along its wilderness of sculptures, as I dreamed.

 

-33-

    And when the dome we raught, felicity
    Of hope ripened to rapturous overbliss
    With what the spiritual sense did hear and see
    Beneath that span colossal: Music's voice
    A sweetness gushed fit to emparadise
    The plastic forms of wisdom and of worth
    That there in mystic apotheosis
    Of statued life reposed: forms of old Earth
They were—the best, the noblest children of her birth.

 

-34-

    Range above range rose many-fashioned niche,
    A caverned space as wonderful and vast
    As that weird city which few travellers reach—
    Idumæan Petra, in the dangerous waste; [2]
    And in such order were the worthies placed
    That they, though mute, the world's progressive story
    Of spirit-toil revealed, from first to last;
    And how the spark, first caught by sages hoary
From Nature's fire, Mind nurtured to a flame of glory.

 

-35-

    From ancient Orient to the late-born West,
    Bard, thinker, devotee of enterprise,
    Philanthropist and patriot, soul of quest
    For Nature's secrets, child in whose rapt eyes
    She glows so lovely that his spirit plies
    Its powers to imitate her forms—the gems
    From Earth's clay gathered—in immortal guise
    Seemed there enshrined: toilers whose very names
Shed splendour more ineffable than diadems.

 

-36-

    A bright Pantheon of the Meek, the Good,
    The Free, the Tireless, and the truly Great,
    It was: a mansion of soul-sanctitude
    That held the visitant spirit in a state
    Of ecstasied entrancement—all-elate
    With love and wonder, and yet hushed with awe:
    And Mind seemed sounds symphonious to create
    That heightened bliss, pondering on what it saw,—
So that our thoughts germed music, by some un-
            known law.

 

-37-

    Anon, this minstrelsy so wondrous ceased;
    And, with a groupe of spirits who stood nigh,
    Gazing as if they would for ever feast
    On what they saw, yet never satisfy
    Their yearning souls, forthwith, methought, that I
    Became consociate,—hearing how they spoke
    Their glowing thoughts, by numbers that swept by
    Still undistract, and still with sateless look
Scanning the sculptures as they were a priceless book.

 

-38-

    Of widely scattered nations were these ghosts,
    And widely spoken names:—for nought was sealed,
    In this most vivid dream, of all the hosts
    That Phantasy surveyed.   First, was revealed
    He who in Athens to himself beheld
    Three hundred statues raised,—Demetrius
    Phalereus,—whom the sieging king expelled,
    And unto vessels for the vilest use
The statues turned,—deeming their loved shapes
            dangerous. [3]

 

-39-

    Exalted forms of ever-glorious Greece
    Were magnets to his eyes: her Poet-choir
    Divine,—where Homer, with the love increase
    Of time had fostered for the peerless sire
    Of song in the world's heart, sat crowned,—the fire
    Of soul, wanting its natural mirror, gleaming
    Throughout his sightless face: sons of the lyre
    Around, beneath him, sculptured stood, each seeming
With awe to mark the splendour from his bald brow
            beaming.

 

-40-

    On these the Athenian gazed, and on the throng
    Of god-like labourers for all human weal.
    There lowly Socrates—the loftiest 'mong
    The band fraternal—less by fervid zeal
    Than by his lowliness seemed to excel
    The excelling throng.   Neither on patriot shapes
    With less love did he gaze: names that to tell
    Make monarchs quake, in spite of Time's long lapse:
For still some slave, who hears, from their hard yoke
            escapes.

 

-41-

    Fast by Demetrius stood a ghostly form
    Of later times, and of less peaceful deed:—
    Berthier,—the favourite of that Bird of Storm,
    The ravening Gallic eagle,—whose fierce greed
    Ceasing to aid, praise for defection bred
    Remorse so torturous in his soul, he spurned
    The thought of life, and from its torment fled. [4]
    With throes remorseful he no longer burned,
But, with the Athenian, o'er those shapes of virtue
            yearned.

 

-42-

    For though full many a sage philanthropist,
    High orator, and bard of comely France
    Were statued there, with emblems due deviced
    Their excellence proclaiming, yet the glance
    Of the war-wearied Frenchman, whose romance
    For his gay, glory-stricken land was gone,
    On Hellene forms made sweeter tarriance.—
    Like preference shared the spirit of Wolf Tone,
That by him I saw stand,—Hibernia's patriot son.

 

-43-

    Yet, in his country's Grattan, in the face
    Of brave Fitzgerald, and the generous brow
    Of fated Emmett, did the Hibernian trace
    Features that stirred the warm fraternal flow
    Within his essence and dispread the glow
    Of rapture o'er his visage.   Paramount
    In virtue, still, he deemed that glorious show
    Of Greeks, and did the patriot deeds recount
Of Hellas,—vaunting her true Glory's primal fount.

 

-44-

    One stately form there was who on late men
    Stood in absorbed gaze,—strange thoughts of home,
    And change, and Wrong that made the world a den
    Of lawless beasts, revolving, till a gloom
    Curtained his brow.   Yet, joy 'gan, soon, relume,
    With radiance visible, his new-born soul.—
    The spirit of imperial Montezume
    It was: that victim of ambition foul,
Whose regal heart disdained the Spaniard's base
            control. [5]

 

-45-

    Most wistfully he scann'd the intrepid calm
    That in the eye of great Columbus dwelt,
    Till sighs broke forth; and though a healing balm
    Las Casas' love-look o'er his essence dealt,
    'Twas but a pause unto the grief he felt
    For his lost race; and he had wailed aloud,
    But that his wild eye alighted where he knelt
    In soul, and owned the majesty that glowed
In Washington's benignly grand similitude.

