HYMN TO SPRING.
SWEET bringer of new life,
Welcome thou hither!
Though with thee comes the strife
Of changeful weather.
Oh! young and coldly fair,
Come with thy storm-blown hair.
Down casting snow-pearls fair,
For earth to gather!
Approachest thou in shower?
Mist hath enroll'd thee,
Till, changed by viewless power,
Bright we behold thee!
Whilst chilling gales do fly,
Then wanderest meekly by
Green holm and mountain high,
Till shades enfold thee.
By dusky woodland side,
Silent thou rovest;
Where lonely rindles glide,
Unheard thou movest;
Wide-strewing buds and flowers,
By fields, and dells, and bowers,
'Mid winds and sunny showers,
Bounteous thou provest.
Though ever changeful, still
The earth receives her fill
Of thy good sowing;
And lo! a spangled sheen
Of herbs and flowers between,
Blent with the pasture green,
A11 beauteous growing!
Now comes the driven hail,
Rattling and bounding;
A shower doth next prevail;
Until the glorious sun
Looks through the storm-cloud dun—
And, as the light doth run,
Glad tones are sounding.
The throstle tunes his throat,
On tall bough sitting;
The ouzle's wizard note
By dingle flitting;
The lov'd one, too, is there,
Above his snow-fringed lair—
He sings, in sun-bright air,
Come ev'ry tone of joy!
Add to the pleasure;
Sweet robin's melody
Joins in the measure:
And echoes wake and sing,
And fairy-bells do ring,
Where silver bubbles fling
Their sparkling treasure.
The hazle bloom is hung
Where beams are shining;
The honey-bine hath clung,
For one who wanders lone
Unto that bower unknown
And finds a world, his own,
Pure joys combining.
Then, bringer of new life,
Welcome thou hither;
And welcome, too, the strife
Of changeful weather!
Oh! ever young and fair,
Cast from thy storm-blown hair
Bright drops, and snow-pearls fair
For earth to gather!
DIALOGUE WITH FAME.
WHO art thou so wondrous fair,
All in glory shining?
Men adore thee ev'rywhere—
Answer my divining.
I am that which heroes claim;
For their deeds of daring;
I can raise a humble name—
Why art thou despairing?
Dost then yonder warrior see,
Weary with destroying?
Shall he hope to climb to thee,
O'er the dead and dying?
Waste of life and woe of fight,
Nothing do concern me;
If the soldier comes in right,
Surely he shall earn me.
One doth heaps of gold amass;—
If his breath should fail him,
Whither would his mem'ry pass?
Bright one, wouldst thou hail him?
If for good he had employ'd
That he lays beside him,
In his life and when he died,
I had not denied him.
One in pulpit prayeth loud,
God with things acquainting:
How shall he become endow'd,
For his noisy sainting?
If his life be meek and pure,
Moral as his preaching,
Even him I can endure,
When he hath done his teaching.
One is mounted on a throne,
Myriads are admiring;
Canst thou such a king disown,
Splendid and aspiring?
Is he wise, he merits fame,
And he too shall share it;
If a fool, the greater shame,
His actions will declare it.
Thou canst raise a humble name,
Mine indeed is humble;
Should I win a meed of fame,
Friends of mine would grumble.
Strive to climb yon envied path—
Glory beams above it;
Though the world should howl in wrath,
Turn and look, and love it.
TO A SNOWDROP.(1)
WELCOME, thou little modest flower!
Thou venturest forth in stormy hour,
Bending thine head beneath the shower,
So meek and low;
Smiling at hoary winter's lour,
Amongst the snow.
Welcome, thou little bonny thing!
Clad are the tidings thou dost bring;
Soon will the grass begin to spring,
The trees to bad,
And feathered songsters sweetly sing
In yonder wood.
But all! too short will be thy stay,
Lone guest of winter's dreary day!
Scarce will the sun upon thee play
His beam of light,
Ere thou wilt wither and decay,
And sink in night.
And so have many sunk beside;
Some dropping from their tow'ring pride—
Some in their lowliness have died.
Perchance I may
Look bright upon a stormy world,
And pass away!
THE WIND UNBOUND.
GOD doth unbind the enchained wind;
He bids him go, and he straightway goeth!
The mighty one from the Lord is gone—
O'er ocean wide and land he bloweth.
From mountain peak doth he terror shake,
'Mid cavern'd echoes he wildly crieth;
His wings descend where the pine woods bend—
O'er desert plain in thick cloud he flieth.
On moonless night doth he take his flight!
Star-spangled regions he then exploreth;
Flings wide his pinions in heaven's dominions,
And towards God's own palace gate he soareth.
Then back he bends, and to earth descends—
Cloud-rending stormer, the world he shaketh!
Pale Fear lies wailing, the brave are quailing
The proud he humbles, the strong he breaketh.
On shoreless main, when his path is ta'en,
Howling he calls on that whelming ocean;
The deep sea cleaveth, the billow heaveth,
And wind and flood meet in dire commotion;
No ship may ride through that dreadful tide—
Stark hollow yells, every hope denying:
The fierce wind breaketh, the wave down taketh—
Oh, God! have mercy upon the dying.
WRITTEN AFTER VISITING THE RUINS OF LEICESTER ABBEY,
NOW Wolsey was, in olden time,
A man of high renown;
And I went forth to seek his grave,
Close by fair Leicester town.
