mad game


My cradled infant slumbers peacefuliy. The Sensual and the Dark rebel in

'Tis calm indeed ! so calm, that it disturbs vain,

And vexes meditation with its strange Slaves by their own compulsion !

And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and

ΙΟ They burst their manacles and wear

This populous village ! Sea, and hill, and the name

wood, Of Freedom, graven on a heavier

With all the numberless goings-on of life, chain !

Inaudible as dreams ! the thin blue flame O Liberty! with profitless endeavour

Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not; Have I pursued thee, many a weary hour; Only that film, which fluttered on the But thou nor swell'st the victor's strain,


Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing. nor ever

91 Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human Methinks, its motion in this hush of

nature power. Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee,

Gives it dim sympathies with me who live, (Nor prayer, nor boastful name delays Making it a companionable form, thee)

Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Alike from Priestcraft's harpy

Spirit minions,

By its own moods interprets, every where And factious Blasphemy's obscener

Echo or mirror seeking of itself,

And makes a toy of Thought. slaves,

Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions, The guide of homeless winds, and play. How oft, at school, with most believing

But O! how oft, mate of the waves ! And there I felt thee !-on that sea-cliff's


Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars, verge, Whose pines, scarce travelled by the

To watch that fluttering stranger ! and breeze above, Had made one murmur with the distant

With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt

Of my sweet birth-place, and the old Yes, while I stood and gazed, my temples whose bells, the poor man's only music,

church-tower, bare, And shot my being through earth, sea

rang and air,

From morn to evening, all the hot FairPossessing all things with intensest love,


30 O Liberty! my spirit felt thee there. So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted

me February 1798.

With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear
Most like articulate sounds of things to

come !
FROST AT MIDNIGHT So gazed I, till the soothing things, I

dreamt, The Frost performs its secret ministry, Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry

my dreams! Came loud-and hark, again ! loud as ' And so I brooded all the following morn, before.

Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,

eye Have left me to that solitude, which suits Fixed with mock study on my swimming Abstruser musings : save that at my side

book :

as oft


surge !

Save if the door half opened, and I Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare snatched

branch A hasty glance, and still my heart of mossy apple - tree, while the nigh leaped up,


thatch For still I hoped to see the stranger's Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the face,

eave-drops fall

70 Townsman, or aunt, or sister

or sister more Heard only in the trances of the blast, beloved,

Or if the secret ministry of frost My play-mate when we both were Shall hang them up in silent icicles, clothed alike!

Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

February 1798. Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by

my side,

Whose gentle breathings, heard in this

FEARS IN SOLITUDE deep calm, Fill up the interspersed vacancies

WRITTEN IN APRIL 1798, DURING And momentary pauses of the thought !

THE ALARM OF AN INVASION My babe so beautiful ! it thrills my heart With tender gladness, thus to look at A GREEN and silent spot, amid the hills, thee,

A small and silent dell ! O'er stiller And think that thou shalt learn far other

place lore,

50 No singing sky-lark ever poised himself. And in far other scenes ! For I was

The hills are heathy, save that swelling reared

slope, In the great city, pent’mid cloisters dim, Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering And saw nought lovely but the sky and

on, stars.

All golden with the never-bloomless furze, But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a Which now blooms most profusely : but breeze

the dell, By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate crags

As vernal corn-field, or the unripe flax, Of ancient mountain, and beneath the When, through its half-transparent stalks, clouds,

at eve, Which image in their bulk both lakes The level sunshine glimmers with green and shores

light. And mountain crags : so shalt thou see Oh ! 'tis a quiet spirit-healing nook ! and hear

Which all, methinks, would love; but The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible chiefly he, Of that eternal language, which thy God The humble man, who, in his youthful Utters, who from eternity doth teach 61

years, Himself in all, and all things in himself. Knew just so much of folly, as had made Great universal Teacher ! he shall mould His early manhood more securely wise ! Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask. Here he might lie on fern or withered

heath, Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to While from the singing lark (that sings thee,

unseen Whether the summer clothe the general The minstrelsy that solitude loves best), earth

And from the sun, and from the breezy With greenness, or the redbreast sit and

air, sing

Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame;




lark ;



And he, with many feelings, many With slow perdition murders the whole thoughts,

man, Made up a meditative joy, and found His body and his soul! Meanwhile, at Religious meanings in the forms of

home, Nature !

All individual dignity and power And so, his senses gradually wrapt Engulf'd in Courts, Committees, InstituIn a half sleep, he dreams of better

tions, worlds,

Associations and Societies, And dreaming hears thee still, O singing A vain, speech-mouthing, speech-report

ing Guild, That singest like an angel in the clouds ! One Benefit-Club for mutual flattery,

We have drunk up, demure as at a grace, My God! it is a melancholy thing Pollutions from the brimming cup of For such a man, who would full fain

wealth ;

60 preserve

Contemptuous of all honourable rule, His soul in calmness, yet perforce must Yet bartering freedom and the poor man's feel

life For all his human brethren–O my God! For gold, as at a market! The sweet It weighs upon the heart, that he must

words think

of Christian promise, words that even yet What uproar and what strife may now Might stem destruction, were they wisely be stirring

preached, This way or that way o'er these silent Are muttered o'er by men, whose tones hills

proclaim Invasion, and the thunder and the shout, How flat and wearisome they feel their And all the crash of onset; fear and

trade : rage,

Rank scoffers some, but most too indolent And undetermined conflict-even now, To deem them falsehoods or to know Even now, perchance, and in his native

their truth. isle :

Oh! blasphemous ! the book of life is Carnage and groans beneath this blessed


70 sun !