 

-46-

    Last of the groupe the patriot Shades I saw
    Of Romilly and Whitbread,—whose rapt gaze
    America's great son seemed oft to draw
    Aside from Alfred—for like glorious rays
    That did even disembodied vision daze,
    Streamed from the sculptures of the civic chief
    And diademed philanthropist: their praise
    They told, and would have mourned the sojourn brief
Of such blest forms on earth; but rapture banished
            grief!—

 

-47-

    "The glorious toil is o'er, my brother!"—spake
    The soul of Romilly,—while with the intense
    Joy of beneficence he seemed to quake;—
    "The glorious toil is o'er!—blest prevalence
    Mercy hath won: the evil effluence
    Of blood by brethren shed glad Earth shall see
    No more!   Against the grim armipotence
    Of Anger, Hate, Revenge, and Cruelty,
The toil was hard; but from their blight all Life is free!

 

-48-

    "Who would have said, but they who felt her power,
    Before the still small voice of Gentleness
    The great ones of the Earth should one day cower,
    And kings her true divinity confess;
    The battle-field be green and thunderless;
    The scaffold and the gibbet disappear;
    The dungeon vanish: and, no more, distress,
    Hunger, and discontent raise troublous fear
Of violence fell, and knit the ruler's brow austere?"—

 

-49-

    "Yet, this is her triumphant marvel-work!"—
    Said Whitbread's spirit:—" 'twas her genial breath
    "Nourished most healthfully the deathless spark
    Of Freedom, when the streams of blood which wrath
    Had shed half-quenched it, and men's hope and faith
    In Liberty was changed to dread, and they
    With tears of hushed despair sighed that the path
    Of Thraldom must be trod—thinking the sway
Of Sceptres better than the howl of wolves of prey."—

 

-50-

    "Brother, thy thoughts are of my fatherland,"—
    Said Berthier;—"and if this our new-born joy
    "Did not the phantasms of Earth's wrong disband,
    Great grief were mine.   But this doth still destroy
    The spectrous visitings which would annoy
    My spirit—that although the strife for Right
    Was urged by advocates who did employ
    Wrong's weapons in their overzeal,—the might
Of Truth, at length, hath made her victress in the fight.

 

-51-

    " 'Twas long and toilful; and, in every clime,
    Too oft in error did her champions ease
    Seek by the sword.   The register of Time
    Is a dark volume; and what soul that sees
    His autograph in characters that please
    His conscience throughly, on the record writ?
    That all is well at last, may well appease
    The self-accusing shapes which still would flit
Through memory, and loathe their long-known haunts
            to quit.

 

-52-

    "Our penal throes are ended here: Earth's sorrow,
    From war and violence, hatred and revenge,
    Is past.   For ever, therefore, let us borrow
    Help from such thoughts our spirits to estrange
    Still more and more from woe!"—
                                                        "This joyous change
    "May well absorb our thought,"—the Shade began
    Of noble Montezuma,—"yet to range
    "Her youthful haunts the soul can scarce refrain:
Bliss hath not changed us into things marmorean.

 

-53-

    "Love for dear Mexico and my crushed race,
    Trampled by haughty Cortez and his crew,
    Eternity itself cannot efface
    Within my essence; nor regret subdue
    That Fate should thus relentlessly pursue
    One hapless people, and their glory sweep
    Into oblivion.   While I with ye view
    These glorious forms, how can I fail to weep
That my sires' deeds of worth are lost in darkness
            deep?

 

-54-

    "What am I but the shadow of a name?
    My people's virtues, glory, arts, unknown:
    Hurled by their conquerors to barbarian shame
    Though they deserved it not—but might have shone
    Among the nations, had not Spain's dark frown
    Of pride and cruelty spread woe and waste
    Where'er it fell, blighting the happy zone
    Our fathers' sons long held, their daughters graced:
Oh no!   I cannot tear from memory all the Past!

 

-55-

    "Natheless, my brothers, I with ye rejoice
    That after Earth's long ages of dispute,
    Conquest and blood, the gentle, healing voice
    Of Goodness doth prevail.   Murders pollute
    My ancient clime no more; and, though the foot
    Of strangers treads upon our fathers' dust,
    Since they have learned to live like brothers, mute
    The Mexican shall be of wrongs that thrust
His people from the soil: deeds bloody and unjust.

 

-56-

    "No image of my fathers I behold
    Among these forms of worth, on which to doat
    With fond affection; but the heart is cold
    Whose joys are all with selfish yearning fraught:
    My heart doth swell with love towards all who
            wrought
    Out liberty and peace and brotherhood
    For poor Humanity, by toilful thought,
    Through suffering and through scorn.   As with a
            flood
Of grateful love it swells for all the Great and Good!"—

 

-57-

    "Nobly thou hast discharged thy generous soul,"—
    The Hibernian spirit said:—"Mind cannot lose
    "All impress of the Past,—cannot control
    Her frequent wish to roam where early vows;
    Were made to Truth and Freedom—shapes that rouse
    The antagonistic phantasies of Fraud
    And Tyranny.   Nor should the soul accuse
    Herself for ire at wrong: 'twere vile to laud
That which is evil: it demands our censure broad.