I stood beside the ruin'd wall,
And a damsel passèd by;
And I said, "Come, show me, maiden fair,
Where doth Lord Wolsey lie?"
"Lord Wolsey, Sir? there is no lord
Within these Abbey gates;
There's only Master Warner here,
The land who cultivates;
And Mistress Warner, and the maids,
And the pretty children dear,
And the men that in the garden dig:
Lord Wolsey is not here."
An old man labour'd in the ground—
His locks were silver grey;
I said, "Where is Lord Wolsey's grave?
Come, shew to me, I Pray."
He from his labour ceas'd awhile,
And rested on his shade;
And when he told me he was deaf,
I repeated what I'd said.
"Lord Wolsey? why, I never heard
Of such a man before;
And I am old enough to know—
I'm upwards of fourscore.
There's Well'sley, —he is still alive,—
Who fought through France and Spain;
My Jack went with him to the wars,
But he ne'er returned again.
A lady in that garden stray'd,
And her I next address'd:
"Pray, madam, can you point to me
The place of Wolsey's rest?"
And she said, neither heap nor sod,
Nor stone, nor pillar grey,
Was left to indicate the spot
Where the once Proud Wolsey lay!(2)
THE ROSY BEAUTY.
A LITTLE rosy beauty
I chanced once to spy;
Within the lonely woodlands
Were only she and I.
Oh! tell me, precious jewel,
Why strayest thou alone?
She, smiling, said, "I'm not afraid,
For I have injured none.
"I come each morn a-milking,
I can come on ev'ry eve;
But cushy now hath wander'd,
Till lost, I do believe."
"I'll go with thee and find her,
Each dell and copse I know,
And where the grass is sweetest,
And where the waters flow."
Where posies gay were springing,
I led the artless maid,
And where the birds were singing,
Forgetfully we stray'd;
Where blossoms were the whitest,
And where the sward was green,
And where the rill ran brightest,
We found a path unseen.
And there I took occasion
To speak of sundry things:
Of life-its short duration—
How riches make them wings;
That true love was a duty,
A wondrous pleasure too;
And I whisper'd to that beauty,
"Why may not I and you?
I know thee, my delighter,
And thou hast heard my name;
I'm not a maiden's slighter,
Thou shalt not blush for shame."
I took her to my bosom,
And kiss'd her bonny mouth;
And, oh! but it was sweeter
Than honey from the south.
Awhile she stood confused,
The tear was in her eye;
The dove was all unusèd
Unto that fearful joy.
I sooth'd and I caress'd her,
Until she did incline;
And, if my love hath bless'd her,
The blessed one is mine!
A WINTER'S DAY AND NIGHT.
SUPPOSED TO BE DESCRIBED BY A LANCASHIRE
FIRST comes the white bearded frost at morn,
Next comes the red sun, bald and shorn,
Then comes the sleet, and then comes the snow,
And then, o'er the winter-fields howling doth go,
The dark cold wind forlorn.
What do I see at the broad mid-day?
Wild birds a-flocking to fly away;
Brown hare is sitting close under the fern,
Pheasants in cover feed, fowls by the barn;
Calf doth in crib lie, the kine in their bay,
Dickon is thrashing that weary wet day;
Dame is at spinning wheel, Mal butter makes,
Betty brews Kemus ale, Dorothy bakes;
Cross-mark the dough, and the cream, and the malt,
So that if witch should come, back she must halt.
Heigh, then! for jannocks o' barley and rye!
Heigh! for the smoking hot potatoe pie!
Heigh! for the brewing of humming brown ale!
Where there's good meat and drink, work will not fail.
What do I mark at the waning of day?
Sun, like a truant, goes round-about way,
Down by the south he hangs cloudy and shy,
As heaven's mid arch were too wide and too high.
But 'ere he meet the sea's weltering streams,
Will he not look again with his bright beams?
Purple and molten gold 'neath him are spread;
Ruby and amber-light gleam over head.
Oh! what a deluge of splendour he flings,
Thousands of miles from his burring wide wings!
Now, as I gaze on that glory-lost sky,
Shadows of darkness around me do fly,
And witches are spanning the dolesome black clouds,
To rend into palls and to shape into shrouds.
I'd better home again, lest it should be
That the weird hags begin spanning for me.
Goodly old psalm tune I'll hum by the way,
For strange things do happen at closing of day.
Day hath departed, and here cometh night;
Clouds are fast riding, and stars glitter bright—
Some ope and twinkle, like eyes of fair gold,
Sonic are a ruby red, some pale and cold.
Oh! what a strewing of diamonds' sheen
Spangles the robe of the night-walking queen!
Oh! what a pathway the Maker hath trod!
Stars are but dust in the footsteps of God.
Hark! what a sounding adown the broad sky!
From the blue star-regions cometh a sigh;
Voice of the troubled wind 'gins to bewail;
Wings of the mighty wind hitherward sail.
Now he comes howling, like ocean's sad roar,
On the one verge of some desolate shore—
Now he is calling, both loud and forlorn,
For havock to mount and ride with him till morn!
Now he goes crying , like cradle-reft child;
Now whistles shrill, like a night-prowler wild;
Now doth he scream, like an eagle for prey;
Now, like a myriad of steeds, rush away!
