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Misused by pride and gain, while power impure
Reveres no right, so leans on none secure ;
When through the ranks of grave ancestral state
Poor Baseness creeps, and saps whate'er was great,
Chokes with sweet baits a nation's vital breath,
And decks it out to be a prey for death;
When ancient glories blazon modern shame,
And Folly blows the moss-grown trump of Fame,
When waste profuse, and idlest joys alone,
Degrade the Council's halls and Monarch's throne;
Then Faith and Conscience note with sober ken
The brood of woes begot by sins of men,
And, standing fast, behold majestic Law
By those its chosen hands, despoil'd of awe.
No self-subjecting force of soul is theirs,
That public toil as noblest honour bears;
And seeks to raise, from step to step of good,
The hearts that now but long for daily food.
To build their tower they undermine the wall,
And let, to feed their fire, the roof-tree fall;
To frame a wine-cup, they pluck off their crown,
And play in lordly sloth the drunken clown.
So spreads from hearth to hearth o'er all the land The rumour whispering late revenge at hand; And countless hosts unsheath at last and wield The curses long within the heart conceal'd.
Then eyes, made hard and dull by want and woe, With bestial fierceness each select a foe;
And souls, untrain'd to yearn for purer joy, With Hate's dark instinct burst, pursue, destroy.
Unrighteous deeds of long-departed time,
Forgotten follies, ghosts of buried crime,
Each inner chamber's thoughts of lust and gore
All start to view, and sweep with ocean's roar.
The glittering legends fraught with smooth delight,
The names revered, and blazonries of right,
All ties of living love, pride, ease, and trust,
Laws, charters, customs, quiet, crash to dust;
While madd'ning stars in new-found courses wheel,
And earth's invaded bases quake and reel,
Each frantic wish, and strange deluding cry,
Like mountain flames and ashes, leap on high.
So fire invades a regal palace old,
With all its carven ivory, bronze, and gold,
And sunk in uncouth wreck and shapeless gloom,
Gem, column, kingly bust, and marble tomb.
Thus fade in havoc's wide and fierce embrace,
By mortals' will, their life's repose and grace,
And all that wore the look of weightiest power
But strikes with louder fall the fatal hour.
'Tis hard, O God! for men unmoved to scan
The weary bounds of grief that compass man,
The dusk expanse of seething ills survey,
Nor wish the whole a dream's unsteadfast play.
Thus fain the wise would bid depart afar
The sight of myriads lost in passion's war,
In blind and empty reasoning's vague debate,
Devouring appetite, and poisoning hate.
Yet o'er the whirl of ruin, 'mid the shock
That smites all towers, makes all foundations rock,
It is thy arm, O God! which, wrapt in cloud,
Weighs down the strong, and thunderstrikes the proud.
With blasting flames thy holiest judgments shine,
And lightnings flash around thy face benign,
While clad in wrath and night thy blessings dwell,
And seem the horrid shades of Death and Hell.
And thus, through all Destruction's 'whelming course,
A hopeful promise works with secret force,
O'er those remains, immense and shatter'd soil,
Bids new-born powers with happier purpose toil,
Now Law to peace and reverence moulds again
The sadden'd hearts and firmer thoughts of men ;
And rights by bad occasion long subdued
To bolder growth arise, at heart renew'd.
Uprear'd to loftier height on surer ground,
A nation lifts the head serene and crown'd,
And o'er the waste of battle-fields and graves,
With strong feet stands, and sun-bright pinions waves.
Through fast-receding skirts of storm and dread,
With kindling eyes it sees thy glory spread;
With songs triumphant over vanquish'd ill,
Thy love proclaims and hymns thy peaceful will.
By Passion wrench'd and darken'd, torn by Hate,
By Sin dethroned from all our heavenly state,
Thy spirit stain'd, defaced, and scarr❜d with shame,
Still shows on each thy noblest creature's name.
Though changed, how far! from all thy will commands,
And bruised and maim'd by Evil's rending hands;
While Life, and Thought, and Soul, and Sense are ours,
Still lasts the wreck of more than earthly powers.
Renew-thou only canst, O God!—the plan
Of truth and love, so blurr'd and crush'd in man→→→
That good, design'd for all, to all unknown,
Till set before our eyes in One alone.
From Him, so full of Thee, the Father's mind,
The Father's holy love to all our kind,
Oh, teach us Thou to draw whate'er of best
Restores to Thee the self-bewilder'd breast!
Amid our waste be He a living spring,
Amid our lawless wars a peaceful king;
In our dark night be He a dawning star,
In woe a friend, to aid us come from far.
And thus, that we his help and hope may share,
Our hearts, o'erthrown by sin, do Thou repair,
And so in chambers purified by Thee,
His peace may dwell, and there his Spirit be.
O Thou! whose will has join'd us each to all,
And made the lonely heart itself appal;
Who art the vital bond that knits in one
Thy countless myriads born beneath the sun;
Thou aid us, Heavenly Sire! that each for each
May live, as He for all, in deed and speech;
And so do Thou for us, paternal Lord,
Make bright, like His, the face, and pure the word.
Like us, a man, He trode on earthly soil,
He bore each pang, and strove in weary toil;
He spake with human words, with pity sigh'd;
Like us He mourn'd, and fear'd, and wept, and died.
The mountain ridge against the purple sky
Stands clear and strong with darken'd rocks and dells,
And cloudless brightness opens wide on high
A home aërial, where thy presence dwells.
The chime of bells remote, the murmuring sea,
The song of birds in whispering copse and wood,
The distant voice of children's thoughtless glee,
And maiden's song, are all one voice of good.
Amid the leaves' green mass, a sunny play
Of flash and shadow stirs like inward life;
The ship's white sail glides onward far away,
Unhaunted by a dream of storm or strife.
Upon the narrow bridge of foot-worn plank,
The peasant stops where swift the waters gleam,
And broods as if his heart in silence drank
More freshening draughts than that untainted stream.