 

-58-

    "Less were an error; but to pass beyond
    An upright indignation were to bring
    Back on our souls self-torment, and surround
    Our essences again with suffering.
    The memory of wrong, now that the sting
    Of base revenge is drawn, shall minister
    To higher bliss—to sweeter revelling
    In joy; for it shall be the harbinger
Unto the heart's sweet sense—Forgiveness triumphs
            there!

 

-59-

    "If on the fateful Past thou lookst to grieve,
    How much more might I utter mournful plaint
    For Erin's woe?   Spirit! it should relieve
    Thy soul that sword and torture did attaint
    The lives of thy sires' race.   Better than faint,
    And pine, and howl, and curse their tyrant lords
    For ages, and still feel a strange constraint
    To live and multiply mean serfish hordes!
Such woes my memory of her fatherland records.

 

-60-

    "Thy race by death were happily set free
    From their tormentors: mine remained to gnash
    Their teeth, in rags and hunger,—yet to see
    Their conquerors revel; to behold each flash
    Of freedom fail, and by its failure dash
    Their hopes to deep despair; to glow and burn
    Again with patriot ire,—and yet by rash
    Outbreak to plunge in hopeless horror.   Turn
And look on thy lost race, spirit, to triumph; not
            to mourn!"

 

-61-

    "My brother spirits!"—said the Athenian ghost,—
    "This theme to me were fruitful of regret,
    If, 'mid these glories, I could be engrossed
    With tristful thoughts.   Did not the tyrant fret
    The limbs of Hellas with the chain?   Forget
    Ye that the mother-land of Freedom wore
    The gyves of Slavery vile, for ages?   Let
    That mournful thought lead ye to mourn no more
For aught your brethren suffered in the days of yore.

 

-62-

    "Save her few mountain-fastnesses, old earth
    Has not a spot where men the tyrant-yoke
    Of brother-men have never borne.   Let mirth—
    High, holy, blissful mirth in us be woke
    That world-wide bondage is for ever broke,
    And free souls fill the universe.   Not sadness
    Should rise while back upon the Past we look;
    But grateful joy that Man's career of madness
Hath wise fruition—age-long woe doth end in gladness.

 

-63-

    "Still let us drink with ecstasy and wonder,
    As at a living fountain, lessons sweet
    While on the lofty lineaments we ponder
    Of all Earth's Great and Good; and still repeat
    This precious thought—that we our brethren greet
    In these bright shapes.   What their meek souls attained
    Of lofty purpose, patient power to treat
    Their foes with gentleness; what height they gained
Of mental grandeur; how by charm of meekness reigned

 

-64-

    "O'er fiercest natures, and their rage subdued;
    How persevering love won even the foes
    Who thirsted for their blood to doff their rude
    And murderous frowns, and smilingly disclose
    The heart's regenerate kindness; how the throes
    Of pain they conquered, and, triumphing, hurled
    Thraldom, revenge, hate, envy, all Man's woes,
    For ever, from the groaning, bleeding world;
And over sea and strand the gonfalon unfurled

 

-65-

    "Of Truth and Love, Knowledge and Gentleness:
    All their eternal triumphs we may share
    In this exultant thought—the fair impress
    Of our humanity they meekly wear,
    And of their glory we are, each, the heir—
    For our own brethren's heritage to us
    Belongs.   Brothers, be blythe, be debonair!
    And let our happiest thoughts the reins give loose
While on these brother-forms we gaze, so luminous!"—

 

-66-

    Such hortatives sad broodings to dispel,
    And revel to the full in their new joys,
    The Athenian uttered; and a blythe farewell,
    Methought, they, forthwith, bade to all alloys
    Of happiness; and yet no overpoise
    Their spirits felt: their joy was fraught with high
    And eloquent descant that became the Wise,
    The Noble, and the Good: nor did they vie
In speech; but held discourse shorn of earth's vanity.—

 

-67-

    Anon, woke thrilling sounds omnipotent,
    On earth, to null all thoughts but such as sprung
    Up armëd in the brain while forth was sent
    The trumpet's peal,—but such as sought a tongue,
    Yet found it not, while horn and harp notes clung
    Unto each other's sweetness,—or the heart
    Melted to faintness, with rapt wailings wrung
    Of hautboy and bassoon.   Such prelude, thwart
The dome resounding, seemed known signal to depart.

 

-68-

    Soon, blent these brothers were with throngs that now
    Flocked onward where, beyond the vault's vast span,
    I saw revealed a dazzling heaven-dight bow,
    Grand beyond likeness, and by wondrous plan
    Unto the hall with roof cerulean
    Serving for gate-way arch.   Thither to speed,
    With uplift gaze, the spirit-crowd began,—
    While to the prelude movements did succeed
Of all superbest sounds the mind devours with greed.

 

-69-

    Now, full-pulsed tympanum and deep-toned string
    Proclaimed dense myriads marching with the step
    Of stately joy to some vast gathering;
    While, ever and anon, the trill and sweep
    Of flutes and viols caused the heart to leap
    With foretaste of its banquet.   Mind hath known,
    Ne'er in its house of clay, rapture so deep
    From Handel's giant pomps on organ blown,
While 'long cathedral aisles some pageant proud was
            strown.