I'll hurry timeously over the moor,
Shut close my casement, and fasten my door.
Warlocks and night-hags may come on the blast,
I've a good horse-shoe they cannot get past.
Safe there, I'll ponder each notable sight
I marked at morning, noon, evening, and night.
HOMELY RHYMES ON BAD TIMES.
EREWHILE I sang of courtly dame,
With eyes divine and tresses fair,
And look'd, and loolk'd until there came
Creeping around my heart a snare;
But hitherto we've been aware
In time to shun all sinfulness;
Besides my wife is passing fair,
And doth with true affection bless,
Sufficient then my happiness.
And I have sung about the War
Which swept my countrymen away,
Scattering their mangled bodies far,
From Belgium to Corunna's Bay.
Oh! then the wolf had glorious prey;
Daily he walk'd forth to dine,
And lapp'd the warm blood merrily,
As the blithe tippler takes his wine,
That kings might reign by right divine.
And I awake a fearless strain,
About the rulers of our land;
These limbs have borne their heavy chain,
Their fetters too have galled my hand,
And twice accused did I stand
Of treason 'gainst a hated king;
Lo! falsehood fails, and I demand
Justice for my imprisoning—
Justice! Ah, there was no such thing.1
E'en now in prison do I write,
This is the sixth in which I've lain,
Not for infringing any right,
Not life nor property I've ta'en.
Ask you the reason, then; 'tis plain—
I made escape upon that day
When many of my friends were slain,
And many sorely wounded lay
Gasping in their strong agony.
And so the fools have sent me here,2
'Tis for my benefit no doubt'
To pass my three and thirtieth year
In study and in sober thought,
And feeling grateful as I ought.
How can I less than sing a lay,
The memorable deeds about,
Of Hulton and of Parson Hay,
And that fam'd corps of yeomanry.
Now the long war was o'er at last,
And there arose a shout of joy;
Napoleon, in his prison fast,
No longer could our peace destroy.
And, whilst on pudding, beef, and pie,
The people pleased did regale,
Monarchs were meeting, snug and sly,
And planning how they might prevail
To keep the human mind in jail.
Ah! little thought our workers then
That dire distress would come so soon,
Nor dream't our merry gentlemen
That night would overtake their noon,
A fearful night without a moon,
Or solitary star to light,
When Canning, orator, buffoon,3
Should prophesy of daggers bright
Groping for murder in that night.
But thus it was, the Cotton trade
Was presently thrown all aback,
And some who mighty sums had made
Began to feel their credit slack;
And then there came a thundering crack,
Which made the men of straw to stare,
Whilst "Church and King" look'd densely black,
Saint Chapel man betook to prayer,
Though sometimes he would almost swear.
For was it not perversely strange,
That in a time of peace profound,
Should come so terrible a change
And press them to the very ground,
The rates were almost pound for pound.
While keen taxation still did fleece,
At length some "son of Gotham" found
'Twas sudden change from war to peace
That caused our commerce to decrease.
This was indeed a lucky thought,
For though it mended not the case,
A sudden gleam of hope it brought
To cheer that woful length of face
So gravely worn i'th' market place.
Oh! had but Hogarth lived to see
Those signs of "penitential grace,"
He would have smil'd as well as me
At such grotesque humility.
Clinging to that fallacious hope,
They sank into a blind repose,
Nor did they once their eyelids ope
To take a peep beyond their nose,
Else they had seen how it arose
That commerce lingered more and more,
That tax on bread did interpose
A barrier at the merchant's store,
Or rudely warn'd him from our shore.
Now will I draw the veil aside
And workman's sad condition show;
Come hither, daughters, sons of pride,
And ponder on this scene of woe.
Behold him through the wintry snow
All faint, and slowly take his way,
Whilst the cold wind doth on him blow,
His mournful eyes stare haggardly,
He hath not tasted food to-day.
And he hath been to yonder town
To try if he could work obtain;
Not work he got, but many a frown,
And word of slight, that gave him pain;
And some there were who did complain
Of losses by their "stock on hand;"
And some did blame the King of Spain,
The "well-beloved Ferdinand,"
And some the rulers of the land.
And when again he reaches home,
His little ones around him press;
And some do shout for joy, and some
Climb to his knees with eagerness.
Whilst others their "dear father" bless,
And ask if he hath brought a cake,
When, starting from forgetfulness,
He looketh upward to the flake,—
No bread, for love or pity's sake!
Where is the partner of his care?
Behold her on a wretched bed;
Up bore she long as she could bear,
Then sank at length all famished.
And now he binds her weary head,
Her throbbing temples pain her so;
And now the children cry for bread,
And parent's bitter tears do flow,
That twain of hearts, how deep their woe!
Another group are sat to dine,
Behold how greedily they eat;
Sure they have got a proud sirloin
Their hunger keen to satiate.
Nay, not one taste of butcher's meat,
That is a dish they seldom see;
Potatoes garnish every plate,
And if a herring there should be,
'Tis tasted as a luxury.
For supper, father, mother, child,
Are often forced to regale
Upon a mess of water boil'd,
And sprinkled with a little meal;
And if this homely pottage fail,
Call'd by the weavers "Creep o'er stile,"
All silent to their rest they steal,
And slumber until morning's smile
Awakes to further want and toil.
