The world has cycles in its course,
That once has been, is acted o’er again;
and only the nation which, at each moment of political or social evolution, looks lovingly backward to its own painfully-earned experience—Respiciens, Prospiciens, as Tennyson’s own chosen device expresses it—has solid reason to hope, that its movement is true Advance—that its course is Upward.
* * * * *
It remains only to add, that the book has been carefully revised and corrected, and that nineteen pieces published in the original volume of 1881 are not reprinted in the present issue.
F. T. P.
THE VISIONS OF ENGLAND
CAESAR TO EGBERT
England, fair England! Empress
isle of isles!
—Round whom the loving-envious ocean plays,
Girdling thy feet with silver and with smiles,
Whilst all the nations crowd thy liberal bays;
With rushing wheel and heart of fire they come,
Or glide and glance like white-wing’d doves that know
And seek their proper home:—
England! not England yet! but fair as now,
When first the chalky strand was stirr’d by Roman prow.
On thy dear countenance, great mother-land,
Age after age thy sons have set their sign,
Moulding the features with successive hand
Not always sedulous of beauty’s line:—
Yet here Man’s art in one harmonious aim
With Nature’s gentle moulding, oft has work’d
The perfect whole to frame:
Nor does earth’s labour’d face elsewhere, like thee,
Give back her children’s heart with such full sympathy
—On marshland rough and
self-sprung forest gazed
The imperial Roman of the eagle-eye;
Log-splinter’d forts on green hill-summits raised,
Earth huts and rings that dot the chalk-downs high:—
Dark rites of hidden faith in grove and moor;
Idols of monstrous build; wheel’d scythes of war;
Rock tombs and pillars hoar:
Strange races, Finn, Iberian, Belgae, Celt;
While in the wolds huge bulls and antler’d giants dwelt.