 

-70-

    Beneath the wondrous arch of heavenly sheen,
    I passed into the hall, when—lo! no more
    Monarchal thrones and monster shapes were seen
    Within; but, from the middle of its floor
    Immense, shelved gently upward countless store
    Of sculptured seats extending to the bound
    Of that ellipsis vast; and wisest lore
    By plastic art into each seat seemed wound—
So that the mind read deepest lessons all around.

 

-71-

    And, on the rim of the ellipse, where, erst,
    Wild shapes reared irkingly, as if
    To prop the rainbowed roof, in dread 'twould burst
    Upon their heads, stood images of life;
    Bright as the sun, their countenances rife
    With blended beauty, intellect, and love:
    Fair plumed wings they had; but 'twas a strife
    For mind to judge what it did best behove
To say they were—such grace seemed in their forms
            enwove.

 

-72-

    And, as the myriad multitude swarmed in,
    Filling the spacious amphitheatre,
    In spirit-whispers some of seraphin
    And some of genii talked, and guessed these were
    Such mystic essences.   Interpreter
    None needed long; the soul 'gan soon perceive
    They were her own creations, which the stir
    Of glorious brother-thoughts had power to enweave
To sensuous shapes—as if they did to sight upheave.

 

-73-

    With visages as bright, with looks as blest
    As kindly and intelligent, all beamed
    And smiled upon each other, while their rest
    They took upon the graven seats.   None deemed
    Himself nobler than others: none esteemed
    His brother meanly: pride, and rank, and state
    Had vanished; and, all equal, as beseemed
    A brother-throng, together Essence sate,
In love, of humblest citizen and potentate.

 

-74-

    Aloft, o'er all, the roof with splendour hued
    Of bows celestial still was self-suspended,
    The regal forms whose blazoned pomp I viewed
    In earlier dreams, now sat with sages blended—
    Uncrowned, unsceptered, all their haught looks
                ended—
    With bards, and workers-out of human weal,
    And patriots who in lofty deed transcended
    Their earthly fellows.   Ghosts of erring zeal
For faiths fantastic, creeds incomprehensible,

 

-75-

    And cruel idol-worships, whom I saw
    Climbing the Mount of Vanity; the wild
    Lone dweller in the cave, whose rage with awe
    I witnessed 'mong his snakes; the Poet-child
    With his lamenting harp, who wept, exiled
    To forest-solitude; the tuneful choir
    Of bards who walked the grove; the band who
                toiled;
    For aye, to kindle the fierce fatal fire
Of soul wherewith France lit the devastating pyre

 

-76-

    Of Liberty; a moiety of the ghosts
    Who idly lay along the beach i' the land
    Of Sloth and Desolation; Sorrow's hosts;
    And crowds of those fair forms who, hand-in-hand,
    Sped o'er the pasture plain, with greetings bland,
    And garlanded with flowers; all sat arrayed
    In simple yet attractive guise: a band
    Of souls whose glorious joy-light had no shade:
Wrath, pride, guilt, woe, for ever from each essence
                fled!

 

-77-

    Soft consentaneous murmurs soon were heard
    'Mid which distinguishable grew the name
    Of sage Lycurgus,—whereat claricord
    And viol, clarion, pipe and drum became
    Mute as expectant listeners; and the claim
    Fraternal to receive his speech, with meek
    Yet manly front he rose to answer.   Maim
    No longer were the powers of voice: the Greek
Did seem, and they that followed, with Earth's tongues
                to speak.

 

-78-

    "Brother and sister spirits, to rehearse
    Our joy,"—he said,—"what volumed tongue hath
             skill?
    "Our happiness, like the Eternal Source
    From which it springs, doth ever over-fill
    And over-run; so that our bliss we still
    Augment, commingling bliss.   I triumph not
    To think me a true seer: too deep the thrill
    Of ecstasy doth move me that all doubt
And guess are past, and this beatitude is raught.

 

-79-

    "Brothers, this blest reality hath swept
    The films of mystery from the general mind;
    And he who doubted most now an adept
    Becomes in tracing Nature's progress: blind
    Were many, once: but how it was designed
    From earliest eld, that pain corporeal,—
    That hate, and torture with it intertwined,
    Should pass away, and brotherhood prevail
And joy,—all now perceive with vision spiritual.

 

-80-

    "Ye who, with opulence of speech endowed,
    Excel, begin the never-tiring theme—
    What mighty influences did long enshroud
    Themselves from vulgar gaze, and yet did seem
    To Nature's true disciples with the beam
    Of splendour's self revealed,—and sure to drown
    And overwhelm all error, as a stream
    Resistless sweeps all human barriers down—
Or as Light's genial smile o'ercometh Night's drear
                frown.