And being pinchèd thus for food,
How doth their winter clothing go?
Why gents and ladies who are good
Will give a cast-off thing or so,
But not to "Radicals," oh, no!
"They must not have encouragement,
They want our property, you know,
And to subvert the Government,
Such people never are content."
Oh! ye who live in wealth and state,
Deem not this colouring too high;
Nothing would I extenuate,
Nor yet attempt to magnify;
Nor is it possible that I
Could half the dire affliction show,
Imagination will supply,
If it with sympathy doth glow,
Omissions in this scene of woe.
Nor would I wound your feelings fine,
Dear ladies, I revere you well;
But ah, those eyes look most divine
When they with tender pity swell,
Then do not the poor soul repel
Who cometh shiv'ring to your hall,
For he will of your goodness tell,
And blessings on your bounty call,
Though his word-loyalty be small.
May He who rules the stormy blast,
That howls amid yon wintry sky,
Protect thee, even to the last,
Wife, sister of mine enemy,
Whom I defied, and still defy,
And though a Radical I be,
Whom they have hunted to destroy,
For all their wrongs to mine and me,
Lady, I would not injure thee.
1. The responsible ministers of those days, and
it would seem of later ones also, ignored
the dignity of benign justice, which repairs and restores as well
case of Mr. Bewicke.
2. Lincoln Castle.
3. See his speeches about this time, 1817, in
the House of Commons on the internal state of
the country, not forgetting his heartless sneer at "the reverend
and ruptured Ogden."
TUNE-" The rose tree in full bearing."
WHERE Gerrard's stream, with pearly
Runs down in gay meander,
A weaver boy, bereft of joy,
Upon a time did wander.
"Ah! well a day," the youth did say,
"I wish I did not mind her,
I'm sure had she regarded me,
I ne'er had lost my wynder.
Her ready hand was white as milk,
Her fingers finely moulded,
And when she touch'd a thread of silk,
Like magic it was folded.
She turn'd her wheel, she sang her song,
And sometimes I have join'd her,
Oh that one strain would wake again
From thee my lovely wynder.
And when the worsted hank she wound,
Her skill was further proved,
No thread uneven there was found,
Her bobbins never roved.
With sweet content, to work she went,
And looked not behind her,
With fretful eye for ills to spy;
But now I've lost my wynder.
And never would she let me wait
When downing on a Friday,
Her wheel went at a merry rate,
Her person always tidy.
But she is gone, and I'm alone,
I know not where to find her,
I've sought the hill, the wood and rill,
No tidings of my wynder.
I've sought her at the dawn of day,
I've sought her at the noonin',
I've sought her when the evening grey
Had brought the hollow moon in.
I've call'd her on the darkest night
With wizard spells to bind her,
And when the stars arose in light,
I've wander'd forth to find her.
Her hair was like the raven's plume
And hung in tresses bonny,
Her checks so fair did roses bear
That blush'd as sweet as ony.
With slender waist and carriage chaste,
Her looks were daily kinder,
I mourn and rave, and cannot weave
Since I have lost my wynder.
A VIEW FROM THE TANDLE HILLS,
IN THE MONTH OF MAY.
THE eye of the morning is open wide,
And the sun comes up from the heaving tide
That rolls at the foot of his burning throne,
The girdle of regions that are not known;
And the bright clouds are lying all tranquilly,
Like islands of glory far away;
And the wan moon is hung in the deep abyss,
Like something lost from the realms of bliss,
She leans on her lurid and waning side;
As if she were seeking her face to hide
From the light intense, and the amber glare,
That flash from the God in the eastern air.
Over the earth as mine eye is cast,
The mists of the morning away have pass'd;
The moorlands dark and far are seen,
The pastures are mantled all in green;
The trees are adorn'd with spicy buds,
Like scattered gems on the sunbright woods;
Whilst down in the dell doth the rindle spring,
Glimmering dimly, and murmuring,
Where pebbles are dark and waters clear,
As a sloe black eye and a pearly tear;
And the woodbine is hung over that pale gleam,
And the green moss is creeping towards the stream,
And the tall oaks are up at the light of day,
And waving aloft where the winds do play.
And, lo! what a world is before me spread,
From the fringed dell to the mountain head!
From the spangled turf, whereon I stand,
To the bend of heaven and the verge of land!
Like an ocean cradle deep it lies;
To the right, to the left, dark hills arise,
And Blackstone-Edge, in his sunless pride,
Doth York from Lancaster divide;
Whilst, on to the south if away we bear,
Oh! what shall bar our progress there?
Nought, save the blending of earth and sky,
Dim, and afar as eternity!
But where the vision begins to fail
There seem to be hills of a cloudy pale,
And next is a track of level land,
As if rollèd flat by a mighty hand!
And the kindling smoke of a waking town,
And meadows' sheen and mosses brown,
And windows glittering in the light,
And a long canal like a streamlet bright,
And the park, once famed for bowmen's play,
And the lorldly dome of the noble Grey,
And the vale where Assheton dwelt of yore,
And the hall which Radcliffe knows no more!
What mountain is yonder so dark and cold?
A spirit hath said, "I am Oaphin of old,—(3)
I am Oaphin of old, erst the dwelling place
Of the British as well as the Roman race.