40 A superstitious instrument, on which We have offended, Oh! my countrymen! We gabble o'er the oaths we mean to We have offended very grievously,

break; And been most tyrannous.

From east For all must swear-all and in every to west

place, A groan of accusation pierces Heaven ! College and wharf, council and justiceThe wretched plead against us; multi

court ; tudes

All, all must swear, the briber and the Countless and vehement, the sons of God,

bribed, Our brethren! Like a cloud that travels Merchant and lawyer, senator and priest, on,

The rich, the poor, the old man and the Steam'd up from Cairo's swamps of

young ; pestilence,

All, all make up one scheme of perjury, Even so, my countrymen ! have we gone That faith doth reel; the very name of forth

God And borne to distant tribes slavery and Sounds like a juggler's charm ; and, bold pangs,

with joy,

80 And, deadlier far, our vices, whose deep Forth from his dark and lonely hidingtaint



(Portentous sight!) the owlet Atheism, Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute Sailing on obscene wings athwart the And technical in victories and defeats, noon,

And all our dainty terms for fratricide ; Drops his blue-fringed lids, and holds Terms which we trundle smoothly o'er them close,

our tongues And hooting at the glorious sun in | Like mere abstractions, empty sounds to Heaven,

which Cries out, Where is it?'

We join no feeling and attach no form !

As if the soldier died without a wound; Thankless too for peace, As if the fibres of this godlike frame (Peace long preserved by fleets and Were gored without a pang; as if the perilous seas)

wretch, Secure from actual warfare, we have Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds, loved

Passed off to Heaven, translated and not To swell the war-whoop, passionate for

killed ; war !

As though he had no wife to pine for him, Alas ! for ages ignorant of all

90 No God to judge him! Therefore, evil Its ghastlier workings, (famine or blue

days plague,

Are coming on us, O my countrymen ! Battle, or siege, or flight through wintry And what if all-avenging Providence, snows,)

Strong and retributive, should make us We, this whole people, have been

know clamorous

The meaning of our words, force us to For war and bloodshed ; animating


The desolation and the agony
The which we pay for as a thing to talk of, Of our fierce doings?
Spectators and not combatants ! No guess
Anticipative of a wrong unfelt,

Spare us yet awhile, No speculation on contingency,

Father and God! O! spare us yet However dim and vague, too vague and

awhile !

130 dim

Oh ! let not English women drag their To yield a justifying cause; and forth, 100

flight (Stuffed out with big preamble, holy Fainting beneath the burthen of their names,

babes, And adjurations of the God in Heaven,) Of the sweet infants, that but yesterday We send our mandates for the certain Laughed at the breast ! Sons, brothers, death

husbands, all Of thousands and ten thousands ! Boys Who ever gazed with fondness on the and girls,

forms And women, that would groan to see a Which grew up with you round the same child

fire-side, Pull off an insect's leg, all read of war, And all who ever heard the sabbath-bells The best amusement for our morning Without the infidel's scorn, make yourmeal !

selves pure! The poor wretch, who has learnt his only Stand forth ! be men ! repel an impious prayers

foe, From curses, who knows scarcely words Impious and false, a light yet cruel race, enough

Who laugh away all virtue, mingling To ask a blessing from his Heavenly


141 Father,


With deeds of murder; and still promising C


Freedom, themselves too sensual to be And yield them worship, they are enemies free,

Even of their country !
Poison life's amities, and cheat the heart
Of faith and quiet hope, and all that

Such have I been deemed.soothes

But, О dear Britain ! O my Mother Isle ! And all that lifts the spirit ! Stand we Needs must thou prove a name most dear forth;

and holy Render them back upon the insulted To me, a son, a brother, and a friend, ocean,

A husband, and a father ! who revere And let them toss as idly on its waves All bonds of natural love, and find them As the vile sea - weed, which some


180 mountain-blast

Within the limits of thy rocky shores. Swept from our shores! And oh ! may | O native Britain ! O my Mother Isle ! we return

150 How shouldst thou prove aught else but Not with a drunken triumph, but with

dear and holy fear,

To me, who from thy lakes and mountainRepenting of the wrongs with which we

hills, stung

Thy clouds, thy quiet dales, thy rocks So fierce a foe to frenzy !

and seas,

Have drunk in all my intellectual life,

I have told, All sweet sensations, all ennobling O Britons ! O my brethren ! I have told

thoughts, Most bitter truth, but without bitterness. All adoration of the God in nature, Nor deem my zeal or factious or mis- All lovely and all honourable things, timed ;

Whatever makes this mortal spirit feel 190 For never can true courage dwell with The joy and greatness of its future being ? them,

There lives nor form nor feeling in my Who, playing tricks with conscience, dare

soul not look

Unborrowed from my country! O divine At their own vices. We have been too And beauteous island ! thou hast been

long Dupes of a deep delusion! Some, belike, And most magnificent temple, in the Groaning with restless enmity, expect 161

which All change from change of constituted I walk with awe, and sing my stately power ;

songs, As if a Government had been a robe, Loving the God that made me ! On which our vice and wretchedness were tagged

May my fears, Like fancy-points and fringes, with the My filial fears, be vain ! and may the robe

vaunts Pulled off at pleasure. Fondly these | And menace of the vengeful enemy attach

Pass like the gust, that roared and died A radical causation to a few

away Poor drudges of chastising Providence, In the distant tree : which heard, and Who borrow all their hues and qualities

only heard From our own folly and rank wickedness, In this low dell, bow'd not the delicate Which gave them birth and nursed them.

grass. Others, meanwhile,

171 Dote with a mad idolatry; and all

But now the gentle dew-fall sends Who will not fall before their images.


my sole


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