 

-81-

    "How we now wonder, while our ken afar
    Travels from these joy-seats,—surveys the dome
    Resplendent with full many an exemplar
    Of human virtues,—and enrapt doth roam
    Along the dazzling aisle where graces bloom
    Ineffable,—how we now wonder Truth
    So long was hid!   Be thine the exordium
    O Mithridates! to portray the growth
Of Good, and how she vanquished all her foes
                uncouth!"—

 

-82-

    So spake the great Laconian, and his seat
    Meekly resumed, while gentle murmurings rose
    From myriads who would fain the sage entreat
    His descant to prolong: but no applause
    He sought, and signified he lacked dispose,
    By silent smiles.   Disrobed of pomp and pride,
    With truer glory clad than regal shows,
    The spirit of the Pontic king complied
With the wise Spartan's call—by thousands ratified.—

 

-83-

    "Lycurgus, though thy modesty would wave
    Our soul's full tribute,"—he arose and said,—
    "Yet here I laud thy wisdom deep, and suave
    Forbearance 'mid the scorn that on thy head
    We in our rashness—by old pomps misfed
    And overblown—poured, when we should have praised.
    Wisely thou sayst the lessons here outspread,
    Through hall and dome and aisle, have in us raised
Wonder that we so long in ignorance on them gazed.

 

-84-

    "How glorious is the vision now 'tis filled
    With meaning to our spirits!—all unlike
    The vanities our pomp-slaved thought did build
    To lull our sense of pain, and that made quick
    Evanishment when reason shook her sick
    Lethargic bondage off.   The beauteous aisle
    Designed by graces architectonic
    To pourtray outward Nature's varied pile—
Now knows each spirit-denizen of self-exile:—

 

-85-

    "Nor this alone; but man's own outward form
    And potency.   And even as on earth
    Love for the outer world did widely germ
    In man, and love for self,—while of no worth
    Seemed intellectual wealth, but Mind a dearth
    Of noblest images did long unfold—
    So yon vast dome, designed to shadow forth
    Man's inner nature, till of late no mould
Of virtue held, though it doth now rich treasure hold.

 

-86-

    "For ages did the lesson us invite
    To contemplation: but the soul was held
    In earth's old bonds of prejudice, nor right
    From wrong discerned.   In thraldom thus we
                dwelled
    Of self-deceit: vile thraldom, though we swelled
    With arrogant conceit how free we were!
    Darkness and vagueness from the soul expelled,—
    Her chambers filled with Virtue's symbols fair,—
Reason disdaineth pride and all its fraudful glare.

 

-87-

    "And now our nature's stately portraiture
    We view.   The aisle is fitting vestibule
    Unto the dome stored with memorials pure—
    Like cultured intellect with beautiful
    Exterior;—and then Reason's lofty rule,
    Where prejudice was paramount, appears;
    From proud and tyrant phantasies the soul
    Is freed; and since free-thought her essence cheers,
Free-thought in every human spirit she reveres.

 

-88-

    "Sage Spartan, thus I read our visioned state.
    Rehearsal, how our sufferings passed away,
    And how old Earth became regenerate,
    I yield unto my brethren, though I may,
    For opening of the theme, thus much essay:
    'Twas conquest over Evil physical
    That ushered in Earth's glorious brother-day:—
    Whence came, by law of sympathy whose veil
Is still unrent, our blest soul-state perpetual.

 

-89-

    "I judge that Earth had still in bondage been
    To Error, had the sons of enterprise
    And science, unobservant, failed to glean
    The truths Great Nature spread before the eyes
    Of heedless Man, whose passion for life's toys
    Robbed him of its true treasures, and so doomed
    Him all his days with pain to agonize,
    With want and woe: a creature spirit-gloomed
Though tenanting a world where jocund beauty
                bloomed:

 

-90-

    "A world whose elements were his wide field
    For culture.   Now,—behold the storm-tossed sea
    His pathway!—see, his chariots o'er it wheeled.
    More swiftly than o'er land, by energy go.
    Electric—which men deemed a mystery,
    Or sign of wrath divine, till from the cloud
    A sage, with children's kite and string, and key,
    Drew the winged essence, and the truth foreshowed,
Unwittingly, how, one day, men would tame the proud

 

-91-

    "All-scathing power, and dangle its huge strength
    With child-like effort!   Mountain, stream, and mine
    Their wealth afford him: Earth, through all the length
    And breadth and depth of her rotund confine,—
    Th' impalpable and vital crystalline
    Itself—are, each, his servitor!   Of want
    Men talk as of some ancient fable: pine
    They cannot, for the soil, exuberant
Rendered by art, of food is over-ministrant.

 

-92-

    "The senses know no craving: neither strife
    Nor guile to win indulgence, or obtain
    What all enjoy, embitters human life:
    Disease is banished—until mortal pain
    Approaches: Even the bounds of life's domain
    Are trebly larger.   Brothers, do I deem
    Aright that mortal men and spirits gain
    Their high beatitude, because supreme
Men grew o'er natural Evil?   But, I yield the
                theme."—

 

-93-

    He ceased, abruptly, feeling modest fear
    His speech assumptive occupance of thought
    Might seem where all were equal: to revere ,
    The humblest, thus, the highest Power was brought,
    His soul with loving due allegiance fraught
    To Nature and Equality.   The ghost
    Of Cato rose,—with look which did denote
    That sternest spirit of all haughty boast
Was stript;—and thus he argued 'mid the spiritual
               host:—

 

-94-

    "O Mithridates, none will raise dispute
    Against thy judgment: yet I deem the end
    Thou hast not raught,—but left for our pursuit
    Thy argument begun.   That earth doth lend
    Her general wealth to men, and they now bend
    Our old dread masters—fire, and wind, and flood—
    Unto their will,—and that these conquests tend
    To bring our happy state,—were hardihood
For any to deny what long for truth hath stood.