I have glens that are deep, I have moorlands wide,
Which I give to thy gaze on the Yorkshire side;
I have valleys all shining and waters dumb,
And caverns and rocks where thou darest not come.
I can point to the path which the Romans made—
To the forts where their summer camps have stay'd;
And altars and symbols are still to be seen,
The relics of nations that here have been—
That here have been, and that are no more—
For one is dust on the Adrian shore,
Of one doth a remnant alone remain,
In the land where their fathers held their reign.
Oh, daughter of Cambria! lone and fair,
With thine harp that is mute, and thy flowing hair,
And thy cheek so pale, and thy sad look east
Whence freedom and glory for ever have past! *
It is but a cloud that is floating by—
Llewellyn's bright banner no more will fly!
It is not the shout of thine armed men,
Rushing with Glendower to battle again:
But from thine ocean that cannot abide,
Ariseth the roar of the ceaseless tide;
And, 'stead of the song of thy olden day,
Comes the moan of the winds as they hurry away!"
* It is to be hoped that Freedom and Glory have not passed for ever
away from the descendants of the ancient Cymru. Their harps may be
comparativelymute for a time, but the heroic glory of their past history
is imperishable. Thefame of heroes cannot die.
SONG FOR THE BRAVE.
TO COLONEL PEARD, HONOURABLY KNOWN AND GREATLY ESTEEMED
IN BRITAIN AS "GARIBALD'S ENGLISHMAN," THIS "SONG OF THE BRAVE"
IS MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED.
SAY what is the life of the brave?
A gift which his Maker hath given,
Lest nothing but tyrant and slave
Remain of mankind under Heaven.
And what is the life of the brave
When staked in the cause of his right?
'Tis but as a drop to a wave—
A trifle he values as light.
And what is the Death of the brave?
A loss which the good shall deplore;
His life unto freedom he gave,
And freemen behold him no more.
Tis the close of a glorious day,
'Tis the setting of yonder bright sun;
A summons that heralds the way,
To a heaven already begun!
And what is the Fame of the brave?
'Tis the halo which follows his day,
The noble examples he gave,
Remaining in splendid array!
The coward doth hopeless behold;
The wise and the good do admire;
But in the warm heart of the bold,
Awakens a nobler fire!
Then who would not live with the brave?
The wretch without virtue or worth.
And who would not die with the brave?
The coward that cumbers the earth.
And who shall partake with the brave
The fame which his valour hath won?
Oh, he that abides with the brave,
Till the battle of freedom is done!
THE RED ROSE AND THE WHITE.
WRITTEN ON THE APPROACH OF THE TRIAL AT YORK, IN 1820.
The red rose to the white rose
One day did greetings send;
With kindly salutation,
Addressing thus her friend;
My enemies are leagu'd around,
And sore they threaten me,
But justice surely will be found
When I appeal to thee.
The fences which in happier day
Secur'd me from all harm,
Are broken down, or torn away,
By many a ruffian arm;
And those who should have been at hand,
The violence to restrain;
Were join'd with the marauding band,
And now they share the gain.
They came not as the heroes came,
Who bore thee to the strife;
They came not as the heroes came,
Who stak'd for me their life;
For there the game went gallantly,
As might become the brave;
But this was coward cruelty,
When there were none to save.
My beauty and my sweetness,
Are drooping to decay;
For they have broken down my boughs,
And torn my buds away;
The slimy worm doth round me cling;
The filthy grub doth creep;
And whilst they are devouring,
How vainly do I weep.
And oft have I complained
To those who have the power;
To cause me reparation
For the ravage of my bower;
Foes have had much kindness shewn,
Whilst I had cold disdain;
They bared me to the blighting wind,
And to the frozen rain.
The white rose heard these tidings,
And bent her blossom fair,
Towards the rose of blushing red,
A friendship she did bear;
And grateful tears of fragrant dew,
Were in that moment shed,
When thus with kind affection
The white rose answered;
Come cheer thee up thou bonny flower,
For there are yet in store,
Full many a gowden summer day
When winter storms are o'er;
The reptile race that pester thee,
The fowls of air shall feed,
And thy dishonour'd enemy,
Shall suffer for his deed.
No more thy foes contriving,
Shall dare to treat thee so;
And all thy strength reviving,
In glory shalt thou grow;
For thine is but the cause of right,
Then leave it unto me,
And justice surely shall be done,
In thy extremity.
February 27, 1820.
THE PATRIOT'S HYMN.
O THOU Great Power Divine,
Wisdom and might are thine,
Hear thou thy people's cry,
Behold their misery,
Groaning in slavery,
Let man be free.
Emperors, and lords, and kings,
Gaudy and glittering things,
Unlov'd by thee.
If they but nod the head,
Armies are mustered,
Thousands to slaughter led,
Gory is Europe's plain,
Whelmed beneath her slain,
Dreadful to see.
Victors and vanquish'd lie,
Mingled in butchery;
Let man be free.
See Britain's patriot band,
Guarding their native land,
Rise, rise, thou God of might,
All her oppressors smite,
Sweep them to death and night.
Let man be free.
Blest be our native isle,
Heaven upon it smile,
Let it be free.
