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H for a lodge in sohe vast wilderness,
Some boundless continuity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more. My ear is pain'd,
My soul is sick, with every day's report
Of wrong and outrage, with which earth is fill’a.
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart,
It does not feel for man; the natural bond
Of brotherhood is sever'd, as the flax
That falls asunder at the touch of fire.
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not colour'd like his own; and, having power
To enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.
Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Abhor each other. Mountains interpos'd
Make enemies of nations, who had else,
Like kindred drops, been mingled into one.
Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys ;
And, worse than all, and most to be deplorid,
As human nature's broadest, foulest blot,
Chains hin, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat,.
With stripes, that mercy, with a bleeding heart,
Weeps, when she sees inflicted on a beast.
Then what is man? And what man, seeing this,
And having human feelings, does not blush,
And hang his head, to think himself a man?
I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earn'd.
No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
Just estimation priz'd above all price,
I had much rather be myself the slave,
35 And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him. We have no slaves at home. Then why abroad? And they themselves, once ferried o'er the wave That parts us, are emancipate and loos’d. Slaves cannot breathe in England ; if their lungs Receive our air, that moment they are free ; They touch our country, and their shackles fall. That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then, And let it circulate through every vein Of all your empire ; that, where Britain's pow'r Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.
Sure there is need of social intercourse, Benevolence, and peace, and mutual aid, Between the nations, in a world that seems
50 To toll the death-bell of its own decease, And by the voice of all its elements To preach the general doom*. When were the winds Let slip with such a warrant to destroy ? When did the waves so haughtily o’erleap
55 Their ancient barriers, deluging the dry? Fires from beneath, and meteorst from above, Portentous, unexampled, unexplain'd, Have kindled beacons in the skies; and the old And crazy earth has had her shaking fits
60 More frequent, and foregone her usual rest. Is it a time to wrangle, when the props And pillars of our planet seem to fail, And Nature with a dim and sickly eye, To wait the close of all! But grant her end
.65 More distant, and that prophecy demands
* Alluding to the calamities at Jamaica.
of August 18, 1783.
Alluding to the fog that covered both Europe and Asia during the whole summer of 1783.
A longer respite, unaccomplish'd yet ;
Still they are frowning signals, and bespeak
Displeasure in his breast who smites the earth
Or heals it, makes it languish or rejoice.
And 'tis but seemly, that, where all deserve
And stand expos’d by common peccancy
To what no few have felt, there should be peace,
And brethren in calamity should love.
Alas for Sicily! rude fragments now
Lie scatter'd where the shapely column stood.
Her palaces are dust. In all her streets
The voice of singing and the sprightly chord
Are silent. Revelry, and dance, and show
Suffer a syncope and solemn pause ;
While God performs, upon the trembling stage
Of his own works, his dreadful part, alone.
How does the earth receive him ?-With what signs
Of gratulation and delight, her king ?
Pours she not all her choicest fruits abroad,
Her sweetest fowers, her aromatic gums,
Disclosing paradise where'er he treads ?
She quakes at his approach. Her hollow womb,
Conceiving thunders, through a thousand deeps,
And fiery caverns, roars beneath his feet.
The hills move lightly, and the mountains smoke,
For he has touch'd them. From the extremest point
Of elevation, down into the abyss
His wrath is busy, and his frown is felt.
The rocks fall headlong, and the vallies rise,
The rivers die into offensive pools,
And charg'd with putrid verdure, breathe a gross
And mortal nuisance into all the air.
What solid was, by transformation strange,
Grows fluids; and the fixt and rooted earth,
Tormented into billows, heaves and swells,
Or, with vortiginous and hideous whirl,
Sucks down its prey insatiable. Immense
The tumult and the overthrow, the pang's
And agonies of human and of brute
Multitudes, fugitive on ev'ry side,
And fugitive in vain. The sylvan scene
Migrates uplifted ; and, with all its soil
Alighting in far distant fields, finds out
A new possessor, and survives the change.
Ocean has caught the frenzy, and, upwrought
To an enormous and o’erbearing height,
Not by a mighty wind, but by that voice
Which winds and waves obey, invades the shore
Resistless. Never such a sudden flood,
Upridg'd so high, and sent on such a charge,
Possess'd an inland scene. Where now the throng
That press'd the beach, and, hasty to depart,
Look'd to the sea for safety? They are gone,
Gone with the refluent wave into the deep
A prince with half his people! Ancient towers,
And roofs embattled high, the gloomy scenes
Where beauty oft and letter'd worth consume
Life in the unproductive shades of death,
Fall prone: the pale inhabitants come forth,
And, happy in their unforeseen release
From all the rigours of restraint, enjoy
The terrors of the day that sets them free.
Who, then, that has thee, would not hold thee fast,
Freedom! whom they that lose thee so regret,
That even a judgment, making way for thee,
Seems, in their eyes, a mercy, for thy sake.
Such evil sin hath wrought; and such a flame
Kindled in heaven, that it burns down to earth,
And, in the furious inquest that it makes
On God's behalf, lays waste his fairest works.
The very elements, though each be meant
The minister of man, to serve his wants,
Conspire against him. With his breath he draws
A plague into his bļood ; and cannot use
Life's necessary means, but he must die.
Storms rise to o'èrwhelm him: or, if stormy winds
Rise not, the waters of the deep shall rise,
And, needing none assistance of the storm,
Shall roll themselves ashore, and reach him there.
The earth shall shake him out of all his holds,
Or make his house his grave: nor so content,
Shall counterfeit the motions of the flood,
And drown him in her dry and dusty gulphs.
What then !-were they the wicked above all,
And we the righteous, whose fast anchor'd isle
Mov'd not, while their's was rock'd, like a light skiff,
The sport of ev'ry wave ? No: none are clear,
And none than we more guilty. But, where all
Stand chargeable with guilt, and to the shafts
Of wrath obnoxious, God may choose his mark:
May punish, if he please, the less, to warn
The more malignant. If he spar'd not them,
Tremble and be amaz'd at thine escape,
Far guiltier England, lest he spare not thee!
Happy the man who sees a God employ'd
In all the good and ill that chequer life!
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.
Did not his eye rule all things, and intend
The least of our concerns (since from the least
The greatest oft originate ); could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose,
One lawless particle to thwart his plan ;
Then God might be surpris'd, and unforeseen
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs.
This truth philosophy, though eagle-ey'd
In nature's tendencies, oft overlooks;
And, having found his instrument, forgets,
Or disregards, or more presumptuous still,
Denies the power that wields it. God proclaims ·
His hot displeasure against foolish men,
That live an atheist life : involves the heaven
In tempests ; quits his grasp upon the winds,
And gives them all their fury; bids a plague
Kindle a fiery boil upon the skin,
And putrefy the breath of blooming health.
He calls for famine, and the meagre fiend
Blows mildew from between his shriveled lips,
And taints the golden ear. He springs his mines,
And desolates a nation at a blast.
the spruce philosopher, and tells
Of homogeneal and discordant springs
And principles ; of causes, how they work,
By necessary laws, their sure effects;
Of action and re-action. He has found
The source of the disease that nature feels,
And bids the world take heart and banish fear.
Thou fool! will thy discovery of the cause
Suspend the effect, or heal it? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the world ?
And did he not of old employ his means
To drown it? What is his creation less
Than a capacious reservoir of means