 

-95-

    "While with the element, for foes, Man warred,
    Want, pain, disease, were his sure heritage
    Afflictive: hostile life bred in him hard,
    Vindictive thoughts: and thus, from age to age,
    Men lived—the fool in mind diseased: the sage
    In body: helpless, both.   Thou sayst full well,
    Great Nature's truths were open; and the page
    Had mortals scanned, each pregnant syllable
Divining, Evil they had earlier learned to quell.

 

-96-

    "The fault lay not in Nature, but in Man—
    The slothful pupil in her school, or wild
    And perverse truant after vice.   Her plan
    Was stern but wise: to train her favourite child
    To cope with obstacles, lest he, beguiled
    By over-ease, should an ignoble thrall
    Become to pleasure.   The great Mother smiled
    Even while she seemed to frown: her child in all
Her discipline found toil did some worse ill forestall:

 

-97-

    "Nay more:—that labour brought its unalloyed
    And precious sweet, while sloth 'mid plenty took
    All appetite away, or luxury cloyed
    The sense until the Man beneath its yoke
    Bowed down, and bestial grew in thought and look.
    One obstacle o'ercome, the mind was fired
    To nobler strife.   Thus Nature ne'er forsook
    Her offspring: all her matron cares conspired
To raise him: he, perverse, the bestial state desired.

 

-98-

    "'Tis, then, unto the Few, the tireless Few
    Who through all ages and in every clime,
    Pursued the Good, our gratitude is due.
    Thus moral, mental conquest was the prime
    Of human victories: triumph so sublime
    O'er outward elements sprang from the wreath
    Of moral victory; and throughout all time
    They glorious shall be held who did bequeath
Lessons of moral struggle in their lives or death."

 

-99-

    So spake the high-souled Roman Stoic, whom
    Followed his Grecian exemplars with zeal,
    Zeno, and meek Cleanthes; and their doom
    That, first, Man's conquest o'er himself the weal
    Prepared of future men, and did reveal
    To him his latent power to nullify
    Earth's outward ills,—strengthened, with kindred
                zeal,
    Clitomachus,—for here had ceased to vie
The sect of Plato with the Porch, for mastery.

 

-100-

    Like judgment rose and uttered, Metrocles,
    Who honoured age and royal favour fled
    To shun men's jealousy.   But now to seize
    The argument, though not by passion led
    Or unfraternal thought, Lucretius sped;
    And while he left ungainsayed what in praise
    Of human conquests these, through zeal, had said,
    In calm reflective strain and gentle phrase
He shewed the victors oft had won no truthful bays.—

 

-101-

    "Spirits, ye well have shewed that to the ken
    Of universal man wide open lay
    The book of Nature,"—said the bard: "the men
    Ye also wisely laud who o'er their clay
    Superior rose, and, for their kind, the way
    Opened to nobler life and high command
    O'er outward ill: but know ye not that they
    Were fitted for their work by Nature's hand,
From embryons in the primal purposes she planned?

 

-102-

    That Nature's volume lay unspelled so long—
    Attribute to her wisdom which doth shun
    Rash haste: she forms her favourite lithe, but strong
    To bear and to endure, as well as run
    Their race and slack not till the goal is won.
    Neither forget how many sought to find
    Out Nature's ways, but failed.   Sought they the boon,
    Then, vainly, through sheer impotence of mind,
Or was successful quest for later men designed?

 

-103-

    "Brothers, have noblest intellects, late-born,
    In grasp excelled the mighty Stagyrite?
    Did any cast o'er Nature's face extern
    Larger discourse, or with more piercing sight
    Scan her deep secrets, or pour fuller light
    Intense of Reason on her footsteps broad
    That men might not her bounteous purpose slight?
    Who,—while late Western sages they applaud,
The earlier toiler of his guerdon will defraud?

 

-104-

    "Yet, often, where he thought he knew—'twas guess.
    And what he would have known, even at the cost
    Of life itself, his eagle-sightedness
    Of soul failed to perceive.   Then, twas the boast
    Of some mere modern dwarf to shew where lost
    His search—the ancient giant; though the vaunt
    Belonged not him who said, he found: a host
    Of names have won from men extravagant
Applause, while of their worth Truth was uncognisant.

 

-105-

    "Not their more skilful thought plombed the great deep
    Of Nature's mystery, which so many failed
    To fathom: 'twas Herself away did sweep
    The incumbent waves of darkness, and unsealed
    Truth's gems,—for then the channels were revealed
    Where they had lain for ages.   Accident,—
    Contingency,—some called it,—when to yield
    Her fruit mature, Nature, prepared: content
With any name to hide their gross-souled wonderment!

 

-106-

    "Some said the wondrous optic tube had been
    For ever undiscovered,—vast expanse
    Of space with all her suns and systems, seen
    By its weird aid,—and all their utterance
    Of dateless Nature's old continuance
    And might and grandeur been for ever hid,—
    If the mechanic had not marked, by chance,
    His children's wonder, while, at play they slid
Together and peeped through the crystals pellucid.