Sheath'd be the warrior's brand,
Love shall go hand in band,
Triumphing o'er the land,
THE PASS OF DEATH.(4)
WRITTEN SHORTLY AFTER THE DECEASE OF THE
RIGHT HONOURABLE GEORGE CANNING,
AND WITH REFERENCE TO THAT EVENT.
ANOTHER'S gone, and who comes next,
Of all the sons of pride?
And is humanity perplex'd
Because this man hath died?
The sons of men did raise their voice
And crièd in despair,
"We will not come, we will not come,
Whilst Death is waiting there!"
But Time went forth and dragg'd them on,
By one, by two, by three;
Nay, sometimes thousands came as one,
So merciless was he!
And still they go, and still they go,
The slave, the lord, the king;
And disappear, like flakes of snow,
Before the sun of spring!
For Death stood in the path of Time,
And slew them as they came,
And not a soul escap'd his hand,
So certain was his aim.
The beggar fell across his staff,
The soldier on his sword,
The king sank down beneath his crown,
The priest beside the Word.
And Youth came in his blush of health,
And in a moment fell;
And Avarice, grasping still at wealth,
Was rollèd into hell;
And Age stood trembling at the pass,
And would have turned again;
But Time said, "No, 'tis never so,
Thou canst not here remain."
The bride came in her wedding robe—
But that did nought avail;
Her ruby lips went cold and blue,
Her rosy cheek turn'd pale!
And some were hurried from the ball,
And some came from the play;
And some were eating to the last,
And some with wine were gay.
And some were ravenous for food,
And rais'd seditious cries;
But, being a "legitimate,"
Death quickly stopp'd their noise!
The father left his infant brood
Amid the world to weep;
The mother died whilst her babe
Lay smiling in its sleep!
And some did offer bribes of gold,
If they might but survive;
But he drew his arrow to the head,
And left them not alive!
And some were plighting vows of love,
When their very hearts were torn;
And eyes that shone so bright at eve
Were closèd ere the morn!
And one had just attained to pow'r,
He wist not he should die;
Till the arrow smote his stream of life,
And left the cistern dry!—
Another's gone, and who comes next,
Of all the sons of pride?
And is humanity perplexed
Because this man hath died?
And still they come, and still they go,
And still there is no end,—
The hungry grave is yawning yet,
And who shall next descend?
Oh! shall it be a crownèd head,
Or one of noble line?
Or doth the slayer turn to smite
A life so frail as mine?
WRITTEN UPON LEAVING THE EMPLOY OF
MESSRS. HOLE, WILKINSON, AND GARTSIDE,
MANCHESTER, JANUARY, 1813.
TOMORROW'S sun beholds me free,
Come night, and I no more will own
A master's high authority,
Nor bend beneath his angry frown;
But to my native woods and plains
I'll haste and join the rustic swains.
Gay printed fancies, plates, and chintz,*
No more with wonder shall I view,
Nor criticise the various tints
Of pink, or azure, green, or blue,
Save when I pluck the floweret sweet
That clasps my lonely wandering feet.
* Terms by which printed calicoes of certain styles were distinguished.
THE CALL OF WALLACE.
OH! come from the valley, Oh! come from the plain,
And arise to the hills of your fathers again;
For a chief hath unfurled his banner on high,
And the scourge of his country hath dar'd to defy!
Our lands are laid waste and our homes are destroy'd,
Whilst the ravaging Suthron is dwelling in pride;
Oh! gather, ye brave ones, in battle array,
And the storm of the carnage shall sweep him away!
What! shall this usurper be lord of our land,
Nor the sons of its heroes the tyrant withstand?
And shall it be said that a Scot ever bore
The chains which his fathers had spurned before?
Then come from the valley, and come from the plain,
And arise to the hills of your fathers again;
We will rush like a whirlwind, or burst like a flood,
And the sun of his glory shall set in his blood!
A HEAD PIECE.
I'LL begin with her
It is comely and fair,
And the witch hath wrought her tresses
Into many a snare.
Like a rampart of snow,
Her forehead doth show;
And from her arched eyebrows,
I look down below.
And what do I see?
Oh! a bonny wick e'e;
In the language of heaven
It is speaking to me.
Next her nose doth arise;
Dividing her eyes;
'Tis just what a nose should be,
In form and in size.
And the lily so meek
May be found on her cheek;
And the blush of the rosebud,
It hath not to seek.
That posy is sweet,
Its beauty complete,
Where the rose and the lily fair
Together do meet.
I cannot o'erskip
Her bonny red lip,
All hung with melting kisses,
For her true love to sip.
And though it is a sin,
I must worship her chin,
For its little bonny dimple,
Sure a blessing to win.
To finish my dear,
Let me peep at her ear;
Ah! the lock and the gowden ring
Are revelling there.
I once did reside
Near one Habakkuk Hyde,
The drollest of mortals it can't be denied;
A dandy was Hyde,
And a doctor beside,
And his greatest amusement a pony to ride.
Now beggarly pride,
It can't be denied,
Will lead the poor beggar to hell, if he'll ride;
And though Mister Hyde
So often had tried,
A nag like the present he'd ne'er been astride.
One day, muttered Hyde,
I cannot abide
To stand doing nothing, I'll e'en take a ride;
His nag he espied,
And soon got astride,
And off at a canter went Habakkuk Hyde.
