Therefore, all from loftier mountains,
Purer wells and richer Fountains,
Streams our Poet-Art;
So no rule to curb its rushing—
All the fuller flows it gushing
From its deep—The Heart!
* * * * *
COMMENCEMENT OF THE NEW CENTURY (1801)
Where can Peace find a refuge? Whither,
Can Freedom turn? Lo, friend, before our view
The CENTURY rends itself in storm away,
And, red with slaughter, dawns on earth the New!
The girdle of the lands is loosen’d—hurl’d
To dust the forms old Custom deem’d divine,—
Safe from War’s fury not the watery world;—
Safe not the Nile-God nor the antique Rhine.
Two mighty nations make the world their field,
Deeming the world is for their heirloom given—
Against the freedom of all lands they wield
This—Neptune’s trident; that—the Thund’rer’s levin
Gold to their scales each region must afford;
And, as fierce Brennus in Gaul’s early tale,
The Frank casts in the iron of his sword,
To poise the balance, where the right may fail—
Like some huge Polypus, with arms that roam
Outstretch’d for prey—the Briton spreads his reign;
And, as the Ocean were his household home,
Locks up the chambers of the liberal main.
On to the Pole where shines, unseen, the Star,
Onward his restless course unbounded flies;
Tracks every isle and every coast afar,
And undiscover’d leaves but—Paradise!
Alas, in vain on earth’s wide chart, I ween,
Thou seek’st that holy realm beneath the sky—
Where Freedom dwells in gardens ever green—
And blooms the Youth of fair Humanity!
O’er shores where sail ne’er rustled to the wind,
O’er the vast universe, may rove thy ken;
But in the universe thou canst not find
A space sufficing for ten happy men!
In the heart’s holy stillness only beams
The shrine of refuge from life’s stormy throng;
Freedom is only in the land of Dreams;
And only blooms the Beautiful in Song!
* * * * *
[There is peace between the Greeks and Trojans—Achilles is to wed Polyxena, Priam’s daughter. On entering the Temple, he is shot through his only vulnerable part by Paris.—The time of the following Poem is during the joyous preparations for the marriage.]
And mirth was in the halls of Troy,
Before her towers and temples fell;
High peal’d the choral hymns of joy,
Melodious to the golden shell.
The weary had reposed from slaughter—
The eye forgot the tear it shed;
This day King Priam’s lovely daughter
Shall great Pelides wed!