 

-107-

    "Others the thread-bare story oft rehearsed—
    Whenas the godlike sage of Albion's isle
    Beheld the apple fall, at once dispersed
    Were Nature's mists, and, without further toil
    Of mind, he rose, and with complacent smile,
    Serious but glad, proclaimed the force sublime
    That binds Earth's surface to her centre while
    She wheels around the sun, pervades his clime,
And keeps all planets in their bounds from birth of
                Time

 

-108-

    “'Twas accident, they said,—that from the bough
    The apple fell, the sage in musing vein
    Beheld it, and, like other truths that flow
    By chance into men's minds, within the brain
    Of Newton this upsprung,—else, it had lain,
    Belike, still unperceived, still unproclaimed.—
    Thus some the noblest toils of thought were fain
    To reck for nought,—enthroning Chance; while maimed
Inferior wits with awe by other tongues were named.

 

-109-

    "Few were thy words, Lycurgus, but profound
    In truth: from earliest eld all was designed
    Or ordered that hath been: Nature's great round
    Must needs be travelled: Circumstance and Mind,
    Alike, must be brought forth, and be combined,
    Ere mightiest Truths evolved: Necessity
    O'er all prevailed: the flame, the flood, the wind,
    Were masters till the march of Thought set free
The world of struggling men from that old tyranny:

 

-110-

    "The march of Thought was onward from of old,—
    Onward, for age, to Nature's eye,—though dense
    Film-sighted men no progress could behold:
    Thought sprung from thought by chain of consequence,
    In old or newer clime, till violence,
    Fraud, ignorance, want, and woe, and pain, and thrall
    Evanished at the new omnipotence
    Of Mind Nature brought forth: Mind that thro' all
The universe now reigns by might perpetual."—

 

-111-

    Lucretius ceased; and sounds applausive rose
    From myriads, though in gentlest mode exprest.—
    And, next, high reasonings on effect and cause,
    And strong necessity, full suavely addrest
    The soul of Atticus unto the blest
    Assemblage of untroubled minds—who heard
    Discourse on mysteries deep without unrest
    In their new state, since mysteries now ensnared
To doubt no more: doubt, fear, with pain had dis-
                appeared.

 

-112-

    Thereafter rose the Gracchus, and with mild
    Yet firm aspect, what seemed forgot, thus urged:—
    "Brothers, with metaphysic thought beguiled,
    And descant on discovery that enlarged
    Man's rule o'er outward things,—not undischarged
    Leave we commemoration due of their
    Desert whose tireless energies converged
    To throne the thought of Brotherhood where'er
They went:—but for their zeal our lot were still despair:

 

-113-

    "But for their holy strife,—smit with the type,
    Great Spartan, thou in mortal life didst frame,—
    Earth had been yet for franchisement unripe;
    And thence unblest.   Brothers, to mar no claim
    Of Wisdom's children to their during fame
    I seek: honour, all honour to each shade
    Of Enterprize,—to every hallowed name
    Of Genius,—and to all who first displayed
To man the power o'er ill that for his seizure stayed!—

 

-114-

    "But who can fail remember that this power
    Was long usurped by Selfishness?—that Wonder
    Herself was mazed through every passing hour
    At man's achievements,—as he bound the thunder,
    The storm-wave smoothed the live rock clave asunder,
    Or rendered distance but a name; yet Love
    Wept to behold Earth's sable children under
    The chain, while their fair-visaged brother drove
Them onward with the lash!   Let Time the stain disprove

 

-115-

    "The foul aspersive stain on Freedom cast
    By men whose boast of freedom was most loud!
    Bethink ye also that if men now fast
    And pine no more, it is because the Proud
    Have ceased to be: Earth ever was endowed
    With tenfold more of plenty than her sum
    Of life required for food: the hills were browed
    With luscious vines that smiled as round they clomb
The olives, or festooned them with their purple bloom

 

-116-

    "The valleys spread their waving treasures forth;
    But, when the vintage came and harvest-tide,
    Although the toiler gave his heart to mirth—
    To Nature's impulse true—the wealth for Pride
    Was garnered up, and Toil was pittanced.   Wide
    O'er ocean islets fair were scattered, filled
    With overwealth of fruits, but desert-void
    Of human life: the dainty fig there spilled
Her seeds; the golden orange her perfume distilled

 

-117-

    "Upon the vacant air; the grateful palm
    And wholesome guava and banana stored
    In vain the sea-girt garden; sweetest balm
    Of gums or delicatest juice of mangoes poured
    Their riches on the tasteless earth; down showered
    Their flavoured kernels shelly fruits in vain,
    Unless for brutes.   Men,—starving men,—looked toward
    The sea, and sighed for ships to pass the main
And end their famine; but they could no help obtain!

 

-118-

    "Avarice still held them where their numbers served
    To render them dog-cheap as things of hire
    For labour: Avarice, that never swerved
    From sordid grasping, though it might acquire
    Unreckoned wealth.   Vapour, electric fire,
    All mineral virtues; air, and flame, and flood,
    Science subdued; but Pride did still conspire
    With Avarice the lean toilers to exclude
From all that Science willed to spread for general good.