His tit was wall-eyed,
It limp'd on one side,
It soon began roaring for Habakkuk Hyde;
Oh! music, said Hyde,
And a song too beside,
And all for five shillings, rare Habakkuk Hyde.
As on he did ride
A ditch he espied,
And straightway to leap it went pony and Hyde;
But Rossinante shied,
And straight sprung aside,
And into the gutter roll'd Habakkuk Hyde.
A Paddy espied
The misfortune of Hyde,
And dragg'd him to land, or the doctor had died;
Oh, jewel! he cried,
You must mind how you ride,
Or, faith, you'll be smother'd, sweet Habakkuk Hyde.
THE LABOURER'S ORISON AT SUN-RISE.
WRITTEN WITH ESPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE CORN LAWS,
AND THE GENERAL CONDITION OF THE
WORKING CLASSES AT THAT TIME.
How pure the air, how sweet the breeze!
The dewy grass how vernal!
What being hath created these
But Thou, the great Eternal!
A world of goodness spreads around,
A heaven above doth bless me;
But man the foe of man is found,
And laws unjust oppress me!
I gird me for another day
Of labour unrequited;
My Father and my Deity!
When shall these wrongs be righted?
Oh! stretch Thine hand out o'er this land,
A strong, a just redresser,
And bid the prostrate poor upstand,
And humble the oppressor!
We ask Thee for our daily bread,
Our feeble lives to cherish;
And lo! a bounteous feast is spread,
That none for lack may perish.
But king and statesman, peer and priest,
Whom guile hath made the stronger,
Have driven Thy people from the feast,
Condemn'd to toil and hunger!
Oh, Lord! how long shall this prevail?
How long Thy judgments linger?
Our little ones for bread do wail,
Their mothers faint of hunger.
Afar we stand, a gloomy band,
Our worth, our wants neglected,
The children in their father-land
Cut off, despis'd, rejected!
"Oh, Lord! how long," the myriads pray,
"How long this sore despisement?"
"There is no God," the oppressors say,
"To deal us out chastisement."
But know, ye proud, ye sordid crowd,
A storm shall yet o'ertake you,
When God's right hand moves o'er the land,
Like wither'd stems to break you!
To humble your obdurate pride,
To ope your sealèd garners,
Rough-shod, a mighty cause shall ride
O'er your uplifted scorners;
And change you like the feather'd snow,
The melting sun hung o'er it;
And whirl you as the wind doth blow
The desert dust before it!
WRITTEN AT FARLEY, 1828.
IT was the dusk of as fine an evening as ever closed.
The ten thousand pines that crowded in dark array
from the brook to the hill-top were motionless; the
mist came like a smoke from the valleys, and....
The broad red sun went deeply down,
And night came up amain,
As if the world's wide day were lost,
Ne'er to return again.
LONDON, FARE THEE WELL.(5)
SUNNY light is breaking
Over dale and hill;
Nature is awaking
From her slumber chill:
Winds that blow around us
Whisper softly bland,
While the streams that bound us
Murmur through the land.
Should I for the city
Leave the vocal dell?
'Twere indeed a pity—
London, fare thee well!
Whilst my heart's contented,
Let it so remain;
I can yet disdain;
And, should I be gazing
At your ladies fair,
Might not such amazing
Beauty cause despair?
Rather would I meet one
Lonely in the dell,
And steal a kiss, a sweet one,—
London, fare thee well!
Come, ye days of pleasure;
Come, ye rosy hours;
Bring mine hidden treasure
From her inmost bowers;
With her melting kisses
At the burning noon;
With her deeper blisses
'Neath the clouded moon;
Waters are the sweetest
Taken at the well;
Love is ever greatest
When there's none to tell.
THE WARRIOR'S ODE TO DEATH.
COME not to me on a bed
Of pale-faced sickness and of pining;
Oh, clasp me close on the battle-field red,
Midst warrior's shouts, and armour shining!
Let me not have priest nor bell,
Sable pomp, nor voice of wailing;
The roar of the cannon shall be my knell,
And tears with thee are unavailing.
Then clasp me close in the hottest strife,
Where the cut, and the stab, and the shot are rife!
May I fall on some great day,
With Freedom's banner streaming o'er me!
Live but to shout for the victory,
And see the rout roll on before me,
And tyrants, from their greatness torn,
Beneath the scourge of justice smarting,
And gaze on Freedom's glorious morn,
My soul to cheer before departing!
Oh, then my life might melt away;
In visions bright of liberty!
TO SAMUEL BAMFORD,
PRISONER IN LINCOLN CASTLE, FOR HAVING LED
A NUMBER OF HIS FELLOW TOWNSMEN TO THE MEETING
AT MANCHESTER, ON THE SIXTEENTH OF AUGUST, 1819.
BAMFORD, an unknown friend would bring,
The best he can, his offering
Of humble verse to thee;
And sure a tribute is thy due,
From all who ever loved or knew
The MUSE and LIBERTY!
My purpose is not to condole
With thee; I know thy noble soul
Condoling strains would scorn.
A lot like thine I rather deem
Of 'gratulation is a theme,
For Freedom's sake when borne.
'Tis glorious, in a cause like her's,
To rank among the sufferers;
More glorious than to be
A mighty nation's conqueror,
Or the imperious arbiter
Of a world's destiny.
