Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

ON SLAVERY.

But, ah! what wish can prosper, or what prayer
For merchants rich in cargoes of despair,
Who drive a loathsome traffic, gage and span,
And buy the muscles and the bones of man?
The tender ties of father, husband, friend,
All bonds of nature, in that moment end;
And each endures, while yet he draws his breath,
A stroke as fatal as the scythe of death.
The sable warrior, frantic with regret
Of her he loves, and never can forget,
Loses in tears the far receding shore,
But not the thought that they must meet no more :
Depriv'd of her and freedom at a blow,
What has he left that he can yet forego?
Yes, to deep sadness sullenly resign'd,
He feels his body's bondage in his mind;
Puts off his generous nature ; and to suit
His manners with his fate, puts on the brute.
Oh most degrading of all ills that wait
On man, a mourner in his best estate !
All other sorrows virtue may endure,
And find submission more than half a cure ;
Grief is itself a med'cine, and bestow'd
T'improve the fortitude that bears a load;

To teach the wanderer, as his woes increase,
The path of wisdom, all whose paths are peace.
But slavery-virtue dreads it as her grave;
Patience itself is meanness in a slave :
Or if the will and sovereignty of God
Bid suffer it awhile, and kiss the rod;
Wait for the dawning of a brighter day,
And snap the chain the moment when you may.
Nature imprints upon whate'er we see,
That has a heart and life in it, Be free!
The beasts are charter'd, neither age nor force
Can quell the love of freedom in a horse :
He breaks the cord that held him at the rack,
And, conscious of an unincumber'd back,
Snuffs up the morning air, forgets the rein,
Loose fly his forelock, and his simple mane ;
Responsive to the distant neigh he neighs,
Nor stops, till, overleaping all delays,
He finds the pasture where his fellows graze.

K 2

HYMN ON SOLITUDE.

Hail, mildly pleasing Solitude,
Companion of the wise and good;
But from whose holy piercing eye,
The herd of fools and villains fly.

Oh! how I love with thee to walk,
And listen to thy whisper'd talk,
Which innocence and truth imparts,
And melts the most obdurate hearts.

A thousand shapes you wear with ease, And still in every shape you please. Now wrapt in some mysterious dream, A lone philosopher you seem; Now quick from hill to vale you fly, And now you sweep the vaulted sky. A shepherd next you haunt the plain, And warble forth your oaten strain. A lover now, with all the grace Of that sweet passion in your Then, calm’d to friendship, you assume The gentle-looking Hartford's bloom, As, with her Musidora, she (Her Musidora fond of thee) Amid the long withdrawing vale, Awakes the rivall’d nightingale.

face;

Thine is the balmy breath of morn, Just as the dew-bent rose is born; And while meridian fervors beat, Thine is the woodland dumb retreat; But chief, when evening scenes decay, And the faint landscape swims away, Tbine is the doubtful soft decline, And that best hour of musing thine.

Descending ages bless thy train, The virtues of the sage and swain; Plain innocence in white array'd, Before thee lifts her fearless head: Religion's beams around thee shine, And cheer thy glooms with light divine : About thee sports sweet liberty ; And wrapt Urania sings to thee.

Oh, let me pierce thy secret cell, And in thy deep recesses dwell. Perhaps from Norwood's oak-clad hill, When meditation has her fill, I just may cast my careless eyes Where London's spiry turrets rise ; Think of its crimes, its cares, its pain, Then shield me in the woods again.

HYMN TO DARKNESS.

DARKNESS, thou first great parent of us all,

Thou art our great original;

Since from thy universal womb Does all thou shad'st below, thy numerous offspring

come.

Thy wondrous birth is even to Time unknown,

Or, like Eternity, thou’dst none;

Whilst Light did its first being owe Unto that awful shade it dares to rival now.

Say, in what dist region dost thou dwell,

To Reason inaccessible ?

From form and duller matter free,
Thou soar’st above the reach of man's philosophy.

Involv'd in thee, we first receive our breath,

Thou art our refuge too in death :

Great Monarch of the grave and womb, Where'er our souls shall go, to thee our bodies come.

The silent globe is struck with awful fear,

When thy majestic shades appear:

Thou dost compose the air and sea, And Earth a Sabbath keeps, sacred to rest and thee.

« AnteriorContinuar »