 

-119-

    "O Mithridates, thou didst this forget,
    Or leave untold.   Doth not thy soul perceive
    It was when signs of Brotherhood were met
    With open heart by Pride, and Power to leave
    Its lawlessness the toiler to retrieve
    From suffering, yielded,—that the glorious dawn
    Of Bliss appeared, and moral light did cleave
    Earth's age-woofed darkness?   But I joy 'tis gone—
The reign of Wrong; and toiling men no more shall
                groan."—

 

-120-

    The Agrarian ceased, at once: such gentle dread
    The blest assemblage swayed to raise a thought
    Averse in brethren.   With mild zeal to tread
    The same thought-track Curtius arose: Thence caught
    The theme Charondas, and, then, Codrus brought
    His aid: and, then, Themistocles: but suave
    Their accents were, with tempered reason fraught
    Although they told how patriot deeds raised brave
Resolve in toiling men—till Slavery found its grave.—

 

-121-

    Next, rose Athena's soul-compelling tongue,
    And joined his sentence for the patriot's praise;
    Yet told, therewith, that poets had not sung
    In vain,—nor sculptor vainly fixed the gaze
    Of nations,—architect with deep amaze
    Entranced them vainly,—nor had Music's joy
    Earth visited and failed the mind to raise
    And heart to bless; but Nature did employ
Innumerous powers the thrall of Evil to destroy.—

 

-122-

    And, next Demosthenes, Condorcet's soul
    Uttered its fervour:—'Twas when Man disdained,—
    He said,—to kneel beneath the priest's control,
    An altar-serf, that human freedom gained
    Its first true vantage-ground, and Evil waned
    In all its monstrous forms and torturous might;
    And only when free-thought all men maintained
    To be their indefeasible birthright,—
It was,—that Error multiform was put to flight.—

 

-123-

    Then Romilly renewed his eulogy
    Of Gentleness; and spirits thrilled to hear
    His laud of Mercy, till with jubilee
    Of love they rose,—monarch, and bard, and seer,
    Fanatic wild, and misanthrope austere,
    That were on earth,—now all in equal state
    Of happy brotherhood,—and, thus, with clear
    Euphonic chaunt, I heard them celebrate,
In concord blest, Earth's, Hades' gladness con-
                summate:—

 

-124-

    'All hail the glorious power of Gentleness,
    'Of Pity and Mercy, Goodness, Love, and Truth!
    'Knowledge all hail, and Reason fetterless!
    'Philanthropy, that yearned with god-like ruth
    'O'er suffering!   Patriotism, whose eloquent mouth,
    'Bold heart, and sinewed hand dissolved the thrall
    'Of Tyrants! Genius, Song, and Wisdom sooth,
    'All hail!   Great sources of old Evil's fall—
'Men, spirits, hymn your power, in jocund festival!

 

-125-

    'Earth's children raise their universal song
    'Of love and joy: mountain, and strand, and sea
    'Are vocal with your praise!   Spirits prolong
    'The strain: through endless life they anthem ye—
    'Their endless afterlife of jubilee;
    'And hymning ye our essences enhance
    'Still more the bliss-gauge of their destiny,—
    'Assured more deeply of their heritance,
'The more their joyous thought hath joyous utterance!

 

-126-

    'Spirits, still more rejoice!—for pain and woe
    'Are gone, and universal life doth bloom
    'With joy!'—
                        The dream o'erwrought me to a throe
    Of bliss; and I awoke to find my home
    A dungeon,—thence, to ponder when would come
    The day that Goodness shall the earth renew,
    And Truth's young light disperse old Error's gloom,—
    When Love shall Hate, and Meekness Pride subdue,—
And when the Many cease their slavery to the Few!



THE END.
____________________

 


NOTES.

 
1.—Page 248, Stanza 5.

Foiling the Cyprian tyrant in his rage:


    ANAXARCHUS, the follower of Democritus, who, when the tyrant of Cyprus threatened to cut out his tongue, bit it off, and spat it at the despot.—See Diogenes Laertius, or Stanley's or Enfield's Hist. of Philosophy.  Galgacus and Wallace are, of course, alluded to in the following lines of the stanza.

 
2.—Page 255, Stanza 34.

Idumæan Petra, in the dangerous waste;


    For a description of Petra,—the city in the rock,—the capital of Idumea, or the kingdom of Edom,—see the travels of Stephens the American.  The description of this mysterious relic of the Past, can never be forgotten when once read.

 
3.—Page 256, Stanza 38.


And an to vessels for the vilest use
The statues turned,—deeming their loved shapes dangerous.


    The suicide of Demetrius Phalereus, driven from Athens by Demetrius (or the City-sieger), is related by Diogenes Laertius and others.

 
4.—Page 257, Stanza 41.


                                               he spurned
The thought of life, and from its torment fed.


    Marshal Berthier's suicide occurred under the following circumstances:—One of the German sovereigns, at whose court he was, if I recollect aright, was blaming the defection of Ney and others from the cause of the Bourbons, at Napoleon's return from Elba, and took occasion to compliment Berthier on his firmness in resisting a temptation natural to one who had been the bosom friend of Buonaparte.  Berthier took the compliment so self-reproachfully to heart, that he withdrew to his chamber, threw himself from a window, and was taken up dead.

 
5.—Page 258, Stanza 44.

Whose regal heart disdained the Spaniard's base control.


    "The unhappy monarch now perceived how low he was sunk, and the haughty spirit, which seemed to have been so long extinct, returning, he scorned to survive this last humiliation, and to protract an ignominious life, not only as the prisoner and tool of his enemies, but as the object of contempt or detestation among his subjects.  In a transport of rage he tore the bandages from his wounds, and refused, with such obstinacy, to take any nourishment, that he soon ended his wretched days, rejecting, with disdain, all the solicitations of the Spaniards to embrace the Christian faith."—Robertson's Hist, of America,—Book V.

 



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