And none who hath a freeman's heart,
Who loves to act a freeman's part,
Would change his dungeon, where
No ray, save innocence, hath shone,
For all the splendours of a throne
Which guilt hath help'd to rear.
The PATRIOT, torn by tyranny
From every best and dearest tie,
From kindred, child, and wife;
From all the objects of his love,
Whose smiles could make an Eden of
This barren wild of life;
Possesses, in the holy thought,
His country's were the ends he sought,
Support and peace divine;
And feels within an happiness,
Which none, who know not, can express—
And BAMFORD, these are thine!
And thine to know that in the time
Of freedom's triumphing, sublime,
Thy wrongs will ever prove
The seal of TRUTH upon thy claim
To that imperishable fame
Which HIGH-SOUL'D PATRIOTS love!
The GOD of JUSTICE grant it may
Be thine to see, to sing that day,
Magnificent and grand,
And thine to write the funeral song
Of the base tyranny which long
Hath cursed our native land!
MANCHESTER, June 5th, 1820.
ADDRESSED TO H
IN REPLY TO THE FOREGOING.
WHAT bard unknown hath deign'd to bring
To such as me an offering
Of verse, which might not shame
The sweetest lyre, the proudest lay,
That ever wak'd its minstrelsy
To liberty or fame?
Stranger, whoe'er thou art, I know
Thy soul hath felt that holy glow
Of patriotic fire,
Which, burning ever bright and pure,
Shall to the end of time endure,
When all things shall expire.
Ah, why till now hath not been heard
Expression of thy kindly word?
How glad should I have been
To stray with thee o'er field and flower,
To moorland high, or to the bower
Of shady woodland green!
Or where the breezes softly rise
In whispers and in gentle sighs,
Beside that streamlet clear;
Where in the twilight I have known
The lovelorn beauty steal alone,
To meet her youth full dear.
We could have pluck'd each flower that grows,
The violet and the bonny rose
Which blossoms on the brier;
And I had listened whilst thou sung—
For my hoarse pipe had tuneless hung
If thou hadst touched thy lyre.
But time and tide rolled swift away,
And they will usher in a day
When I may sure be free
To rest me at my long lost home,
Where, if thou condescend to come,
Most welcome shalt thou be.
Thou sayest right, 'tis not for me
To mourn beneath the tyranny
Which holds me in a chain;
No! though awhile its power I brook,
Mine heart can feel, mine eye can look,
Defiance and disdain!
I would not change my iron bed
For all the downy couches spread
Around corruption's throne;
Nor would I give my prison fare
For all the delicacies rare
Which pampered wealth doth own.
And why indeed, should I repine?
The crown as well as cross is mine;
And if the crown I claim,
It must not be when comes the day
Which dealeth out adversity,
That I should shun the same.
Nor do I feel of aught the want
That conscious innocence can grant;
For she is ever nigh,
With healing in her lily wing,
Dispelling care and sorrowing,
And giving peace and joy.
There was an eye that pour'd the tear,
And every drop was doubly dear;
And there was one beside,
The little nestling of my heart,
It clung to me and would not part,
Nor yet be pacified.
I heard it cry, I saw them weep,
Oh, how did I my full heart keep,
Amid the agony!
I gave them to that God on high,
Who feeds the ravens when they cry,
And to my country.
And though, perhaps, their tears are dried,
Yet they have deeply ratified
My wrongs and injuries;
For which I know there is in store,
Vengeance a hundred-fold or more,
Upon mine enemies.
Oh, let them in their darkness sleep,
Whilst hell doth from her ambush creep
To snatch her mighty prize—
The pimp of power, the venal slave,
The trickster-playing fool and knave,
And all their host of spies.
Then, bloated pride shall bite the dust;
Oppression, cruelty, and lust,
Shall rule the land no more!
And they who slew may look about,
For there perhaps may be a rout
To pay for one before!
THE SONG OF SLAUGHTER.
PARENT of the wide creation,
We would counsel ask of Thee;
Look upon a mighty nation,
Rousing from its slavery.
If to men our wrongs are stated,
We are but the faster bound,
All our actions reprobated,
No redress for us is found.
Thou hast made us to inherit
Strength of body, daring mind;
Shall we rise, and in thy spirit
Tear away the chains that bind?
Chains, but forgèd to degrade us,
Oh, the base indignity!
In the name of Him who made us,
We will perish, or be free.
How happy may we be, my love!
How happy may we be,
If we our humble means improve,
My wife, my child, and me.
Our home shall be a turtle's nest,
Where duty, peace, and love,
Shall make its inmates truly blest,
And sorrow far remove.
And if the world upon us frown,
Still peace serene is ours;
It cannot bear the free mind down,
With all its tyrant powers:
For if they bear me far away,
And bind me with a chain,
Our nestling will beside thee stay—
Then do not, love, complain.
But virtue only can endow
With happiness secure;
For virtue learns her vot'ries how
Each trial to endure.
How wretched is the feeble mind
That shrinks at every blast!
Whilst virtue is a bulwark kind,
Enduring to the last.
There fortified, the storms of fate
Around us harmless howl;
No coward terrors they create
To shake the steadfast soul:
We calmly pass through life, my love,
Its blessings we enjoy;
And, when it please the Power above,
Without a murmur die.